As I come out from my latest shopping spree at Bookworm, I can’t wait to start reading my new book. I decide to make my way to Ngo Quan, a nearby Vietnamese coffee house recommended by a friend.

The moment Chuong Dang, the owner of Kujuz café, asked me in which of their locations would I like to meet him, I thought to myself, “Does it really matter?” After our meeting at Kujuz Centro I was immediately clear of one thing. Those truly beautiful and colourful wooden frames in each of his three cafes hide much more than what is already turning into a café empire.

I spent a good half hour searching up and down the highway for this place, circling in rush hour traffic, cursing at my Google Maps. I was about to give up and was headed home in defeat, when out of nowhere M’Cafe materialised before my eyes; a sleek, hip refuge tucked away from the dirty cloud of exhaust fumes.

There’s a type of coffee shop that we don’t typically cover in this space, because they don’t usually have good Italian coffee, or any Italian coffee at all.

Led by a waiter, we crept up to the second floor through narrow and winding stairs; stairs that revealed a small terrace bordered by greenery, doors and other mysterious pathways. Despite the temptation to sit on the sunlit balcony, we opted to settle down inside, having originally come here to seek shelter from the heat.

As you walk in Cakes & Ale, you are hit by the 1950s colour palette and Jacques Brel playing over the speakers. Metal fan wind rustles the beaded stork curtain, and a blissed-out dog and cat clack along the tile floors.

If you’re after decent coffee, blizzard-strength air-conditioning and a trendy interior that looks like the set of a television dating show, The Café may be the perfect choice for you.

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