The refurbished Raffles Hotel offers a repertoire of restaurants serving different cuisines. Gather is a café situated in Raffles Arcade and quite hard to miss due to the colonial vibe on its arched doors and windows which are visible from the road. Opened by the team behind Punch and the now-defunct Ronin, Gather has large windows that allow sunlight to pass in. Add to that a minimalist décor and marble tables and you get a well-lit, classic café look.
The menu mainly focuses on galettes, crepes, sandwiches and beverages. For vegetarians, there are limited options, but the ones that are present are done well. The staff are welcoming and polite and made sure that we were seated comfortably. The Ratatouille on the menu may not be available at all times, so it would be better to inquire if you are heading to the café specifically for this item.
To begin with, we ordered the Grilled Cheese Sandwich from their menu.
This sandwich is sinfully delicious. Your first bite will be filled with crunchy toast followed by cheese that slowly oozes out and give you that stringy cheese-pull effect that crispy sandwiches are made of. Highly recommended if you enjoy grilled sandwiches with strands of cheese.
The menu is primarily divided into savoury galettes and sweet crepes. We ordered the Plain Crepe with sugar, Bordier butter and lemon juice served with fresh fruits. It was soft and comforting and had the right balance of tartness and sweet in terms of the overall composition. The place combines traditional French recipes with Japanese way of execution to illustrate how to make ingredients stand out in a simple dish.
For the drinks, we ordered the Hot Chocolate and were impressed with the generous portion of chocolate spread on the sides of the glass. It was served at a temperature that was soothing and packed the required punch. In terms of visual presentation, the glass seemed to have a marble effect which was pretty cool.
If you are looking for a casual brunch outing in the city or some vegetarian crepes in Singapore along with good coffee, then Gather is definitely worth a visit.
In a Nutshell
Cuisine Type: Crepes and coffee
Nearest MRT: City Hall
Address: Raffles Hotel Arcade,#01-12, 328 North Bridge Rd, S188719
Timings: Mon-Fri: 8 AM – 6 PM ; Sat-Sun:8 AM – 8 PM
Nestled in Sunset Way is a cutely themed café bringing Winnie the Pooh and the Hundred Acre Wood back to life. As soon as you enter this gelato place, you will notice that the place oozes with positivity, right from the décor on the walls, to the wooden furniture, to the spirit of the staff. Though it is relatively new, the café had a steady flow of customers indicating its popularity in the neighborhood.
The shop only has 6-7 tables and is suited for smaller groups or takeaways. They have 12-14 gelato flavours on display in the counter which can be paired with waffles, plain cones, or rosemary cones. They also have 3-4 flavours in the vegan friendly, dairy-free section. Apart from this, the menu has a Vietnamese influence since one of the founders hails from there. The menu clearly describes the towns in Vietnam called Da Lat and Tuy Hoa where the ingredients are sourced from.
We ordered the waffles with double scoops and for the flavours we picked Sea Salt and Butter Caramel and Ispahan. The saltiness of the caramel balanced with the sweetness of the ispahan and tasted good as a combination. Texturally, the gelato was smooth and well-made. Ispahan is a combination of rose, lychee and raspberry and had a slight tartness to it. The overall presentation with the chocolate sauce on the rim of the plate was a nice touch.
Vietnam is the second largest exporter of coffee in the world. Coffee drinking in this café is a nice and slow experience as you wait for the coffee to drip through the filter into the mug. If you want to avoid the bitter taste of coffee, then going for the usual amount of condensed milk is recommended. The coffee was authentic and it is definitely worth trying.
For their unique flavors, for their good balance in vegan gelato options, and for the overall positive vibes of scooping happiness, Hundred Acre Creamery is definitely highly recommended.
Hope the New Year has started off well for each of you! As I was exploring Singapore on one of the weekends, I reached Great World City. I was pleasantly surprised to see the facelift and refurbishment that the Great World City mall had gotten. The new design looks great and there are definitely more food and beverage options to choose from. In the mall’s revamped basement, I came upon Plentyfull Deli, a bakery serving freshly baked breads and cakes along with hearty mains.
There are quite a few vegetarian options on the menu, especially for brunch time. They have two main sections – the ‘Freshly Baked’ section for breads, cakes, pastries etc. suitable for takeaways, and the ‘From the Kitchen’ section for dine-ins. For a quick bite, we started with the Grilled Cheese Toastie. This bread offering comes with a mix of cheddar, mozzarella and provolone cheese fused and melted in between slices of toasted bread and served with a basil-infused tomato sauce on the side. The crisp exterior along with the stringy cheese was a great combination and made each bite a delight. Highly recommended.
They have an extensive non-alcoholic drinks menu and we ordered the ‘Flat White’. The drink was light-bodied and serves as a nice accompaniment to the cakes or croissants on their menu.
I usually crave for a well-made Lemon Pound Cake. One of my favourite lemon cakes in Singapore is from Tiong Bahru Bakery. The Lemon slice cake at Plentyfull had the zesty fragrance of lemons but I was left wishing for more moistness in the cake. The options at their bakery counter is mindboggling and definitely merits another visit just for trying their varied offerings. Another interesting thing to note is that they make their food items from scratch, wherever possible and use farm-fresh ingredients.
It is rare for a café in Singapore to have a sizeable variety in vegetarian options and serve quality food. For their diverse bakery items, for their cozy setting in a refurbished mall and for light bites, Plentyfull Bakery & Deli at Great World City mall is worth a visit.
In a Nutshell
Cuisine Type: Café Food
Nearest MRT: Great World City (Once Thomson line opens)
Address: Kim Seng Promenade #B1-K119, Great World, Singapore 237994
2020 has been a testing time for the food industry in Singapore – balancing manpower and rental challenges under lockdown. To tackle this challenge, one of the options is to use tech as an enabler to automate certain manual processes and work with F&B staff to go futuristic. One such endeavour is by Ratio Café and Lounge at Centrepoint Orchard where you will get to see the awesome robot baristas at work!
As you enter the café, you can see the two sections on the left where the robotic arms are present. One section is for cocktails and the other section is for standard beverages like Kopi. It is definitely a sight to behold to see the stations and witness how much technology has progressed in the field of AI and robotics.
The kiosk at the entrance makes the ordering process quite straightforward and simple. Their menu has over 50 alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages along with some light bites for accompaniments. The place can seat around 20-25 pax comfortably and can be a spot for a quick catchup with friends or a 1-to-1 business meeting.
Once your orders are placed, you can watch the orders being prepared or be seated and watch the huge display board to know your order status. It is indeed a technology powered experience throughout.
The best part about the menu is that it is entirely customizable via a digital interface controlling everything from the number of coffee shots, to the ingredients added, and the number of ice cubes. The Tom Yum Martini is made with tom yum flavored vodka and topped off with chilli to give it a bit of heat. As the name Ratio suggests that these drinks are made with precision due to the proportions that the interface is programmed to implement.
Ratio’s Old Fashioned is a well-made drink with a smoky and woody smell. The drink is made with a mix of quality bourbon and cointreau, infused with a shot of coffee made by the robotic arm and then in a smoke chamber by the bartender. The perfect example of how the future is headed – human interaction with devices to enhance the overall customer experience.
I also tried the light bites like the croissant and the muffin which were the vegetarian options in the menu and they were strictly passable.
The café also serves Kopi from $1 a cup and offers different types of lattes. It is situated next to the Just Co, a co-working space – the whole vibe here is lively. For their tech innovation, for the precision involved in the drinks dispensing mechanism, for the robot barista emulating an actual bartender’s abilities in the mixing of drinks, and for adding something new to the food scene in Singapore, Ratio Café and Lounge is worth a visit.
Cafe-spotting is always a welcome sign, especially when it is a themed one which makes it eye-catching by default. Enchanted Cafe – Secret Garden is a cafe located near the taxi stand at Bukit Timah Plaza which becomes extremely convenient for those who are looking for grab-to-go brews and beverages. The signage at the entrance states Mosanco Enchanted Cafe which has been around for some years on Rangoon Road in Singapore.
The Bukit Timah Plaza outlet is fairly small with 8 tables segregated between inner and outdoor seating. The cafe is quite popular among students looking for a group study venue and for those who like a nice ambiance for a quick catchup with friends.
For a cafe, the menu has an ample selection varying from beverages of all types to small bites to meals. Since I had visited during late afternoon, I chose coffee and sides to enjoy the ambiance which was enhanced by the slight drizzle outside.
For those looking to sip a simple cup of joe, the Hot Mocha does not fail you. The caffeine hits you gently with an apt balance with the milk. It was nice to couple it with the Butter Croissant.
The classic Butter Croissant was very good – golden and crunchy top with soft and flaky layers inside. Definitely worth trying this item and it was nice to see that it was a big croissant.
In the other caffeinated beverages, the Rose Chocolate Latte caught my attention. Even though I was slightly apprehensive before trying it, I must say I really enjoyed this warm drink. The gentle touch of rose did not overpower the taste of latte and the barista art added to the visual appeal of this cup.
There is nothing not to like in a bowl of fries topped with motherload of cheese! These fries were crisp and made to perfection and the gooey nature of eating them will remind you of nachos. Definitely recommended.
For the variety of selection in their menu, for their unique coffees and teas and for their good food, the Enchanted Cafe – Secret Garden is definitely worth a visit. For those staying in Bukit Timah, this can be your quick stop after your NTUC shopping 🙂
In a Nutshell
Cuisine Type: Cafe Food
Nearest MRT: Beauty World
Address: 1 Jalan Anak Bukit #L1-CA1, Bukit Timah Plaza, 588996
Bukit Timah road has shophouses situated at frequent intervals along its length. One such pretty cafe is KARA Cafe and Dessert Bar, tucked away in the cluster near Coronation Plaza. The team behind Sogurt have opened this cafe and its all-day dining menu will appeal to visitors instantly. The warm hues of the interiors, wooden furniture, and long mirrors on the walls add to the aesthetic appeal of this quaint cafe. The cafe is perfect for a weekend brunch or a quick catch-up with a small group of friends. If you are alone and looking to grab some grub, you can settle in a cozy corner of the cafe with a novel and watch passers-by.
The Orders The menu consists of grain bowls, toasties and snacks along with some desserts. The menu is focused on being health conscious with no compromise on taste. We ordered the Tomato Soup to begin our brunch. In a twist on the classic comforting soup, the tomatoes are smoked before being puréed. The soup has a thicker consistency and pairs well with cheese toasties. The Kara version was well-flavored and a befitting start to the meal.
Tomato Soup at $5
As recommended by the staff, the signature Kara dish for vegetarians would be the ‘Classic Grilled Cheese Toasties’. The cheese blend and zesty sweet pickle relish are sandwiched in sourdough and grilled to perfection. The caramelized top with gooey cheese will pull the strings of your heart with ease. Dab the toast gently into your bowl of soup and you are bound to relish this combination. Highly recommended.
Classic Grilled Cheese Toasties at $10
To have a substantial meal, we ordered the ‘Taco Mexx’ grain bowl. For the vegetarians, this offering can be made without chicken. For the choice of grain base, we opted for the garlic Japanese rice which is the default version. For a healthy recharge, you can go for the fluffy quinoa salad. The grain bowl comes with the creamy avocado, chipotle salsa, crema, jalapeno and crisp corn tortilla chips. The freshness of the ingredients came to the forefront in this Mexican-inspired grain bowl. Do not miss this if you like these flavours.
Taco Mexx Grain Bowl at $14
The service can be improved since the meal came in dribs and drabs even when the cafe was not crowded. We received our dishes with at least a lag of 25 mins between both the dishes and the sandwich was served much before the soup. On the whole, if you are looking for a relaxed outing along with healthy and simple food, head to KARA Cafe and Dessert bar if you are in the area.
It’s always fun to spot a new cafe while exploring your neighborhood. Nestled in The Hillford on Jalan Jurong Kechil is the warmly-lit cafe called CATfeine that exudes a relaxed vibe when you see it from the road. The interiors exhibit a liking for cats, right from the decor, to plush toys, to the ordering counter. The owners clearly have an affinity towards the feline creatures. Though pets are not allowed inside the cafe, there are some seats outside which are are pet-friendly.
The Orders Other than specialty tea and coffee, CATFeine offers sweet and savoury bites like waffles, pies, sandwiches, bagels and cakes on their menu.
A good croissant pairs best with a cup of coffee. CATfeine’s ‘Croissant’ was buttery and flavorful and not at all greasy. Served warm, the thin and light layers were beautifully flaky and had a lovely aroma.
Croissant at $3
When we visited the cafe, we observed that was a waffle order on almost every table. So we decided to try the ‘Honey B ‘ which is the most basic version of the other tempting homemade buttermilk waffles on their menu. When the waffle was served, it was so appealing that one can just admire it for some time. It was served with honey, butter, biscuit crunch and tasty sea-salt caramel ice cream which was quite indulgent. Everything about their waffles is top-notch – from the texture to the overall doneness. The sea-salt ice cream lent the right balance and was just perfect in taste. It can easily be shared by 2 people. For me, it easily made it to the Top 5 Waffles in Singapore – so quite highly recommended.
Homemade Buttermilk Waffles at $11
If you are not looking for a quick caffeine fix, then try the ‘Spiced Hot Chocolate’. They have kept it simple and that makes it a delectable cup of hot cocoa.
Spiced Hot Chocolate at $6.5
Overall, CATfeine is a must-visit if you are fan of coffee, waffles or desserts. Additionally their friendly service deserves some brownie points.
In a Nutshell
Cuisine Type: Cafe
Nearest MRT: Beauty World
Address: 182 Jalan Jurong Kechil, #01-50 The Hillford, Singapore 596152
Do not underestimate the power of the coffee, especially when its situated next to a taxi stand! Yes, that’s how I spotted the newly opened Boyle’s Coffee – when the wait for a cab seemed endless. Situated in the old shopping mall of Bukit Timah Plaza, Boyle’s Coffee lures you inside with its warm decor and robust coffee aroma. The seats are in the form of long communal tables which makes it great to strike up conversations with coffee aficionados.
Boyle’s Coffee cake display
The Orders They have a three page menu serving hot and cold coffees and light bites. Their cake display boasts of a variety of cakes with different flavours. Apart from the standard offerings, this artisanal cafe has a variety of specialty brews across the spectrum – from the Ethiopian and Kenyan beans to the adventurous Yuzu Latte. For the tea lovers, they have some TWG teas on the menu.
When I want the perfect coffee fix filled with warm flavors, I tend to go for the ‘Caramel Latte’. Since it was a rainy day, I ordered the hot version. This was well-made with the subtle flavor of caramel cutting through the thick creamy milk and foam layers and made me happy. The latte art was also very good. Highly recommended.
Hot Caramel Latte at $6
What’s perfect with a good cup of coffee? The answer is a cake, especially when the cafe offers an assortment of them. I got drawn to the ‘Tiramisu Cake’ instantly due to its presentation. The checkered coffee effect on top with a mille crêpe bottom had immense visual appeal. Its on the lower side on the sweetness quotient and hence pairs well with coffee. On its own, I found it to be less sweet and a bit dry.
Tiramisu cake at $7
In the form of vegetarian light bites they have the ‘Cheese Grilled Sandwich’ and the ‘Butter Jam Toast’. Savour the goodness of simple toast along with your cup of coffee or tea. I wish they had softened the butter before serving it.
Butter and Jam Toast at $4
Boyle’s Coffee is famous for their cold water drip Dutch coffee which I definitely intend to try sometime soon. For their coffee quality, quick service and welcoming ambiance, Boyle’s Coffee is worth visiting.
In a Nutshell
Cuisine Type: Coffee and light bites
Nearest MRT: Beauty World
Address: L1 Near Bukit Timah Plaza Taxi Stand, 1 Jalan Anak Bukit, Singapore 588996
Nestled in the calm neighborhood of Kembangan is a fun cafe called Fresh Fruits Lab, a laboratory themed joint serving Western cuisine with a fruity twist. And yes, it is as exotic as it sounds – science themed decor with burettes, pipettes, magnifying glasses to read the menu, test tubes and colorful diagrams! We went for a weekend brunch and the restaurant was full! It definitely looks like they have regular customers. They have high tea, a la carte, brunch and even supper menus. It is around a 10 min walk from the MRT but the different dining experience made the travel worthwhile. Also worth mentioning is their periodic table drawn with symbols of fruits which was very innovative and unique.
Fresh fruits lab
FFL periodic table
The Orders To begin with, they serve complimentary juices filled in test tubes. This helps you try out different flavours and then order according to your preference. Water is served in beakers and juices in conical flasks and thus they stay consistent to their theme.
For me, tomato soup is a familiar and beloved comfort food. FFL offers the ‘Roasted Roma Soup’ which is a herbed stew made with Roma tomatoes, zucchini and croutons. The colour was dark and looked like a thicker version of homemade pasta sauce but the taste was good. There was slight sweetness in the soup which was nice.
Roasted Roma soup at $8
Brunch and pancakes go hand-in-hand. The ‘Fruity Berries’ pancake was fluffy and moist made from a seasonal berry batter. It also had apple compote and strawberries drizzled with maple syrup. The fruity twist along with sizable portions made it a good order.
Fruity berries pancakes at $11
For brunch, a ‘Frittata’ works as a ready-to-go egg dish that is somewhere between a quiche and omelette. The folding and flipping technique in the dish made with eggs, potatoes and mushrooms was done in a compact manner. It was served with fruity salad and toasted multigrain buns. Highly recommended. (if you eat eggs)
Frittata at $15
For a refreshing feel, try any of the fruit juices or sodas from their beverage section. The notable ones are ‘Strawberry Soda’ and Three to Tango which were rightly marked as the Lab Bestsellers. They were bursting with flavour and topped off with real fruits.
Strawberry soda at $6
We ordered the ‘Lychee Cake’ to try a unique dessert. The layers were drenched with lychee syrup and it became a sugar overload after a few bits. The texture was almost like a marshmallow and it was a bit too sweet for my liking. They have many cakes on their display counter, so maybe I’ll try something else the next time.
Lychee cake at $6.5
For the vegetarians, there are some more soup and salad options. The staff are friendly and attend to your needs immediately. They also have ongoing lunch promotions with a menu change every fortnight. For a different dining experience, for chilling out on the weekends, for striking a chemistry with your special someone and for its good food, FFL is worth a visit.
In a Nutshell
Cuisine Type: Western
Nearest MRT: Kembangan
Address: 351 Changi Road, Lor Mazuki, Singapore 419818