I am pleased to report that suburban cafe culture is alive and well in Singapore. I am sure it must mean something good in economic terms, with new cafes popping up fortnightly, (LT does it?) but in my world the more places there are selling good cuppas and decent cake…the better.
I’ve only recently made it to the beautiful and quirky Carpenter & Cook which I think is my new favorite find. I love it not just for the retro-fabulous decor (sourced by the Carpeter in the equation; there are lovely old typewriters, clocks and vintage furniture)
…but because the Cook is Cordon-Bleu trained and on-site (I am slightly sick of all the smart restaurants out there named after chefs who aren’t even in the same country as you). Sure, this is not a smart restaurant, it’s a lovely start-up cafe, but it has lashings of integrity made edible through their cakes, brownies and scones (the savory offerings are few and far between; coming for lunch isn’t really what this place is about I now know…having come for lunch).
What’s more, you can park easily and legally right outside it on the roadside. Extra points from me! (I hate multi-storey parking.)
Baker & Cook of Hillcrest fame may fool you in to thinking it’s a one-off with it’s lovely villagey feel, but they have just opened a second outlet at 38 Martin Road, next to Bomba.
I love their Hillcrest branch with excellent coffee and bread so good that it really does make carbs worth eating. So, it may be no surprise to learn that the man behind it all is the global baker Dean Brettschneider (excuse horribly dark iPhone photo):
I met Global Baker at the launch party last week and he was charming, squeezing in as much as he can between writing his books (he’s written ten) and opening up benchmark bakeries and patisseries around the world.
It’s very clever – and very important – that his bakeries/cafes don’t seem at all global, they feel well run, but there is something rather lost in translation once a cafe becomes a recipe for success; that lovely homespun feel a place has that’s been set up by two good friends who’ve taken a leap of faith and gone in to business together (Carpenter & Cook) is no longer there.
There is no doubt that Baker & Cook II will work, but as it’s part of a powerhouse brand I would expect nothing more. I shall be cheering a little more loudly for my friends on Lorong Kilat when they announce that they are opening a second outlet (or perhaps I won’t…by then there will probably be yet another new start up that needs sharing and supporting!).
Here’s to the underdog…