Review: Moonchild cafe has good vibes and food, but drinks & desserts feel lacking

By Gary Lim January 25, 2024
Review: Moonchild cafe has good vibes and food, but drinks & desserts feel lacking
Photo: Gary Lim/HungryGoWhere
  • Moonchild, the latest concept by the Atlas Coffeehouse group takes up a good-looking space in Jalan Besar, and is pet-friendly
  • There’s a brunch menu that starts from 9am and a huge midday menu that starts from 11am
  • Interesting dishes to try include the pork dan dan noodles and scallop rose mafaldine

As far as cafe brands in Singapore go, the Atlas Coffeehouse group is one of the more successful and recognisable names, and I know them mostly for their large brunch menus and concepts named after celestial bodies. 

It started with Atlas Coffeehouse along Bukit Timah before expanding to other neighbourhoods: there’s Columbus on Upper Thomson, Apollo on Serangoon, Neptune on Joo Chiat, Supernova on Tanjong Katong, and now, the hip new Moonchild along Jalan Besar.

Most of them have already been operating for several years now, and still manage to command steadily long queues on weekends — a considerable feat amidst the highly-competitive sector and its notorious manpower and rental issues. 

So if dominating the city’s cafe scene is on its agenda, the group’s probably succeeding, right?

The backstory

Moonchild Cafe Singapore
You’ll be greeted with 3D lightboxes up top flashing the vivid red Moonchild logo. Photo: Gary Lim/HungryGoWhere

Opened in November last year, Altas’ latest darling, Moonchild, is tucked along the lengthy Jalan Besar stretch, on the side closer to Bendemeer

Barely three months on, the cafe has quickly earned its stripes on social media for its supposedly gorgeous decor, expansive space, pet-friendliness, and all-round laid back vibes — and I’m here to find out if that’s really the case.

Moonchild Cafe Singapore
Choose between indoor cosiness or the alfresco charm outside. Photo: Gary Lim/HungryGoWhere

With both indoor and outdoor seating, there’s a variety of seating formats here, from the tall counter and booths at the side and back to the sleek wooden tables that make up most of the seating in at the front and in the covered alfresco section. 

The impressive space is superbly-renovated in a modern and eclectic Japandi-inspired style, with pop hits playing in the background.

Moonchild Cafe Singapore
Got fur kids? Moonchild has a pet-friendly shaded alfresco space. Photo: Gary Lim/HungryGoWhere

In the morning, it’s a brunch spot with creative twists on brunch classics — think truffle grilled cheese sandwiches (S$18.90) and smoked salmon potato stacks with poached eggs (S$21.90).  

Come 11am, there’s a massive midday menu with pastas, rice bowls, and everything else in between. 

Our verdict

Moonchild Cafe Singapore
Moonchild’s menu is split into two according to breakfast and the rest of the day. Photo: Gary Lim/HungryGoWhere

Given its recent surge in popularity and the fact that I arrived just before noon, I expected to wait a long time to get into the cafe and for my food to arrive, but Moonchild masterfully manages the customer flow. 

The ordering process (through a QR code) is also seamless, and the kitchen delivers with impressive speed. Service might be a bit curt, but at least it’s efficient.

In true Atlas Coffeehouse group fashion, you’ll find many of the same items here, from its banana bread with espresso mascarpone (S$12.60) and chia pudding with yogurt (S$14) bowls to honey tater tots (S$14.30), cereal prawn pasta (S$20.90), and Japanese-inspired rice bowls (from S$19). 

The new dishes that we try are generally quite tasty, even if they’re on the expensive side, costing a couple more dollars than other cafes. The drinks and desserts we try are a bit weak though, and also feels cloned from the group’s other concepts. 

Having said that, if you’re not expecting a top-notch culinary experience, you can still have a pleasant brunch here.

What it’s good for

Moonchild Cafe Singapore
Not your typical dan dan mian. Photo: Gary Lim/HungryGoWhere

The pork dan dan scallion noodles (S$21), are noodles with integrity. 

Hand-cut noodles are mixed with ginger scallion sauce and onsen egg for a creamy and silky smooth bite. There’s a light, numbing embrace from Sichuan pepper in the crispy pork belly cubes, brighter, cleaner flavours from long beans, cucumber and cucumber, and earthy umami from braised shiitake and grilled mushrooms. 

While not quite the kind you’d get in a Chinese restaurant, this milder cafe version defies expectations with gusto.

Moonchild Cafe Singapore
Scallops are complemented by a bold cream sauce in this pasta dish. Photo: Gary Lim/HungryGoWhere

Can I just say how pretty the scallop rose mafaldine (S$23.90) looks? 

The al dente Mafaldine is also an excellent pasta choice, thanks to the deep grooves that plays host to a rich pink sauce that strikes a fantastic balance between tomato tang and cream that doesn’t get too cloying. 

The seared scallops impart a welcome smoky char that elevates the dish — even if they don’t taste particularly fresh or tender. Throw in a light sprinkling of basil oil and gochugaru pepper, and you get a decently flavourful dish that combines uniqueness and delectability.

Moonchild Cafe Singapore
Photo: Gary Lim/HungryGoWhere

From the brunch menu, there’s a self-proclaimed Really Nice Mushrooms on Toast (S$19.50) that’s mostly grilled mushrooms (which looks to be a mix of oyster and maitake mushrooms) with a bit of spinach, topped with tangy pickled shallots and sourdough crumbs. 

There’s a hearty soy-based mushroom sauce that makes everything meaty and rich, even more so when you stir in the two decently-poached eggs. 

The weak link here is the ciabatta, with a much less porous and chewy crumb than it should have. Despite being buttered and toasted, it’s still too soft to hold up to the luscious mushroom mixture.

What it could improve on

Moonchild Cafe Singapore
The drinks at Moonchild are nothing new. Photo: Gary Lim/HungryGoWhere

The drinks are more disappointing. Taking a cue from its sibling cafes’ cold foam series, Moonchild introduces a new coconut water with milk-stache (S$8) drink that’s visually interesting for the first minute — due to the initial flowing action of the foam — but tastes mostly flat for the rest of the time. 

The matcha version (there’s also a regular cream or coffee foam option) adds a slightly grassy taste to the coconut water but there’s barely any of that earthy, nutty taste that I look for in matcha. There’s also a hint of sourness in the drink, suggesting that the coconut water isn’t that fresh. 

The also-familiar einspanner (S$7.60) boasts a tasty, light-salted cream on the top, but the coffee below is rather underwhelming, leaving a prominent sour taste (rather than fruity and acidic I was expecting) in the mouth that doesn’t go well with the cream. 

I imagine the regular coffee drinks will fare better, though I didn’t have the caffeine bandwidth for more coffee this time round. 

Moonchild Cafe Singapore
Photo: Gary Lim/HungryGoWhere

On the desserts front, Moonchild’s selections are again, visually appealing but none too special, feeling more like an afterthought to the more-competent, savoury mains. 

The raspberry coconut loaf (S$6.80) is quite dense and uniform in taste (sweet and slightly nutty), with a swirl of raspberry filling at the bottom. There’s a bit of lemon curd, coconut flakes, and a single raspberry on top, but it feels like there’s no particular effort for the textures and flavours to meld together.

Moonchild Cafe Singapore
Photo: Gary Lim/HungryGoWhere

Then there’s the soft chewy cookie (S$5) that’s neither soft nor chewy. The insides are chock-full with hardened chocolate that actually tastes good, but it’s still quite a tedious thing to eat. Overall, it’s a very pricey cookie (for its size) that probably marks my first and last time ordering a cookie at a cafe.

When we left close to 1.30pm, the queue was still snaking around the cafe. I hope the others had a better time here, but I’m sticking to the mains next time round.

Our quick takes

Is it conducive to conversation? The pop music here is a tad loud, so you’ll have to raise your voice.

Is a reservation necessary? Moonchild doesn’t take reservations; walk-ins only.

How to get there? Moonchild is a 11-minute walk away from both Farrer Park and Bendemeer MRT stations.

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

Hungry for more? Read our reviews on popular Korean restaurant Um Yong Baek’s newest Far East Square branch, and the perennial favourite Beach Road Prawn Noodle House

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

You can also book a ride to Moonchild cafe in Jalan Besar.


351 Jalan Besar, 01-01
Nearest MRT stations: Farrer Park, Bendemeer
Open: Tuesday to Saturday (9am to 10pm), Sunday (9am to 7pm)

351 Jalan Besar, 01-01
Nearest MRT stations: Farrer Park, Bendemeer
Open: Tuesday to Saturday (9am to 10pm), Sunday (9am to 7pm)

Gary Lim-HungryGoWhere

Gary Lim


Gary eats and knows things, which he attributes to over 30 years of eating and drinking — surely that must count for something, he surmises. He was previously the deputy editor at City Nomads and content lead at Burpple.

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