Themed cafes: Where to go for fantastic eats and fantastical decor

PHOTO: Facebook/grampancakes

It isn’t tough finding cafés with good eats and great vibes in Singapore, but there’re times we could sure do with a sprinkle more novelty. In those times, hop off the beaten track and down the rabbit hole of Singapore’s themed cafés.

We’ve got immersive spots to indulge fancies of all shapes and sizes, from a portal into Hogwarts to a sakura wonderland . Here’re the quirkiest themed spots that deliver on flavour too.

Hangar66 Cafe

Missing your jet-setting days? Hop aboard Hangar66 Cafe for a quick flight of fantasy. Tucked in the tranquil Seletar Aerospace area, this aviation-themed café is housed in an actual plane hangar. Runway markings lead the way into the airy space, with full-length views of the airfield outside and a helicopter perched in the dining area.

Seat yourself at the massive communal table – which resembles a plane wing – and fuel up with their all-day breakfast and mains. The First Solo Big Breakfast ($13.66) is a hearty affair of omelette and French toast; otherwise, embark on a Cross-Country Navigation with fusion pastas like Thai Seafood Tom Yum ($15.66).

Hangar66 Cafe is located at 66 Seletar Aerospace View, Wings Over Asia Aviation Hangar 66 Level 1, Singapore 797509, p. +65 8711 8677. Open Mon & Wed-Fri 11am–10.30pm, Sat-Sun 9am–10.30pm. Closed Tues.

Gram Café & Pancakes

If you needed one more reason to join the snaking queues at Gram Café, their recent sakura makeover is it. Famed for their fluffy soufflé stacks, this pancake purveyor in VivoCity has just relaunched with a spring pink look, anchored by a faux tree dripping with cherry blossoms overhead.

Tuck into a taste of Japan with their limited-edition Premium Matcha Pancakes Made With Kit Kat ($22.90), crowned with KitKat chocolate soft serve and a matcha KitKat. There’re also treats like Kit Kat Matcha Frappe (S$8.90) and Kit Kat Soft Serve ($3) to amp up your sugar rush.

Gram Café & Pancakes Singapore is located at 1 HarbourFront Walk, #02-110 VivoCity, Singapore 098585. Open daily 11am–10pm.

Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari

Fancy a glamping getaway? Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari is a wild departure from the chain’s city-chic style. Inspired by founder Cynthia Chua’s trip to Botswana, the bakery is lodged in a safari tent next to Open Farm Community.

The glamping-ready tent comes decked in bold tribal prints and preserved butterflies, with wooden slats offering peeks of surrounding greenery. Besides TBB’s signature bakes, you’ll find herbs from the adjacent garden sneaking into menu exclusives like the Backyard Brews.

The Bluebell Latte is a striking brew of blue pea flower extract and coconut milk, while the Turmeric and Ginger Latte offers an antioxidant hit.

Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari is located at 130E Minden Rd, Singapore 248819, p. +65 6877 4876. Open daily 8am–6pm.

ALSO READ: The real housecats of Upper Bukit Timah: Cuteness, fights, and love triangles

Platform 1094

So what if you never got your Hogwarts letter? You can still experience a whiff of wizardry at Harry Potter-themed bistro Platform 1094. With its brick walls, wood paneling, and rustic candelabra, the space is an enchanting mimicry of Hogwarts’ Great Hall.

Feast on fun nods to the wizarding world like the hearty Giant’s Breakfast ($17) and Three Broomsticks Fire Whisky Half-Chicken ($18), or uncover secret messages from a Vanilla Macaron Owl. The tipples are pretty magical too – Mr Lich’s Flaming Brew ($15) is a blend of blue Curaçao and rum that sparks into flame with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder.

Platform 1094 is located at 1094 Serangoon Rd, Singapore 328192, p. +65 6204 6003. Open Tues-Sun 11am–10pm. Closed Mon.

Downstairs

Forget exotic locales – Downstairs brings us back into the nostalgic comfort of our own void decks.

This retro eatery will strike a chord for any heartlander with its circular blue-and-white tiled tables, its ordering kiosks set in old-school yellow phone booths, and a row of metal letterboxes for takeaway cutleries – there’s even the ‘No Football’ sign that many of us disobeyed in childhood. 

The food is equally heart-warming, featuring local eats with a twist. Think Salted Egg Chicken Nasi Lemak ($8.90) with a pep of fiery sambal chili, and Lu Rou Fan ($6) topped with a lava egg.

Downstairs is located at 3 Temasek Blvd, #B1-132 Suntec City, Singapore 038983. Open Sun-Thurs 9am–8.30pm, Fri-Sat 9am–9pm.

Sushi Airways

A Japan Airlines plane has touched down in the heart of Kampong Glam – or at least, that’s what it feels like when you step aboard Sushi Airways. Mount a flight of metal-plated stairs to a warm welcome by staff clad like cabin crew; inside the shophouse, curved windows, meal trolleys, and ‘overhead compartments’ lined with booze complete the feel of a 1930s aircraft.

As the name suggests, fresh sashimi and sushi are the in-flight order of the day. Leave yourself in the capable hands of Chef Wong Eng Chun for an eight-course Omakase (from $200 per pax), or tuck into six types of seasonal seafood with the Sashimi Moriawase ($72).

Sushi Airways is located at 20A Baghdad St, Singapore 199659, p. +65 6291 1151. Open Sun-Thurs 11.45am–2.30pm & 5.45pm–9.45pm, Fri-Sat 11.45am–2.30pm & 5.45pm–10pm.

ALSO READ: I spent 12 hours in a mall with my bestie — and we didn’t even run out of things to do

Cafe Kreams

It’s autumn all year round in the middle of the CBD at Cafe Kreams. This fall-themed Korean café is blanketed in a brilliant canopy of red and orange leaves, with rustic garden-style benches and stone-look counters enhancing the snug vibes.

To fulfil your K-drama fantasies, cosy down with one of their Korean-inspired drinks, from creamy Dalgona Milk Tea ($10) to rice wine and soju cocktails. And since Squid Game has put dalgona candy back in the spotlight, join the fun with the Dalgona Croissant ($9.50) – a cream-filled croissant topped with crisps of the traditional honeycomb candy.

Cafe Kreams is located at 32 Maxwell Rd, #01-07 Maxwell Chambers, Singapore 069115, p. +65 6226 2369. Open Mon-Sat 9am–10.30pm, Sun 11am–6pm.

Kumoya

Cutesy themed café Kumoya will have you squealing kawaii at every turn. Their two branches in Bugis and Orchard Central host a rotation of pop-ups, centered around popular Japanese comic and cartoon characters such as Rilakkuma and Little Twin Stars.

The Bugis branch is currently home to cheeky manga character Crayon Shinchan – complete with seafood curry rice and wobbly puddings showing off his famed jiggling butt.

Meanwhile, the Orchard outlet has been taken over by Hello Kitty, and she’s brought a shabu-shabu feast with her. Dunk your fill of Hello Kitty-shaped fishcakes, kitty-stamped tamago, cutesy mochi rice cakes, and more.

(Jalan Klapa)

(Orchard Central)

Kumoya has branches in 8 Jln Klapa, Singapore 199320, and 181 Orchard Rd, #04-08 Orchard Central, Singapore 238896.

ALSO READ: Rooftop view and good vibes abound at this new minimalist cafe hidden in the west side of Singapore

This article was first published in City Nomads.