Not Your Average Cuppa: 4 Cafes Off Singapore’s Beaten Path
Over the last decade, cafés with their own identity, character and quirks – a counterpoint to mass market establishments – have sprung up across Singapore, some in the most unexpected of places. Explore these cafés on the island’s paths less travelled, to see a side of the city familiar only to locals.
Arguably one of the first local establishments that kicked off the Third Wave Movement, 40 Hands is named after the process of transporting a coffee bean from germination to percolation, which takes approximately 40 pairs of hands to complete. Located in the then-sleepy, now-trendy district of Tiong Bahru, this cafe serves up a fine brew in simple, unpretentious cups, alongside menu favourites Eggs Benedict and Kong Bak Pau (Asian sliders).
#01-12, 78 Yong Siak Street
Tel: +65 6225 8545
Opening Hours: 8am-7pm, Tuesday-Sunday
Chye Seng Huat Hardware
Housed in what used to be a hardware store in a former industrial district, Chye Seng Huat Hardware is more than just a cafe. It also houses a coffee school, private tasting room and roaster. Beyond coffee, there is a good selection of ‘Tummy Fillers’ (as the café calls them) and sweet treats, amongst which the Madeleines and the Hazelnut Coffee Muffin stand out.
150 Tyrwhitt Road
Tel: +65 6396 0609
Opening Hours: 9am-7pm, Tuesday-Sunday (extended to 10pm weekends)
Wimbly Lu Chocolate Café
Wimbly Lu looks quaintly inviting upon entry: all colourful vintage furniture, exposed red brick walls and mismatched plates. This suburban gem boasts of an extensive dessert menu which ranges from classic staples tiramisu, éclairs and lava cakes, to quirkier experiments such as the popular Root Beer Cake and seasonal Kit Kat Brownie. Don’t miss the crisp and fluffy waffles the café is known for, best matched with a scoop of ice cream on top!
15-2, Jalan Riang
Tel: +65 6289 1489
Opening Hours: 1am-10.30pm, Tuesday-Sunday (9am-11pm Saturday and Sundays)
Whale and Cloud
Getting to the speakeasy-inspired Whale and Cloud is an adventure in itself. Wander down a back alley to a nondescript blue door marked 48 ¾ and enter with a knock on the door. Inside, you’ll find a cosy and charming kitchen courtyard serving up excellent coffee sourced from the owner’s personal travels. When it is time to leave, drop an appropriate pay-what-you-will amount in the trust box before exiting Singapore’s best discreet little hideaway.
48 Niven Road
Opening Hours: 9am-4pm, Saturdays only