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.
For chill vibes and caffeine fixes
With its chic industrial aesthetics and minimalist décor, Lucid makes for a great spot to get both a strong cup of joe and a snap or two for your Instagram feed.
Besides single espresso black and white coffee, you’ll also find blends made with beans from Panama, El Salvador and Ethiopia.
While the brews here are undoubtedly the main draw, dessert lovers should also sample the café’s Cloud Beta 0.1 pastry—a confection that comprises white chocolate mousse atop fluffy shortbread.
If you’re looking to indulge in an afternoon tipple, the café boasts a selection of cocktails made with whisky, Irish rum and vodka.
Lucid. 38 Hamilton Road, Singapore 209208.
Mon, Wed-Fri 11am-7.30pm; Sat & Sun 10am-7.30pm.
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, chilli crab and mantou (fried buns), and pan-roasted sea bass.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware. 150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207563. +65 6396 0609.
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 grain bowls 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-Sat 11am-3pm, 5-10pm; Sun 11am-5pm.
For sweet treats and decadent desserts
Sweet treats and sinful desserts take front and centre stage at Wimbly Lu, located just a stone’s throw away from Chye Seng Huat Hardware. This cosy space serves up a range of toothsome desserts—ranging from classic waffles to more novel fare like their root beer float cake and Earl Grey mousse cake.
Wash it all down with a cup of Mayan Hot Chocolate, and don’t forget to take away their signature chocolate truffles, which comes with a variety of fillings like salted caramel, champagne and rum and raisin.
Wimbly Lu. 166 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207570. +65 6291 8138.
Mon-Fri 11am-10pm; Sat & Sun 9am-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, topped with gula melaka.
Two Bakers. 88 Horne Road, Singapore 209083. +65 6293 0329.
Mon-Thu & Sun 9am-6pm; Fri&Sat 10am-10pm.