As the saying goes, “old is gold”. This ‘vintage’ hype seems to be going strong — from the return of 80s music beats and games to the retro fashion trends that are making a statement on the runways, it is undeniable that the past trend is still the très chic, especially among the youngsters.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our local retro cafes. Due to the complications bought by COVID-19, many of the vintage-themed cafes were forced to either scale down or shut down permanently in Singapore. While this is disheartening to hear, there are still many retro cafes holding on and standing strong in our local F&B industry, serving those who like to relive the past. Here are the top 4 vintage-themed cafes that managed to survive COVID-19 and have emerged stronger in Singapore!
Looking for a place to have a gathering with your friends? Why not consider having it at Brunches Cafe?
Hidden in a clutch of cafes at Farrer Park, this retro-vibe cafe is a gem where you get to enjoy a wide variety of all-day breakfast and handmade plated desserts. My personal favourite is their customisable Big Breakfast menu, Pimp My Brekkie. More than a cafe, Brunches Cafe also doubles as a vintage furniture shop. Anything with a price tag is for sale. Be sure to explore their vintage collectables and check out their price collection, a four-seater sofa set converted from a real vintage Mini Cooper.
Do note that due to COVID-19 measures, this lovely cafe has imposed an 80 minutes dining timing for all its customers during the peak hours. Also, you can only be seated once everyone in your group has arrived.
Address: 96 Rangoon Road, Singapore, 218381
Opening hours: 11 a.m.–10 p.m. (Closed on Tues), 10 a.m.–10 p.m. (Weekends)
Contact: +65 8685 8488
Xiao Ya Tou
Switching up the Western cafe staples with an Asian flair, Xiao Ya Tou (a.k.a Yours Truly) is a vintage-themed restaurant-bar that serves unique fusion cuisine.
Tucked away on Duxton Hill, Xiao Ya Tou will take you on a guiltless pleasure trip with its quirky dishes like their Unagi Eggs Benedict or Truffle Pork Dumplings. The former is their signature brunch and my personal favourite. It features two fried mantou topped with mushroom duxelles and a soft-boiled egg. It is then completed with a yuzu hollandaise sauce and grilled teriyaki-glazed unagi. This dish may sound weird to you, but trust me, you will want to go back for more!
Just like their interesting dishes, the interior design of Xiao Ya Tou is also one to impress. From traditional Chinese lanterns to neon lights dazzlings across the restaurant, this nostalgia cafe blends the old school and modern design perfectly, giving off the vibe of an 80s or 90s street in Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, Xiao Ya Tou only serves brunch on weekends. Thus, if you happen to stop by the retro diner on a weekday, you can opt for their modern zi char menu instead.
Address: 6 Duxton Hill, #01-01, Singapore, 089592
Opening hours: 11.30 a.m.–11 p.m. (Mon–Thur), 10.30 a.m.–12 a.m. (Fri & Sat), 10 a.m.–11 p.m. (Sun)
Contact: +65 6226 1965
Soek Seng 1954 Bicycle Cafe
Are you an avid cyclist? Or are you an avid two-wheeler collector? If your answer is yes, then Soek Seng 1954 Bicycle Cafe is one perfect place for you and your friends to gather this weekend.
Established by Ah Joo, a vintage bike collector, this retro-themed bicycle cafe is a heaven to all cycling enthusiasts with more than 30-odd classic bicycles hung up on the walls. Each of these visually stunning bicycles is restored and hand-painted by the owner himself. All the displayed bicycles are in perfect working condition and are taken out on rotation by Ah Joo.
Hidden in Soek Seng, this ulu bicycle cafe offers a unique dining experience near Seletar Airport. You might get a glimpse of planes taking off while enjoying their eclectic mix of cuisines, with dishes ranging from beef rendang to Japanese gyudon. The best part? You can enjoy most of these delicious dishes under S$20. How awesome is that?
Address: #01-01 MAJ Aviation Building, Seletar Aerospace View, Singapore, 797563
Opening hours: 10 a.m.–10 p.m. (Tues–Thurs, Sun), 10a.m.–11p.m. (Fri & Sat)
Contact: +65 6659 6124
Old School Delights
Ever wonder what the food tasted like back when your parents were still schooling? You can do so by visiting Old School Delights.
As the name suggests, Old School Delights features a variety of retro cuisines from the 80s that will remind you of your childhood. Ranging from mee siam and curry laksa to nasi lemak and chendol, the owners, Chye and Olivia, are truly dedicated restaurateurs who make their sauces and dishes from scratch without any MSG and factory-made premix nonsense. You are sure to be in a treat if you ever stop by and have a meal there!
My personal favourite is their Laksa D’Lite, a wholesome noodle dish that has well balanced sweet savoury spicy flavours with aromatic highlights from chopped Daun Kesum (laksa leaf). It also comes with a generous portion of cockles.
Resembling an old classroom in the 80s with a blackboard adorning the wall, you will be transported back in time the moment you step into Old School Delights. Best yet, you get to relive your childhood while waiting for your food to be served with traditional games, like five stones, flag erasers, or have some old school snacks, like the iced gem biscuits.
While their outlets located at the Upper Thomson and City Square Mall have now closed, you can still find this amazing vintage-themed cafe at Esplanade.
Address: #02-25 Raffles Ave, Esplanade Mall, Singapore, 039802
Opening hours: 12 p.m.–9 p.m. (Closed on Tues)
Contact: +65 6909 3507; +65 9622 9518