20grams Specialty Coffee and Roastery is probably hidden in one of the most nondescript corners for a café; situated at Lion Industrial Building Blk C.
Lion Industrial Building is a cluster of buildings near MacPherson MRT Station, and Block C is situated at the end of the compound. The shop itself is a shared space between 20grams Specialty Coffee and Roastery and Malcolm Bistro, which faces away from the road at the back of the building. Such a location keeps it hidden away from sight, perhaps only known to the office workers in the area or those who might have heard the slightest of its existence in the building. 20grams Specialty Coffee and Roastery is open throughout the operating hours of the bistro, serving up only a very limited menu of light bites and savoury food with coffee and tea, while Malcolm Bistro offers set lunches and set dinner menu that is only made available upon reservation. The bistro is dimly-lit, while the interior is furnished with mirrors and decked in mostly black and marble elements which add to the sense of mystery behind this hidden spot.
We had actually made two visits here before writing this post (which is pretty much of a rare deal if you had been with us for a while). During our first visit, we were in for some light bites and coffee, and we decided to go for the Gruyere Gorgeres; these were explained by the staff that they were similar to puff pastry filled with cheese. We found these to be somewhat similar to a fusion of cream puffs and Pao De Queijo coming as one; think of them as savoury puffs with light, puffy cheese hidden within for a soft hint of savoury flavour, light on the palate and easy to finish. We were being told that the Gruyere Gorgeres (or in fact, all of the items here) were being prepared and only baked upon order, which was one of the reasons why it took a while for them to reach the table; a lot of emphasis by the chef that the food is to be served at the freshest possible quality.
During the very first visit, we were sitting across a couple who ordered the Maine Lobster Roll as well as The “M” Roll; the only two substantial-sized mains that are on the menu here with the latter being a hotdog bun dish. We made it a point to return to try the Maine Lobster Roll, which is priced at $27++. Coming just as a roll, it features Maine lobster chunks, greens, house-made mayo (which is again, whipped upon order) and caramelised onions served in between a toasted roll. We were given plastic disposable gloves alongside; useful for those who do not wish to get their hands stained while eating the roll. The roll was actually pretty simple but satisfying; the Maine lobster meat chunks were pretty huge and allowed for the crustacean sweetness to lightly perfume through the entire roll, while the roll was stuffed with the Maine lobster meat throughout. The house-made mayo, despite its colour, was actually rather light-tasting, allowing the Maine lobster meat’s flavour to shine without any attempt to overwhelm it, yet add a creamy touch to the roll. Caramelised onions help add a touch of sweetness to the entire roll while squeezing a little bit of the lemon at the side adds a little zinginess to the lobster meat to elevate the flavours more.
We also made an order for a Flat White during our first visit, and the staff was pretty automatic in telling us more about the beans/blends that they had used in the cup of coffee; something that even most cafes do not do. We had our Flat White pulled from single-origin beans from Colombia. It had a nutty and earthy flavour profile which was creamy and smooth, very well-pulled actually.
While 20grams Specialty Coffee and Roastery is situated in a spot that is pretty unusual for both a café or a bistro, we were pretty impressed with their persistence on keeping their food quality at the highest standard; by preparing everything only upon order and not way before and sacrificing waiting times for food as a result, one could tell that the chef definitely places a lot of emphasis on the food going out of the kitchen and even respecting the ingredients that are being used and served. Apart from the focus on food quality, it is also worth mentioning that the service was impeccable here; the staff are pretty polite and even patient, explaining in detail about their menu, dishes and even their operations with a smile, not to mention that they are pretty swift in reassuring patrons that the food is on the way out of the kitchen soon. Everything was on-the-dot precise, with the service welcoming and coming sincerely out of their heart; one thing that many places just cannot do. Sure, the location is slightly off the beaten track, and the menu selection is quite restricted here, but this is one of the places which would work great for those seeking for some quiet time alone, yet looking for somewhere with a human touch with food of good quality.
Lion Industrial Building
14 Arumugam Road