Food's not the only draw at these cafes

VINTAGE REVIVAL: The Car-Rousel Cafe at Kallang Wave Mall features a custom-made Volkswagen van that accommodates the entire kitchen.
Food's not the only draw at these cafes

BACK TO THE 'BEAUTIFUL ERA': Angelina Singapore boasts ivory fittings, floral wall coverings and muted gold accents.


    Jun 15, 2015

    Food's not the only draw at these cafes

    SEVERAL new food and beverage outlets pay as much attention to their decor as the food they serve.


    27 Tessensohn Road

    Opening hours: Tue to Thu, Sun, 1pm-10pm;

    Fri to Sat, 1pm-11pm; closed on Mondays.

    Tel: 6291-2612

    Need to buy art to decorate your new home? Why not have a slice of cake and a cup of coffee while you're at it? That's the option that 34-year-old Gavin Choo hopes to provide customers of his newest venture, Art Art And Away.

    This art retail store cum dessert cafe is located in Tessensohn Road, just down the street from Mr Choo's first F&B outlet, superhero-themed restaurant Hungry Heroes. Although Art Art And Away is already open, it will officially launch tomorrow and serves contemporary local desserts alongside affordable decorative art.

    Mr Choo explained that the dessert concept came about after observing "the 'local movement' (being) on the rise" and "Singaporeans starting to embrace our own culture and identity". From there, they decided to break away from the "brunch food" norm at other cafes and come up with contemporary versions of local desserts instead.

    That's why the menu at Art Art And Away is a familiar one, with recognisable items like Coconut-Cutting-Edge Pudding ($12) with coconut pudding, kaya and coconut jelly, and Chee Cheong Fun 2.0 ($8) with mango roll, Okinawa black sugar sauce and strawberry sauce. It also offers sundae flavours like Milo Dinosaur ($8) with milo ice cream, milo crunch and milo powder, and Chendol ($8) with coconut ice cream, gula melaka, pandan strips, red bean and corn.

    As for the art and decor items in the retail store, these come from countries around the region - like China, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia - and are mostly priced between $90 and $130.

    According to Mr Choo, the plan is to eventually work with local artists and innovators to come up with its own line of original products.


    Kallang Wave Mall, #02-12

    Opening hours: 8am-10pm daily

    Tel: 6384-6822

    Stepping into the week-old Car-Rousel Cafe, there's no mistaking the theme that the owners were going for when shopping for furniture and decorations. They clearly wanted something vintage.

    In fact, the lightbulb signboard, hanging lamps made of bicycle wheels and custom-made Volkswagen van (aka the kitchen) right smack in the centre of the space make it look too "hipster" to fit in with a commercial shopping centre like the Kallang Wave Mall.

    "My husband and I are personally interested in old things and vintage cars - we collect car models and even rented a vintage car to get married in. To us, these vintage cars symbolise the culture of freedom and fun in the 1960s, which is not the kind of lifestyle we have now because of our fast-paced modern lives. We want to recreate that kind of fun, casual environment for customers," said the cafe's 32-year-old co-founder Jolene Chng, who started the place with her husband and a few silent investors.

    They spent about $150,000 to create the Volkswagen van, which is big enough to accommodate the entire kitchen, chairs bearing the brand name made from re-purposed oil drums, and vintage items like gramophones as decorations.

    Ms Chng entered into the F&B industry about three years ago, when she started baking for colleagues and office parties, and realised how much she enjoyed it. Eventually, she quit her job in the civil service and set up a small stall in a staff canteen to test the market, before opening her own bakery called The Little Patisserie in Waterloo Street.

    Although that bakery is now closed, her baked goods line the shelves of Car-Rousel Cafe every day, as she comes in early to prepare desserts every morning.

    The cafe's mains include sandwiches with fillings like roast beef, smoked roast chicken, and beef pastrami (from $6 to $7.50), as well as customisable salads ($6 and up). Desserts may vary on a day-to-day basis, but typical options include tiramisu, fruit tart or cheesecake.


    #01-82 Capitol Galleria, 15 Stamford Road

    Opening hours: 10am-8pm daily

    Tel: 6384-0481

    Be prepared to be transported when you step into Angelina Singapore - not just in place, but also in time.

    Fashioned after the interiors of the Belle Epoque (French for the "Beautiful Era") in the early 1900s, the tearoom boasts ivory fittings, floral wall coverings and muted gold accents throughout. Widely thought to have been a prosperous and peaceful period in France, the Belle Epoque is characterised as luxurious and elegant, which is exactly what one can expect from Angelina Singapore.

    Opened two weeks ago, the cafe is a franchise of the famous tearoom of the same name in France. Apart from Singapore, the patisserie can also be found in Dubai, Qatar, China and Japan.

    Said Aditya Talwar, director of franchise owner Re Global Hospitality: "All the Angelina restaurants derive their design inspiration from the Rue de Rivoli flagship store. The interiors were designed in France by design firm Lagence Versions and our fixtures are sourced mainly from France to recreate the luxurious and authentic atmosphere of the Angelina tearoom."

    Apart from best-selling items The Mont-Blanc ($13.50) and Old-Fashioned Hot Chocolate L'Africain ($12), whose recipe has been a closely guarded secret for more than a hundred years, Angelina Singapore caters to food aficionados by also offering hot items, unlike its French counterpart. The Truffle Ravioli ($29), Wild Mushroom Risotto ($23) and Pan-fried Scallops ($29) are just a few of the selections on its extensive menu.