Photos by Lesttate Liew. Words by thedessertprince.
The Dispensary is the latest addition to the increasingly popular foodie attraction of Tiong Bahru. Situated a couple of shophouses away from Sin Hai Shan Seafood Restaurant, this new player in the once sleepy town is slowly gaining popularity among fellow cafe-hoppers. Most like me would have read news that this refurbished cafe was once a traditional Chinese medical clinic where the local residents there seek treatment and collect various prescriptions to treat their aliments.
Even as an eatery now, the cafe owners still retain most of the antique furniture like the medical cabinets we often envision Chinese medical dispensaries to have. Indeed, I reckon what we (the modern Singaporean youngsters) need are not just new cafes with typical westernised food. In fact there are tons of them out there in Singapore opening up every year. What we truly need are places like The Dispensary that could remind of us of the olden Singapore where policemen wore shorts, TV channels were in black and white and air-con; virtually non-existence.
So kudos to folks behind The Dispensary for spending so much time and effort to retain this tiny part of Tiong Bahru!
I haven’t had any clue what they were offering.
Could it be tarts like Drips Bakery? Or maybe artisan breads like Tiong Bahru Bakery? Turns out that their specialty were desserts. More specifically cakes and cupcakes which I have to say were a bit uninspiring given there’s already a few players in the local community doing the same thing. They do offer bagels and toast with stuffing of your preferred choice but with start price at $6.50, I would prefer to just come here for their desserts and eat at the hawker instead.
I heard much about red velvet but Black Velvet Cake ($7.00)? That’s something pretty much unseen at any local cafes here and it’s not always available on their shelves. While I felt it wasn’t chocolaty enough for me, I could appreciate the light cheese frosting surrounding the tall cake. If you wouldn’t mind, I would say this is one cake good to share.
Their Cappuccino ($5.00) on the other hand wasn’t really fantastic and I was sort of appalled when they served my drink in a disposable cup especially when I didn’t order my hot drink to be taken away. Could it be a case of jumbled order or done on purpose. I don’t know although I kinda buy into the idea after I saw their trademark on the cup.
Cupcakes seemed to be the hype these days. Everyone seemed to buy into the idea of making cupcakes. Perhaps the profit margin of each one is quite substantial or maybe because it’s one of the easiest to bake. But at $3.00 a piece, this is one of the more affordable cupcakes you will likely find in the arwa. Lychee Indulgence ($3.00) was a red velvet cupcake with lychee-infused frosting. Nothing special considering that they are tons of bakeries making the same flavours too.
Overall, I find The Dispensary to be a really nice cafe to chill with lots of interesting antiques that speaks a story of the good olden days. Given the limited variety of desserts and savory dishes they have to offer, you will kinda get bored after one or two visits here. But let’s not be too judgmental since they are the new players in the block yah?
I didn’t managed to photographed the interior decor and much of its antiques housed on the second floor of the cafe. Maybe I shall travel down soon just to showcase what my friend and I see when we first visited the place. Truly old school and very vintage.
69 Tiong Bahru Road
Tel: +65 6536 0225
Tuesdays to Thursdays:10:00am to 10:00pm
Fridays & Saturdays: 10:00am to 10:30pm
Sunday: 9:00am to 7:00pm