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
If you are a (local or tourist) vegetarian/vegan visiting Chinatown and looking for some great food, look no further than Well Dressed Salad Bar and Cafe, a vegetarian eatery located in South Bridge Road, right below Eight Treasures Vegetarian Restaurant (run by same management). It is a small and charming cafe that serves a variety of dishes – wraps, sandwiches, curry sets, juices, smoothies and desserts. Attractive food posters hang from the walls and I loved their menu board which stated ‘Meatless does not mean Tasteless’. I believe that no diet form is monotonous as long as you find ingredients to create dishes that are flavorful, healthy and tasty. Vegans also have a lot of options in this cafe as they can easily customize your dishes.
Well dressed menu board
The Orders The menu is full of interesting things and I knew instantly that I would have to visit the place again 🙂 For starters, we ordered the ‘Broccoli Soup’ to give a green start to the meal. The soup was well salted, wholesome and a nice way to start the meal. It did need a dash of pepper to add depth to the flavour.
Broccoli soup at $3.5
Called as Wrap Stars on their menu, we tried the ‘Wrap of the Day’. Neatly stacked with layers of purple cabbage, carrots, lettuce, tofu and vegan cheese, this was a vibrant wrap. It had a citrus dressing which lent a burst of flavour to the veggies. The wrap was packed to perfection which made it extremely convenient to eat. Apart from this, you can also customize a wrap along with the ingredients at the salad counter. We tried another wrap with bell peppers, corn, beans and lettuce which was quite good. Ensure not to mix too many water-leaving veggies together so that your wrap remains non-soggy.
Veg wrap with vegan cheese at $10
Customized veg wrap at $10
For the rice lovers, there are ‘Veg Curry Sets’ which come along with brown rice and a flavorful curry along with seaweed crackers. The curry was slightly under seasoned, but the veggies were plentiful and cooked just right. The seaweed crackers were yummy and addictive that I actually placed an order for an extra bowl of crackers. Highly recommended if you like munchies.
Veg curry set
I have always had a weakness for fresh fruit juices and hence I was happy to see the variety on offer. I ordered the ‘Carrot and Apple Juice’ which was made by the owner and it was one of the best I ever had. Strained finely, there was no grainy texture of the carrots and it was a refreshing glass of juice. Do not miss this!
Carrot Apple juice
I had heard a lot about their desserts and ordered their famous ‘Orange Slice Cake’ which was moist and extremely tasty. The orange zest notes run through the cake and help offset the richness. Note that it is also eggless. Apart from this, they have an extensive display of cakes on their counters – some of them are French rose vanilla cake, Matcha cake etc.
For the chocolate mavericks, just delve right into their ‘Raw Chocolate Molten Cake’ oozing out delight in terms of taste. The caramelized bananas on the side act as a worthy accompaniment.
Raw chocolate molten cake
Also noteworthy are their newly launched ‘Vegan Donuts’ in interesting flavours. As they are in the initial phase, right now its better to place an advance order for these and keep track of the delivery schedules by following their Instagram handle. I packed a box of 6 and I must say that there is no compromise on taste or the feeling of eating a donut except that the size is a bit small. My favourites are Pink Blueberry, Fresh Lemon and Cinnamon Sugar.
Vegan donuts (Box of 6 for $12)
Its heartening to see a vegetarian joint offering innovative and healthy offerings in the area. For its menu variety, for its fresh fruit juices, eggless desserts, Well Dressed Salad Bar and Cafe is highly recommended. And irrespective if you eat meat or not, support a place that dishes out good food 🙂 I know I will visit the place again!
With Batman vs Superman not hitting the mark, a lot of expectations are pinned on Captain America: Civil War for the superhero crowd storming the theaters. Nevertheless, we always look forward to this genre for the larger-than-life characters to infuse entertainment into our daily routine. Hence, I finally decided to visit Hungry Heroes, a superhero themed cafe situated at Tessensohn Road in Little India. Located in an unassuming alley, the cafe lights shone bright through the dark night. They have a cool logo that looked quite interesting. There are fewer options for vegetarians on the menu but my fascination to explore a different dining ambiance led me to this place.
This two floor cafe has the decor nailed to the T. Large figurines adorn the walls – most of the superheroes are from the owner’s personal collection. There is a huge chandelier made with tiny superheroes stuck together. The place is a delight for fans of superhero memorabilia – there’s a lot to look at and admire. Needless to say, this cafe is quite a hit with children and a good option if you want to throw a birthday party for large groups. The placemats were newspaper style and quite hilarious to read. They helped in bringing the superhero world to the forefront on the table.
Hungry Heroes decor
The Orders As a refreshing summer salad, we ordered the ‘Super Corn-y’ salad which was fresh corn shucked from the cob and served along with a tangy twist. The charred effect on the cob was definitely a hit and the tomatoes and onions lent balance to the salad.
Super Corny at $5
As a complete no-brainer, I had to try their (only) vegetarian burger offering called ‘Mario’s Lifeline’. Neatly stacked with layers of vegetables on the breaded and fried portobello mushroom, this burger was damn good! I was glad the the mushroom patty had a crisp bread covering which gave the necessary bite to the burger. Having said that, I really wish F&B outlets think of using ingredients like beetroot, chickpeas, zucchini etc. instead of the traditional mushroom offering everywhere. (Just a thought!) The fries and the side salad were well made.
Mario’sl Lifeline at $21
As a fun accompaniment to the burger, we ordered the ‘Colossal Coke Float’ which was a refreshingly bubbly ice cream float. Imagine a mammoth 1 liter mug on the table – that quantity is obviously to be shared 🙂 The vanilla ice cream was delicious and as it melted and blended with the coke, the drink became more tasty!]
Colossal Coke Float at $10
Along with the food menu, they have an extensive drink selection in the form of beers, ciders and wines. Happy hours ends at 8pm, so if you are in the weekend mood, place an early beverage order.
Red wine glass at $10
Advance reservations are recommended for this place. A special mention to service staff who clearly knew that I had vegetarian food requirements (as I had mentioned during reservation) and they were helpful, provided guidance and followed up when I actually visited the restaurant. For their superhero memorabilia, for their unique implementation of the themed cafe concept right from decor to the menu, for their service and good food, Hungry Heroes is worth a visit!
Its been quite a while since the extremely popular Lau Pa Sat got refurbished. It now has a lot of stalls offering a variety of cuisines to office-goers in the area. When I was roaming this area post-dinner, I spotted a well-lit cafe that had a very enticing cake display counter which was visible from the road. That’s how I landed at Delicius Pasticceria, a cafe serving interesting pastries. It originates from Osaka, Japan. After glancing through the pastries, their names sounded on the French-Japanese side. But what surprised me the most was the affordable prices in this central area of town!
The Orders Chocolate lovers should not miss the delicious ‘Chocolate Raspberry’ cake. The tangy raspberry taste cuts through the moist chocolate and gives a refreshing feel. Their plating was quite neat and artistic. It definitely added a visual flair.
Chocolate raspberry at $5.8
For those who prefer not to taste berries in their desserts, they have an option with the ‘Caramel Chocolate’ cake. It looked like a mousse cake but had a firmer texture. Have a bite with the cream served on the side for an enhanced taste.
Caramel chocolate at $5.5
And for the exclusive chocolate lovers, there is the ‘Chocolate Cake’. Well, this could definitely have been better in terms of texture and taste. Since I have tasted quite a few chocolate cakes around Singapore, my standards are higher in this regard.
Chocolate cake at $5.8
We also decided to try one of the many fruity offerings they had on display. We chose the ‘Green Apple Tart’ as we found it to be unique. It was quite tangy and the green apple presence was quite strong. So you will have to pace your dessert and savour the taste. Other than that, it was interesting to try as a different option.
Green apple tart
Apart from these options, their fig tarts, apple cheesecakes and matcha soft serves are supposed to be pretty good which I plan to try next time. They also have cookies and candies that you can buy off-the-shelf. For their really unique offerings, for the price point and for their continuous change in variety of cakes, Delicius Pasticcerie is highly recommended.