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Friday, November 17, 2017

7 Best JB Cafes That You Can Walk From City Square

Johor Bahru's cafe-scene seemed to be blooming in recent years. The reason is pretty simple - Singapore's cafe food is too expensive. One plate of egg benedict and a cuppa at a decent cafe costs probably SGD$25. With the exchange rate now, that is equivalent to RM$75 and that can settle a pretty good 3-person meal (thank you Malaysia, truly Asia). That's why Singaporeans flock over during the weekends or holidays, and THAT IS WHY JB prices are rising as well. Wah lao. (Sorry ah, limbeh Singaporean so need to complain a bit.)

My mother always told me "ah boy, you siao (crazy) ah, go all the way to JB and eat, worth the time and money meh?" Okay, I don't go to JB all the time. Sometimes, the customs queue is a huge turn-off, but I do catch some movies and restock my own contact lenses there (damn cheap wei - but that's another story). So whenever I'm there, might as well go try cafes, yeah?

No car? No time? No problem. Here are 7 cafes that you can walk from City Square - the mall just after the Malaysia customs (if you're going from Woodlands Checkpoint).

Disclaimer: Cafes are not ranked in any way. Just that the first picture makes a good cover photo.

1. The Replacement Lodge and Kitchen
33, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru

This dainty, modern cafe sits at a prominent spot in Jalan Dhoby (aka Jalan Cafe or Jalan Hipsters, just kidding) and features an exterior of clean white walls - now this is worth mentioning because buildings are generally old and torn down around the area. The design of the cafe is minimalistic - pretty wooden furniture paired with white-washed walls. Sibei hipster.. and so much inspiration for my future home. To start off, The Replacement is seriously, and I'm saying it with a serious face, seriously insta-worthy. OMG, damn it, just look at this.

2. Bev Cafe
54, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru

Bev C (or Bev Cafe) is both a fashion boutique store and a cafe. You'll be greeted not by food, but with clothes. Don't be shocked (like me), because the food is on the second storey. It's refreshing to see how bits and pieces of fashion are incorporated in the cafe, for example, the white shirts are used as seat covers. Menu-wise, it is simple, but not kinda extensive (but again, who needs one when you have a few kick-ass brunch menu).
3. Big Bites Cafe
18, Jalan Ibrahim, Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru

We chanced upon Big Bites Cafe while searching for cakes around the area. To be honest, there aren't many, so we popped into this dainty cafe located at Jalan Ibrahim. Although it doesn't have a strong social media presence like the others, the standards for their French and Italian-inspired desserts are surprisingly good. Grab a cuppa and one of their signature mille-crepe of assorted flavours.
4. Chaiwalla & Co. Container Cafe
36, Jalan Tan Hiok Nee, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru

This cafe is like no other because it's housed in a refurbished shipping container which makes it kinda Instagram-worthy (think Timbre+). Although they serve various beverages and some pies, people go to Chaiwalla just for one thing - their Thai Milk Tea (seriously). That's what I ordered too. Just a tip, if you don't want to get diabetes sugar-high, ask for less sugar.
5. Roost Recycled & Repurposed
9, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru

Here's another distinctive cafe with its rustic and vintage vibe. Expect to see lots of things from your granny's generation and random things - but that's the beauty of this place. For some reasons, it makes me think of the phrase - "find beauty in chaos". Anyway! They serve a pretty extensive menu over here from healthy bowls of salads and juices to your typical brunch items.
6. Faculty of Caffeine 
106, Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru

The exterior of Faculty of Caffeine is difficult to be missed, with its hipster-matte-looking black-and-white signboard set upon walls of pastel blue. As expected, its interior was designed with no less thoughts. With a combination of chic and vintage, it allows a cosy space for timeless furniture, such as a vintage sewing machine and a huge mirror with Chinese characters, completed with artwork designed by the owners - a place where coffee meets art.
7. Flowers in the Window
9, Jalan Dhoby, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor

If you're looking for another insta-worthy cafe, drop by Flowers in the Window, another brainchild of the founders of Roost (see number 5). Except for recycled and rustic stuff for their interior, expect - well, flowers. Their creations incorporate bits and piece of flora as well, such as the highly recommended Rose Pistachio Cake (below). To be honest, the two slices of cakes were mediocre, but the ambience makes up for it.

Click here for full review.
Here's a bonus: Original Cake 源味本鋪
LOT MF-18, 3rd Floor, City Square 106-108 Jalan Wong Ah Fook, 80000 Johor Bahru

Not sure if this qualifies as a cafe, but the Original Cake has garnered lots of attention in recent months with their jiggly and fluffy cake. There are various flavours such as coffee, chocolate, cheese and the original. Although West Gate has one, for some reasons, the one at JB is much better. Best thing? You don't even have to walk out of City Square for this one!

So there you have it - 7 Best JB Cafes That You Can Walk From City Square! Do you beg to differ or are there any cafes that can make it to this list?