Cafe Review: The Populus Coffee & Food Co. at 146 Neil Road, Singapore 088875

Situated just a couple of doors down from The Lokal, new cafe kid on the block The Populus Coffee & Food Co. is now soft launched! Actually I don't understand the concept of soft launch because once you open your doors, people are gonna come and they will inevitably judge. But I suppose its a way to ask people to be more forgiving for there might still be kinks in the food, service or opening hours. Still, the new cafe is off to a great start and would probably prove to be very popular very soon so read on to see what you can try...

I was lucky to visit it on a Thursday afternoon for brunch at 1.30pm with fellow foodie Kimberly of Strictly Ours blog, after seeing a salivating photo of it on @fundamentally_flawed's Instagram account. I was particularly intrigued by the croissant I saw in the photo, buried under a mountain of eggs and bacon and I knew I had to try it.

The decor and plates actually reminded me a whole lot of Paddy Hills with its industrial chrome lamps and walls. Food was actually a little similar too, though Populus' was less experimental. Apparently this is from the folks of Department of Caffeine & 2Degrees North Coffee Co.

The gastro-cafe as they call it was a nice space, compact but obviously done with a lot of effort. There's a basement where the magic happens.

Here's the Populus soft launch menu. Prices are fair for coffee, and all-day breakfasts and pancakes are always welcome in my book! They range from $16-23 for the 11 mains, and there are 3 types of sundaes for dessert and only 1 shoestring fries ($7) for small bites.

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We each ordered a latte ($5.50) which was quite smooth, without being too acidic or burnt. That's good coffee already. Feels good to finally have a proper caffeine fix after a month in Europe!

Then on to the all-day menu! We tried their Spring Pancake with Fried Chicken ($21) which took over 20 minutes to arrive after ordering, but it was worth the wait. The pancake was surprisingly not too oily nor salty. Instead, the corn in the batter gave it a sweet bite, while the entire pancake was a good alternative to a waffle for the fried chicken accompaniment! The chicken itself was crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. Really good. 4/5

Then, we tried The Populus Scramble ($17) but specially requested for the eggs and croissant to be separated, seeing how the croissant might get soggy from the buttery eggs! I think we were right to err on the side of caution -- the croissant was really flaky and airy, while the scrambled eggs were on fleek. Streaky crispy bacon of course for that indulgent touch, and you have a perfect breakfast on a plate. 4/5

Can you see how pouffy the croissant is inside? Not too bad indeed, though its not the best in Singapore. This dish took a while to come (even after the fried chicken), which baffled us a little. 

Lastly, I was told we MUST TRY the sundaes from Populus, so we ordered the Dark Chocolate Sundae ($13) made with dark chocolate ice cream with passionfruit curd, raspberry puree, hazelnut crumb, honeycomb, chocolate crumb and whipped cream. The hazelnut crumb was really interesting, and I love honeycomb in my desserts. And all of the ice cream was sitting on top some sort of cut up sponge cake, which gave this dessert more of a 'solid' feel instead of just cream. 4/5

The soft launch menu looks and tasted pretty good! I'd be interested to go back and try their Beef Ragu, but for now I would recommend for you to go check this place out for their fried chicken and sundaes while it hasn't exploded yet, and be sure to bring a little bit of patience and little more money.

The Populus Coffee & Food Co.
146 Neil Road, Singapore 088875
+65 66358420
Daily from 10am to 7pm (last orders 6pm)

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