Came across this new cafe and ordered a hot chocolate when they just started operating. I was glad that I popped in during that night as the chocolate drink was pretty decent for me. Let us check out more with the owner of Wanna Cuppa.
Originally from Hong Kong, moved to Australia and then came to Singapore for work, now Jeannete has finally started her very own cafe with her elder sister. She was previously working in the financial sector and been in the recruitment and training as well as sales. Usually in the afternoon she will be bringing her customers around which led her to visit many cafes. Jeannete has shared with me quite a handful of information in the next following.
The History, The Theme and The Design
The shop house building has been around since 1928. It is one of the conserved buildings preserved by the Singapore government.
Jeannete’s sister who is currently based in Bristol (UK) is the one designed the cafe without seeing the place personally. She is an architect and interior designer from the firm, Enpuro. The landlord does not have the floor plan. It was a challenge as they had to reconstruct everything with the contractors. Thankfully the contractors were good.
The theme of the cafe is an inspiration of the 1920s, more like the Great Gatsby glamour times while the design goes in line especially in Clarke Quay where people can do their work or ‘get away’ for awhile without having the feel of losing touch with nature as Singapore is really green.
The 1920s High Tea Culture and Wanna Cuppa
Started in 1920s, the high tea culture is where people everyone dress up in the afternoon, gather over high tea (sandwiches, cakes and tea), get around with live jazz band and dance in the dance floor. What really changes during the jazz age is the start, which was when the blacks formed their jazz band. They started to gain recognition which then also led them to merging a little bit better with the whites.
Jeannete wants to have the feeling in her cafe and the Great Gatsby movie itself which for example, has scene of all the flowers at the background and high tea as the setting. All the flowers in her cafe are actually Singapore essences which are very in line with the theme. She has mentioned that there are many industrial look designed cafes in Singapore and personally she wants something older but not as old as an antique.
The way Jeannete’s sister did the lighting gives a grand feel. Many of their customers also love the wall papers and surroundings. A lot of materials even sofas are indented from overseas because they couldn’t get matching colours. Some tables and chairs had their legs trimmed off or custom made in order to get the right comfortable height. The overall colours retain old look of the building. Those picture rails have been designed back in the 1920s where paintings were hanged with gold hook in the museum. Do look out of some of their paintings which might not be up yet!
Upon completion of the cafe, Jeannete’s sister flew over to decorate the place. They were assisted by their uncle who lives in Singapore in setting up the trees nature look.
A Little Sharing of the 1920s Fashion Style History
During the time before Coco Chanel gets really famous, all the ladies were still in their big wired dresses. They don’t work, can’t go out, can’t drive nor get into the car, neither can they dance. They can just roam around. It was then in the 1920s where Coco Chanel started being one of the trend starters, which were why ladies were seen wearing long slim dresses in the movie, The Great Gatsby.
The ladies decided to have bit more of independent in finding their own stand in society, so slowly there were more ladies who don’t wear that the old wired dress. They started to put bold colours in their lipsticks and have more dominance or more say. They also started to look for work, get out from country out into town and tried to make something out of themselves. That was more of the American side that started to change the dynamics of things.
Jeannete finds the moving up dynamics really meaningful especially in Singapore which includes other parts of the world as everyone works very hard. Personally for her own family, her sister as mentioned is currently in the UK, her family in Sydney and another family in Hong Kong.
Regards to the F&B entrepreneurship route, for her getting out of finance and doing business is considered a big risk. 24/7 attention is required. There is lots of other work which includes certain modifications along the way. All these require efforts. Of all the challenges ahead, what Jeannete believes in and truly meaningful to her is to carry the same motto of ‘finding her own way of success’ all the time.
Wanna Cuppa Food and Drinks Menu
Both sisters have calculated the pricing very carefully so that the majority can easily afford to dine whenever from breakfast to dinner. Their menu is authentic in a way that they did not do something extravagant about it because pricing will change to become the late 20s kind of prices. They want people to be able to match up with the nearby areas because nearby office people they think that usually will not want to spend more than 10 dollars.
Launched since 3rd of December 2015, continuous getting feedback has been ongoing.
The overall menu falls towards classic and western. Their chef Mark used to be in from eM by river and was 4 years in Resort World Sentosa (RWS) Hotel. Initally they wanted to have international food and drinks but it was a great challenge which might be weird as well (porridge and sushi) and might have food wastage nightmare. It is definitely not easy to have a bit of everything as shared by their friends who are in the F&B business as well.
Besides tea and coffee, they do have a range of alcoholic beverage such as craft beers (Swedish ciders and Japanese crafts), wines and Mascato.
Iced Creme Brulee Latte
This is really nice as it has a stronger flavour of caramel. The sweetness is balanced with the coffee bitterness which doesn’t make one feel like drinking syrup. This is rather interesting too which reminds me of another hot version with a caramelised crust on the latte I had last year.
Wanna Cuppa uses coffee beans from Barista Judge Brand, Justin Metcalf. He has his own roaster in Melbourne. Jeannete used to live in Sydney and she doesn’t want something common. As she explained that their coffee got a whole palate written out, and it is really meant for food that is everyone can drink kind of coffee which pairs better with pastry. 9 out of 10 customers deemed not a need to add sugar for the latte. Reason being was that the coffee is not acidity or super detail so they do not need sugar as the milk is sweet enough. Sugar syrup is usually used for iced coffee.
On the technical note, they are using an organic coffee machine that has a water system which washes itself internal automatically. This means that you will never have a drink which has rainbow bubble residue.
Their teas are from a reputable brand based in Canada. Moving fastest is the tea called ‘Harmony’ while for ‘Mountain Berries’ which is really red and seem a bit sourish when one drink alone, it actually changes your palate totally when you pair it with desserts.
Well battered and the portion is big enough to share with a friend or 2. The onions are sweet which taste good on itself on or with their tangy spicy chilli sauce. Their tartar sauce is extra fragrant too due to the amount of pickled cucumber bits in it. I simply love it.
Soft Shell Crab Pasta (Choice of Spaghetti or Linguine)
Really a classic way of preparing using garlic bits, parsley flakes, garlic and other seasonings. It is not spicy at all. The soft shell crab is really fresh, crispy and full of meat with roe. Chef actually focuses on the original flavours of the ingredients used rather than overpowering it with seasoning. If you are too used with heavy seasoning you may add additional salt and black pepper.
Al Capone (Choice of Panini or Wrap)
First thing to note is the toast that gives a crunchy texture on the Panini surface upon biting it. It is rather tasty on the cheesy side (using emmental cheese) with flavourful New York beef pastrami and caramelised onions that give a sweet note. Instead of the usual fries, they served it with ‘not the usual normal’ potato chips. These are honey mustard flavour. Beware it is addict as you might just want to grab a whole bowl of chips, sit, relax and munch in the cafe!
First of the kind which I come across, Eclairs made to be a different version of macaron. These are imported from France. They are irresistible! Each comes with a mix of flavours and the sweetness suits our local palate.
Other popular desserts will be includes their homemade carrot cake and Ombre Berry cheesecake which are baked by Jeannete’s friend who is currently in the finance industry and was previously trained in Le Gordon Blu, London. That is really wonderful!
Promotions and Others
High teas are available on weekends from 3pm – 5pm with rotational sandwiches every period.
$9 Cake and Cuppa Set available on every Monday.
Complimentary Wifi are available.
Overall, this is a good place to chill out, relax and enjoy jazz music. You will definitely love to take selfies and wefies as each designed interior space allows one to feel fresh in anywhere with the different angle taken in each area.
New Bridge Road, Singapore 059385
Contact: 6816 2494
8:30 am – 10:00 pm (Mon-Thurs), 8:30 am – 12:00 am (Fri)
10:00 am – 12:00 am (Sat), 10:00 am – 6:00 pm (Sun)