Unobstructed views of fairy-lighted trees give ample reason to brave the humidity and dine alfresco at this spot in the new 22 Dempsey complex. The spacious outdoor deck provides a different atmosphere from the bright indoor dining room. The menu is local and Western, with crossovers in preparation and presentation. Try their upscale mee siam, with a rare, strongly peanut-driven broth topped with grilled tiger prawns ($18), and the unabashedly decadent Nutty Coffe-sor, a well-blended peanut butter-and-vanilla ice cream smoothie ($12). 22 Dempsey Rd (6476 5961, www.facebook.com/addictions.sg). Take a taxi. Daily 11.30am-11pm.
Le Bon Vivant
Inhabiting an easily overlooked corner in a dense cluster of apartments, this neighbourhood spot serves up simple comfort food – sandwiches with soft focaccia, quiches and cakes. Hard-shelled caramel macarons pack a candy punch ($1.50), but the no-frills, home-made carrot cake, sweetened with yellow raisins and thin frosting, proves a moist winner ($4.50). A pleasant pitstop if you’re in the area. #01-3625, Blk 164 Bukit Merah Central (6272 1338, www.lebonvivantcafe.wordpress.com). MRT: Tiong Bahru. Mon-Fri 7.30am-7pm; Sat & Sun 8am-1pm.
This slick modern corner store welcomes diners through a glass-framed CBD façade. Eggs for purchase sit expectantly in glass bowls and croissants can be brown-bagged. Dishes adopt a French slant, and menus change daily; we enjoy the smoky, garlicky sweetness of the ham, cheese and mushroom sandwich with home-made tomato sauce ($10). Pass on the fries and opt for devilishly delicious baked goods of muffins or thick-cut sun-dried tomato and mozzarella loaf, with a delightfully moist and spongy texture. 2 McCallum St (6221 2105, www.sprmrkt.com.sg). MRT: Tanjong Pagar. Mon-Fri 8am-9pm; Sat 9am-4pm.
Quirkily decorated and a bit of a hipster hangout among the old KTV rooms and hawkers of Kampong Bahru, this newbie’s mismatched stools and refurbished wooden furniture clusters are strewn around its bright space. The quiet whirring of the coffee machine and shuffling of plates generate a comfortable enough atmosphere for solitary work afternoons. The tight and bold latte art looks good alongside a richly flavoured chendol and chocolate banana cake ($6.90). Try ‘Magic’, a signature double ristretto containing slightly less milk than a latte ($4.90). 37 Kampong Bahru Rd (9368 3610, www.facebook.com/StrangersReunion). MRT: Outram Park. Wed-Mon 9am-10pm.
Tiong Bahru Bakery
The freshest addition to baking- and brew-heavy Tiong Bahru, from popular Paris baker Gontran Cherrier. The much-celebrated, buttery croissant (see our best croissants feature) in this airy, sunny space draws in the crowds. Coffees are strong and aromatic, pairing well with their pizza-sized, thinly layered sweet and tart mixed berry crumble ($6). The addictive, richly buttered almond croissant ($3.20) looks a bit of an icing-sugar mess, but tastes like a toasted nut dream, and we also like the warm prosciutto ham and mozzarella focaccia with rocket. #01-70, 56 Eng Hoon St (6220 3430). MRT: Tiong Bahru. Wed-Mon 8am-8pm.