Brunches Cafe, The Prettiest Cafe in Singapore

Brunches Cafe, The Prettiest Cafe in Singapore?

Address: 96 Rangoon Road

Opening hours: Weekday 10.30am to 9.00pm, Sat & Sun 9.30am to 9.00pm, Closed on Tuesday

Introduction

In Singapore, we have many cafes that can be described as old-school, rustic, industrial look, but none can pull off the theme “Vintage” as good as Brunches Cafe. It is actually a furniture store cum cafe located near the Farrer Park area. This cafe, which started their operation only in Feb 2015, is extensively decorated with old school / vintage items at all corners of the cafe. If you set your eye on any pieces in the cafe, including the dining furniture and lighting, it is almost certain that you can bring it home at a price.

Brunches Cafe Menu – Click to enlarge

The Exterior

The exterior of the cafe is framed in a black metal window frame, employed from ceiling to floor and corner to corner. These frames, that were deployed in some great factories and warehouses in the 19th century, imparted an industrial aesthetic and also offers a glimpse of what to expect upon stepping into it.

The Interior

The ambiance of the cafe is set in an old factory workshop with each and every corner of the cafe decorated with vintage furnitures and a combination of old school artifacts and an actual antique collection. The lighting are mounted on black wooden beam which is contrasted by the striking orange pipes and metal cable casing against the white-wash ceiling.

The most eye catching, as well as probably the most sort after seat of the cafe is the mini-cooper converted dining table. The car body is cut into two halves and cushioned seats are padded on both sides of the body and complete by a matching table slipped between the seats.

On the left wall of the cafe, modern vintage art pieces are presented over the once-popular Metal Grilled Sliding Gate that was widely used by provision shops in the early 1980s.

My favourite among all the lighting structures in the cafe – the Birdhouse Light Fixture. It hangs over a 10-seater color-stained reclaimed wood top table and it’s a creation by one of Brunches Cafe’s bosses. In my opinion, apart from the mini-cooper seats, this is another one of the vitalities of the cafe which brought it to life.

On the other side of the cafe, it lies a glass-top table made from an old Bullock Cart Wheel and also the once popular item for all grandmothers – the Singer Treadle Sewing Machine, which is ran by a manual foot pedal which connects to the sewing mechanism with a leather belt. The NEC black and white standalone TV is another interesting item in the cafe. Not to mention black and white TV, i’m sure some of us have never seen a non-remote TV before.

On the far right hand corner, there is a good collection of antique players like the Phonograph, Gramophone and the Turntable Record Player and other more familiar items like the Rotary Dial Phone and Vintage Radio, that are all in good working condition.

Their Food

I was like really full after having my meal at a nearby cafe, Jewel Cafe, so I only ordered their dessert and a drink. The waffle is reasonably priced at $12.50 that includes cubes of brownies, a whole banana and a scoop of Chocolate Ice Cream. I like the texture of the waffle, which is crisp and fluffy. However, I feel that it is lacking in taste in term of fragrance from egg and butter.

i have no complain for their caffe latte, which comes with a cute latte art and accompanied by this exquisite tea spoon. Also do try out the pastries in the cafe as they were personally baked and prepared by the lady boss.

Conclusion

From Brunches Cafe’s menu, it seems like they have a good food selections except for their dessert range. Do share with us if there’s any food recommendation. I can’t review much on their food but I’m pawned by the interior design. I have been to many fascinating theme cafe at overseas before and i’m proud to now have Brunches Cafe in Singapore.

No matter which part of the cafe you are seated at, i would say there is none with a boring view. Since i like the dining ambiance so much, I’m gonna be a little bias here and recommend this cafe to my readers and please be my white mice for review of their food. And lastly, pre-wedding photo shoot at this cafe anyone?

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Mido Cafe the Timeless Cafe at Hong Kong Temple Street

Mido Cafe (美都餐室)

English Address (Google Map): G/F, 63 Temple Street

Chinese Address: 油麻地廟街63號地下

Opening hours: 8:30am – 9:45pm daily

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

Introduction

Mido Cafe started operation back in the 1950s and is one of the oldest cafes in Hong Kong. This old school cafe is a landmark at Temple Street and was featured in various Hong Kong movies and serial like Goodbye Mr Cool (古惑仔之九龙冰室) and Revolving Door of Vengeance (酒店风云).

The 1950s interior design was retained till date and the nostalgic design offers a glimpse of Hong Kong’s past when air conditioning is a luxury and food menus were hand-written. Unlike the modern cafes that pushes seating capacity to the limit within a small floor area, Mido Cafe is contrastingly spacious.

I visited on a weekday morning and it’s surprisingly vacant. Mido has literally over two hundred items on their menu but their signature dish is the Pork Rib / Pork Chop Baked Rice.

Mido Cafe Menu 1: Click to enlarge

Mido Cafe Menu 2: Click to enlarge

Baked Spare Rib in Tomato Sauce (Baked Rice) – HK$58

There are a few variations of Baked Rice and the most famous one is the Spare Rib Baked Rice. It took a little while to serve and the rice looks absolutely delicious.

The base of the Baked Rice consist of a layer of butter rice, layered with melted cheese, pork ribs and topped with a layer of rich tomato paste.

The tomato sauce is slightly sweet, thick, but not overly cloying and goes really with the melted savoury cheese. The spare rib is the highlight of the dish. The well marinated ribs is really tender and the meat gets seperated from the bones easil and it goes pretty good with the soft melted cheese and tomato sauce.

I read that the portion is really big from online but it’s really not. I even hope for a bigger portion.

Pork Chop with Macaroni in Broth – HK$38

The portion of the macaroni is really big. Much bigger than a typical macaroni soup that you find in Cha Can Teng. The macaroni is much less flavoured than expected and i will choose the baked rice anytime.

The pork chip is not crispy at all but I like the soft and tender texture of their pork chop a lot. I thought this bland macaroni is not doing justice to the accompanying pork chop. Probably i will try their pork chop baked rice the next time.

Stir-fried Veggie in Minced Garlic – HK$48

Like most vegetables that i had in Hong Kong, such vegetables are only lightly salted and flavoured with chopped garlic when one gets to enjoy the natural taste of the veggie. It doesn’t has a raw taste though. But for those who are used to Singapore style of Sambal Kangkong, Oyster Sauce Kailan or Mixed Curry Vegetable, this dish will be a little bland for you.

Conclusion

I have a lot of respect for eatery that goes a long way back as somehow it gives a clue to their popularity and ability to satisfy patrons of different generations.

Iced Lemon Honey HK$18

Just basing on what I’d ordered, i thought the baked rice is quite good while the others are ok. I would visit this place again for their baked rice, probably the pork chop version.

For first-timer, you may want to consider to give yourself a chance to be charmed by this timeless Hong Kong cafe and try out the one signature baked rice that had withstood the sands of time.

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

Map and Direction

1. Come out from Yau Ma Tei MTR Exit C

2. Look for the main road (Nathan Road) and walk against the traffic

3. Past Wing Sing Lane and keep walking

4. Turn right at the next turn and walk straight along traffic and you will see Mido Cafe

Ah Mao Cat Cafe (The Cat Store) at Causeway Bay

Ah Mao Cat Cafe (The Cat Store) at Causeway Bay – 阿貓地攤

English Address (Google Map): Po Ming Building, Level 3, 2-6 Foo Ming Street Causeway Bay

Chinese Address: 香港銅鑼灣富明街2-6號寶明大廈3樓D-E室

Opening hours: Mon – Thu: 12pm – 11 pm, Fri & Sat: 12pm – 12am, Sun: 12pm – 10pm

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

Introduction

Ah Meow Cat Cafe has been in operation for 14 years in Hong Kong. It’s a pet cafe where cats roam freely so don’t be surprise if you felt something brushing your legs during a meal.

Interior of Ah Mao Cat Cafe

Unlike some pet cafe, they are just like a normal cafe and they don’t charge a cover charge or minimum spending. But there are some house rules to follow for the well being of the cats. For example, if there are cats in the cage, it means that they are sick and do not disturb them and let the cats have their meal without disruption.

There are a lot of photo opportunity but remember do not use your camera flash of these cats

Some of the house rules. Allow the cats to have ample rest and do not disturb them when they are sleeping. Do not frighten the cats intentionally. This will make them lose trust in cafe guests. Do not carry the cat by force as it may hurt them.

The Cats

There are about ten cats at Ah Meow Cafe and all of them just laze around at all corners of the cafe. Some regular customers will bring their own cat treat for them and that is the very rare moment when cats will show great interest in you.

Name: LL

As a cat owner myself, i know that cats actually can have a very different character from another so do not expect different cats to show the same affection. There are many different species of cats here and probably everyone will have their favourite cat after a visit. And this is my favourite:

Name: Mini

I had been following them on their Facebook and they really dote and care for their cats, and not just a money earning tool. Ah Meow Cafe recently had “retired” a cat from their cafe and to live at home after 12 years of “service” and held a small farewell party for their cat name 蘇蘇 (So So).

The retired 蘇蘇 (So So)

Their facebook page also provides a channel for cat adoption, donation drive for cats and a place to post notice for lost cats. They have so far found homes for more than 5000 cats for the past fourteen years.

The blue-eye 多多 (Dor Dor)

Name: 牛牛

Name: 熊仔

Name: 棉花 (Cotton)

Name: 喜喜

She’s sick and therefore in the cage. Do not disturb please.

The Cafe

Note that Ah Meow Cafe is a member only cafe, but fret not as the membership is free. They may not have the most exciting or elaborated interior, but it’s very homely, and it’s almost like visiting a friend’s house.

Their member card design changes every now and then

Upon entering the main door, there is merchandise area that sells everything related to cats, and a handicraft corner with merchandise that are handmade by their people.

The merchandise area from the entrance

The counter is filled with cat-shape cakes and cookies that are too pretty to put in your mouth. Most of the time I just order a drink and a dessert to chill out after a meal.

Nice corner with sofa seat for chilling out

The food

I haven’t try the main course before but they have some pretty decent and interesting looking desserts at a reasonable price. Here is their dessert menu:

Dessert Menu: Click to enlarge

I normally will order a drink and a dessert to chill out at this cafe

Milk Pudding with Cereal Bowl

Supreme Chocolate Cake with Ice Cream – HK$56

Cat-shape cookie for sale

Conclusion

For cat or animal lovers, I’m pretty sure that you will like this cafe. To be honest, i like this cafe not for the food but rather on the “company” and experience.

Diners are not restricted to only your table and basically everyone is moving around to play with the cats. The service staff here is very friendly if they are not too caught up, they are always ready to have a chat with you and introducing the cats to you.

This is the handicraft area, on the other side of the cafe

Unlike many Hong Kong cafes, there is no pressure for you to promptly foot the bill once you are done with your meal. Feel free to stay for a reasonable period of time before once again setting off for your crazy shopping regime.

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

Another shot of Mini

Map and Directions

1. To reach Ah Meow Cat Cafe, exit from Exit C of Causeway Bay MTR Station and walk along Percival Street (along traffic).

2. Walk straight and keep a lookout on your left until you see Foo Ming Street.

3. Walk straight and cross Foo Ming street and that is the Po Ming Building where Ah Meow Cat Cafe is.

4. I need to highlight that Ah Meow Cat Cafe is not easy to find because it’s situated at level 2 of the building.

5. Like many Hong Kong buildings, you will see a table with a security guard and you will see the lift lobby after going further in. It does not appears right initially as it looks like an old office building, until you see a row of letter boxes and one of them is indicating 阿貓地攤 (Ah Meow Cat Cafe).

6. Take a super old school lift to level 2 and once you come out from the lift, you should be able to see Ah Meow Cat Cafe.

Click to enlarge

 

 

Macau Tsui Yuen Cafe – Hong Kong Hawker Centre?

Macau Tsui Yuen Cafe (澳門翠苑茶餐廳)

English Address: Mong Kok Cooked Food Market 557 Shanghai St Hong Kong

Chinese Address: 旺角上海街557號旺角熟食中心2樓8號舖

Opening hours: Mon to Sun 7.00am to 9.00pm

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

Introduction

Macau Tsui Yuen Cafe is situated at a food centre above a bus interchange at Mongkok that is very little known among tourists. We always shop at Langham Place but almost never know of such a food centre exists.

Tsui Yuen is not exactly a cafe but a hawker stall. It is very well known for it’s Macau-Portugese dishes and their signatures are the Portugese-style Curry with Farmer’s Bun, Macau Pork Chop Bun and their Ice Coffee. Don’t be deceived by the stall outlook as they are very popular among the locals.

Apart from Kam Wah Cafe, Tsui Yuen is the most well-liked eatery on Hong Kong Openrice at the Mongkok District.

Click to enlarge: Menu Nov 2013

Grilled Chicken / Pork Neck Farmer’s Bun with Portugese-style Curry

I first visited them in 2012 when a Farmer’s bun cost $HK55 and they increased their price to HK$60 in Nov 2013. I ordered their Grilled Pork Neck and Grilled Chicken Farmer’s bun. A set comes with a bowl of curry, minestrone soup and a bread bowl of grilled meat. One portion is good enough to be shared by two person.

The giant bread is served hot from oven with a crispy exterior and pillow-fluffy center. The idea is very similar to our Singapore “933 Golden Pillow” except the curry is served in a separate bowl.

The curry is like Japanese curry that is more to the sweet scale and not as spicy as the Thai/Indian Curry. It coats the crisp-exterior bread effortlessly in a silky coat of smooth thick curry sauce.

i thought I would be more impressed with the Grill Pork Neck but the Grilled Chicken surprises me. The tender chicken slices were very well-seasoned and marinated and i can taste the fragrance of freshly grill chicken with every mouthful.

Curry Pork Chop Bun

I wasn’t impress with the pork chop bun. I thought the bread is a little dry, pork chop is ok, just that a little bit of curry sauce is added beneath the pork chop which was barely noticeable. It’s a bit disappointing as a signature dish.

Macau Iced Coffee

Introducing my favourite ice coffee in Hong Kong. Whenever i am here, I will order this ice coffee. It is really smooth and creamy and the scattered coffee powder adds on a light fragrance of freshly-grinded coffee bean. Like our Singapore’s Kopi-peng (Ice milk coffee), it quite sweet but that is what made it enjoyable. It’s definitely a revitalizing beverage to have after long hours of shopping!

Conclusion

I was actually a bit disappointed when I re-visited them in November 2013. Since the visit in 2012, my expectation of them is rather high. The curry and bread still taste as good but the much-anticipated grilled chicken didn’t keep up with the initial standard and the portion of the curry became smaller. I thought it’s still not bad, but was already less impressive, but the Ice Milk Coffee still kick ass.

For those who has never visited a hawker centre in Hong Kong, you may wish to pop by this place for a new dining experience. I thought the dishes offered by Macau Tsui Yuen Cafe is quite different from a typical Hong Kong cafe and i hope that their standard can improve. I will it another shot when i visit Hong Kong the next time.

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

The set that i ordered in 2012. The curry is served in a larger bowl.

Map and Direction

1. Exit from C4 at Mongkok MTR

2. Cross the very first street and walk a short distance and cross over to another street

3. Turn left and walk straight and you should be near a bus interchange already

4. Look for the escalator in my pic below and take the escalator to Mongkok Cooked Food Market

5. Macau Tsui Yuen Cafe is one of the first stalls that greets you.

This hawker centre is just behind Langham place within a bus interchange and most importantly, look for this escalator. This is the escalator that leads up to the food centre.

You know you are at the right place when you see this signage

 

Sing Heung Yuen, the surviving Da Pai Dang and it’s Tomato Noodle

Sing Heung Yuen (胜香园/勝香園)

English Address (Google Map): Mee Lun Street, 2, Central, Hong Kong

Chinese Address: 中環美輪街2號排檔

Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 8.00 am to 5.30pm Sun, closed

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

Introduction

Introducing another of my favourite eatery in Hong Kong – Sing Heung Yuen (胜香园/勝香園). This place is not exactly a cafe but a Dai Pai Dong (大排档). Dai Pai Dong is a kind of open-air food stall that was once very popular in Hong Kong in the older days. It’s directly opposite another famous eatery Kau Kee Beef Brisket Noodle (九记牛腩).

Sing Heung Yuen has a proper kitchen though, but the dining area is a make-shift area built with temporary structure and canvas with no air conditioning.  I read from somewhere that such Da Pai Dang is very rare nowadays and there’s only less than 30 such stalls in Hong Kong.

There’s a queue even at 4pm on a Friday

Sing Heung Yuen’s specialties are tomato noodles and their unique crispy toast (condensed milk / pork chop). During meal hours (or even non meal hours on weekend), long queue is formed outside this no frill eatery. Like a typical Hong Kong cafe, the turnover rate is amazing and therefore the waiting time is not as painful.

If you plan to visit Sing Heung Yuen, there is a need to do some leg warming up exercise because there are some steps and slopes to climb. If comfort and tidiness of surrounding is an utmost consideration for an eatery, I think you also can give this place a miss.

Menu 1: Click to enlarge. As of 25 Apr 14

Menu 2: Click to enlarge. As of 25 Apr 14

Tomato Noodle Soup

Sing Heung Yuen’s tomato noodle is actually a very simple dish with simple ingredient. It’s instant noodle, cooked in tomato-base stock while there are 101 combinations of ingredients to choose from. There are choices like sausage, ham, fried egg, canned pork cube, pork chop, luncheon meat, chicken wings, beef etc.

On my first visit, i thought that it’s just instant noodle soup cooked in tomatoes but i think i was wrong. Back in Singapore, i tried combinations of instant noodle with fresh tomatoes, canned tomato, tomato puree but i can never get their kind of taste. This made me realised that their soup stock is more than meets the eye.

To be honest, i think the soup broth has a tinge of instant noodle seasoning taste, but also cooked in other ingredients that i can’t figure out. It’s really rich in flavour while it’s scattered with tomato pieces cooked so soft that it almost melts in your month. Unlike some tomato noodles, the tomato taste is not overpowering and i’m still able to taste the sweetness of the broth. I would finish the soup to the last drop on every visit.

My favourite combination is the pork cube and luncheon meat tomato noodle (HK$28) as i thought the pork cube gravy compliment the broth pretty perfectly.

Condensed Milk / Pork Chop Crispy Bun (脆脆)

Their Crispy Toast is also my must-order whenever i visit Sing Heung Yuen. Some people said that this is even more worthwhile than the noodle itself. Piglet Bun (猪仔包) is commonly found in Hong Kong cafe and Sing Heung Yuen’s Crispy Toast is similar to a Piglet Bun for it’s outlook, but with an almost completely different texture.

Sing Heung Yuen call their toast as Cui Cui (脆脆) that literally means “crispy crispy”. As the name suggest, the bun is really “crispy crispy”. The bread literally crumbles and crackles when you sink your teeth into the bread. Remember to lean towards the table or it will cause a mess with the bread crumbs falling all over you. No joking. It really does. While the exterior is so crispy, the interior yet remains fluffy and soft.

My favourite is their Crispy Bun with Pork Chop and Egg (HK$19). The pork chop is really tender and well-flavoured while it’s paired with fresh tomato slices, fluffy eggs and mayonnaise. It’s easily one of the best pork chop buns that i had in Hong Kong.

Their Condensed Milk Cui Cui (HK$10) is a good option if I feel like having something sweet but not overly cloying (aka “gelat”). There’s actually only a thin layer of condensed milk applied onto the butter spreaded toast bread.

Conclusion

My friend (who don’t really like instant noodle) once told me that this Tomato Noodle “is just instant noodle” and i don’t think he is 100% wrong. One of the reasons why i visit this place whenever i can is i love the simplicity of the dishes and it feels very home-cooked. I love instant noodle, luncheon meat and pork cubes by the way.

I like how they manage to put such simple ingredients together and successfully made it as their signature dish which is well-loved especially by their locals. Set your expectation right before making your way down to the most popular eatery at Hong Kong island district to indulge in Hong Kong old school’s dining culture and  understand why their local folks love this eatery so much.

Click here to view my full Hong Kong Food Itinerary and the 8 must-know about Hong Kong Cafe Culture

Map and Direction

This place is not exactly easy to find. My way to this place is rather straight forward and remember to keep a look out for two rather famous eatery as landmark – 莲香楼 and Kau Kee Beef Brisket Noodle (九记牛腩).

Sing Heung Yuen is actually in between Central and Sheung Wan but i always go from Sheung Wan.

1. Come out from Exit E2, cut through the square at Cosco Tower as shown in my maps. The square is easy to identify as it looks like a fountain with steps that lead up to a road.

2. Cross the road and walk towards the left narrow path as shown in my map. You will be going up a gentle slope. Walk straight until you see this restaurant 莲香楼.

3. This is where you should turn right and head up. There will be steeper slopes and stairs here.

4. While climbing up, don’t forget to look to your right for the signboard of another eatery 九记牛腩. This is where you should turn in.

5. Walk towards that direction and you will see Sing Heung Yuen on your left.