Today’s cafe is Assembly Coffee – a quaint, chic place that’s located off the main road, and hidden away from prying eyes, smack dab in the middle of a forested little sanctuary.
“Assembly” is nestled within the cozy compounds of the Pegasus International School at Evans Road, a low, red-bricked building that seems so charmingly European. It took us a while to find the place because Assembly is tucked away, almost obscurely, between two other restaurants – The Wine Company on its left, and Mr Prata on its right.
I was totally impressed by Assembly’s understated, but gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous signage that adorns a pale off-white wall. Tell me that it doesn’t look like the cover of a mysterious white book, just waiting for its pages to be flipped open!
The signage paves the way to the cutest, tiniest entrance, set above a short flight of steps, with lovely glass and black-finished metal swing doors. It didn’t take me long to realize that at Assembly, the devil is in the design details!
A minor gripe, however – the sheer number of patrons inside was nerve-wracking (for me, at least). Almost claustrophobically so. In any case, it’s safe to say that the place was jam-packed with people. We had problems maneuvering past the not-so-practical doorway to get to the counter, so we picked a spot at the front of the entrance (along with about, like, a hundred other people) all looking lost and forlorn until we were finally attended to.
I finally managed to get a shot of the cafe when the crowd started clearing out. As much as I was quickly getting grouchy and short-tempered (didn’t help that it a BLAZING hot day outside), I was delighted by the Scandinavian/Rustic decor of the cafe.
Assembly Coffee comprises of two smallish areas – a main and an inner. At the inner area, the mirrored wall is a particularly smart touch. Assembly is not terribly large, but the wide, horizontal mirror, very strategically placed right at the back of the room, adds tons of space to an otherwise cramped dining area. An offbeat striped vase turns into an amazing centerpiece – it’s fun, almost quirky, but blends in perfectly with the rest of its surroundings. And this is because Assembly keeps to a strict colour code of muted tones – eggshell white, pale greys and browns, with dashes of black, silver and teak accents. The final look is a one that allows for a smattering of soft furnishing and decorative pieces, without appearing too cramped or cluttered to the eyes.
Another look at that vase, just because I adore it. (Am noting to self that the stripey pattern is actually cloth that’s been stitched together, and attached to a glass/plastic vase. Genius, and I am so stealing this idea.)
I love how Assembly has taken special care to adorn its interior with little black and white labels, each with varying “Assembly” logos and emblems. I mentioned earlier on that it’s apparent that Assembly pays a whole lot of care to even the finest, most minute details. And this impresses me, very much! Nothing is slipshod or careless – each element is deliberately brought together by a meticulous, well crafted and thought-out design intent.
Everything – from the scenic, idyllic location, down to the warm evening sunlight streaming in through a row of high windows – seems to make you feel like you’re not quite in Singapore anymore, and adds on to an almost magical experience.
There are cafes that you pay customary, novelty visits to (just because), before the memory begins its slow fade to black. And then there are cafes that you make a firm decision to commit fully to memory determined to return, maybe even before your visit is up. And I’m glad to say, that Assembly Coffee very much falls in the latter category.Assembly Coffee
26 evans lodge
+65 6735 5647+65 6735 5647
8am – 7pm
Tuesday to Sunday
Sinpopo is another one of those trendy, hip cafes (it actually seems to be more of a dessert place, though) that have been springing up over the island. Apparently I’m a little slow on the uptake – some of these coffee places have been around for couple of years now – but I’m always late, which kind of sucks :(
MD decided that he’d take me there to sate my photo-taking craving. Here are some pictures!
Taking a leisurely drive down Katong. I love the night streets so much, love how they just seem to come alive with blaring streaks of oranges and reds. And there’s something safe and cozy about being cocooned inside the velvety darkness of a car.
Here we are at Sinpopo. I adore that candy-turquoise signboard with its bold red wordings. So webdesign-like. (How interesting that nowadays, the lines between various design mediums are being blurred at such great speed.)
More pictures, coming up.
Anyone remembers that mosaic tiled floor and that television set? I had one of those at home. Before the remote control, there was your kid cousin – I was the remote control, the water-fetcher, and the applecore-disposer to my six older cousins. True story :)
Sinpopo was an interesting place filled with some awesome vintage-y goodness, and I like it very much.
But the nitpicking soul in me couldn’t help but notice how brand-new and polished everything was, and that detracted from the whole experience that would otherwise have been nostalgic and authentic. The uniformed staff also made me realize how much it reminded me of a commercialized franchise – I much prefer the laid back, authentic and exclusive vibes that all of my favourite cafes give off! A fun visit, though not somewhere I would visit on a regular basis.Sinpopo
458, Joo Chiat Road
Sun – Thu: 12:00 – 22:00
Fri – Sat: 12:00 – 00:00
Eve of PH: 12:00 – 00:00
On lazy Sundays, I love making a trip down to The Orange Thimble at Tiong Bahru for a hot chocolate fix.
Being a designer, gorgeous, strong visuals and aesthetics are always at the top of my priority list, for just about whatever it is that I’m in the mood for. And TOT will always be one of my favorite finds of all.
If you’re there for the first time, make your way right through the back – you might be delighted to discover a maze-like enclosure of cozy little rooms. The mini rooms are large enough for a group of 4-8 people, but seating is rather limited, so you might have to either wait it out, or settle for a less private space instead.
This is the ‘backyard’ – also my favorite section of the cafe. There’s an unexplainable magic about the inteior deco here. I’ve always been an advocate of “3 or less main colors” and “2 or less theme fusion” in any given design, but TOT has me baffled and amazed.
In a curious, almost bizarre blend of English countryside cottage look – rust-red brick walls, a mahagony garden table and pretty potted plants – and an extremely local, industrial warehouse look, right down to the zinc wave ceiling, unconcealed cable trunkings and pipes, and peeling paintwork, the backyard has an authentic, raw and intriguing allure that’s in direct conflict with the neat freak in me, but a definite eye-pleaser, just like the rest of TOT.
I haven’t tried anything else on the menu, but the hot chocolate served is one of the best I’ve had. The chocolate is rich with the slightest tinge of bitterness – just how I’d like it. It tastes almost as if an actual cube of chocolate was melted and served in a cup – just look at the little chocolate flecks floating at the top!
Hot chocolate with old school biscuits: $6 and thoroughly enjoyed.
#01-68, 56 Eng Hoon Street
Tue – Thu: 09:00 – 21:30
Fri – Sat: 09:00 – 23:00
Sun – Thu: 09:00 – 21:30