Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.
Looking at Chye Seng Huat Hardware or even hearing it’s name, you would never figure out it’s actually a cafe that has retained the exterior & name of the old hardware building it resides in. It’s one of the few cafes in the latest trend of adopting & preserving an old piece of history, yet turning it into a modern cafe. It’s the inside that counts.
Don’t be fooled by the old hardware exterior.
A modern cafe resides inside.
Old school vinyl player playing The Beatles.
If you ever walked by Chye Seng Huat Hardware, you’ll probably think it was an old closed hardware store. However, a modern cafe is actually on the inside of the old building, with a “secret” entrance on the side of the cafe and also by the grey door in front.
Unlike it’s exterior, the interior of Chye Seng Huat is made to look very modern & sleek while retaining certain vintage elements. A large coffee bar is situated in the middle of the entire cafe with a few seats placed around the area. The place itself is very dim lit, with black highlights & wooden elements. One nice feature to note are the hanging vintage lamps as you can see in the photo above.
To be honest, I felt quite overwhelmed by the entire interior when I first walked into Chye Seng Huat. Perhaps it was a lack of focus into the most prominent feature of the place, which was the large coffee bar in the middle. Spotlights shine on a feature wall behind the bar, which is used as a “Retail Rack”, selling coffee related items. It somewhat adds to the visual clutter of the place and I found it more distracting than welcoming.
Desserts at the counter.
Though Chye Seng Huat commands a larger space than most other cafes, their menu is kept quite minimal, with a small selection of desserts at the counter to accompany it. The focus here is probably their coffee, which is constantly raved about.
Chye Seng Huat offers the usual brunch items, ranging from pancakes to French toast to big breakfasts. The staff mentioned that some of the desserts were made in-house, while the rest were from suppliers. Prices are fairly affordable but they do charge GST unfortunately.
Regular Espresso + Milk ($5.50)
I’ll admit that I’m not usually a fan of coffee. Most of the time I would go for a Latte or Frappe, like a typical “coffee-idiot”.
Based on the staff recommendation, I ordered the Espresso+Milk which was somewhat like a latte. The coffee was really strong & quite bitter and unfortunately, I was unable to appreciate it. Perhaps I’m used to having my coffee automatically sweetened for me, and adding sugar to it myself seemed like blasphemy.
Ang Ku Kueh ($3.80 for 5)
Sweet Potato, Peanut, Yam, Bean, Salted Bean
I’m more of a Western/European dessert kind of guy but I do like my fair share of traditional Asian desserts or kuehs.
The colors of the kuehs really attracted me as I usually only see red or pink ones. The kuehs were smooth & soft. I quite liked the taste of them as well, though I did find 3 of them to have a similar taste. My friend loved the Salted Bean flavor, which I found to be the most odd. I’ll stick to peanut any day.
Sticky Date Pudding ($3)
Carrot Cake w/ Lemon Frosting ($3)
Goat Cheese Cake ($6.50)
I quite liked their selection of desserts & pastries. I felt like ordering everything as I stood at the counter looking at them.
The cakes were pretty good. Both were quite sweet and tasted great.
Unlike the cakes, the Goat Cheese Cake tasted too weird for my friend and I though. It wasn’t smooth like your usual cheese cake, instead it was more crumbly. It’s definitely more of an acquired taste.
The Huat Breakfast V2.0 ($17)
Choice of Eggs, Ham Steak, Pork Sausages, Grilled Tomato, Potato Salad, Butter Croissant
My friend ordered this and really liked it. You should definitely try the croissants at Chye Seng Huat. Soft, flaky & buttery. I really liked the potato salad as well. The ham steak was basically a thick cut of ham. Good nonetheless.
Crab Meat Aglio Olio ($16)
I’ve a huge fan of pasta, I’ll always try to order it whenever it’s offered and so decided to try their Aglio.
As stated in the menu, this dish has an “Asian Twist”. It definitely works great for the pasta. Tasted really delicious. Nice amount of crab meat too.
OMG! Truffle Popcorn ($7)
What more can I say? It’s truffle popcorn!
At first I thought it was just overpriced popcorn, until I remembered that it’s around the same price as those in movie theatres.
Initially an impulse order, due to the word “truffle”, eventually it turned out addictive. The popcorn had a nice hint of truffle, with a more substantial flavor of truffle towards the bottom batch. Definitely worth trying, though it’s best to be shared in a group.
Another shot of the interior and the coffee bar.
Worth A Visit/Revisit?
Chye Seng Huat Hardware is one of those cafes that is so unique that you have to at least visit them once. The whole concept has been taking over Singapore by storm & the place is already considered one of the most popular cafes here. The food is quite good and if you enjoy a good brew of coffee, this is the place for you.
CHYE SENG HUAT HARDWARE
150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207563
(Nearest train station: Lavender)
Contact: 6396 0609
Tue – Fri: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 9:00 am – 10:00 pm