Nico Cafe, Wheelock Place, Singapore

Address: 501 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238880
Opening Hours: Weekends 10:00am – 7:00pm, Weekdays 9:00am – 7:00pm
Nico Cafe Wheelock Place SG Menu

I thought we’ve seen enough of cafes in Orchard, but then there’s Nico Cafe. (And Cedric Grolet coming up at COMO Orchard on September 14th, as you know.) Nico Cafe isn’t a newcomer in the scene, as owned by famed botanical restaurant Under Der Linden. It Zall Bookstore collab is the second outlet after its flagship near East Coast Road.

I had some skepticism trying Nico Cafe. First the aesthetics. I shy away from anything covered in shrubs, a clear cafe trend across the island from Surrey Hills Grocer to Le Jardin, Q Classified and the autumn-themed cafe Cafe Kreams. But for once, I was wrong.

Nico Cafe’s accessible menu sets it apart from the usual salmon egg bennies and avocado toast brunches. Here you’ll find Ssamjang Iberico Pork donburi ($18.90), Wagyu Beef sando ($19.90), souffle pancakes ($17.90) and waffles ($15.90) along with a selection of bakes from basque burnt cheesecake ($9.90) to tiramisu ($10.90). A surprisingly large variety for a space that seems to squat outside Zall Bookstore. Have a go with a glass of Dirty Coconut Coffee ($8.90), but I find that the double shot Flat White ($5.90) equally delivers a strong brew.

The nice thing about this cafe is that the dishes are notably well below $20, making it attractive for those who are just starting to work. Meanwhile I settled myself for the Croque Madame ($12.90), a thick not-so-open face toast stuffed with picnic ham, tomato, mozzarella, cheese sauce and topped with a sunny side up. Remove the egg and that will give you the Croque Monsieur at $11.90. I was pleased with it — love the thickness of the toast and while it’s freshly grilled go dive into it or the hot winds will make the bread undesirable to eat.

That’s the only draw back at the location of Nico Cafe’s second outpost. A regular 38 degree day in Singapore and you’ll get all sweaty. Heavy rains and you’ll find yourself drenched before you can even finish your meal. Singapore’s schizophrenic days aren’t going to bode well for Nico Cafe’s limited seating.

P.S. In hindsight, since there’s no A/C, no fancy arugula and garden greens to garnish your food then I suppose that’s how Nico can price your food well below $20?