But it has not been spared the current trend of having old shophouses remodeled into cooler hipster cafes as well. Like it or not, hipster cafes are making their way into more heartland areas.
The Tastemaker Store is one such cafe, and it used to be a bookstore. The owner's grandson has taken over the space and converted it into a beautiful cafe and eatery.
The decor is simple and spacious, and unlike a number of heartlander cafes, there is a sense of a comfortable simplicity and elegance that permeates the entire area. You will definitely not feel squeezed here, and that alone will make you want to stay here much longer than you would.
|A Simple and Elegant Environment|
Serving a selection of local delights, as well as cakes from Maple and Market, they also do some toast sets that is rather different and refreshing. The owner's mum makes the local dishes herself, which includes homemade glutinous rice and yam cake.
|Gula Melaka Cake|
The outsourced cakes are decent, and the gula melaka cake that I sampled was a tad sweet, but otherwise a better than average cake. The coconut flakes on the cake were more prominent than the actual gula melaka flavor, but it was still a good way to pair your coffee with.
|Lemon Curd Toast|
What I particularly enjoyed most was this simple lemon curd toast set that came with a pair of soft boiled eggs. The soft boiled eggs were what you would expect from most kaya toast places, but it was the muffin toast with lemon curd that stood out.
The muffins were pretty looking and had a soft texture within, and the lemon curd was appropriately sharp with a ball of clotted cream added to cut through the acidity of the curd. I enjoyed how they came up with such a refreshing alternative to the standard kaya toast combo.
|Homemade Yam Cake|
The homemade yam cake was a winner too. Although it was not the smoothest yam cake that I have come across, taking each bite did remind me of that homecooked touch that is so unique to mum's cooking.
The texture of the yam was slightly grainy, but that is how I like my homemade yam cake to taste like, and the flavors of the yam was adequately pronounced, and coupled with the crunch and fragrance of the fried shallots and a side of sambal chilli, this makes the ideal tea time snack.
|Americano and Latte|
The downside to this cafe is the coffee. I read elsewhere that they are using Boncafe, and the resulting cups of caffeine betrayed the nature of the coffee beans. The americano I had lacked the aroma and body that you will get from a good coffee roast, and felt rather flat.
The latte fared better, as the addition of some steamed milk did make the coffee easier on the palate. I echoed my coffee disappointment to the owner and he roundly assured me that they will work harder to improve their coffee, so there is hope yet.
|Of Cakes and Homemade Delights|
Ultimately, the whole experience was an entirely positive one, and we did stay here longer than we originally planned. The initial idea of mixing outsourced cakes with mum's homemade local food might sound a bit disconcerting, but the final execution actually works like a charm.
And charming is the word I would best describe this place. Of all the new concept cafes that have sprung up, this is the one that has a clear identity and an easy going charm that will prove very enduring to a lot of cafe lovers.
Apart from the coffee, everything else works. The service staff were eager and friendly and combined with the choice of different foods here, it seems like a cafe that can please both the young and the old.
It is, indeed, something old and something new. A simple cafe elegance.
The Tastemaker Store
22 Havelock Road