The Garden Slug: our favourite dog-friendly café in the East.
Fancy a home-cooked brunch on a breezy weekend morning?
Disclaimer: We love the Garden Slug café. So this review is going to be as biased as an Auntie talking about her grandkids.
As you can tell on the SG Wellbeing page, I'm a big fan of dog-friendly spots and pet cafes in Singapore. They aren't just good for food, but they are great for your mental well-being too.
They help to foster a friendly community and connection with new people. You get to meet pretty darn cute dogs too. They are also fantastic spots to laze about on a weekend and simply enjoy the present moment in life.
As you're about to see, the Garden Slug café does this on so many levels.
It's a small, cozy little spot situated in Telok Kurau.
Planted right next to a plant shop (forgive my pun-ny writing), there's an allure to this place with all its hanging pots of green leaves and ferns.
It really makes you feel like you're having brunch or lunch in somebody's well-loved garden. That's actually somewhat true, as it was opened up by a Singaporean family in 2006 who wanted to create a cozy, relaxed space for people.
As they say on their website - "It's always relaxed and casual here, no pretensions."
Service is one of the best and friendliest in this country. You'll be greeted warmly as you come in, and there's absolutely no rushing you off once you've done your eating.
If you're lucky, you'll get to see one of the owner-aunties shooing away a three-some birds that have gathered around some leftovers. You'll learn that it's always the same birds that come around, and that this auntie has actually given them names.
Because the Garden Slug cafe is situated pretty close to East Coast park, you get a nice sea breeze coming through the outdoor seating. Here's Soba, our Shiba-Inu, enjoying the cool air coming down the road.
The food: big portions of home-cooked goodness.
We've been there many times, and each time the food never fails to get me full. I'm a relatively big six-foot 80-kilo guy, so that isn't always the case wherever we go.
The garden slug café prides itself on large portions of home-cooked meal. They serve typical brunch grub, as well as lunch meals like pasta and burgers.
My go-to brunch is their Three Little Pigs ($19) - a fried-up not-too-healthy plate of a mish-mash of sausage, bacon, hashbrowns and eggs, with some fresh bread and butter on the side. Yet, it seems to be just what I needed on a Sunday morning.
My wife is a smoked-salmon nut - so she went for the runny scrambled eggs topped off with layers upon layers of smoked salmon ($16).
Coffee is served simple, no-fuss, with a bowl of sugar to pick from. My wife opted for their chai-latte, made to order and refreshingly good while seated outdoors.
The food and drinks all feel like they were cooked up from a traditional shop-house kitchen. It's almost like going to your favourite auntie's house on a weekend, and she's tenderly cooked up a meal for in hope that you'll enjoy it to the fullest.
What we love - the community of friendly people and owners.
This is a spot that many local dog-owners love. People head to the Garden Slug with all intention of letting their pets socialise and meet other friendly pets.
Because of this, the environment is warm and friendly and no one is shy about striking up a conversation with the next table.
We had a great chat with a couple seated next to us, who were also paw-rents to a playful one-year old corgi. It's a really nice change from being in other noisy, crowded spots, where we try our best to pretend like other people don't exist.
Somehow, sitting at the Garden Slug, you feel so much peace and comfort that all the pretensions and stress you carry with you slips away. You become open to connection, and the collective yearning in all humans to live, laugh and love is apparent.
At one point when we were there, everyone in the outdoor seating area turned to watch and laugh as a funny little corgi and a french bulldog started playfighting and making funny poses at each other.
That said, you don't have to have a pet to head there. Anybody and everybody is welcome. Just head there with the spirit of being kind to each other, and to the friendly dogs.
We Singaporeans often rush through our lives and focus on growing and expanding the vastness of our work, wealth and experience. Yet, we all too often skip pass the little patch of moments that lay at our feet, where we could start learning instead to enjoy and savour, just like a real garden slug.
In closing, my wife and I and our two fur-kids are there almost fortnightly on Sunday mornings, so if you happen to recognise us by our two little doggies, Soba and Mandu, do say hi :)
Thanks for reading Kaya Toast for the Soul. Slow down, calm your mind, and enjoy the little things in life.