Brunch is a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch that was concocted and spread by British writer Guy Beringer in 1895 through his persuasive essay titled “Brunch: A Plea,” which enticed heaps of readers to adopt the ingenious mealtime that our predecessors before him never knew they needed.
Throughout the years, the now well-known term gradually travelled down from Great Britain to the United States, first landing on the high-brow elites in the 1930s and then cascading down to the country’s common men a decade after. The propagation was inadvertent due to the “leisurely” nature of the nascent mealtime; it was seen as the new “it” social phenomenon after the second world war. Fast forward to our current social-media-rampant times, it can be seen that the conventions of brunch have certainly evolved. Initially, early adopters would only chow down on British or American food during the mealtime but now, people eat all types of food during the much celebrated occasion. From Mediterranean to Vietnamese, you name it. But in an effort to set a specific theme for this article, I shall only cover establishments that offer food that I deem as brunch worthy and are (mostly) under twenty dollars. Yes fellow broke uni-mates, I’m here for you!
Let’s kick things off with a favorite of mine, The Glasshouse. Though it’s mostly well-known for its Instagrammable interior, which is made up of huge windows, plants and mostly white oak furniture, the cafe also packs a punch when it comes to white coffee and brunch food. On my last visit, my friends and I shared a spread of Hummus and Bread Bowl ($13), Breakfast Burger ($15) and Bo Ssam Pulled Pork Burger ($16), and boy were we satiated. I topped it all off with a $6 cup of cold brew (I prefer my coffee black) and there I had it, I was in brunch heaven. 10/10, would definitely come back again.
Great food, ambiance and prices, the priciest item on their menu is their Beef Brisket Banh Mi sandwich which costs $17, this cafe is definitely a must try—a slight catch though, The Glasshouse has many patrons and doesn’t accept reservations so do come earlier on weekends or you’ll be stuck in a queue.
Micro Bakery Red House
Their Big Breakfast ($24) aside, everything else on the menu is below $20. Specializing in breads that are made up of sustainable flour and natural ingredients, this attention-grabbing establishment (due to its bright red exterior) is well-loved by easties and all for the right reasons. Its sourdough toast was one of the best I’ve eaten. It was the right mix of crispy and chewy and was served with condiments that elevated its tangy flavor. Though this item alone should be enough to entice you to head down there, the bakery–cum–kitchen also serves a myriad of other dishes such as Smashed Avocado Tartine ($13) and Micro Club Sandwich ($14). So what are you waiting for?
Five Oars Coffee Roasters
Located in prime locations, Tanjong Pagar and Asia Square, Five Oars Coffee Roasters is home to one of the best coffees in Singapore. The Melbourne inspired cafe boasts a repertoire of premium coffee beans from all over the globe. From Ethiopia to Brazil, from tart to bitter, Five Oars Coffee Roasters offers it all! And it doesn’t stop there, as its food is simply sublime. Try their Chicken and Pancakes ($16.50) and you’ll get what I mean.
Park Bench Deli
My go-to for all things sandwich, Park Bench Deli offers a multitude of sandwich variations. A personal favorite of mine would be the quaint Deli’s Cubano ($18) which consists of ingredients such as smoked pork shoulder, honey ham and Swiss cheese. The concoction is so good that thinking about it makes my mouth water. Even if you’re craving for something on the sweeter side, Park Bench Deli is still the place for you. Its PBJ-Stuffed French Toast ($16) is simply a child’s dream. And come on, don’t lie to yourselves, we all know that our 8-year-old selves still exist within us.
Free The Robot
A brunch cafe by day and speakeasy bar by night, Free The Robot is a master of all trades.
Its The Prawn Pasta ($18) is a conglomeration of prawns, cognac, white wine and chilli, providing you a gourmet experience like never before. Not only does Free The Robot serve amazing food and beverages, its name also serves as an homage to those that surround it, the corporate robots aka most of us in a few years.
PSA: If you are planning to head down and want something off-menu, be sure to ask them for their Space Donut, a fluffy homemade donut filled with your pick of Coconut or Pistachio ice cream and garnished with flower petals—simply a beauty!
With that said, I’m sure you’re just dying to try these places out. Do let us know what you think of them at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d LOVE to hear from you!