Not to be confused with champagne buffet brunches (see Buffet Bonanza) this section deals with brunch in the ‘late-breakfast-y’ meaning of the word as well as proper breakfast. It also lists some of the best places to meet for a coffee or afternoon tea. We haven’t listed them all and have left out some of the most obvious but if you feel there are any hidden gems that need to be on the list…share them!
db BISTRO MODERNE
Marina Bay Sands (#B1 The Shoppes)
T: +65 6688 8525
Found at the Galleria Level of The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sand, just across from the theatre, Daniel Boulud’s offering is a rather understated but nice spot. He does a seriously good looking burger for $22 and up to $42 if you want the signature one with foie gras. The Heirloom tomato salad was just lovely but it was the Croque Monsieur that won the day. Have it with a fried egg on top and call it a Croque Madame. Call it whatever you like – it the best damn thing we have eaten this side of Paris. They don’t do a proper latte – be warned – they do the french rather stronger, smaller version but good (though it will cost you $8, so it should be). Their frites ain’t half bad either.
Opening Times: Go on the weekend though and you get the Croque Monsieur on the brunch menu from 11am. They are open for lunch and dinner (but not in between) everyday from 12pm-2.30pm; dinner runs from 5.30pm-10.30pm.
120 Tanjong Beach Walk
T: (+65) 6270 1355
Hip and hot (we mean it…literally: wear something you can still look good in despite the fact you are a sweaty betty) and a super fun al fresco, beachside evening hang out. They are busiest on Sunday afternoons and evenings. Food here is good (their weekend brunch runs from 10am until a lazy 4.30pm) and their cocktails are also pretty respectable. BTW: Great place for a Saturday night party as relatively easy to hire as it’s not their busiest night.
Opening Times (restaurant only – for bar opening times, see EAT ME, DRINK ME/Raising the Bar): 12pm-2.3opm Tue-Fri, 10am-4pm Sat & Sun, 6.30pm-10pm Tue-Sat. Closed for dinner Sun. Closed all day Mon.
8 Ann Siang Hill
T: (+65) 62248502
We’re: The only serious boutique coffee joint in Singapore
Where: Club Street/Ann Siang Hill
Wear: Media crowd threads
Bring: Prospective clients or your net book
Unapologetically minimalist, this utter gem nestled on a bend in the road at the top of club street, this is without doubt my favourite place for a coffee. Soak up the arty atmoshphere, get a decent coffee, log on for free and generally take it all in. The walls are adorned with art – the reason the place is called shots is not just about the coffee – it is owned by a photographer and his work (and others) adorn the walls. You can get your pictures developed as you sip your latte..utterly civilized. If you find yourself in the vicinity late at night stop in anyway for an espresso or a shot of sake….as if they needed three reasons to call themselves Shots.
Opening Times: vary but usually from 8.30am-10.00pm daily
3 Boon Tat Street (between Telok Ayer and Amoy Street)
T: (+65) 6423 0366
We’re: Cute little cafe off Telok Ayer
Where: The cooler side of Chinatown
Bring: Book or buddy
Finally somewhere you can get wifi, a decent salad, yes salad….and a sandwich that is actually a sandwich. Check out their pumpkin croquettes that melt in the mouth and come for a full English breakfast on the weekend. Their coffee is good and the vibe is relaxed. Hang out here and then mosey round the shops on amoy and telok ayer. And for something completely different get 10 adorable miniature asahi beers for $32…great fun for afterwork drinks.
Check out the lovely French bookshop next door and the fab interiors and homestyle boutiques on Amoy and then amble up through Ann Siang Park to Club Street.
Opening Times: 10.30am-11pm Mon-Thu, 11am-12am Fri & Sat
Mandarin Gallery (#03-02)
333 Orchard Road
T: (+65) 6235 3900
We’re: Rather nice spot for a catch up
Wear: Nothing tight
Bring: kids and/or girlfriends
All day breakfasts from all over the world. Choose from Mexican(?), English, Japanese, American and Italian. They also have a selection of salads and sandwiches and it’s a fun option for a lazy Sunday morning. They open early too but the bad news is it’s walk-in only, so super hard to get a table when you want one.
Opening Times: 9.30am-9.30pm daily
56 Tanglin Road (#01-01)
T: (+65) 6733 0992
We’re: Easy eatery
Wear: FitFlops or wedges
Bring: The family
Opened at the end of 2008, this establishment has quickly become part of the furniture. Owned by the same restaurateurs behind Flutes at The Fort, this lovely, brasserie style restaurant combines good food with unpretentious flair. The staff are kind to children and need to be…they have the largest tree house that we know of in Singapore…all cleverly fenced in on the main intersection of Tanglin and Napier Road. Despite being on the corner of 2 such huge roads, it does in fact feel like a bit of an oasis from the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road. A fantastic wine list and well thought out menu, this is a really great place to go for a proper breakfast or brunch as we know it (10am/11am – vs the buffet variety) and they are open at 9am everyday (8am on Sundays). BTW: if you go for breakfast make sure your order includes the homemade baked beans – they are slow cooked with ham hock and are divine.
Opening Times: 9am-9pm Mon-Sat, 8am-7pm Sun
100 Turf Club Road
T: (+65) 6877 1191
We’re: Relaxed Euro fare
Where: Turf City
A bar, bistro and bakery, this place is a good all-rounder; good for brunch, lunch or relaxed weekday dinner, Picotin has something for everyone. French-ish food (they are well known for their pizzas), their menu is large but simple. Weekend breakfast/brunch gets very busy so make sure you book ahead. If you have small people get them to bring a ball, tricycle or scooter – there is plenty of room to play. If you forget wheeled activities, don’t worry – there is pétanque and horses to look at. The horses are occasionally available to ride, though don’t go by published times and call ahead. BTW: If only a pizza delivered to your door will do, Picotin have a pretty good delivery service, though if it is real quality (and heat) you require, pick up a take out from LA FORKETTA in Dempsey (T: (+65) 6475 2298).
Opening Times: 8am-11am daily; 12pm-10pm Mon-Fri; 12pm-10.30pm Weekends
67 Killiney Road
T: (+65) 6734 9648
We’re: Local coffee shop
Wear: Scruff order – no air con here
Bring: Anyone who wants to have a good, very local breakfast experience
A veritable institution, this place has been here, in the very same building, since 1919. Heavenly early bird breakfast or brunch spot and great for a late night feast too. Choose from Kaya Toast (they actually make the kaya and the toast themselves); laksa, mee siam and much more, all washed down with a traditional, and strangely addictive, kopi. Be warned of the Singapore-style strip lighting and basic décor. There are masses of other branches – see website for details, but this is the mothership and the best by far.
Opening Times: 6am-11pm Mon, Wed & Sat; 6am-6pm Tue & Sun
28B Harding Road
T: (+65) 6479 3343
We’re: Expat safe bet
Wear: Whatever you like
Bring: Friends or family
The absolute brunch benchmark. Not cheap by any stretch, but we defy you to have a bad meal in this seriously well-run joint. The Dempsey branch defines a lazy weekend brunch in Singapore. It gets very busy at weekends, and you can’t reserve for brunch, so go early. There are also outlets at Paragon (L3; T: (+65) 6735 6765) and Palais Renaissance (L2; T: (+65) 9834 8232), both of which provide a sleek and sophisticated pit-stop and are a nice antidote if you’re feeling mauled by malls. Also a great place for a civilised afternoon cuppa – just make sure you try their flourless orange cake….it’s a doorstep wedge, so one’s enough for 2 of you.
Opening Times: 10.30am-9.30pm Sun-Thu; 10.30am-10pm Fri & Sat. 9.30am-5pm Weekends (brunch hours)
THE BARRACKS CAFE
8D Dempsey Road
T: (+65) 6476 6050
We’re: Casual cool with arty attitude
Wear: Juicy Couture
Bring: Wannabe style gurus
A great place for weekend brunch, this has the casual cosiness of a café, but the food of a restaurant. Try their virtuous skinny pizzas which are a must. They also do great salads but the best thing on the menu has to be the appetizer: a 15 minute mobile back and neck massage from their beauty emporium upstairs. There is space-a-plenty for little people to run around in and the coffee really ain’ t bad.
Opening Times:12pm-3pm Mon-Fri (Lunch); 3pm-6pm Mon-Fri (Tea); 6pm-10.30pm Mon-Sun (Dinner); 11am-4pm Sat & Sun (Brunch)
JONES THE GROCER
Dempsey Hill (#01-12)
9 Dempsey Road
T: (+65) 6476 1512
We’re: Easy Aussie open-plan eatery
Where: Dempsey of course
Wear: Flipflops, ballet pumps or wedges
Bring: Expat yummy mummy and her brood
Affectionately known as ‘Jones the Robber’…and for good reason….but the extortionately high prices ARE occasionally bearable because you can (if you queue) get a fab brunch or breakfast and a decent ‘flat white’ or latte – it’s one of the few places that is open before 11am and you can actually get a warm (cynics would say luke warm) coffee in your hands here from 9am. Lunches and dinners are also decent but none of these are really the reasons you go to Jones….it’s for the excruciatingly expensive gourmet grocery shopping and people watching you can do whilst you wait…see BUY ME Food & Drink entry.
Opening Times: 9am-6pm Mon; 9am-11pm Tue-Sun
43 Jalan Merah Saga (#01-70)
Chip Bee Gardens
T: (+65) 6472 0870
We’re: Daylesford Organic in SG
Where: Chip Bee Gardens, HV….where else?
Wear: Ralph Lauren and practical but beautiful flats
Bring: Organic, but yummy, mummy
Café and food store, this place is outrageously expensive but lovely for organic presents and goodies as well as a coffee or light lunch. Their menu changes sporadically and at the time of writing, they had gone from serving incredible Vietnamese style summer rolls (bring them back please!) and light lunch bites to all day breakfast which is an odd choice as they were great at what they did. Brilliant choice for a Holland V coffee though and stocks very nicely packaged (now you know where your money went), good quality ingredients that come in all shapes and sizes, boxes and jars, with their signature black and white labeling. They are one of the few places in Singapore that do delivery, and in fact will deliver a weekly organic pot luck box of fruit and veggies to your door. Well worth looking into for busy mums. Their dried organic pulses, lentils, flours and rice varieties are very good but if it’s ingredients and not gifts you require, ask them for a refill box vs presentation jar. It may be half as pretty but it’s also half the price (i.e. $10.80 for a jar of dried chick peas but only $5.80 for a refill box). They often have some very nice fresh ingredients too, but too hit and miss to make a pilgrimage for something specific unless you call ahead. BTW: actually, if this is really your bag, and your motherly devotion to feeding your little people organic means that you will puree your own baby food, then take advantage of their $70.00 ‘babybox’. Delivered every week, they assure us there are as much veggies as you will need for a weeks’ worth of pureed goodness for your little angel. There is a secondary branch in the food hall level of Taka (#B2) opposite Cold Storage (T: (+65) 6735 2337).
Opening Times: 9am-9pm daily
4 Rochester Park
T: (+65) 6775 9000
We’re: Grown up Aussie
Where: Rochester Park
Bring: Bill Granger
Nestled amongst other well-noted restaurants in Rochester Park, this place is always a winner for a proper brunch. Try eggs benedict or a full English breakfast but make sure you book ahead on the weekends.
Opening Hours: 9am-3pm Sat & Sun (Brunch); 6pm-12am daily
320 Tanglin Road
Tel: (+65) 6836 5528
We’re: Not as grown up as Graze
Wear: Jeans and jewellery
Bring: Kylie or Jason and mosquito repellant…it is on a hill but still in the jungle!
A relative newcomer to the modern Australian food scene in Singapore and part of the latest demilitarized development of Phoenix Park, this is a nice place to go for breakfast/brunch, low-key lunch or dinner. It didn’t knock our socks off, but this was mostly due to the tepid coffee, ineffectual staff and large bill. However, they have a (nearly) enclosed playground which is a godsend for family outings, a great menu/wine list and a really nice atmosphere. The breakfast is pretty generous (so good with a hangover) but don’t go if you are in a hurry…and take mozzie spray if you are sitting outside. The meat is good and comes from the Cameron Highlands, and the chef is accomplished; his menu is well thought out and includes interesting options for vegetarians and children. Dinner can be quite romantic, especially if sitting outside and the food tends to be consistently good in the evenings.
Opening Times: 8am-10.30pm daily
ROCHESTER PARK CAFE
7 Rochester Park
T: (+65) 6773 1212
Where: Rochester Park
Wear: Something you can hose down
Bring: All small people
An utter haven for those looking for somewhere to fill a couple of hours with kids. The playroom charges $6 for first hour and $6 per subsequent hour on weekdays or per subsequent half hour on weekends. The toys and internal space onthe ground floor are designed with children up to five in mind, while upstairs the computers and games are aimed at a slightly older clientele but will keep anyone up to 12 amused. The food isn’t bad but the service still has some teething probs as they get to grips with their huge and very early success. Get there early or book a table is our advice…and avoid weekends if you can. During the week it is a lovely place to go with friends for tea or coffee and cake and they are happy for you to leave your little people in the competent arms of helpers in the playroom while you relax on the terrace.
Opening Times: 9.30am to 10.30pm
JUNGLE BREAKFAST AT SINGAPORE ZOO
Ah Meng Restaurant
80 Mandai Lake Rd
T: (+65) 6269 3411 or (+65) 6360 8560
We’re: Overpriced orange juice with Orangutans
Wear: Camouflage and mozzie repellant
Bring: Small people and cameras
You have to sit down by 9am to really get your money’s worth but this is great fun, with or without the kids. Unleash your hidden child within and be entranced by the orangutans that perform and eat alongside you under the watchful eye of the keepers. You may well get to see the elephants being washed and get to stroke a python…if that is your thing. The breakfast isn’t anything to write home about as a culinary experience, but then that isn’t really why you go. BTW: don’t forget your camera – there are plenty of opportunities for snapping. Cost is $25.00++ for adults and $16.00++ for children between 6-12 years old (prices exclude admission). Make sure you book at least a day in advance.
Opening Times: 9am ’til 11.00
ARTEASTIQ TEA LOUNGE
Mandarin Gallery (#4-14/15)
333 Orchard Road
T: (+65) 62358370
We’re: Secret haven for sleek tea slurpers
Wear: Orchard-worthy attire, please
Bring: Guests and/or girlfriends
Modern day tea lounge hidden away behind the Marxx store in Mandarin Gallery is an uber chic revival spot for ladies who shop. On Orchard but overlooking greenery – how, you may well ask yourself – the setting is Alice in Wonderland meets Expat Living – think teal, turquoise and pink pastel suede armchairs (Alice’s touch and worth $1,223 a pop, Marxx actually sells them) off set with blue and white (so expat) wallpaper and wicker bird cages. Brewed in glass teapots and cylindrical flasks served with straws, the tea is as fantastical as you might hope. Choose from hot or cold cucumber tea, sour plum or go for something all together more English (Earl Grey with lavender or French rose), Chinese (oolong with white chrysanthemum) or Japanese (rice green tea). Strictly after 5pm on weekdays, or anytime on weekends, it all gets much more exciting and they serve ‘Alcoholic Tea’ (first and only place in S’pore that does). Great marketing spin for what is essentially a cocktail – it’s still quite fun and they do a great Whisky Ginger Spice Tea or Cointreau Menta Lemongrass Tea. A good place to bring visitors to if they want to do modern day tea house. BTW: some of the teas are served with a shot of syrup – to be added according to taste – do not get muddled up and drink it (looks just like a shot of tea).
Opening Times: 11am-11pm daily
PROVENCE BAKERY & CAFE
17A Lorong Liput
T: (+65) 6467 6966
We’re: Delish Japanese bakery selling western classics (work that one out)
Where: Holland V
Wear: Shorts and sundresses
Bring: Breakfast companions of all ages
A Japanese bakery that rocks! You’ve probably walked past it 100s of times and never really noticed it (it’s sandwiched between both Parisilk shops and is slightly set back from the pavement) but it sells delectable bakery goodies including croissants, cakes and pastries and has a real Japanese following…which means it must be good. They also do decent coffee and a good cup of Earl Grey.
Opening Times: 9am-9pm Mon-Fri; 8.30am-9pm Sat & Sun
290 Orchard Road
T: (+65) 6733 8893
We’re: A haven
Where: Basement of The Paragon
Wear: Paragon worthy attire
Bring: Your bagfuls of shopping and tired feet
Inviting, Louis XIV-style armchairs offer a welcome break for weary feet, this is a heavenly afternoon tea stop for a macaroon emergency…choose from their many flavours, as well as beautiful, over-sized rose and violet meringues, handmade chocs and more. With a total of 4 branches scattered around the city, this pâtisserie chocolaterie also serves up a hearty and delicious croquet monsieur or madame. BTW: Great for well packaged foodie presents and wonderful Easter eggs.
Opening Times: 9am-9.30pm (10.30pm Sat) daily
123-125 Tanglin Road
T: (+65) 6333 6683
We’re: Tucked away, intimate and cosy
Wear: Red nail varnish and Chanel
They do a great set lunch at their cosy café-restaurant (their name, not ours) that comes in at $25 and is both generous and delicious. It even includes a glass of wine and what’s more, you can choose between starter + main + vino/coffee or, great for pudding lovers, main + pud + vino/coffee.
Opening Hours: 9am-8pm daily
Great World City (#01-01/02)
1 Kim Seng Promenade
T: (+65) 6836 1426
We’re: Home grown café chain of the ordinary but OK variety
A half descent bakery chain where you can get freshly baked bread and excellent salady lunches if you go to one of their all-day dining restaurants (Great World as listed but also Wheelock, Ngee Ann and Raffles City). Cloud9 ice cream makes for a delicious pud if you have been virtuous in your choice of main – they are really pretty good and egg free. Choose from interesting flavours including Salted Caramel or Earl Grey & Fig.
Opening Times: 9am-10pm Mon-Thu; 9am-10.30pm Fri; 8am-10.30 Sat; 8am-10pm Sun
1 Beach Road
T: (+65) 6337 1886
We’re: Tea for tourists
Where: The Raffles Hotel…where else?
Wear: Twin set and pearls or jeans and heels
Sip your souchong and soak up the splendor. At least you used to be able to. Now showcases a very disappointingly small selection of…gasp…bagged teas. If you like Earl Grey, you will have to have it stewed and out of the communal (albeit silver) pot. Go for Darjeeling instead and you will at least get your own teapot. The atmosphere and colonial elegance is effortless and fabulous though, and the classic and refillable ‘three tier tea’ features all the usual (but delicious) suspects from cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches just like Jeeves used to make, to proper madeleines, scones and jam and more. Beautifully presented, it sits at your table before you do, waiting patiently to be devoured. This may look pretty and welcoming but the downside is your sandwiches will most probably have curled at the edges…not slick (make sure you get the plate taken away before you tuck in and go and help yourself to another selection from the buffet). The buffet also offers local high tea equivalents: make like they do in Tanamera and opt for a curry puff or chicken pie. Skip lunch to get your money’s worth (it costs a punchy $58++ per person; children under 6 eat for free and kids 6-12 years old cost $25 ++).
Opening Times: There are 2 sittings daily. 3.30pm-4.30pm and 4.30pm-5.30pm. You can sit from 3.30pm-5.30pm, but they need advance warning so they can block the table out
Same but different: The Capella, Sentosa (T: (+65) 6591 5046) has an all-day fine dining restaurant, The Knolls, which serves up a fabulous ‘Colonial Tea’ (they may be a little low on real colonial splendor but have a good sea view). It is not a buffet, but the selection is huge and at $28++ per person, big enough to share between 2.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel
80 Collyer Quay
T: (+65) 6333 8388
Fun and chic tea spot which is perfect after a tour of the MBS skypark. Beautifully presented on very traditional circular Chinese stands, nothing disappoints except that perhaps we could have done with more sandwiches (the ones we had were delicious – more please); there were cakes and scones aplenty but if you are in a savoury mood, there is are not enough sarnies to satisfy. The tea is leaf and proper (vs The Raffles’ disappointing bags) and the jam to accompany the scones looks, at first blush, rather hideous and processed but is actually delicious and, we think, handmade.
Opening Times: Tea is served madam, from 3pm-5.30pm daily