Early Friday evening - the last of the days sunlight falls through a stairwell, landing on the dark wooden floors and furniture. The hustle and bustle of the traffic and the neon signage of the Korean BBQ places and minimarts are silenced by the tunes floating through the air, and the quiet murmur of conversations - it's its own little contained space, like a bubble of London transported to a shophouse in Tanjong Pagar. It feels like it could be anywhere - Rathmines in Dublin and Ximending in Taipei come to mind, to the extent where I would not be entirely surprised if I stepped out again and found myself in either one.
As interesting as the ambiance as, the whole point is (or certainly should be) decent coffee. A lot of places can pull shot as, but not all can pull customers back for more, particularly so in a market which appears to be approaching saturation point.
Fortunately, they delivered.
Espresso - 40 mls that tells me a lot about what's happening behind the counter anywhere. Looking down, I could see the correct volume for a single, with a medium brown crema lining the rim of the cup. (No surprise there, one unintended consequence of the recent profusion of cafes is that any coffee place using stale beans simply won't last). It's an Interesting combination (I see exactly why the cappuccino worked) - potent without being burnt, robust without being overwhelming, acidic but not astringent. It might be too strong for some tastes though, or for anyone who prefers a less intense shot. From my point of view it's a good blend of beans for drinks as it's strong enough to retain its character when blended with milk. There's nothing wrong here - no grounds in the shot, no off flavours. Score one for the barista.
The photo doesn't exactly do the cappuccino below justice - it was a beautiful pour, with intricate latte art
layered over microfoam. It works as a combination of ingredients - strong potent coffee rips through the foam, no loss of flavour at all, milk hardly dilutes it - great combination of milk and foam working together. The latte art is intricate too. Serving size spot on.
Also serves tea, if that's your thing.
There is a small selection of cakes and baked goods downstairs, and the pricing is right where it should be - it's certainly not overpriced. One point if contention though - turkey bacon is used in sandwiches instead of real bacon, which might not appeal to everyone.
Overall, certainly worth a visit for anyone in the area, and tag late night opening means it's making regular appearances in my Friday nights.