Cafe Hopping: Toby’s Estate at Robertson Quay

DSC_0393Robertson Quay is one of my favourite brunch spots in Singapore. The silence of the place, coupled with the calmness of the river, a boat passing by, kids riding their scooters, people sitting alfresco enjoying a quiet meal. It all paints a perfect setting to enjoy a relaxed weekend brunch.

So decided to start my coffee house hopping trail from Robertson Quay.

Toby's Estate

Toby’s Estate

A couple of weekends ago, me along with a few friends decided to meet at Robertson Quay for a coffee. With no real destination in mind, we were walking down the Rodyk Street enjoying the beautiful weather (it was cool and cloudy), when we spotted a black house painted with red windows. Ordinarily, such a tacky combination wouldn’t work, but the building does look attractive and elegant.

We were standing right outside Toby’s Estate. In fact you will not be able to tell that the place is in fact a café in a passing glance.

I have heard of Toby’s Estate from a couple of coffee addict friends who love the coffee there. We decided to give it a try.

The Ambiance:

The place was quite crowded and we were torn between sitting at the Alfresco sitting which overlooks the river or sit inside the elegant looking house.

Communal Table

Communal Table

If outside was appealing, the café inside was quite something too. The décor is quite unlike what I have seen. The first thing you notice when you enter the café is a huge communal table right in the middle. A perfect setting if you are in a large group. Might not be so perfect for those who are not a part of that group though.

Coffee Machine

Coffee Machine

On the right of the café is this huge coffee machine. Apparently, they source only the altitude Arabica coffees from around the world where weather and ripening conditions are perfect. They also blend coffee beans of different flavours to make what they consider perfect blends. And now we know where they blend it!

Counter at Toby's Estate

Counter at Toby’s Estate

Their coffee counter is quite tastefully done too. From the chalk drawings on the board, to the swanky looking coffee machines on the counter, you can see they want to put up a show.

Retail Products

Retail Products

There’s also a small display counter which displays coffee packs and coffee accessories for retail sale.


Overall the wooden tables and chairs add a countrified look to the overall décor. The huge wall glass with the bar stool settings also makes it a lovely place for solitary visit.

DSC_0370You can easily read a book while sipping your coffee and occasionally staring at the river and passer byers.


They have a few coffee tasting sessions, updates of which are available either in their coffee house or on their facebook page.

The Coffee & Drinks:


House Blend

Toby’s Blend: For someone who advertises the fact that they make their own blends after studying combinations, acidity, sweetness of the beans, I had to try their blend. Ever seen a coffee served in a wine glass? Well Toby’s Estate serves their own blends in a wine glass. Maybe it has something to do with the owner Toby Smith’s belief that “Coffee is becoming more like wine,” says Smith. “Some of these small producers and their micro-lots, like garage wine producers, are in higher demand. And this is good because farmers are able to show off their best beans and get a higher price for them.”

I like drinking my coffee without sugar quite often. However, the blend we tasted was a little too strong and a little sour too. I have not tasted sour coffee yet, and I thought of myself as a little short of being a coffee aficionado. Having said that I appreciate adventure, and this coffee was well made, despite it being strong.

Piccolo Latte

Piccolo Latte

Piccolo Latte: I love Piccolo Latte and often order it over my normal cuppa Joe, provided it is actually available. This one was extremely well blended and brewed. The perfect amount of acidity and that innate sweetness made it a perfect enough that I didn’t feel the need to add sugar. The design on the coffee was very intricate too.

Orange & Green Apple Juice

Orange & Green Apple Juice

Orange & Green Apple Juice: The juice was cool and refreshing… what attracted us the most to it was the combination. I have had orange with apples a lot of times… but never green apples as they are naturally slightly more sour. Hence, never really thought orange and green apple would go together so well.

The Food:

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs: Having had no intentions of eating anything, I saw the server carrying a plate of delectable looking scrambled eggs and couldn’t resist it. The eggs were beautifully scrambled with just the right amount of creaminess. Lightly flavoured with basil and oregano, it was nicely balanced. They have some decent egg and sandwich spread, but their coffees are definitely better than their food.

The History of Toby’s Estate:

It’s not so much history as a story behind the coffee shop and someone has taken time off to beautifully describe it in a timeline on their website. Today Toby’s Estate is present in Australia, Singapore and New York.

How much will it cost me: The coffee is decently priced (given the brand and the location) between S$ 4 to S$ 8 in most cases. And most other menu items are priced under S$ 20. A cuppa coffee and a sandwich can cost around S$ 20 – S$ 25.


Ambiance: They score brilliantly well on location and ambiance. I loved it. Rustic yet tastefully done.

Location: You cannot fault the location, even if you tried. The blue house across the river, the silent river, alfresco setting available, it’s perfect.

Their coffee: Their coffee is a definite thumbs up for me too. Their self-blended coffee was unique and adventurous too. Albeit too adventurous for those who not often enjoy their coffees too strong. But for those, they have the regular lattes and the likes, which I hear are quite good too. Their food isn’t their selling point, but having said that, it was quite nice and you wouldn’t be disappointed with your meal. It’s definitely worth a try, especially for a relaxed weekend morning or afternoon solitary or in company.

History: While you cannot really call it history, I love their story. Makes it for a good read.

Rating:  ***1/2
Address: 8 Rodyk Street #01-03/04 Singapore Tel: +65 6636 7629

Timings: 7:30am to 6:30pm


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6 thoughts on “Cafe Hopping: Toby’s Estate at Robertson Quay

  1. Ina Niemann February 2, 2014 at 5:58 pm Reply

    We had breakfast at Toby’s today – the ambiance is very nice, the staff was friendly, the cappuccino quite ok – but the food rather disappointing. We had Toby’s breakfast (egg, bacon mushrooms, tomatoes) and had to return the bacon as it was half raw. Instead of three or four slices nicely fried there were ten(!) slices, a few of them still sticking together as in a newly bought packet. Whoever was frying it just threw it quickly into a pan and then on the plate. The staff took off the bacon and returned the half cold plate to us, soggy bread and loads of mushrooms – the fried bacon came back after we had finished everything, swimming in oil – rather disgusting! Another person had French toast – which was supposed to come with apples and bananas – instead it came with apples and strawberries (he can’t eat). Bananas are out we were told – after serving it! if something is out, the guest should be informed before so, he can change to another dish! What a pity – it could be such a nice place.

    • Sonal Chinchwadkar February 2, 2014 at 6:55 pm Reply

      Wow that was a serious bad experience. Pity indeed. Surprisingly it wasn’t bad for me… But thanks for the heads up… This was disappointing really

  2. Coffee October 7, 2013 at 9:56 am Reply

    We love this place too!
    Have you tried Anthesis next door? The breads are good and loved their coffee as well!

    • Sonal Chinchwadkar October 7, 2013 at 10:02 am Reply

      I had tried it sometime back… but should review Anthesis! 🙂

  3. Disha Kapadia September 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm Reply

    Great pictures, the view from the cafe is simply amazing! And the coffee in the wineglass: inspired! 😀

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