Just last weekend, we stumbled onto this quaint yet unabashedly vintage cafe tucked away in the sleepy corner of Telok Blangah Rise. And my oh my, what a nostalgic find it turned out to be for all of us! Especially since there was the unexpected bonus of uncovering THREE playgrounds near the cafe too, but more on that later.
Located right under a HDB block and in front of Telok Blangah Rise Market and Food Centre, Old Habits Boutique & Cafe is not only a retro-themed cafe, it is an antiques boutique and vintage store as well.
And the retro flavour began right outside the cafe, with the monkies coming into contact with various items that are familiar to us parents but yet seem so foreign to their generation. Think old-fashioned typewriters and coin-operated telephones, and you get the idea.
But if I thought that was as retro as it got, I was proven wrong the minute we entered the cafe.
Stepping into Old Habits is like being transported back in time - to an era that the wifey and I grew up in. Even though the entire place appeared to be in a haphazard mess at first glance.
But somehow, the extensive display of the vintage items felt comfortably cluttered (if there is such an expression!) ranging from wooden cabinets filled with antiques to vintage clocks and old signs adorning the walls.
Of all the tables in the cafe, gun for the ones that had been made from the bases of old sewing machines and come in transparent acrylic casings as tabletops.
The gems were kept immaculately within those casings and I had a field day reminiscing my childhood - shows how old I am! - as well as sharing those memories with the monkies.
How many items do you find familiar?
Apparently, one can also purchase the many vintage items on display in the cafe too! Even then, there is a huge suitcase filled with toys of yesteryears that customers are welcomed to play with.
Nothing like some vintage viewmasters to let the monkies understand how we parents whiled away the time during the non-smartphone days!
And long before mobile tablets or YouTube was unleashed to the world, we had to make do with these coolest gadgets of our time - which was essentially a portable movie player and one had to turn the handle round and round continuously to keep the movie going.
Frankly, the monkies were kept so busy with the vintage toys that they nearly forgot the other aspect of the cafe - the FOOD!
Old Habits serves a mix of classics like sandwiches, shepherd's pies and other finger food. Pity we were there during the mid-afternoon so our tummies could not sample the main courses. But we did order the Lemon Lime Float ($5.50) which was a mixture of 7-Up, and a scoop of lemon lime and vanilla ice cream each. The result? It tasted exactly like the Solero Lime ice cream!
Well, our tummies did rumble a little so we ended up ordering the Nacho Cheese Fries ($6.50).
AND the Waffle with Ice Cream ($7.50).
Amazingly, the monkies walloped most of the waffle and fries on their own... only leaving miserable scraps for the wifey and me.
What cheered me up a little was the precious find of some 好公民 (or Good Citizens) books! These were enough to revive my primary school days memories I assure you.
Ayd was pretty intrigued by the books - he said the words were simpler than his current Civics and Moral Education books! One word of caution though, do take enormous care of the books if you wish to flip through them as the copies were autographed by the author.
While the food would not win any awards, the cafe's ambience and contents get huge thumbs up from all of us. It is the perfect place to just chill with family and friends, in a setting that will no doubt bring back loads of childhood memories - and share them with the kids at the same time.
And if the kiddos are still in need of expending some energy after that, there are three playgrounds located behind Old Habits to do the trick.
For a modern playground, head to the one directly behind Block 38 (where Old Habits is) and beside Block 39. This playground has the usual rope obstacles, slide and 2 huge polygonal climbing rocks.
For more running fun, scamper to the maze located beside Block 40!
The maze has cute animal images plastered onto some of the fences but I highly suspect that the kids will be more interested in playing catching games within the maze.
Just a stone's throw away is a playground with an electronic component.
It seems that more playgrounds are sporting this new form of set-up nowadays. The systems is part electronic game, part competitive sport and perfect for all ages - even parents! There are 9 games to choose from, with options for one or two players so I seriously doubt kids will ever want to leave once they get started!
Old Habits Boutique & Cafe
Block 38, Telok Blangah Rise
#01-315, Singapore 090038
Opening Hours: 11.00am - 9.30pm (Tuesday - Sunday) | Closed on Mondays
Driving: Ample parking lots available behind Block 38
By Bus: Take Bus 65 or 855 from Bus Stop opposite VivoCity