Love discovering new cafes?
So do we! Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a surge of new cafes popping up all over Singapore, and it seems the cafe scene has grown across the border too. With plenty of hipster cafes with cool, unique decor and delicious brunch-fare in JB, there’s one more reason to cross the border.
If you live for decadent brunches, chill vibes and lazy, care-free afternoons, you’ll fall in love with these hipster cafes. Not only do they have their own distinct aesthetic, they also have signature foods (and drinks!) you won’t find in Singapore.
Here are 15 hipster cafes in JB we think are worth crossing the border for.
1. Bev C (Halal)
Housed along the street, along with a string of other hipster cafes is this nook that’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. With its entrance bedecked in rustic, earthy tones of wood and brick, it certainly has a homely quality to it.
With its in-house boutique merging seamlessly with its cafe, Bev C proves that one can master both the crafts of coffee and fashion with finesse. Check out its clothing label here.
Feast your eyes on their Chocolate Mint Pies that you’ve probably squealed over a thousand times on Instagram. For fans of Windowsill pies, you’ll love this one as well.
Yummy pies aside, this cafe offers the renowned Ice Cube Espresso with Milk and Caramel, which ensures diluted coffee will not be an issue as you sit and chat with your pals.
Must Try: Charcoal Croissant with Smoked Salmon, Chocolate Mint Pie, White Chocolate Truffle Pie, Ice Cube Espresso
Address: 54 Jalan Tan Hiok Nee 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening hours: Tue – Fri: 1 pm – 11 pm; Sat & Sun: 12 pm – 11pm, Closed on Mon
2. B.LO.C. (Halal)
B.LO.C, short for The Banana LOver Cafe, will take your goreng pisang love to new heights.
Situated opposite Taman Sentosa, at B.LO.C, you can drown your crispy goreng pisang in cheese or dark chocolate; you can even dunk it into creamy ice cream! Better yet, coat it with crunchy golden cereal, drizzled with hot caramel sauce. The flavour combinations are limited only by your imagination.
Besides their goreng pisang specialties, this cafe serves mains, desserts and a decent cuppa as well.
Must Try: Chocolate Cheese, Ice Cream Nut, Caramel, Chocolate Cornflake Goreng Pisang, Caramelised Banana Vanilla Milkshake, Banana Blossom Fried Rice
Address: Block A, #1-40, SouthKey, Johor Bahru
Opening hours: Tue – Sun: 12pm – 10pm; Closed on Mon
3. Chaiwalla & Co. Honest Tea (Halal)
It’s no wonder this cafe is housed in a container–its owner had ridden the high seas for 13 years before settling back on Malaysian shores.
Handcrafted artisan teas with 5 bases, 15 flavours (e.g. saffron rose, pure yoghurt, winter melon) and a selection of 9 different toppings (e.g. coffee jelly, pearls, nata de coco), these customisable drinks are the perfect pick-me-up as you go on your cafe hunt.
Just like Koi and Gong Cha, the sweetness level can also be adjusted to your liking.
Must Try: Thai Iced Milk Tea, Iced Chai Latte
Chaiwalla & Co. Honest Tea
Address: Lot 2810, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, 80000 Bandar Johor Bahru
Opening hours: Mon – Thu: 9.30am – 6.30pm; Fri – Sun: 9.30am – 6.30pm, 8pm – 1am
4. Coffee Signature
It’s raining, it’s pouring Sweet Little Rain. As its name would suggest, expect a large, poofy cloud to deliver melted droplets of cotton candy into your piping hot black coffee or tea.
Other beverages served here include Green Tea Latte served in a big light bulb, and their unique Huevos Rancheros egg dish that’s more than just a run-of-the-mill Eggs Benedict.
In Mini Sunshine Brilliant, you’ll find a crispy ham bowl bearing a yummy mixture of eggs, cream and cheese.
Must Try: Sweet Little Rain, Huevos Rancheros, Mini Sunshine Brilliant, Ice Blended Green Tea
Address: 53, Jalan Serampang, Taman Sri Tebrau, 80050 Johor Bahru
Opening hours: Mon – Sun: 12pm – 10pm; Fri – Sat, 12pm – 11pm
5. Coffee Valley (Halal)
To get to this cafe, watch out for a quaint flight of stairs to the second storey, hidden by a kopitiam.
They are best known for one provocative dish: the Egg Slut. Bringing to life all your food porn fantasies, this dish will leave you feeling satisfied with its tantalising combination of flavours–a wobbly egg nestled in potato purée, cheese and sauteéd mushrooms.
The feasting doesn’t end there; their waffles are pretty sensational too.
Must Try: Egg Slut, Four Seasons Waffle, Mixed Berries Waffles
Address: 12A Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru 80000 | L2-550A, Sutera
Opening hours: Mon, Tue, Thu – Sun: 11.30am – 8pm; Closed on Wed
6. EH HE Art Cafe
Stepping through the doors of this cafe is almost like entering the home of a quirky collector who’s obsessed with art in all its forms. Everywhere you turn, you’ll be greeted with one-of-a-kind sculptures and paintings.
If you’re craving something a little different, give the coffee here a shot. You’ll notice their coffee has a distinct aroma, for they use traditional beans that are homegrown in Johor, unlike the trendy Arabica beans brewed in countless other cafes.
Besides their old-timey drinks, EH HE serves up wonderfully old school nosh too. Red Bean Soup, Chendol, Nasi Lemak and Curry Chicken are some of the items that make an appearance on their menu.
Must Try: Chendol, Kopi-O, Fried Mee Siam, Red Bean Soup
EH HE Art Cafe
Address: No. 1, Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru 80000, Johor Bahru (Around the corner of Hiap Joo Bakery)
Opening hours: 12pm – 11pm daily
7. Faculty of Caffeine (Halal)
The brainchild of two childhood best friends–an interior designer and a doctor–this cafe epitomizes these three words perfectly: stark, abstract, and minimalist. With its raw, industrial concept, it’s a great place to spam OOTDs and we-fies.
Great interior decor aside, this cafe offers food and drinks that’ll exceed most expectations. Sink your teeth into Madam Lim’s chewy chocolatey brownie, and feast on their waffles for some great food therapy.
Must Try: Dark Churros with Salted Egg Yolk Dip, Curry Soft Crab Waffles, Friendly Eggs Benny
Faculty Of Caffeine
Address: 33, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening hours: 10am – 10pm daily
8. Flowers in the Window
Brought to us by the same team behind the famed Roost cafe, this two-storey cafe is lush with greenery and overflowing with flowers from every nook and cranny.
If you’ve ever fantasised about stumbling onto a Fairies’ Tea Party in the woods, this comes very close.
In keeping with its theme of flora and fauna, this cafe sells flowers and plants, and incorporates edible greenery and flowers in its food. That makes for some pretty whimsical food which will no doubt gain you several more Instagram followers.
Their cakes, freshly-baked daily, come in a bunch of unique and yummy flavours, such as their Rose Pistachio Cake, Pina Colada Cake and Pomegranate Brownie.
For a real surprise, try the Rosemary, Chilli and Lemon Drink. It’s unexpectedly tasty! Who knew these flavours would work so well together?
Must Try: Rose and Pistachio Cake, Lemon Meringue Tart, Pina Colada Cake, Rosemary, Lemon and Chilli Drink, Watermelon Strawberry Juice
Flowers in the Window
Address: 9, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening hours: 10am – 9pm daily
9. The Ice Cream Project
It turns out that the secret to creamy, delicious ice cream is liquid nitrogen, as we learnt at this cosy, yet roomy cafe.
The Ice Cream Project, otherwise known as TIP, combines the freshest ingredients using liquid nitrogen, right before your eyes. Lo and behold, out comes ice cream with a rich consistency and taste, free of icy crystals or frozen bits that can mar the ice cream’s texture.
The Butterscotch Ice Cream is a silky dollop of milky cream and smooth butterscotch–an utterly tasty combo. While savouring the ice cream, sip on some of their many teas for an interesting flavour contrast.
Must Try: Butterscotch Ice Cream, Brownies & Cream Ice Cream
The Ice Cream Project
Address: 31 Jalan Dhoby, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening hours: Sun – Thu: 1pm – 10pm; Fri & Sat: 1pm – 12am
10. Kafuka Cafe & Music Studio
At this quaint little space, you’ll be able to find refuge from the busy, modern cafes and their ubiquitous hipster decor.
Inspired by Japanese elements, the cafe space doubles as a music studio where instruments are displayed, complementing the serenity of the place. Here and there, mini potted plants add a touch of life to the otherwise zen space.
Not only do they offer plenty of matcha-flavoured foods for those who love their matcha, their menu features a wide variety of good ol’ cafe nosh too.
Must Try: Matcha Red Bean Pancake, Crushed Oreo Belgian waffle, Chocolate and Banana Pancake, Matcha Latte
Kafuka Cafe & Music Studio
Address: 16A, Jalan Bendahara 12, Tmn Ungku Tun Aminah, Skudai, Johor
Opening hours: Sun – Wed: 11am – 10pm; Fri – Sat: 11am – 11pm; Closed on Thursday
11. Maco Vintage
Started up by Singapore pastry chef, Maco, this cafe is famed for its mille crepe cakes.
As photogenic as they are tasty, the cakes come in flavours ranging from Trio Chocolate to Musang (mao shan wang 猫山王) durian flavour. You won’t have trouble finishing a slice all by yourself, as the cream is light and not overly gelat like some cakes can get.
If you’re thinking of having it to go, their dry ice sachets will keep the cakes chilled for about an hour.
Besides the cakes, you’ll find a satisfying selection of appetizers, mains, desserts, and hot and cold beverages served here.
Must try: Matcha Azuki, Bailey’s, Rainbow, and Musang Mille Crepe Cakes
Address: Jalan Ibrahim, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 12.30pm – 11pm; Sat: 11am – 12.30am; Sun: 11am – 11pm
12. Miyakori Cafe (Halal)
Coffee with cute, stenciled animals and cakes with faces–these are some of the things you’ll find at this lovely cafe. It was an immense struggle deciding on the animals for our cakes and drinks. Not to mention, having to destroy these cute works of art killed us a little bit inside.
Sip on a cute kitty with this “Cat-puccino”, a brew with a nutty, chocolate-y aroma and a lingering sweetness. If you’re wondering, Miyakori’s coffee beans are imported from El Salvador, Sumatra, and Brazil.
Their cutesy image is backed up with substance, for the cafe serves pretty good cheesecake and brownies. The cheesecake is warm and light, while the brownie leaves no chocolate lover in want with its rich and dark aftertaste.
Must Try: Oreo Cheesecake, Brownie, Strawberry Shortcake, Matcha Latte, Cat-puccino
Address: 41, Jalan Indah 22/14, Bukit Indah 2, Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm daily
13. Monsta Cafe
Old school meets cute-slash-psychedelic at this cafe. Retro school lockers, carpet grass and cloud motifs on the walls… We love the eclectic vibe of this coffee spot. At the entrance, look out for a large pink behemoth, the guardian of this 2-storey cafe.
Try their much raved about Cold Brew coffee, and sip on one of their lattes, which come with customisable latte art. Pick your design, or let the barista surprise you!
Dig into their Monsta Espresso Chicken Chop that comes with a shot of Espresso, lending the sauce a unique kick of flavour. The Monsta Mamee Burger is also crunchy and addictive, but we advice eating it deconstructed, as it’ll fall apart after a bite.
Must try: Cotton Candy Affogato, Cold Brew Coffee, Monsta Mamee Burger, Monsta Espresso Chicken Chop
Address: 157 Jalan Bestari ⅕ Taman Nusa Bestari Skudai. 81300 Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: Mon – Thu: 10am – 12mn; Fri – Sun: 11am – 1am
14. Roost Repurposed & Recycled
An old beer crate, a plastic container and empty glass bottles are given a new lease of life at this cafe that really knows how to turn waste into wonder.
Not only are they pros at recycling, they’re just as adept at serving tasty grub. Share a plate of chicken meatballs and mashed potatoes with your friends. After that, have a bowl of their signature frozen yogurt for dessert.
Must Try: Frozen Yogurt, Chicken Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes, Smoked Salmon Salad, Eggs Benedict
Roost Repurposed & Recycled
Address: 14 Jalan Trus, 80000 Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: Mon – Sat: 12pm – 4pm, 6pm – 12am; Sun: 6pm – 12am
15. Victoria Rossa English Tea Room (F.K.A. The Teavana)
In this English princess-themed cafe, you’ll can’t help but lift your pinky while taking a sip of your latte.
With its porcelain tea sets, pastel colour scheme and floral printed furniture and crockery, dining here will awaken your inner princess.
Not only do they serve delicious mains, their deserts and pastries do not disappoint. Choose from cakes, scones or muffins, and a selection of coffees and teas.
Must Try: Pasta Sampler, Korean Beefy Cheesy Fries, Cloudy Toast, Lavender Latte
Victoria Rossa English Tea Room
Address: 128 Jalan Dato Sulaiman Taman Abad, 80250 Johor Bahru
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm daily
If looking at these pictures worked up an appetite, there’s only one thing left to do: cross the border for some delicious, wallet-friendly eats! Plus, there’s no better time than now, with the KTM shuttle charging ridiculously lows prices and taking you to JB in under 10 minutes.
(Header Image Source: @bevccafe)