Located on the east side of Singapore, the vibrant neighbourhood of Jalan Besar is home to a range of hip cafés and eateries.
You can easily spend an entire afternoon hopping from one spot to another, all while tucking into hearty brunch plates, classic French pastries and modern takes on local cuisine. The district is also making a name for itself as a haven for Third Wave coffee, so you will have plenty of fuel for your trip.
The Bravery Café
There are no signs or visible doors to mark the entrance of this joint, so look out for the glass-fronted façade to find The Bravery Café. “Minimalism” is the calling card of this café, which boasts a space littered with fairy lights, low-slung plastic crates and plywood boards for tables.
A small kitchen dishes out main courses such as steak spaghetti, crab cakes and burgers, but the Allpress coffee is the main draw here. If you want a cuppa that is out of the ordinary, go for the lavender latte, which is gently infused with the fragrant flower.
The Bravery Café. 66 Horne Road, Singapore 209073. +65 9388 2973.
Mon-Thu & Sun 9am-6pm; Sat & Sun 9am-10pm.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware
Located on the compounds of a former hardware store, this café is an institution among caffeine-loving locals for its artisanal brews. Coffees are rotated on a seasonal basis to highlight some of the best farms, which means you are always guaranteed an excellent cup, whether you go for an espresso or a cold-brewed black coffee.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware also cranks out hand-brews that are made with single-origin beans and brewed by the cup. On the food menu, you will find peach and passionfruit ice cream cheesecake, a wagyu beef burger and quinoa with deep-fried halibut.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware. 150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207563. +65 6396 0609.
Tue-Thu & Sun 9am-10pm; Fri & Sat 9am-midnight.
With its beautiful, minimalistic interior decked out in Scandinavian furniture, Apartment Coffee boasts delights for both eyes and palette. As its name suggests, the space boasts an inviting ambience that’ll remind you of grabbing coffee in a friend’s living room.
Beside its single origin coffee blends from countries like Ethiopia and Colombia, the café’s menu also includes a range of baked goods for peckish visitors.
Apartment Coffee. 161 Lavender Street #01-12, Singapore 338750.
More than just a café, The Refinery fuses a mixology bar, a design workshop and a restaurant into one space. Depending on the time of day you visit, you’ll be able to grab brunch, savour Japanese yakitori or chow down on Western-inspired comfort food.
If you have a sweet tooth as well as a caffeine craving, we recommend trying one of the many flavoured lattes and mochas on their menu.
The Refinery. 115 King George’s Avenue #01-02, Singapore 208561. +65 6293 1204.
Tue-Thu noon-3pm, 6-11pm; Fri noon-3pm, 6pm-1am; Sat 11am-4pm, 6-11pm; Sun 11am-4pm.
For sweet treats
If there is one thing you should know about Antoinette, it’s that the French-inspired patisserie and tea lounge is devoted to its sweets—they taste as good as they look. Go for the namesake dessert, the Antoinette, which incorporates Earl Grey-infused milk chocolate mousse with chocolate biscuit, tea cream, raspberry coulis and tea crumble. Or, for a lighter treat, dig your fork into the Chloe: it has yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit) cream with white chocolate mousse and sponge on an almond sable.
On the savoury side of the menu, Antoinette whips up hearty European dishes, such as wagyu beef cheek, French chicken & sausage casserole and soufflé pancakes with savoury sides.
Antoinette. 30 Penhas Road, Singapore 208188. +65 6293 3121.
Mon-Thu 11am-10pm; Fri 11am-11pm; Sat 10am-11pm; Sun 10am-10pm.
The Butter Studio
In this comfy Halal café, cakes and pastries are built from scratch using farm-fresh eggs, seasonal fruits and local produce. The stars here are the cupcakes, baked using recipes passed down from owner Shannon Lua’s grandmother, that are so perfectly crumbly they alone are worth the trip down to Jalan Besar.
Flavours—which change daily—run the gamut from red velvet to Nutella to the bestselling salted gula melaka (palm sugar). Besides the cupcakes, there are also tarts that come in a rainbow of flavours, such as speculoos cookie butter and lemon meringue, as well as slices of honest-to-goodness cake. If you’ve got the little ones in tow, the family-friendly café also has baby chairs for your convenience.
The Butter Studio. 147 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208865. +65 6294 7115.
Mon-Thu noon-9pm; Fri noon-11pm; Sat 11am-midnight; Sun 11am-9pm.
Run by two Le Cordon Bleu Paris-trained chefs, the artisanal bakery whips up French and fusion pastries fresh daily. These two artisans are passionate about creating beautiful edible art—the eclairs, tarts and 3-D fondant cakes here are almost too gorgeous to eat. Japanese-styled hotcakes are served with a heap of desiccated coconut, top with gula melaka.
Two Bakers. 88 Horne Road, Singapore 209083. +65 6293 0329.
Mon-Thu 8am-6pm; Fri-Sun 9am-6pm.