L’Etoile Café, meaning “the star café” in French, is a lovely place to rest, relax and savour life
By Lester J Wan
Yvonne Low was impressed and inspired by the indie cafes she had encountered on her trips to Japan. Their attractive aesthetics and the feelings they evoked led her to create her own quaint haven in a quiet corner back home in sunny Singapore.
L’Etoile Café’s décor is in a charming French-Japanese theme. The furnishings are actually highly-intriguing. You can find French-style paintings and Japanese posters, hand-painted wall motifs, retro couches, antique clocks, a sewing machine, an old TV from a forgotten era, and many other knick-knacks.
All these come together to create an ambience that is at once sweet, romantic, nostalgic, peaceful and thought-invoking. This would make a perfect place to rest, relax and to savour life. It is also an ideal setting for reading or writing.
The cosy second level, where most of the curious furniture and decorations are, is spacious and enchanting. Not surprisingly, it is popular for company events and wedding photography shoots. In fact, on the day I paid L’Etoile Café a visit, a young couple was in the midst of playing the fool with each other, as they sweetly posed for the camera.
In the kid’s corner, there is colourful furniture, friendly-looking plush toys as well as Studio Ghibli anime jigsaw-posters on the wall, with scenes from the animated film My Neighbour Totoro.
Set upon the junction of Owen Road and Dorset Road, L’Etoile Café opened around August 2011. Yvonne says that she wanted to have L’Etoile Café in a shophouse, and she felt it would be nice for the café to be situated at the corner of a street. She also liked that this site is close to residences, and to the MRT.
While we are able to continue to wax lyrical about the aesthetics and locale, one of the best things about L’Etoile Café is its fare.
The Smoked Duck Sandwich ($13.90) on focaccia has an interesting, somewhat ‘fusion’ flavour, and the taste of herbs and pepper is fairly compelling.
The Bagel with Cream Cheese & Smoked Salmon ($8.90) is excellent and tastes very, very good. It is fragrant and refreshing to the palate, and makes a good, hearty snack.
The Chicken Ballotine ($18.90) may well be the crème de la crème. It consists of a boneless chicken leg enveloping shitake mushrooms, roasted until its skin has a satisfying crisp. This is simply delicious and highly-gratifying.
Speaking of which, the Mud Oozzz ($7.90) is a must-have, heavenly end to your meal. This oven-baked dessert oozes warm chocolate goodness. Paired with artisanal vanilla ice cream, it is a delight to the senses.
For those who love a good coffee – and it’s so rare in Singapore – L’Etoile Café’s Cappuccino ($4.50) was fragrant, frothy, and with a magnificent body and taste. Tres bien! For kids, they have the adorable Babyccino, a small cup of warm milk topped with cocoa powder, which costs only $1.
“Children love this place. Once, a little girl loved one of our soft toys so much, she asked for permission to bring it home. Later, she brought back two of her own to replace it,” says Yvonne.
Yvonne has been busy with her plans to open another cafe, in May, along Kallang Pudding Road. She says it will be the only air-conditioned coffee place in the area.
Like its namesake, L’Etoile Café is shining and constant. It is even open daily, including on public holidays. Come, savour life here.
L’Etoile Café, 160 Owen Road (near Farrer Park MRT), Singapore 218953, Tel: 6298 2872, letoile.com.sg