My recent trip to London was almost wine-free. So this week, I don’t have so many stories to share about the main topic of the blog. But street food is almost as good right? To love wine is to love all things good and tasty. Greenwich market is not your typical London tourist hangout. There is still something very genuine about it. Continue reading “At Greenwich Market”
Assembly coffee is on Evans road (26 Evans Lodge), just outside the Botanic Garden in Singapore, next door to a wine store (the Wine Company), burger restaurant (Wildfire Kitchen) and Mr Prata. The cafe is fairly small and the space feels very cramped, at least when it is full (which it was when I visited). It was also fairly noisy, so it was difficult to have a normal conversation due to sound from everyone around you. The cafe is however neatly designed and has the vibe of a cool cafe.
They claim to be part of the third wave coffee movement but the focus on the coffee was not really there when I visited. They had only one option for filter coffee and while it was prepared in a decent way, it did in no way impress me. The espresso based beverages were pretty good and compared to the average place they do serve a good cup but it is not a place worth going to just for the coffee.
I was however more impressed with the food. A good selection of different sandwiches, simple dishes and some nice sweet stuff. The salted caramel waffle was really good and the same can be said for the egg and mayo sandwich as well as the scrambled egg croissant. Prices were pretty decent to be a Singapore cafe but it still bothers me that they only accept Nets or cash, so for us non-locals better bring along cash.
Service was friendly, but as it often seems packed to the brim, also a bit stressed and it was difficult to really chat about the coffee with them. Still a decent place and by far the best around the Botanical garden.
So how does it rate:
Coffee quality: 3
Ambiance and Service: 3
Vs Local Average Competition: 3.5
Happy Sunday everybody! I am enjoying a lazy weekend, typing away with a perfect view of the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore. This will be the last Wineweek I write a summary from this trip and it will cover almost two weeks of wine-action in the famous business-hub and city-state of Singapore. Travelling has been great as always, but I must admit I miss our home and our wonderful wine fridges. At least we have had much more drinks on our last leg. It has not always been value for money, but my oh my have I missed a glass of cold Cava or Champagne. What has also contributed to the expense-level of this trip is the declining Swedish Krona against a strong Singapore dollar. Anyway, everyone has a different perspective on value for money, and my point of reference dates to our days of living in London and enjoying a glass of good bubbly for £5.
I can categorize the last 10 days to three categories: wine, coffee and cocktails. That’s all we have done. Why did I not mention food? Well, because we have had food with all of them. We have first chosen our drink of preference and then had some matching food with that. Our days have consisted mostly of visiting cafes and restaurants with a marathon of walking in between. I find it is a great way to get to know a city, so we have soldiered on despite the scorching heat. Around here, most coffees are also served as cold-brews which is a good way to cool down after too much sun.
Wine has perhaps been the category with the lowest overall quality, but that was to be expected. Duties to import wine are high, and I think there is not a big enough market here. So prices for bottles can end up being 30-50% more expensive than what we would pay in the UK or Sweden. Don’t get me wrong, Singapore is like Disneyland for the wine-enthusiasts compared to the other destinations we have visited. Also, we have found a few exceptions to the wallet draining traps that I am happy to recommend for anybody living or travelling to Singapore:
1. Verre Wine Bar. Located in Robertson Que, a wine bar serving a wonderful Guy Charlemagne Brut by the glass. You can get two glasses for the price of one during happy hour, which makes the price per glass very tempting (9 SGD). We also tried some interesting red from Barossa-valley that will be up for a review soon.
2. Bar – A – Vin. Located in the Central Business District (CBD). Serves a good Gardet Brut Tradition by the glass, and I also recall them having some nice Australian Pinots.
3. Sabio. Located on Duxton Hill, Sabio has some nice Agusti Torello Cava and DelaMotte Champagne by the glass (16-24 SGD). The ambiance is nice and they have live music in the evenings to brighten the mood.
Cocktails have been a real treat! We have found some amazing places with real drink-talent. I think Singapore gives London a run for their money when it comes to good cocktail-bars and I cannot name many places in Stockholm that can compare. We accidentally picked up a local life-style magazine at a cafe that listed some interesting places and did two nights of cocktail-hopping to check them out. None of the mentioned bars disappointed, on the contrary we were very impressed. Here are our top three picks, and we will make a separate post on the rest in due time.
1. LongPlay is a new addition to the cocktail scene located on Haji Lane. We ran into this place by accident and were so impressed that we posted a review immediately (click here).
2. Bar Stories is also locted on Haji Lane. The entrance is very discreet, but clearly visible if one is looking for it. There is no specific cocktail-list but the bartenders think up something based on what you describe you want. This results to a set of very innovative and beautiful drinks that are as good in taste as they are in looks.
3. Operation Dagger, located on a side street to the famous Club Street is a speakeasy/ secret bar. Its too known to be a real secret, but you need to do your homework to find in. They do a set of very creative coctails with a bit of a “molecule” twist. It reminds me of Pharmarium in Stockholm.
Coffee-wise, we already knew Singapore was great. Not the best in class, but a city with a lot of potential. What is wonderful here is how good the food is at the cafes. I think I have overdosed on french toast, Eggs Benedict and good cakes. I hate the thought of a diet, but I may have to start one after this trip, I am way too used to having my daily sugar-high. Warm meals at cafes is not a common in Scandinavia or the UK. Yes there are cakes and sandwiches, but no foody dishes. Here in Singapore the cafe is the new bistro (and the bistro is the new casual fine dining), so our lunches were accompanied by a decent cup. Our top cafe pics are the following (in order of best coffee, not best food):
1. The New Black is a new coffee bar close to Clarke Que. They have an impressive collection of beans from around the world and use a new-ish technique similar to a coffee syphon to make a reliable good cup.
2. Common Man Coffee Roaster located on Martins Lane is a coffee bar with a good selection of hand-brews and also great food. You should remember to ask for their back-room selection for the more special beans.
3. Nylon Roasters are a real contribution to the coffee scene in Singapore. their beans can be found in many other places and they have a shop in Everton Park that you can visit. It used to be a small hole in the wall type cafe, but has now grown into post-hipster paradise. Of course more visitors means more variation in quality, but coffee-wise it is still one of the most interesting places to visit in Singapore.
Not to completely forget the food part, we have also been having some great meals. More about the restaurants will follow later, but just to mention a few interesting places: Jaan, Moosehead and Esquina.
That was a lot of lists! It is not that often that Wineweek is this comprehensive. On Wednesday we will be hopping on the plane back to Sweden and the snow. We have our wine-business waiting with just one more set of papers to return for being able to start business fully from Denmark. We also have some other interesting things coming up. We will be traveling to Portugal to visit some new and interesting producers, like Vieira de Sousa and Almeida Garrett, and later in March we will be visiting the “mothership” of cava, Sant Sadurni (and Penedes). So I expect it will be busy time for us and the blog and we will have many exciting things to share with you.
It is a great feeling that it is Monday again and that means that it is time for Coffee Monday! This week featuring another coffee bar review from Bangkok. On a back street off Ekkamai 12 there is a small laid back cafe called One Ounce for Onion, it shares the space with a fashion store called Onion. It has a few seats inside and around 20 or so outside. The focus is on high quality specialty coffee, from local roaster Brave, but they also do cold beverages, snacks, pastries and some light dishes. I was actually due to publish another review but this place got my all excited as I loved the vibe, staff, coffee and food so I just felt a need to share this first.
The space is nice and cozy, it is just perfect to lounge for a while. On weekdays it appears pretty relaxed but understood from staff that it is a bit crazy on weekends. The offer free wifi so also possible to sit and do some work, browse or such as well. I was taking my time there and did not really get any complaints from staff so appears to be fully acceptable to do just that.
They had six different beans to choose from for filter coffee on my visit. They also use a blend for the espresso based beverages so no lack of choice. I opted for a honey processed coffee from Chiang Mai. A lovely cup, one of the best local beans I had. The nose had hints of chocolate and nuts. These also came through in the flavor but there also a clear mix of berry like acidity and hints of orange. Great cup and excellent execution. After also sampling a macchiato I am convinced that these guys (and girls) really know their coffee. They are one of the top spots in town. However, I had not realized that the competition was this tough in Bangkok so they do not really make it to number one, but they are clearly in my top 5 (a top list will follow when all the cafes have been reviewed).
The food assortment is not huge but what they do they do really well. The eggs, sausage, bacon with asparagus and tomatoes was awesome. The pastries also very good (not really up to the level of Size S) but still tasty.
So how does it rate:
Coffee quality: 4.5
Ambiance and service: 4.5
Vs average local competition: 5