Thoughtfully adorned and decked with memories-evoking memorabilia and vintage posters, complete with those aged Chinese songs you would know even without much introduction, if you still aren’t feeling nostalgic, you should start doubting your humanity.
Newly minted 3 months ago, Dong Po Colonial Cafe boasts its authenticity and uniqueness most. Kelvin and Albert, the owners and bakers of this family-run business are here to save what remains of the Hainanese-Western confectionary. I’m glad. I’m a Hainanese myself. Three generations ago, Kelvin’s great granduncle had learned the baking from a French Pastry Chef. And then, it was out of the norm, what with Singapore being under the British Colony for quite some while – most were students of the British chefs. The recipes, kept till the 21st century from the 1950s – 1960s, are today, followed quite faithfully, save for a couple of tweaking all for the best.
It is a very simple and casual cafe. It’s self-service order, but if items require you to wait out, you will be served once they are prepared.
Bostock ($2.40) / Peanut Butter Toast (2 Slices) ($2) :: My dining partner and I went order-crazy and had our bill totaled to about $25 at the end of the day. I admit, I was the culprit placing most of the orders. I mean, they are all so cheap and enticing. The Bostock was the star of the night. Bostock is an Almond Cream French Toast. Their rendition was perfected with the right intensity of caramelized syrup and sweetness. It is not the richest pastry used, but good enough for me. With Bostock right beside it, the Peanut Butter Toast paled in comparison as it’s relatively more ordinary.
Scone with Apple Aloe Vera Jam (served with Kopi / Teh) ($3.30) :: Scones here didn’t quite make the mark. Not only was it slightly on the ‘dry’ side, a bite into it would cause the crumbs of the scone to spread and stick to your inside, making it quite hard to complete the course. The jam and cream would help a little though. I’d say skip this and go for their other (abundance of) options.
2 Pastries (Almond Macaroon & 3-Hole Cookie) (served with Kopi / Teh) ($4.20) :: No I’m not a fan of the fanciful looking hol(e)y cookie, it came off one too dry for me. But well, I’d think it’d go really well with a cup of thick coffee though – the way you are supposed to dine here, so do ready one when you are here. On the other hand, the unassuming Almond Macaroon impresses in its taste more than its looks (that’s why they say your heart > appearance, so it applies to food as well). Biting through it, you can taste the sweetness, the stickiness, its crustiness, and its airiness all in one. Put them together, you can an addictive piece of dessert art. A must try.
Quiche ($3.50) :: The Quiche isn’t as flamboyant as its other confections. That statement applies to both how it looks and how it tastes, unfortunately. Every part of it tasted ‘customary’ and nothing out of the norm.
Bread & Butter Pudding ($2.80) :: A chunk like this off its freshly baked tray only costs that much. It is more than reasonable. Moreover, I was in luck as it was hot off the oven and the warmness, the buttery bread, the raisins, the milk and the egg in it just tasted more prominent and distinctive it was a joy with every bite. I also like that the bread is soft, moist, fluffy and not overly sweet.
Dong Po has so much more to offer I couldn’t finish it. With that, I’d be sure to be back to taste its other 1950s. They have 6 different sets available, each not above $4.50 and includes a cuppa hot beverage. Hell yeah.
Whilst I haven’t teleported myself back to the past and taste how confections then are like, I can safely say I quite enjoyed my meal here (I had these for dinner). Not only is Kelvin a cheerful soul in the otherwise melancholic ambience (that always dawn upon me in a reminiscing mood), the pastries served are more ‘hits’ than ‘misses’. Further, they are indeed unique and not one you can find at Breadtalk or off the streets.
I say, bring your parents there maybe. It’d be quite an experience for them and for you.
–> Note #1: All prices shown are nett. No GST and Service Charge.
–> Note #2: Only cash payment accepted.
–> Note #3: Takeaways are welcomed.
Address: 56 Kandahar Street
Telephone: 6298 1318 (Reservations not taken)
Opening Hours: 8am – 9pm (Tue – Thurs, Sun); 8am – 10pm (Fri); 10am – 10pm (Sat); Closed on Mondays.
Also featured on Going Places Singapore.