Capitol Milk Bar: Sip On Milkshakes & Soak In Nostalgia At Retro ’60s Diner In City Hall

A true blue American-style diner in Singapore? That’s not something you see every day.

Situated in the swanky Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski near City Hall MRT, Capitol Milk Bar is here to give you a taste of nostalgia.

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Ask your grandparents (or parents) if they remember the original Magnolia Snack Bar at the old Capitol Theatre. It was a popular haunt for young and old alike, dishing out milkshakes and ice cream from the 1960s to ’80s.

Although Capitol Milk Bar bears no affiliation to Magnolia Snack Bar, it aims to replicate the wholesome diner experience of the past, but with a modern, revamped menu.

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Doesn’t it look like a diner taken straight out of The Sims?

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I was instantly attracted to the display of locally supplied ice cream. Expect a range of classic flavours, from Chocolate Fudge Cookie and Salted Caramel to Chendol and Calamansi Sorbet.

It’s S$4 for one scoop, S$7 for two scoops, and S$10 for three scoops. The more the merrier, right?

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The entire space actually reminded me a bit of Universal Studios.

Silestone tables and countertops, cushy booth seating, AND neon signs? I felt as though I’d been transported onto the set of Riverdale, or any American sitcom, really.

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Can I just say how much I loved the ceramic mosaic flooring and colour-coordinated salt and pepper shakers? It’s the little details that count.

Unfortunately, there was no jukebox in sight, but I won’t discount the old-school tunes that were playing in the background.

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Got your eye on those jars of (chargeable) candy? Ask the staff for assistance if you’d like to get your grubby hands on something sweet.

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Do grab a mug and help yourself to the complimentary drinks. They offer refreshing Earl Grey Iced Tea, Jasmine & Honey Iced Tea and Grapefruit Infused Water.

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The upper level serves as a faux al fresco dining area that’s ideal for chill dates and group gatherings.

No breathtaking views here, but I guess you can still gaze longingly into your partner’s eyes over a milkshake or two.

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Since we’re on the subject, cue the Instagram-worthy milkshakes!

This towering trio arrived looking absolutely fabulous.

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The Milo Dino Milkshake (S$14) is a playful spin on the well-loved beverage, topped with mini marshmallows, malt balls, Milo powder and whipped cream.

It tasted exactly as I’d expected, like a sweet, thick and super gao Milo Dinosaur. This would be a hit with kids.

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As I got ready to slurp up the Nutella Milkshake (S$14), I braced myself for a wave of overwhelming sweetness. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad.

Look past the hanuta wafer, picola sticks and foam cloud, and focus on the fragrance of toasted hazelnuts. It was like drinking Ferrero Rocher in icy, liquid form.

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A childhood habit of mine resurfaced — dipping fries into milkshakes. Try it and live a little.

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The adorable Strike Me Pink Strawberry Milkshake (S$14) is bound to set hearts aflutter.

Spruced up with Pocky sticks (cookies & cream in our case), strawberry sauce and lots of sprinkles, this Homer Simpson doughnut-lookalike had a base of strawberry ice cream and vanilla chantilly.

I also uncovered a fun layer of dense yellow cake underneath the cream.

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This was probably my favourite milkshake out of the three. The slight sourness from the strawberry sauce was a much-needed perk, helping to cut through all that sugar and dairy.

Besides, the strawberry milkshake is THE archetypal milkshake. Can’t beat the classics.

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All their burgers and sandwiches are named after famous figures who once visited the Capitol Theatre. Fancy a Charlie Chaplin (S$22), an Ava Gardner (S$22), or even a Douglas Fairbanks Senior (S$12)?

You can choose between a housemade sesame wheat bun, multi-grain bun and charcoal brioche bun, though I’d say go for the sesame.

We settled for the Ramly burger-inspired Stamford (S$18) with a sesame wheat bun.

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It did look like a toned-down, slightly more refined Ramly burger. There were the recognisable egg wrap and a drizzle of mayo and chilli sauce.

I did find the 150g black Angus beef patty a tad dry on its own, but each component (cheddar cheese, black pepper mushroom sauce, lettuce, and tomato) worked together to create something delicious.

We opted for a side of sweet potato fries, the perfect accompaniment to a reasonably hearty burger.

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Next up was the Capitol (S$19), a pulled pork burger on a charcoal brioche bun with a side of curly fries.

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Slathered in apple butter barbecue sauce, the pulled pork was sweet and tender, but that was all. I didn’t get much smokiness or depth of flavour, which was disappointing.

Even the arugula, pickled cucumber, and yuzu cabbage slaw did little to accentuate the burger, only imparting a light zesty crunch and a hint of bitterness.

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Named after the 1939 musical comedy which was the first film to be screened on the Capitol Theatre’s inaugural opening night, the Rio Rita (S$15) spices things up with spicy beef sausage, arugula, mozzarella cheese and chilli con carne.

I’ll be ‘frank’ with you, this elevated, yet simple hot dog was a ‘wiener’!

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Don’t eat the fresh tomato salsa separately; adding it in helps to liven the entire hotdog up.

Truly an effortless combination of salty, meaty and spicy.

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If you’re dining in a group, why not upsize and get a one-metre long hot dog for S$36? This is also available as part of the Family Combo (S$69++ for 4-6 pax), which includes a one metre New Yorker Hot Dog, Stamford burger and two Sundaes.

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Lastly, it was time to end off on a sweet note with the Capitol Milk Bar Banana Split (S$15).

The trifecta of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream was jazzed up with raisins, banana vanilla espuma, freeze-dried banana, almonds, and a banana rum glaze.

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The soft caramelised banana lay unceremoniously to the side, waiting to be discovered by us greedy folk.

By incorporating different elements and textures of banana, the classic banana split was taken up a few notches. Not bad at all.

As a fun and fresh retro American-style diner, Capitol Milk Bar stands out amongst the other glitzy dining options in The Capitol Kempinski. The milkshakes and the food are hit-and-miss, but the ambience more than makes up for it.

Perhaps you’ll delight in the comfort of knowing that life can be sweet, much like those who hold fond memories of Magnolia Milk Bar.

Time for a blast from the past!

Expected Damage: S$20 – S$40 per pax

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Capitol Milk Bar

13 Stamford Road, Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski, #01-84B, Singapore 178905

Our Rating 4/5

Capitol Milk Bar

13 Stamford Road, Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski, #01-84B, Singapore 178905

Telephone: +65 67156874
Operating Hours: 11am - 9pm (Daily)
Telephone: +65 67156874

Operating Hours: 11am - 9pm (Daily)
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