Dec 27 2012
Though you certainly wouldn’t know it by walking past or even from reading the sign, Chye Seng Huat Hardware brews the best cuppa in Singapore. This retro-chic cafe roasts their own beans and has a coffee bar where you can sample their different blends and brewing methods.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware is the new flagship outlet of Papa Palheta specialty coffee (formerly located on Bukit Timah Road). The quirky name is an homage to the traditional trade of the neighbourhood, and you enter through a secret side gate with a “no parking” sign. Inside, the cafe has a minimalistic style with high ceilings, a U-shaped coffee bar and a handful of small tables perpetually occupied by hip 20-somethings tapping away at iDevices.
The coffee is served only in its purest form — espresso, espresso with milk, brewed coffee or iced coffee. The open lay-out allows you to watch the expert baristas at work, and the making of the daily brew (S$5) involves scales and thermometers to ensure the right ratio and water temperature. A sip confirms there is no need for flavoured syrups or whipped toppings, as the coffee is richly flavoured with no bitter aftertaste. As it is a coffee “bar”, they also serve coffee-flavoured ale (S$7.50 a half pint).
One way that Chye Seng Huat Hardware is an improvement over the original Papa Palheta location is that they now serve food. You can enjoy your coffee with a gourmet sandwich (from S$10) or breakfast favourites like French toast with strawberries or blueberry pancakes (from S$7.50) available all day. They also offer freshly-baked goodies like croissants and cakes. We especially like the “When Barista Meets Baker” menu which pairs coffee and pastries for S$10.
Serious coffee connoisseurs should make a reservation for a coffee tasting at The Annex – a private room adjacent to the main cafe. For S$23 per person you get a three-course coffee and snacks session with a demonstration of experimental brewing methods. The coffee magic happens at 15:00 plus an additional 20:00 session Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
A taste of the coffee at Chye Seng Huat Hardware may make it impossible for you to go back to your usual brew; thankfully they sell bags of their in-house roasted coffee beans and coffee-making gadgets like drippers, grinders and espresso makers.
The only thing we don’t love about Chye Seng Huat Hardware is how popular it is — expect to have to wait for a table on a weekend or, if you don’t mind the heat, you can sit outdoors in the garden courtyard.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee
150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore
Nearest MRT: Lavender or Farrer Park
T: 6396 0609
Open 09:00-19:00 Tues-Thurs, 09:00-22:00 Fri-Sun, closed Mon
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