If you could live in one historical era, which would it be? We have never lacked interesting themed cafes in Singapore.
Garden-themed cafes sprouted rapidly across the island a few years back, right after the character cafes craze. Meanwhile, the latest hype in the food scene takes a step back into the past, as cafes reverts from minimalism into the red and yellow colour palette of the 90s like what Joji’s Diner, a retro American-style cafe, did.
Fast forward to now, Singapore’s food scene has witnessed the launch of a space-themed bistro bar. We might not be able to travel in space like the four civilians did during the SpaceX launch last year, but we’re still able to catch a glimpse of what it’s like to die in the cosmos.
That’s the beauty of themed cafes in Singapore, isn’t it?
Especially those that are modelled after different time periods, sending you back in time or towards the future. Thus, we have collated the best themed cafes in Singapore of different eras, for you to embark on your time-traveling journey.
1. Space — Chef China Hua Chu
Launch into the latest space era at this out-of-the-world astronomical themed bistro bar.
Chef China Hua Chu is decked in white and grey and embellished with metallic tubular structure. It also comes with a realistic-looking spaceship porthole and an astronaut floating in space, enhancing the illusion that you are dining in the stars.
Its menu isn’t what you’d expect, with its focus on Sichuan cuisine such as their signature spicy grilled fish (S$32.90). Dongbei-style lok lok is also served from S$0.90.
If you’re lucky enough, you might even catch a glimpse of a walking astronaut.
Location: 101 Beach Road, 01-01
Opening hours: 11am – 4am
2. Oriental — Jiang Nan Chun
Located in Four Seasons Hotel, Jiang Nan Chun serves exquisite and authentic Cantonese cuisine in a luxurious Imperial Palace setting.
The warm neutrals with the dim light setting, accompanied by evocative furnishings create a traditional zen-like ambience, allowing guests to experience a step back in time to the Jiang Nan province in China. Its oriental elements also tied the different elements together.
Branded with two Michelin stars, Jiang Nan Chun is famous for its signature wood-fired roasted peking duck, that is juicy and bestowed with a layer of crispy skin.
Location: Four Seasons Hotel, 190 Orchard Boulevard
Opening hours: 11:30am- 2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm
3. Vintage — Brunches Cafe
Travel back in time to the good ol’ bistro days during the 80s at Brunches Cafe.
This chic vintage-themed is decorated with antique collectables and posters. Its rustic furniture, especially a metal-grilled sliding gate, is sure to induce nostalgia for the older generation. However, sitting on the seats that are extracted from a Mini Cooper isn’t the only reason to visit Brunches.
The quality of its dishes are decent, with a mish-mash of cuisines presented in its menu, such as lobster bisque (S$10.90) and eggs royale (S$17.50). Artisanal bakes and a cup of coffee are also available for an afternoon tea session.
Location: 96 Rangoon Road
Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday to Friday (11am to 10pm), Saturday and Sunday (10am to 10pm)
4. Retro — Joji’s Diner
Reminisce the Diner Dash game in real life with Joji’s Diner — a retro 90’s American-style cafe that offers classic milkshakes, waffles, breakfast sets at affordable prices.
It’s impossible to miss the storefront with its eye-catching neon signage and bright red doors. Furthermore, there’s nothing more retro than the in black and white checkered flooring that is complemented with an old jukebox and gumball machine.
American classics on its menu include chicken and waffle (S$12.90) and smashed burger (S$11.90).
Location: 534 Upper Serangoon Road
Opening hours: Monday to Tuesday (10am to 10pm), Wednesday (10am to 3pm), Thursday to Sunday (10am to 10pm)
5. Colonial — Tamarind Hill
Tucked in lush greenery of Labrador Nature Reserve, Tamarind Hill is settled within a timeless colonial bungalow that exudes a cosy and romantic ambience. Historic values are preserved as it served as the British Army’s artillery garrison in the 1920s.
Tamarind Hill’s menu extends to over 100 Thai and Burmese creations prepared by Thai chefs, who have incorporated their heirloom recipes, injecting not only authenticity, but a taste of what home means to them.
Boasting a picturesque landscaped garden, the restaurant is perfect for intimate weddings as well.
Location: 30 Labrador Villa Road
Opening hours: Monday to Friday (12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm), Saturday and Sunday (11.30am to 3.30pm, 6pm to 10pm)
6. Romanticism — Alchemist The Mill
Dark Romanticism emerged the late 1700s as a literary sub-genre. While not fully encompassing, its aesthetics include intricate designs and moody colour schemes.
Alchemist The Mill is located in an all-black European gothic-themed tower at Alexandra, standing out from the rest of the modern buildings. Its walls are adorned with old-world aesthetic murals, and its ceiling is filled with opulent light fixtures like chandeliers for a dramatic look.
This cafe is a concept from Alchemist, a local coffee roaster and cafe. Thus, you’ll be able to find a good cup of coffee here, alongside a selection of pastries.
Location: The Mill, 02-02, 5 Jalan Kilang
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday (9am to 6pm)