Obscure neighbourhood cafes in Singapore
Dining in cafes has become a way of life for Singaporeans - so much so that the more popular ones are becoming really packed and queuing for seats has become the norm.
The next time you want to just chill and enjoy a cuppa, skip the usual “been there, done that” haunts that everyone already knows about, and head down to these quieter, lesser-known cafes tucked in corners of our heartlands. Whether you’re craving some sinful nacho cheese burgers or over-the-top milkshakes, these neighbourhood cafes have got you covered.
- NORTH -
1. Common Chefs - for hearty burgers and waffle-pizza hybrids
When you visit Common Chefs, be sure to check out their Rich Man Burger ($16). It features a juicy chorizo patty, scrambled eggs and truffle mayo, with nacho cheese sauce and tater tots served on the side for maximum indulgence.
Do try out their unique Full Breakfast Wazza ($12), a waffle-pizza hybrid served with savory mozzarella, tomatoes and a fried egg laid on top of sweet buttermilk waffle.
Address: 8 Jalan Legundi, #01-13, Singapore 759274
Opening Hours: Tues - Fri: 12PM-10PM | 11:30PM-10PM (Closed on Monday)
Telephone: 6659 1208
2. Holy Cow Creamery - for handmade ice cream and charcoal waffles
Yishun may have a bad rep, but what it should be known for is the Holy Cow Creamery, a cafe specialising in lava cakes, ice cream and waffles. They’re best known for their rich Mao Shan Wang ($5) flavour, handmade with real durian flesh. Add it onto a charcoal waffle drizzled with sweet caramel sauce - sinful but shiok!
Chocolate lava cake topped with ice cream.
Their Lava Cakes ($6) in chocolate, matcha, and peanut butter flavours are also worth a try. There’s the option of topping up for a scoop of ice cream, or just enjoying it as is. Cut through the cake’s firm outer layer for gooey, warm filling - it’s perfect for a cold afternoon during rainy seasons.
Address: Block 292 Yishun St 22 #01-291 Singapore 760292
Opening Hours: Sun - Thurs: 11.30AM-10PM | Fri - Sat: 11.30AM-11PM (closed on Monday)
- NORTHEAST -
3. Willow Bike. Art. Cafe - for hipster coffee straight from a flask
Willow Bike. Art. Cafe - a cafe for bicycle enthusiasts that isn’t the popular Wheeler’s Yard. Located at Ang Mo Kio, this cafe offers you coffee so freshly brewed, it’s served right from the flask. Their signature is the Premium Blend Syphon Coffee ($5.80), a smoother, richer drink with a more intense fragrance that will please any coffee snob.
Image adapted from:
Previously just a bicycle servicing shop, Willow Bike. Art. Cafe has expanded to include a cafe next door to better cater to its customers. Bike enthusiasts can now sit down for a cuppa while getting their bikes serviced.
But even if you don’t own or ride a bike, you can still enjoy their cup of their bestselling Chemax Cold Brew ($5.80) along with the popular housemade Walnut Brownies ($3). The sweet chocolate combined with nutty chunks are a favourite among children and adults alike.
Address: Block 456 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, Singapore 561156
Opening Hours: Tue - Sun: 12PM-9PM (closed on Mondays)
Telephone: 9673 9707
4. SOD Cafe - for DIY, guilt-free bubble tea
SOD Milk Tea ($4.50).
SOD Cafe has introduced the Healthy Bubble Tea Series with antioxidants to relieve our bubble-tea induced guilt. Health benefits aside, the unique DIY aspect of pouring yourself a jug and adding in your own pearls elevates the usual takeaway treat to a sit-down experience - all without the unwanted calories.
Some noteworthy caffeine-free tea flavours include the SOD Hazelnut Milk Tea (3.50) and Summer Fruit SOD Tea ($6.50).
The cafe also offers an extensive selection of mains. Some must-try dishes include the Teriyaki Chicken Burger ($11.50), pictured with tender chicken thigh meat marinated in teriyaki sauce, and the Spaghetti Alfredo ($9.50), a cream-based spaghetti cooked with ham, mushrooms and onions.
Address: 51 Hougang Avenue 9, #01-03, Ci Yuan Community Centre, Singapore 538776
Opening Hours: 11AM-10PM, Daily (closed on Tuesdays)
Telephone: 6385 4026
- EAST -
5. The Flourist - for charcoal mochi waffles
We’ve all seen the charcoal-food craze take Singapore by storm - besides the exotic look of these obsidian desserts, they’re also . Now, The Flourist has taken charcoal creations to another level with their Charcoal Mochi Waffles ($6.70), made with mochi, or glutinous rice, between the batter for maximum pull-satisfaction and chewiness, giving us the tastiest yin-yang duo ever made.
Matcha lovers looking for a strong caffeine fix, you’ve met your match(a) with the Matcha-Gato ($8.90) - a matcha-filled powerhouse on a bed of madeleines, topped with azuki beans and served with a shot of espresso.
Address: Block 824 Tampines Street 81, #01-36, Singapore 520824
Opening hours: Tues - Sat: 12PM-11PM | Sun: 2PM-11PM (Closed on Mondays)
6. RouteSixtySix - for hearty mains and vegan-friendly waffles
Routesixtysix offers a delicious lunch and dinner menu. A bestseller would be the Soft Shell Crab Linguine ($15) - besides the affordable price, the perfectly seasoned morsels of meat drenched in salted egg yolk sauce has won the hearts of many a customer. If you’re a big meat eater, try their tomato-based Lamb Shank ($25), complete with slices of baguette.
The cafe also serves Halal-certified and vegan-friendly waffles, premium ice cream and desserts. Their Red Velvet Waffle ($6.90) is a crowd favourite. Crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, pair the waffle with complimentary dark chocolate sauce for a mild sweetness.
Address: Block 412 Bedok North Ave 2, Singapore 461112
Opening hours: Sun - Thurs: 11AM-10PM | Fri and Sat: 11AM-11PM (Closed on Wednesdays)
Telephone: 9752 0054
7. Three’s A Crowd Cafe - for OTT milkshakes and personalised ice cream cones
Three’s A Crowd’s colourful gallery wall full of vibrant, otherworldly artwork is right in line with their pretty desserts. From the almost-too-pretty-to-eat Rose Buttercream Cake ($5.50) to the personalised ice cream cones housing hit flavours like the Dark Gianduia ($4.50) - a remake of classic Italian hazelnut chocolate - both your eyes and stomach are in for a treat.
Three’s A Crowd’s colourful gallery wall.
For those with a serious sweet tooth, don’t miss out on their over-the-top milkshakes! They come in three flavours: Salted Caramel, chocolate Jawbreaker and vanilla Berries Galaxy for $7.50 each.
Image adapted from:
Address: Blk 802 Tampines Ave 4 #01-11 Singapore 520802
Opening Hours: Sun - Thurs: 12PM-10PM | Fri - Sat: 12PM-11PM
Telephone: 6702 0700
8. D’Zerts Cafe & Patisserie School - for rich Baileys tiramisu cakes
Don’t turn your nose up at the simple decor of the cafe - it’s D’Zert Cafe’s promise that you aren’t paying for the decorations, but the quality of their food. Cheesecake lovers, you’ll want to try their popular Salted Caramel Cheesecake ($6). The dual-flavour composition features a light cheesecake layer that’ll melt in your mouth, and a creamy caramel middle. The cake is rounded off with a crumbly, flavourful biscuit bottom.
If you’re more adventurous, go for their signature Baileys-Misu ($7.90). Unlike the usual tiramisu that has its biscuit base bathed in typical brandy and espresso, this one’s soaked in Baileys Irish Cream. If you’d like to try your hand at baking the same gorgeous desserts served at the cafe, D’Zerts has also opened baking classes.
Address: 30 Jalan Pari Burong, Singapore 488696
Opening Hours: Sun - Thurs: 12PM-11PM | Fri - Sat: 12PM-12AM (Closed on Mondays)
Telephone: 6448 6707
- WEST -
9. Gecory Cafe - for adorable unicorn cupcakes
A three-minute walk from Clementi MRT, Gecory Cafe is a family-friendly dessert cafe selling the most visually appealing desserts. A signature would be the pretty Unicorn Cupcake ($6). For something more refreshing, try their yummy Cookielicious Bingsu ($14.90), topped with ice cream and crunchy oreo bits in the shape of a little panda head.
If you’d like a dessert that looks as good as it tastes, try their popular Rainbow Chocolate Cake ($8) glazed with chocolate ganache. Pair your pastry with some aromatic Yuzu Pear Blossom Tea ($4.50). With its uplifting taste, the refillable pot of tea is a perfect companion to the heavier chocolatey dessert.
Address: Block 328 Clementi Avenue 2 #01-198 Singapore 120328
Opening Hours: Sun - Thurs: 12PM-10:30PM | Fri - Sat: 12PM-11PM
Telephone: 6255 2868
10. Beans & Cream - for affordable ice cream and waffles
Touted the Creamier-equivalent for Westies, Beans & Cream serves coffee, waffles and ice cream to those in the Bukit Batok neighbourhood. A scoop of their Thai Milk Tea ice cream is affordably priced at just $3, and their Plain Waffles at $4. All their ice cream are made with natural ingredients instead of artificial flavourings.
Sip a cup of their Cuppuccino ($4), made with Arabica coffee beans and brewed on the spot, for maximum relaxation.
Address: Block 347 Bukit Batok Street 34 #01-260, Singapore 650347
Opening Hours: Tues - Fri: 12:30PM-9.30PM | Sat - Sun: 12PM-9.30PM (Closed on Mondays)
11. Smoocht - for vegan ice cream, pizza and waffles
Lactose intolerant friends, rejoice - you can Indulge all you want at Smoocht, with their all-vegan pizzas, ice cream, and other desserts.
Patrons have lauded the cafe’s Pistachio Ice Cream ($3.50) for its smooth, rich taste, despite being made without artificial flavours or dairy. Check out their Truffle Porcini Funghi Pizza ($18) too, cooked with aromatic truffle oil and topped generously with mushrooms.
The minimalist interior adorned with simple lamps is a great backdrop for the sumptuous feast you’re about to have.
Address: Block 319 Jurong East Street 31 #01-58, Singapore 600319
Opening Hours: Sun - Thurs: 12PM-9PM | Fri - Sat: 12PM-9.30PM
Telephone: 6266 5691
- CENTRAL -
12. Niche Savoureuse - for salmon aglio olio and handcrafted desserts
Deep in the heartlands of Toa Payoh, Niche Savoureuse is a unassuming cafe far from any atas malls. But if you’re a fan of salmon anything, you’ll want to try the cafe’s popular dish: the Norwegian Salmon Aglio Oglio ($13.90). The thick slice of salmon is cooked to perfection, with its slightly pink, tender meat and crisp layer of skin. Dusted with chilli flakes and tossed with garlic confit and olive oil, the al-dente noodles serve as a perfect complement.
Red Velvet Meringue and Strawberry Mousse.
Treat yourself to a guilt-inducing Red Velvet Meringue ($5.90), which has thick layers of cream and jam in between moist, fluffy cake. If you’re craving some simple light sweetness though, go for the Strawberry Mousse ($5.90). Made with homemade strawberry puree blended with heavy cream, the cake is a favourite among the cafe’s patrons.
Address: Block 128 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, #01-833 Singapore 310128
Opening Hours: Mon - Thurs: 11AM-9PM | Fri: 11AM-10PM | Sat: 10.30AM-10PM | Sun: 10.30AM-9PM (Closed on Tuesdays)
Telephone: 9633 5108
13. The Ugly Cake Shop - for cupcakes with zero artificial colouring
It’s rare to find a shop baring its flaws instead of its strengths, but the Ugly Cake Shop takes pride in its “ugly” cakes. Skipping out on marzipan, gum paste and artificial colouring which other shops rely on to make their cakes look good, this cafe provides a healthier, more natural approach to desserts.
Pictured: Sally (left) and Big Daddy (right).
Some must-try cupcakes include Sally ($3.80), a dense dark chocolate cupcake with tasty peanut butter frosting and Big Daddy ($3.80) with a nutella and valrhona chocolate centre. If you’re thinking that these are unusual names for cupcakes, they’re actually named after the owner’s own family members.
And that’s not all. 20% of all proceeds from the Ugly Cake Shop will go to buying protein sources for undernourished children in Timor-Leste.
Address: 535 Kallang Bahru, #01-06 GB Point, Singapore 339351
Opening Hours: 10AM-7PM daily (closed on Sundays)
Telephone: 8228 8300
Cafes hidden away in the heartlands
With so many cafes getting crowded out in popular spots around our little red dot, it's time to start taking the path less trodden for your foodie adventures. What's more, since these humble eateries are all in the heartlands, you'll be able to head down in your shorts and sandals and no one will judge you for being “underdressed”.