Caffeine Saturday! Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar
Seems like cafes are sprouting up all round the sunny island in the last few months. I returned from Malaysia, pleasantly surprised at the many new bakeries and cafes. Maison Kayser, Pauls, DonQ, Tiong Bahru Bakery, Bread Project, Kith, Forty Hands, Loysel's Toy, Wimbly Lu, Strangers' Reunion etc etc.. This is just off the top of my mind. I'm building up a list to try, try and try already!
With these in mind, I visited 2 cafes over the weekend, Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar and Toby's Estate. It's thoroughly enjoyable to go to new cafes, explore their concepts of lifestyle, attempts at differentiating their coffee, assortment of pastries, sandwiches and brunch menu. Cool. I could do this everyday. or so I hope!
Situated in an obscure part of Jalan Besar, you would not expect the place to be packed as it is! This is evidence of the growing cafe culture (and potentially start of the milk tea decline?). Other than the slight difficulty in getting there (Driving or in my case, cabbing, is most ideal), I must admit the name also posed some difficulties to my usually forgetful memory. Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar is quite a mouthful though very unique and therefore sticks in the mind. Btw me and my friends, we address is as the "Ah Huat cafe". There! now, its much easier to remember but when I tried to google for the address, it posed yet another challenge. Ha! Ha!
On the HOT Saturday afternoon that I went with the hubby (all photo credits to him and his new lens), the cafe was packed to the brim. It's basically so busy that we didn't try to take any indoor photos as we gathered it will be packed with heads popping all over. So.. all we have are the food photos!
Pistachio Cranberry Tea Cake $3
A layer of sweet crumble covered the top of the cake which made it subtly buttery. Pretty soft and crumbly, tasting lightly of pistachio, it was not bad. Suitable for a light snacky item though nothing much to shout about. Wish there were more cranberries and large pieces of pistachio for additional bite. Ask for it to be warmed if you are going to try this.
Salami Sandwich with Taleggio Cheese, Olive Paste & Rockets $10
We totally enjoyed this sandwich. Love the savory combination of the tart olive, thick creamy cheese and slightly bitter rocket. The salami added the final oomph to the chewy foccacia. Check out the large pockets in the bread...I could eat the bread just on its own easily, infinitely! Also a rather large portion, do order for sharing so that you can enjoy other orders. Recommended dish from the staff is the meat patties and I see many patrons enjoying a heart slice of their brownies.
Milk with Espresso $5.50
The highlight of any cafe must lie within it's coffee! Since "Ah Huat Cafe" is under the wings of Papa Palheta, its key differentiation lies in it's quality of coffee. A large coffee bar is sprawled across the center of the room and interested cafe-goers can sit around the bar, watch the various baristas in their action and ask all the questions they want. The cafe prides itself in it's quality and beauty. I think my 2nd drink was pushed aside and made afresh as the barista is not happy with his latte art. I love the "pride in your work" concept. Kudos to the culture! My espresso with milk is indeed very fragrant and you can smell & taste the aroma of the coffee. One of the best coffees I had so far. If only I have easy access to this place, I would be in caffeine heaven.
It is overall a pleasant food and coffee trip; however with the crowd and hustle/bustle super-busy feel of the place, we were not inclined to linger. This is apparent across the customers as the in and outflow of customers are pretty fast! For a rather difficult to reach destination, it was slightly disappointing that we left so soon but there were already people standing right next to us (ala hawker center style) waiting for us to vacate. Probably a better time to go is in the early morning or late in the evening where you can indulge in the coffee experience and linger over their yummy sandwiches.