ronin, clarke quay

the cool, grown-up hipsteresque ronin is hidden away in a small street near clarke quay – it has the same architectural elements as symmetry, but take away the bright sunshine, take away the perky waitstaff; and add quite a bit of shadows and dark colours, plus older, intimidatingly-cool hipsters, and you have it.

it’s gorgeous, of course, but that’s requisite for cafes these days. more importantly, it’s not so noisy you can’t hear your friends across the table, the food is decent and complements its environs, and it helps you appreciate being adult enough to appreciate someplace quiet (but slightly buzzy) to sit down.

I just wish the place had better ventilation though – I’m also adult enough to mind terribly the smell of food lingering.


I was here for a bit of sweet after trottering at songfa – so we didn’t get to try their entire menu. one of my friends – known both affectionately and mockingly as cafe queen – assures me that their coffee and sandwiches are more than acceptable, so there are options if you’re here for something a little more filling.

in anyhoo – the granola I ordered was a deliciously oaty blend under rich greek yogurt and sliced plums. the cereal and dairy were plenty good, but those plums were slightly underripe, sourish and too plain – not exactly their fault that we don’t get meltingly good stone fruit in singapore, but it would have benefited from a bit of roasting or poaching.

it also came with the most adorable bottle of milk – so quaint and cute! – and so thoughtful. greek yogurt is delicious and all, but it’s a little dry – so a bit of milk really moistens the deal.

that salted caramel brownie (from the beautiful counter of pastries) was pretty close to perfect though. very darkly and decadently rich in the middle with a crackly crust, and a not-too-sweet and rightly-salted caramel running through the chocolate – it was very good. a tad tiny, but perhaps moderation does have its place with something this rich.

I truly have no real complaint about this place. the seating is a mix of private tables, as well as larger communal ones – but given that most asians are pretty reticent, it might as well be private. the only gripe is truly the ventilation – it’s a small place with an open kitchen – and while it might be somewhat cool to see your food being prepped, it’s not really so much so to leave smelling of oil and food.

not too expensive, though I wouldn’t peg it as cheap, and cool without being irritating – it’s a nice one for a relaxed sunday afternoon. I’m being real lucky with my cafe choices these days!

17 Hong Kong Street
Singapore 059660
$$: 15-25 per person

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