12 Dakota Crescent #01-48 Singapore 390012
Tel: 6344 8527
Tian Kee & Co is a very vintage provision shop turned cafe situated at an old block of 2-storied shophouse in Dakota Crescent. From the name to the signboard bearing it, to the-fashioned metal mugs, to Dolphin kiddy ride sitting outside the shopfront, the rusted metal grill gates and windows - everything has been retained to give it an authentic, nostalgic ambience.
Ok, some new additions like high-stools and couches have been added onto the furniture collection - and even the washroom was surprisingly pretty with flowers and pebbles (pity I didn't take camera into the loo - but I doubt anyone would??) - but other than that, most of the furniture here are made up of vintage breadrack (aka water station), wooden table with fornica tabletop etc.
Despite its minimalistic and dated settings though, Tian Kee & Co serves surprisingly modern desserts such as cheesecake and Japanese cupcakes. That was what piqued *Wendy's and my interest actually, hence we made our way on a sunny afternoon to this hidden gem of a cafe in a HDB block, knowing that it is not air-conditioned too.
I debated for a long time on what drinks to have - since everything seemed interesting - should I take the Very Berry or Iced Pink Lady or Iced Snag?
In the end I settled for the latter - Iced Snag (SGD$6.50), essentially double Ristretto and Rose Syrup with Fresh Milk. It is a lovely latte beverage with the sweet linings of rose syrup, both suitably concocted so that they complement each other smoothly without obliterating / clashing with each other's flavors.
*Wendy came earlier than me and she was finishing up her delicious Nuts About U (SGD$7.00) - Nutella and Espresso Ice Cubes with Fresh Milk. They were an indiscernible mess of pale brown by the time I arrived, but she insisted that every sip was rich with the lovely taste of nutella - an iced mocha done right.
Then we tried the Rainbow Yogurt Cheese Cake (SGD$7.50) - looking nothing like the average tiered rainbow chiffon / sponge cakes we usually see / eat. These light, dreamy swirls were so pretty, so surreal, so eye-catching, and reminding us of the Paddlepop Ice-cream (anyone remembers?). The biscuit base was light and crumbly, a good fit for the lightly creamy-textured cake. Yes, the gently-sweet, colorful cake was a delight to the palate, in its smooth, soft, pudding-like form, we unwittingly finished the cake in bites before we realised it.
We later learned that we should "shake" it to see the colors quivering prettily like jelly... oh, well, too late.
Hence, we began to dug into the other signature item - the Yuan Yang Cheesecake (SGD$6.50). Thankfully they separated the layers into coffee and tea respectively - I had thought it would be a cake tasting of both flavors blended into one (just like the Hong Kong's yuan yang drink literally). The chocolate base was brilliant. The cheesecake was light but creamy, with equally delicate tones of coffee and tea flavors on each layer - distinctive when eaten separately; but a blissful marriage of taste when eaten together.
Tian Kee & Co is indeed the perfect place to reminisce on the good old days, yet indulge oneself in creative pastries. The service is good as well, even though there is no service charge. Do come on down to cop a feel / bite or two, because sadly, this lovely place will be closed at the end of 2016.