Some places you definitely have to make a visit to, just to see for yourself what the buzz is all about. Department Of Caffeine (D.O.C) at Duxton Road in the Tanjong Pagar area falls neatly into this category. Every other friends are asking me if I've visited the café, some of them like it, some are curious about it. It's such a talk-of-the-town even after a few months of its opening that it made those who have yet to visit seem unhip. I wanna appear hip too, so I went.
Sitting at a corner of the row of shophouses, it was a scene of tranquil peacefulness until the door to D.O.C opened up to a narrow stretch of lively space reverberating with noise and activities. People were laughing and talking over their cuppa of the day, servers were carefully maneuvering their way around the tight space with customer's orders, Five Sense coffee beans and Synesso machine performing their duties, barista doing his latte art. It was crowded, way too echoing noisy and tables are placed too close together. Definitely not my kind of place to chillax a long afternoon away or have a HTHT with BFF.
In all fairness, the deco of D.O.C is not too bad. I like the partly industrial chic look soften with splashes of woody panels and simple monochromatic drawings adorning the walls. The whole ambience spells chic and.. yes, hip. Come here to be seen.
I was initially pleased with the service, an alert server noticed us hanging around the entrance and got us a table at the far end of the café just as the other group was leaving. But when I asked another service staff why all the brunch items with eggs were crossed out on the menu, my question was met with a CURT "NO STOCK" reply. What a bummer! It's okay if you ran out of eggs but a more amiable attitude would be much appreciated.
Having heard good reviews that D.O.C puts effort in their food and is more-than-decent compared to most of other cafés, I thought it'd be nice to try one or two of their weekend brunch items even though we just had lunch and were not hungry. Pulled Pork Sandwich ($13), D.O.C Meatball Sandwich ($13), D.O.C Breakfast Platter ($18), 63 Degree Eggs ($18.50)... all these sounded promising, but brunch doesn't seem the same without eggs. Oh well, maybe another time then.
But I do want something to go along with my hot Caffé Latte ($5), so we decided on Buttermilk Waffles ($13.50) with vanilla ice cream and butter rum bananas sitting on top a golden brown waffle. The waffle was thick and fluffy, just the way I like it. It can be a tad more crisp, but I'm not complaining. It wasn't fantastic but this was the best item I had during this visit at D.O.C. There was a sourish note in my café latte which I don't like.
The Tanjong Pagar area is practically littered with cafés, and D.O.C is indeed a hipster addition to it. It's a tad pretentious, but I will visit again if my friends want to. Hopefully the brunch items will leave a better impression.
The Department of Caffeine (D.O.C) - Closed January 2016
Address: 15 Duxton Road, Singapore 089481
Contact: +65 62233426
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 10.30am-7.30pm / Sat & Sun 9.30am-7.30pm