Second Cafe Gui outlet opens in Chinatown with ’gram-worthy Hanok-inspired interior and outlet-exclusive dishes

By Phyllis Leong April 9, 2024
Second Cafe Gui outlet opens in Chinatown with ’gram-worthy Hanok-inspired interior and outlet-exclusive dishes
We checked out Cafe Gui’s second (and newest) outlet in Chinatown. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

Most of us have probably seen photos of Cafe Gui’s vibrant fusion fare splashed on our social media feeds, tempting us with its hearty dosirak (packed lunch boxes) bento sets and creamy dalgona (Korean candy made with melted sugar and baking soda) lattes. 

If you recall, the cafe opened its first brick-and-mortar space in Royal Square at Novena, back in 2022. It garnered huge fanfare immediately, drawing crowds in with its creative, colourful lineup of Korean-Japanese dishes. It was difficult to get seats, especially on the weekends — unless you reserved a table in advance.

Cafe Gui then launched its second outlet in Chinatown in January this year, choosing its new location because of its high footfall and traffic. And similar to its predecessor, it quickly gained traction online and it’s now one of the most popular cafes in the area. 

For all its hype, we decided to pay a visit to Cafe Gui in Chinatown and give its highly-raved dishes a whirl.

A Hanok-inspired interior 

Cafe Gui in Chinatown
The interior boasts Hanok-inspired decor. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

From the moment we stepped in, we immediately noticed that Cafe Gui’s architectural structure and design presents a stark difference from its sister outlet at Novena. The latter sports a minimalistic, sleek all-white interior, while the newer branch is fully clad in rustic, warm hues

Perhaps since Cafe Gui in Chinatown is nestled in a heritage-rich location, the space was designed to evoke a nostalgic old-school charm, hence the use of wooden fixtures. 

It also weaves in Hanok-inspired elements, such as intricate wooden structures and exquisite carvings, that remind us of dining in a traditional Korean house

Coupled with adorable pictures of Guigui — the owner’s beloved cat — decking the walls, you can tell that a lot of thought and sentiment was put in so that you feel right at home.

Outlet-exclusive dishes

Cafe Gui in Chinatown
Oppa’s beef. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

The menu here stays true to its fusion cuisine, albeit with a few, new outlet-exclusive dishes. 

Oppa’s beef (S$28.90) is one such option and it sees a large tray stacked with a plethora of dishes. 

For its price, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth of food. There is a juicy ribeye beef steak — which is the highlight of the lot — alongside seasonal sides, kimchi and a fluffy bed of rice. The latter is encased in a bento box, which really adds to the experience of savouring a dosirak-style dish. 

Unfortunately, we did find the ribeye beef a tad too strong-smelling for our liking, though it was well-cooked and tender throughout.

Cafe Gui in Chinatown
Dry ramen with grilled ribeye beef. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

We tried the dry ramen with grilled ribeye beef (S$17.90) next, which came with silky Korean spicy noodles, yellow pickles and the same ribeye beef steak used in the previous dish. 

We also ordered the noodles with an additional sunny-side-up egg (+S$2) for extra creaminess and flavour. Remember to gently break the oozy yolk apart and give the noodles a thorough stir for that smooth, velvety finish. 

Certain sections of the noodles were slightly undercooked, and a touch more sauce would be nice to even out the tougher bits. Overall, it’s still a good alternative to Oppa’s beef if you prefer a leaner meal, sans the banchan (Korean side dishes).

Cafe Gui in Chinatown
Mentaiko fries. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

When it comes to sharing plates, we can never miss out on a good ol’ platter of fries. We got the mentaiko fries (S$9.90), which is also a new addition to the menu. 

This is undoubtedly a snack that will charm both the young and old, as the hot and crispy fries are generously drizzled with creamy mentaiko sauce and then finished with a sprinkling of seaweed flakes. 

While it’s nothing out of the ordinary, it’s a timeless, well-loved dish that you can’t go wrong with. But if you crave something with more flair and pizazz, then perhaps you’ll be enticed by the loaded okonomiyaki fries (S$9.90) or umami-filled unagi kabayaki (S$4.90 for one skewer).

Cafe Gui in Chinatown
Black sesame pudding. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

Cafe Gui has a variety of dessert staples to choose from, but its pudding and tiramisu seem to be the bestsellers at both its Chinatown and Novena outlets. We went for the black sesame pudding (S$8.90), which is made in-house and chock-full of milky, roasted goodness. 

Alas, for its price, we were expecting the pudding to be slightly bigger, but it came in a glass jar that was no bigger than the size of our palm. And while it was fresh, sweet and creamy, we felt like the portion sizes did not live up to the price tag. 

Cafe Gui in Chinatown
Signature dalgona honeycomb coffee. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

Of all the beverage options on Cafe Gui’s menu, the signature dalgona honeycomb coffee (S$9.90) caught our eye right off the bat. It’s an all-too-familiar concoction that takes us back to the time when we made homemade dalgona coffee during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic — just in an elevated, refined version. 

The drink is every bit as delicious as it looks. Comprising two shots of espresso, it’s filled to the brim with whipped dalgona cream and chunky blocks of sticky-sweet honeycomb. The coffee packs a potent punch too, and the cubes of honeycomb balance the sweetness of the dalgona cream very nicely. 

If you’re hoping to stop by Cafe Gui in Chinatown, we recommend that you come down during the weekdays. There doesn’t seem to be a crowd then, and it’s easier to get a seat, especially if you’re coming with a big group.

Note that this outlet also doesn’t accept reservations and operates solely on a walk-in basis.

For the latest eats, read about Swiss Butchery’s new flagship retail and dine-in outlet at Holland Village, or check out the Singapore Sake Matsuri happening from May 10 to May 12. Alternatively, catch up on the newest openings in town

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

You can also book a ride to Cafe Gui in Chinatown.

Cafe Gui

278 South Bridge Road
Nearest MRT station: Maxwell
Open: Monday to Tuesday (10.30am to 6.30pm), Thursday to Saturday (10.30am to 9.30pm) and Sunday (10.30am to 4.30pm)

278 South Bridge Road
Nearest MRT station: Maxwell
Open: Monday to Tuesday (10.30am to 6.30pm), Thursday to Saturday (10.30am to 9.30pm) and Sunday (10.30am to 4.30pm)

Picture for WP

Phyllis Leong


The resident sweet tooth with a severe addiction to desserts.

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