After homicide detectives and late-night petrol station attendants, no one drinks more coffee than writers. Ours weigh in on their go-to spots for liquid inspiration.
Katie Roberts’s: Highlander Coffee
49 Kampong Bahru Road, 6223 7102
I’ve been a fan since: At a Tabitha charity dinner about three years back, I won an auction bid for a barista training course. Highlander was then unknown to us, but doing the course improved our home coffee making and introduced us to Highlander beans, and we’ve been regulars since then.
I order: Coffee any way you like it, milkshakes for kids, and tasty snacks: cakes, croissants – the selection changes daily. It’s a cosy space (like most cafés here), so be prepared to snuggle in.
I keep going back because: I need to pick up freshly roasted beans for the home machine ($11 for 250 grams, the best price in town) and a consistently good takeaway cappuccino. The milk is the perfect temperature every time, not too hot and not too cold.
Rachael Wheeler: Wheeler’s Yard
28 Lorong Ampas, 6254 9128
I’ve been a fan since: I heard about this amazing spot a month ago (it opened in July 2013), but I’m averaging twice a week. Not just because we share a name (although that is three percent why).
I order: A latte (iced or hot based on how sweaty my face is that day) and the salmon and scrambled egg bagel. I’ve also been in the evening and wolfed down fish and chips, a dreamy chicken burger, nachos and cheesecake. Not at the same time. Maybe.
I keep going back because: This is hands-down the coolest place to eat and drink in Novena, where I live. They’ve transformed an urban warehouse behind Balestier Road on the river, creating an unexpectedly trendy and casual café. Running down one side of the open-plan warehouse is a bike shop, piled high with amazing, handmade bicycles from Taiwan. I hate cycling, but it sure looks wicked. The interior is awesome, the atmosphere is chilled and the staff love my puppy almost as much as I do (”Oh, your dog just barfed on the floor? No problem – does she like lemon water?”). In awesome news, they’ve extended their opening hours (currently 10am to 10pm) so I can grab coffee in the morning and swig cider by night.
Monica Pitrelli: Tiong Bahru Bakery
56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-07, 6220 3430
I’ve been a fan since: Mid-2012, when I was eating my way across town in the name of research for a story on bakeries.
I order: The “Magic” ($6.50), an aptly named drink of two parts coffee and one part steamed milk (a flat white in reverse? a slightly bloated piccolo latte?), plus a loaf of sourdough to munch on during the walk home.
I keep going back because: Although it’s loud, it’s packed, and carting a baby stroller through that ingenious, centre-pivoting door gets you death looks from a fair share of the customers, it’s worth it for the Kouign-amann ($3.50) – an impossible-to-pronounce (it’s like something like “queen ahman”, which I say really fast and low while pointing) Breton cake that is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It’s not flashy, it’s not covered in almonds or chocolate, but it kills all the other pastries, each of which is fabulous in its own right.
Amy Greenburg: Kith
7 Rodyk Street, #01-28, Robertson Quay, 6341 9407
I’ve been a fan since: A year ago.
I order: A simple, no-frills iced black coffee with soymilk ($5 for a large) and a tuna, double-cheddar toastie ($6); the freshly squeezed orange-and-carrot juice ($6.50) is excellent too.
I keep going back because: “Kith” literally means “familiar friends, neighbours and relatives” – a fitting name, given its sociable, kid- and dog-friendly atmosphere. As it’s one of the neighbourhood’s best cafés for coffee, I’m sure to run into an acquaintance or two who live in or around the quays; it’s an ideal spot for couples and families to casually convene and catch up over a cup of joe. Kith’s laid-back, riverside setting and outdoor seating – perfect for people-watching – combined with its reasonably priced, fuss-free menu and deliciously brewed coffee, makes for a perfect Sunday morning.
Runners-up: Here is a list of close seconds.
#01-01A The Luxe, 6 Handy Road, 6337 3448
Common Man Coffee Roasters
22 Martin Road, 6836 4695
313@Somerset, 6636 9774
Nylon Coffee Roasters
4 Everton Park, #01-40, 6220 2300
136 Telok Ayer Street, 6224 6091
75 Loewen Road, 6474 0441
The Plain Café
50 Craig Road, 6225 4387
8 Rodyk Street, 6636 7629
Yahava Koffee Works
4 Jalan Gelenggang, 6554 7080