213 Henderson Road
Serving up “great food and specialty coffee”, Coffee Bandits is a hipster’s answer to the café scene at Bukit Merah Central. Operating out of their headquarters along Henderson Road for over three years, Coffee Bandits is better known for their bright yellow food trucks often seen at major events such as the Singapore Grand Prix, adding much colour to the local coffee scene.
Some sleuthing online led us to their Facebook page, where we found a number of positive reviews and a recommendation score of 4.7/5. Curious, we trooped over to sample their menu for ourselves.
The café itself has a strong industrial vibe, echoing the area where it’s located in – amongst light industries. The décor is minimalistic and mostly in shades of grey with pops of their signature yellow, which is, in fact, quite soothing.
A quick glance at the menu found that they served typical café fare of sandwiches and pasta, but to keep their menu fresh, they also offer monthly specials. Of course, we couldn’t give this a miss!
Monthly Special: Cilantro Chicken Tagiatelle ($14) – 4/5
This dish was served up with a large portion of chicken that was grilled to perfection. While it did not taste of cilantro, the chicken thigh was juicy and tender. The pasta was cooked well, but might be a little overdone for al dente lovers. There were fresh tomato chunks and a good drizzling of tomato oil, giving it a fresh and different dimension to typical tomato-based pastas. Overall, a delightful dish!
Chicken BLT Grilled Cheese ($9) – 3/5
If you are a fan of barbeque sauce, this is for you. Sweet and savoury, the tender chicken breast patty was given a healthy dollop of sauce. Unfortunately, for a “grilled cheese”, we could hardly taste any cheesy flavor, leaving us a little disappointed. The country loaf, though, was crunchy and hearty. It came with a pretty good helping of crispy fries which paired well with the sandwich.
Dory fish grilled cheese ($9) – 3.5/5
Toasted beautifully, this sandwich was a treat for the eyes. But did it please our tastebuds the same? Almost. The sandwich filling was topped with salsa and lime mayo which gave a nice twang and goes marvelously with the fish. Much like the Chicken BLT, however, the cheese flavor was lacking. It’s certainly a healthier option for a grilled cheese sandwich, but Coffee Bandits might want to rethink their cheese choices for something punchier, otherwise, this is just another grilled sandwich.
Parmesan Truffle Fries ($6) - 4.5/5
Truffle fries are always a crowd fave and we just had to sample Coffee Bandits’ when we saw it on the menu. This was a rather large portion for the price and fried to crisp perfection. The golden potato fingers were deliciously savoury, with a hint of truffle and the right amount of crunch. The tasty parmesan cheese gave it an extra oomph too. Yum!
Chipotle grilled chicken salad ($6) – 4.5/5
Sometimes, all we need is an uncomplicated, clean meal. This salad hits all the right buttons. A grilled chicken fillet paired with a medley of cooked mushrooms served on a bed of crisp, green lettuce, topped with halved cherry tomatoes, almond flakes and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, this salad is as simple and unassuming as it gets. Yet, it was wholesome and delicious. The salad dressing came on the side without us asking for it, and that was a huge plus, as we could drizzle as much or as little of the tangy goodness to our taste. Its portion is hefty and we had difficulty finishing it. A very satisfying and healthy meal that’s priced very reasonably!
Latte ($5 +$1 for soy milk option) – 4/5
Oh, joy! They offered soy milk for their hot beverages and that’s wonderful news to this slightly lactose-intolerant reviewer. We were eager to sample their coffee, because, hey, they’re the Coffee Bandits after all! The latte was a decent size, reasonable for the price. It was a strong brew but not overbearing or too bitter. Those with a sweet tooth might want to ask for syrup add-ons that come in caramel, hazelnut and mint flavours. Overall, a satisfying cup of joe.
Mocha ($5.40) – 3.5/5
To be frank, we expected a little more but were left hanging. Taste-wise, we could find nothing to fault and we appreciated the sizeable serving. While it didn’t blow our socks off, it was a decently good drink. What’s best is that it’s not too sweet, which is definitely helping us win the war against diabetes!
Orange yogurt cake ($5) – 3/5
This was delightfully warm when it arrived at our table. While a light and moist home-baked style cake, it lacked in flavor. Sadly, there was only a hint of orange which wasn’t enough to win us over. It was a little plain on its own and would have scored better if it were served with some cream cheese icing or vanilla ice cream.
Overall score for Coffee Bandits – 3.75/5
If you are after a relaxing café meal near SingHealth Connection, Coffee Bandits is the place for you. Here, you will receive great service and be free of the stresses that come with a crowded and noisy eatery. While their food offerings are good, their coffee didn’t quite hit the spot for us. We will be back again, though, especially for days when we need a little hipster getaway in the ‘hood.
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