[SG] Ronin | the cafe with no signboard and menu

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ever since I moved to Singapore from Hong Kong early this year, I have been missing bits and pieces of Hong Kong. A friend who I've known for more than a decade visited me recently and since she had visited all the tourist-worthy places of Singapore, we decided to settle for a cafe that has no signboard, no food and drink menus, no website and no telephone number located along the Hongkong Street and started our never ending conversations.

The same folks behind The Plain and The Bravery, opened their third cafe "Ronin" in Singapore and the name actually refers to a samurai with no lord or master. When we walked in we were ushered by a friendly staff to our table. The rather dark and mysterious atmosphere led me to ask the staff, "What is the name of this place?", just to make sure that I am at the right place.

After we sat down, the same friendly staff came to take our orders. Our natural reaction was to request for the drinks menu but he replied that they don't have a drink menu and he started listing the various drinks they serve. Personally, I find that it is quite a tedious affair for customers to carefully listen and spot what we want through his long sentence. We ended up ordering a cup of flat white and green tea.

After taking our drink orders, I further asked for a food menu. Again, he claimed that they don't have a food menu and began mumbling his long list, this time it's a lot harder as the list contained a lot more ingredients and it's just like playing a memorising game. At last, my friend was quite impatient and decided on the first one he mentioned which was all-day-breakfast. Not criticising on his service nor not having a cafe menu, but rather it would be more appreciated if they can inform us beforehand that they don't have food and drink menus.

All-day breakfast - S$9/-

The moment when the dish was served, I was quite surprised with the variety of food that was on the plate. While I should be seeing some mushrooms, sausages, tomatoes, etc that an all-day breakfast should contain, I only saw scrambled eggs and three different slices of bread that were made with different ingredients. Surprisingly, the toasted bread went perfectly well with the half-cooked silky soft creamy scrambled eggs especially when you consume them together. I must say they looked very simple but everything was done correctly. However, does the price of $9 do justice on the quality and quantity of food?

Verdict: 7.5/10

Flat White - $4.20/-

I was amazed by the beautiful latte art that was served in front of me. Ronin brews the same Genovese coffee blend as the other two cafes and I particularly loved the full bodied brew with balanced acidity and bitterness in the coffee which were neutralised by the velvety milk.

Verdict: 8.0/10

Green Tea - $5/-

I didn't get to try the green tea, but my friend said it tasted like normal tea.

We visited after the peak lunch period on a weekday but surprisingly the cafe was almost full. The patrons who came to order their brew seemed to be really familiar with the place and were not quite half as clueless as us when we first step foot into the cafe.

I went to the cashier without knowing how much the food and drinks were, and we were actually asked by the staff about our orders. I can't imagine how the cafe would survive during its peak hours as it would be super labour intensive when the staffs have to repeatedly explain their menu and forget what the customers have ordered which I think this is not cost efficient at all. They seriously need to look into this issue. Nevertheless, Ronin is a cafe worth visiting in terms of food and drink quality, especially for the working adults who work around the area to treat as a little getaway from the hustle and bustle of their work stations.

17 Hongkong St, Clarke Quay District
Singapore 059660

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