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.
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.
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
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.
Biopolis is predominantly a workplace area. There are however, quite a few eating joints here that deserve your attention. On a friend’s recommendation, I reached Long Black Cafe to try their food. The cafe serves Western cuisine at affordable prices and has an extensive menu with diverse items. They are pretty crowded during lunch, but if you reach a little after 3 pm, you will find the place to be calm. The alfresco seating is well laid out and you can catch up on a book or just enjoy a nice breeze and the space. This is a good place to chill-out with friends (or even if you are alone) in the off-peak hours.
The Orders In the mains, there are limited options for vegetarians. They have bruschetta and mushroom sandwich in the mains. I ordered the ‘Aglio Olio Classic’ pasta which was well-made. The spaghetti was cooked al-dente and served with a garnish of parsley and chilli. The chilli had a kick to it and hence the pasta had a spicy bite. It turned out to be a good option to order at this cafe.
Aglio olio classic at $8.90
The hot weather and such a relaxing ambiance demanded a cold beverage. The ‘Strawberry Fizzy’ fit the bill perfectly. Refreshing, with a slight hint of mint, this drink was perfectly balanced. I also liked the fact that it was not extremely fizzy.
Strawberry fizzy at $3.50
If you are a fan of chilled espresso, then their iced lattes were good. I tried the ‘Iced Hazelnut Latte’ which was sweet and tasty. It was a pleasant sip to break away from the day’s work.
Iced hazelnut latte at $5
Coffee breaks get enhanced with sweet bites like this ‘Carrot Cake’. Beneath this unpretentious appearance there were layers of moistness in this lightly spiced cake. It was a delectable dessert and hence stands highly recommended.
Carrot cake at $4.50
If you are in the area for work and looking for good food at affordable options along with a calm setting, then Long Black Cafe is worth a visit.
In a Nutshell
Cuisine Type: Cafe style
Nearest MRT: Buona Vista
Address: 20 Biopolis Way, Centros Block, Singapore 138868
It is rare to find cafes which are unassumingly tucked away in a corner of an HDB. Popular for their specialty coffee chains in Malaysia, Coffee Nowhere have expanded to Singapore. Their new outlet has opened in Tampines which should be welcome news to the East-siders. Their name actually stands for ‘Coffee Now Here’. Their Tampines outlet is quite small and can seat around 12 people. It would typically suit folks looking for a quick coffee break or takeaway. The cafe structure is linear and the dimly-lit yellow lights give it a warm feel.
Coffee nowhere counter
The cafe has the standard fare in the menu – sandwiches, waffles, juices, coffee and tea. But the menu has some very interesting options that I tried for the first time and they turned out to be really good.
Coffee nowhere menu
The Orders To get our caffeine kick, we ordered the ‘Creme Brulee Capuccino’ which had a nice taste to it. The layer on the top made it look like a creme brulee and the taste of burnt sugar was subtly present which made it a good choice.
Creme brulee cappucino at $7.80
Since the menu options did seem interesting in terms of the flavours, we ordered the ‘Rose Latte’. At the beginning, I was apprehensive as to how this entire drink was going to turn out but I ended up loving it. They use the Monin flavored gourmet syrups in their flavored lattes which gave it a nice twist. The almond biscotti paired well with this latte.
Rose latte at $6.80
The waffles trend is here to stay in Singapore and almost every cafe has it in the menu. The ‘Strawberry Waffles’ at this cafe was decent. The waffles could have been a bit crisper, but they were light and fluffy on the inside. The ‘Snow White’ scoop of ice cream was really good. Their ice cream counter has a neat display of a variety of flavours and that is really pleasing to see.
Strawberry waffles with snow white ice cream at $12.80
The service staff is extremely friendly and open to suggestions. Like their other outlets in the West side, I really wish they had more space inside the cafe. On the whole – for their good service, for some unique offerings and for satiating your dessert cravings even late into the night, Coffee Nowhere is worth a visit if you are in the area.
In a Nutshell
Cuisine Type: Cafe style
Nearest MRT: Tampines
Address: 820 Tampines St 81, #01-524, Singapore 520820