Papa Palheta on Bukit Timah Road


After a long hot afternoon of food photography, The Urban Explorer and I decided to caffeinate. The Urban Explorer is a coffee aficionado, so ordinary coffee would not do.

It was late and there was only one place left to go: Papa Palheta, a specialty coffee roaster hidden in a corner on Bukit Timah Road. Technically, Papa Palheta’s core business is selling beans, they do provide a small but very pleasant chill-out space for coffee tasting.

One of the nice things about the chill-out space is that you can eavesdrop on conversations and perhaps intrud precipitatively participate in said discourse.


Before I go further, I should let you know about my thoughts on coffee, but before that, a short history: I’ve recently reduced my coffee intake from 2 litres a day (for the past 32 years) to about 4 cups a week. Prior to this, I was very sensitive to the variations in coffee down to the water used in the brew. I used to be able, with a sip and a sniff, to differentiate coffee from South America, African and South Asia. These days, I’m just happy to have coffee that isn’t sour.

In general, I don’t drink expresso because I prefer a relaxing comfortable cuppa as opposed to an energetic draught derived by violence. Like an abused child, coffee made that way is prone to a dark, almost Hobbesian bitterness.

As such, my approach to making coffee is exemplified by my choice of coffee maker, the Cafe Solo. Quite simply, hot water gently coaxing flavor from beans; it is an elegant weap coffee maker for a more civilized age.

Unfortunately, from what I can tell, Papa Palheta serves coffee either expresso or via drip. The funny thing is that they serve coffee, Cafe-Solo-style, i.e. simple hot water and beans, during their specialty coffee tastings. Go figure.


Back to the chill-out space. The Urban Explorer and I were talking about the day’s shoot and other nonsense that passes for conversation when we were joined by 2 scholarly sisters and their brother. The elder sister turned out to be a contemporary of Daffy’s at Warwick. They started chatting about film and other subjects with artistic inclinations. The Urban Explorer is a wealth of art-house film; I’m more popcorn-pedestrian in my tastes; movies, not film. In the end, the group decided to have dinner at La Noce mainly because The Urban Explorer wanted a risotto and it was near the sisters’ home.

A strange day for me since I started at Sentosa shooting (and eating) Chettinad cuisine and ended up in a small suburban Italian restaurant. And guess what? We ended the day with an affogato. 🙂

Papa Palheta is at 140 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 6597990420, enter via Hooper Road.


Posted on 14th Apr 2010 in Drink, Musings


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