One of the newest kids in Singapore’s cafe scene doesn’t even have a signboard, or any clear indication from the outside that amazing blends of Genovese coffee are being brewed behind those heavily tinted doors. Walking past and missing this space will be nothing but a shame so look out for the giant metal plate that reads 17 Hong Kong Street, cos that’s the only way I’ll be able to point the shop out to you. There is however no surprise to this “phantom-like” style since RONIN comes from the same good people behind The Plain and The Bravery, similarly inconspicuous along the streets.
The Interior Suffice to say, I fell head over heels with the break in uniformity with their furniture. It’s like an orchestra, an ensemble of different chairs and tables that serve the same purpose with a varied sitting experience. Sit at the round communal table with strangers and a smile might spark a conversation, or you might very well wish they weren’t in the background to ruin your shot for the Instagram world. All in all, the smooth cemented floors, naked light bulbs and old chair pieces sum up to a rustic oomph. The bare ceilings remind me of being in a car park, without the smell of exhaust or oil stains on the floors, as if we were an underground society uniting on nothing but really good coffee. Just like Department of Caffeine, RONIN made me feel hidden from the outside world. Boy was I reluctant to leave.
The Food Look around and hunt as hard as you can for that menu. You won’t find it. What you will find however, is a friendly service crew who will gladly recite to you what’s available and what’s not. Specifically, just 5 items to choose from: 3 types of sandwiches, an order of scrambled eggs and a seemingly popular and quirky version of French toast (sold out at 12.30pm on a Tuesday). On top of a mocha, latte and my usual flat whte, we had the Dirty Ronin, a rustic sandwich featuring sourdough bread, spicy chorizo, lettuce and egg, dressed with a creamy miso mayo sauce. Also, scrambled eggs that we could customize by adding our choices of avocado, mushrooms and a spicy chorizo (with additional charge). Finally as we spotted some wicked salted caramel fudge brownies on the counter, there was no leaving till we had a taste. The verdict: Fudge heaven and quite a perfect dessert to sin on. So, add this to your list if you already haven’t. RONIN 17 Hong Kong Street Singapore 059660 Open from Tuesday – Sunday, 8am to 8pm.