Where to eat before or after a movie at the Cathay Cineplex? We suggest Assembly Ground cafe. That was where we our brunch the other day. It is a pleasant cafe on the ground floor. Easy to find, just enter the main entrance, walk past these colourful versions of Jeff Koons’ balloon dogs and it is right in front of you. I hope these dogs are not permanent installations. While one of them is cute, the other one is not toilet trained and they don’t match the grand art deco look of the Cathay Building.
Forty Hands is a chic third wave coffee movement cafe that previously can only be found in the hip neighbourhoods of Tiong Bahru in Singapore and Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur. Katong may be a food paradise with its own laid-back charm but it is not usually regarded as a cool and trendy precinct like Tiong Bahru or Dempsey Hill. It is thus a little surprising that Forty Hands choose to open its second Singapore outlet along East Coast Road. The new artisanal cafe is located in a row of shophouses with eateries popular with locals for kopi-O, chai tow kway and curry puffs. The choice of location may be a curious one but it seems to be a good one. Forty Hands East Coast is proving to be popular and it can be hard to get a table there during peak hours. The new cafe in Katong has certainly generated buzz and upped the neighbourhood’s hip quotient.
Five Oars Coffee Roasters (FOCR) is another new ‘hipster cafe’ that has opened in Singapore. It is along Tanjong Pagar Road, near the junction with Maxwell Road. Like many such restaurants, it serves western style cuisine, including all day breakfast kind of food, pasta and well brewed coffee. A night menu offers more serious food options after 5pm.
Jypsy Martin Road is a new cafe concept by PS Cafe. 38 Martin Road (near Mohamed Sultan) was formerly occupied by another member of the PS Cafe group – Chopsuey. They have transformed the space into a casual Japanese restaurant. In keeping with their ability to churn out one stylish cafe after another in Singapore, the new restaurant Jypsy PS Cafe is another lovely place that looks like no other in Singapore. The place is less lavish and more relaxed but it is certainly no “gypsy”.
We have not seen the word “coffeehouse” used in a long while. We associate the word with the cafes of the 70s such as the Skillets Coffeehouse in Supreme House. At that time it was used to denote a trendy Westernised restaurant. Then in the 90s the description fell into disuse. Coffeehouses were no longer in fashion. But like all things fashionable, they (like bell bottoms) do come back. Atlas Coffeehouse is located in Singapore’s equivalent of the Flatiron Building in New York City. While not as tall as the one in NYC, No 6 Duke’s Road is also a building with a sharp corner at the junction of Bukit Timah and Duke’s Road. The star occupant at this building is Atlas Coffeehouse on the ground floor. Almost in the middle of nowhere, we were surprised to see a bustling cafe with full occupancy on a weekday morning.