SINGAPORE RESTAURANT

The Communal Place

A homey cafe in Katong with luxury eats and a full bar

Started by a team of 20-somethings, The Communal Place is perhaps one of the truest displays of earnest entrepreneurship we’ve seen in a long time. A focus on bringing friends together for simple but well-done meals—not to mention a fully stocked bar—cements it as a laidback and welcome addition to the Katong area.

The hype: Started by a team of 20-somethings, The Communal Place is perhaps one of the truest displays of earnest entrepreneurship we’ve seen in a long time. A focus on bringing friends together for simple but well-done meals—not to mention a fully stocked bar—cements it as a laidback and welcome addition to the Katong area.

The vibe: The new entrant in the Joo Chiat dining scene sets itself apart not with pretentious or outlandish decor; quite the opposite. A no-frills set-up harkening back to the first wave of cafes makes it a comfortable hangout to nip into if Joo Chiat starts feeling too polished.

The food: The chef is only 20 years old and about to enlist in the army, but by no means is that cause for underestimating the food. He brings his training in fine dining to the straightforward menu of European-style eats, elevating simple classics with finesse and attention to plating.

For starters, you can do the L’il Peckers ($11) crispy fried chicken with homemade tartar and chili sauce—or swing the other way and get the Bouillabaisse ($15), a light and creamy lobster broth with mussels, baby octopus, prawns and dory that still isn’t too rich. Mains are aplenty, with familiar favorites like a warm and comforting Beef Cheeks Ragu ($15) tossed in red wine tomato sauce with tender, slow-cooked beef checks; or the signature Miso Salmon ($18-$25), a flavorful plate with a side of decadently creamy mash potato—so much that it looks like steamed egg at first glance.

The chicken dishes deserve special mention. The cafe is upfront about using frozen chicken, which can sometimes translate to it looking a little red and bloody when cut into. But the meat is juicy and flavorful—the Applewood Half-Roasted Chicken ($18-$22) bearing a distinct smoky aroma from being oven-roasted. For a French-inspired take, order the Chicken Roulade ($18) stuffed with a blend of bacon and glazed vegetables.

You’ll want dessert—particularly the Chocolate Dome ($16), which comes with a surprise assortment of sweets and fruits, hidden inside a hard chocolate exterior, that changes each time. What’s consistent is the base of ice cream, creamy custard and berries; but you’ll have to literally drop the sweet creation to get in.

The drinks: Probably its biggest draw is a surprising, fully stocked bar in the middle of the cafe. Apart from affordable drafts on tap ($10), bottled beers (a bucket of six for $45), and housepours ($12), the bar also serves handcrafted cocktails—like the Tropical Breeze ($12), a G&T with a sprig of basil; and the dramatic Flaming Passion ($14), which comes with a literal flaming passionfruit. Or get a bottle—there’s wines, vodka, and an impressive selection of whiskeys to choose from. They even serve shots (six for $40) if for some reason you’re pre-drinking in Katong.

Otherwise, the non-alcoholic drinks are just as good, with Iced Cocoa ($6.50), teas ($5.50), and smooth roasts in generous portions.

Why you’ll be back: With the current oversaturated cafe scene, sometimes all you want is a no-frills, comfortable joint serving friendly vibes and food with heart—and The Communal Place is all that; plus an affordable bar. The random We Bare Bears toys plonked at each table make for a good laugh too.

Venue Details
Address: The Communal Place, 465 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore, 427677 Singapore
Phone: 6282-3359
Website: www.thecommunalplace.com
Area: East, East Coast Katong and Siglap
Cuisine: Cafe, European
Price Range: $
Open since: October, 2018
Opening hours: Tue-Thu 11am-10:30pm; Sun 11am-10:30pm; Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
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