Like every country, Brunei seems to go through trends, and it appears like café culture seems to be in it’s prime, with a key focus on coffee. But we’re not talking Lavazza-machine-coffee, we’re talking roasted in house, good coffee. And I’m all about the good coffee. (Fact: my blood is 90% espresso). Instagram is huge in Brunei so all the links to the below shops are to their instagrams as you’ll find the most relevant information there.
So whilst visiting Brunei to see my parents, I set myself the task of not only boosting my University work productivity, but also to visit pretty much every good coffee shop in the country. It was an arduous task, as expected.
Fortunately Brunei has several really awesome offerings which made my heart sing (and the vast majority also had Soya milk which was an extra bonus). So let’s get cracking in no particular order.
Danes Café was one of my first points of call, located near to Gadong on Batu Bersarat Road, and offering not only good coffee, but brilliant food. This is one of the few places in Brunei that serves western non-Halal food, and they do it well. There’s not much to be said about the interior décor (if chosen wrongly, you might end up at a table with a superhero logo…), but it’s cosy and warm and the staff are brilliant. The only non-brunch I’ve eaten here was Christmas lunch but the food is good. They offer a wide assortment of breakfasts (that are available till 4pm) but also favourites like BLTs, burgers and a wide number of specials that range from Chicken Cordon Bleu to Pork ragou. Non-Halal food can sometimes be dodgy in Brunei, but Danes is doing well. Their coffee range is also brilliant. Not only do they offer Chai Lattes (which, granted, is not a coffee), but they have a wide range of your classics plus flavoured options. And of course, if you fancied a sweet with your coffee, there are massive slabs of cake available (which I haven’t tried but many have told me they’re great). A nice change from more local options.
I first visited Alter Ego Foods over Christmas as my mum assured me I’d be in heaven due to the number of plants, copper and marble. And she was right. You may have spotted this on my instagram but it’s definitely worth a visit. The coffee is really really good and they have not only cakes and pastries available but a niche range of fusion options for a lighter meal. I would say their speciality lies in their tea selection as they have an abundance available and seem to know their stuff. They don’t roast their own beans in-house but their coffee is good nonetheless. Located in the new bustling development of Kiulap, next to Regent Square, it’s hard to miss with the blue exterior.
Roasted Sip is one of Brunei’s newest coffee shops and located a 2 minute drive from my house in Jerudong Complex, I was there. Roasted Sip, unlike Danes & Alter Ego, roast their own beans in house so coffee is very much the focus. Their coffee is brilliant. Purely for this post (ahem), I “”forced”” myself to try their Toffee Latte and their Vintage Cappucino and both were brilliant. I’m a big fan of the ole’ Toffee Nut Latte and quite honestly, their Toffee Latte was better. The coffee itself was rich and smooth so was ideal. Their Vintage Cappucino has to be my favourite as they blowtorch the top, making it taste like Crème Brulee, which is my all time favourite desert. The interior is stunning, think raw concrete floors, and warm wood with plenty of leafy greens. Behind the counter is a glass room, which is where I believe they roast their bean, hence adding a wonderful industrial feel. As they’re only six weeks old, the menu is fairly simple with only a few cake/sweeter options but their coffee is so good that it doesn’t matter. And with options like the Vintage Cappucino, which is essentially a desert, you don’t need much else.
As I write this post, I’m sat in Kapra Coffee Roasters located off Simpang 440 on Jalan Muara (right next door to the German Shop) and I can testify to very good coffee. Similarly to Roasted Sip, they have an exposed glass area at the back where the beans are roasted, and again there’s that wonderful raw concrete and dark wood interior. It’s fairly minimal in that there’s a long high bar-esque table as opposed to multiple smaller ones (and surprisingly comfortable stools). Kapra is a bit older than Roasted Sip but again their coffee is brilliant. For research purposes, I had a Soy Cappucino and Soy Iced Latte – both were wonderful. Kapra definitely has more of a focus on the beans, with their menu keeping to classics like the Espresso, Long Black, and Latte and Cappucino variations. The Barista really knows his coffee and is more than happy to engage in conversation about different beans – something that’s a bit beyond my coffee knowledge. Kapra offers a good range of cakes – check their instagram for daily specials, and also offers lunchtime sandwiches, (again check their instagram). Would definitely recommend a visit.
High Frequency Café looks almost Colonial in appearance from the outside and is painted a gorgeous mint green. Located near the highway in Gadong, it’s again another fab coffee shop. It offers numerous different light lunch and brekkie options (which unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to try) but the inside was the perfect mix of comfy soft chairs and actual tables – making it ideal for long chats or actual meals. Great coffee, nice décor, another great Bruneian coffee shop. (Photos pulled from their instagram as I simply forgot to take photos. The shame).
Rack&Brew has been around a lot longer than many of the coffee shops on this list and is handily located directly across the road from The Mall in Gadong, next to McDonalds. Go up a set of stairs and you're there. It’s evolved so much since my first visit in 2015 and has developed so much. They have a cohesive drinks & breakfast menu (because let’s face it, breakfast is the best meal ever). They also have an awesome selection of cakes – check out their instagram for their current options. Good food, comfy seats and a handy location. What more could you want from a café? (Photos from their instagram because I’m a terrible blogger).
So there you have it. A few of my favourite cafes in Brunei. As I’m over there quite a lot, I’ll try and keep this list updated if I discover anything new or exciting and shall endeavour to make sure everywhere is photographed next time.
Have you been to Brunei? Any coffee shop recommendations?