Originated from Wuhan in 2013 and founded by billionaire Yan Zhi, The Zall Bookstore 卓爾書店 in Singapore is their first international outpost.
Yan Zhi is also a writer and poet who has published a total of 18 books, and has 4 bookstores all located within Hubei, China.
The Singapore branch is situated along Orchard Road at Wheelock Place, near to where the defunct Borders flagship store was previously located.
The double-storey premise houses a cafe and a children reading section on the first story.
You would find shelves of Chinese literatures, novels and philosophy from China and Taiwan and a hidden art gallery hidden behind the revolving bookshelves.
All Zall Bookstores in China are known to operate 24/7, providing a one stop location for those who are restless and wish to seek inner peace among the books late at night.
But the plan was held back due to the current Covid-19 situation in Singapore, and it currently operates from 10am to 10pm. It will start the 24 hours model in the future.
The interior is decked in black-and-white design, inspired by calligraphy and the arch structures resembled the river bridges in Jiangnan Watertown, known for the Four Scholars of Jiangnan.
The cafe is located at the first floor, right below the spiral staircase, offering a selection of espresso-based drinks ($4 – $8), Flavoured Latte ($6.50 – $8), Tea ($12.90) and Pastries.
Apart from the usual Black ($4.60), White ($6) and Mocha ($7), both Vanilla Espresso ($7) and Matcha Espresso ($7.50) are also available in Ice Blended options at an additional $0.50.
My Iced Matcha Espresso ($7.50) comes in 3 different distinctive layers or espresso, milk and matcha, which was quite smooth and flavourful, but a tad too sweet.
For the non-coffee drinkers, keep a lookout for their Purple Sweet Potato Latte ($7.50), Matcha/ Hojicha Latte ($7), Vanilla Latte ($6.50) and Chocolate ($6.50).
A selection of sweet treats is also available at their counter.
These include the usual items of Brownie ($4.50) – Signature, Double Chocolate, Black & White, Chocolate/ Raspberry Tart ($6.50), Burnt Cheesecake ($7.90), Rainbow Cake ($7.50) and Ondeh Ondeh Cake ($7.50).
Savoury options include Butter Croissant ($3.50), Chocolate Danish ($3.90), Rendang Beef Pie ($7.90), Butter Chicken Pie ($7.50), Chicken Mushroom Pie ($6.90) and Turkey Ham & Spanish Quiche ($7.50).
The Ondeh Ondeh Cake ($7.50) is pretty common in Singapore’s cafes, and comes with alternating layers of pandan sponge and coconut drizzled in gula melaka sauce, topped with desiccated coconut.
The Zall Bookstore reminded me of Eslite Bookstore（誠品書店）in Taiwan and I’m glad that it has provided a place for us to sit down to browse and get hold of Chinese books over a cup of coffee and pastries.
The Zall Bookstore 卓尔书店
Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road, #01-02/#02-18, Singapore 238880
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
* Written by Nicholas Tan @stormscape who loves all things [NEW]. DFD paid for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.