Some of the best new cafes in Singapore are on mainstream media — that’s good, because going to a hidden cafe in Singapore instead means lesser crowds!
It’s also easier to find a table for your entire party of 10 pax, now that Covid dining restrictions have eased.
Here is a list of 10 little-known IG-worthy cafes around Singapore, many of which never made it to lists such as “Best Cafe in Singapore 2021”. But with chill vibes and good coffee, you’re more likely to get a seat and have more time to tarry.
1. Chū and Co.
Hidden within the private yet quietly hip Serangoon Gardens estate is Chū and Co., a dual-concept bakery cafe and gelato lab. By day, it’s the bustling Chu Bakery, serving up delicious pastries, cakes and bread. At night, the same space transforms into Chulato, where you can indulge in alcoholic gelato such as Smoked Whiskey, alongside non-alcoholic but unique flavours like EVOO.
The vibe of Chū and Co. is that of a super chill and laid back space that doesn’t quite feel like Singapore (it’s along a small road in the private estate). Pick your seat from among the (well) mismatched furniture in the “backyard” and enjoy your cuppa.
15 Lichfield Rd
Wed to Sun, 8.30am to 4pm
2. Kōhī Roastery & Coffee Bar
If you feel the name sounds familiar, well that’s because Kōhī Roastery & Coffee Bar hails from Bangkok and recently expanded to Singapore with its digs in Joo Chiat (part of Crane’s level 1 space). Yet it’s not aiming to be one of those ubiquitous cafes you’ll find in every shopping mall.
Instead, you might have some difficulty locating Kōhī Roastery & Coffee Bar. It’s a hole-in-the-wall space, depicted only by a yellow-outlined window from where you can order your takeaway coffee from.
Coffee in hand, check. Relaxed pose, check. Yellow-boxed window, check. #IYKYK.
283 Joo Chiat Road
Daily 8am to 6pm
Kurasu hails from Kyoto, Japan, and moved from Odeon Towers to a similarly minimalist space at 261 Waterloo Street. It retains its “lifestyle” vibe, for which it is named after, having begun life as a homeware store. Sip on coffee made with beans roasted in the Fushimi Inari roastery at Kyoto, then quickly shipped each week to Singapore.
It’s a rather interesting space, as java lovers will sit around the centrepiece, the coffee bar, like guests chilling in a dining room around the kitchen island. Yet you’ll also find some alcoves for more private conversation.
#01-24 Waterloo Centre, 261 Waterloo Street
Mon to Fri, 10am to 6pm
Sat & Sun, 8.30am to 6pm
4. Habitat Coffee
You might be familiar with Habitat Coffee, which used to be a mainstay at the bustling Upper Thomson stretch. A decade after being there, Habitat Coffee moved to Jalan Besar in 2021, just last year, retaining its familiar clean lines but sporting a new baby blue counter and espresso machine.
It might also be the perfect gathering space for our 10 pax outings, thanks to its communal tables. Plenty of space in this cafe, so no need to worry about safe distancing! Apart from coffee, you’ll want to grab a plate of all-day brunch, from morning all the way till 8pm (no one will judge if you like to eat brunch for dinner!).
#01-242/244, 803 King George’s Avenue
Tues to Sun, 9am to 9pm
5. Five Oars Coffee Roasters
You have a certain expectation when visiting a cafe with “roasters” in its name — the coffee’s gotta be particularly fresh and good, right? This Melbournian-style cafe offers a couple of brews, which include “Potosi Baby Dragon” a single origin from Colombia with notes of pink guava, longan and muscat grapes; Haru Suke from Gedeo, Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia with notes of strawberry, hibiscus, earl grey; and more.
For those who used to enjoy a cuppa from FOCR when it used to be in the CBD, more travel is needed as the cafe is now located in the east (east side, best side?). But hey, the cafe is as IG-worthy as ever, with more food items added to its menu.
6 Upper East Coast Road
Daily 8am to 10pm
6. Café de Nicole’s Flower
If you love flowers (or your girlfriend does), it’s a no-brainer to head to Café de Nicole’s Flower, a very elegant space all decked out to look like a lush garden of vibrant flowers. Even the menu is floral-themed, with flower-infused beverages like rose and butterfly pea. There are even savoury mains and fluffy souffle pancakes to enjoy, with the latter garnished with…you guessed it…flowers.
It’s a really pretty spot for a girly tete-a-tete, a first date or even for a pet outing (yes, it’s pet-friendly) — but do check if anyone you’re going with has a potential pollen allergy or a specific dislike of flowers as the floral scent permeates the whole space.
#01-01 UNI Building, 224 Telok Kurau Road
Daily, 9am to 10pm
7. Cafe Monochrome
Ever wanted to feel like you’re part of a gorgeous illustration? At Cafe Monochrome, that’s the draw — the interior design (including the cutlery and crockery) are black and white, with a unique 2D look (all painstakingly hand-drawn!) that’s part of a trend that swept through Asia recently, from South Korea to Taiwan,Japan and even Malaysia.
Fortunately, the food is real and 100% 3D. However, you might try to order a “flat white” if you want to impress your partner with a cheeky comeback. We’re not responsible for their response though.
216 Syed Alwi Road
Tue, Wed & Sun, 10am to 9pm
Thu to Sat, 10am to 10pm
8. Sanity Coffee Bar
Sanity Coffee Bar is one of those hidden finds in a very prominent area. The unassuming coffee bar is tucked away in a corner of the Esplanade Mall, part of event space Room2F and a recording studio. And just like its lesser-known location, you might bump into Mando-pop artiste Chen Diya (part of duo The Freshman) reclaiming her sanity through the meditative process of brewing a perfect cuppa or making her signature “piakssants” and Dark Matter.
This cute coffee space is a relaxing hideout in the busy heart of town, where friends and friends-to-be can connect and clear their headspace with comforting brews and munchies.
#02-19 Esplanade Mall, 8 Raffles Avenue
Wed to Fri, 9.30am to 5pm
Sat, 11am to 5.30pm
Sun, 11am to 5pm
9. Soek Seng 1954 Bicycle Cafe
If you love vintage bicycles and hiding away in ulu areas with no one to disturb you, then Soek Seng 1954 Bicycle Cafe is your jam. Might as well pop in if you’re gonna be venturing all the way to Seletar, because as a bonus, you’ll get to watch planes take off as it’s right beside a private runway.
Needless to say, you might also have cycled all the way over — and the cafe provides an air pump for you to “feed” your tyres in addition to cakes, beverages and western-Japanese-local fare. Oh, and don’t forget to admire the owner’s vintage car and scooter near the cafe entrance.
#01-01 Aviation Hub, 80 Seletar Aerospace View
Tue to Sun, 10am to 10pm
10. Jing Si Books and Café
As its name suggests in Chinese, Jing Si Books and Café is a space for “quiet thought”. The spacious cafe is at the perfect location for such self-reflection and to catch one’s breath amid a fast-paced day as it is facing the tranquil Yishun Pond.
This Taiwanese-inspired cafe, within the Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre, offers soothing tea for your soul. Other concepts are housed within the Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre — Slow Bakes and vegetarian fare at Real Food.
30A Yishun Central 1
Mon to Fri, 11.30am to 7pm
Sat, 10am to 7pm
Sun, 10am to 6pm
Heading to any of the above cafes? Sign up for a Citi M1 Card to earn a Citi M1 rebate at a base rate of 0.3% on all retail purchases and additional bonus Citi M1 Rebate of 0.2%, 2.7% or 9.7% on M1 recurring charges, capped on the first $300 worth of M1 recurring charges.
As the total spend includes all retail purchases in local or foreign currency, all your F&B charges apply as well! Don’t wait further, head on read more about M1’s Citi M1 Card.
Of course, taking photos and videos for your Instagram and TikTok account is a must when visiting aesthetically pleasing cafes. Get connected with your followers on the go without having to worry about data usage!
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