Tucked away inside Vanguard Campus in Kallang Avenue is a contender for coziest outdoor cafe. The inviting Banchong Cafe, which serves coffee & toast and simple local fare, is a place that you may feel like lingering.
Vanguard Campus is a fairly new office building situated at the junction of Kallang Avenue and Kallang Junction. The building houses learning space for furniture and lifestyle designs professionals, co-working space, studios and the showroom and corporate office of Vanguard Interiors.
Banchong Cafe sits on a space beside the driveway to the building’s car park but its interior design is so aesthetically pleasing that picturesque may not be an inapt adjective for the cafe. It has very high ceiling and the walls are white metal cages bedecked with green plants.
The black & white themed outdoor space is naturally ventilated and bathed by natural light. It has a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. The cafe offers a very pleasant alternative to the usual confined air-conditioned space.
In case you are wondering about the name of the cafe, its Facebook Page explains that “Banchong Industries used to make corrugated cardboard boxes in their original Banchong Building where we are now. We have kept their name alive and you can see the original stone plaque embedded on our wall“.
Banchong Cafe’s Menu
Targeted at the office folks, Banchong Cafe’s Menu offers affordable breakfast and simple local fare. Freshly made kaya toasts, soft-boiled eggs and a few one dish meals, like mee siam and laksa, are on the menu. Below is a screenshot of the digital menu that appeared on the mobile phone when we scanned a QR code at the cafe.
Lunch at Banchong Cafe.
We visited Banchong Cafe for lunch and ordered the Tom Yum Battered Fish Set ($9.90) and Mee Siam Set ($8.60). The set included a hot drink and kaya toast. The cafe is a self service establishment. Order and pay at the counter and collect the food when your number is called.
The Tom Yum Battered Fish with Rice was attractively plated. The colours already made the dish looked appetising. The lightly battered fish had a nice delicate texture. The tom yum sauce was sour, savoury and just slightly spicy. There was a very pleasant mix of flavours. We liked the dish.
The Mee Siam had all the usual ingredients, including tau pok and hard boiled egg. The bee hoon was cooked just right and was not soggy. The tangy, sweet and spicy gravy was not thick but flavourful enough. It was a pretty good version of the local mee siam.
Kaya Toasts & Coffee
The kaya toasts looked basic but were simply delightful. The thin slices of bread were perfectly toasted. The special kaya had a pale green colour from the pandan leaves which gave it an alluring fragrance. The kaya was not too thick nor too sweet. It was very nice and combined well with the salty slab of butter. Overall, the kaya and butter toasts left an impression.
We also tried the French Loaf Kaya & Butter ($3.10) and an Iced Kopi C ($3). The bread was lightly toasted with the inside soft and slightly chewy. It was very enjoyable with the kaya and butter. The coffee, both hot and iced coffee, were good local style kopi – aromatic and rich.
Cosy Hidden Gem
There does not seem to be much chatter about Banchong Cafe. With its inviting environment and affordable nice food and beverages, we would expect it to be crowded but it was not. Perhaps those who know about the cosy hidden gem want to keep it that way. It is hard to find a more pleasant outdoor cafe with wifi, power sockets and work friendly tables where you can leisurely enjoy very reasonably priced food and drinks. The cafe is quite accessible too – just a very short walk from the Bendemeer MRT Station and parking is available in Vanguard Campus. It is a pity that it is only open on weekdays.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
1 Kallang Junction, Vanguard Campus
Mon- Fri : 8:30am – 6.00 pm
Closed on PH, Sun & Sat
Nearby MRT Station: Bendeemeer
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog