Have you been feeling a little on edge recently? Being constantly surrounded by media, the stifling loneliness of working alone, bidding your plans farewell – it feels like it’s been awhile since you had anything to look forward to.
You might’ve had to cancel the one bar hop night, but you can always go for the midday option of a relaxing café. With coffee, tea, and even gins; coupled with plush and alfresco environments, it’s time to take a chill pill and slow down even as the world isn’t.
Here are 16 wonderful cafes across Singapore with the best food, drink and environment for you to chill out.
Located at the Marine Cove enclave at East Coast Park, the relatively new East Coast Commune has a modern, relaxing atmosphere and is a welcome break from the busyness of the park itself. It’s minimalist wooden furniture (and toys for the kids) and wall-to-ceiling windows make it great for people-watching. It serves up a range of speciality coffee and cold pressed juices, as well as hearty sandwiches and fresh bakes and pastries.
East Coast Commune, 1000 ECP #01-03, Singapore 449876,+65 8950 4142
Side-by-side sister restaurant Prive on Keppel Bay, Bayswater Kitchen has an out-of-Singapore feel with its waterside location by the docks for an almost Mediterranean feel. Accompanying that is a menu that, naturally, specialises in seafood. Their weekend brunch – which offers up a free-flow champagne option – might be more raucous than relaxing but is guaranteed to end in a good time.
Bayswater Kitchen at Marina at Keppel Bay, 2 Keppel Bay Vista, Marina at Keppel Bay, Singapore 098382, tel: +65 6776 0777
This new concept by Craftsmen has opened up seemingly overnight around the island, with locations in Katong and River Valley. But the glasshouse concept at Cluny Court definitely has an extra an element of charm, especially if you have the luxury to head over on a week day morning. Quiet and calming, you can choose to dine inside, but outside, under a glass canopy with portable aircons keeping things cool, you can enjoy your fresh pastries or hearty and healthy brunch choices in peace.
Prairie by Craftsmen, 501 Bukit Timah Rd, #01-05C Cluny Court, Singapore 259760, tel: +65 6972 9142
With a storied past and a historic battle site from World War II, the hills around Alkaff Mansion are blissfully bereft of other buildings, making a trip out to this site not just an event, but a relaxing and quiet one at that. First floor occupant Wildseed Cafe has made the most of the location, with a greenhouse-style area outside, patio seating, and indoors styled in the colonial style of the mansion. Food is delicious and hearty and the area is great for people watching.
Wildseed Cafe at The Alkaff Mansion, Level 1, 10 Telok Blangah Green, Singapore 109178, tel: +65 8126 8484
Recently opened in the neverendingly trendy Katong neighbourhood, this cafe was inspired by the cheekiness of children, but you’ll see none of the associated mess and chaos here. Instead, expect a curated and elevated menu of specialty coffee and food including soft scrambled eggs with ikura and miso-roasted cauliflower steak. Sweet treats are a highlight as well, so don’t forget to sample some of their teacakes and brownies. Just FYI only walk-ins at this time.
Little Rogue Coffee, 336 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437109, Whatsapp: 8899 1143
This unabashedly girly café is decked in fairy lights, flowers, and lots of baby pink.
It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you adore this cutesy aesthetic, Little House of Dreams is definitely for you.
While its Dempsey café with the hidden alcoves and floral patterned seats is no longer open, you can still head down to their similarly themed Tiong Bahru outlet. Chances are you’ve already seen it online somewhere before, as the café has a very defining and popular flower-adorned doorway. They’ve announced a change coming to the installation on 30 March though, so keep your eyes peeled for something just as or even more Instagram-worthy.
58 Seng Poh Rd, #01-15, Singapore 160058
You wouldn’t think it, but Birds of a Feather – this pretty-as-a-picture café with ethereal cloud lamps, verdant walls of ferns, and skylights has an unexpected streak to it.
You won’t find any eggs benedict or croissants here, but instead contemporary Sichuan fare.
Still, you can grab some teas and tisanes at the bar to sip on while reading. Perhaps some cucumber mint or white pear ginger to complement a serving of Asian spice poached pear? Mm.
115 Amoy St, #01-01, Singapore 069935, tel: 6221 7449
This pretty tea lounge and art jamming space in Mandarin Gallery already has a bit of a rep for being a spot for tai tais, thanks to its refined look.
And while it is pretty to look at, with a mod-Victorian décor style and lush trees filling the floor-to-ceiling glass panels, the teas are definitely worth trying.
In addition to the usual high tea sets which feature fruit and floral teas as well as Chinese and Japanese teas, there are also ‘tea’tox beverages like the Honey Lavendar Tea which comes with a sprig of organic lavender in the cup – which helps infuse the aroma of lavender even more.
The one that piques our interest the most though is the dessert tea ‘Lady Yang’, a lychee tea you pour over a skewer of saccharine lychees dusted in rose powder. Yum.
333A, 04-14 Orchard Rd, 15, 238867, tel: 6235 8370
Part art school, part café, My Art Space is great to hang out at when it’s a sunny day.
Why? The ample sunlight that streams in through the skylights and glass walls, as well as the surrounding greenery from Istana Park will make you feel like you’re away from the city though you’re in the heart of it.
Walk past the studio where art students will give you serious painting inspo, before entering the café to find a cloudy glass floor that shows glimpses of the fountain the building is perched on.
Then choose a simple cup of Gryphon tea from a cutesy palette-shaped menu before settling down in a corner. Beautiful location that’s unpretentious and fuss-free. We think you’ll like it here.
31 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238888, tel: 9012 9717
Reading sanctuary with high tea sets and quintessential café nosh by day, bustling bar with tapas, wine, small-batch ciders, and cocktails by night. You pick the kind of scene you want.
What about us? We’d happily stay here from day to night. There’s an endearing mess to this place. Random knick-knacks are strewn around; an assortment of wooden chairs, upholstered seating and stools are clustered around small tables; and pictures bordered in vintage frames fill any wall space that isn’t already covered with rows of books.
Bring your own book or make a gamble and find one to read from The Reading Room itself.
19 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore 089833
We picked Mellower for the ambience and view. There’s bean bags on the second floor if you want to kick back; barstools and tables which overlook the street crossing so you can people watch while you take a break from reading.
Also, we think Mellower deserves brownie points for presentation. You drink comes with a petite vase of fresh and colourful blooms – a nice accessory for a flatlay.
108 Middle Rd, #01-01 Bernhard Schulte House, Singapore 188967, tel: 6255 0820.
In the hipster enclave of Tiong Bahru, Plain Vanilla’s known for some really good cupcakes.
Pair the sweet treat with some loose tea leaf and settle down in the open storefront which has its look changed from time to time. The last time we saw it, there’s a wooden swing, wooden tables that are close to the ground, carpet grass, and pretty bicycles with cane baskets on the front that you can rent for a quick and fun cardio session ($10 for one hour, $18 for two hours, and $20 for three hours).
We don’t know about you, but we’re getting mod-kampung vibes, and we love it.
1D Yong Siak St, Singapore 168641, tel: 8363 7614
If you want to head somewhere a little more central (or don’t really wanna sit on the ground), try Mercure Singapore Bugis and indulge in Asian desserts like pandan crème brulee and golden durian pillows.
The lobby is nice to hang out at, but if you’re doing a staycation, take your book and tea up to the pool, so you can dip your toes in the water while having a view of the town.
122 Middle Rd, Singapore 188973, tel: 6521 6088
Wildseed Café is a must go if you’re a nature lover. That’s because the retail partners of Wildseed Café, Poppy Flora and Nature Studio, are a part of the reason why the café stays so impeccably decorated with a beautiful mix of foliage and flower arrangements.
If you’d like, you could sip on an original cocktail that has been made using fresh herbs from the nearby garden. Pretty neat.
Level 1, 3 Park Lane, Seletar Aerospace Park, Singapore 798387 tel: 8126 7524
When you step past the nondescript wooden door of the shophouse where Tea Bone Zen Mind is located, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a different area entirely.
Instead of a home or regular shop, you’ll find a koi pond, cushioned seating areas to sip tea at, and an overall zen atmosphere.
Venture up the wooden stairs, and you’ll see private tea rooms that are reminiscent of a traditional Japanese tatami room. It really doesn’t feel like Singapore anymore, and we recommend Tea Bone Zen Mind for times when you want to escape it all.
98 Emerald Hill Rd, Singapore 229374, tel: 6334 4212
You’d be reminded of old-school Singapore at The Coastal Settlement. Smooth cement floors, blue and white china in rickety wooden cabinets, and tonnes of retro memorabilia that line the shelves all remind people of simpler times.
We like the inside-most part of the café a lot – where you’ll find lots of big armchairs and floor-to-ceiling glass panels that show you the tropical greenery outside.
It feels a little bit like a chalet with an old-school charm, so if that wins you over more than elegant tea rooms, The Coastal Settlement is for you.
200 Netheravon Rd, Singapore 508529, tel: 6475 0200
Atlas is known for being the best gin bar in Singapore, not to mention one of the best bars in the world. You’ll find an incredible selection of rare gins, wines, and whiskeys in the collection. But did you know that this regal looking bar also serves fine teas?
Try the Atlas afternoon tea set along with the Atlas art deco tea blend which incorporates dry gin botanicals, elderflower and yuzu. You’ll also get moreish canapes to snack on as part of the set. We love hanging at Atlas because of the intricate design and art – it feels like we discover a new detail each time we return!
On a side note, you might want to make a reservation before heading down, unless you’re going on a weekday afternoon, when there isn’t much of a queue.
600 North Bridge Rd, Parkview Square, Singapore 188778, tel: 6396 4466
Cosy as a living room, The Book Cafe is not just a go-to hangout for bookworms. It’s also a great place to kick back with a cuppa or focus on getting some work done (they even have a printer for all to use). Grub-wise, it offers an extensive menu with all-day breakfast items such as eggs Benedict and pancakes. For teatime, try a slice of its signature apple pie and pair it with some premium tea from Tea Forte ($8 per pot).
20 Martin Rd, #01-02 Seng Kee Building, Singapore 239070
Caffe Cicheti is another addition to the Cicheti family’s line of restaurants. From starters to cold cuts to pasta and mains, this casual Italian osteria’s menu revolves around the coast of Italy, so expect brunch items like ricotta hotcakes, pesto spaghetti with pounded pine nuts, truffle-infused omelette, and bavette with crab meat and shellfish broth. Its wine list is pretty comprehensive too, if you’re itching for a tipple or two to accompany your meal.
26 Beach Rd, #B1-21, Singapore 189768
This gastro-café on Neil Road hits all the right notes with its grain bowls topped with hearty proteins like roast chicken, thyme-seared wagyu and pulled pork, as well as seafood linguine. Its Instagram-worthy French Toast ($19) is a sweet finish to a meal, along with the strawberry and elderflower sundae, which is best paired with buttermilk waffles. Populus’s robust coffee is a solid perk-me-up for the work day, but for something comfy on a rainy day, go for a glass of iced Valrhona hot chocolate.