If you’re a bookworm who’s feeling stifled by the lack of physical stores, check out the new Zall Bookstore. It takes on the Wheelock Place spot where the popular Borders stood until a decade ago.
Bookstore cafes have always been a thing in Singapore, with many hidden gems like the recently-closed Katasummi Koohii. This is why café hoppers will enjoy the quaint café on the first floor of Zall Bookstore.
Its decor is a minimalistic blend of white and brown, with some exposed bookshelves to give it an elegant edge. Plenty of daylight comes in through the wide windows and plenty of eye-soothing greens populate the perimeter.
Zall Bookstore’s bakes are all procured from a central kitchen, and not sourced from other brands. You can find common bakes in their display cabinet including Brownies (S$4.50) and Assorted Mochi (S$1.90).
The main cakes they have on rotation include their eye-catching Rainbow Cake (S$7.50), Burnt Cheesecake (S$7.90), and Ondeh Ondeh Cake (S$7.50).
You can find the usual suspects on their beverage menu such as Black (S$4.60), White (S$6), and Matcha Latte (S$7).
But if you want something more interesting, Zall Bookstore is quite popular for their Matcha Espresso (S$7.50). Essentially dirty matcha, you can see the cleanly seperated layers of matcha, milk, and espresso.
It’s a cup with a nice, smooth mouthfeel, but leaned towards the sweeter side and had a slightly jarring grassy profile. However, I can see matcha fans enjoying its depth of earthy notes.
Alternatively, Zall Bookstore also offers unique Purple Sweet Potato Latte (S$7.50) and Vanilla Latte (S$6.50) if matcha and coffee are too passe for you.
If you’re feeling peckish and need a bite, the staff strongly recommended the Ondeh Ondeh Cake (S$7.50). There’s nothing mind-blowing about it, but it’s a pretty solid slice of the cafe classic.
I like when my cake sponge is soft and slightly moist, and the grated coconut texture added extra oomph. It had a nice fragrant mix of cocnut and pandan, but could use with a bit less sweetness.
When you’re finished chilling at the cafe, their instagrammable spiral staircase can bring you upstairs to browse through Zall Bookstore’s extensive collection.
The bookstore’s 30,000-strong collection mainly comprises Chinese literature, but they also carry some English titles for those who aren’t proficient in mandarin.
Its decor on the second floor is beautifully minimalistic, alternating between elegant white hues and sleek black marble. Bookworms will find themselves enjoying the zen vibe throughout the store.
For those looking for some high culture, Zall Bookstore also has a small art gallery space hidden behind some bookshelves. Art lovers can peruse their carefully curated Chinese fine art — a nice change of pace from art commonly found in our galleries.
Overall, Zall Bookstore is a beautiful space in which book lovers, art lovers and café hoppers can feel at home. Zall Bookstores are typically opened 24 hours in China, so we might be able to look forward to some late-night book shopping in the future.