“Asylum” can mean an institution providing care for the mentally ill, a place of protection to criminals, or a place of retreat and security.

OR this new coffee house at Jalan Besar. It is a memorable name for a café.

At an area already flanked by café heavyweights such as Chye Seng Huat Hardware, Apartment Coffee, to newer names of Lucid, For The People, Sweets Craftsman, Three’s A Crowd, Main Street Commissary to La Vie, this area certainly looks more exciting.

Asylum Coffeehouse is nestled in a blue and red heritage shophouse along Jalan Besar (near Petain Road), though the inside is designed with the typical white and woody (well, MUJI like) interior, with natural daylight cast in.

There are some seats on the outside and at the counter, and should sit about 20 pax maximum comfortably.

On a side note, the ordering counter can be too near the entrance, which does result in a cramped situation if some customers want to enter while others are still making payment (add the ‘complications’ of Safe Entry + temperature taking.)

Note that the café will officially open on the 18th of May (Tues) – so don’t hurry down yet, and currently only invited guests such as media and influencers are allowed to sit in. They do allow takeaways during certain timings.

They are probably still ironing out operations and service protocol.

After I was welcomed to “come in” as a normal customer (I visited anonymously as usual), I was very quickly reminded I needed to step out soon for takeaways. That happened just as I picked up the menu to look, as though I would overstay my welcome.

Drinks-wise, there are choices of Black ($4), White ($5, $5.5), Filters and Pour Overs ($6), Mocha ($6), and Hot Chocolate ($5.50). $1 extra for iced, and switch to oat or macadamia milk.

Can be slightly on the pricier side, as the $5 White is a 3oz portion.

The café serves up its very own Espresso blend, Keluak which has dominant chocolate, nutty and earthy notes. The Keluak is inspired by the Peranakan dish Buah Keluak and its characteristics.

I found the coffee both deep and intense, slightly on the acidic side. The type that would probably keep-you-awake for a couple of hours thereafter if you are on a heavy coffee drinker.

Weekly limited specialty beans will also be available for pour-overs.

In terms of food, you can look out for two sandwiches, the Cubano ($16) and the Turfoieken ($19). Interesting to note that they are both created by the now-defunct burger hawker stall Hambaobao – previously located at Beauty World Food Centre.

If you are questioning why a sandwich would be priced at the upper-tier of $19, that is because it includes turkey, chicken AND foie gras, with aioli and apple chutney.

For cakes and pastries, there is The Block – OG ($6) a sugee cake made from almonds and rum, topped off with a torched Italian meringue.

Asylum Coffeehouse
311 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208970
Opening Hours: 8am – 4:30pm (Mon – Sun)
(Official opening: 18 May 2021)

Other Related Entries
Apartment Coffee (Lavender Street)
Lucid (Hamilton Road)
For The People (Jalan Besar)
Main Street Commissary (Rowell Road)
La Vie (Jalan Besar)

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