Many of us miss Thailand — how do you beat the cheap massages, endless night markets, and hearty Thai food? If you’re looking for an authentic taste of Thailand in Singapore like us, hidden-gem Warm Up Cafe might be what you’re looking for.
The cafe is hidden away in a row of shophouses on Mackenzie Road, a short walk from Little India MRT. You’d find it in a shop under a rustic signboard that screams “authentic Thai food here”.
But it’s a different story inside, where it still feels very homely and cosy like most Thai eateries. However, it’s also spruced up with a few fancy light fittings to give it a modern edge.
At the back of Warm Up Cafe, you can find a gorgeous al fresco area that’s illuminated by a radiant wall of fairy lights. This snug setup reminds us of the hipster bistros in the back alleys of BKK.
They also serve up some hearty Thai fare that’s a treat for the eyes too. The star here is definitely their Creamy Crab Omelette Rice (S$10), which is an irresistible bargain at this price.
We can’t get over the lavish amount of crab meat that came with it. But really, the star was the silky smooth omelette with an addictive creaminess that complemented the luscious crab fabulously.
Another great dish was the Beef Boat Noodles (S$7.50) that featured a robust broth that’s a glut of beefy richness. Plus, the noodles had a pristine bounce and didn’t turn soggy throughout the course of the meal.
Not surprising, since Warm Up Cafe is actually opened by Gu Thai Noodle Cafe, one of the more popular boat noodle stores in Singapore.
However, the biggest surprise at Warm Up Cafe was the Tom Yum Soup (S$12) which, despite a deep crimson colour had a delightfully twangy profile.
While there’s still a touch of heat, it’s balanced quite gracefully by the twang and a nuanced combination of spice notes. Very refreshing and mildly creamy Tom Yum Soup that even a mala xiao la eater could enjoy
For fans of meaty skewers, get a plate of their Grilled Sweet ($6) which sported a tender, juicy bite.
On the other hand, the other meat dish we ordered didn’t fare so well. Unlike what its name suggests, the Crispy Basil Pork (S$15) wasn’t really crispy and the salt levels were too much for us.
Overall, Warm Up Cafe was a nice throwback to Thailand — big hearty flavours that feel closer to Thailand than most commercial Thai restaurants in Singapore, normally mellower in flavours to match the local palate.
Most importantly, they open until 3am daily which makes it a great late-night hangout spot. Don’t miss out on this hidden gem if you’re looking for an authentic Thai place that’s not one of the Golden Mile usuals!