Monday, October 31, 2011

Smitten Coffee and Tea Bar - Singapore

I Thought I Was Having the "Big One"
Smitten is another of the hip Singaporean cafes to open recently.  They do it right - good, rich coffee, nice cakes and snacks, cool contemporary interior.  There's just one problem....  price.  When they handed me the bill I almost had a heart attack.

A Fred Sanford type of heart attack!  Only Americans of a certain age will appreciate this clip.

See, all I had was a piece of carrot cake.  Damned good one too.  Ok, I really only got about half of it because I date a girl who is always digging her little fork into my stuff.

Add to that another latte or two and a pot of tea for my girl Pirate Pixels.  If I remember correctly the bill started with a 3!  I blanked out, fell back, grabbed at my heart-sac through my shirt, stumbled and then almost started to cry. 

I guess I had my warning, they're set up in Robertson Quay, where all the overpaid expats live.  These type get their apartments paid for by their companies, charge through all their dining expenses and don't even blink when someone charges them up their ass.  It's kinda, well, like, my set-up in Paris.....

So, in the end I don't blame Smitten, they are simply charging what the expat market can bear.  It's good but I'm putting you on notice - if you're not a banker or a rich kid, keep it moving.
60 Robertson Quay

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  1. I don't recall it being that ex... R u sure u got it right? The most ex is Jimmy Monkey.. Don't think this is there from price pov. Love the carrot cake, it is moist!

  2. @Dodo - you don't recall cuz I paid. I had to dig in all four pockets! Jimmy Monkey is even pricier, that's true.

  3. Have you tried Oriole? I have no idea how expensive they are in relation to Smitten, but they sure look good:

  4. @Omid - nope, haven't tried them yet. It's hard to keep up, there is a cafe explosion going onin Singapore.

  5. FYI, u did try Oriole. It's at some office building basement near raffles. Think we went together just your last trip here.

  6. @Yixiao - yeah, thirty something. You know how many cans I gotta collect to scrape together that kinda lucci?

  7. @Puffin - that was Oriole?? The spot where we had to wait for the guy to clean our table after we sat down?

  8. How is jimmy monkey expensive?? It is probably the best value for money for what you get, IMHO. Anyway, I always believe in 'you pay peanuts, you get monkeys', and thank god this is not the case for jimmy monkey. It is just absolutely lovely, a haven for me when I need somewhere that can entertain my kids while I relax !

  9. @Stephanie - Jimmy Monkey is lovely and they serve good stuff but it is ridiculously priced. Seven fifty for a triple shot latte?

  10. Ahh I see. I've never wanted to be that awake with 2 kids under 6 so never ordered a triple shot before. But I did think their regular menu prices were very decent - that was what I was referring to. How much do triple shots at other cafes cost?

  11. I just came across this post randomly, and I'm guessing you know little about coffee culture to have prematurely judged the prices for Smitten being "too expensive".

    Firstly, what were the specific items you ordered that amounted to a bill over $30? "A latte or two" is as vague as a difference of $6 can get. But considering how calculative you seem to be, surely you remember exactly what you ordered; especially after recovering from your dramatic reaction upon receiving the bill?

    Nonetheless, allow me to do the simple math for an ignorant patron like you who doesn't know what he/she is paying for (oh the irony?). All prices are approximate estimates, but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

    Carrot Cake ($7) + Latte ($6) + Latte "or two" ($6) + Pot of Tea ($12) = $31. I recall from my last visit that Smitten absorbs both service charge and GST, but I'm guessing you didn't factor that into your deep analysis of how the area are populated heavily with expats who spend frivolously, etc etc.

    I can explain to you how specialty coffee places (especially those that roast their own beans, like Smitten, Toby's Estate etc) use only freshly sourced coffee beans from premium crops, teas that are hand-plucked by community-owned tea plantations from places that you probably never heard of, etc etc, but you probably wouldn't consider quality as a measure above anything you have to fork out of your pocket anyway.

    Your last line, as a supposed warning to your readers on steering clear of a cafe due to your poor and misguided judgement, comes across as nothing but downright shallow and insulting to anyone reading. Unlike you, there are people out there who genuinely appreciate and are more than willing to fork out the money for a complete cafe experience with premium handcrafted beverages. Perhaps you are better off sipping your caramel frappucinos at Starbucks.

  12. Btw, I couldn't help but to notice one of your replies above:

    FNNovember 2, 2011 1:05 AM
    @Yixiao - yeah, thirty something. You know how many cans I gotta collect to scrape together that kinda lucci?

    For a person who collects cans in order to scrape together "lucci" (i'm assuming this refers to money, in whatever currency you may be referring to), you sure have lofty tastes and expectations.

    1. @Max - Ouch. That really hurt my feelings. However, rather than wallow in self pity or lash out, I took your advice. Went over to Starbucks and got a giant frappucino with whipped cream. As I sipped I started to feel better. Thanks!

    2. I had no intention of hurting your feelings, but hopefully bring to light your very misguided perspective that may also mislead your readers and giving an establishment a misrepresentation. Thank you for reading.