Welcome to Tiong Bahru, which has gone from sleepy housing estate to one of Singapore’s most vibrant and youthful districts. A popular haunt for local hipsters, there’s no shortage of excellent cafés that serve brunch food, desserts, and coffee in the area. Here we explore the best morning options in Tiong Bahru.
If it’s bread and pastry you’re after then look no further than Tiong Bahru Bakery. Opened by Normandy-born artisan baker Gontran Cherrier, this establishment has become a local favourite in Tiong Bahru. Their classic croissant and decadent cream cakes are among the most popular items.
If you like your brunch with eggs, Forty Hands will not disappoint. One of the most well-known brunch spots in Tiong Bahru, its menu includes eggs cooked in almost every way. From eggs Benedict to baked eggs and a big breakfast. What propelled Forty Hands to fame, aside from its relaxed ambiance, is the coffee, so be sure to order that with your brunch to find out why this café enjoys its fame.
While it serves your standard variety of brunch and café food, this family-run joint has an undertone of sincerity and authenticity which is usually lacking in the more commercialized restaurants. With its modern industrial-inspired decor, warm service, and simple but fresh food, Flock Café has a cosy feel that will make you feel right at home. With an all day breakfast on the menu, this is one of the best brunch places for late risers. Address: #01-25 Tiong Bahru Estate, 78 Moh Guan Terrace, Singapore, +65 63778997
Cheeky Eggs at Flock Cafe | Courtesy of Flock Cafe
If you want to experience a Singaporean brunch instead of those offered at Western cafes, go to the Tiong Bahru Food Centre. You can’t go wrong with the classically Singaporean Kaya Toast, which spreads a sweet coconut jam over crispy toast, with soft boiled eggs mixed with pepper. Or try the Chee Cheong Fun, a type of glutinous rice roll with assorted sauces. Of course, food centre favourites such as Roti Prata, Carrot Cake, and various types of buns and noodles are also available.
Though at first glance it may seem more of a dessert café than a brunch spot, Drips Bakery has a surprising variety of bread, pastries, and tarts perfect for a late breakfast. The shop, which has a cosy and genuine atmosphere, prides itself on the use of completely natural ingredients and flavourings. For brunch, try their local fusion buns which have exotic fillings such as tuna and lime or sambal prawn, along with coffee or tea.
Dough & Grains was the first joint in Singapore to come up with the innovative idea of infusing traditional Chinese medicine into bread. The herbs used as medicine in this ancient practice not only have an unpleasant odour, but also taste bitter. Dough & Grains has cleverly found a way to eliminate the smell, solving the problem of the unappetizing taste of the herbs while maintaining their health benefits. What is most remarkable about Dough & Grains, however, is that it has built up a sense of community in Tiong Bahru, not only for the hipster newcomers but also for the residents of the old Tiong Bahru Estate. Address: 5 Burn Road #05-02, Singapore 369972, +65 68585223
This café-slash-art gallery is one of the lesser-known cafés in Tiong Bahru, partially because it is often overlooked in favour of its more popular neighbour, the Tiong Bahru Bakery. While The Orange Thimble is mostly famed for its ice cream and lunch, this artsy café has an all-day-breakfast menu on weekends that includes items such as the English Breakfast Burger, and the BBC (bacon, brie, cranberry). Artwork is put up over the cafe, giving it a chic and creative vibe.
One of the signature restaurants in Tiong Bahru, Open Door Policy has a New York vibe. With its chic urban decor with vintage streaks, it is the perfect place for socialising and catching up with friends. While the food is made with fresh and flavourful ingredients, Open Door Policy owes its success to the hip, lively ambience brought by the cool diners who hang out there.
Situated inside a former traditional Chinese medical clinic, The Dispensary has retained much of the furniture and décor of its predecessor. This gives the shop an oriental vintage look that lends itself to a nostalgic ambience. Juxtaposing the antique, Asian setting is Western food; while The Dispensary is known for its desserts and cupcakes, it also serves typical café and brunch foods such as bagels and sandwiches. With its décor of Singapore’s eastern history, and western food and coffee, The Dispensary perfectly represents Tiong Bahru – and Singapore’s – multi-cultural heritage.
Though it rests on the outskirts of Tiong Bahru, Ye Shang Hai Teochew Porridge is worth the trek. This stall, located at Boyang Coffee Shop, serves rice porridge and other classic Teochew dishes that are perfect for a south-east Asian breakfast or brunch. Don’t expect a suave crowd here; it’s a favourite haunt for locals and taxi drivers, especially late at night and in the morning. That’s due to their smooth hot porridge and the extremely budget prices, which makes the food worth far more than it costs.