Kafe Utu

The comfort of rattling off your go-to brunch order is undeniably comforting, but the staleness sets in after a while, especially if you’re one looking for an adventure in consumables.

But once in a while you get a coffeehouse of unparalleled charm. On Jiak Chuan Road, the tasteful facade of burnt sienna that houses Kafe Utu is your first indication to an extraordinary experience, standing out from the sea of pale shophouses with minimalist decor. The cafe themes itself around African elements and sticks with it through and through. The interior is bold—some walls featuring vivid colours, and others adorned with oversized monochromatic portraits that underscore the raw beauty of African culture. Everything, from the splashy wax-printed cushions to the exposed outlook of the Afro cafe, is taken into account and contributes to the overall atmosphere of feeling like you’ve been transported to a continent almost 5,000 miles away from home.

Explore a sampling of the continent’s piquant taste through the cafe’s menu, with headliners such as the Liberian Peanut Chicken Stew ($28) and Fried Plantain with Mango Chili Marmalade ($16) that highlights the sweet-savoury taste not many of us might be used to. Another must-try is the Lamb Heart with Chimichurri Sauce ($20), which gives more gristle to the bite, but is still worth the chew, when the freshness of the Chimichurri collides with the delicate flavour of lamb—without the metallic taste of blood and innards.

A delightful selection of coffees is available at Kafe Utu, including cafe-classics like Espressos ($4) and Mochas ($6) to please the casual coffee-drinking crowd. Or order more exclusive cups of joe, like the Ibada “Ritual” ($6) that’s a shot of quad ristretto over chilled Hokkaido Milk; house-styled mocha the Bidibado ($6), and the bottled cold brew Utu Ink ($6). Boozy beverages on the menu manifest in milkshakes, with intriguing flavours like Chocolate Banana with Coconut Rum ($20) and Bourbon Cherry Vanilla ($20).

For when you need a break from your regular minimalist-chic, Aussie-inspired coffee houses, Kafe Utu provides culture for the eyes and the taste buds.