Housed in the quiet mall Siglap V, the young Craftsmen Specialty Coffee is well established among neighbouring residents for serving good food and great coffee. Besides the extensive coffee menu, Craftsmen offers a delectable selection of brunch fare, waffles, cakes and pastries. With coffee giants Penny University, Dutch Colony and Percolate just around the corner, the food's definitely helping Craftmen hold its own in this competitive neighbourhood.
7-Spice Chai Latte (S$6*)
Craftmen uses a blend of 40% El Salvador Finca El Carmen, 30% Ethiopia Konga natural Yirgacheffe and 30% Sumatra Triple Picked Mandheling in its coffee. What all that schmazzle means is a delightfully bold and robust coffee, with subtle chocolate undertones.
Aside from the coffee, Craftsmen makes a superb Chai Latte, the best we've ever tried. There are two chai lattes offered in the shop, one made with the usual chai syrup, and the other with a special blend of 7 spices. The latter was stunning. Wonderfully aromatic and earthy spices, beautifully brought together with warm frothed milk.
Craftsmen dedicates a small part of the store to retailing coffee merchandises, from simple coffee-brewing devices to coffee beans and blends. We loved the 7-Spice chai so much we bought a bag of spice mix home.
3 Tier Brioche (S$15*) - 3 slices of toasted brioche layered with shaved ham, cheddar & emmental, poached or scrambled eggs, topped with Craftmen's sauce and served with avocado and mixed greens
A display near the counter holds a variety of viennoiseries and cakes, with few like the berry danish and milo cheesecake catching our eye. For something more substantial, Craftsmen's savoury menu features mostly eggs and brunch fare, along with several sandwiches. We tried the 3 Tier Brioche, which was very delightful and satisfying. 3 slices of well-toasted brioche, intermittent slivers of ham and melted cheese - all topped off with an amazingly creamy scramble. A pity the brioche tasted more like regular toast and they were a tad stingy with the ham.
We also shared the Craftsmen Supreme Breakfast (S$19*), which was very sloppily put together and not worth the try. It took 20 minutes to dish up a pair of cold poached eggs, cold (though great) bacon, few tablespoons of canned baked beans, 2 slices of smoked salmon, undressed greens and buttered toast - very unimpressive.
Timeless Waffles (S$9*) - with butter and maple syrup
These may seem unassuming, but Craftsmen's waffles are one of the best waffles in Singapore. Perfectly brown and crispy, while soft and cloud-like on the inside. Topped simply with butter and maple syrup, we've had this on every visit. For something fancier, Craftsmen offers waffles with a variety of sweet toppings, as well as a savoury waffle with scrambled eggs and bacon.
Cinnamon Churros (S$10*) - Old school vanilla ice cream and churros rolled in cinnamon sugar
The churros were unfortunately disappointing. Though fried, the dough was very chewy and soft instead of crispy and fluffy. The cinnamon sugar was a great touch; but paired with the mediocre ice cream and lukewarm chewy churros, it was underwhelming. We would still head to J's Restaurant for good churros.
We've visited several times, and the coffee and food are always consistently good (or bad). While Dutch Colony's still the top contender for coffee in the East, Craftsmen stands out for the few great dishes one can enjoy with their cuppa. For their chai latte and waffles, we'd always return.
*Prices are inclusive of the 7% GST tax
Craftsmen Specialty Coffee
2 First Street
Siglap V #01-01
Mondays to Thursdays & Sundays: 8.30am-9pm
Fridays & Saturdays: 8.30am-10pm