We all have moods, and we are entitled to them. Here’s 8 cafes for 7 moods you may be facing throughout the course of the week. For the next time when you’re in a mood and even hipster hawker food just doesn’t cut it, look up these places.
Angst: News and Gossip
112 Robinson Rd, #01-02
On a Monday, when your pagro boss asks why you haven’t completed your assignment due Friday, yesterday. You smile serenely at him with your fists balling up below the table. Later, you traipse off to News and Gossip with their deep red walls and embracing veneer. And you implode.
The offerings: Affable owners who run the show on the ground with a deeply welcoming name. Accessible prices, a solid wine list, what more can you possible ask for?
The aesthetic: This cafe spares you the ubiquitous minimalism of many a cafes around the area. With mismatched walls that are strangely comforting, News and Gossips envelops you in nostalgia. Quirky knick-knacks communicate the nonconformist character of the place. Here, you’re encouraged to be yourself.
The extras: Fusion food and wine-inspired teas. On a cold day, try the iced Riseling tea ($5.30), a light-bodied white tea with dried apricot, myrtle and jasmine.
No doubt, unlicensed therapy sesh.
Everyone likes to bash us millennials—entitled, addicted to smartphones and hopelessly spoiled. We apparently refuse to be tied down to jobs, living off our parents whilst indulging in ($20) avocado toasts. We are also slated to be homeless. Sometimes the millennial hate is justified, especially when we’re caught at places where one almond latte is the price of five kopis.
Here’s not one, but two fancy cafes for when you’re in the mood to splurge.
69 Tras Street
The offerings: Evian bottled water for ($8), without tax. Fresh-squeezed orange, lemon juices ($10); a range of tartines with 14 toppings(!) on freshly baked bread. Beautiful rich mains like the Boeuf Bourguignon with root veg and French potatoes ($28) or the classic chicken stew simmered with white wine sauce ($24) will instantly transport you to Paris. Carpe diem! Because you only live once right?
The aesthetics: Classic French bistro style, rustic and relaxed. Rattan chairs with tufted cushions. Quintessentially French layout with outdoor seats; bar stools and a cafe, cafe proper.
The extras: A cosmopolitan, turnt out crowd and beautiful French people/ a hole in your wallet.
15 New Bridge Road
A modest spot near Clarke Quay, WANNA CUPPA took inspiration from the Great Gatsby era. The food menu is more modern than old-world, dotted with plush fusion dishes like the Kecap Manis Lamb Rack ($25.90).
The offerings: A quiet, shaded respite on a busy street, solid food deep fried soft shelled crab pasta ($20.90). From honey ham quesadillas ($16.90) to Kahlua coffee pork chops ($23.90) and everything else in between.
The aesthetics: If WANNA CUPPA had set out with Art Deco in mind, they haven’t quite hit the mark. Could do with more geometric motifs and stark colour contrasts.
The extras: Personable service and east-west dishes that marry beautifully.
Jaded: My Awesome Cafe
202 Telok Ayer St
It’s almost impossible to not feel your spirits lifted at this cafe, an old-medicine hall-turned-heritage-shophouse transformed into a cafe over three floors. Here you will be seated at primary school desks with the extended storage below for your stuff and rickety chairs no doubt salvaged and upcycled from schools. A large table piece on the right of the entrance was built by the boss himself.
The offerings: A sensory experience of a dive bar. An overload of textures and sights.
The aesthetics: A mixed bag that you can’t put your finger on. If it were an Instagram caption, it would be “of semi-industrial-chic and exposed beams and thrifted furniture. Ultra-whimsical and mindful; crafted with boundless creativity”.
The extras: Charity initiatives to provide education in neighbouring countries, spearheaded by the boss.
Melancholy: The Book Cafe
Seng Kee Building, 20 Martin Rd., #01-02
When dealing with heartbreak, some of us retract, some of us sleep it off, only to wake up at midnight for some clubbing and revelry. You don’t need coffee when you’re heartbroken, you need drinks, you think. But don’t discount the healing prowess of self-help books, deep reading and physical experience of curling up with a really good book.
Incredibly reluctant to introduce this place to the masses, hate for it to get crowded.
The offerings: Bursting bookcases of books from all over the world, meticulously curated by the store or otherwise left behind by those who visit happy to leave their mark. Kick off your shoes and nestle in on the cushioned sofa; there is even a dedicated bookcase for travelbooks. Load up on comforting treats like the chocolate lava cake, traditional apple pie with an option of ice-cream.
The aesthetics: High ceilings, spare, functional furniture. Tranquil surrounds with soft jazz in the background; and you also get solid wifi connection and electric powerpoints. Mindfully, we advise that you disconnect to connect.
The extras: Inner peace. You know what they say, when you’re at rest, your mind is not. Deep and deliberate reading will take your mind off things.
Pensive: Lunar Coffee Brewers
6 Shenton Way, #01-49/50
Few people know of Lunar as a sister cafe of the wildly popular Bukit Timah Atlas cafe. At both places, equal care is paid to both the quality of food and drinks. Lunar is tucked away at a little corner in OUE downtown.
The offerings: Tried-and-tested, honest-to-goodness blend of coffee, ie. Guatemalan-Brazilian with tones of chocolates, nuts and caramel. Round up a few of your friends for their hefty mains. Mentaiko on spaghetti? Sign me up. Save some space for their hotcakes, topped with fruits a huge swirl of soft serve.
The aesthetic: Here, it’s all marble-clad tabletops, low-slung chairs and a general insouciance of timepass. The storefront is a large sheet of floor-to-ceiling class and tall bar stools. Off-peak, you’ll find yourself alone in Lunar, with only the whirring of milk steamers breaking the silence.
The extras: There is an implicit no-questions-asked exchange policy—don’t abuse it!—baristas kindly remade my special request of honey latte to the right degree of sweetness. Food takeaways available.
Romance/ Travelust: Japan Rail Cafe
5 Wallich St, #01-20
Are you in the mood for love? Or simply travellusty. If you feel like a taste of Japan, head over to this mid-sized installation of a cafe right above Tanjong Pagar MRT. The cafe spills outwards with its own terrace, high bar stools and tables. For some time, the Rail Cafe was veiled with lavender bunches, a draping that lent a whimsical touch.
The offerings: Helpful staff, almost Japanese-level of hospitality, monster portions of food, localised tastes with curry a notch spicier than Japanese’s. A plate of curry rice ($18) comes with a salad, a main and a side, including a trio of butter scallops or a crab coquette among other choices. Go for the crab coquette.
The aesthetic: Inside its all industrial chic, warm lighting and easy comfort. With exposed structure resembling the insides of a rail station.
The extras: At the Rail Pass Counter on the side, you can get your JR pass, as well as tourist information about Japan, monthly rotating specials with origins from different prefectures in Japan.Here, coffees are sweetened by Japanese black honey, a thinner and milder form. Think of the cafe as Japan’s equivalent of Chinese Confucian cultural Institutions.
Undecided: Dapper Coffee
73A Amoy St., Second Floor
Do you need a tipple or a tea? A latte or a nap? When even your mind and moods delude you, head over to Dapper Coffee, surreptitiously tucked away on the second floor of a shophouse.
The offerings: A quiet respite from the CBD, lots of innovative drinks. Fresh bakes on the weekly, call ahead or check social feed for details! Intrepid flavours include Salted Egg Sesame Cake, Smoky Bacon Vanilla cake and more.
The aesthetics: Mahogany-rich interiors, homey, spare, semi-colonial-chic interiors.
The extras: Cafe by day, bar by night.