Where to Find the Best Japanese Coffee and Brunch Cafes in Singapore
Café-hopping is a way of life for Singaporeans (especially the millennials). On weekends, locals are seen hanging out at trendy cafés—an epitome of slow living where the ambience is relaxed and bright, people engage in conversations, reading a book, savouring a hearty breakfast, and that— is the antithesis to the fast-paced lifestyle— which we know very well.
The advent of Instagram has drastically changed the way we consume and share information, especially on the topic of food. Singapore has witnessed a surge in coffee and brunch establishments that offer not only great coffee and food but their photogenic interior décor and ambience have become an integral part of the dining experience. For that reason, there is an ever-growing list of instagrammable cafés to explore in Singapore and it continues to feed the phenomenon of #FOMO a.k.a Fear of Missing Out. Like what they say, if it is not on the ‘gram, it did not happen.
So, I’m attempting something different here. Let’s say you dislike queuing, crave authenticity, have discerning taste-buds, and is looking for quality coffee and food instead of the hype, which cafés should you check out then?
We cast our spotlight on 3 cafes imported from Japan that offer city-dwellers a brief respite, and may soon turn into your usual café haunts.
Asanoya Boulangerie @ Queen Street
First impression counts: High ceiling, white interior decor with wooden furniture, Asanoya Boulangerie sports a signature clean and minimalist decor, and its main feature is its variety of bread and pastry.
The Japanese bakery, is famous for its range of gourmet bread and pastries based on European recipes and prides itself on using premium ingredients. It was founded in 1933 and has been operating in Japan for more than eight decades. If you’ve been to Tokyo, you would have tried their best-selling signature Japanese crispy curry bun.
Granted that Singapore is a cosmopolitan city and Japan is a favourite travel destination among the locals, it is no surprise that Asanoya’s first overseas flagship store successfully made its way here in 2014 through a joint venture with a local automobile business. Located on Queen Street, aka Singapore’s art district, Asanoya Boulangerie is a charming addition to the location. Apart from its main offering of Japanese-European artisan bread, there is also all-day brunch, salads, and even alcoholic beverages from Japan.
On a weekday, this spacious avenue is possibly the best place for students and digital nomads to get work done. The 80 seater café is well-furnished to hold the weekend brunch crowd too. So if you’re looking for affordable, casual dining in a relaxed environment, head over to Asanoya Boulangerie on Queen Street.
Asanoya 浅野屋: 15 Queen Street, #01-03, Singapore 188537
Tel: +65 6703 8703
Nearest station: Bras Basah
Daily from 8 AM – 8 PM
Baristart Coffee Singapore
Making coffee is an art and the barista is the artist. Over the years, the foamy heart in your cuppa joe has become a cultural phenomenon with over 6 million posts of #latteart on Instagram. Let’s be honest, most of us have had taken at least a single picture of the latte art.
While there is no lack of coffee places in Singapore, Baristart Coffee is unique in its philosophy of using premium Hokkaido milk to prepare each cup of coffee with meticulous precision. The baristas in the house also pride themselves in creating the perfect latte art that will brighten up your day.
Baristart Coffee hails from Hokkaido and the owner, Mr Yuki Takeuchi, is the two-time champion of the UCC Coffee Masters Latte Art competition in Hokkaido for 2014 and 2016. Baristart Coffee at Tras Street is the brand’s first overseas outpost.
The 40-seater cafe offers an extensive menu of Japanese-Western fusion dishes including pasta, sandwiches, salads, and decadent desserts. Some of their signature dishes are prepared with Hokkaido milk. Don’t leave without trying their Hokkaido Carbonara and Shiro Kuma (Shaved Ice with Hokkaido Milk).
Time to feed your eyes and bellies at Baristart Coffee without flying all the way to Hokkaido to enjoy the velvety smooth coffee, but I can’t promise there will be no queue on weekends though.
65 Tras Street, Singapore 079004
Tel: +65 69043169
Nearest station: Tanjong Pagar
Daily from 10 AM – 10 PM
Wishing you could be in Japan to enjoy your coffee break instead? Now, your wish is granted! Enter JW360°, short for Japan Way 360, strategically located in Jewel Changi Airport.
It is a multi-concept store featuring a cafe, restaurant and retail section that is owned by JR East Group, a major railway company in Japan. Both the cafe and restaurant can cater up to 140 seated patrons. It is their first multi-concept store located outside of Japan, which is great news for the Japanophiles amongst you.
JW360° is well poised to be a gateway where customers can experience the four seasons in Japan through their seasonal menu and retail items. You can choose to enjoy a hearty meal at the restaurant or opt for something lighter and refreshing at the cafe.
The novelty of JW360° is there will always be something different on the menu each season for you to enjoy! If you are looking to stock up your snacks at home, head over to its retail outlet that carries seasonal snacks and sweet treats from all over Japan.
To bring the experience further, JW360° even set up a small area for guests to pen down their prayers and wishes on ema boards (wooden plaques adorned with art commonly found in the Shrines of Japan), which they will bring back to Japan. So go on and wish for great weather and cheap tickets for your next trip there.
225 Jewel, 78 Airport Blvd, #01-223/224 Changi Airport Singapore
Tel: +65 6243 2466
Nearest station: Changi Airport
Daily from 9 AM – 11 PM