Taking myself out on a Satur-date ft heartland cafes : the Prodigal Cafe & The Plain Jane
15 Feb 2020 // Singapore
Valentine's Day weekend = Take myself out on a date (as if I don't do so almost every weekend...) We talking quiet, hidden cafes for brunch and coffee, with a book, far far away from the crowds ft Prodigal Cafe and The Plain Jane Cafe.
The Plain Jane Cafe
Ahhhhh February : a romantic month in lieu with Valentine's Day- touching some abstract romantic facet of my personality that I never realised was in me. After some intense Instagram swiping, I finally decided on Prodigal Cafe in Macpherson and The Plain Jane in Serangoon for some good old me-time.
I got off the bus to a quiet neighbourhood- to old shops reminiscent of home, to birds chirping and empty walkways. To a weather beautifully sunny but cool. PERFECT.
Tucked literally in the middle of a HDB, me, with my terrible sense of direction went spinning in a couple circles before finding it.
Strolling past this playground just outside the cafe, surrounded in green, with residents out in casual t-shirts to run chores- it felt really nostalgic. It reminded me of my childhood: of a playground my brother and I used to visit with my grandparents after being dowsed in mosquito repellant. A playground that we simply drive past now, never looking back.
- a m b i e n c e -
I digress. Anyway, with its minimalistic aesthetic, this small cafe, at once calming with the generous daylighting and warm wooden material palette, felt so cosy. I opened the big glass doors to a wonderful aroma wafting from the counter, with chill music softly playing. The menu featured the usual staples for the health-conscious (sourdough, eggs, all that jazz) as well as more indulgent options like a triple cheese toastie in thick Japanese milk bread that I was, very unfortunately, not hungry enough to devour. There were many coffee options though and cold brew takeaways with fancy names that were really tempting (because of the names and the bottles. Not because I like cold brew).
- f o o d -
My healthy side gave in to smoked salmon and scrambled eggs / $16. I mean - look at the texture and those folds! I still haven't found any scrambled eggs as good as the ones the jovial hotel manager whipped up every morning in Positano (a story for another day), but this was one of the best scrambled eggs I've had here. Laid on crusty sourdough topped with juicy slices of smoked salmon and a slab of cream cheese, the combination was just wow. It's kinda like grandma's cooking: simple, familiar, but done oh-so-well. The latte / $6 was really good too- it leaned towards a milder taste and was just very slightly sour, but other than that it was not too acidic- just the way I like it.
I'm actually a really self-conscious person so I do find my usual arranging-rearranging, rotate-360-degrees charade for the perfect shot really embarrassing, even though I still do it anyway. LOL. Girls, right? But I think I can do it a lot faster now so that I can actually enjoy my food while its still hot. So yay! Oh, by the way I was reading Tattooist of Auschwitz. Okay maybe it sounds a little depressing to read this, and on Valentine's weekend no less, but hey it's a really good book! I'm seriously hooked. But it does put things in perspective and it makes me so grateful for everything: especially after delving into such a horrible era where chocolate, no, FOOD itself is a luxury. And here I was, indulging. Man, now I feel bad...
P.S. This place really fills up at lunch time, which was, sadly, my queue to go.
The Plain Jane
Serangoon (10 minute walk from NEX), Singapore
- a m b i e n c e -
I have been eyeing this place for a while - because I pass it on my bus ride home from work every day. It was the cutest place ever! Never mind its minimalistic exterior - the interior was such a contrast, with quaint cottage feels of lace and frills. The reception too, featured a small area selling dried baby breath bouquets, cute earrings and handicrafts. However, cute as it may be, this place is again, REALLY SMALL. It'd be best to come in groups no larger than three. But it's the perfect place to hang out for coffee and cake to catch up with friends because this is another cafe whereby you can actually hear what your company is saying. Food-wise though, they only have an array of pastries (think plain and sweet-filled croissants), some small loaf cakes and their speciality cream cakes.
- c a k e -
I had an Earl Grey Roll / $5.90, which was not too sweet and PACKED with earl grey flavour from the first bite. The cake itself was extremely fluffy and light, but I found the cream just a tad dense. The menu also featured a variety of drinks from matcha and chai lattes to coffees.
To be honest though, I'm not a very Swiss-roll obsessed kinda person, so I would say that the cakes were good, but not something I would crave. If I'm free, and want a quiet place to read or get some work done though, or chat with my friend on the phone just to look like I have friends, yep this is the place.
- Some Thoughts -
Anyone else get the feeling of pure happiness strolling down streets instead of the usual half-run pace? Yeah. It was a blissful day that ended with a hot cup of Earl Grey in bed with To All The Boys I've Loved Before 2 (there was no way I was going to sleep without watching this). Just as a little reflection, well this is my personal opinion, but I honestly never got the stigma against girls going on dates with themselves or even buying themselves flowers, on Valentine's Day especially. I think it's completely fine and really fun too because I know exactly what I need to make myself happy and to completely de-stress. I was always buying myself fresh flowers every month while in the UK (kudos to my housemates who did the same ;)) which is unfortunately, too hot to do in Singapore. And flower shopping always made me happy. So did buying roses and chocolates for my friends.
Valentine's Day used to be just another school day, unless occasionally someone needed help impressing a certain someone else *ahem*. Then in uni, it became more of a thing with all my Galentine's Day outings. It still brings me joy to treat myself, and it's really liberating too to defy tradition but it didn't feel as significant...? It's hard to put this feeling into words. I guess it really is the people around us who give events like these meaning, huh?
On that note, to anyone who even sees this- hope you guys had a great weekend! And well just go have a smashing day!
o v e r v i e w
- Based on my opinions-
Ambience : 10/10
Very homey vibe, with chill/acoustic tunes in the background. Perfect for reading or hanging out with people. It does get pretty packed by lunch time though, on weekends, and a tad noisy with some sound reflection.
Coffee : 9/10
It's pretty good coffee!! They specialise in coffee after all. They placed second in a barista championship before too if I am not mistaken.
Food : 10/10
Limited, simple but absolutely delicious. The next time I'm back, Imma try the triple cheese toast even if I have to takeaway part of it.
Price Range : $$
My dish was SGD16. The food menu is around that price range.
Iced Latte was SGD6. I think the food was pretty reasonably priced for the portion and quality.
The whole vibe, the food, everything. I love this place.
Website 81 Macpherson Lane, #01-55, Singapore 360081
Opening Hours : 8am - 5pm, Monday - Saturday
The Plain Jane Cafe
Ambience : 10/10
I will keep harping on how cute the place is. It's really quaint.
Coffee : 6/10
Ummmm the iced latte was too acidic for my liking.
It's a good piece of cake but I'm not so much a Swiss roll person so it's not something I'd crave, but I'd come back more for the vibe.
Price Range : $$
Cake : SGD5.90. The drinks were the standard price of SGD5-7 for coffees and speciality teas.
I'm not a huge Swiss roll fan. It's not really something I would specially return for.
211 Serangoon Ave 4,
#01-10, Singapore 550211 Opening Hours :
Monday - Tuesday, Thursday 12pm - 8pm
Friday 12pm - 10pm
Saturday 10am - 10pm
Sunday 10am - 8pm
Closed on Wednesdays