Chye Seng Huat Hardware is a coffee bar brought to you by the creators of Papa Palheta and Loysel's Toy. CSHH doesn't stock any hammers, nails and power drills. Instead, a roastery, an island coffee bar, a coffee school and a private coffee tasting room are the crowd draws here.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware
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I popped by Chye Seng Huat Hardware (CSHH) a couple of times and it's soooo crowded on all occasions. This cafe retained its original hardware store decor and needless to say, attracted tons of hipsters with its unique ambiance. While I liked the whole idea and concept of the place, the cafe is simply too packed and you can never get around the shop without tilting your body and saying "sorry excuse me" several times.
The saving grave was the coffee. It was smooth and thick with flavour - the folks at Papa Palheta do it best! The food was average and overpriced. I had scrambled eggs which tasted like what my mum makes for me and I wouldn't pay $11 for it again. My friend had french toast and he finds it below average. I really don't quite get the hype about the cafe.
In other words: come only for the coffee
Since I first heard about the concept behind Chye Seng Huat Hardware, I have been really intrigued and wanted to visit the place badly. However, it was not until last week did I first step foot into the coffee bar. Sad to say, I got a little disappointed.
First, the place was overcrowded even on a weekday after lunch hour. I went there with a friend and we were lucky to find a really small table located beside their retail rack. Even so, my seating arrangement was rather awkward because the space in between was too small and everyone passing behind me had to keep saying “excuse me”.
Next, it was overpriced. The French toast we ordered was costly and tasted either average or below average. Although pricey as well, their chye seng huat brunch set tasted great though - their scrambled eggs is to die for!
If my expectations weren’t so high, the experience would certainly be much better. The area was beautifully decorated and the place is great for chilling. Hence, I would definitely go back again even if it’s just for the scrambled eggs.
CSHH coffee bar has been on my bucket list of cafes-to-try for a really long time, what with all the hype about it on my instagram news feed and amongst my friends.
I must say, I loved the interior decorations with little vintage trinkets hanging around, and professional looking counters which create the perfect brunch atmosphere. Also, don't forget to check out the little store upstairs, where you can find books about Singlish perfect for that friend from overseas we all have, and accessories such as belts, ties, bracelets, etc.
The baristas are also very friendly; they patiently explained to us their various brews and served them up with pretty latte art. I especially liked their black sesame chestnut cake - it satisfies the inner Oriental health foodie in me.
However, the place has limited seats, so it might be a better idea to drop by for a cuppa, rather than sit down for brunch and catch up for hours with friends.
Most people go to Chye Seng Huat for the novelty of sipping your cuppas in the middle of nowhere along a stretch of hardware (五金）shops. I guess if you are ever in the vicinity shopping for your wire harness or stainless steel drum, this is a good place to stop and watch the heavy duty trucks rumble by.
Who would have thought that beyond the bland building, there is a hub of coffee hippies enjoying their cuppas in an oddly contrasting interior. And really this is the main attraction of Chye Seng Huat - the ambience.
The interior is divine, I must say, which has been nicely converted to a full-functioning cafe with a buzz. They tend to be pretty busy especially on a weekend, so the service might take a while. But if you not in a hurry, then it is not a problem. The coffee is competent and satisfying, although it will be a sad day for any cafe, which cannot do coffee competently. The brownies seem to be pretty popular as I see it on almost every table, so I did try one, which I would say is alright as I find brownies in these establishments to be pretty similar - cakey on the outside and fudgery on the inside. Isn't that the only way it's supposed to be done?
Parking is a problem as the Lavender Food Centre is pretty popular so the road-side lots are usually taken up. You can try your luck just outside the row of hardware stalls, but if not, you can park at Eminent Plaza and stroll down, it's not that far off.
There was this period of time where people everywhere, on the blogosphere, social media like facebook, instagram, twitter, CSHH was SO hyped up everybody was rushing there in throngs.
People could not even have a cup of coffee in peace. Especially during weekend mornings, the place would be packed to the brim. Which defeated the purpose of having a leisure cup of coffee on a weekend morning while enjoying a relaxing brunch.
I went there on a weekend night and though not as packed, the crowd was ongoing. We had some coffee and their desserts like their brownie and cupcake. They were indeed not bad, especially the brownie which had a crispy crackling crust which I adore.
The cupcake wasn't too sweet too, to my delight. Their chocolate was HOLY thick. chocolate lovers would rejoice.
Some may feel that it's overhyped, for me, I can't really make a good judgement as of yet as i have not tried their savory items.
Don't be fooled by the name Chye Seng Huat Hardware. It is anything but a hardware shop. There are a lot of positive reviews online. Branding it as a 'hipster' place and so on. However, the only thing that I really liked was the rustic feeling from the shop gates. The food left much to be desired and there are so many cafes mushrooming around our little island, I'm honestly a little sick of cafes serving brunch, coffees and pretentious places that serve eggs and hams at marked up prices. This place specializes in coffee but I am not a coffee person so I had just iced water. I ordered the pancake stack and my friend ordered a ham omelette. She also had coffee and she said it wasn't marvelous or anything, it was "just like other cafes lor".
The pancakes were dry and crumbly, it made me appreciate McDonald's hotcakes. I really disliked it. The omelette was okay, average homecooked standard. Needless to say, I am not going back there again. I just felt that this place exudes a pretentious vibe and like all the other cafes out there and besides the selling point of "this is a hardware shop but hey i am actually not a hardware shop!", there's is nothing else that attracts me. There are people who really swear by this place and many more people who are marking this place on their next-to-visit list but I'm really sorry Chye Seng Huat, me and you, we don't work out.
There used to be a defunct leather goods wholesaler located in a run-down old building down the street from the council flat I used to call home in London. "Jaguar Bags Dream Shoes" had been the unlikely name on its tacky signboard (oh yes, complete with an illustrated pouncing jaguar). This being the Hoxton/Old Street area, it was inevitable that an achingly hip cafe/pub/dj bar/exhibition space would take over the premises. The new owners had the good sense to leave the kitschy signboard in situ and adopt the name on it as their own. The rest, as they say, is hipster history.
No less cool and every bit as pretentious is CSHH. Oodles of hipster cool. The coffee is Papa Palheta (i.e. excellent), the food so-so (over-priced all day breakfasts) and the pastries (the usual croissants, tea cakes etc) are competent. Who could ask for more, really?