Caffe Bene – the Korean coffeehouse giant – has finally landed in Singapore, at VivoCity to be precise. The name, if you translate it literally, means ‘good cafe’ in Italian. We recently dropped by to see exactly what all the fuss is about and to see if it lived up to it’s title, and the hype.
The first thing you notice about Caffe Bene is the decor. There are a few nods towards a more vintage feel, but it also maintains a cool, fun, natural European vibe. It’s spacious, light and bright with plenty of comfy spaces for you to sit back and relax.
Despite the fact there are now approximately 1,500 Caffe Bene’s globally, each one features a unique interior design ensuring it doesn’t feel like your average coffee chain. The only feature you will spot in every single branch however is the famous Caffe Bene clock.
The menu is vast and varied, and of course features everyone’s favourite Korean export – Bingsu – alongside gelato, waffles and honey bread, to name but a few.
We kicked things off with the Japanese Soba ($9.90) from the savoury counter. What looked like a relatively dull bowl of soba was actually pretty tasty. I liked the crunch of the julienne carrot and cucumber, and the dressing was light, fresh and enough to coat the entire bowl generously. It was a healthy way to begin, even though I did quickly descend into calorie laden waffle territory.
The drinks menu features some unusual additions as well as the expected coffee combinations. We tried the Sweet Potato Latte (from $6.50) and opted for the iced version, it can also be served hot if you’d rather. I really enjoyed this drink, it was refreshing, smooth and sweet without being sickly.
I don’t think I would have ever guessed this was made using sweet potato, the flavour is really rather subtle. We also opted for a Misugaru Latte (from $6.50) served hot, if you’re looking to ditch your coffee addiction this is definitely a healthier choice that might persuade you to make the switch. I really liked the malty, grainy flavour.
Now on to the good stuff. Bingsu fans, rejoice! At Caffe Bene they serve up whopping double portions of this awesome icy treat in a variety of flavours. Though we were feeling reserved during our visit and opted for a single portion.
The flavour of our Green Tea Bingsu ($15.90 single portion) was delicious. It was packed with nuts and red beans which made for a great crunchy texture. The team here have deliberately opted for larger ice crystals (as opposed to super fine shaved ice) and whilst this does add to the texture, I’m not sure I prefer it to the more traditional alternative. That aside, this was a generous serving and I still enjoyed it.
Their are six waffle options to choose from, ranging from rice cake to blueberry. We opted for the Tiramisu Waffle ($10.90) with a nutty waffle dough. This dessert really encapsulated the classic tiramisu flavour, I loved it. The waffle dough itself was crispy on the outside and had a nice chew to the centre. The nuts in the dough provided an additional layer of texture which worked really well, it wins the award for my favourite thing we tried at Caffe Bene.
This generous slab of honey bread comes with a choice of two toppings, Cheese and Garlic ($13.90) or Caramel and Cinnamon ($12.90). We were in a savoury mood so opted for the former. Firstly, the bread itself is delicious – it’s light, fluffy and I would have been happy to eat it plain.
I’m not a fan of processed cheese so, for me, the cheese and garlic topping tasted a little synthetic. Were this to be substituted with real cheddar, I would be all over this bread like a fat kid with cake. Next time I’m going to check out the sweet version as caramel and cinnamon on this bread sounds incredible.
Our final sweet treat of the day was a scoop of Cream Cheese Gelato ($3.90 1 scoop), this was some of the nicest gelato I’ve had in a long time. It was smooth, thick and creamy and I could have eaten the entire tub. I love cream cheese frosting on cupcakes, and this tasted very similar. The gelato is made especially for Caffe Bene and is definitely worth checking out.
I will not be surprised if there is a huge queue snaking it’s way around Vivo all the way to the Caffe Bene counter next time I visit.
The menu is varied, the sweet treats are delicious and it’s a nice place to hang out with friends. A perfect place to stop for a coffee if you’re tired of shopping.
Damage: $10 – $20 per pax
Caffe Bene: 1 Harbourfront Walk, Singapore 098585 | Tel: 6377 6870 | Website
Related Guide: Best Korean Bingsus in Singapore