THE RAGINGLY HIP estate of Tiong Bahru welcomes yet another addition to its streets, the same streets that are already chocked full with our favourite all-day breakfast spots. Competition may be fierce, but The Dispensary's owners are keen to take root there; there’s nothing dispensable about this spankin’ new hotspot to be.
Freshly opened in September this year, owners Fred Wee and Joel Lam’s love for Western sweet treats and coffee led them to create a bakery. But make no mistake, this isn't your run-of-the-mill cafe, the cafe's ethos and its decor spots a modern twist and a distinct emphasis on the locale's oriental roots.
Housed in what used to be an old Chinese Medical Hall at 69 Tiong Bahru Road, The Dispensary serves up classic cakes, as well as new takes on old favourites in the simple, revamped space – now with a demure, vintage touch.
Though they embrace Western flavours, The Dispensary’s décor is evidently rooted in Eastern heritage, as seen from the traditional medical cabinets and 'da ching' (weighing scale), which takes centre stage in a space where everything else is decidedly muted.
“When we accidentally stumbled upon an abandoned Chinese Medical Hall in Tiong Bahru Estate, we were inspired to bring back its former buzz and charm by combining its iconic, nostalgic façade and interior design, with the modern, Western pastries we love”, recalls Mr Fred Wee.
With cafes around the estate serving quality sweets, it takes a whole lot for a newcomer to stand out. If you’re a sucker for generous amounts of frosting and a variety of sweet treats, you’d want to get down to this potential hotspot for a satisfying teatime treat.
And of course, what’s a café without signature dishes?
Packed with flavours, the Carrot Cake ($6/slice) is balanced out with a lightly spiced sponge layered between more than substantial cream cheese frosting. Cupcakes ($3/ea) to try include the lovely Sea Salt Caramel and the Chocolate Storm, topped off with a petite French cookie that took the world by storm.
For those who aren’t crazy about sweets, you’ll be glad to know that The Dispensary offers fresh artisan bread, a great cup of Joe and lovingly prepared sandwiches all day.
If you’ve got a cake in mind you’d like to see on the menu, the bakers of The Dispensary welcome customers’ requests. Your wish might just be their command.