The brainchild of acclaimed chef Lewis Barker, Head Chef of Michelin-starred Sommer, Cafe Natsu brilliantly combines the artistic edge of Melbourne cafes with refined Japanese sensibilities. Located in the buzzy neighbourhood of Joo Chiat, this place will treat you to a bevvy of fusion delights which harness fresh seasonal produce such as their Roasted Buckwheat Granola which features housemade roasted buckwheat granola made with oats, Sobacha, Kurozato brown sugar and puffed black wild rice, served with hand-peeled Muscat grapes, Yuzu curds, and Hokkaido milk. If you’re a big eater, their take on a classic Eggs Benedict features poached first-born eggs neatly nestled atop toasted English muffins, layered with sansho glazed ham, sautéed wasabi spinach and coated in an umami-dense miso hollandaise.
For top-drawer coffee and artisanal sandos (Japanese sandwiches) that’ll make you swoon, be sure to make a beeline for Hello Arigato. This Japanese-inspired coffee shop takes on a similar approach as its predecessor, The Refinery, to demonstrate novel plates that boast creativity and comfort. Imbued with a touch of Japanese flair, their sandos (Japanese sandwiches) are the cafe’s main draw. Signatures worth trying include their Teriyaki-Glazed chicken and their thick-cut Otah Sando that’s an obvious ode to our local otah toast. It comes with a Muar-Style Otah Patty flanked by their homemade sambal, coconut mayo and toasted Japanese milk bread. If spice is your thing, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t love the latter.
What began way back in 2011 as a mere standalone store specialising in artisanal cupcakes now sees several outlets islandwide with its recent East Coast outpost boasting its most extensive brunch menu yet. Look forward to store-exclusive dishes such as their Soft Boiled Eggs with Buttered Soldiers, Vine-Ripened Tomato Tartine and Penne Bolognese with Fresh Mozzarella. A full assortment of cupcakes and bakes, as well as a space dedicated to lifestyle products and local artwork.
Situated in the thick of the Joo Chiat-Katong enclave, Neptune is a hip coffee shop founded by the same group that brought you Atlas Coffeehouse, Columbus Coffee Co, Lunar Coffee Brewers and their plethora of successful cafes that puts out delectable dishes with a Japanese slant. If you enjoy beginning your mornings on a sweet note, definitely try their “Big In Japan”, a savoury scone dish that comprises Grana Padano scone with yuzu jam, honey mascarpone, cold shrimp & salmon in dill sauce.
Supernova is the latest addition to the Joo Chiat buzzy enclave that provides a differing experience at dawn and at dusk. While not exactly obscure, the enclave itself is a refreshing switch up from the spots you’ll find in the city centre. For one, the vibe is a lot more laid-back, and with the sea close, it’s considerably breezy there. During the day, come tuck into a stellar lineup of brunch classics done with a twist — think Passionfruit French Toast and Fried Chicken Waffles that come with a warm maple drizzle and garlic compound butter (wow). At night, the menu changes and natural wines take centre stage.
The CMCR philosophy doesn’t change across its various outlets scattered across Singapore and Malaysia. This long-standing coffee shop brand is well known and widely acclaimed for serving quality, expertly prepared speciality coffee which they roast and grind on location, paired with a world-class selection of familiar brunch fare, that is approachable, fuss-free and always quality driven. Unique to their Joo Chiat outpost is a separate filter coffee brewing bar that shines the spotlight on lesser-seen, experimental blends — going beyond textbook brews. The line-up rotates according to what is in season so coffee purists and aficionados alike, you know where to hit up.
Opening Hours: 7.30AM - 5PM (Daily)
A charming cafe nestled among the slew of buzzing coffee shops and hip joints over at Joo Chiat, what makes Sevens Cafe stand out is its customer-centric philosophy mixed in with stellar coffee offerings and a menu that’s largely inspired by modern Australian cuisine. Armed with thoughtfully designed interiors, lush surroundings, friendly service and hearty portions of tasty nosh, this is one spot that warrants a return visit. Have some time on your hands? Kick off your morning with a slow-dripped filter coffee accompanied by one of their many artisanal bakes —we hear their seasonal tarts sell out quick! On the savoury front, you won’t be disappointed with their succulent OZ Buttermilk Chicken Pancakes.
One of Joo Chiat's best bakery gems, Petit Pain boasts an ensemble of bread loaves and pastries that are all baked fresh daily using quality ingredients sourced from abroad. The bakery adopts a combination of French, Japanese, and organic stone-milled flour that is fermented for up to a day. The butter it uses comes specially imported from France and is also fermented. Don’t expect over-the-top croissant offerings here because Petit Pain is stern about the bakes they put out, keeping their pastries as authentic and un-bastardised as possible. It makes only one type of croissant, the classic kind — and boy does it make it well.
You won’t find many cafes that take their coffee programme as seriously as the folks from Kings Cart Coffee Factory in Singapore's eastern district. Options for coffee beans span between medium-bodied Brazil & Lintong which boasts an earthy, nutty bouquet with a chocolatey undertone and Brazil Cerrado, which, in comparison, is much bolder with a fruity palate and a forcibly bitter taste. If you’re intending to stop by for brunch, gun straight for their Cheesy Bacon Jam & Fig Tarte and Tom Yum Goong Linguine.
If you have a sweet tooth and you're someone who takes your pastries seriously, Tigerlily Patisserie is not one to miss. A bakery and cafe of Michelin pedigree, this Joo Chiat hotspot is run by Maxine Ngooi, formerly the head pastry chef at the now defunct one-Michelin-starred French restaurant Vianney Massot who trained at three-Michelin-starred Les Amis followed by three-Mechlin-starred Joel Robuchon Restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa. Inspired by the delicate beauty of nature, Tigerlily forages the robust product of each season to curate pastries baked with equal parts refined techniques and radiant flavours. Combining French methodology with a subtle touch of native flavours and ingredients, Tigerlily strikes a harmonious balance between finesse, craftsmanship and familiarity. Among its long list of swoon-worthy pastries, the ones you absolutely must try are the Maple Pecan Ruffin, Spiced Cherry Danish, Kouign Amann and Asparagus & Jerusalem Artichoke Danish.
(Photos from: Alvin Tan, @tasteoftasha, and @suchafattyy)
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