Check out yet another hipster café? Why not?
Time and tummy space are rather scarce nowadays, so have to choose wisely which cafés to visit. The Populas Coffee & Food Co at Neil Road turned out to be a rather winning choice with enjoyable coffee, reasonably good food, adequate service and contemporary industrial chic interior matched with trendy vibes and good-looking crowd (including
Looks like The Lokal, which is located just a few doors away, is gonna face some stiff competition.
Opened last month in late-October, the café seems to have already set off on a right note even during the current soft launch phase, so it's easy to guess that the folks behind Populus are not entirely without experience.
Populus turns out to be a collaboration effort by Department of Caffeine and 2Degrees North Coffee Co.
I forgot to ask (too hungry to think of much else) what the coffee blend was for my Caffè Latte ($5.50), but it was full-bodied, rather smooth with a pleasant hint of smokey finish. I like it.
The Populus Scramble ($17) has everything I like on a plate with scrambled eggs, streaky bacon and toasted croissant, but also sounds like an over-priced combination of low-cost ingredients that isn't hard to put together in our home kitchen. For this reason, we skipped it.
Reminding us of Vietnamese bahn mi was our order of Pork Belly Sandwich ($16) with roasted tom yum pork belly, carrot & daikon pickles, fresh coriander sandwiched between crusty ciabatta. Meat portion was considered to be rather generous, though we wished that it was cut thicker for a better mouthfeel.
I would prefer a more al-dente bite to my pasta, but otherwise, the Beef Ragu Pappardelle ($18) was delightful in all ways, especially its increasingly addictive tomato sauce. The subtle use of Indian spices added a lovely dimension to the overall flavor.
That could also be one of the reasons why we were drawn to the Spring Pancake & Fried Chicken ($21) too. Thumbs-up to the combination of flavors! Texture of fried chicken fillets were executed to crisp, juicy goodness, pancake was thin, dense and packed with spring onions and corn, house-special ranch dressing was tangy and whet up the appetite even further.
The Buckwheat Pancakes ($18.50) came about because the next table was having it and we were attracted by its prettiness. It was certainly more than just a good looker, being pillowy soft and fluffy. But Nat felt that it was a tad pricey and not worth it for a carb-centric dish without any meat. I concur.
There are also very gorgeous bowls of sundae to end the meal. Take your pick from Lemon & White Chocolate Sundae ($13), Dark Chocolate Sundae ($13) and Strawberry Sundae ($13) served with Tahitian vanilla ice cream.
All in all, it was a nice experience at Populus. Undoubtedly one of the best new cafés to open recently and I wouldn't hesitate to go back once they've officially launch their full menu.
The Populus Coffee & Food Co
Address: 146 Neil Road, Singapore 088875
Contact: +65 6635 8420
Opening Hours: Mon & Wed 9am-7pm / Thu & Fri 9am-10.30pm / Sat 9.30am-10.30pm / Sun 9.30am-7pm / Closed on Tue
Prices stated are nett.