Tian Kee & Co: A Hipster Cafe that’s Actually Hip

20140717_181627While on a work recce the other week, I was lucky enough to chance upon a cool hipster joint at Dakota Crescent, an estate that really still have that ’60s era feeling. Well, upon first glance, I seriously thought that Tian Kee & Co, with its old school name and signboard, was simply an old provision shop that has yet to move out of the deserted row of shophouses at block 12. Then it dawned on me that it was one of the hipster cafes featured in the Sunday papers.

“Why don’t we continue our discussion over kopi (Hokkien/Malay for coffee) over there?” I chirped to my clients who happily agreed. Bar the food counter and sophisticated coffee machines, the interiors tried to project the old kopi tiam look as much as possible and it kinda worked. But one look at the menu and when you see that the kopi-o (Long Black in angmo if I’m not wrong or coffee with no sugar nor milk) is $5++, you remembered that it’s “hipster, hipster” and not a kopi tiam (coffee shop) after all. Well at least it wasn’t pretentious as most hipster cafes are as the guys behind the counter were friendly and helpful, offered us free sweets, and made recommendations without our asking to the various mouth-watering cakes they had on display. I ordered a Mr Brown, not the famous blogger but Tian Kee’s version of a kopi ping (coffee with milk on ice), and an Oreo cheesecake which was as yummy as it looked.
20140717_174300It’s an area known for the presence of many members of the pioneer generation (there’s an elder care centre at block 10) and… stray cats. Lots of them. So many that the cafe actually have a “waiting order number” stand with a picture of a cat on it, saying just how many cats there are in the neighbourhood. Eew. Anyway, despite the quiet area, lots of young and young-at-heart people still make time to go all the way into the estate to dine at TKC. And this is like 6pm on a Thursday. That shows the draw of the place. Besides the cosiness, the old-school charm, the great coffee and tasty cakes,- and cherry staff – it certainly worth making a visit to if you haven’t been.

Just wondering where they will move to when the authorities decide to mow down the ageing estate…


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