Singapore is well-known for its food scene and its list of cool cafes is ever-growing. Serving the best coffee, delicious food and a generous dose of Singaporean hospitality, read on to find out the hippest cafes that even hipsters will have trouble finding.
It's no secret that hawker centres are the pride of Singapore’s food scene, brimming with famous dishes such as chicken rice, satay, and laksa.
It is almost customary for first-time travellers to drop by Lau Pa Sat for a taste of these scrumptious street foods. In the past ten years or so, this scene has since transformed as the city’s cuisine is more than just the traditional pickings, with hipster cafes springing up along the streets.
You may be familiar with what’s in town (from Orchard Road to City Hall), but some of the best cafes are nestled in neighbourhoods that are a little off the beaten path but worth the extra travel time for the city’s best brunch and coffee offerings. Sukyi Yee from the blog, Eat Look Travel Book, rounds up a list of under the radar cafes that will surely whet your appetite.
1. Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters
Photo credit: lkzx’s Instagram
Location: 185 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574333
There are a ton of coffee beans to choose from for your morning pick-me-up at Pacamara. The cafe’s Aussie style brunch menu ends at 5pm on weekends, and includes the indulgent steak and eggs breakfast. A no-reservation policy means that this cafe is often packed with hungry brunch-seekers, especially during the weekend afternoons. Wake up early to avoid standing at the back of a snaking long queue.
2. Plain Vanilla Bakery
Photo credit: Plain Vanilla Bakery’s Instagram
Location: 1D Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168641
Cupcakes don’t get fluffier than at Plain Vanilla Bakery. The flavours are varied, but its signatures are red velvet and dark chocolate. Natural ingredients, such as French butter and pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, are what make the Plain Vanilla cupcake batter so special. Spot the vintage bicycle along Yong Siak Street and you’ll know you’re at the right shop.
Photo credit: Percolate’s Instagram
Location: 136 Bedok North Ave 3 #01-152, Singapore 460136
The space at Percolate is small and buzzing with those living nearby. The drinks menu is extensive, with a selection of coffee, tea, chocolate, coconut drinks, cold-pressed juices and smoothies. The trending espresso tonic is also served here, amongst unique concoctions like the espresso with coconut. On the food menu are typical small nibbles, such as croissants, sandwiches, and granola.
4. Habitat Coffee
Photo credit: Habitat Coffee’s Instagram
Location: 223 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574355
At Habitat Coffee, brunch is all-day and all-evening for those who love getting their eggs and bacon even at night. Indulge in a sugar rush with hotcakes stuffed with berries, walnuts and cream cheese. For savouries, the Big Ben is the full works with eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, grilled tomato and potatoes.
5. Carpenter & Cook
Photo credit: Carpenter & Cook
Location: 19 Lorong Kilat #01-06, Singapore 598120
Carpenter & Cook is where you need to stop by for a dessert and a cup of tea. The interiors are teeming with interesting knick-knacks - a result of the owner’s love of collecting vintage finds. The counter display is filled with freshly-baked cakes and pastries atop flower-patterned plates, and often includes the cafe’s famous passionfruit meringue tarts. The scones are served with homemade jam and clotted cream - the perfect way to start an afternoon tea.
6. Necessary Provisions
Photo credit: Kenyangs’ Instagram
Location: 21 Eng Kong Terrace, Singapore 598993
The menu at Necessary Provisions is a mix of Asian and Western cuisines, from squid fried rice to basil pesto pasta. Everything is homemade, right down to the pastas! The coffees are made with the cafe’s very own Thumper home blend, created using Arabica beans.
7. Wimbly Lu
Photo credit: Wimbly Lu
Location: 15-2 Jalan Riang, Singapore 358987
Feast on decadent chocolate creations at Wimbly Lu, a Serangoon-based cafe that now has three stores thanks to a loyal following. The chocolate desserts are highly tempting, with molten lava cake, chocolate marshmallow pie, chocolate creme brulee, and double chocolate cheesecake. Brunches are priced at nothing above $16, even for the Grand Slam (bacon, sausages, organic eggs, hash brown, tomato, walnut toasts, and a glass of juice).
8. Penny University
Photo credit: Penny University’s Instagram
Location: 402 East Coast Road, Singapore 428997
The aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans is what will lure you into Penny University, or Penny U as the regulars call it. Start with an espresso with milk, while you eyeball the reasonably-priced brunch menu starting at S$5 for a sourdough toast. The tables are jampacked over the weekends, so be prepared to share a table, especially since there’s a no reservation policy.