Located within the old Singapore Badminton Hall, is Brawn & Brains (what a cutesy name!) - another member of the third wave coffee movement. They have earned a name for pulling great cuppas, and recently revamped to include a savoury menu and accomodate larger crowds.
Unlike most hipsteresque cafés, B&B sounds hard to locate but is actually rather easy to find. It's less than a 10-minute walk from Exit A of Mountbatten MRT station. If you can't find your way, B&B's really helpful with this and gives directions on their Facebook page here.
Enterring the naturally lit café, you're first greeted by their menu - ceiling-to-floor and handwritten. Next comes the enticing display of daily pastries and bakes. That and a good joe, makes the café a wonderful place to spend an afternoon with a book in hand.
Flat White (S$4.50)
We enjoyed their Nicaguara single origin as a flat white. The medium-bodied coffee had a wonderful crema, lending to a slight sweetness to the silky smooth and nutty beverage. While it's not the best coffee I've had (I've been spoilt rotten by D'ARK), it's definitely one of the best in Singapore.
Based on other reviews it seems like B&B switch between a variety of single origin beans, so do be sure to check which is featured on your visit and ask for recommendations.
Iced Black (S$5)
Their house blend Pen & Pencil we tried as an iced black, as per B&B's advice. With beans from Columbia, Brazil and Ethiopia, it was a tad more acidic than expected. Tasting notes said "nutty", though we got more fruitty instead. It makes a very light and refreshing drink for those who prefer less bold coffees.
Earl Grey Croissant (S$3.80)
Lightly perfumed, this croissant was a serious treat. The delicate glaze shattered when pierced, and together with the crushed nuts lent an elegant spin to the classic buttery pastry. It is, however, more of a yeasted croissant as opposed to the traditional French laminated ones, resulting in a denser and breadier pastry with less buttery fragrance. While it isn't the best croissant, it's a wonderful pastry that's delicious when dipped into coffee.
Note to the faint-hearted: the glaze is astonishingly sweet.
French Butter Croissant (S$2.80)
Featuring the same bready texture, this simple croissant was less impressive. It's simplicity brings the dense texture to attention. Without those huge air pockets and intense buttery fragrance it falls flat, tasting oddly similar to a brioche. If you have to try their croissants, go for the glazed ones.
Smoked Salmon Open Face Toast with Slow Cooked Egg (S$14.90)
B&B offers only a handful of savoury items, so it's really not that hard to make a choice. The open-faced toast, with so much at play, was surprisingly lacklustre. With a slight hint of wasabi, the crunchy and fresh salad most impressed. Aside from the admittedly nice melted cheese, the mini palm-sized brioche was dry and cold. The tasteless ricotta didn't help. Our biggest peeve was the proportions of ingredients, with the salad making more than half the dish. Not anywhere near the worst breakfast we've tasted, but nowhere near good enough.
Curried Chicken Wrap (S$10.90)
The curried chicken wrap was marginally better. The curry and yogurt marinated chicken was tender and delicious, however really oily. Served with mayo and barely melted cheese, it ended up a little too saucey. While the wrap was delicious, it didn't justify the pricetag - especially when I can make something similar and more generous at home. Now if the accompanying chips were homemade, it'd be worth it.
The abundance of cafés today means it isn't hard to find ones that do great coffee and food. While B&B's coffee are undoubtedly great, the food - notably the savouries - has a little catching up to do. Still, the wonderful service and ambience makes it a place I'd love to visit again; though this time, preferably after lunch.
Brawn & Brains
100 Guillemard Road #01-02
Tuesdays to Fridays: 9am-7pm
Closed on Mondays