Hidden Find: La Ristrettos Cafe at #08-37 Novena Medical Centre, Singapore 307506

"It's like Platform 9 and 3/4. You have to know where it is to be able to get into it."

That's how I would describe the most hidden away cafe in Singapore, La Ristrettos. It's as if the cafe owners do NOT want to be discovered by random passerby's. Instead, they rely solely on word of mouth and kindness of customers to spread the word. Also, it is probably the only cafe that closes on Sunday, and only open for half a day on Saturdays (8am to 1pm). Weekdays are 8am to 6pm. Working adults with regular schedules, Saturday morning is your only chance.

Which is why me and my siblings hurried there this morning because we've heard so much about its coffee - which my barista-in-training brother was interested to check out - and its location.

It's hidden on the 8th floor of the Novena Medical Centre, which you can get to via Novena Square 2 from the MRT. Train's probably the best way to go because we were stuck in traffic by car. Follow the signs in Square 2 to reach the medical centre and take the lift up. Walk into forbidding and serious looking glass doors and corridors.. and see a coffee stand in one of them. Tadah! You have reached your destination.

The cafe is tiny by the way. One big table in the middle that can seat.. 16? And counter seats at the side. I do however like the brick walls and 'coffee-ness' of it. The coffee machine is located at one side of the cafe actually, which is rare since they usually go behind the counter. So you see my brother inspecting them in the pic. Apparently that machine is super good.

There's also outdoor seating amidst greenery and HEAT. Even though its not that cool inside and had a faint smell of the food being cooked, we still preferred it indoors. Customers will order at the counter and pay up, and the food's served to you (without GST or service tax in the bill)!

 They also sell coffee beans, which my brother bought.

 Well I was starving when we were there, and also in a hurry because I have a hair appointment at 1pm (we reached at 12.30pm). Luckily there's All Day Breakfast, my favorite! Prices are very reasonable. I was expecting it to be quite pricey, because my sister had been here, and mentioned that food wasn't that great and was expensive, but I think this range is already on the low side...

Of course, we all had to order our coffees. My sister got a cappuccino ($5), seen here with the common rosetta foam art. So apparently from the coffee experts (not me..), the coffee here's strong and has a dark roast, which makes for good milk coffees (but too overwhelming for expressos). My brother got an expresso AND a ristretto, both $3 each.

 I ordered my latte with ice ($6.50!), as usual. It was such a warm day! It came in quite a tall cup, which is good. Just wished it wasn't so expensive, but hey it's comparable to a Starbucks.

Here's my youngest brother's Panini E Uova Pancetta ($11) - panini bread with fried eggs, bacon and provolone cheese on toasted panini. It's quite a hearty dish, which my brother ate like one would a burger. He said it was delicious, and I take his word for it.

I had the Grande ($14) consisting of eggs (scrambled, poached or sunny side, I chose poached), sauteed mushrooms, bacon, spicy italian sausage, salad and sourdough bread.

YUM! Ok, this cafe serves decent food. And it is not overpriced at $14 nett. See? It can be done. You just need to put a bit of effort into it! The bacon was super good (not too dry, not too salty) and the spicy sausage was full of herbs and spice. The mushrooms were not cut up into little pieces, so it was really juicy. Lastly the buttery sourdough was chewy and fresh enough - perfect to scoop up the murdered poached egg. The only criticism would be the use of cherry tomatoes - I wished they were sun-dried or sauteed tomatoes instead.

Perhaps I lowered my expectations low enough, but La Ristrettos really surprised me today with the good coffee and brunch. This is definitely not one of those rip-off hipster cafes. It's a serious F&B establishment, and I hope it will continue to serve up good food and coffee for all those in the know.

La Ristrettos
#08-37, Novena Medical Centre, 10 Sinaran Drive, Singapore 307506
+65 63977165
Mon - Fri: 08:00 - 18:00, Sat: 08:00 - 13:00
Closed on Sundays

1 comment
  1. i recall a rant about hipster cafes a few days ago.... heh.