While we have since gotten used to halal cafes and restaurants popping up every month or so in Kampong Gelam, what’s special about this hidden gem is the fact that it’s located in the unlikeliest of locations: Orchard Towers.
Many would dub Orchard Towers as the seedier side of Orchard Road, an offbeat location unlike the other malls on the high end shopping street. The building is best known for its nightclubs and pubs, which is why we’re surprised to discover Bean & Butter Cafe there.
Two sides to every story
Bean & Butter Cafe was started by three friends whose jobs were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Co-owner Isaac, who previously worked in 5-star hotels abroad for the past 10 years, banded with his friends Faizal and Nabil to set up the cafe.
According to Isaac, they discovered the unit in Orchard Towers almost by happenstance and decided to take a flyer on it despite its less than favourable reputation.
“There’s always two sides to a story,” Isaac explained. “We want to change the stigma or the perception that this place has. We don’t judge anyone who comes in here.”
That narrative is also represented in the cafe’s interior which is split half into a photogenic white and teal-blue, with the middle space occupied by the coffee bar and serving counter.
Community-driven social enterprise
Beyond changing mindsets about their new home, Bean & Butter Cafe also prides itself as being a supporter of small businesses.
The cafe provides a platform for home-based bakers (HBB) to stock their products. This opens up a new revenue stream for the home bakers as well as extend their reach to more customers.
Speaking of customers, Bean & Butter Cafe also makes it easy for anyone to get coffee or cake from them by offering free delivery to nearby areas like Bukit Timah and River Valley with no minimum spend. Talk about being neigbourly!
For the month of August, the cafe is also running a campaign for nurses who can get a cup of coffee for S$1.50 or with a Roasted Chicken Sandwich for S$6. And yes, if you’re a nurse working in nearby hospitals like Gleneagles or Mount Elizabeth, delivery is FREE!
Not a nurse? We still urge you to drop by Bean & Butter Cafe for their affordable food and drinks.
Whether you’re seeking savoury noms or sweet treats, Bean & Butter Cafe has a selection of items in their menu worth checking out such as:
7 inch long (S$6.50)
A seven-inch long sausage slathered in your choice of Mala or Salted egg sauce. Instead of a hot dog bun, a buttered and lightly toasted brioche bun forms the base.
Our Crab Roll (S$14.50) *Editor’s Pick!
This is an absolute treat! The roll features swimmer crab meat packed into the same buttered brioche bun and topped with mentaiko mayo.
Ondeh-Ondeh & Cempedak Madeleines (S$2.80 for one/S$8 for three)
The humble French tea cake re-imagined in local flavours.
Nutella Cake (S$7 per slice)
Rich and indulgent chocolate cake with Nutella. Can’t go wrong with this one.
The menu also includes other treats like:
- Pandan Kaya Canele (S$4 each / S$11 for three)
- Almond Croissant (S$4)
- Basque Burnt Cheesecake (S$20)
Most of the hot coffee beverages here are priced at S$5.50, which are surprisingly reasonable for Orchard Road. So if you’re looking for quality coffee on a budget, here’s where you should be.
However, we find ourselves drawn to the cold beverages served here instead.
Here are some of the must-try drinks:
Milo Oat Milk (S$6.50) *Editor’s Pick!
Tastes super close to the nostalgic Milo truck version at every School Sports Day, even with oat milk used.
Orange Peel Black Cold Brew (S$6.50)
Potent black coffee with a refreshing orange peel flavour.
Non-caffeinated drinks, such as Avocado Smoothie (S$5) and Chendol Frappe (S$6), are available too.
Check out the cafe’s full menu here.
The café occupies a small unit on the first floor of Orchard Towers, hence seating can be challenging if you’re coming with a large group.
However, singles and couples may find the space a cosy respite from the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road.
Two small tables can sit amorous pairs while the long table overlooking Delfi Orchard is the perfect spot to perch yourself while you people watch.
Where they lack in space, Bean & Butter Cafe makes up for it by being an open and welcoming place that supports the community in small but meaningful ways.
As for us, we’re just happy to have a new halal cafe to visit whenever we’re in town and not be limited to bigger chain cafes that are a dime a dozen in Orchard Road. #supportlocal
Top photos from The Halal Eater.