Great coffee can be bought almost anywhere, a great coffee experience is priceless and requires that elusive balance of warmth, light, passion and a very genuine welcome to create the perfect ambiance. L’Etoile Cafe (The Star Cafe), on Owen Road, deep in Singapore’s Little India, brings everything together in a unique way.
L’Etoile is described by its owner, Yvonne Low, as ‘A French-Japanese café’ and that alone is enough to stop and make anyone think. Yvonne was inspired by her time in Nagoya and brought the best of that experience to bear when creating L’Etoile. You will find an old Singer typewriter converted to a coffee table and a host of other items that have been collected from Yvonne’s past to decorate what is a large, airy room. Yvonne says that all of the items represent a little piece of history and that everything has a story to tell. It is a charming way to project her personality and love of coffee. The decor combines with the large, light, open space to create an ambiance that would put a smile on anyone’s face and that is the key element to enjoying great coffee.
Now that we have set the scene, let’s talk about the coffee. Kent Wong, Chief Barista, says ‘We blend and roast all of our own coffee beans and that enables us to achieve a balance of rich, distinct flavours’. Kent is competing in the upcoming Cafe Asia competition and in FHA 2016. The fact he’s even competing at that level suggests he knows what he is talking about to us and then he dropped something completely different into the conversation, Chai Tea Latte. He say’s that it is all the rage, not just in Singapore but across Asia as people look for new taste experiences and adventurously combine different flavours and textures. Chai Tea Latte sounds an unlikely combination to this European so Kent explained further, ‘We use a precisely measured amount of Chai Tea Syrup and a cup of milk which we then froth together using the Barista machine. It is served in a latte cup with about half a centimetre of smooth foam topping’. ‘We have our own special frothing technique that we like to call Latte Art‘. And that’s just what it is, art. L’Etoile defines the art of coffee.