Tucked away in the heart of CHIJMES, sits The Glasshouse, a greenhouse-themed cafe serving up artisan toasts and fresh brews. Frequented by office workers and students from the schools in the nearby area, we arrived just as the lunch crowd was starting to die down.
Nevertheless, there was still a steady stream of customers coming in for a quick coffee fix after peak hours, and the small cafe did get a little bit noisy due to its spacial confines.
The interior is Scandinavian-inspired and boasted plenty of chic, wooden furnishing. A former designer turned owner and resident barista, Qing He, explained that the aim of the cafe’s interiors was to keep it as minimally and cleanly designed as possible, so that the lush green plants would be the main focus of the customers’ cafe experience.
The cafe also had tables overlooking one of the corridor walkways of CHIJMES, perfect if you want to spend a little quiet time to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, or simply to enjoy people watching while sipping on your coffee.
I visited The Glasshouse during its soft launch in early December 2017, and till now, the Mocha ($5) remains a favourite of mine. It was light and creamy, with the taste of chocolate delicately elevating the coffee to another level.
We also tried the Iced Latte ($5), which was incredibly well-balanced, smooth and silky, with no astringent aftertaste. Great to cool down with on a hot afternoon.
The Single Origin Chocolate ($5) is made from 72% dark chocolate from the Dominican Republic and though it was rich in flavour, it wasn’t too overwhelmingly sweet or ‘gao‘. We loved its pleasant nuttiness and could make out a subtle aftertaste of sun-dried raisins.
Qing He offered to brew us some of The Glasshouse’s popular filter coffee, and told us that the in-house blends change regularly according to the season.
He further explained that his coffee experience was redefined when he tasted speciality coffee blends. Hence, he decided that he wanted to bring the same experience into every cup of coffee served at the cafe.
The blends served here are from local coffee roasters and we tried the Kaffa from Ethiopia, from Nylon Coffee Roasters, when we visited. The Filter coffee ($7) was a bit on the pricier side, but it’s worth the price.
The brew was extremely smooth, with a hint of citrusy tartness, and a soft earl grey note in the aftertaste. What’s great about this, is that it even tastes good when cooled down and isn’t too acidic.
The latest offering on the menu is the Hazelnut S’mores ($6), featuring a chocolate hazelnut spread on sourdough, topped with roasted marshmallows and a candied walnut crunch.
I personally found this too sweet for my palate, but for those with a sweet tooth, this one’s for you. Best consumed immediately when served to get the most from the melted marshmallows.
The Glasshouse’s most popular toast, the Classic Salmon ($9) is a piece of sourdough bread topped with herbed cream cheese, thinly sliced zucchini, smoked salmon and slices of pickled radish.
This was an easy favourite out of the other toasts we tried. The zucchini gave the toast extra texture, and the slices of pickled radish balanced out the richness of the smoked salmon.
Another popular dish is the Banana and Seed Butter Toast ($6) featuring caramelised banana atop house-made nut and seed butter, and finished off with a sprinkling of seeds and slivers of almond.
I love how the seed butter is not as rich as regular peanut butter, and a drizzle of honey over the toast really helped to bring out the full flavour of the entire dish. Along with the fragrance of the bananas, it is sure to be a hit for those who are looking to try something new.
The Glasshouse offers a calm respite from the busyness of city life, while still remaining accessible, just a stone’s throw away from City Hall MRT.
For those who want to delve into the world of coffee, this is a great place to get started. The coffee that they offer here is of stellar quality and I highly recommend that you try their filter brew.
If you’re feeling a little bit peckish, give the Classic Salmon toast a try. All in fair warning, do be prepared for crowds coming in and out during peak hours in the early afternoon.
Expected Damage: $6 – $12 per pax