Gather your girlfriends and hit up these cosy spots, where you can linger and chat over tasty chow.
#01-705, Block 22 Havelock Road. Open daily, 9am-9pm.
AMBIENCE: What was once a bookstore run by their grandfather is now a hipster cafe, the brainchild of three siblings. The Scandinavian style is clean and modern with light wood tables and minimalist utensils. Even elderly folk who live in the vicinity drop by for brekkie.
FOOD: Truly a family project, the menu features dishes – like Steamed Yam Cake and Glutinous Rice ($3.80 each) – that are based on recipes handed down by the siblings’ parents. We especially loved the fragrant rice, which was not too sticky, and peppered with dried shrimp, Chinese sausage, roast peanuts and crispy fried shallots. Something less traditional is the Lemon Curd Toast Set ($5.80) – gooey soft-boiled eggs accompanied by a dense bun halved and slathered with lemon curd and clotted cream imported from the UK.
2. Envy Coffee
#01-04 Nexus @ One-north, 1 Fusionopolis Link, tel: 6710-4005. Open weekdays, 7.30am-6pm.
AMBIENCE: Other than the morning rush of office workers stopping by for their caffeine fix or the lunchtime crowd grabbing sandwiches, this cafe is usually quiet, so it’s conducive to intimate conversations.
FOOD: The star dish that will keep us coming back is the Smoked Duck Miso Spaghetti ($12.90). Its light cream sauce is infused with the robust nuttiness of sesame, which is a surprising match for the tender, salty slices of duck breast. Better yet, there’s no service charge or GST – all the more reason to fuel up with cups of java ($3.50-$5) brewed with beans from popular local coffee roaster, Liberty Coffee.
30 Bali Lane, tel: 9296-4997. Open Sun-Thu, noon to 10pm; Fri-Sat, noon to midnight.
AMBIENCE: Its stark concrete walls and metallic features make the space look a little grotty, but the dim lighting and little touches like flowers in glass bottles on every recycled wood table keep the mood cosy.
FOOD: Dessert waffles inspired by cakes like black forest and red velvet are interesting, but we’d rather pad our tummies any time of day with the savoury Eggs, Bacon & Cream Waffles ($14.90) – scrambled eggs doused in onion-and-bacon cream sauce on a fluffy breadlike yeast waffle. Another must-try: The Classic Honey Toast ($11.90), a delightful block of crisp-edged white bread topped with fresh berries, yogurt ice cream and honey.
#01-333, Block 212 Hougang Street 21, tel: 6988-4591. Open Tue-Sun, 1-10pm.
AMBIENCE: The murals on the walls are as whimsical as the cafe’s location is unexpected (it’s at the foot of a block of HDB flats) – look out for the Alice in Wonderland references, like the miniature door set into the base of the cashier counter.
FOOD: One of the best salted caramel sauces we’ve tried is drizzled lavishly here over milky vanilla ice cream and crispy Whoa’ffl es ($8) – the batter uses only egg whites, no yolks, so the texture is incredibly light and crispy. Also worth cheating on your diet for is the addictive Snickers Cheesecake ($6), which has melted nougat and peanut butter infused into cream cheese, set on a crunchy digestive biscuit base and decorated with chunks of Snickers.
By Rachel Xie, Simply Her, September 2014
Photos: courtesy cafes’ Facebook pages