Taking over the former space of Shop Wonderland at Haji Lane is HYGGE, a new retail-cum-cafe similar to the likes of Groundstory and Monument Lifestyle conceptually.
HYGGE’s decor theme is somewhat more minimalistic with the use of largely white as well as tiled walls with light wood furnishings to create a simple, soothing look without being too plain. Cakes are displayed over the counter, while the items on retail (mostly bags) are located at the end of the shop. The second-floor space is now out-of-bounds to the public. Serving up a menu of simple grub, expect sandwiches, pasta, granola and salad for savouries, cakes for sweets and a variety of coffee, tea and other beverages to go along with the food.
(Mushroom Aglio Olio)
We visited HYGGE on their first day of operations where they only had their pasta menu available. The Mushroom Aglio Olio is a pretty homely dish; one that is probably rather identical to what most can easily whip up at home. The noodles felt like it could do with slightly more olive oil for flavour and aroma, while they seemed to be a little heavy-handed with pepper here. The broccoli and garlic chips reminded us of home-cooked food, while the mushrooms were decent in its own right, giving a hint of earthiness to the dish. Could definitely do being more refined for the flavours felt rather lacking as compared to those from other cafes.
The Beef Lasagne was decent, though nothing much to shout about; a good balance of meat, tomato and cheese in between sheets of pasta. Nothing much to wow about, but the overall combination was slightly more pleasing than the Mushrooms Aglio Olio.
Not sure if they seemed to have tagged the Houjicha Hazelnut cake wrongly, but we could not detect any Houjicha aroma in the cake at all. Apart from that, the cake was actually pretty decent without being overwhelmingly sweet and was not too dense; comes drizzled with salted caramel and crumbly bits on the top for texture.
Using beans roasted by Highlander Coffee for their coffee, the Flat White was rather milky and had a light body; the flavour profile was rather difficult to detect.
While there is some effort behind the interior decor or HYGGE, HYGGE feels particularly lacking in their food and drinks. With such strong competition from the other cafes in the Kampong Glam neighbourhood, Hygge would need to work a lot on their food by researching on what other cafes are serving these days as well as tweaking their recipes to keep themselves up to date with what other players in the cafe scene are offering these days. Coffee also needs to be improved, considering most of the cafes in the area do serve speciality coffee of a certain standard. All in all, HYGGE has a long way to go in order to keep themselves relevant in the scene, especially with its location at a neighbourhood saturated with cafes.
37 Haji Lane
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/hyggelifestylesg/