If you haven’t had a walk in a while, the plants, scenery and food in the Botanic Gardens are good enough reasons to head there for a stroll! Don’t forget Cluny Court; this boutique shopping centre sits just on the edge of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and right next to the Botanic Gardens MRT. Cluny Court is brimming with decadent coffee, pastries, breakfasts and Instagrammable cafes – here are a few recommendations!
Our recommendations for croissants, breakfasts and coffee near the Botanic Gardens
The Affogato Bar – coffee, gelato, fresh bagels and more
A first-of-a-kind for Asia, this spot specialises in decadent affogato desserts served with innovative coffee brews. You’ll also find hand-rolled bagel sandwiches, foccacias and more. Currently available is a special menu, Affogato Round the World, whose creations integrate specialty elements from different countries. There’s a quintessential classic French crème brûlée, the chocolatey decadence of a German black forest cake, and – a crowd favourite – the Nocciola Italia: crunchy hazelnut praline gelato and silky hazelnut panna cotta served with a double shot of espresso on the side, representing Italy, of course!
The Affogato Round the World menu is available until the end of October.
#01-04B Cluny Court
Prairie By Craftsmen – breakfast in the Botanic Gardens with your furry friend?
The pet-friendly folks at Prairie By Craftsmen understand how tough it is leaving your dog alone at home when you go out; which is why this casual café allows you to bring your canine companion. The menu, which covers breakfast, lunch and dinner (take-out or dine-in), includes everything from fresh blue mussels cooked with a white wine tomato broth to a range of vegetarian offerings, from snacks to mains.
The alfresco space is a stunner, and the indoor space makes it one of the Instagrammable cafes in Singapore. Walk past the bamboo garden and you’re there!
Swish Rolls – everything croissants and cakes
Get your fix of croissants and cake rolls at Swish Rolls. The best-selling sea salt butter croissant (five for $9) has captured many hearts (and stomachs) with its light syrup glaze and an even sprinkle of Himalayan sea salt flakes. They’re baked all day at Swish Rolls, so you can enjoy them oven-fresh for breakfast or afternoon tea.
The menu also has a local touch. The Ondeh Rolls ($5.80 a slice) are the result of a special Ollella x Swish collaboration, and are made of pandan sponge filled with moist grated coconut gula jawa and covered in crunchy butter coconut cookie crumbs. This used to be a limited-edition product but it got so popular that it’s now a permanent item on the shelf! If you prefer something light and refreshing, the Yuzu Orange Roll ($5.80) is filled with vanilla sponge, mandarin orange slices, fresh cream and yuzu curd.
Da Paolo Gastronomia – Coffee, pastries & other tasty food near the Botanic Gardens
This two-in-one gourmet café and retail store emphasises all-natural flavours and fine ingredients from Europe, and is a handy place to pick up a quick, convenient and high-quality meal.
If you have a sweet tooth, Da Paolo’s freshly baked pastries are arguably the most enticing items on the menu. Easy to grab on the go, the double-baked almond croissant ($5.20) and the hazelnut Bueno cake ($11.90) are some of the many highlights. Complement them with a cup of aromatic Italian coffee, from a flat white to an Americano. For savoury treats, you can’t go wrong with a classic ham and cheese croissant ($8.50).
Got a bit more time on your hands or a bigger appetite? Try the hearty Just Eggs breakfast ($10.90) or a plate of pasta (from $20).
Plain Vanilla – an Instagrammable cafe with time-honoured cakes and pastries
If, like us, you have a soft spot for historical architecture, you’ll appreciate Plain Vanilla’s colonial-inspired entrance that blends in with the Cluny Court building. (If you’re an Insta fan, don’t miss out on some shots of this Instagrammable cafe here!)
Beyond the pretty exterior, it’s also a prime spot to unwind from the week with the homely goodness of in-house foods. Instead of mass-produced confectionaries, Plain Vanilla serves cakes and pastries made from scratch with old but gold preparation methods.
Start the day on a high note with one of the lovely cakes, such as the sinfully sweet butterscotch banana cake with brown sugar ($8.50). Fancy something tangy instead? The savoury tarts ($9) may be more up your alley. Wash one down with a refreshing pot of osmanthus loose leaf tea ($8).
Relish by Wild Rocket – the perfect burger for after your walk in the Gardens!
This is a little different to the rest of the list, as it will really appeal to those among us with a heartier appetite – or anyone feeling ravenous after some exercise! Don’t miss out on some of this Instagrammable food in Botanic Gardens! There’s the classic Bacon & Double Cheese Beef Burger ($23.22) that everyone loves, of course, but Relish goes much further than that. Don’t be surprised, for example, to spot a Blue Cheese and William Pear Burger ($25.20) on the menu, which comes topped with poached pear and walnut butter. (If you’re not sure whether it tastes as odd as it sounds or is unexpectedly good, there’s only one way to find out!)
If you’re not an adventurous eater, you can go for “safer” options like the classic brunch-inspired dishes, such as the breakfast plate ($24.29) or a pasta (from $20).
Cluny Court is at 501 Bukit Timah Road.
This article first appeared in the July 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
Haven’t had enough of cakes and coffee? We also have a list of the best places to have high tea in Singapore!