Aesthetic, minimalist cafes are having their moment, and I’m here for it. Named for its exact location, 51 Tras in Tanjong Pagar is a self-proclaimed “creative space” that brings together several local, artisanal F&B brands under one roof. Making it somewhat of a godsend for hipster cafe-hoppers who can never decide which new space to check off their ever-growing list.
In terms of aesthetics, 51 Tras would not look out of place with other minimalist, “Korean-inspired” cafes that have surfaced across Singapore as of late, Cafe Found being one of them. Skylight roof? Check. Indoor tree? Check. Mix of wooden furniture and handcrafted hanging lights? Check.
If you feel as though you’re stepping into the remnants of a former art installation, you’re half right. 51 Tras was host to a performance art event shortly before its opening as a cafe. Spot the graffiti art on the walls when you make your way past the counter!
The menu consists of light bites from the likes of Tigerlily Patisserie, Francis Wong (founder of now-defunct Non-Entrée Desserts), and SG Chee Cheong Fun by Ben Yeo. I found these are more appropriate as a post-meal snack, so don’t expect to get full here if you have a large appetite.
The Aburi Chee Cheong Fun ($14++) from SG Chee Cheong Fun by Ben Yeo is a crowd favourite, with almost every table ordering at least one plate of it. The light char does lend a firmer bite to the chee cheong fun slices but, the secret is really in the robust sauce that contains a hint of sweetness. With the addition of onsen egg and crispy shallots, it really is a luxed-up take on one of Singapore’s classic breakfast dishes. Watch out for the intense chilli, though.
The Laksa Quiche by Tigerlily Patisserie ($7++) is a delightful marriage of western recipes with Asian flavours. The coconut laksa custard has a much runnier consistency compared to typical quiches, almost like a thicker version of the classic broth. The prawns and fish cake are a pleasant surprise but, strangely do not taste of place with the flaky pastry. You’ll wish there was more of it when you’re done.
I couldn’t help but notice the Einspanner White ($9++) which caught my eye with white coffee and cream layered perfectly. As someone who prefers less acidic coffees, this hit the spot.
51 Tras’ menu is on the pricey side, and it would be best to visit with a partner or a group of friends to share the cost of sampling more items. Though, judging by the queue of waiting customers on a late weekend afternoon, this does not seem to deter the cafe-hopping crowd at large. It certainly is a chill spot to bring your date if they’re big on aesthetics and indulging in artisanal nibbles!
Address: 5 Tras Street, Singapore 078990
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar EW15
Wednesday to Sunday: 11am – 7pm
Closed on Monday and Tuesday
Contact: +65 9383 8037
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