Tag Archives: coffee

Our favourite coffees of Singapore

cappucinos with latte art
Singapore is a such a stop over destination. On the way between Europe and the Pacific, transit hub between many Asian destinations, and an often visited business destination. What ever your reason for visiting (or living in) Singapore, a mini break to a great coffee bar is a nice way to Escape. 
Here are some of our favourite cafes of Singapore for a great cup of coffee. 
40 Hands (78 Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru ) was established in 2010 (and that is a long time in the hospitality industry), 40 hands was one of the original coffee bars that aimed to bring high quality coffee, or known origins to Singapore. Over this time, its presence has also turned Yong Siak Street in Tiong Bahru into a trendy street that is worthy of an afternoons stroll. Nearby “Books Actually” bookstore is also a great place to sift through the shelves for gifts or unusual books, such as the “Alter SG” guide to Singapore.
La Ristrettos (8th floor, Novena Medical Centre, enter from Novena Square – Square 2 shopping centre) has virtually become our local coffee shop. With coffee roasted on site, the owner really knows his coffee, and makes a great espresso. Located in a slightly strange location on the 8th floor of a medical building, it does share an outside courtyard where you can sit in a little oasis in the sun and enjoy your coffee or tea.
Dutch Coffee Colony (Pasarbella: 200 Turfclub Rd) imports beans from around the world, and uses a number of different types of coffee brewing methods to create delicious coffees. Located within the PasarBella Food Market, it goes from bean to cup to create smooth tasting coffees. You can buy different coffee brewing machines and their imported beans.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware (CSHH coffee bar, 150 Tyrwhitt Road) got its name from the hardware store that stood in this location before it turned into a high end coffee joint. From the same owners as Papa Palheta and Loysel’s Toy. This flagship store features a coffee roaster, an island coffee bar, a coffee school and a private coffee tasting room. It’s a convenient spot to stop for a good coffee when you’re exploring Little India.
Just Want Coffee (1 Everton Park) located in the ground floor of a renovated HDB (housing building), Just Want Coffee is a cosy little cafe to have a chat and watch the world go by. Brewing a nice cup of coffee or tea, it has a relaxed informal feeling to it and music to match. Just what we love in a local coffee shop. 
Just want coffee cafe at Everton Park Singapore
Common Man Coffee Roasters (22 Martin Rd) is the same owner as 40 hands, and you will see their coffee in many other cafes around Singapore. Including a café, coffee bar, and wholesale coffee roasting service, Common Man knows a thing or two about coffee, and it doesn’t brew a bad cup either.
Letoile Cafe (160 Owen rd) is a cute little cafe, with a chill out space on the second floor. A strange combination of Japanese and French influences, it (unlike the rest of this list) is actually a place to go for the food and the ambience rather than the coffee. It can’t compete with the other coffees on this list, but it is a great cafe to hang out in and escape the city. 
Jewel Cafe and Bar (129 Rangoon Rd) is located not far from Letoile Cafe in Farrer Park. With an extensive menu (including the delicious Red Mullet Fish salad), and an industrial feel, it is a great place near Little India for a coffee. It’s a bit on the expensive side though.

The Plain (50 Craig Rd) serving Genovese coffees, The Plain is a great place to sit down while you explore the Duxton Hill and Tanjong Pagar neighbourhood. The menu is not particularly inspiring, but it does do a great cup of coffee. It can be a bit hard to find but it is located next to the antique shop with the large yellow banner.

Stranger’s Reunion (35 Kampong Bahru Rd) was opened by Ryan Kieran Tan, Singapore National Barista Champion 2011 & 2012. In a row of beautiful shophouses and with an adjoining cafe serving waffles, it serves the top coffees you would expect of a Barista champion. It is not far from the Outram Park Metro station.
The Clueless Goat (189 Thomson Road, ) has become our new local. Recently opened in Novena, and across the road from the Novena Square Shopping Centre, the young owners brew a great cup of coffee that has us as repeat visitors. Its relaxed vibe and friendly staff is really refreshing. And our 6 year old son is a big fan of their waffles 🙂
Department of Caffeine (15 Duxton rd) has a great little location tucked away in Duxton Road. With an industrial feel to it, and a short walk from the shophouses of Duxton Hill, it is a great stop off location between Chinatown and Tanjong Pagar.
Department of Caffeine


4 days in Georgetown, Malaysia

Rickshaws in Chinatown, Georgetown

Georgetown: a melting pot of cultures
Originally established as a trading post by the British, Georgetown (Penang) attracted a melting pot of traders. Like Singapore, Georgetown has its heart in Malaysia, but also drew a community of Chinese traders, and like Singapore these too are Straights Chinese or Peranakans (Nonya’s).

Indians – both traders and workers – also came to George Town, and built a community. Dominated by Muslim and Hindu Tamils, but also home to Gujaratis, Malayalams, Bengalis, and Indians from other parts of India. They built a community that still exists (and is protected in its existence) until today.

It is this unique blend of cultures within a relatively small area, and the historic buildings that symbolize their long term co-existence that has made George Town into a Unesco World Heritage site (since 2008). In announcing its entry into the list of World Heritage sites it was described as an “inspiration” to others how this melting pot could co-exist and thrive for so long. Long may it last.

Sri Mariamman Temple

Sri Mariamman Temple

Coffee Atelier Hotel
We booked in to stay at the “Coffee Atelier” in George Town. It is right in the heart of the Old Town (47 Lorong Stewart Street), and housed within the walls of a former shop house that has been restored and converted into a restaurant and 4 apartments. Our room included a large main room, and a separate single bed for our son in an adjoining ante-room. Free wifi was also included. 

While it was a little noisy (old buildings don’t tend to have the best sound proofing) it was the perfect place to stay in such a historic town. Just down the road was Little India and China Town, the Kapitan Keling mosque, Sri Mahamariamman Hindu temple and Chinese temples.

Downstairs is also a Coffee Atelier cafe which serves delicious coffees, including latte art. It was a great place to enjoy dinner after a day of walking in the city, and breakfast at the cafe was included in the hotel price. 

Old shophouses in Lorong Stewart Street

Old shophouses in Lorong Stewart Street

Obsessed with Food
This similar melting pot of cultures to Singapore, means that the food also shares common origins, and George Town seems to also share its obsession with food. In fact it is the food, as much as the buildings, that will remain with us as impressions after we leave.

Tek Sen Restaurant
During our stay we enjoyed cheap and delicious Chinese food at Tek Sen Restaurant in a converted shophouse (18 Lebuh Carnarvon). While the restaurant is anything but fancy, with plastic tables and chairs, the food was delicious and very affordable. Shortly after 6pm a sizable queue had formed with locals waiting for their dinner on their way home from work – always a good sign! 

Tek Sen Restaurant

Tek Sen Restaurant

Seven Terraces
Our dinner at Seven Terraces hotel in the Kebaya restaurant (Lorong Stewart) is perhaps at the other end of the scale in terms of price, but still reasonable compared to eating in Singapore or Amsterdam. It uses French techniques fused with Indonesian and Straights Chinese flavours for a refined dinner on good linen with beautiful china crockery. The 4 course degustion menu is designed to be shared in the Chinese style, exactly the way we love to eat. 

Seven Terraces is across the street from the Coffee Atelier, and is also a nice alternative for a hotel if you are looking to stay in the historic centre but go a little upmarket. 

China House
China House was a great little place that we discovered by accident, but went back to eat at twice. It is a great option for lunch after you are finished exploring Lorong Chulia and the Street art around Lebuh Armenian. Located at 155 Beach Street, it serves Western food with a diverse set of Asian and Middle Eastern influences – Fusion food. Think Thai Style Chicken Salad with Macademia Nuts or a daily special menu of asian flavours served in a bento box. 

I love it that they put paper down on the tables and encourage you to draw on them – something my son thoroughly enjoyed!

Drawing at ChinaHouse Restaurant, Beach Road

Drawing at ChinaHouse Restaurant, Beach Road

Out and about around Georgetown
The advantage of staying in the middle of the historic centre is that there is so much that you can do on foot.

On the first day, try exploring the area around Lebuh Armenian and Lorong Chulia. They are great places to wander and poke your head into boutiques. Also look out for the street art in the side streets around this area. There is a free street art map that you can pick up at many hotels.

The Clan Jetties near the end of Lebuh Armenian on Pengkalan Wald are also worth exploring, but please do respect that people live here and that you are visiting their homes.

Those interested in Chinese History can visit the home of Sun Yat Sen at 120 Lebuh Armenian. Considered one of the father’s of modern China, he led the Chinese revolution to found the modern Republic, and served briefly as the President of China. He lived in Georgetown in exile for 6 months.

Step by Step Lane streetart

Step by Step Lane streetart

On the second day, try going in the other direction towards the Eastern and Oriental Hotel (Lebuh Farquhar) to stroll along the coast and enjoy a high tea. Not far away is Chong Fat Tze historic home (Leith Street), and the Hainan Temple (Jalan Muntri). There are many eating choices on Jalan Muntri for lunch. End by exploring the little shops on Love Lane

Eastern Oriental Hotel by the harbour

Eastern Oriental Hotel, Lenuh Farquhar, by the harbour

Our trip to Georgetown was for a long weekend (4 days) while we were living in Singapore. You could consider this as part of a longer trip to Malaysia as well if you are living further away. We flew from Singapore to Penang with Jetstar, but Tiger Air, Air Asia and Silk Air also all fly this route. We arranged a taxi through the hotel to collect us from the airport and take us to the hotel in Georgetown. It is a 16km journey which takes 20-30 minutes depending on traffic and costs 35-40 Malaysian Ringgit.

We had a great time in Georgetown. It was an easy long weekend destination that can easily be enjoyed on foot. The diversity of the food and street art were definitely highlights. 

Rickshaw streetart, Chinatown

Rickshaw streetart, Jalan Penang, Chinatown

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