No website. No facebook page. Only an Instagram account which says "many will seek but not all shall find". Whale & Cloud could possibly be the most secretive café in Singapore.
However, if the place is not without its merits, favorable words will soon find its way around. We soon descended upon the elusive Whale & Cloud one early Saturday morning. The café may be secretive but hey hey, it's a secret no longer!
Getting to Whale & Cloud felt like an adventure itself. The entrance is actually behind the row of shophouses at Niven Road. Best way would be to first locate Rex cinema (nearest mrt station: NE7 Little India), get across the road, and then walk straight down the back alley.
There is no proper signage to indicate the café's existence, but the heavy metal blue door is not that difficult to spot. If you see the word "OPEN" displayed on the side wall, be happy because it opens only once a week on Saturdays, and yay, you've come at the right time! But to avoid any disappointment, do check their Instagram account for the most updated opening day/hour.
Next step: Knock and the door shall be opened!
And woohoo, the door opened to one of the most charming cafés I've ever been to for quite awhile!
The café is really tiny and accommodates only two small corner tables and a row of nostalgic cinema seats, but the glass ceiling bathed the whole place in natural daylight and cast any claustrophobic worries out of the way. As I sat on my chair and looked up to the sky, I thought "it would be so lovely if raindrops start falling now." The sense of serenity fell and had me escaped into surreality for a moment.
We all really really really love the cosy intimate space. It felt so much like being in the backyard of a friend's house, gathering together for some coffee and snacks. Only drawback is that I find it more suitable for small groups of 2-3pax, any larger might find problems in sitting arrangements.
Operated by 3 owners who hold full-time jobs, we do appreciate that they had chosen to invest their weekend time and energy to bring us this charming hidden gem. Their affable demeanor puts us at ease the moment we stepped into the café.
One of them literally always had her back turned on us! Lol! Not in a bad way definitely, because she's actually the barista and putting her focus on creating the best cuppa inside her little enclave.
Whale & Cloud does not have a specific brew, various coffee beans are specially procured by the owners during their trips overseas. The blends are always changing so be in anticipation for this element of surprise whenever you visit.
What is served on my day of visit was the Sightglass' Owl's Howl Espresso blend from San Francisco. Though presented very plainly in a paper cup, the enjoyment level of my coffee with added milk was no less. Its robust body and slightly bitter aftertaste was a truly caffeine kick to start my morning.
Every order of coffee is complemented by some colorful old-school iced gem biscuits. Cakes are also available for a heavier bite, with selections from Kisses Bakery displayed in the center table. I wish home-baked goods can be offered to complete this unique café experience though.
Some of us might asked, "café open once a week can make money meh?". Well my guess is that the owners are in this for fulfillment of their passion and dream rather than monetary gains. They do not charge for the coffee, it's up to us to tip any amount which we deemed fit. For cakes, it's reasonable $5 a slice across the board.
Admittedly, it's not the coffee or cakes that would draw me back again, but the genuine warmth of the place which gives it a magical allure.
We have seek and have found. Will you be the next to seek Whale & Cloud too?
Whale & Cloud 鲸舆雲
Address: 48 Niven Road, Singapore
Opening Hours: 9am-4pm Saturdays only (do check their Instagram account for the most updated opening hours)