Tiong Bahru, one of Singapore’s oldest neighbourhoods, has long been recognised for its charm. Full of original Art Deco buildings and an impressive collection of cafés and restaurants, here’s a list of Culture Trip’s favourite places to grab a cup of joe and a snack.
There is no doubt that Plain Vanilla Bakery is a favourite, especially for its classic recipes and adorable décor. It’s a great place to spend a relaxing afternoon catching up with friends or an engrossing book. If you’re feeling peckish, the menu has a few sweet and savoury items, but the true highlight is their delightful cupcakes. The Lemon Meringue comes highly recommended, but you’ll definitely want more than one!
Opened in 2010, 40 Hands is one of the original hipster cafés in not just Tiong Bahru but all of Singapore. Owner Harry Grover named the café with the belief that it takes 40 hands to produce a cup of coffee. He was one of the earlier advocates in Singapore of the third wave coffee movement, which champions environmentally sustainable production methods and higher quality coffees. In 2014, Grover was part of the team that opened Common Man Coffee Roasters, now sold across the island.
Another stalwart of the neighbourhood, Tiong Bahru Bakery, opened by celebrity baker Gontran Cherrier, is best known for its croissants and other baked goods, but the bakery also offers a few savoury treats on the menu. You will love their poster that artistically shows how different drinks are prepared so that you don’t have to ask the barista a million questions while you decide what to order.
This café and bar has one of the larger menus among this selection of places to check out in Tiong Bahru, but that just gives you an excuse to go more than once! They run a ‘buy one, get one’ lunch promo that makes it even easier to sample from their large menu. Chapter 55 also has a laid-back atmosphere, making it a comfortable place to do some work or spend a few hours with friends.