The Place There are not many Japanese theme cafes and teahouses in Singapore, so comes as no surprise that the few days old Hvala Cafe is already so popular. What started as a small kiosk in 313 Somerset has now materialised into a propercafe space at Chijmes, right beside The Glasshouse Specialty Coffee & Toast Bar. The space of Hvala at Chijmes reminds me of the ones in Japan, minimalist and zen looking with wooden furnishing. It seems like Kurasu cafe located in the vicinity has a worthy competition now.
While the space is not huge, I like the fact that there are different corners to cater to different party sizes. I will pick the counter seat if I am alone to watch the tea master at work, otherwise there is also a long communal table for bigger groups and cosy corners at the cafe to chill over some drinks and desserts.
The Food The menu at Hvala Chijmes spots a more extensive tea menu for a start, with a wide price range to cater to different budgets. Otherwise, there are the signature tea infused drinks and cake selections to go along. I had the Iced Matcha Hojicha Latte (S$5.80), which comes in a beautiful and distinct three layers texture before mixing. Stir well and the flavours of all three elements blends harmoniously if you are undecided between having matcha or hojicha.
If you are looking for a cold brew, go for the Iced Hojicha Karigane (S$7/bottle). Karigane is made from the stems of Gyokuro and high grade Sencha, roasted over high heat for a short period, thus retaining both the aroma and the taste of the tea.
For cakes, I only manage to try the tempting looking Goma Cake (S$7.50/slice), which is rich and rather satisfying – although I wouldn’t mind it more intense. The texture of the Goma cake is very moist and soft.
Other desserts includes the Caramelised Shiratama Kinako (S$6.80) with the dango chewy texture rather enjoyable.
Rants As zen as the space seems, the incessant crowd is anything but zen.
Will I Return Again? The space at Hvala Chijmes fills a void in the market for Japanese teahouse and cafe, and is no doubt the selling point of the brand. It is a space I would return to, though I am very sure it is tough to find a time slot where I can enjoy some peaceful moments.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 35
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
30 Victoria Street, #01-04, Chijmes,
Monday to Sunday: 8am to 10pm
Ranted by The Ranter