Chilled out! That would be the one adjective to describe Grids & Circles in Singapore’s Chinatown. This cute multi-storey cafe radiates chill vibes and encourages people to just come and hang out, especially students who need to study. This place looks like it was made for a jazzy lo-fi chillhop soundtrack… which I’m currently listening to as I write this, and it’s so appropriate.
Ambience & Amenities
When you first enter, Grids & Circles looks like the most cramped, unrelaxed cafe ever with only bar seating at the window and in the hallway to the kitchen. Head down this hallway and on your left there will be stairs leading up.
The upper floor is where the real hangout space is. When you reach the top of the stairs, on your right will be tables and chairs. On the left will be this space that is very reminiscent of someone’s open-concept living room. A long dining table is set up next to a couch and too many squashy pillows to count. A bookcase filled with relatively interesting reading materials will be in arms reach.
In between these two spaces is the service table where you pick up your cutlery and free-flow water. I love things like this where I can get condiments, napkins, and as much water as I like without needing to ask someone and be babied about it.
Click any menu picture to enlarge
The food menu is a bit small but diverse enough that you should be able to find something you want… assuming you want breakfast food. Even so, there are a couple of options that don’t feel too breakfasty like their rice soups or burgers. When it comes to their drinks, there’s an entire booklet of teas and coffees to choose from, as well as bags of loose leaf tea at the back that you can buy and take home.
Mark got the Oyako Pan ($15), which is a much-simplified take on eggs benedict. The eggs were nicely fluffy in that Japanese way, and had light shower of teriyaki sauce on top. The chicken was deliciously juicy and accented by the crunchy cabbage under it. The chips are lightly salted kettle cooked chips and nothing mind-blowing.
I got their Lavender Latte ($5) that came with an adorable little biscuit on the side. It was a sub-par latte that needed sugar to cover the bitterness. The lavender flavour was non-existent no matter how hard I tried to find it by smacking the latte around on my tongue. Even trying to find a lavender smell when putting my nose to the mug was difficult. They messed this up at first, thinking I wanted their lavender coffee. When the mistake was corrected, they seemed incredulous – as if no one in the history of this cafe has ordered the latte version. The waitress spoke in a cautionary manner: “it’s milk-based…!” I confirmed that was what I wanted and it was all good, but maybe the kitchen staff were secretly aghast at my choice. After drinking it, I can kind of see why.
I got a side order of a Hashbrown ($2) because, one, I love hashbrowns, and two, I like something to balance out the sugar overload of the pancake I was getting. The hashbrown came way before my pancake, so I looked like some weight watcher eating only a single hashbrown while Mark ate his Oyako Pan. This wasn’t worth the $2 since I guarantee it’s just a frozen Simplot brand hashbrown that you can buy at any grocery at the same price for the entire pack. I have a pack of these in my freezer – I know a Simplot when I see one. I wouldn’t say it was cooked in a way that justified its price either. How well can you cook a frozen hashbrown, really?!
My Classic Pancake with Super Berries Topping ($11 + $6 for topping) seemed to take forever to arrive. The menu says to allow 15 to 20 minutes as they are cooked to order, but the wait was so long that we had to confirm with the waitress that they did not forget about us. When it finally did get placed in front of me, it was quite the showstopper.
A mountain of Chantilly cream was generously dusted with Speculoos, a graham cracker type biscuit. I was a little surprised as I was expecting Speculoos spread, the item that introduced me to the delicious world of Speculoos, and I thought Speculoos only came in spread form. The pancake itself was thick and very clearly in the shape of the pan it was cooked in.
Inside, it was perfectly fluffy and absorbed the accompanying maple syrup very well. It was incredibly filling and I needed help in finishing it in the end. I don’t eat pancakes often, but if I had to break a pancake fast with something, it would be this.
Grids & Circles looks like a cute place to have your morning meal or to whittle away hours while you stare at an empty Word document on your laptop. The food can be hit or miss. You have to read the menu carefully and not assume anything about the item you are ordering. I’ll deserve a Batman slap for this, but it seemed expensive for breakfast food. Who knew the tariff on chill vibes was so pricey?
Price for 2 pax (SGD): $41.75
Oyako Pan: $15.00
Classic pancake: $11.00
+ Super berries topping: $6.00
Lavender latte: $5.00
Grids & Circles
200 South Bridge Road, Singapore
Daily: 8am – 6pm
Alcohol Served: No