Last Updated: August 21, 2017
おはようございます Ohaiyo gozaimasu! Japanese culture is huge in Singapore, and from sushi to matcha, the food is equally favored as well.
I’ve come up with a list of Japanese cafes that gives me sheer joy and quite possibly a slice of Japan — joy or matcha? They are basically the same thing to me.
If you’re addicted to Japanese foods and desserts, this Japanese cafe guide will leave you spellbound and coming back for more.
Without further ado, here are some of my favourite Japanese cafes in Singpapore.
Pretty self explanatory in its name, Maccha House is home to all thing matcha, and yes I had a great time typing that out if you must know. If you’re feeling peckish, they have a whole variety of dishes to choose from, including seasonal specials. One thing for sure, there’s something for everyone here.
Matcha Creme Brulee ($9.99)
The matcha custard is creamy and much more dense than the usual vanilla custard you get. Finished with torched caramel sugar, there is a slight bitterness in the matcha, as it would be expected. The glazed top helps to balance the dessert, giving a fragrant and delicately sweet dessert. It comes with a sweet matcha soft serve too.
Extra cute and quaint, Dulcet and Studio is situated inside Liang Court, a well-known place for its plethora of Japanese-y stuff. Dulcet and Studio focuses a lot on efficiency and affordability, where you have to get your own cutleries and clear your food, which is a great practise. They also have a wide variety of dishes to choose from, mains, desserts and specials.
Salmon Mentaiko Pasta ($15.50)
The entire plate of pasta is very well marinated with the mentaiko sauce, ensuring that every bite is rich in flavour and paired with well poached chunks of salmon. It doesn’t get too intense and is well seasoned.
Essentially a sweet potato cake, it has alternating layers of sweet potato mousse between light sponge cake, which remains satisfying without being too sweet.
Pair it with their sencha tea and your afternoon is made.
Hidden in a quiet corner of Wisma is Kotobuki Coffee, a Japanese cafe that offers up all the usual suspects. Think a large variety of spaghettis, omu rice and sandwiches.
Scallop Carpaccio ($18)
The scallops are sweet and well seasoned, garnished with chopped onions. Expect a refreshing and briny burst from the ikura topping. An overall delicate starter for any meal.
Kotobuki Coffee: #01-18 Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238877 | Tel:+65 6734 7677 | Website
We are all familiar with St Marc cafe but it would be disrespectful to not make mention of their croissants. So, here’s what it respectfully deserves.
I love how the Chococro is served warm with just the right balance of flaky croissant pastry, encasing a warm chocolatey filling that will hit all the right sweet spots. Perfect for an afternoon snack when you’re craving for a sweet little something that isn’t too overpowering. Currently, they are at four outlets islandwide.
St Marc Cafe: 1 Harbourfront Ave, Vivo City 1F #108-110, Singapore 098585 | Tel: +65-6222-2309 | Website
Originating from Uji, Kyoto Japan, Tsujiri has made its mark in Singapore with its matcha soft serve that is delectably luscious and subtly sweet, which is basically the essence of matcha.
What started out as a tea business, has now grown to also serve up delicious parfaits alongside their matcha and houjicha range.
Houji Float ($6.50)
A great balance of roasted green tea and matcha soft serve, the tea is fragrantly alluring and combines with the soft serve to give a creamy and aromatic dessert.
The houjicha helps to quench thirst, while the soft serve continues to fatten you up in a good and happy manner. If you’re in the vicinity, don’t forget to drop by for a dose of matcha.
Watanabe Coffee located at Shaw House boasts of an Anglo Japanese interior, complete with plushy chairs. I’ve been meaning to try out their food for the longest time and finally got around to ordering myself an Omu Rice and Soy Matcha Latte.
Soy Matcha Latte ($8.80). I like how the matcha essence can be singled out easily but not overly bitter, remaining light and subtly sweet. Most matcha lattes I’ve had either lose out on the matcha taste or are too sweet, so this, my friend, did it for me.
Omu Rice with Demi Glace ($15.80). Fried rice with chicken, enwrapped with a thick serving of scrambled omelette and slathered with a thick syrupy brown sauce that is savoury with a slight tinge of tang. The rice is soft and fragrant but not overly mushy and the ketchup gives it a little zest. I particularly like the omelette — soft and runny in the right amount.
The first of its kind in Singapore, Muji Cafe first started out in Japan and has ventured to our shores. It serves various hot and cold delis that are quintessentially Muji and Japanese.
No frills, just a simple and nutritious meal that will leave you feeling healthier.
2 Cold deli, 1 Hot deli and white rice ($12.90), change to 10 grain rice ($1) and Hot Chai Milk Tea ($4.90).
I opted for a serving of 10 grain rice instead of the usual white rice, which is healthier and also more flavourful than the latter. Think of a bowl filled with barley and nutty fragrance.
I like their chai milk tea, which it isn’t overly sweet like the chai lattes I’d get at certain coffee joints. Easy on the pocket and the waistline I’d say.
Muji Cafe: Orchard Paragon, 290 Orchard Road $04-36, Singapore 238859 | Tel: +65 6735 0123 | Website
Baked Churros Cheese Tart ($4.80)
Hidden in a little corner of Suntec, Nigiro Cafe is within Eat at 7, serving all pastas, mains and desserts.
Handmade and flowing with velvety cream cheese filling, you’ll be sure to indulge in the Baked Churros Cheese Tart happily. It is limited in stock, so if you are craving for it, better hurry down and snatch one, or ten, for yourself before it’s all gone.
Nigiro Cafe: 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City North Wing #03-315, Singapore 038983 | Tel: +65 6238 1669 | Website
I still remember when Hoshino first opened up in Plaza Singapura, it earned itself a snaking line of queue for their hand drip coffee and fluffy pancakes that are thick, light and yummy.
A trip to Hoshino Coffee will not be complete without trying their specialty hand-dripped coffee. We went for their “Hoshino” Blend Coffee ($5.80). After having been lovingly roasted over open fire, a cup of delightfully light and slightly sour coffee was obtained through Hoshino Coffee’s pour-over brewing method.
Hoshino Coffee’s French Toast Topped with Sugar and Cream ($9.80), is fluffy and not soggy at all. Seems like the Japanese know their way to our hearts through the stomach.
If you think that the French Toast had been topped with vanilla ice cream, I don’t blame you. I only realized my mistake when I greedily scooped some of it up with my spoon — it was actually homemade whipped cream.
Showcasing burgers from Tokyo’s Franklin Avenue, bakes from Asanoya, coffee from Common Man, and desserts from Chef Yamashita — Patties & Wiches is definitely an amalgamation of the bests.
A cafe counterpart of Ginza Kuroson, Patties & Wiches is located right next to it, on the third level of mini Japan, Takashimaya.
Quaint and refined, Patties & Wiches stock a good variety of burgers and sandwiches. Dare I say their service is impeccable as well.
Sakura Cappucino ($7.00)
Since this was a seasonal item and it looked so pretty, I decided to have a go and only to realise I really do not like anything that is sakura flavoured. Nothing’s wrong with the drink, it’s really just personal preference.
The Sakura Cappucino is served milky and light with a slight sweetness.
Blue Cheese Burger ($22.80)
The patty is well seasoned and cooked to the right amount of doneness with a subtle juiciness. It also pairs well with the pungently fragrant melted blue cheese that I adore so very much, which gave a lingering after taste. The bun is fluffy and helps to balance out the rich savoury element. The fries won my heart over, thickly cut golden crisp brown that is doused with the right amount of salt.
I asked for the popular flavours and chose the chocolate flavour out of the lot. Boy, I sure ain’t disappointed. The choux pastry is light and fluffy on the inside, which complements the dense cream that is rich in chocolate.
Surprise, there’s a mix of custard cream as well, blending two flavours to perfection, and definitely not too cloying.
For the first time in its eighty-one years of existence, one of Tokyo’s best bakeries has set up shop outside of Japan. Yes, you heard it right, highly acclaimed Japanese artisan bakery Boulangerie Asanoyabakery has opened the doors of its first international outlet in Singapore.
Founded in 1933 in Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan, this famed Japanese artisan bakery is famous for its rustic Japanese-style breads (traditional stone oven baked) and pastries.
Asanoya imports specialist ingredients, including Nagano Mori Apple and Hokkaido Red Bean from Japan. The brand is also very passionate about keeping its baking traditions alive, so chief bakers at the Singapore bakery have been trained in the art of bread making at the Karuizawa Kyuudo outlet in Karuizawa, Japan.
From Left: Karuizawa Breads Blueberry/Green Tea/Raisin ($2.60/100g)
Asanoya is renown for its Karuizawa Raisin bread. Soft, fluffy milk bread filled with raisins under a rustic crust. If you aren’t a fan of raisins, try the green tea flavour with its tiny cubes of rich white chocolate, otherwise try the blueberry flavour with juicy blueberry bits. Caramel and Sakura flavours were available as well.
Asanoya 浅野屋: 15 Queen Street, #01-03, Singapore 188537 | Tel: +65 6703 8703 | Website
Tanjong Pagar is almost the place to go to for all things Japanese-y and Korean. Originating from Kumamoto, Japan, of which you can visualise the cute and black bear with rosy cheeks and white eyes, Okada Coffee brings in ice cream from Kumamoto and uses premium chestnuts from the same place as well.
Like the original branches in Japan, it serves cafe food like curry udon, hamburg steak with demi glace sauce and the list goes on, but I was particularly interested in their chestnut driven desserts, for obvious reasons.
Famed for their Mont Blanc and Okada Roll, it was a tough decision to make but I went for the former, considering how it’s literally folded with a thick sheet of chestnut puree.
Mont Blanc ($8)
Unlike the usual Mont Blanc where the chestnut puree is piped in a thread-like fashion, covering the meringue centre, it is instead folded into thick sheets, forming an almost Christmas tree-like shape.
This allows for a creamier and denser texture, which was certainly what I liked. Fragrant and sweet, the chestnut puree definitely stole the show. The meringue provides for a good crunch.
Coffee Jelly ($7)
The coffee latte is completely sugar less and it comes with a little beaker of sugar syrup if you’re feeling for a sweeter drink. There is a dollop of ice cream that gives an extra luscious sweetness and it complements the slightly bitter but enjoyable coffee jelly. Filled with textures, I loved this glass of Iced Coffee Jelly.
Okada Coffee: 100AM, 3rd Floor 100 Tras St, Singapore 079027 | Website
Mille Crepe ($6)
Hailing all the way from Japan, Doutor Coffee brings in a slice of Japan by importing their crepe cakes straight from their mother nation.
Nestled inside Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3. Every day, only 40 slices of these sexy boys are on sale and it is of no surprise how highly coveted they are. Each slice is luscious and velvety, while remaining light and tasty.
layers of crepe is thin and combine well with the fresh cream. Yet another good news, it is going at an incredibly affordable price of $6.
Doutor Coffee: 12 Marina Boulevard Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3 #01-05, Singapore 018982 | Tel: +65 6604 6082 | Website
Mille Feuille ($9)
Right before heading there, I had my doubts about their desserts, whether they were just good at being fancy. When I had my first bite of their crepe cake, I felt incredibly bad for doubting Henri Charpentier. The crepe cake consists of ten layers with a light sponge cake base, giving it more texture and flavour.
Plated with berries and sauce, it is fluffy and satisfying, almost like a creamy strawberry shortcake while remaining light. This is the only available basic flavour for their crepe cake but there are many other desserts on sale. Like their matcha choux pastry, which is totally worth a try as well.
Not to mention their impeccable service, polite and helpful, complete with an intricately designed interior that is bound to make you feel like a royalty. What’s even better is how they’re that much more accessible now, with a newly opened store at 313 Somerset.
Pretty, delicate and intricate are what Flor’s cakes are and I’m extremely in love with them. It’s almost heartbreak moment for me when I do have to sink my fork into the cake.
Sweet rose cream piped onto longan bavarois and sponge cake, giving a luscious and velvety dessert that consists of different texture. The lightly soaked sponge cake helps to balance out the sweetness from the rose cream while the refreshing longan bavarois gives freshness to the creamy indulgence.
Head over to their Duxton branch, where you get a quaint space to rest your weary feet and respectfully savour their cakes in slow fashion.
My favourite in the list, maybe because I’m sold on the quaint outlook Chef Yamashita’s cafe, combined with its unpretentious location and honest slices of cakes. Also, how could Chef Teppei Yamashita ever go wrong, right?
Breaking away from Patisserie Glace, he has since opened up his very own dessert cafe not too far away, inside the unassuming Tanjong Pagar Plaza amidst the hawkers and salons.
Complete with wood furnishing and an outdoor garden atmosphere, there are a few tables right outside for when you’re not in a hurry and would like to slowly savour the cake fresh from the fridge. Chef Yamashita is so quintessentially Japanese, when I walked in it was filled with Japanese housewives ordering their cakes in well… their native language. So yes, you know you’re in good hands.
Ichigo Souffle ($6.80)
Do not get confused with the Ichigo cake, which base is that of a shortcake rather than a cheesecake. The soufflé is made of alternating layers of sweet and vanilla accented soft sponge cake, creamy soufflé cheese mousse, fresh cream and zesty strawberries.
The Ichigo Souffle boasts of textures and all flavours work together to give a light dessert that will go into dessert lovers good books. I’d definitely recommend anyone to have a cake at Chef Yamashita, always.
Chef Yamashita: 1 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, #02-44, Singapore 082001 | Tel: +65 6604 9709 | Website
Related guide: 10 Local Patisseries Founded By Singaporeans