Keong Saik Road is home to multiple shop house hotels, but Kesa House is a boutique beaut. And nestled casually at its lobby, right by the check-in desk, is The Affogato Lounge.
Sister concept to The Affogato Bar at Cluny Court, which has been touted as the first standalone coffee spot in the region to focus on affogatos and coffees, this sleek new spot is styled with warm woods, elements of black and gold, and minimalist decorative items. It’s the kind of magazine spread contemporary chic you wish your home could look like, which is reason enough to pop by for a quiet escape from the bustle of the street.
Not that the food disappoints. With a name like The Affogato Lounge, the menu clearly focuses on ice cream and espresso, with beans flown in from New Zealand’s Ozone Coffee Roasters twice a month. These velvety creations are a decadent delight, made with small-batch frosty flavors that they churn in-house, “pacotized” to allow for smooth mixtures with minimal air, so the scoops don’t melt quite as quickly as your regular ones.
To start light, order the pulut hitam-inspired Coco Black ($17), with kaya bread pudding, coconut ice cream, and a shot of Empire, the cafe’s flagship espresso blend that hints at chocolate, caramel, and berry jam. Then, move on to the must-try Tiramisu ($20), the brand’s first alcoholic affogato. It’s essentially a deconstructed version of the Italian treat, with layers of mascarpone, dark espresso ice cream, and ladyfinger chunks to soak up all that creamy, bittersweet goodness.
If you’re a diehard chocolate devotee, The Trilogy ($16) will probably be your go-to — it’s a mix of 70 percent dark chocolate sorbet, caramel blanc, single origin dark cocoa, and a double shot of Fitzroy, an aromatic brew with floral, fruity, and chocolatey notes. But be warned: It’s heavy on the rich and intense flavors, so indulge only if you have the bandwidth for it. Otherwise, there’s the Hazelnette ($17) for those who can’t resist Nutella, Ferrero Rocher, or anything hazelnut chocolate.
The liquid desserts continue with the cocktail series ($20 each), which spotlights concoctions featuring coffees, teas, and marmalades. To keep the caffeine kick going, try the rum, maple, and espresso blend that is Bruno, or opt for a sweeter rendition with Sienna, made of Baileys, espresso, and 70 percent dark cocoa.
On the tea side, the bar partners with local brand Pryce Tea for its creations, which include Auburn, a gin-based drink with the Vanda Miss Joaquim brew of tie guan yin and orchid petal. If you’re already a fan of the aromatic Collyer Quay, which blends lapsang souchong with assam black tea, go for Ashen, a smoky whisky cocktail with torched star anise.
The final category stars another homegrown name, Straits Preserve, using its Spice Island Marmalade and Tropical Calamansi spreads for beverages like a whisky sour rendition and a vodka drink with blackberries and basil.
To pad your stomach before laying on the robust flavors, nibble on tasty toasted paninis, salads, and quiches. Options include the Italian couscous tuna bowl ($15) of arugula, tuna, cherry tomatoes, olives, walnuts, and couscous; blue swimmer crab quiche ($13) stuffed with gruyere and generous hunks of meat; and the spicy Italian panini ($15) sandwiching salami, red peppers, and fontina cheese between ciabatta slices.
The Affogato Lounge is at #01-02 Kesa House, 55 Keong Saik Rd.
9889-7005. Tues-Sun 8am-11pm.
MRT: Outram Park
This article, Bittersweet symphony: Affogatos, coffees, and cocktails make up the menu of this sleek new Keong Saik lounge, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!