Sure, cool cafes cover hipster areas like Tiong Bahru.
But, these hidden cafes in the west Singapore are some of the best that most people don’t know about.
*COVID Update: Remember to check ahead if they’re taking reservations! Also, let’s keep group gatherings to a maximum of 8 people, shall we? Mask up, practice social distancing, and embrace the new normal.
1. Oh My Mango
As you can guess from its name, this cafe is all about mangoes — well, almost. Aside from its signature mango drinks (there’s about 7), there’s also toast, Thai Milk Tea and Bingsu (Korean shaved ice) desserts. But if you must go mango, there’s also Mango Sticky Rice, Mango Bingsu and Mango Sticky Rice Toast to be had.
For those who want to try something else good but different here, the Thai Milk Toast is a sweet-beast of a dessert — the thick loaf comes with Thai milk ice cream, cookie crumbles, sliced almonds and drizzled with Thai milk tea sauce. Hunt it down at level 1 of a lesser known mall in the West called Gek Poh Shopping Centre.
762 Jurong West St 75, #01-334, 640762
2. W39 Bistro And Bakery
The menu reads well, from a healthy Quinoa Salad to a more indulgent Pork Loin Cordon Bleu, but most people are here for their homemade cakes — our favourites are the Red Velvet as well as the Rainbow cake.
39 Jln Mas Puteh, 128637
3. Paddy Hills
Let’s just say The Finder has willingly travelled to the far end of Singapore to this café multiple times, and not once has the food disappointed. The Finder‘s favourites at brunch: the legendary Berry Muffcake, and the Pan-Fried Seabass, on a bed of rosti blanketed by a sunny side up. But listen up: The cafe just launched a new menu in 2019 so you have to check out its Facebook page to see if these faves made it. The cafe isn’t exactly easy to get to, so as far as hidden cafes in the west go, you can be sure for an adventure.
38 South Buona Vista Rd, 118164
4. Swee Lee Social Club
Some of you might recognise Swee Lee as a homegrown SG music instruments supplier brand, but betcha ya didn’t know that its flagship store at The Star Vista is also home to an in-house cafe called Swee Lee Social Club (a clever play on Buena Vista Social Club if it’s intended).
It’s a cosy set-up (all blonde wood furniture), with a simple enough menu featuring the usual spin of coffee drinks such as lattes, espressos and mochas, and its coffees are brewed with beans from local beans specialist Common Man Coffee Roasters. But here’s its “off-the-record” special: Hassle the staff for the secret menu. It is rotational, small (some 5 items get onto this) and has featured items such as waffles and dessert toasts before.
1 Vista Exchange Green, The Star Vista, #01- 01/10, 138617
5. Jimmy Monkey Cafe
As a native Melbournian (and we all know how much they love their coffee), Jimmy Monkey promises the “ultimate coffee experience”, with amazing coffees made with beans roasted on-site from some of the best Independent and Rainforest Alliance farms. On the food front, expect humble fare like toasted focaccias to rustic pastas and frittatas. As far as hidden cafes in the west of Singapore go, this is definitely one of the cafes people recommend to visit if you want to get away from the main crowds.
*COVID Update: Remember to check ahead if they’re taking reservations! Also, let’s keep group gatherings to a maximum of 5 people, shall we? Mask up, practice social distancing, and embrace the new normal.
9 One-North Gateway, One-North Residences, #01-51, 138643
6. Boyle’s Coffee Cafe
Nestled inside Bukit Timah Plaza (yes, that tiny mall on Bukit Timah Road) Boyle’s Coffee Cafe is an artisanal coffee boutique. The focus is entirely on coffee and there’s plenty of latte varieties to keep you going back for more. Think good ole regular lattes to cold brew nitro coffee. It’s just beside Rise & Grind Cafe, so you can finish whatever little shopping you have at the mall, grab some brunch and finish it off with some artisanal coffee. Sounds like a perfect weekend to us.
L1-CS1 Bukit Timah Plaza, 1 Jalan Anak Bukit SG, 588996
7. Monki Cafe
Even if a little out of the way, you shouldn’t miss this cheery, bright yellow cafe once you are in the Holland Drive vicinity. It serves cafe-interpretations of familiar traditional comfort dishes of Taiwan. Highlights here include Lu Rou Fan or Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice that has stewed savoury pork and chicken stewed in homemade glutinous rice wine.
And if your LO and you have had enough of ice cream, try snowflake or shaved iced desserts for a change. The ones here are made in-house with fresh ingredients — the watermelon comes with the fruit cubed, while the mixed fruit version comes with purple dragonfruit and Australian mangoes. Or, buy the Taiwanese Traditional Cakes that comes in two flavours, Original and Cheese, that’s like a dense sponge cake with an eggy taste.
43 Holland Dr, #01-41, 270043
8. Bok’s Kitchen by Hidden Chefs
Nestled along Boon Lay Avenue, Bok’s Kitchen by Hidden Chefs is a homey cafe that’s situated out-of-sight within a block of flats.
For breakfast, you can expect local delights like economic bee hoon (rice vermicelli) and nasi lemak (Malay fragrant rice dish) off-the-menu. The menu features cafe fare such as grain bowls and bread bowls, as well as a selection of coffee, tea and dessert options. Their dinner service in the evening also include popular local dishes like Curry Chicken and Ginger Onion Stir Fry Slice Fish Rice.
Try the cafe’s Char Siew Rice Bowl, one of the most popular dishes on the menu with succulent char siew (barbecued pork) served on Italian spiced rice with 63-degree egg.
Boon Lay Ave, Blk 216, #01-01, 640216
By Pinky Chng / Additional reporting by Cheryl Lim + Christopher Ong Ujine / Updated by Willaine G. Tan, September 2020. Images: provided by restaurants or from their social media pages.
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