5 cafes to visit in Singapore’s English town, Singapore

With street names such as Cambridge Road, Oxford Road and Owen Road, one might think that he/ she is in England. But these streets are actually found in a housing estate somewhere in the central part of Singapore, between Novena and Little India.

Over the last two years, this quaint housing estate has transformed itself into an enclave of trendy cafes and bistros. As a result, you see lots more young adults and expats hanging out in this quiet neighbourhood. Surprisingly, despite the increased foot traffic, this area has managed to retain its laidback and bohemian charm.

Old Hen Coffee Bar
My favourite cafe in this area has to be Old Hen Coffee Bar, a small but friendly cafe which seats no more than 30 customers indoor. The cafe’s music playlist constitutes mainly of the latest pop hits. I remember having my waffles ($9 nett) and Thai Iced Tea ($5 nett) there one early afternoon and the cafe was playing Ariana Grande’s Love Me Harder. I felt so comfortable to be able to enjoy my food and spend some quiet time there reading. Although they do not have an extensive menu, they compensate by providing simple, unpretentious, good quality food at very affordable prices and no service charge. This is why it’s not hard to love Old Hen harder.

88 Rangoon Road,
#01-03 Singapore 218374
Tel: (65) 63415458

Old Hen Coffee Bar

Smoked Salmon & Apple Toast at Old Hen Coffee Bar

The other cafe that I like is the P. Bistro, which is just located one street away from Old Hen Coffee Bar. Unlike the other cafes and bistros in this area, P. Bistro is targeted at the slightly more mature crowd. The music they play is more jazzy and less pop. P. Bistro serves common favourites, such as Fish & Chips and Pineapple Fried Rice, around the price range of $15 per dish. Their BBQ Chicken Wings ($8) are really good. They are tender and well marinated. But what really impressed me was the excellent service. John, a mature service crew at P. Bistro, was very attentive and friendly. I wish there are more employers out there who recognise the significant contributions that mature workers can still bring to the society. John’s superb service is probably the strongest reason why I will be going back to this bistro.

142 Owen Road
Singapore 218941
Tel: (65) 6392 2333

P. Bistro

P. Bistro's BBQ Chicken Wings

Jewel Cafe & Bar
Out of all the 5 cafes listed here, Jewel Cafe & Bar is probably the one that comes across as highly polished and most efficiently run. Everything is done with so much finesse that it’s not difficult to understand why this cafe is packed with people on a weekend. The interior decoration is very contemporary yet welcoming. The Ricotta Pancakes ($14) are simply gorgeous! They are so pillowy soft that I don’t mind having them every weekend. The Chocolate Brownie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream ($12) is to die for. The decadent dessert is worth every single calorie. I’ve dined there so many times and there is nothing that I can find fault with. If I must, the only thing that annoys me is the noise when the place is full of people.  But I guess that’s the thing that you have to bear with a popular cafe.

129 Rangoon Road
Singapore 218407
Tel: (65) 6298 9216

Jewel Cafe & Bar

The fluffy Ricotta Pancakes at Jewel Cafe & Bar

L’etoile Cafe
Located at the corner of Owen Road and Dorset Road, L’etoile cafe is one of the earlier entrants to this enclave of cafes and bistros. Positioned as a Japanese French-inspired cafe, this cafe has this confused bohemian feel to it. The incoherent and quirky interior decoration is probably the reason why so many young working professionals are attracted to it. The menu consists of the standard breakfast fares, salads and pasta dishes. The food quality is generally good although it’s kind of forgettable. Despite that, L’etoile has its fair share of fans. Due to its casual atmosphere and reasonable pricing (averages around $15-$17 for a main course), L’etoile has stood the test of time and will probably hang around a lot longer.

160 Owen Road
Singapore 218953
Tel: (65) 6298 2872

L'etoile Cafe

L'etoile Signature Big Breakfast

Wood Shed Cafe
Situated just a couple of doors away from the famous Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Soup Eating House is Wood Shed Cafe, a rather retro looking cafe. The cafe ’s cane furniture and uneven whitewashed brick walls remind me of my home in the 1970’s. The owner has successfully recreated a homely feel and it’s no surprise that so many Gen X adults and students are drawn to Wood Shed Cafe. The seating arrangement is quite widely spread in this rather basic cafe.  Serving a similar menu to L’etoile Cafe and P. Bistro, the overall prices are pretty comparable to its neighbours. For example, a rainbow cake costs $8 before the additional charges. This is definitely a great place to hang out and chill with friends.

204 Rangoon Road
Singapore 218451
Tel: (65) 6299 4308

Wood Shed Cafe

A slice of rainbow cake at Wood Shed cafe

Leave your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *