Bugis has been going through a massive resurgence over the last two decades. The various areas have seen all sorts of establishments setting up shop – it’s not the mass-market chains but the rather diminutive niche shops that one should pay particular attention to. One of the more popular hotspots are the various cafes that have popped up along its back alleys and streets, proffering some of the more unique beans and flavours to be seen in Singapore.
Fika Swedish Cafe & Bistro
Cafe, Restaurant, Swedish, $$$
Besides IKEA, this is one of the other places you can get your Swedish fix if you ever need one. The design feels like being in someone’s home, with sofas and tables made like the ones in your dining room. The food is Swedish-inspired so expect the all-time favourite meatballs and the lamb stew while having tea served in a pot or any of their refreshing coffee offerings.
Dong Po Colonial Cafe
Cafe, Asian, $$$
A cafe with a decidedly old-school decor that attempts to bring a very classic Singaporean and homely feel into their venue. It’s definitely one of the more affordable places in Singapore, and has been able to blend a classic Singaporean coffee and tea experience and giving it a nostalgic vibe with its museum-like decorations to further enhance the mood.
Cafe, American, $$$
Located in the historical Kampong Glam neighbourhood, this cool multi-storied locale offers a very diverse range of services in a cafe that seems to resemble a concert more than dining place. This concept also is part of why they have live bands from time to time and besides their great coffee and affogatos, they offer a menu of delicious meals and a stocked up bar with both local and international offerings.
Working Title Cafe
Cafe, American, Asian, Fusion, $$$
Another one to blend the old and the new but giving a more rough and hip edge, like entering a friends bedroom or studio apartment. The food proportions are renowned for being huge and they serve some great coffee, which maintains the classic coffee taste that is popular with the locals, but with that precision and presentation that have become very popular with coffee culture. A great place to chill and hang out with a group or even alone.
Tolido's Espresso Nook
Cafe, American, $$$
Another great and affordable place to dine in, offering some good old-fashioned coffee on top of very interesting fusion dishes such as the pandan-flavoured pancakes. It has a really cosy atmosphere when you enter and it’s down-to-earth vibe makes it a great place to just sit back and enjoy. The great thing about their food and coffee is the detail that goes into it, using natural flavours and high-quality beans but doing so without being oppressively expensive.
Cafe, Mexican, Fusion, $$$
A unique Mexican taqueria serving in a more urban and chic environment, Afterwit has been making waves since it started out as the usual generic cafe. Focusing on Mexican cuisine gave them an edge in an otherwise saturated dining market. And of course, the added combination of artisanal coffee that has been perfected from experience is a great bonus.
Coffee Shop, Korean, $$$
A multi-faceted venue that transforms into a bar at night, becoming Singapore’s only makgeolli bar, Juju Coffee has been increasingly popular for their Korean-style servings. Their designer coffee is wonderfully brewed to perfection with a concoction of beans from Colombia, Brazil, Sumatra and Guatemala. Their cold milky coffee brew, one of their more popular offerings, is patiently crafted for over 12 hours!
Cafe, Australian, $$$
If you’re looking for something very different when it comes to your coffee or drinks, this place should be high on your list. Located in Arab Street, one of their popular choices is the Breakfast Bong, a huge creamy glass of avocado and espresso with an added vanilla flavour. The freshly-brewed coffee is perfect with their Western-inspired meals, which have surprisingly made fans out of detractors of specific dishes and meals.