The wait is over: coffee fans hankering after a cuppa from Japanese import Omotesando Koffee can now get their caffeine fix at the shop's debut Singapore outlet at Downtown Gallery from tomorrow (September 13).
Hailing from Shibuya in Tokyo, the cafe first opened as a quaint takeaway shop in a traditional mameya (Japanese wooden house) in 2011 and quickly gained a strong following among kawfee-loving hipsters for its artisanal brews.
The original store shuttered in 2015 when the old house it stood in was slated to be torn down. However, it returned this year in the same (renovated) spot, albeit rebranded as coffee bean specialist Koffee Mameya.
Its affable Japanese founder, Eiichi Kunitomo, who’s in Singapore for this week, also opened sister cafe Toranomon Koffee elsewhere in Tokyo with a dine-in space.
A much larger franchised dine-in branch of Omotesando Koffee opened in Hongkong last year, co-owned by Hongkong-based F&B dude Russell Stradmoor.
The two owners partnered modern co-working space The Work Project at Downtown Gallery to open its Singapore outlet within its premises.
Sadly, this CBD outlet is strictly a businesslike minimalist chic takeaway stand, with only a fraction of the charm of the Tokyo original. Seats are slated to be offered in future, “but I can’t say when, since it’s up to The Work Project people, not me,” drawls Russell indifferently. Think of this local outpost as a cross between the now-defunct compact Shibuya branch, and the stylish but rather nondescript space of the Wan Chai outlet in Hong Kong.
Here, there is a Singaporean female barista brewing a variety of hand-dripped and espresso-based cuppas, including Omotesando’s signature Iced Cappuccino with intriguingly large milk bubbles coated in cocoa powder. The brewing is overseen by a male Japanese barista-trainer (see main pic), who, unlike his amiable boss Eiichi Kunitomo, can be impatient and aloof. The trainer/barista is only in town for the shop’s opening period.
Besides an absence of seats — or the usual warm Japanese hospitality we've come to expect from most Nippon joints — there is also no sign of the brand’s famous Kashi cubes (custard cakes), or other food. At least until further notice.
Look out for our full review of the drinks at this too cool for school coffee spot soon.
Omotesando Koffee, The Work Project, L4 Downtown Gallery, 6A Shenton Way, S068815.