Update June 2020: RONIN has closed.
Here’s a cafe that’s relatively off the grid – at least by today’s standards where information about any and every business is readily available online.
When it first opened its doors, RONIN Cafe was one of those “hidden finds” with little to no reviews, and no website or social media presence to inform customers of its opening hours or menu.
Not that they needed that kind of publicity, though, as the 30+ seater cafe remains thriving in its cosy corner on Hong Kong Street to this day; the lunchtime crowd didn’t die down till well after 3pm when I re-visited.
With dim lighting all around (save for a large, low communal table near the door), grey walls and exposed light bulbs, RONIN Cafe rocks an industrial vibe that would make any cafe hopping hipster feel right at home. Free copies of The U Press are also available at the round communal table.
If there’s one drink you must try at RONIN, it’s the Wicked Mocha ($6 hot, $8 iced). Laced with mint, the iced version packs an extra punch with chocolate powder that’s extra fun to spoon out from the bottom of the glass.
The hot version boasts tastefully done latte art and yes – little mint leaves for a finishing touch! Perfect for sipping on a cold, rainy afternoon.
Mains wise, RONIN keeps it simple: oats, toast, or sandwiches.
The Eggs on Toast ($11) is easily one of the most popular mains here. Although it is pricey for two pieces of bread and eggs, I did not regret ordering it one bit once I sank my teeth into the warm, buttery toast. YUM!
You can choose between scrambled or poached for your eggs. The eggs had that runny consistency to die for, almost like tucking your palate into a silky smooth blanket. I was also surprised by a subtly sweet aftertaste in those runny, runny eggs.
Add ons are available if you want a fuller plate – Pork/ Lamb Sausage ($5), Bacon ($4), Portobello Mushroom ($3.50), Wilted Spinach ($3.50), and Half an Avocado ($3.50).
While the pork sausage packed some much needed protein, I personally wished it could be a touch spicier for that extra kick. Vegetables wise…eh, I’ll check out the portobello mushroom or wilted spinach next time.
Not hungry? Take your pick from RONIN’s line of simple, sweet bakes.
RONIN is that secret hideout where you can escape for an afternoon of reading or catching up over a cuppa; do keep your eyes peeled for the 17 Hong Kong Street square plate as you’re walking along though, as this cafe remains relatively hidden from the street, waiting to be discovered by the next customer.
Hands off your phones too – reception is apparently nonexistent at RONIN, but what’s the point of visiting a cafe when you’re going to spend the whole time on your phone? 😉
Address: 17 Hong Kong Street
Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay NE5
Opening hours: 8am – 6pm daily
Extra charges: No
Credit card: No