In Boat Quay, a café with a calming view of the Singapore River
First published on . Updated on 10 May 2013.
The vibe: Among the players that are taking the seedy out of Boat Quay is Homebodies, yet another project by the team behind Smitten Coffee and Tea Bar. Sandwiched between a convenience store and massage parlour, the décor is minimal, with a coffee bar dominating one wall, two communal tables, and some bar stools by the window where you can get a view of both the sidewalk and Singapore River. Unfortunately, the café isn’t completely spared from the bustle of the stretch – sound from the neighbouring bar, Khazana, tend to reverberate through the walls – which can be a bit unsettling. Nevertheless, we’re happy to see something other than a rowdy bar or pricey restaurant in the area.
The food: The menu here is uncomplicated, but perhaps too much so. On offer are hotdogs (from $8.50) with the option to pick between Kurobuta pork, Wagyu beef or the Original (regular pork) meats, served on regular, premium brioche or sunflower seed buns. Twice we were served hot dogs that weren’t cooked properly.
The drinks: Smitten’s well-received Thumper espresso blend (from $3.50) – consisting of Brazilian Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Costa Rican Los Robles Honey and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Konga beans – makes a reprise here. It has flavours of dark chocolate and roasted nuts, and citrusy contrasts. The café also simplifies ordering by selling their coffee in three sizes (4, 6 and 8 ounces) for white (with milk) and (1.5 ounces) for blacks (without milk). Co-owner Darren Chang’s growing fascination with craft beers also manifests itself in the 20-strong beer menu edited by partner Goh Puey Hang, featuring bold labels from well-known breweries like Mikkeller, Stone and Anderson Valley, with more to come from countries like the US and Belgium.
The verdict: Thanks to its location by the Singapore River, Homebodies is great for drinkers who enjoy a calm atmosphere while taking in the waterfront view. When the pang for a good craft brew or artisan coffee hits while we’re in area, we’ll pick Homebodies, bar none. Natasha Hong
Food: from $8.50, coffee from $3.50; non-alcoholic drinks from $2.50; beers from $14.