Dong Po Colonial Cafe 東坡茶室

Retro seemed to be “in” theme especially for cafes in Singapore during the last few years. They could have been around all along but up till now, their presence have never been felt so strongly. Dong Po Colonial cafe is one the places to go for a nostalgic experience of Singapore in the ’50s and ’60s.

“Leading the way in this trend is Kelvin Soh, a 4th generation baker who started Dong Po Colonial Cafe earlier this year to fulfill his father’s dream of keeping the decades old family recipes alive. It was Kelvin’s great grand uncle, a Hainanese baker who first learn the art of French pastry when he apprenticed at the now defunct GH Cafe. In it’s heydays in the 60′s, GH Cafe was an upper class establishment located along Battery Road which catered to the European families living in Singapore. Both GH and Polar Cafe along High Street provided Singaporeans a peek into European culture and was accessible only to the upper crust of our society.

Kelvin’s Great Grand Uncle subsequently went on to open his own coffeeshop along Killiney Road where there was a large Hainanese community and roped in his grandfather to help out. It was at this coffeeshop that Kelvin’s father, Albert Soh developed his passion for baking. Albert went on to study at Le Cordon Bleu and worked as a pastry chef around the world before coming home to Singapore to open La Maison along Sixth Ave in the 90′s where he worked till his retirement. It was during those quiet retirement years that Albert dreamed about resurrecting the age old family recipes for a new generation of Singaporeans to enjoy.

Enter his son, Kelvin who decided to give up his job as a graphic designer to carry on the family tradition. And so Dong Po Colonial Cafe was born.” – Lesley Tay of ieatishootipost blog. Click here to see his full review.

I did not have anything pastries to go with my tea that day as we had plans to go to Jubilee Coffee House & Bar afterwards but Gin had a Bostock and bought a box of classic cakes to bring home. She kindly shared her bostock and cakes with me. I had a square of the not-too-sweet modified french confection – Bostocks are originally made with brioche but here, local breads are used. I politely declined Gin’s generous offering of the cakes but took a picture of it.

Dong Po Colonial Cafe

The Chinese characters in this mini poster should be read from left to right (up to down).
That’s just the way it was.

Dong Po Colonial Cafe

Paraphernalia of the past.
Somebody’s trash is now another’s antique.

Dong Po Colonial Cafe

Cigarettes used to be sold in canisters like these.
For those who could not afford a packet or were social smokers, the tobacco was sold in singles, too.

Dong Po Colonial Cafe

Growing up games I used to play and yes, I had stamp collections, too!
If you look closely (in the middle) the only trendy thing is my Samsung Note 4, which was used to take some of these pics.

Dong Po Colonial Cafe

Tea with milk.
I do not know the price as Benny paid for it but according to Lesley Tay’s 2013 blogpost on Dong Po, one could get a cup of kopi and a cake for under S$4.
I’m not sure if that price is current or has inflation caught up here?

Dong Po Colonial Cafe

Bostock $2.40
Made with our local bread toasted, smothered with frangipane (which tasted kaya-like to the untrained tongue), generously topped with almond slices with a finishing touch of icing sugar dusted all over.

Dong Po Colonial Cafe

Traditional confectioneries sold at Dong Po Colonial Cafe.
This was the box of cakes I spoke of that Gin dabao-ed.
Apple Aloe Vera, Lamingtons and Butterfly Cupcakes to name a few.
Macaron Tarts, Sponge Cakes, Scones and Jams are also available.

Dong Po Colonial Cafe

Dong Po Colonial Cafe 東坡茶室

Dong Po Colonial Cafe 東坡茶室
Address: 56 Kandahar Street,
Singapore 198904.

Tel: +65 62981318

Opening hours: Closed on Mondays
Tue – Thurs: 9.30am – 8.30pm
Fri – Sun: 9.30am – 9.30pm

Happy eating and bonding 🙂

2 Responses to “Dong Po Colonial Cafe 東坡茶室”
  1. Lignum Draco says:

    Huh, you declined the offer of cakes? Are you unwell? Nice to see you keeping up with your eating your of Singapore. 🙂

    It looks very homely/retro.

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