Monday, Wednesday & Thursday: 10am - 11pm
Tucked in a small corner of the Clifford Centre, you’ll find the newly opened Wai Cafe. Owners Dayton and Kent are bucking the trend of vast cafe spaces instead opting for a tiny space right in the CBD. With Dayton’s former experience as a flight attendant and Kent’s devotion to great coffee, there’s no doubt in our mind that this place will be you next favourite hangout spot!
Like most successful entrepreneurs, Dayton and Kent started with a dream, to own a café where they can share their passion for good coffee. Kent, who still works as a lawyer, grew up in New Zealand and experienced first hand the cafe revolution that has occurred there over the last decade. On coming back to Singapore, he sought to find the perfect cup of coffee and soon became a regular at Common Man Coffee Roasters. Dayton on the other hand, was born and raised in Malaysia. After moving to Singapore, he starting his career as an airline cabin crew but has always had a passion for F&B. Dayton is in charge of the day to day running of the cafe and his calming nature paired with a bright smile and outstanding eye for service leaves us in no doubt this place will win some regular customers of it's own in no time.
On my last visit to the cafe, I managed to sit down with Dayton and have a chat about his vision for the cafe, plans for the future and his favourite way to enjoy a brew...
M: What is your vision for Wai cafe?
D: Coffee tastes in Singapore are evolving fast and there is an emerging independent cafe culture, particularly on weekends. We wanted to bring some of that downtown so people can make it part of their busy week. All in a cute cafe just minutes from thousands of offices.
M: What's your plan for the next 5 years? Expansion?
D: Our model is based on the personal touch and this means we are likely to keep it small, local and independent. We are keen to have a distinct offering from the chains, which dominate here so there won't be franchises or 10 outlets islandwide.
M: What makes Wai cafe different from the rest of the cafes in the CBD?
D: It is one of the only independent cafes downtown. We are exclusively committed to the best coffee - beans from our friends at Common Man, our wonderful team of local baristas and our hard working Synesso MVP, in a friendly, relaxed space we have made our own.
M: I am visiting your cafe for the first time, what should I try?
D: The good old flat white - works so well with the 22 Martin blend!
So if you happen to be in the city, grab your favourite cuppa and pair it with a delicious fresh croissant - I'm pretty sure that this won’t be your last visit to this awesome place!
#01-08 Clifford Centre, 24 Raffles Place, 048621
Monday – Friday: 8am - 5.30pm
Closed on weekends
The Dark Gallery, Ngee Ann City
No longer content with just bringing their dark indulgences to Millenia Walk, owners Li Hui and Dashel, have opened their second outlet in Takashimaya along the Orchard Road. The new outlet is a much larger space allowing for a dedicated retail area, featuring chocolates (of course), single origin cacao, and coffee from both CMCR and some great international roasters.
The concept stores vibrant lights and open layout make it hard to miss as you enter the basement level of Takashimaya. As the name suggests, it’s a gallery that showcases chocolates and confectionary, with luxurious ice cream in a wide array of flavours to compliment the sweet bites. The Gallery also sets out to encourage people to discover more about cacao origins and try lesser known varieties of chocolate.
The design of the café in itself is an ode to all things chocolate, from the shades of colour to the textures used in the fixtures and furniture, nothing escapes the luscious treatment. It makes for a very enjoyable environment to relax in.
Besides the sweet stuff, there’s no doubt that coffee plays a major role for Dark Gallery too. They feature CMCR Espresso as their house blend, with hints of cherry and complex flavours it pairs beautifully with the cacao.
You can also sample a their wide selection of single origins as pour over; the best way to enjoy a brew is to sit at the bar and strike a conversation with their friendly barista who will be more than happy to recommend you his favourite cup.
If all the options on display is a bit overwhelming or you’re a newbie to the game, Li Hui recommends their single origin platters. Opting for a platter allows you to choose a selection of ice creams or pastries which are then laid out enticingly on a wooden board, with origin information for each of the cacao so you learn as you eat. I tried their exclusive Chocolate Soufflé made from 66% dark chocolate with pure vanilla ice cream on the side. It was as sinful as it sounds and though it maybe a little old fashioned it was devilishly good!
Dark Gallery is a place perfect to enjoy some time with your family and of course, caters for the hardcore chocolate lover too, so head down and indulge your sweet tooth!
391 Orchard Road, #B2-29 Ngee Ann City, Singapore 238872
Monday - Sunday
The first thing that hits you as you step into Panamericana is the huge windows which allow an expansive view of the ocean. Yes the ocean is dotted with container ships, but hey, this is Singapore and we’ve come to think of these as part of the beauty right?!?
Situated right on the edge of Sentosa set against the lush green golf club, Panamericana is a casual eating and drinking spot, perfect for those long weekend brunches with friends. It’s menu, inspired by the 14 countries that the Pan-American Highway crosses, offers up small and big plates during the week and evenings, as well as a brunch menu on the weekends perfect to soak up last night’s booze or line your stomach ready for the day ahead.
Whilst the menu is predominantly an ode to meat (with an Argentinian fire-pit in middle of the dining room!), we were impressed by the number of great vegetarian dishes on the brunch menu.
Along with the usual suspects of pancakes, salmon and poached eggs, there is also a chickpea quesadilla and scrambled eggs with smashed peas and avocado.
When it comes to drinks, as we've already hinted at, it’s the booze that takes centre stage at this joint with a comprehensive beverage menu of cocktails, spirits (two pages dedicated to whiskey!), wines and beers. The bar regularly mixes up new concoctions such as ‘Grown Up Fanta’ and ‘Tommy’s Margaritas’ depending on the mood of head bartender, Ricky Pavia, alongside refreshing juices, smoothies and of course, coffee if you aren’t in the mood for some booze. They are currently pouring some delicious San Fransico, from Guatemala as Nitro cold brew!
So weather you are looking for a breezy spot to while away your weekend or fancy watching some ships pass in the night, take a trip down to Sentosa; we promise you won’t be disappointed!
Sentosa Golf Club, 27 Bukit Manis Road, 099892
Monday – Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday - Friday: 12pm – 11pm
Saturday - Sunday: 9am – 11pm
t: +65 62538182
In recent times, River Valley has become one of the most bustling streets in Singapore where some of the best cafes and restaurants are located. From Australian-inspired cafes, authentic Japanese restaurants to French bistros, name it and this area have it all. Before 2017 ended, another small café opened along River Valley and jumped on to the long list of new Singapore café’s you have to try.
Market Valley is a family run business, which was started by Sam Ong and his other siblings when they realized that despite the volume of F&B in River Valley there was an unmet market for a simple coffee and sandwich concept. Sam had been spending a lot of time in the area as his brother worked at a local barber shop, it wasn't long until he was inspired to fill the gap and open a place himself. Sam felt confident in undertaking this task after living in Melbourne for some time which gave him the opportunity to learn more about specialty coffee and taste some of the best coffee he has ever tasted.
Although Sam does not consider himself a person who essentially needs caffeine fix everyday, coffee is still a very important part of their menu. Expect to be served with 22 Martin from the hopper, or if you are lucky enough, be surprised with blends like Lucky Basterd or CMCR Espresso on some days. Sam knows that his cafe is only a small place yet he understands the importance of investing into a Synesso to provide only the best coffee to their customers.
I love how simple their menu is, yet everything is so delightful. They offer different varieties of sandwiches, wraps and healthy salad bowls too. A personal favorite was the Philly Cheese Steak, which did not disappoint at all with that generous portion of beef and cheese! After having this tasty dish, I ended it with a well balance cup of flat white well made by their in house barista.
Market Valley is sure in my list of places that serves amazing food and coffee with a really affordable price tagged in it. If your office is just around the corner or you happen to be in the area, make sure to drop a visit and try some of their awesome sandwiches and coffee too!
222 River Valley Rd, Singapore 238280
Monday – Friday: 10am-8pm