Tian Kee & Co. @ 12 Dakota Crescent

The 54 year old provision shop turned cafe.

The 54 year old provision shop turned cafe.

Tian Kee & Co. is the latest cafe to join the ranks of the trend of old historical places turned modern cafe. Tian Kee took over a 54 year old provision shop in the old estate of Dakota Crescent, after the previous owner decided to give up the shop & retire. The cafe has been recently featured in numerous news articles which has given the place a sudden boom in popularity.

The old Dakota Crescent estate.

The cafe resides in one of the buildings of the old Dakota Crescent estate.

The rusted metal grills of the shop has been preserved as well.

The rusted metal grills of the shop have been preserved as well.

Inside the cafe.

Inside the cafe.

Aesthetic
Tian Kee was opened by a couple, Vincent & his wife, who originally dreamed of opening a cafe called “Black Rose”. They decided to keep & preserve the heritage of the original provision shop instead, retaining the name & old blue signboard of the shop – Tian Kee & Co.

The cafe gives off a nostalgic vibe, not only by it’s location in one of the oldest estates in Singapore, but also with the decor of the cafe itself. Old rattan chairs & old-style foldable tables with faux marble tops fill the place. The cafe has a very unfinished/old look, with grey concrete walls & floors, along with aluminium sheets covering their counter top. Some nostalgic decor include an old rusted Milo tin can & historical aviation posters on the walls. The place looks fantastic with it’s old-timely style, drawing customers & hipsters from all walks of life.

Jazz music plays throughout the cafe which adds to the peaceful & relaxing environment. It’s a great place to chill with a couple of friends over a drink of coffee. Do note that the cafe is not air-conditioned, though I found that there was enough shade inside & it wasn’t as hot as it would be in this local weather.

Candies & sweets of yesteryear. Childhood memories.

Candies & sweets of yesteryear. Childhood memories.

Selection of cakes & desserts at the counter.

Selection of cakes & desserts at the counter.

Drinks menu.

Drinks menu.

Food
Tian Kee has a small selection of drinks & desserts, including cakes, muffins & home-made gelato. They have only recently rolled out a few main dishes for people who want something more substantial. Aside from these, they also offer chicken pies, which are home-made. Their coffee are made from coffee beans which are from Dutch Colony. Most of their cakes are actually outsourced from Cat and the Fiddle.

Unfortunately, I feel that there’s nothing much to talk about of Tian Kee’s food selections. I’m not a huge fan of cafes that outsource the majority of their food from suppliers. Of course, I’m usually alright with that fact, as long as the cafe itself makes up for it with their great aesthetic & decor, which Tian Kee & Co. has done. (Bear in mind the necessary licenses these cafes would need to achieve to expand their food menus. It’s not all peaches & cream.)

Sidenote: No GST or service fees here!

Iced Snag ($6.50) Espresso, Steamed Milk & Rose Syrup This is one of their signature drinks which makes an innovative use of rose syrup with coffee. I was told there actually was a certain way to drink this, which is to sip the top layer first, then the second, then reach all the way to the bottom to get three different tastes.  The coffee was pretty good, not as sweet as I would have preferred but still one of the better coffees I have tasted.

Iced Snag ($6.50)
Espresso, Steamed Milk & Rose Syrup
This is one of their signature drinks which makes an innovative use of rose syrup with coffee.
I was told there was actually a certain way to drink this, which is to sip the top layer first, then the second, then reach all the way to the bottom to get three different tastes.
The coffee was pretty good, not as sweet as I would have preferred (could use more rose syrup) but still one of the better coffees I have tasted.

English Breakfast Tea ($6) My companion originally wanted to order an Iced Mocha, but as they were out of chocolate powder that day, she ordered tea instead. Perhaps a tad too pricey for tea.

English Breakfast Tea ($6)
My companion originally wanted to order an Iced Mocha, but as they were out of chocolate powder that day, she ordered tea instead. Perhaps a tad too pricey for tea.

Saucy Pepper Chicken Pie ($7.90) Comes with prawn crackers If you're looking for something savoury, go for their chicken pies. At least they are homemade. My companion quite liked it, saying that there was a nice amount of chicken chunks inside. Nice touch with the classical prawn crackers.

Saucy Pepper Chicken Pie ($7.90)
Comes with prawn crackers
If you’re looking for something savoury, go for their chicken pies. At least they are homemade. My companion quite liked it, saying that there was a nice amount of chicken chunks inside. Nice touch with the classical prawn crackers.

All Day Breakfast ($12.90) Bacon, Egg, Cheese, Hashbrown, Cheesy Chicken Sausage, Roti Prata This is one of their latest additions to their menu. To make things more to the local palate, they added a Roti Prata instead of bread. I thought this was pretty alright. It's a fine tummy filler. Though you can probably fix this up at home by yourself with ingredients from the supermarket. The prata itself was pretty generic. Hashbrown was kinda dry. It wasn't bad, it's just not something that will make you go "Wow.".

All Day Breakfast ($12.90)
Bacon, Egg, Cheese, Hashbrown, Cheesy Chicken Sausage, Roti Prata
This is one of their latest additions to their menu. To make things more to the local palate, they added a Roti Prata instead of your typical bread.
I thought this was pretty alright. It’s a fine tummy filler. Though you can probably fix this up at home by yourself with ingredients from the supermarket. The prata itself was pretty generic. Hashbrown was kinda dry.
It wasn’t bad, it’s just not something that will make you go “Wow!”.

Mao Shan Wang Cheesecake ($6.50) As mentioned earlier, Tian Kee's cakes are from Cat and the Fiddle. Overall, I do like their cakes, they made a good choice in choosing Cat and the Fiddle for their cake supplies.  Every durian lover would probably gun for this cake. Seems like hearing the words "Mao Shan Wang" makes them tremble inside with glee. The cake was really good, you can hardly taste the cheese, it tasted mostly of the overpowering durian. Really soft cream with biscuit crust that breaks easily. Recommended.

Mao Shan Wang Cheesecake ($6.50)
As mentioned earlier, Tian Kee’s cakes are from Cat and the Fiddle.
Overall, I do like their cakes, they made a good choice in choosing Cat and the Fiddle for their cake supplies.
Every durian lover would probably gun for this cake. Seems like hearing the words “Mao Shan Wang” makes them tremble inside with glee. The cake was really good, you can hardly taste the cheese, it tasted mostly of the overpowering durian. Really soft cream with a soft biscuit crust that breaks easily. Recommended.

Yuan Yang Cheesecake ($6.50) Aroma of Espresso & Hong Kong-Style Milk Tea This was delicious as well. It has more of a milk tea taste with a slight hint of espresso. Nice & creamy as well, which is what I prefer in cakes.

Yuan Yang Cheesecake ($6.50)
Aroma of Espresso & Hong Kong-Style Milk Tea
This was delicious as well. It has more of a milk tea taste with a slight hint of espresso. There’s a thin jelly layer on top. Nice & creamy as well, which is what I prefer in cakes.

An old-style dolphin kiddy ride. It actually still works!

An old-style dolphin kiddy ride. It actually still works!

Worth A Visit/Revisit?
I do really like the whole nostalgia aesthetic & laid back vibe of Tian Kee. It’s a great concept & a fantastic place to hang out during the quiet afternoon. The location & nostalgia element here is what makes the cafe unique, with their food being more like a secondary companion to the experience. Hopefully in time, they would further improve on their food options. For now, do check them out just for a trip down memory lane over good coffee & small bites.

RATING

Food
6.5/10
Aesthetic
7.5/10
Price
7/10
Service
7.5/10

TIAN KEE & CO.

12 Dakota Crescent, #01-48, Singapore 390012
(Nearest train station: Dakota)
Contact: –
Opening Hours:
Tue – Fri: 12:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
https://www.facebook.com/tiankeedakotacrescent

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