One man coffee, one woman high.
Among the motley crew of the increasingly hip district of Upper Thomson, the unasssuming storefront of Australian gourmet pizza chain, Crust is easy to miss. While other minimalist industric chic speakeasys are so covert, it’s overt, Crust on the other hand, is so unnoticeable, it might as well not be there. However, its reputation seems to precede it, I suppose, which is why it’s still around. It has even outlasted some of its contemporaries.
Perhaps Crust’s gourmet positioning wasn’t practical for an all-day dining experience, but today, it shares its premises with the newest cafe on the block: One Man Coffee. It’s a win-win strategy, especially with exorbitant rentals in the city threatening the dreams of young upstarts. However, it must be noted that One Man Coffee has also inherited Crust’s invisibility cloak, which may affect its business. And it’s not like there’s no demand for cafes in the area – places like Habitat are starting to see crowds on an hourly basis.
When it comes to coffee, One Man Coffee is all about keeping things, well, at least the coffee, Melbournian. Like Stranger’s Reunion, it too sources its brew from Melbourne-based Axil Coffee Roasters. While One Man Coffee’s owners don’t share the accolade of being Singapore’s national barista champion Ryan Kieran Tan, owner of Stranger’s Reunion, they’ve nevertheless appeared to gain valuable experiences while being in the employment of some Melbourne cafes.
Like most cafes in Singapore, don’t expect a one-stop destination for meals, desserts and coffee. There are pastries available, sourced from Bakery Artisan Original (B.A.O.). There’s also an attractive enough brunch menu, honing items like Toad In The Hole served with Bacon Jam, a fried egg stuffed in a a hole in the middle of a sliced bread. There was also the day’s favorite, it seems – every table seemed to have it – a French Toast Brioche with Homemade Berry Compote and Candied Walnuts.
Alas, with my Bintang cough still in full swing, I went for something a lot simpler: a croissant (replaced by a white brioche) with bacon jam and butter, paired with a Flat White. Although it was simple, it was a delight for the senses. The subversion from the sweetness of the brioche, and the savory from the bacon jam was just mind-blowing, and something quite special. I can only imagine feast if the jam was paired with B.A.O.’s croissants, allegedly one of Singapore’s best.
The Flat White – which, contrary to popular belief, was invented in Sydney and honed in Auckland before being popularized in Melbourne’s cafe scene, was basically born out of the Australian trend of drinking instant coffee with hot milk, is basically a lesser cappuccino that has a higher proportion of coffee to milk – was alright. It was at least, not Maison Ikkoku style, which to me, tastes like Starbucks coffee with its overarching use of dairy products.