Tucked away in the relatively quiet surrounds of a cluster of old colonial buildings off Portsdown Road is a spanking new building that is Singapore’s Infinite Studios@Mediapolis. Crowned as the country’s latest media hub, the complex - which sits on Media Circle Road, so new it hasn’t yet been updated on maps on services like Gothere.sg - is specially customized to cater to the needs of the many pre-production, production, post-production, animation, games, interactive and digital media companies it plays home to.
More interestingly for foodies however - and especially for lovers of coffee - is that the building also hides the two-month old cafe Revolution Coffee, one of the newest specialty coffee places in town.
Despite its rather inaccessible location word about Revolution Coffee has been getting around, and coffee aficionados and hipsters alike have been streaming in to give its caffeine offerings a shot.
Revolution Coffee is started by Ajie Pramana (above), who previously co-owned in art gallery business in New York but left that to pursue his interest in coffee. On his travels to learn more about the humble bean, Ajie got smitten by Single Origin Roasters in Sydney, and endeavoured to bring their beans back to Singapore. You can find its Reservoir Blend available here, and those beans make an awesome java.
But Ajie was quick to explain that despite its name, Revolution Coffee is not really about trying to incite a revolution in the coffee scene. “Forget the imagery of militant Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1950s to 1970s,” he jokes. We’re pretty sure it’s not named after the fact that it sits on, ahem, Media Circle Road either.
(Those eagle-eyed among you may have spotted a familiar symbol in the wall mural behind Ajie - that’s because it was designed by Samantha Lo, better known as SKLO or Sticker Lady, who in recent times got into trouble with the authorities for her graffiti.)
The menu at Revolution Coffee was conceptualized by Shen Tan, the chef owner behind the now-defunct Wok & Barrel. Revolution Coffee recently expanded its business hours to include weekend brunch, and Shen was brought in to help flesh out its food offerings.
But her legion of fans from her Wok & Barrel days will be disappointed that - aside from certain signature flourishes - they won’t be able to find her mod-Sin creations here. “We wanted to have the food complement the coffee, rather than overpowering it,” Shen explains.
But that doesn’t mean the food is anywhere near boring - the baked goods, all prepared on site, is to die for. Of special note is the range of buttery melt-in-your mouth scones, accentuated by homemade jam, as well as the moist banana bread with its homemade yogurt.
About the only Asian thing menu is the satay chicken salad, a crazy mashup of grilled marinated chicken slices atop a heap of fresh greens, upon which a rich peanut sauce is slathered.
Its range of sandwiches - although not the best in town - are by far superior to any of the offerings you can find in those chain coffee stores.
The bacon pasta would draw disapproving stares and annoyed clucks from any true-blue Italian mamma for its departure from All’ Matraciana roots, but bacon lovers would argue that an incredibly generous helping of cured fatty pork never hurt anybody.
A fellow diner tucked into the Big Brunch Breakfast before I could shout “BRUNCH!” and snap a picture, but take our word for it, the scrambled eggs here are unctuously creamy and all kinds of delicious.
Perhaps the only thing that smacks of a hint of Wok & Barrel is the banana pancakes at Revolution Coffee, which comes drenched in an achingly familiar gula melaka sauce which used to dress a few Wok & Barrel desserts. Oh how I miss that joint.
Those with a sweet tooth should opt for the sticky date pudding, a version that brings back memories of chilly autumn evenings during my Melbourne days where some friends and I would hang outside a cafe over coffee and sticky date pudding as we enjoyed each other’s company watched the world go by.
Perhaps that’s what Revolution Coffee is really about, you know. Unpretentious, friendly and open. Maybe it’s why there’s a huge table with a revolving lazy Susan smack in the middle of the cafe, encouraging patrons to chat with random strangers to their left or right. It’s still not quite the social norm here in Singapore, but we’d like to see more of that happening.
After all, we can all agree our lives should revolve around good food, good coffee and good conversation.
You can find Revolution Coffee at 21 Media Circle, #01-03A.