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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Dazzling Cafe from Taiwan (Review, Photos and Menu)

Dazzling Cafe (蜜糖吐司專賣店) @ Capitol Piazza and their Honey Butter Toast

Address: 15 Stamford Road, #01-85, Capitol Piazza

Opening hours: 12.00pm to 8.00pm daily

Introduction

Dazzling Cafe, originated from Taiwan, is actually a side business from their accessories brand Dazzling. They first open their door in Taiwan in year 2010 and had been very popular and are most well known for their interesting interior design and signature honey toast. 18 April 2015 is their soft opening at the newly opened Capitol Piazza opposite City Hall MRT. As expected, the queue is already crazy and upon leaving the cafe, all queue numbers have already been taken up, which likely means that it’s already full house till closing time.

The price of their honey toast range from $16.90 to $19.90++ and their main course price range from $18.90 to $24.90++ which is not cheap, but not exorbitant. I originally ordered a main course and two honey toasts to try but due to some service issue, which i will elaborate in later part of the post, I only get to try one of the two honey toasts. But i got a copy of Dazzling Cafe menu for you guys:

Dazzling Cafe Honey Toast Menu: Click to enlarge

Dazzling Cafe Food Menu: Click to enlarge

Dazzling Cafe Drinks Menu: Click to enlarge

Truffle Mushroom Risotto with Freshly Shaved Truffle ($24.90++)

Unlike the dish name suggest, the shaved truffle and oil taste are actually more subtle than expected, just adding the right amount of fragrance but not dominating the whole dish.

I like the garlicky cream sauce and the cheese fragrance of the risotto but i think it may be a little salty for some. The rice grain is soft on the outside and al dente on the inside, which makes the overall texture enjoyable.

Mango and Coconut Gelato Honey Toast ($18.90++)

Upon ordering the honey toast, you need to state the preference for a soft, normal or crispy toast. I tried the normal version and it’s already rather crispy so i don’t think I need to try their crispy version cus it’s probably going to be biscuit crispy.

To be honest, i think the toast bread is a little dry, but accompanying it with the coconut ice cream made up for it. Their coconut ice cream is very creamy and is overflowing with coconut fragrance. Sadly, the fresh Mango and Mango custard didn’t manage to play a major role in enhancing the bread and it’s like a different entity altogether.

I think Dazzling Cafe can be more daring with the portion of butter. Overall, i think this coconut honey toast is very pretty, definitely an instagram-like magnet but doesn’t exactly justify it’s price tag.

The Hazelnut Chocolate Honey Toast That I Never Get To Try after multiple episodes of order mismanagement

During my visit, there are multiple episodes of mismanagement of order which it took 40 minutes for my risotto to arrive and my toasts order were forgotten until I asked about it at the 80th minute of waiting.

Then, the coconut honey toast arrived shortly but i waited for another 15 minutes for the hazelnut toast before approaching the waitress again just to be told that my hazelnut toast was served wrongly to another table upon checking.

Time that i placed my order – 2.18pm.  The Hazelnut Chocolate Honey Toast order was cancelled and i was given a 20% discount.

All in all now I had waited for 95 minutes and was told that I have to wait for another 30 minutes if I still want my hazelnut toast. As much as I understand that it’s their first day of operation, i was rather upset that I need to wait for a total of 125 minutes for a piece of toast so i cancelled the most anticipated dish that I ordered.

Time i settled the bill: 3.53pm, after i was told that i need to wait for another 30 minutes for the Hazelnut Chocolate Toast

The crowd is overwhelming so i can understand when the waitress told me that each honey toast need 40 minutes of preparation but not 1 hour and 20 minutes for my coconut toast and definitely not 2 hours and 5 minutes for the hazelnut toast. Let’s hope that Dazzling Cafe can quickly sort this out as it’s a big minus to the overall dining experience, despite giving me a 20% discount, and we left the restaurant still hungry.

Conclusion

I arrived excited but left disappointed due to the series of unfortunate events. However, putting that aside, the risotto that I had excites me a little more than expected. However, judging based on the coconut mango honey toast, it fell short of my expectation and seems like i will still continue my wait for the best Shibuya Honey Toast in Singapore.

If you ask me, understanding Singaporean’s craze for pretty food and the willingness to queue, it’s probably not the best time to visit now. But I have to agree that their Honey Toast is really skillfully constructed and they score a very high point in presentation. For the food photo fanatics, Dazzling Cafe is a place not to be missed. For the rest, I suggest to wait for a couple of weeks to avoid unecessary waiting for a “not bad” meal in this cafe.

Hoshino Coffee @ Plaza Singapura

Introduction

Hoshino Coffee opened it’s first shop at Japan in March 2011 and had been widely popular since then. Till date, they had expanded to more than a hundred shops in Japan. Their first overseas franchise store opened it’s door for business in Singapore at year 2012. Among the restaurants at Plaza Singapura, Hoshino Coffee has one of the longest queues and is always full house during meal time. Their dessert stood out among the menus and the two most popular desserts are the souffle and the french toast. I visited Hoshino a couple of times and here is my consolidated review.

Menu 1 of 2: Click to enlarge

Menu 2 of 2: Click to enlarge

Lobster Bisque Pasta (S$16.00++)

As the name suggest, the linguine is served in a creamy lobster bisque base with added cheese, topped with fat prawns and small cubes of mushroom. The tomato base sauce is not too heavy as I thought it and has a sweet and light crustacean aftertaste. They are quite generous with the portion of pasta, as well as the bisque. Some tomato base pasta is good initially but it kind of get too cloying overtime.

For Hoshino’s lobster bisque paste, the flavour is just right and despite the big portion, i find that finishing the whole portion is not a difficult task. This dish is not fantastic, but not bad. At least it’s worth my second try.

Hoshino Pot Baked Curry Rice (S$15.00++)

Among the limited choice of main courses, this baked curry rice is my favourite. Nothing beats a portion of rice, baked in Japanese curry meat sauce, and accompanied by molten egg yolk and melted cheese.

For some, this combination may be a little too much but for people like me who very much has a liking in strong flavour, i enjoyed this very much.

This curry is a little spicier than a typical sweet Japanese curry and i love the rich aromatic curry fragrance. I think the right way to enjoy this is to stir in the egg yolk and melted cheese within the hot pan and gobble it together with the curry infused rice. Shiok.

Pancake Souffle Style with Chocolate Banana (S$13.50++)

A souffle is a lightly baked cake that is made up of two main ingredients – eggs and flour. The puffed up cake is served fresh from oven and therefore a minimum waiting time of 15 minutes is required. I think that the soft fluffy texture is excellent but taste wise, it is like a less sweet version of our Singapore’s steamed sponge cake (鸡蛋糕).

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to taste like steamed sponge cake but it’s just that the price tag is a little too high for such quality. Apart from the cake, the milky soft serve is much to my delight and goes perfectly with the lightly sweetened cake. The texture of this souffle is a 9/10 but taste wise is only a 6/10 in my opinion.

French Toast with Homemade Whipped Cream and Maple Syrup ($9.80++)

This french toast doesn’t come with a cheap price tag either, but i had returned multiple times to Hoshino just for this french toast. They serve their french toast in small rectangular blocks of thicker-than-usual toast and is wrapped by a layer of sweet egg coating. Unlike our Singapore’s version which is normally pan fried, Hoshino’s version is toasted and there’s almost zero or very little presence of grease.

The homemade whipped cream is unlike those typical whipped cream that is out in the market. The texture is very compact, with very little air folded in and it melts in your mouth. It’s very lightly sweetened and is filled with milk and butter fragrance. This is my regular order when i visit Hoshino.

Conclusion

Although Hoshino doesn’t has the most exciting and most innovative menu, their main courses that I had are rather fine and I consider it as one of the better restaurants at Plaza Singapura in term of taste. However, if the pricing is taken into consideration, some people may think that it’s not exactly worth it because for a similar price, we can find something better elsewhere.

For me, it’s good enough, and the location is rather convenient for me, and thus the multiple visits. However, most of the time, I will just have a cup of caffe latte and their french toast. i will only occasionally order their main course when I’m feeling a little richer.

I also had their Carbonara before. At $14.00, they give you five slices of bacon. It’s true that the main focus should be on cheese and egg sauce (which it is indeed not bad), but five slices of bacon seriously?

Coffee Libre – The (Really) Hidden Gem among Hongdae Cafes

Coffee Libre (커피 리브레)

English Address (Google Map) : 227-15 Yeonnam, Mapo, Seoul

Korean Address: 서울시 마포구 연남동 227-15a

Operating hours: 12.00 pm – 9.00 pm, closed every Monday

I recommend you to use Naver Map for direction to Libre Coffee as it’s more accurate.

Click here for full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Introduction

Coffee Libre is situated far from the happening part of Hongdae (홍대) and is tucked at a quiet corner at an old warehouse area. At a glance, no one would have guessed that such a inconspicuous cafe is far more popular than expected among the locals.

They don’t serve any food, not even puff or pastry. There are only two tables in the cafe, and the sitting capacity of the cafe is less than 10. And yet long queues were formed during working day’s meal hours. The reason? Quality coffee beans.

The Coffee Machine almost took up half of the space in the cafe. And from this angle, you can see both tables, one on the left, and one on the right.

Background of Coffee Libre

Coffee Libre is actually a side venture from their main line of coffee bean roasting (and they had won numerous awards). The team behind the roaster travels around the world in search of the best coffee beans and is involved in multiple coffee-related events in Seoul. Champion Barista Sang Ho Park has been using their beans in the UK Barista Championship. Sang Ho took the 2013 UK Brewers Cup title at The London Coffee Festival.

I’m sitting at one of the two tables

Their Coffee

On menu, Coffee Libre only serves 3 kinds of coffee – Espresso, Caffè Latte (espresso with milk) and Americano (espresso with water), at W$4000 each. Each cup of coffee is prepared by using their one of three kinds of espresso beans of the day.

Their menu with three kinds of beverages

You may also purchase their freshly roasted coffee bean and upon request, they will make a cuppa aeropress coffee for you right on the spot.

Generally, the espresso beans used in Singapore has quite a standard taste so that it’s widely accepted by the public. I tried Libre’s “Bad Blood” espresso bean and was blown away. The taste totally differs from the typical espresso taste. The coffee taste of bright acidity with a complex fruit blend.  I can’t really handle the taste as it totally deviates from Singapore’s traditional espresso bean. I had never tasted such a sour coffee in my life.

Initially i ordered their caffe latte (right) and notice the out-of-the-ordinary tinge of sour in their coffee and so i ordered the espresso (left) to confirm it.

The Caffe Latte at W$4000

I sat at the table and observed how did the Barista made an aeropress coffee for one of the customers who purchased coffee beans from the shelf. Perhaps he noticed how interested and captivated I were, he actually served the extra portion to me, free of charge. This roast is much easier to accept and I love it – Just a tinge of acidity, strong flavor and absolutely aromatic. The only problem is, I forgot to ask about the bean used. Zzz.

Here are some of the interesting roasts that Coffee Libre has to offer. Note that these roasts are seasonal:

Farenda Sertaozinho (Yellow Bourbon / Pulped Natural)

Jasmine, Peach, Grape, Milk Chocolate

Verde Alto (Caturra / Washed)

Orange, Lime, Pineapple, Caramel

The old school rustic feel is certainly amplified by the presence of herbal medicine shelf

Conclusion

This little coffee place is definitely not easy to locate and may require some effort. Apart from visiting the usual cafe that serves mediocre coffee, if you are interested to visit a cafe that is a little out of the ordinary and to widen your palate for handcrafted coffee, Coffee Libre may be the place for you.

Click here for full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Maps and Directions

I use the Naver Map for Coffee Libre because i think it is much more accurate with more accurate details.

1. If i remember correctly, i came out from Hongdae Exit 4. I had to walk along the main road to the right to cross the road using traffic light. These are some really wide roads.

2. Then, there’s another traffic light to cross over to the Coffee Libre side. I can’t recall why i didn’t come out from Exit 3 already.

3. Anyway, after you crossed to the Coffee Libre side, walk straight and you need to turn to your left into a small alley. This is the crucial part. See my photos below.

Click to enlarge

This is the crucial turning point. I miss this turn as it’s relatively easy to miss

This is how the small alley looks like after you turn in. Walk straight and you should be able to see Coffee Libra.

You should be able to see Coffee Libre on your right. You can easily identify it by the head of the Wrestler.

The Bridge Cafe, A Secret Haven at Hongdae

The Bridge Cafe (카페더브릿지)

English Address (Google Map): 2nd Floor, Mapo-gu 347-17 Seogyo

Korean Address (Naver Map) : 마포구 서교동 347-17번지 2층

Click here for my full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Introduction

One of the must-do in Hongdae is cafe hopping and it’s not hard to see why. There are so many eateries, cafes and bars in the area of Hongdae therefore each and every eateries must be unique in their own ways, be it for their food, their service or their interior to attract customers.

Among the cafes, The Bridge cafe stood out among all for it’s unique interior. It’s situated at level two of the ‘quiet side of Hongdae’. This cafe is hardly noticeable and I don’t think I would step my foot into this cafe just basing on the exterior and not for my prior research.

The Cafe

The Bridge cafe occupies level two and three of the three storey terrace house. Don’t be bluffed by it’s ordinary exterior as it’s another haven as you enter this cafe.

Every corner of the cafe lies a small cosy private room that is only exclusive to you and your friends like it’s your mini guest suite. Shut the door and shut off the outside world and indulge in a world with only yourself and your friends.

For those who like to have a little me-time can also pick up a magazine or book from the cafe’s book shelf and spend a quiet afternoon with a good cup of coffee. Apart from the mini wooden private room, they have private rooms that offers a window view.

During my visit, as the cafe is relatively empty, i request to sit at other tables three times just to have a different kind of feel to the various concept rooms.

Some partitioned area has no chair, just a low coffee table and some fluffy cushions that is just perfect to stretch and relax your legs after a tiring day of walking and shopping. Wooden planks at some part of the room were intentionally unvarnished and while bringing the cafe into the present day, it still has a nostalgic feel with the brick wall laid out on a wall that is painted in contemporary white color.

The soft and relaxing music really made me felt like making this cafe my last destination and call it a day while i laze my day away. Next best thing about this cafe? Of course it’s the free Wifi!!

Drinks and Food

The price of the coffee is slightly higher at W$5,500 (S$6.50) for a cup of late caffe but I like the fact that the waitress totally leave you alone after settling the bill when my drinks arrived.

There are some food items available but i did not order any.  Waffles is available at W$5000-W$6000 and they do serve savoury dishes like Bagel, Sandwich and Wrap. Do share with us if you happen to try their food.

The Bridge Menu: Click to enlarge

 

 

Conclusion  

The Bridge Cafe probably will not be my first choice for food as there are many other interesting food choices in Hongdae like the BBQ intestines from Paljamakchang or Andong Chicken from Yeolbong Jimmdak. I believe the same kind of waffle and good sandwiches can be found in Singapore so I thought just ordering a cup of beverage is good enough for me.

In fact it’s the experience that made this visit unique and worthwhile. Due to The Bridge Cafe’s different unique settings at different areas of the cafe, it is the perfect place to take selfies and photos with friends and loved ones. I almost gave this cafe a miss due to my very tight itinerary and i am glad that i made the right choice after paying a visit to The Bridge Cafe.

Click here for full list of Seoul Food Itinerary

Map and Directions

1. As mentioned in my previous post, always remember Exit 9 of Hongdae. Exit from Exit 9 of Hongdae MRT station and turn to your left and walk straight as shown in the map.

2. Turn left at the T Junction to the “quiet part of Hongdae”.

3. Keep to the right side of the road and turn right.

4. Walk straight and walk about 20 meters and keep a look out to your left for The Bridge Cafe. It’s situated at Level 2.

The entrance of The Bridge Cafe is on the right side of this photo

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