By Michelle Zhu (15A01B)
Additional reporting by Joyce Er (15A01A), Myko Philip (15A01B), Sharvani Kim (15A01D), Valerie Chee (15S07B)
Tucked away in Thomson V Two along Upper Thomson Road, November 8 Coffee & Company is a relatively new emergence into the fast-growing local café scene. Despite its obscure location, there was a waiting list when we visited late on a Saturday afternoon for a two-hour Press meeting, although we were seated relatively quickly. Wood furniture, bare concrete industrial floors and exposed coloured pipes on the ceiling made for a rugged and homey feel, though this was marred by the somewhat trashy pop music playlist.
November 8 is best known for its coffee, brewed with premium beans from Common Man Coffee Roasters. The coffee here is definitely value for money. I enjoyed my well-balanced Flat White ($4.50), which boasted complex flavours, although I personally felt the milk was could have been more velvety.
The overwhelming acidity of their Espresso ($3 for a single shot, $4 for double) overpowered most other flavours in an otherwise impressive shot. Nevertheless, it nicely matched an otherwise pedestrian Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cake (reviewed below). 3.5/5
Sweet Potato Fries ($7): We were disappointed to see that November 8 did not have truffle fries, usually a cafe mainstay, on their menu. Nevertheless, these were exceptionally well-seasoned, with the salt and pepper successfully keeping the sweetness from becoming tiresome, as is often the case with similar dishes from other cafes. However, the fries themselves were disappointingly limp and even a tad soggy, lacking the distinctive crispness that sets the best apart. (Vegetarian choice) 3.5/5
The highlight of the Baked Portobello Mushroom ($10) was not the mushrooms, but the bacon and mozzarella cheese that spruced up an otherwise mundane dish. With just three huge (and somewhat under-baked) mushrooms, the value for money of this dish is questionable despite it being a good snack, the best part of the dish lying arguably in the sauce. 3/5
Garden Pizza ($11): Portion wise, the pizza was sufficiently filling, although the crust was feeble and vaguely rubbery. It was also somewhat lacking in the promised mushroom and spinach toppings and was instead drowned in an excess of melted cheese. (Vegetarian choice) 3/5
Another of November 8’s signature dishes, the Potato Rosti ($16), did not disappoint. Served with a generous portion of scrambled eggs, salad, bacon and sausage, the potato was nicely fried and crispy on the sides. We were highly impressed with the creamy scrambled eggs that were perfectly cooked and seasoned, as well as the unique salad dressing that added flavour to the greens without diminishing its freshness. 4.5/5
Strawberry Waffle ($10): As the cafe was temporarily out of waffles when we arrived, we waited half an hour to order this dish. Though not as impressive as those served up at Wimbly Lu, this is one of the better dishes at November 8. Topped with fresh strawberries and ice cream (flavours include French Vanilla, Belgium Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, Strawberry, Coconut Taro, Lime Sorbet, Rainbow), the waffles were crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. They also came beautifully plated and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Despite the sourness of the strawberries (typical of what one gets in Singapore), it was balanced out well by the French Vanilla ice-cream and was a definite treat. 4/5
The Sea Salt and Chocolate Cake ($6) impressed with its smooth buttercream, while the lightly sprinkled layer of sea salt kept the cake from becoming too cloyingly sweet, and added a unique savoury touch. The chocolate layers were unremarkable, and perhaps my biggest gripe was that the cake was not served cold as I had hoped, reducing its charm. 3/5
Chocolate and Peanut Butter ($6): Unfortunately, this cake fell short of expectations. The peanut butter flavour was indistinct under the flavour of average chocolate sponge. Its saving grace was the chocolate sauce drizzled across the cake, without which it would have risked being dry, lukewarm and unappealing. It paired well with the espresso we ordered, but on its own was hardly worth the price. 3/5
Overall, November 8 Coffee and Company is a cozy café with a welcoming atmosphere that offers a good place for a chat with friends. Though a tad overpriced, the food nevertheless satisfied my palate. One grouse would be the food taking up to half an hour to arrive, making it less than ideal for a quick bite (though this might have been because of the weekend crowd). Though certainly not exceptional, its proximity to school, relaxed ambience and – best of all – free Wi-Fi make it an excellent after-school hangout.
November 8 Coffee and Company is located at 11 Sin Ming Road, Thomson V Two, #01-30
Opening hours: 1200 – 0000 daily