Hyde & Co.

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This year, we have seen a fair share of New York and Aussie inspired cafes opening every now and then. It’s finally time for a England inspired cafe, or a tea room. Hyde and Co. lies in the vibrant Kampong Glam which is no longer housing merely traditional or Malay restaurants. Take the stroll down from Bugis along North Bridge Road and you’ll understand. Setting foot into this English style cafe almost makes you feel like you’ve been transported to another setting. The aesthetic won me over with the white, clean and minimalistic look.
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My advice – skip the coffee, go for the tea. You can always get your daily dose of caffeine at every other cafe. The tea selection here is huge, with each pot of tea at $6.50 each. Choose from a total of 45 tea flavors under the categories of black tea, flavored black tea, green tea, white tea, herb blend, fruit tea and rooibos. I tried both the Sencha Honey and Rooibos Vanilla and I enjoyed the lingering, light aftertaste of honey and vanilla respectively.
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Food wise, Hyde & Co. is best known for their crumpets, which originate from the United Kingdom. They seem like mini pancakes but are griddle cakes to be exact. Unlike pancakes, they are rather thick and chewy. There are two options for either savory or sweet crumpets and I decided to go for the staff’s recommendation, the Gula Gula ($10.90). I liked how the Singaporean twist on the original crumpets which are usually eaten with butter or jam spread worked out well. The stack of 3 crumpets topped with gula melaka and coconut flakes was not overly sweet, making it a pleasant delight.

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We also checked out some mains such as Lady Hyde ($12.90) – a twist on the classic Croque Madame featuring brioche with honey baked ham, pineapple, cheddar, hebi hiam sandwiched in between and ultimately topped with a sunny side up. Good Morning Glory’s ($14.90) highlight is the very creamy scrambled eggs, which is paired with Norwegian smoked salmon on sourdough rye bread. Sadly I didn’t get to try this other popular item on the menu – Hyde’s S’more Toast ($11.90), a brioche french toast with melted marshmallows, dark chocolate, biscuit crumbs and berries.
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Overall, I felt that the theme of this cafe should be applauded for. It’s not cliche, overrated or tacky at all. I can also feel the sincerity of the staff in providing warm service to welcome you. Unlike some other overcrowded cafes, there is no pressure to eat and leave quickly. It almost feels like a leisurely afternoon tea in Britain.
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785 North Bridge Road

Mondays, Wednesdays – Sundays 10am to 6pm

Sunday Folks

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Everyone around me probably knows how much procrastination I’ve done for this post. After countless of visits with and without my camera, I think it is finally time for me to get down amd launch wordpress for the first time in 3 weeks. So two years ago I reviewed the then go-to place for ice cream and waffles, Creamier. It grew in popularity over the years and still remains packed as hell especially throughout the weekends (Read more about Creamier here). Two years later, a sister outlet of Creamier is born. Welcome Sunday Folks, into the more “atas” Chip Bee Gardens.
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Compared to that of Creamier, the space taken over by Sunday Folks is easily 2 to 3 times as large. Though more tables have been lined side by side over time, it still feels more spacious and comfortable to have your ice cream and waffles here. My very first visit was actually just a short while after they’ve just opened. Then, the place was barely filled with patrons. It only took about a couple of weeks for people to find out about them, despite the little effort in publicity by the owners. Instagram pretty much became their PR.
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The largest difference between Creamier and Sunday Folks lies in the ice cream which goes on top of their signature, Belgian waffles. Instead of the usual scooped ice cream, they have started the trend of serving soft serve ice cream on waffles. Initially, the sight of a tall and slim soft serve was odd, but after all my visits to Sunday Folks this year, the other version of ice cream on waffles now looks weird to me (sigh). Choose from 6 standard flavors: Summer Strawberries, Roasted Pistachio, Earl Grey Lavender, Madagascar Vanilla, Sea Salt Gula Melaka, Dark Chocolate. Having a soft serve stacked on two square waffles costs $11.80 and recently the option to have just one waffle beneath the soft serve ($8.80) is made available as well. Note: the waffles also come with strawberries, blueberries, maple syrup and hazelnut sauce.
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Who knew that soft serve on waffles can be that satisfying? The only complaint that I have is that it melts way too quickly. Among all the flavors, my favorite has got to be the sea salt gula melaka which has a brilliant combination of sweet and salty. The dark chocolate was overpowering and somehow didn’t quite go well with waffles. A safe choice would be the madagascar vanilla, which is truly made with vanilla beans. Otherwise, the refreshing pistachio flavor is good too.
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Another highlight of Sunday Folks is the option of customization by choosing from a variety of toppings to decorate your waffles with. I’m fond of getting the Nama Chocolate ($1.90) and Nama Green Tea ($1.90), both coming from Royce Chocolate, simply because they are quality. And perhaps because you can’t just get a few pieces from a Royce store.
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Between the Lemon Cheesecake ($1.90) and Souffle Cheesecake ($1.90), I can’t decide which is better. The former has a stronger taste while the latter is light on the tastebuds. I also love going for the White Chocolate Coconut Mikado ($1.90) and Popping Candy Chocolate Mikado ($1.90) since I don’t see these pocky sticks elsewhere. Some toppings like the Sea Salt Chocolate Honeycomb ($1.90) and Caramel Popcorn ($1.50) were too sweet to go along with the waffles though.
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If you’re feeling less contentious, or just want something to take away with, go for the cone or cup ($7.20). The display counter also boasts a selection of cakes, with the most popular one being the Japanese Matcha Cake ($7.90). Surprisingly, it’s a rather good slice of matcha cake – soft and creamy while having a substantial taste of matcha.
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My advice – go for the regular soft serve on two waffles. Yes, it can be that satisfying.
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44 Jalan Merah Saga

#01-52

Chip Bee Gardens

Tuesdays to Fridays 4pm – 9.30pm

Saturdays & Sundays 12pm – 10pm

Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters

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You may have some inkling of the now-defunct OZ Specialty Coffee, or even visited it before. Though I didn’t get to do a blog post on OZ, I had a pretty good brunch there earlier in the year, featuring their signature waffles done Belgian style. Coffee was excellent as well. Sadly, we had to bid this tiny coffee hole farewell before I could visit it again with my camera.

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But it was all for the better, as OZ Specialty Coffee has collaborated with Pacamara Coffee Roasters to bring to us cafe hoppers the newly opened Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters. It occupies a much bigger space than OZ, where Liquid Kitchen used to be at. Yet another joy to the Upper Thomson area. The cafe’s interior is gorgeous. It is based on a minimal, white theme coupled with wooden furnishings. I really felt like I was stepping into a cafe in Melbourne or New York, so kudos to the designer. If only that bare concrete floor had some nice white patterned flooring…

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Essential thing first – coffee. Opt for either black or white coffee here. Their White coffee comes in 3 sizes: 3oz ($4.5), 5oz ($5) and 7oz ($5.5). On both occasions that I had the White, it was smooth and came with a nutty aftertaste.

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The brunch menu offered up to 2.30pm sounds promising, despite the no return of their popular waffles from OZ Specialty Coffee. It has been a long time since my last unforgettable eggs benedict, and the Truffle Benedict ($18) here rewrites that record. Blanketing over brioche, smoked ham, spinach and two poached eggs is a savory truffle hollandaise sauce. I was impressed at how well-infused the truffle was into the sauce as well as how it complemented the eggs benedict so well (I once had pretty bad truffle eggs from a restaurant I shall not name).

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As mainstream as it might sound, the Salted Caramel Banana French Toast ($16) was above average. I liked how moist it was without the brioche french toast being soggy. The salt crystals from the salted caramel might be an overload though.

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Served with greek yogurt, fresh berries and mango, the simple Granola ($10) was elegantly presented in that deconstructed style. However, I felt the greek yogurt and granola were lacking in quality.

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I love how consistent the food here is. It is always neither too dry or moist, just like the Red Velvet Pancakes ($16) which has a golden touch of mascarpone to it. The mascarpone does add an interesting dimension to the otherwise dry, boring pancake stack.

The full menu is up from 12pm onwards. Expect main courses such as Wagyu Burger ($25), Shellfish Risotto ($23), Miso Glazed Salmon ($22) and Hanger Steak ($25) and salads like Buffalo Caprese ($16) and Rocket & Pear Salad ($15) to whet your appetite. I might just return here soon to pamper myself. If you’re far from being famished, the glass counter has a range of bread and pastries from The Bread Table which you can settle for.

I’m not sure about you, but I’m totally digging this new cafe. It is not just about the large, clean space or warm service from the service staff. Unlike the dozens of new cafes out there, Pacamara has a truly comprehensive food menu to go along with their specialty coffees. The prices are steep but I’m not hesitant to pay for the experience of having both quality coffee and food. Go quickly before the noise gets unbearable.

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185 Upper Thomson Road

Tuesdays to Sundays 9am – 11pm

Old Hen Coffee Bar

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Opened by three brothers who wish to serve up coffee and simple comfort food is 3 months old Old Hen Coffee Bar. They first gained attention from the cafe hoppers because of their special cold brew. My main agenda when I visited was to see for myself how good it was too. Before I move on to that, I thought the aesthetics of this well-lit space deserves a mention. Though the pairing of wooden tables with light blue walls is slowly turning into a cliche, the decor was kept simple enough for that extra touch of minimalism. The honorable mention goes to their hanging lights made of junkyard materials – they are truly eco-friendly, and pleasing to the eye at the same time.
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Let’s just say it is rather meaningless to drop by this place without getting your hands on a bottle of their specialty cold brew. The White Cold Brew ($6.5) I had was superbly creamy. The lower levels of caffeine and its acidity may put off some caffeine lovers but I was very well satisfied with this milky version. With that said, this can be a good try even for non-coffee drinkers. Besides coffee, the Valrhona Chocolate ($5 for hot, $6 for iced), Matcha Latte ($5 for hot, $6 for iced) and Iced Thai Milk Tea ($5) seem like interesting choices – will be back for more!
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The food menu written on the chalkboards is generally limited to simple dishes. The Smoked Salmon & Apple Toast ($8.5) comprised mainly smoked salmon and apple with raisins, cucumbers and cream cheese. The apple and smoked salmon combination, though refreshing, might be starting to bore me out. Perhaps I will go for their Butter Chicken ($9.5) or Crab Coleslaw Toast ($8.5) next time.

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Don’t judge me, but I’m into this waffle fad for sure. Previous reviews were doubtful of their Homemade Waffles ($9) but they seemed to have improved when I tried them. This time, the berry compote which used to be the topping was replaced by greek yogurt, apple compote and salted caramel sauce. The new pairing definitely added value to the shabbier berry compote. The waffles were slightly burnt but crispy on the exterior, and not too dry at all.

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For desserts, they have cakes like Red Velvet outsourced from bakery Creme Couture, but I decided to skip them and go for the Panna Cotta ($5) which is made in-house instead. Made of 3 layers – caramel popcorn, chocolate and vanilla panna cotta, it was quite interesting but a pity that it was a tad too sweet for me to fully enjoy it.

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Some say this is “yet another new cafe”. However their sincerity in serving specialty coffee is obvious and is what draws customers the most. Perhaps a more comprehensive, unique food menu can be that step to instant fame. After all, cafe hoppers do want the best of both novelty food and coffee.
88 Rangoon Road

#01-03

Mondays, Wednesdays to Fridays 12pm – 12am

Saturdays & Sundays 10am – 10pm

 

Brunch at ROUSE

Muesli brioche toast

Sunday brunch at Rouse on Dunlop Street was a comfortable, laid back affair. I was pretty elated to step into the well-furnished space after passing through the throngs in Little India (the crowd was no joke).  The people behind this little hole of comfort certainly did a great job of converting an old electrical shophouse unit into a hipper cafe. Though intentional, the left wall gave off the appearance of peeling paint unpretentiously, while the right wall was bare concrete. There were also light bulbs hung by overlapping ropes, stacked crates served as some tables and mismatched chairs. Definitely going for the warehouse x minimal feel. A mirror runs along half length of the wall and even though mirrors are great for giving the illusion of a more spacious cafe, we thought it was a tad weird to eat right in front of the mirror.

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The team at Rouse includes dedicated baristas who serve up pretty decent coffee using beans from Dutch Colony Coffee Co. My single shot of espresso ($3) and espresso with milk ($4.80) that I ordered subsequently were both robust and with a slight tinge of acidity.

Quinoa quake

Unlike your usual order of eggs benedict or waffles with ice cream that you might expect here, the options from the brunch menu are not just about that conformity. From items such as the sweet “Goldilocks” ($10.90) consisting of quinoa, greek yogurt, bananas and honey to the savoury Crabby Patty ($17.90), Rouse proves that it is not “just another new cafe in Singapore”. We opted for the Quinoa Quake ($16.90) – lemon dill yogurt, poached egg and smoked salmon served atop a quinoa patty, which seems like an alternative to eggs benedict. Though the special creation and interesting lemon dill yogurt sauce that we liked, we felt that the quinoa patty was too soggy, dampening the dish as a result. Luckily, the Muesli Brioche Toast ($14.90) was better than expected. I liked the textured french toast which came with a certain degree of crunchiness.

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brunch at rouse

Muesli brioche toast

As we were saving stomach space for our next cafe, we (sadly) left out desserts, which feature various types of cakes sourced by the cafe from an independent baker and recently, from Ice Cream Cookie Co as well. The cakes on display are always rotating, so you’re always in for a surprise. Despite not having them, I thought they looked drool-worthy enough. I’ll be back. One thing I appreciate is the passion of the team of employees here to serve customers better. Their friendly, goofy service is becoming a rare sight amidst the boom of cafes, so I’m never taking that for granted.

ROUSE

 

36 Dunlop Street

Singapore 209364

Mon, Wed – Thur 11am to 9pm

Fri – Sat 11am to 11pm

Sun 10am to 7pm

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