Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Jimmy Monkey - Singapore

This fortnight blog goes to another Aussie own cafe in Singapore. This time it brings us to a suburb called One-North which has a new train station that started operation on October 2011. Previously, the closest train station to One-North would have been Buona Vista train station.

One-north station also has an artistic element to it. Just look at the banner hanging in the station. 

Exiting from the train station, i'm treated to this view, pretty tranquil and of course this generous blast of sunshine meant that i'm also sweating profusely in the Singapore humidity.  

This place has a futuristic feel to it, just look at the buildings in the area. 

The one above is called Fusionpolis and i'm not sure about this other building if it is residential or commercial. Maybe those that know can comment and tell me what is that building. 

This is on the way to the one-north residence, is a pretty quiet suburb, hardly any cars around. 

Okay after 5 minutes of walk in the sun, I have found my way to one-north residences. 

The artistic theme followed from the train station to the street. Spur of the moment, I thought I should attempt to take an artistic shot as well. 

9 one-north Gateway
#01-51 one-north residences

Monday - Closed
Tue to Thurs - 0830 to 2030
Fri/Sat - 0830 to 2230
Sunday - 0830 to 2030

Entering the cafe, the gush of cool air from the air-conditioning system is a very welcoming change. Since I was about 45 minutes early for the interview, I thought I would order myself a cappuccino while I wait. When I was ordering my Cappuccino, I requested for a latte art to be included in the drink. The response I got from the barista, our coffee always come with latte art. Oh Ooops. 

So what do you guys think about the latte art? The magazine is just an accessory to the shot, I thought I will include it since I was reading it while I was waiting. 

This is a shot of the cafe's glass door, from the inside out. I was stopped by a security guard when I attempted to take a picture of the cafe from the outside. 

Now let's get on with the interview materials
Cafe Name: Jimmy Monkey

What's the idea behind the cafe name?
It has to be something unique and close to heart, not just something cliche. So why Jimmy Monkey? Jimmy Monkey is the cafe owner's childhood toy, a toy given to him when he was young and goes everywhere Michael goes.

An interesting note, Jimmy was lost in Singapore when Michael was holidaying in Singapore when he was a toddler. It was found and returned to Michael. How did the toy got his name then? It is named after a nursery rhyme titled Jimmy Monkey. A quick search on google, brought me to this site that you can have a listen to the nursery rhyme. Just don't click on any of the advertising banner!

Now to the mystery Jimmy Monkey, it is guarding the cafe and can you spot it?
There is the physical form and the cartoon image on the door. 

Coffee Beans: Iron Bark 2.1 (once again is something close to heart, a blend named after an Australia Gumtree)

Barista Name: Michael John Ryan (first name, middle name, surname)

What's your background?
19 years of experience in food and beverage industry. Always drank coffee and got into coffee when I was 17 years old by working in cafes and restaurants. All my barista skills are learnt on the job and the toughest stint was at an Italian restaurant under a hardcore boss.

Why did you setup a cafe in Singapore?
Personal reason is because he was married to a Singaporean and the professional reason is to instill the same level of cafe expectation in Singapore. In 2006 when Michael setup the cafe, he wish to provide Singapore with a cafe experience that can provide that decent cup of coffee experience. At the same time, educate and share with Singaporeans what is a good cup of coffee and also being the trend setter.

For Michael, coffee appreciation is like wine appreciation. He enjoys coffee and trying different blend, similar to how wine makers come up with different blends.

Also like wine, Michael also gone to the trouble of making sure that each coffee is served in specific vessel.

From left to right
Latte, Piccolo, Cortado, Macchiato (all glasses are imported from France)
By the way, the next time you visit Jimmy Monkey. Just note that there is a game associated with those glasses. There is a number on the bottom of each of those glasses, have a guess at the number.

Something else, the next time you drink a cappuccino or a macchiato. Feel the cup handle, they are specifically designed for comfort handling.

What are your plans for the future?
Conquer the world! Guess not.
Number 2 Jimmy Monkey? Nope, because Jimmy Monkey is unique and Michael don't believe in mass production. So there will only be 1 Jimmy Monkey in Singapore for authenticity.

Maybe a new concept store with some blend bean in Singapore but always retain the use of a Slayer machine. A note for non-heavy coffee drinker, single espresso served in Jimmy Monkey is equivalent to double ristretto because for Slayer each shot used up 19.4 grams of beans and generally a single shot is about 7-9 grams of beans.
That black machine is the Slayer!

What's your favourite coffee?
Cortado - spanish short coffee. Ratio of milk to coffee is about 1:1
2nd favourite - chemex pour over

Cappuccino Price Index: SGD$5 + 7% GST

Some final shots of the cafe interior.

Can you see the toilet bowl that is sitting somewhere on the ledge? It was at this point that I was told about the history of this building. Michael mentioned that previously this place used to be an army barrack. Through some google searches, I finally managed to dig up some history of this place. I hope I got the information correct, maybe those that had served at this barrack can point out the errors. 

The potential army units that might have used the barracks that the cafe is located in could be:
3 Signal Battalion that was shifted to Slim Barracks on 16 April 1974 or
9 Signal Battalion that was formed on 9 October 1978 

When I asked about the food that are located on those shelves that are there in mid air. I asked if those shelves are purely for decoration purpose or is there something more to it. Michael said that those shelves are actual storage space and those cans of food are actually used in the food served in the cafe. Practical storage space? Hmm....

That's all from me this fortnight, apologies for running late. Next fortnight we are going back to Sydney. 


  1. it's really cool that you displayed the picture en route to this cafe that I haven't been ticked off my Cafe Hunting List :) can't wait to be there :)

  2. Thanks Adel
    I tried to provide a context to the environment that the cafe operates in so that cafe goers can appreciate not only the coffee but everything else around it.