Review: Frankie & Fern’s is unassuming in its location and impressive in its flavours

By Zawani Abdul Ghani May 24, 2024
Review: Frankie & Fern’s is unassuming in its location and impressive in its flavours
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere
  • Frankie & Fern’s occupies the rooftop unit of Holland Village Shopping Centre, once occupied by a construction company
  • The cafe is operated by the same folks behind East Coast Commune, which is located at East Coast Park
  • It offers curated menus depending on the time of day: One for all-day dining on weekdays, one for weekends and public holidays and one for weekend dinners

Travelling to Holland Village these days requires intentional planning, given that this writer lives in Sengkang. This quaint, but buzzing, neighbourhood used to be her after-hours playground, where she’d stay out way too late hanging out at Wala Wala, listening to live bands and knocking back one too many pints with friends.

These days, her mission is to make her commute worthwhile and, hopefully, discover a food spot that she can mentally earmark for future visits. On this balmy Friday evening, she struck gold.

Frankie & Fern's signage
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

While there are plenty of cafes in Singapore to choose from (if you’re not picky), only a handful warrant repeat visits. Frankie & Fern’s is a newcomer who might be in the running to join the select few on our list.

Located on the rooftop of Holland Village Shopping Centre, the cafe is a little hard to find. The way to its entrance is marked only by an A-frame sign at the lift lobby on the ground floor. Alternatively, you could trek up the stairs to the fourth floor if you wish.

Frankie & Fern's door
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

This new concept by the folks behind East Coast Commune reflects similar aesthetics to its older eastside sibling. Both emphasise having ample room between and around diners — a welcome change from stuffy, cramped cafes (we shall refrain from naming names).

The seats allow for long, comfortable conversations and sofa seating is available, if you wish. A long, communal table in front of the bar makes for convivial, larger group gatherings, while there’s outdoor seating if you prefer al fresco dining.

Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

We also appreciate that, similar to East Coast Commune, it offers a nursing room (located next to the restrooms), making this cafe a great spot for families with infants in tow.

Our verdict

We visited Frankie & Fern’s with little expectations — other than passing it off as “a cafe with a dinner menu”. We suppose its strategy of creating varied menus for different times of the day/week works, as we couldn’t imagine having a breakfast platter for dinner (although if that’s your thing, more power to you).

The execution of each dish was hard to fault and the pace of service was prompt enough for us to truly savour every bite without wondering when the next plate would arrive.

If we’re in the area, we’d easily consider Frankie & Fern’s for reliable Sunday brunch grub.

Bread and butter
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

It’s always good advice not to come to a meal hungry, so you’d avoid wolfing down the bread & butter (S$12) as we did. We didn’t just eat it quickly because we were starving; it was tough to pace ourselves with how satisfyingly savoury and creamy the bone marrow butter was.

Fried Baby Squid
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

The baby squid (S$14) comes highly recommended if you prefer something crunchier. It’s a small plate we guarantee will get polished off quickly, especially if you smear each piece in a generous dollop of fragrant lemongrass aioli sauce.

By contrast though, we implore you to take your time with the duck croquettes (S$13).

Duck croquettes
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

Smooth, buttery duck pate is encrusted in a panko crust — honestly, it was dinner’s highlight. We daresay anyone with a penchant for gamey meat will instantly adore these, so if that’s your jam, please make this a must-order.

Hamachi collar
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

Between the butternut pumpkin rigatoni (S$26) and hamachi collar (S$32), we’d have to vote for the latter. That’s not to say the rigatoni was lacklustre; it didn’t excite us the same way the hamachi did, which left an impression with its spot-on seasoning.

While it can be cumbersome to dig around the hamachi collar for ample flesh, the flaky, succulent meat makes the prodding and poking around worth the extra work. There was sufficient meat to share between us two and the accompanying otah espuma added a nice depth to the aptly salty fish.

Granny apple tart, miso caramel, vanilla ice cream
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

The savoury dishes at Frankie & Fern’s left us full, but not stuffed — with just enough space to share the granny apple tart, miso caramel, vanilla ice cream (S$14). This modestly plated treat was just the moreish edge we needed to round off the meal with sweet-salty satisfaction.

Pumpkin Rigatoni
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

We wouldn’t say the butternut pumpkin rigatoni is a poor choice, but we would’ve liked a little more nuance in flavour. The combination of goat cheese and brown butter was almost too heavy, veering into one-note territory.

Some acid and an ingredient that lightens the dish would’ve done the trick.

Shozu yuzu and ume
Photo: Zawani Abdul Ghani/HungryGoWhere

As for its drink selection, Frankie & Fern’s offers variety — non-alcoholic beverages, beers, sakes, wines, coffees, teas, and sodas — but none that had a wow factor. We ordered the shozu yuzu and ume (S$7), a prebiotic soda that reminded us of kombucha — an effervescent drink with a lovely sour kick. 

Our quick takes

Is it conducive to conversation? The ambience is peaceful, with sufficient spacing between tables to hold intimate conversations. There’s easy-listening music playing, but not so loud that you’d need to raise your voice to be heard.

Is a reservation necessary? While we saw a few walk-ins that evening, we recommend reservations if you’re looking for a table for more than two.

How to get there? Frankie & Fern’s is a three-minute walk from Holland Village MRT Station Exit C.

HungryGoWhere paid for its meal at this restaurant for this review.

Looking for more cafe options? Consider visiting Finally Coffee, one of Bugis’ newest cafes that encourages patrons to provide “tips” to others, or Jakarta Ropang Project, an Indonesian eatery in Somerset with delicious Indonesian fare for under S$15.

Do explore the new GrabFood Dine-in service for awesome deals.

You can also book a ride to Frankie & Fern’s.

Frankie & Fern’s

Holland Road Shopping Centre, 04-03, 211 Holland Avenue
Nearest MRT: Holland Village
Open: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday (9.30am to 5pm), Friday (9.30am to 9.30pm), Saturday and Sunday (9am to 9.30pm

Holland Road Shopping Centre, 04-03, 211 Holland Avenue
Nearest MRT: Holland Village
Open: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday (9.30am to 5pm), Friday (9.30am to 9.30pm), Saturday and Sunday (9am to 9.30pm

Zawani Abdul Ghani


A cat lady who loves a good sweat session in the gym, and still tracking the lead to the elusive cure for wanderlust.

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