Paaru: Japanese-inspired cafe gains popularity for superb shokupan toasts in vibey corner of Chinatown

I arrived at Paaru by 1pm and was immediately put on the waiting list as the cafe’s seats were fully filled. The latest addition to Chinatown’s cafe scene is this Japanese-style bakery and cafe that is already grabbing the attention of many foodies online. 

paaru - storefront

They are located on the peak of Pearl’s Hill Terrace alongside other art & handicraft studios in the vicinity. It truly was a serene and most enjoyable afternoon getaway from the bustling city centre of Singapore. 

I loved the incense setup that was placed at the side of the large entrance sliding door. It signified that the business was open and was a form of greeting to diners. The dark wooden aesthetic of the small cafe space contrasted with their concrete open kitchen table concept.

paaru - french toast closeup

I loved the deliberate effort made by the team to eliminate any boundaries between the kitchen crew and customers. It was entertaining watching the team whip up hot dishes before the service crew brought those creations to our table. 

Upon entering the cafe, we were told that each diner must order one food and one drink item each due to the minimal seating arrangement. Since my dining partner and I had not eaten lunch, we were open to the request. However, I could not help but wonder how receptive those intending to sit in just for coffee would be to this request. 

What I tried at Paaru

paaru - french toast

The most popular item was, no doubt, the French Toast Shokupan (S$12). Almost every table had a serving of the only sweet bread creation. I was initially hesitant when I saw that kuromitsu was used. Kuromitsu is a Japanese black sugar syrup with a thick consistency that I did not appreciate when I tried it previously. 

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Nonetheless, between the small food selection available on the menu, this sweet dessert stood out as the most unique item. The dish came beautifully presented with a thick slice of shokupan toast and a dollop of sea salt foam on the side.

I was slightly upset that only half a slice of bread was served in comparison to the full slice in photos shared by online foodies on earlier visits.

paaru - sea salt foam

Shokupan is a Japanese milk bread that should taste slightly sweet but holds a super fluffy crumb. That was exactly how Paaru’s version tasted. The fresh cream had soaked into the air pockets of the ultra soft milk bread and oozed out upon each bite. 

The addition of cocoa nibs paired well with the slightly salty sea salt foam to contrast against the sweetness introduced by the thick brown sugar syrup. Overall, the dish was not too sweet even though the sugar glaze may seem like too much at first glance.

paaru - hot white

We paired the fresh toast with a Hot White Coffee (S$6) and agreed that a bolder, more chocolate-y blend was our coffee preference. The cup of Joe was extremely fruity and oxidised rapidly over the course of the meal. The acidic notes became slightly overpowering towards the end.

paaru - scrambled eggs

The second food item we tried was the Scrambled Eggs on Shokupan (S$13). This time, I was happy to see a full slice of toast served. The silky scrambled eggs were lightly buttered and seasoned to create a subtle milky flavour. The eggs held a melt-in-your-mouth texture which was super pleasant and satisfying to eat. 

paaru - fluffy interior toast

Once again, the thick pillow-y shokupan toast stole the show. However, due to its sheer thickness, we both agreed that more eggs would balance the ratio of egg to bread. Thankfully, I also ordered a slab of Bacon (S$6). Now, the price point for just one additional side dish is pretty steep. 

paaru - bacon slab

However, a huge, thick slab of pork belly was used to make the bacon strip. Its thickness and size are identical to samgyeopsal (Korean pork belly slice) found in Korean barbecue restaurants. I loved the saltiness of the meat which was not at all overpowering. 

The best part of the meat slab was the presence of a thick fat layer. That created a smoky flavour and a burst of juiciness sealed within. It was extremely sinful! 

paaru - iced mocha

Our last purchase was their Iced Mocha Coffee (S$7.50). The chocolate spread on the bottom of the glass lent a striking visual element to the beverage. I was also surprised that it was able to dissolve into the milk despite the drink being cold. The chocolate was rich but not as dark as I would’ve liked it. 

Unfortunately, the amount of coffee mixed in was inadequate to represent a mocha. The size of each glass was also rather small compared to other more popular cafes in the vicinity. 

Final thoughts

paaru - several dishes

The food options at Paaru stand out from the fare at most cafes in Singapore. Must-gets include the delicate French toast and that hefty bacon strip. Those who intend to visit should be ready to keep their stomachs empty just in case you are asked to order more than just a drink. 

Expected damage: S$6 – s$19 per pax 

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Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Paaru

195 Pearl's Hill Terrace, #01-61, Singapore 168976

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Paaru

195 Pearl's Hill Terrace, #01-61, Singapore 168976

Operating Hours: 9am - 7pm (Mon, Thu & Fri), 8am - 6pm (Sat & Sun), Closed on Tue & Wed

Operating Hours: 9am - 7pm (Mon, Thu & Fri), 8am - 6pm (Sat & Sun), Closed on Tue & Wed
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