Tian Kee & Co. Cafe Review

Jim Koh (me), Vivian, Katie, Evalee, Joanne-Marie Sim outside Tian Kee & Co.

As someone who has lived through the 90s as a kid, I was totally thrilled when I heard about Tian Kee & Co., an Artisan Cafe & Bar that jolts back the memories of the good old days. After years of putting this visit on hold, I've decided to be proactive and started organizing my first cafe outing. 

I asked Vivian who readily agreed to come because she just finished her finals. Then I asked Katie, who had to ask her mother for permission and it was not long before we finally got the gang going. It was a gloomy Wednesday afternoon and I rushed down to Dakota immediately after my filming.

This is my second time to Dakota. The scenery and sight reminds me of Singapore in the early 1980s. Or at least, my imagination of Singapore in the early 1980s.

The place I would be every weekend afternoon when I was a kid 

It's a nice walk to Tian Kee & Co. cafe. It's windy and I'm enjoying the breeze. The old flats remind me of my old house in Teck Whye Lane and there used to be this playground somewhere near my old house then. But everything is plastic now.

Anyway, the girls were already there and Joanne-Marie Sim gave me this look when I reached (30 minutes late). 

You need to have certain level of friendship with me to give me this face

First Impression Counts

My expectations for Tian Kee & Co. Cafe was quite high because of the many good reviews from other bloggers. Some bloggers even took photos of old school biscuits and sweets. So I was really looking forward to them.

Do you remember how the white biscuit melts in your mouth without you chewing? 

Reality falls short. The cafe was vintage, no doubt. It looks traditional from the outside and chic from the inside. Honestly, I liked it. However, there's no traditional biscuits or sweets in sight. And unlike other cafes, there's no aircon.

The consolation might be the old school kiddie ride outside the shop which the girls tried very hard to fit Katie in but failed.

The old school 20 cents kiddie ride..

This is Katie. Yes, the girls tried to put her in the ride >.<

I've been scrolling through my Facebook and seeing lots of pictures on rainbow cakes. My side mission to Tian Kee & Co. was also to grab a piece of the legendary rainbow cake.

Unfortunately, they only sell rainbow cheese cake. It looks nice and many people have commented it's nice. However, (me being Jim again) I don't like cheese cakes and have decided to go with another dessert (Ugly Nutella @ SGD$6.50) instead.

Rainbow Cheese Cake looks like Paddle Pop Ice Cream

I'm ugly but I'm gentle

The Ugly Nutella is damn good. The top layer is fluffy while the bottom crust is solid and filling. When I put it inside my mouth, the bottom crust breaks gently with a light hint of cocoa. It's absolutely UN-UN-UNBELIEVABLE!

Evalee and I literally went gaga like this when we first taste the ugly nutella

As a good patron, I also tried their signature Tandoori Chicken and Ice Mocha. Not very wow. 

The sourish-sweet sauce is interesting though..

Ice Mocha served in Old-School Jars

Go Or No?

3 girls looking at photographer (me) differently. Now you know who loves me and who don't. :')

It's a good walk down memory lane. I enjoyed catching up with the girls. It is slightly overpriced (I spent around $30 on the 3 items) but the unique retro hipster experience and a few hundred more likes on my Instagram makes it worth the while.

Besides, the cafe would be demolished next year in 2016. With not much historical places to show us how people lived their lives in the past, Tian Kee & Co Cafe is a good reminder of the good old days. I think it's also a good idea to bring our parents or grandparents there on a nostalgic trip. So I say, go at least once before it's gone forever.

Tian Kee & Co Cafe Contact Details:

  • 12 Dakota Crescent, #01-48 (S) 390012
  • Opening Hours: 9am - 11pm
  • Tel: +65 6344 8527
  • Empty on weekdays afternoon

Disclaimer: Tian Kee & Co. Cafe DID NOT pay me anything or give me anything free to do up this article. This article is solely based on my unbiased experience there in May 2015.


Comments (4)

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  • is the chicken is bad?
  • omg! the baby is so cute!!
  • is that evalee?