Review: The Populus Coffee & Food Co. @ Neil Road

Photo 30-11-15, 2 06 00 PM

Here comes a new challenger at the Neil Road enclave – Populus Coffee & Food Co! Wa sounds like Capcom hor. Haha! Seriously, this area is the BEST place to cafe hop for us, and that also mean a hell lot of competition for the cafes in the area, as well as a lot of thought for new cafe owners who are intending to have a place in this area.

Why do I say this place is an exciting place for us cafe hoppers? Let me put this into perspective. When you take Exit H from Outram Park MRT, you’d find Roosevelt, and heading down the road, you’ll find the amazing Mad About Sucre, followed by Boca, and at the end of the road lies The Lokal. When you make a right turn, you’ll find Populus about 3 doors down. That’s not all, facing the road, to your right, is another cafe enclave – EVERTON PARK. And if you were to make a left turn from The Lokal, you’ll find The Working Capitol, blah and blah at the Keong Saik Area, and in the other direction, would be the Tanjong Pagar cafes. It’s CRAZY, I know. And you know why I know so well? CAUSE I HAVE BEEN WANDERING AROUND IN THIS AREA TO GO TO ALL THOSE CAFES THERE, and it’s really pretty cray.

Anyway, let’s get back to Populus. They’ve been opened for slightly more than a month, and they have been receiving so much attention on social media, I’d say it’s probably one of the more exciting cafes of this year, and it’s also partly because one of their owners is THE well-known Coffee Prince of Singapore – Yiyang (@yiyangk). Haha! It’s okay if you don’t know Yiyang, but I think there’s a reason why they are named as The Populus COFFEE & food, not food & coffee. Just a speculation, but you will be sure not to be disappointed by their coffee.

The Place
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I believe I’ve described their location to you above, and I think it’s pretty clear lah hor. I was surprised by the SHEER size of Populus, and the work put in to do up their interior. It’s crazy. Photo 30-11-15, 1 38 13 PM
Just look at this. Photo 30-11-15, 1 38 04 PM
No, this is not an accidental photo post, I just want to say, LOOK! Their baristas and servers are all quite hot too. Hahaha! Nice looking place and people, that’s a good enough first impression.

We visited them during the lunch hours on Monday and it was CRAZILY CROWDED. I’ll show you guys where is the highly instagrammed area of this cafe later, because all my shots were taken there. Natural lighting, check. Artistic shadows, check (but sorry i no skill to play with shadows). Plants, check.

The Menu
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For a cafe, they have an extremely extensive menu, ranging from the comforting breakfast eggs to wholesome sandwiches, pastas to grain bowls, as well as plated desserts. Of course, COFFEE. Just look at that. I need a magnifying glass. Haha!

Well.. The prices on the menu may be on the slightly high side – averaging at $17-$18, with the lowest priced main being $16.50, and the most expensive being $23, but they are NETT prices. Thank goodness. Moreover, you’ll see later that their portions are pretty generous for their prices, and I would expect these prices because of how good and atas the whole “cafe” looks (it doesn’t even feel like one), and those NAPKINS though. It’s not your usual serviettes. It’s the OMG. Better than restaurants kind. High quality one hor. So I guess, that justifies the prices!

Do note that they have a slightly different menu for weekends!

The Food

Photo 30-11-15, 1 58 37 PMAs we were intending to eat ALOT on the day we visited Populus, we decided to have only 2 dishes to share amongst the 3 of us. We didn’t ask for recommendations because we were just like little sheeps following the herd before us. Hehe! Hence we ended up ordering THE Populus Scramble ($17) and Beef Ragu Pappardelle ($18.50), and of course each with a cup of coffee!

1. Coffee – Iced Mocha ($7)Photo 30-11-15, 1 29 47 PM Photo 30-11-15, 1 29 02 PM

Yes, this is the instagram table located right at the back of the cafe! SO PRETTY RIGHT. Everything also got feel. Populus uses a blend that suits the Singaporean tastebuds – meaning it’s nuttier and less acidic! But if you like your coffee acidic and have several taste profiles, you can always request it!

Okay, since I’m always ALWAYS ordering Iced Mocha, I had to order an Iced Mocha here for a comparison. Damn. Their Iced Mocha was nothing like what I’ve had before. One sip and you will realize that the chocolate they use are of a different quality, at least different from the norm. Indeed, they used Valrhona chocolate in their mocha, and it was oh so rich and silky. My favorite cup of Iced Mocha now. Very impressed.

2. The Populus Scramble ($17)
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Look at this, have you ever since something that looks as pretty as this? Have lah, me lor. HAHA! This is probably the prettiest plate of Scrambled Egg Croissant that I’ve ever came across! This dish consists of their creamy scrambled eggs, fresh herb melange, marinated feta and streaky bacon a top of their croissant. Photo 30-11-15, 1 48 36 PM
I wish there were more feta cheese in this though, cause I LOVE FETA, but it may not suit everyone’s tastebuds, so.. Yeah. This is definitely one comforting brunch dish. We loved the components in this one, and the ENDS of the croissant, which remained crisp! The buttery flavors of the croissant definitely came through but the middle part was a little soggy probably because of the heat from the eggs, and okay, the time we took to photograph this. Otherwise it’s a really comforting dish, and A HUGE PORTION TOO.

3. Beef Ragu Pappardelle ($18.50)
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YUM? I love beef ragu and this was a perfect bowl for me. I loved the tomato sauce in this one that gave it a tangy kick to whet my appetite for MORE. Photo 30-11-15, 2 06 09 PM
The grass fed beef is slow cooked for at least 8 hours before it’s being hand pulled into this bowl of goodness. Oh SO TENDER. And a very generous portion of protein too! Photo 30-11-15, 1 54 35 PM
You need to take another look at this. So flavorful, so good.

4. Lemon and White Chocolate Sundae ($14)
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My picture does not do justice to this bowl of goodness. Yes, $14 is a little steep, especially for a bowl of “SOFT SERVE”. But this is not just any bowl of soft serve. It’s a Tahitan Vanilla Soft Serve hor. Haha! That’s not the point. The components that made up this bowl is sure to make you go OOOH with every mouthful, because there is no one mouthful that tasted the same as the other. A surprise in every bite we would say.
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Hopefully a clearer picture for you guys. This Vanilla soft serve sits atop of a garden of ingredients like fresh lemon jelly (VERY NICE), white chocolate sauce, meringue, white chocolate crumble, cornflakes, and citron mascarpone. It’s really an array of flavors and textures with every bite! Very exciting!

Closing Remarks

I had a super enjoyable lunch at populus and it was surprising filling for all of us! This shows how generous the portions are! While the Populus Scramble may be the MOST instagrammed food at Populus, and it tasted good, I would actually recommend you guys to try out the other dishes on their menu. Because, afterall, scrambled egg and croissant is scrambled egg and croissant. You know what I mean? Haha!

The quality of ingredients can be assured at Populus and you can actually taste the goodness in each of their dishes! I would definitely be back to try out their pretty looking and NICE SMELLING grain bowls for lunch and of course, A CUP OF ICED MOCHA PLEASE!

How to get there?
146 Neil Rd, Singapore 088875

Opening Hours:
Monday and Wednesday: 9am to 7pm
Closed on Tuesdays
Thursday to Saturday: 9am to 10.30pm
Sunday: 9.30am to 7pm

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