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Best Cafes In Singapore 2021: Have Your Next Cuppa At These POPULAR Coffee Estabs

The Finder hosted it's very first Best Cafes Awards in February. You voted for your faves – and now, here are the much-awaited results!

With Singapore’s vibrant food scene consisting of a multitude of cafes scattered around the island, when it comes to cafe-hopping, where does one even start

Our team began the search for the best cafes in Singapore early this year.  The cafe culture in Singapore is still going strong, despite 2020’s rise of the ‘Rona. While the number of people joining snaking lines has been reduced due to social distancing measures, people are still queuing at trendy or popular spots. And, based on the continued traffic to our website, we know people are always searching for cafes to check out.

It’s why we decided to celebrate the best of the brunch, er, bunch, with our first-ever cafe awards. After weeks of online voting in January, hundreds of residents in Singapore selected among dozens of contenders in these categories: brunch, coffee, heartland, kid-friendly, cosy, pet-friendly, food allergy-friendly and dessert.

Read on to see which are voted the best cafes in Singapore. The people have spoken!

Contents:

      1. Best Brunch
      2. Best Coffee
      3. Best Kid-Friendly
      4. Best Food-Allergy Friendly
      5. Best Heartland
      6. Best Cosy
      7. Best Pet-Friendly
      8. Best Dessert

Best Brunch

Winner: Baker & Cook

best cafes in singapore 2021 baker & cook

How It All Started

Baker & Cook founder Dean Brettschneider flew to Singapore in early 2011 to catch up with a friend. After a bike ride, the two went looking for a cafe with good coffee and baked goods at which to have a chat. But, when they didn’t find one along Hillcrest Road – near where his friend lived – Dean didn’t just complain and move on. Nope, he moved here in 2012 and started his first Baker & Cook outlet on that very road.

Now, this author of more than a dozen cookbooks has opened 11 cafes in SG – from grab-and-go spots like the one at Chip Bee Gardens in Holland Village to the hard-to-leave brunch spot located at Dempsey. It also has global locations in the Philippines, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and – coming soon! – the United Arab Emirates.

best cafes in singapore 2021 baker & cook

Why You Love it

“Sourdough is in our DNA and we pride ourselves on this key element,” says Dean, who notes that everything they sell is made with “honest” ingredients. Upon opening, its Dempsey outpost became an instant favourite among the brunch crowd. No doubt it’s because there’s something for everyone here, from the gluten-free bread options and special Plant-Based Menu (featuring The Impossible Sausage Roll, $19) to the eight delicious pizzas to choose from and extensive wine and drinks list. Families especially love the playground just outside, and the super-accommodating kitchen staff earn high marks as well.

Thoughts on Winning

“We are beyond happy and flattered,” says Dean and his team. “Our gratitude goes out to all customers and staff members who have been supportive since Day One and during the tough period throughout Circuit Breaker!”

Baker & Cook, various locations islandwide
Website: bakerandcook.biz
FB: Baker & Cook Singapore
IG: @bakerandcooksg

Runner-Up: PS.Cafe

best cafes in singapore 2021 ps cafe

It all began in 1999 as a cosy eatery tucked inside a clothing store called Projectshop. After gaining a following for its hearty takes on cafe classics, PS.Cafe now has 10 outlets in Singapore and three outlets in total in Shanghai and Seoul. Why is it so popular for brunch? The short answer: its to-die-for comfort dishes, including the PS. Fluffy Pancakes ($24) featuring homemade banana jam, blueberries, passionfruit curd and fresh cream, and mouth-watering PS. Brunch Burger ($30) made with a wagyu and U.S. chuck patty, topped with a fried egg and served with a side of shoestring fries. Despite its All-Day menu, food is not the end-all here. PS.Cafe’s bevy of adult beverages and cool after-dark ambience make it perfect for date nights, too.

PS.Cafe, various locations islandwide
Website: pscafe.com
FB: PS.Cafe
IG: @pscafe

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Best Coffee

Winner: Common Man Coffee Roasters

best cafes in singapore 2021 common man coffee

How It All Started

Common Man Coffee Roasters (CMCR) was established with the aim of championing speciality coffee throughout the region. Started in 2013 by Harry Grover, this home-grown bean brand has since evolved into the eponymous cafe and spawned younger siblings Common Man Stan and Grounded by CMCR. But its team still believes in two things: great coffee and good people. “We celebrate the relationships formed during the journey between bean and cup – from the farmers and millers to the baristas and drinkers,” says Harry, who is also founder of the
popular Forty Hands cafes.

best cafes in singapore 2021 common man coffee

Why You Love It

Brewing coffee is an art “to be treated with respect and care”, contends Harry. Not surprisingly, CMCR roasts, sells and serves only speciality-grade Arabica coffee. In addition, it runs a barista training academy, both in Singapore and in Malaysia. You can buy its not-too-pricey, premium beans and other brewing gear at the lovely, light-filled cafe located in River Valley and on its site. (If you’re a java junkie, consider signing up for a coffee subscription!)

Thoughts on Winning

“We feel so honoured to be recognised and, while we love nothing more than making new friends, we do feel very thankful to have so many long-standing and loyal customers who not only cast their votes for us, but who have shown their ongoing support throughout the challenges of 2020,” enthuses the founder. “We are excited for the future ahead, and to keep bringing the good people of Singapore more great coffee!”

Common Man Coffee Roasters, 22 Martin Rd., #01-00, 239058
Website: commonmancoffeeroasters.com
FB: Common Man Coffee Roasters
IG: @commonmancoffee

Runner-Up: Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee

(image: Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee)

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee was a hardware store along Tyrwhitt Road – until PPP Coffee came along and reimagined it as the hip coffee shop it is now. Located along the heritage district of Jalan Besar, it has an industrial exterior with a concept bar inside, which allows for 360-degree views of the space. There’s also an al fresco dining space in its courtyard, where patrons go to enjoy their freshly brewed beverages. While the coffee is the big draw, Chye Seng Huat’s unique blend of tradition and modernity makes for a one-of-a-kind experience in SG.

Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee, 150 Tyrwhitt Rd., 207563
Website: cshhcoffee.com
FB: Chye Seng Huat Hardware
IG: @cshhcoffee

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Best Kid-Friendly

Winner: Open Farm Community

best cafes in singapore 2021 open farm community

How It All Started

Founder and Chairwoman Cynthia Chua of Spa Esprit Group envisioned Open Farm Community to be an accessible space “where children and families can learn more about how the food they eat is grown and reaches their plate”. The popular eatery – situated in a practically bucolic plot in Dempsey – has done that exceptionally well since 2015, while simultaneously serving up deliciously sustainable dishes.

best cafes in singapore 2021 open farm community

Why You Love It

The concept of conscious eating seems less daunting at Open Farm Community. That very principle is embodied in everything the team does. Chef Oliver Truesdale-Jutras and Sous Chef Phoebe Oviedo create menus that celebrate local farmers and highlight native ingredients. Its Farm Cuts selections comprise an Ethical Selection at market price that comes with homemade jus, pickles, herb salt and seasonal sides, as well as the Spring Chicken Set for 2 ($65) – a whole-roasted bird adorned with a tamarind BBQ glaze and green mango salsa, plus two sides.

They go so far as to compost their food scraps, and use the natural, nutrient-rich fertiliser on its urban farm (it is called Open Farm Community, after all). Kids can roam the grounds freely and learn more about edible plants and food sources. No doubt, that’s one big reason families love this place – it’s perfect for occupying little ones who can’t sit still!

Thoughts on Winning

Cynthia says, “This gives us the impetus to continue creating a safe and approachable space for children and families to reconnect with nature, and bond over every facet of the food they eat.”

Open Farm Community, 130E Minden Rd., 248819
Website: openfarmcommunity.com
FB: Open Farm Community
IG: @openfarmcommunity

Runner-Up: Carrotsticks & Cravings

best cafes in singapore 2021 carrotsticks and cravings

Wanting to bring a slice of home to SG, Terri- Anne Leske – who’s from Melbourne – opened Carrotsticks & Cravings in 2017 at Dempsey Hill to serve healthy, Aussie-style superfood to all. She says she also wanted to create a “relaxed, casual setting where bringing the whole family is encouraged”. She nailed it! The original cafe’s al fresco seating in its Loewen Road location allows kids and grown-ups to be in the open air, while enjoying hearty favourites like its Smashed Avo On Sourdough ($18). With two stores in operation – the other is at Robertson Quay – a third Carrotsticks & Cravings may be opened by the time you read this article. “It’s been an amazing journey, and we could not have done it without our regulars, for showing so much love and support to our humble little Aussie-inspired cafe,” says Terri-Anne.

Carrotsticks & Cravings, 75E Loewen Rd., Dempsey 248845 + 7 Rodyk St., #01-34, Robertson Quay, 238215
Website: carrotsticksandcravings.com
FB: Carrotsticks & Cravings
IG: @carrotsticksandcravings

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Best Food-Allergy Friendly

Winner: The Butcher’s Wife

best cafes in singapore 2021 the butchers wife

How It All Started

Since opening in 2018, this cosy neighbourhood cafe – nestled in Tiong Bahru – has been committed to making an entirely gluten-free menu as mouth-wateringly delicious as possible.

Why You Love It

best cafes in singapore 2021 the butchers wife

The Butcher’s Wife uses only “fresh handmade ingredients, utilising fermentation techniques to go with a strong list of natural wine sources from across the globe”, shares Cynthia Chua, Founder and Chairwoman of Spa Esprit Group, which manages the eatery. And for those with gluten intolerances or allergies, the eatery is a godsend. It’s one of the few places where you don’t have to scan every item on the menu carefully, or ask staff about ingredients.

Chef Mariana Campos D’Almeida says she likes to push the boundaries of “balanced, gut-friendly, 100 percent gluten-free cuisine”. In addition, The Butcher’s Wife’s extensive natural wine collection tends to be easier on the digestive system, too.

Thoughts on Winning

“Amazing. We have deep ties with the gluten-free community, who has really been our biggest advocate and allowed us to garner a strong following of diners – within and beyond the gluten-free community. Even those who are not gluten-intolerant have shared that they don’t miss gluten when they dine with us, as the dishes are so flavourful! We want to be able to keep pushing the boundaries of gluten-free with culinary offerings that can excite any palate.”

The Butcher’s Wife, 19 Yong Siak St., 168650
Website: thebutcherswifesg.com
FB: The Butcher’s Wife – Tiong Bahru
IG: @thebutcherswifesg

Runner-Up: The Whole Kitchen Bakery Cafe

best cafes in singapore 2021 the whole kitchen

Feel free to make yourself at home at this six-year-old brand’s new cafe location in Katong. The Whole Kitchen’s wholesome dishes and drinks are especially welcoming to those with dietary restrictions. From delightful gluten-free sandwiches to artificial sugar-free cakes and muffins, as well as low-carb quiches, this is where to go to satisfy your cravings without upsetting the stomach (or blowing your diet). Co-founders Anne Swain and Susan Soulard say, “We are truly happy and proud to win this award, and send a big thank-you to those who voted for us. We’ll make sure to keep up our good service and offer delicious and healthy food at our cafe.”

The Whole Kitchen, 11 East Coast Rd., #01-16 Odeon Bldg., 428722
Website: thewholekitchen.com.sg
FB: The Whole Kitchen
IG: @the_wholekitchen

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Best Heartland

Winner: Common Chefs Bistro

best cafes in singapore 2021 common chefs bistro

How It All Started

Sure, this homey establishment in the quaint Sembawang district may call itself a bistro, but the majority of The Finder’s online voters considered it worthy of claiming the top spot for heartland cafes. One thing that’s not in question: It has been a go-to place for people to gather over yummy food made from scratch, since opening its doors in 2016.

best cafes in singapore 2021 common chefs bistro

Why You Love It

You can find unique creations and all-time favourites here. The menu is designed with culinary innovation in mind, says Sandy Yam (Director) and Advin Shannawaz (Cafe Manager). Take, for example, its Wazza! creation, a scrumptious union of waffles and pizza. Among the different versions is Full Breakfast ($12), which starts with a buttermilk waffle base, with layers of bacon, mozzarella, mushrooms and tomatoes, plus a runny egg on top.

Open till 10 p.m. every day, you can enjoy breakfast all day, or go for weekend brunch and sink your teeth into the Rich Man burger ($16), an unholy-meets-heavenly concoction involving a chorizo patty, smoked cheddar cheese and melted cheddar sauce, sauteed mushrooms, caramelised onions, scrambled eggs, truffle mayo and a side of tater tots.

Thoughts on Winning

“It was an eventful 2020 with the pandemic. The cafe went from having dine-in to having takeaways and deliveries only during Circuit Breaker,” shares Sandy and Advin. “But our team has learnt to be resilient and adapt to changes, such as having an online menu, and abiding by safe-distancing and temperature-taking rules. We thank all the staff of Common Chefs Bistro for their hard work, and the customers for supporting local businesses during this pandemic!”

Common Chefs Bistro, 8 Jln Legundi, #01-13, 759274
FB: Common Chefs
IG: @commonchefsbistro

Runner-Up: Lola’s Cafe

best cafes in singapore 2021 lolas cafe

Since its establishment in the Kovan nabe eight years ago, Lola’s Cafe has been satisfying residents’ brunch and coffee cravings. As co founder June Tan explains, Lola’s serves “unpretentious, gratifying good food and coffee in the heartland, where you do not have to fuss over what you wear”. And don’t forget about dessert! All are made in-house, from the Hummingbird Cake ($5.60) with bananas, pineapples, cinnamon and cream cheese frosting, to the signature Lola’s Chocolate Cake ($6.50) boasting cocoa sponge and buttercream, hazelnut feuilletine and even more chocolatiness. With a backyard feel, this is a great place to kick back.

Lola’s Cafe, 5 Simon Rd., 545893
Website: lolascafe.com.sg
FB: Lola’s Cafe
IG: @lolascafesg

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Best Cosy

Winner: Genius Central Singapore

best cafes in singapore 2021 genius central

How It All Started

You’ll probably spot smart-looking individuals holding group meetings while chugging down cups of coffee at this cafe. Only in business for a year, it’s quickly attracted entrepreneurs and digital nomads, as Genius Central’s passion is inspiring and supporting future change-makers.

best cafes in singapore 2021 genius central

Why You Love It

Singapore may be a long way from Silicon Valley, but this contemporary-yet-cosy cafe is paving the way for more creative co-working. Just some examples: The laptop-friendly 150-seater boasts screen projectors and power plugs all around. On top of that, its extensive and accommodating menu features foods that are “as close to nature as possible”, says Chef Cynthia Louise. It has plenty of vegan and vegetarian options like the Pumpkin Ricotta Pizza ($20), and a variety of gluten-free fare, too.

And get this: The cafe is owned by The Genius Group, a member of the United Nations Global Compact initiative which is committed to help achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (for e.g., eradicating poverty and ensuring quality education for all) by 2030. Plus, it even holds weekly Outdoor Yoga classes on Wednesdays and Acupressure Talks on Thursdays.

Thoughts on Winning

“We’re extremely humbled and thankful,” says Chef Cynthia simply.

Genius Central Singapore, 7 Amoy St., #01-01, Far East Square, 049949
Website: geniuscentralsingapore.com
FB: Genius Central Singapore
IG: @geniuscentralsingapore

Runner-Up: The Book Cafe

best cafes in singapore 2021 the book cafe

Nestled near the south of the island, The Book Cafe has been many a book lover’s happy place since its opening in 2000. What sets it apart: comfy sofas, ample power sockets, delish foods and plenty of reading material to choose from. “We were inspired to be the second living room for patrons to chill, browse, drink and enjoy comfort food,” shares Chief Operating Officer Max Lee, who says his staff has never chased away people who happened to doze off. But, with comfort levels hat high – we can see why snooze-catchers keep coming back.

The Book Cafe, 20 Martin Rd., #01-02, Seng Kee Bldg., 239070
Website: thebookcafesg.com
FB: The Book Cafe
IG: @thebookcafesg

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Best Pet-Friendly

Winner: Wildseed Cafe @ The Summerhouse

best cafes in singapore 2021 wildseed cafe

How It All Started

Situated within charmingly rustic restaurant The Summerhouse, which itself is located in the lush Seletar Aerospace area, Wildseed Cafe is all about providing guests with an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Its Alice in Wonderland-esque decor is just one aspect. Beyond that, the cafe has sought to create a space where guests can “be one with nature while feeling at home”, explains Jezreel Castro, who is Marketing In-Charge for The Summerhouse. Given that Wildseed is celebrating its fourth anniversary in March 2021, it’s probably safe to say it’s been fulfilling its goals well.

wildseed cafe

Why You Love It

What helped the cafe clinch the award? The fact that fur-kids are welcomed in its beautiful nursery-like setting. But whether you bring along a four-legged friend or not, the menu is a must-try. Everything is made with sustainably sourced ingredients from local farmers. Oh, and did we mention that its frequently updated special menus rarely disappoint? We’re talking about recent offerings like an Afternoon Tea Set for two ($40) and Big Pan Breakfast ($28).

Thoughts on Winning

“With all that’s happened the past year, we’re just incredibly thankful for the love poured in when we reopened after the Circuit Breaker. We’re glad we could provide a space our guests and their furry friends can call a home away from home at any season.”

Wildseed Cafe @ The Summerhouse
Website: thesummerhouse.sg/wildseed-cafe

FB: Wildseed at The Summerhouse
IG: @wildseedsg

Runner-Up: Open Farm Community

open farm community

Urban farming is at the heart of this doubly honoured cafe – read more about why it clinched the Kid-Friendly Cafe award above. But what the lush grounds really offer for parents of kids or pets is lots of nature for them to explore. Founder Cynthia Chua has this to say about being named Runner-Up in this category. “We’re thrilled to be a choice spot for our furry friends and their paw-rents. The little fellas never fail to brighten up our patio on weekends.”

Open Farm Community, 130E Minden Rd., 248819
Website: openfarmcommunity.com
FB: Open Farm Community
IG: @openfarmcommunity

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Best Dessert

Winner: Plain Vanilla Bakery

plain vanilla bakery

How It All Started

After working four years in the legal industry and building wind farms (wow!), Vanessa Kenchington desired to have a profession with a direct impact on the community. Prior to leaving the law profession and starting Plain Vanilla Bakery in 2011, Vanessa spent eight years as a home baker. Fast forward to 2021 – and four stores later – and she still believes that the simplest pleasures in life are the most satisfying. “[We] strive to offer products that remind our customers of the contentment found in a good old-fashioned piece of cake.”

plain vanilla bakery

Why You Love It

Dessert can be easily overdone but, at this cafe, the secret to keeping everyone returning is simplicity – that and consistency. “We make simple pleasures accessible to everyone,” says Vanessa. With a wide selection of delectable goodies including brownies, cookies, cupcakes, doughnuts, tarts and muffins, often fan favourites get snapped up quickly. So it pays to go early!

You can even customise orders based on your dietary preferences. Whether you’re gluten-intolerant or vegetarian, there’s always something you can savour at Plain Vanilla Bakery. Come March 2021, its Telok Ayer deli menu will feature five new wholesome mains. Also keep a lookout for its fifth store opening this year.

Thoughts on Winning

“We are very thankful for the customers and partners who have supported us through this 10-year journey. They are [the reason] we never stop trying to offer simple yet satisfying food, while creating thoughtful content and building meaningful relationships,” says Vanessa.

Plain Vanilla Bakery, multiple locations
Website: plainvanilla.com.sg
FB: Plain Vanilla Bakery
IG: @pvbakery

Runner-Up: Sunday Folks

sunday folks

Think thick flowy ice cream and stacked, fluffy waffles and, chances are, Sunday Folks comes to mind. Founded in 2014 with a vision to make every day feel like Sunday, this cafe has amassed a loyal following of dessert lovers who flock to its store for freshly churned, natural ingredients-only treats. It’s really no wonder that queues are a regular sight, with its chic interior and cosy atmosphere. But, based on its Runner-Up award, it’s definitely worth the wait. And, even if it always feels like Sunday here – the experience never gets old!

Sunday Folks, 44 Jln. Merah Saga, #01-52 Chip Bee Gardens, 278116
Website: sundayfolks.com
FB: Sunday Folks
IG: @wearesunday

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By Willaine G. Tan + Isabel Wibowo, The Finder Issue 306, March 2021 / Images: Courtesy of the respective cafes.

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