Out being social with fam and friends in SG’s famed shopping district, Orchard Road, but need some distancing from the masses? Yes, you can head to a Starbucks to put your feet up and get a frappaccino. Problem is, so are your fellow shoppers whom you are trying to avoid. So which decent cafe can you go that the others probably won’t? Here are 5 lesser-known coffee spots to escape to when you are done with shopping.
Cupping Room Coffee Roasters
Seeking some place hidden and fancy? The new kid on the block (it opened in October this year) will meet your standards. Hailing from Hong Kong, this small batch roastery is renowned for its award-winning brewing techniques (it won the Hong Kong National Barista Championships 5 times). Look forward to house blends made with top-grade beans, as well as sweeter concoctions such as mocha and its Yuki Matcha Latte that’s made with oat milk. Those feeling peckish can snack on a modest menu featuring bites such as Kouign-Amann or its version of the hipster-staple, avocado toast. But first, let you take a selfie, sat in its minimalist brown and cream coloured interior (designed by luxury home design firm Brewin Design Office) opposite luxe jewellery and watch brand Van Cleef & Arpels’ boutique, drinking your hot teatime fix of choice from an artisanal ceramic cup. Classy.
Cupping Room Coffee Roasters is at 391 Orchard Road, Ngee Ann City, Takashimaya Shopping Centre, #02-10A, 238872.
Visit www.facebook.com/Cupping-Room-Coffee-Roasters-Singapore-101669128143646; www.instagram.com/cuppingroomsg
Plain Vanilla Bakery
Must shop, cannot stop, but have to drink a latte now, not later? Why not do both at the same time at this homegrown cafe. Housed within local fashion brand In Good Company’s first flagship store, this Plain Vanilla Bakery outlet may have been around since 2015, but it may not have pinged on your radar as a go-to respite in town. While seats are scarce, the menu does offer a proper list of coffees (long black, white and expresso) and teas (loose leafs and lattes), along with a selection of deli sandwiches. And who can resist the cupcakes? Choose any of the bakery’s signature ones, or try its new holiday flavours, Christmas Fruitcake, Dark Chocolate Brandy Butter or Chocolate Gingerbread.
Alchemist Design Orchard (DO)
A “rest stop” situated by a bustling 4-way street junction yet completely missed by street passersby, Alchemist is nestled on the rooftop of Design Orchard and concealed by greenery. To find it, just climb the side stairway at the front of the building, then up the steps to The Cocoon Space @ Design Orchard. This fourth outpost of local specialty coffee chain Alchemist is great for the ‘gram: It’s an industrial concrete, steel and glass box with a plant-filled exterior, housing a terrazzo coffee bar and a spacious seating area. Once you’re done posting about this year-old cafe, sit by the floor-to-ceiling windows, sip on expressos and peck on pastries (croissants, Danishes, etc.) supplied by local micro-bakery The Bakehaus. Or, take away your bevs and food fare to the garden terrace steps outside to people-watch and enjoy the open view of Orchard Road with your other half.
The Community Coffee
Sometimes, all you want is to do is to nurse a good ole’ cuppa alone, far from the madding crowd. Perfect for quality caffeine lovers, this compact, bare-bones cafe is an unexpected gem in strata-mall Far East Plaza, serving up affordable (prices hover around the $6 mark for a cup) barista-brewed coffee (think black, white and expresso, hot or cold). Just don’t expect too much by way of bakes and bites. Tie up your shopping excursion with its Pinnacle series of intimate sessions where the cafe will introduce the different types of competition-level coffees and beans that every coffee junkie ought to know to make your outing more productive. Check out the cafe’s Facebook for details.
Jurassic World Cafe
Kids in tow, but don’t know where to go? You might need some place more interesting than your normal coffee joint. While this cafe-slash-resto is not exactly unknown, Jurassic World Cafe can be considered a hideout of sorts – it’s located at ION Sky, on Level 56 of ION Orchard, way above street-level and away from the throng. What will keep you and your little ones occupied: eats such as a black, charcoal bunned, Wagyu beef Jurassic World Burger and Lava Cookies, plus hot lattes, cappuccinos and mochas served with a dinosaur-imprinted rice paper atop. These and the life-sized statue of Blue the Velociraptor, the awe-inspiring view of Singapore’s skyline, and a retail section selling Jurassic World merch. Note: This cafe will “become extinct” after 3 January 2021.
Featured image: Alchemist Facebook