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Food · Recipes · Travel

Dong Po Colonial Cafe @ Kandahar Street

I’m getting more and more sentimental recently. I wonder if this is all part of aging as I approach my mid-30s. Nostalgic stuffs really draw my attention these days, so does this quaint looking coffee shop with its traditional signboard.

I was at Kandahar Street as I wanted to buy some swiss rolls from the Rich & Good Cake Shop but the queue was so long, it stretched all the way to the end where the popular Rumah Makan Minang Nasi Padang is. I thought of coming in to Dong Po for a coffee and pastry while waiting for the swiss roll queue to be shorter.

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I love the old-fashioned coffee shop atmosphere inside. Ceiling fans, pendant lights, high ceiling. It is a small yet cosy space, perfect for enjoying an afternoon tea. The queue never seems to shorten as I notice the last person is always at the entrance area.

As my husband waited in the queue, I was entertained by an older gentleman (probably in his 50s) beside me whose wife was in the queue too. Every table had different ‘antiques’ in its glass showcase and there were old-style posters (women clad in cheongsams) on the wall too and the man just started sharing stories of the past with me. (He also casually mentioned that there was a newspaper article on the Rich & Good Cake Shop that morning hence that explained the unbelievably long queue!)

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While queuing up, you can see the array of pastries on display. Place your order, pay and collect your drinks and food. Unless you’re ordering something that’s made to order, then someone will have it delivered to your table.

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My husband ordered Set D (any 2 pastries with coffee/tea at $5.00) and Set F (Bostock with coffee/tea at $3.50) plus 2 extra pastries (optical box and long cup at $1.70 each) to share between two of us.

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From top left in clockwise direction – Vanilla Long Cup Butter Cake, Butterfly Cupcake, Optical Box and Strawberry Lamington

The long cup is specially made in that elongated shape so we can dip it in our coffee, just like how we’d eat it in the old days. It has a lovely buttery flavour and the texture is fluffy and moist BUT it is very oily (the parchment paper surrounding it is all soaked in grease). I could easily eat a few more if it’s not that greasy!

I requested for kopi with less sugar as I expected some of the pastries to be sweet so in this way, the flavours balance up. To my delight, the coffee is one of the best I’ve tried in ages. It reminded me of happier times when my father used to take me to his favourite coffee shop when I was 5 or 6, and he’d order coffee black (less sugar) that was served in similar traditional cup and saucer and because the drink was hot, he’d pour some onto the saucer so I can slurp it up with a spoon. Oh yes, I was quite a coffee drinker since I was a kid in the 80s!

The butterfly cupcake is probably my favourite among all on the plate. Moist and buttery with rich cream in the middle. What can be better than this!

The optical box which comprises of chocolate ganache filling between two sponge fingers is my least favourite. The fingers are very dry and the filling is just not chocolatey enough.

I first had lamingtons when I was in Australia more than a decade ago but it was a chocolate version. This strawberry one is definitely my first. Even though it looks pink enough, I just couldn’t taste the strawberry flavour in it. Nevertheless, it’s still a delightful piece of sponge.

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Bostock

This is Dong Po’s local version of the almond brioche bostock that uses normal white bread. On top goes a layer of fragipane almond cream made of almond, sugar, butter, egg & flour and a generous handful of sliced almonds. This is only made upon order so be prepared to wait a while for it. It is guaranteed served hot and crispy to your table. Every bite of it spells nutty flavour with a delicious richness to it. It’s definitely one of the best pastries here. A must order!

As we were enjoying the bostock, a friendly guy popped over to our table to make some small talk and asked if we liked the bostock. Of course, it was an unanimous ‘YES’ from the both of us.

I don’t know if it was the environment that put me in a good mood hence everything tasted good that day. But I do think Dong Po is a cafe not to be missed. Good coffee, tasty pastries at affordable prices in a nostalgic ambience. It’s not just about the food, it’s the experience.

Though I went off empty-handed (the swiss roll queue didn’t shorten!), I left with moving memories and a tummy filled with warmth and love.

Dong Po Colonial Cafe
56 Kandahar Street
Tel: 62981318
Facebook page
Operating hours:
9.30am to 8.30pm (Tue-Thu)
9.30am to 9.30pm (Fri-Sun)
Closed on Mon

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