Thursday, October 23, 2014

Spilling the (Coffee) Beans : Whale & Cloud, Niven Road

Who doesn't love to hear a good secret? I'm pretty sure we all do. 

Not so long ago, word has been going around about this "secret" coffee shop here in the Lion City. You see, the 3rd wave / artisan coffee trend is booming here with at least one coffee shop opening every week. There are just a lot right now that I was so happy when fellow food blogger Daniel came up with a comprehensive list of all the new cafes in Singapore for 2014. Daniel is one of the few food bloggers whom I diligently follow to know about the new restaurants in the city. He writes in such an objective and really organized manner that makes the OC in me really happy. 

Anyway, so Daniel and a couple of bloggers began talking about a secret coffee shop called Whale & Cloud and that opens only on Saturday. In fact, it's not open on all Saturdays too! All these talks got me really curious and after asking more details about it, Paul and I decided to spend one Saturday afternoon to try it out ourselves.

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The address says 48¾ Niven Road. Have I just been transported to Harry Potter's world or what?! Finding it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. What we weren't expecting though was the growing queue outside the coffee shop. Since it's located within a quite, hidden alley, this means having to stand outside without any shade, no air-conditioning, no seats and definitely no guarantee as to how long you'll have to wait. I'd normally start whining at this point but I wanted to check Whale & Cloud so badly that I quietly waited along with the others. Well, I would sway my legs from time to time while eyeing the open canal beside me with a bit of paranoid dengue fear.

Finally, after 30 minutes of waiting, the magical blue door opened and the two customers left. Hooray! This means there's now room for the 1st 2 in the line. We were the 4th couple in the line but more customers followed the 1st couple who left. I guess they were batch 1 and we were part of batch 2. 



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We found ourselves inside the small but cozy coffee shop in no time. It truly looked very hipster yet the secret feel gave us a certain sense of thrill of being able to discover the coffee shop with ease. Paul and I spent the first 10 minutes looking at the decors, taking a million photos and checking each nook and cranny out (not that there were a lot to check out given the small space).

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Luckily, we got a corner table for two while the others went for the vintage theater chairs that faces the "bar".

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Whale & Cloud is being operated by two women who holds full time corporate job thus the once-a-week schedule. One takes care of entertaining guests, sitting them properly, getting their orders and settling the bill too. The other one had her back facing us. No, she wasn't being rude but she's actually the barista who's in-charge of making the coffee. 

There were only 3 coffee options that day: Black (S$6), White (S$6) and Cold Brew (S$8). Of course, when compared to the mainstream coffee shops, the price is a bit higher but for the novelty, charm and the fact that we had to wait so long to get in.. I didn't mind paying a little more. They also have cakes and pastries to go with the coffee but sadly the carrot cake was all sold out when we went.

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We both got a cup of White coffee each. That week, they were serving Omotesando (Tokyo) Beans, which has been hailed as one of the best coffee shops in Tokyo. Our orders arrived so quickly and it's so cute that it came with a small taster cup filled with Iced Gems biscuits. I just love the old school, vintage touch. The coffee is pure espresso shot with milk. It's not your normal sweet, milky coffee. Needless to say, this is one that only that true coffee aficionado will enjoy. They don't even serve sugar too which I personally think is a bit weird. True, they are an artisan coffee shop but given that they attract quite a young crowd, they still should have some options to customized the drink depending on the individual tastes of their customers. Sugar is a given followed by some creamer. It may not be the best way to fully appreciate a good batch of roasted coffee but it's one way to answer to your customer's needs.

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I have to admit that Paul didn't enjoy his coffee very much as it was way too strong for his taste and he's not a fan of espresso shots too. I think he was more happy with the iced gems as he even asked for more. As for me, I think the coffee was pretty good but for S$6 a shot and with all the waiting and effort that I have to put in, it might be a bit too much.

Will I go back to Whale & Cloud -- I might take visitors here but that won't be for a couple more months from now.

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Whale & Cloud is located at  48¾ Niven Road, Singapore. The best way to get here is to head to Rex Cinema either by bus/cab/MRT (Little India). From there look for the yellow building across and head towards that direction.

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Keep on walking and you'll immediately see the famous blue door and the blue wooden bench as well. Follow them on Instagram to get the latest operating hours update. 

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