Free the Robot @ Telok Ayer Street – Homemade Meatballs in the CBD

Stressed urbanites can definitely relate to the name of this one month old cafe. After all, who wouldn’t like to trade their mundane 9 to 5 routine for an afternoon in this quaint Telok Ayer space, surrounded by food and coffee?


Free the Robot is just one of the many eating spaces that have sprouted up to feed the working folk in Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD). Mind you, there can never be enough, considering the snaking queues around the most popular stalls, cafes and restaurants come lunch time.


The cafe rocks a quirky vibe, with robot-themed murals decorating the walls, as well as miniature robot figurines that have popped up on many Instagram posts. Look out for the road sign that reads “Telok Ayer St”… a subtle jibe at the machine-like routine that dominates our working culture, maybe? 😛


Funnily enough, Free the Robot’s visual theme doesn’t translate into the menu. Think simple, homemade food served in enamel plates. Sorry geeks, but the servers at the counter aren’t droids, either.

Food is mostly standard fare like salads, sandwiches, and burgers. If there’s one thing you should swing by for, though, it’s the homemade meatballs. As Gordon Ramsay once said, if you don’t even make your own meatballs, then you’re just plain lazy!


Surf and Turf Meatball Brioche ($7.50) will give a certain sandwich chain a run for their money. Melt-in-your-mouth pork and prawn meatballs drizzled in melted cheese and chunky tomato sauce, served between two slices of crisp bread and a bed of salad? Yes, please!


For something a little heartier, go for the Beef Meatball Rice ($11). I loved how fragrant the jasmine rice was, although it could have used a little more greens overall. I’ve to admit I was a little underwhelmed by the portion at first, but the rice and meatballs sure filled me up quick!

The texture of the homemade meatballs is quite unlike the manufactured kind; it breaks apart easily at the pull of a fork, and has that homely, melt-in-your-mouth goodness reminiscent of meals at home. Very robust, although it might be a tad small in serving for some.


For drinks, there’s a choice of brews and juices. The Orange and Passion Fruit ($5.50) is a very refreshing reprieve from the weather. Best of all, it comes in a bottle so you get to take whatever’s left from your meal back with you!


Free the Robot’s signature brew is the Coconut Coffee ($6). I could definitely taste the aftertaste of coconut on the first few sips! Was reminded by the friendly barista to “faster drink it before it gets cold”.


Free the Robot is one of the more affordable brunch options in the CBD, and the team seem like a friendly and earnest bunch who would go out of their way to chat with you and recommend some of their specialties if it isn’t too crowded. Look out for their dog Baileys every Friday and Saturday!


Address: 118 Telok Ayer Street 
6438 1836
Opening hours: 
8.30am – 4.30am (Tuesday to Saturday)

Facebook/ Instagram
Additional charges: GST 

Directions: Alight at Telok Ayer MRT Station (DT 18) and take Exit A. Walk down Telok Ayer Street. Free the Robot is located a few units before Sarnies.


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