Certainly no secret any longer, the coffee and dessert scene in Penang has evolved at a staggering pace. It’s a curious thing that’s happened within the last half a decade, this idea of entrepreneurship and adoption of cafe culture that dominates the younger crowd. It’s not hard to see why the conservation shophouses are constantly being snapped up by anyone looking to start a space to attract like-minded coffee enthusiasts and food-hunters. Some cafes hold their attention with free wifi and a seriously jazzed-up interior, others ensnare with signature menu items cleverly crafted and served as both attractive Instagram bait and perfect marketing tool.
Dan 单 ingeniously shelters a terrarium gallery-shop within the walls of its delightfully green cafe surrounded by glass. The theme of serenity and greenery coupled with a its moody zen-like atmosphere takes us someplace else. It doesn’t feel like George Town anymore as we cross into the little space.
We were recommended the hojicha lava cake. It comes artfully decorated with berries, flowers and a dollop of smooth vanilla ice cream, and tastes just as beautiful. Warm and almost sticky, with notes of roasted green tea, it lives up to a lava cake’s reputation of being comforting and memorable. We also tried the white coffee and hojicha latte; both were very good.
The cafe itself is located on the ground floor, within a street-facing bowing alley complex, which is a little odd, but you end up ignoring the fact once you step into the lush little box filled with pretty plants.
We enter the warmly-lit cafe and are quite taken aback by the buzz and energy rolling off the crowd in waves. The waitress at the door motions for us to follow her once she gathers it’s just two of us she needs to seat, while the family of four in front are told to wait for a bigger table – they’re all taken. We weave our way through the packed interior, past tables of boisterous mid-twenties and hungry expats, and sit by the window in what I deem an appropriate spot for food photography. Plenty of natural light, sturdy wood benchtop. Perfect.
The cafe is clearly in vogue with the cafe-going crowd this side of the city. From the folks who brought us the likes of Curious Palette on Prinsep Street, it’s really no surprise. Perhaps it is the minimalist interior, with its touch of chic rustic homeliness, that keeps everyone coming back. Or, it could very well be the food dished out here — hearty and healthy with a good pinch of aesthetic finesse. One thing’s for sure: whatever Strangers’ Reunion is doing, it’s clearly doing it right.
Your heart will be stolen by the luscious flavours of the Crabcake Reunion, with its eye-catching presentation and impressive list of ingredients that make up the stack: ribbons of asparagus, a delightfully fluffy crab croquette, creamy avocado chunks, a poached egg that oozes perfectly, aburi chive hollandaise, and a smattering of ikura and micro herbs for colour.
Thirsty? You will never taste anything more decadent than their bottled Sea Salt Chocolate – an elixir for sweet tooths who like their sweet treats with a twist. Creamy coffee lovers will no doubt want to make return trips to pick up orders of White Magic (it will heal any ailment).
Strangers’ Reunion is located at 35 Kampong Bahru Road. Closest MRT Station? Outram Park. If you have the time, have a little wander around the area after brunch. Neil Road, Everton Road and Blair Road are littered with old shophouses. You’ll find everything from antique stores to art dealers to hidden cafes. Walk a little further and you’ll find a few residential blocks and plenty of greenery. Spottiswoode Park Road and the nearby HDBs are home to some stray kitties. Blocks 106 and 107 have great views of the Keppel Harbour and all the colourful containers that come to port.
In the middle of nowhere, set amongst a backdrop of lush greenery, located on the banks of the tranquil Punggol Serangoon Reservoir, Whisk & Paddle ticks all the away-from-the-bustling-city boxes, plus they dish up some good grub and lip-smacking beverages to make any discerning foodie want to fork out some serious cash here. With such an extensive menu and plenty of tables to go around, it’s the perfect place to bring a group of friends for a hearty brunch. And yes, that’s pretty much what we did over the weekend.
Continue reading “Whisk & Paddle @ Tebing Lane, Singapore // For nature lovers with a penchant for waterfront dining”
Celebrating the last chill weekend before everything gets all hectic again. In a couple of days, we’ll be heading to Kuching for an overseas wedding, then hopping straaaight into the Christmas fray back in Singapore right after that. The fam’s all coming to join us from Down Under on Christmas Eve and everything’s going to be loud – and James will no doubt want to host an ambitious Christmas dinner or something crazy. Looking forward to it all, but for now, I think I’m happy just having a laid-back Saturday. In other news, I’ve rekindled my fondness for matcha lattes.
I wrote a blog post about Wimbly Lu Chocolates back in February – have a look if you’re interested in knowing more about the cosy little cafe! ;)
Overpriced perhaps, but home to a unique enough menu that stands out from the typical Eggs Bennys of today’s saturated cafe scene in Singapore. And really, those steep prices are probably to cover the cost of the cafe being in such an upmarket location. That said, Robertson Quay offers a handful of other decent cafes – Toby’s Estate and The Book Cafe come to mind. But I think Common Man has been on everyone’s radar for a while. Anyway, I chanced upon the cafe during a work thing, and because it looked so gosh darn pretty, I decided to go back to try the coffee and food that very same week with James.
Continue reading “Common Man Coffee Roasters @ Martin Road, Singapore // Hipsters of Robertson Quay”
Just over a decade ago, I lived in a house just a stone’s throw away from Brighton Crescent. The Coffee Daily wasn’t around then (they launched in 2012, I believe). Today, the row of shophouses there have evolved somewhat. While the area is still a quiet and sleepy one, despite its close proximity to Serangoon Gardens, there’s definitely a reason to make a trip down, if only to see what the cafes here have to offer. Continue reading “The Coffee Daily @ Brighton Crescent, Singapore // Nostalgic neighbourhood fix”
ATLAS COFFEEHOUSE draws large crowds on weekends, and because it is located very close to the sprawling Botanic Gardens, expect plenty of people decked out in activewear on their post-morning run high. There is often a slew of bicycles parked out the front belonging to expats who live in the Bukit Timah area. As a breakfast spot that opens at 8am, Atlas caters to the early birds. Most other cafes of similar calibre throw open their doors at around 10. By noon on a Saturday or Sunday, you might have to wait in line for a table – this is one foodie spot with a strong following. Continue reading “Atlas Coffeehouse @ Duke’s Road, Singapore // It’s not just the coffee that’s good”
Curious Palette is one of those tucked-away-in-plain-sight sort of cafes, with a unique layout and a spacious interior that throws subtle Balinese vibes and contemporary Melbourne-esque hipster influences at you. That’s not to say it offers you the norm when it comes to its food options – on the contrary, the menu it presents is contemporary and unique, with dishes that arrive in a state that is wholly Instagram-worthy. Order the Berry Ricotta Hotcakes and you’ll have a panicky moment where you think to yourself “do I really want to destroy such a pretty work of art with my fork of doom?”. There’s really no need for such dramatic thoughts – take one bite of the sweet, fluffy creation and you’ll find yourself being okay with decimating the whole thing and shovelling it all in your mouth. Continue reading “Curious Palette @ Prinsep Street, Singapore // A dream cafe with Instagram-worthy food”