Food Review: Populus Cafe at 146 Neil Road. Why So Popular?

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Singapore - Populus Cafe at 146 Neil Road

If there is anything cafe owners should know, it is to never underestimate the power of Instagram, especially in this era.

Hyped up by a number of instagrammers and bloggers, I decided to pop by Populus to understand exactly why they are so popz. (Pun level: Over 9000)

Like almost 75% of the cafes in Singapore, Populus adopts an industrial-themed decor with warm lights to make the cafe feel cosy. However, the space is quite cramped, which can make you feel a little bit claustrophobic.

Populus Cafe - Interior and Ambience

Populus Cafe - Interior and Ambience

I would usually expect a lot out of their coffees when cafes have "coffee" in their name. With a name like "The Populus Coffee & Food Co", I JUST HAD TO order their beans to try.

Iced Mocha ($7)

Populus Cafe - Iced Mocha

And sadly, this disappoints. The aroma of the coffee was muted and the chocolate wasn't rich enough to make you think this was an Iced Chocolate. The chocolate tasted more like the Milo our secondary school canteen auntie made - diluted to cheat poor students of their money, but this time, she accidentally spilled some coffee into it. 

Coffee Spill

The Iced Mocha was not that bad, but it definitely failed to meet my expectation.

The Populus Scramble ($17)

Populus Cafe - The Populus Scramble

Consisting of scrambled eggs, fresh herb melange, marinated feta, streaky bacon and toasted croissant, this Populus Scramble is probably what made the place so popular. The eggs were smooth, soft and creamy, as if they had never worked a day in their life. Just like Gudetama:

Gudetama Gif

The croissant crumbles into a million pieces in your mouth with each bite, giving you a sense of satisfaction as the crispy layers dissipate on your tongue.

The bacons exist purely as a blanket for the Gudeta.. eggs. I mean eggs.

Gudetama Bacon Blanket

'Ginger Beer' Pork Collar ($23)

Populus Cafe - 'Ginger Beer' Pork Collar

Charred ginger beer marinated pork collar, roasted butternut squash with spicy yogurt, honey coriander salsa verde and apple slaw. Yeap, we are in an era where we are drawn to food with soda (think root beer, Coke) because interesting food whets our appetite. 

The pork was tender, well marinated, and sweet (probably because of the ginger beer) but the spicy yogurt didn't stand out enough. The butternut felt out of place; I would have preferred mangoes. At $23, I expected more from this dish. At the very least, Populus could have given me a can of ginger beer. Black Moon Face

We totally skipped the dessert when we saw the price of a sundae - $14 WHOPPING DOLLARS. And guess what? They charge an additional $5 FOR WAFFLES. Really guys? Are you going to charge such exorbitant prices for ice-cream? I can go to Sunday Folks and get a really good ice-cream+waffles at only $8.80.

All in all, I felt that this cafe is overhyped. The ambience wasn't that great, the space was cramped and their coffee was average. Besides, with their mains at the ~$20 range and ice-cream at $14, Populus cafe can make you go "pok" (bankrupt) very soon. 

Click here to download their full menu.

Cafe Rating (out of 5 Evilbeans):

Singapore Cafe - Populus Cafe at 146 Neil Road

The Populus Coffee & Food Co.

146 Neil Rd
Singapore 088875
Nearest MRT Station: Outram Park
Tel: +65 6635 8420
Opening Hours: 

Mon, Wed: 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Thurs - Fri: 9:00 AM - 10:30 PM
Sat: 9:30 AM - 10:30 PM
Sun: 9:30 AM - 7:00 PM
(Closed on Tuesdays)

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  1. Nice! I'd like to try The Populus Scramble. They look delicious. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You're welcome! Let me know your thoughts after you have tried them!


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