Old-School Desserts In a Hipster Cafe

The Happy World is a trendy 1970s-style kopitiam offering sweets like teh tarik jello. But we were told they’ll be closing down (July 7) just days after this photo shoot. So drop by now if you want to check it out.

the happy world exterior

This quaint café in the hipster central of Bali Lane is fashioned after a 1970s-style kopitiam, with its name and logo reminiscent of the now-torn-down amusement park of the same name. Here they serve a cheap and cheerful menu of traditional Singaporean eats including Lemon Chicken Cutlet Rice and simple desserts like Bubur Cha Cha. They’ve also concocted a list of nostalgia-inspired drinks like a Bandung Spritzer and Teh Tarik Jello. Pity this place is closing down on July 7, less than a year after it opened its doors.

the happy world interior


the happy world bandung spritzer

Bandung Spritzer, $3.80

Rose syrup gets a shot of soda water, a sprinkling of red tea jelly, a dash of yoghurt syrup, and a handful of lychee spheres (lychee syrup trapped in caviar-like pearls). It tastes exactly as its name suggests — like a soda version of bandung, with pearls and jelly for texture.


the happy world teh tarik jello

Teh Tarik Jello, $3.80 

If we didn’t know better, we would have thought this was an ice yuan-yang, that classic Hong Kong-style mix of tea and coffee. That’s because the jello suspended in the black tea is coffee-flavoured. Milky and not too sweet, this drink could also pass off as chin chow-infused milk tea.


the happy world ice kacang 2

Ice Kacang, $3.80 

This was quite a sad bowl of ice kachang. When we got to the bottom of the shaved ice, we found paltry strands of chendol jelly, a couple of stewed red beans, and no more than three attap seeds. Save your ice kachang fix for the hawker centre.


the happy world bubur cha cha 1

Bubur Cha Cha, $3.80 

We really wanted to like this bowl of bubur, especially after we were told that it involves a painstaking process of steaming cubes of sweet potato before cooking it down with coconut milk and gula Melaka. Sadly, it just isn’t lemak enough, and swims with little more than a few sweet potato cubes and coco de nata. Not quite your traditional bubur cha cha, yet not novel enough to entice.

25 Bali Lane. S189861. Tel: 9148-9268. Open Mon-Thurs 9.30am-8pm, Fri-Sat 9.30am-8pm. Last orders 8pm. Closing down by July 7.

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