Tanjong Pagar

Tanjong Pagar was a historic centre for Singapore's Chinese community. It is now a cosmopolitan area within walking distance of the CDB with a wide range of old and new shops. It is a good place for a lunch time meal with office workers, a post work hangout area for pubs and fine dining and a pleasant place to explore cafes and eclectic shops on a lazy weekend afternoon.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Selfish Gene

This opened sometime last week. I was quite bewildered by the name. Why would anyone call their cafe Selfish Gene?

A couple of black boards in the cafe gave the hint. Gene is the owner of which he is selfish because… I will let you go there and find out for yourself.

Unimportant details aside, I was pleasantly surprised by this new find.


The coffee was really quite good. It was light and smooth. My only slight complaint was the froth. Upon speaking to the owner and barista, I was told they used Green Fields milk. This is the same problem with many other cafes that use Green Fields milk (look at Oriole) The barista said they also use Highlander Coffee Beans of which Green Fields milk work best with. Maybe this is so because the beans don't seem to be that strong and using a lighter milk will be better with such beans. I'm not completely convinced though. I like my froth with more robust texture.

Pesto with poached egg and toast ~ $10

This was pretty good as well. The poached egg gave the dish texture. Pesto came on a crunchy piece of toast. I'm not sure what the red stuff is and if it is necessary….

Banana cake with peanut butter sauce and crumble ~ $7

This was pretty yummy. The sweet cake with the salty peanut butter sauce. Again, there is a play with textures with the crumble. The owners here just understand textures which is something most places lack in cooking. My only suggestion to the owner was if the banana bread could be warm or toasted. I'm used to eating my banana bread warm. 

I spoke to the owner and found out that he and another staff used to work in the St Pierre's Kitchen. This is the fine dining restaurant by chef Emmanuel Stroobant. Its quite a good restaurant (although I would say too over hyped). So its no surprise then that the food in this place is quite good and the use of textures in food is understood here.

Subsequent visits

The barista did 2 lattes for me to compare. One latte used Green fields milk and the other Pura milk. Green fields milk is used generally as the barista feels that it suits the highlander beans better in terms of taste. After tasting the 2 lattes using different milk, I still like Pura milk better. Pura milk is from Australia and provides a richer foam and a creamer latte. Highlander beans produce quite a mild coffee and perhaps from that angle Greenfield does blend well with the coffee made from those beans.

I was quite touched that the barista made me 2 coffees to try and made an effort to see what I preferred as a customer.

Other dishes I have had there:

Lemon Meringue Pie

The crust of this was good although I would have liked it more crumbly. Lemon curd was nice and tart. The pie had a nice meringue burnt top. Most places only make lemon tart and not the Meringue Pie so this was quite nice. 
The desserts in this place are a good size.

Bread and Butter Pudding

I don't like bread and butter pudding unless it is a good one. This is good. Creme anglaise makes the pudding richer and cuts through the sour berries. Good combination of flavors and well thought through.

Location: 40 Craig Road
Opening hours: 10am- 6pm except tuesdays
Contact Number: 64231324


  1. I tried this place after reading about it on your blog, and I really like it. Food is good value for money and very tasty, and although I like my coffee a little stronger, Selfish Gene's coffee is still above average.

    I had their Roast Beef sandwich (yummy) and Croissant-bread and butter pudding which was utterly divine.

    All in all, one of the better cafes I've been too recently. I've been back at least three times since.

  2. thanks for referring me to your blog :)
    Tried Selfish Gene abt 2 days back. Decent coffee but food was a bit lacking for me. The roast beef sandwich came with slices that were too well done; flavour lacked punch. The mushroom soup was decent, but I'd have preferred a chunkier mouthfeel. Skipped desserts but will try next time.