Several pockets of Singapore feature excellent Aussie-style cafés, including Tiong Bahru, Robertson Quay, Duxton and Dempsey. Tracking down a faultless flat white is trickier in the heartlands, however. Traverse the 6km of Upper Thomson Road, for instance, and you’re unlikely to find much more than a kopi in a bag.
Then you come to the intersection of Upper Thomson and Sin Ming Road and whammo! – within about 50 metres of each other are three excellent cafés that wouldn’t seem out of place in St Kilda.
Habitat is arguably the best known of the trio, and it deserves its popularity. One EL staff member is a weekend regular here and swears by the coffee and the food. Excellent espressos aside, don’t miss the eggs with tomato relish and sourdough, and grab a side of truffle fries while you’re at it.
About four doors down, One Man Coffee hit upon the clever idea of sharing the premises of Crust, the pizzeria, which was mostly using the space in the evenings. It has great coffee – beans are imported from Melbourne’s Axil Coffee Roasters – supported by a satisfying if limited menu (they only have a pizza oven to work with, after all).
The third spot in this holy trinity of caffeine is Oz Specialty Coffee. Australia is again the inspiration – it shows in the décor and menu – though the coffee is made with Pacamara beans from Thailand. Set back from the busy main road, this is a slightly mellower spot for café lounging than the other two.
Habitat, 223 Upper Thomson Road | 6456 2567
One Man Coffee, 215R Upper Thomson Road | 6456 1555
Oz Speciality Coffee, 11 Sin Ming Road, #01-13 Thomson V Two
November 8 Café & Company, 11 Sin Ming Road, #01-30 Thomson V Two