Penny University

Penny University
402 East Coast Road

Decent But Forgettable Cafe

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 6
Ambience & Setting: 7
Food & Beverage: 6
Service: 6
Value for Money: 8
Spent about SGD $15 per person.


Since opening its doors in November 2012, Penny University has established itself as a hip, vibrant coffee joint in East Singapore. Founder Mustafah Kamal styled Penny University after the 18th century English coffeehouses of old, a place where good, affordable coffee was served, along with the latest news and gossip of the town. While other coffee joints have since sprouted in the area, Penny University has held its own all these years, and is still going strong.

Ambience at Penny University has a rustic, eclectic charm. Heavy wooden furniture lines the small floor space, while the decor is decidely retro industrial chic. Items from years past stacked upon shelves, dim designer light bulbs cast a warming glow. Seats are sturdy but hard. True to form, the place is vibrant and buzzing. I had the unfortunate experience of sitting at the bar, which is poorly designed, with little leg room, and rather cramped space, blocking the main passageway.

Service at Penny University is semi self-service, where ordering and payment is done over the counter. This causes queues to form at the cashier, which also blocks the main passageway in the cramped floor space. Orders are served to your table, but staff don't seem too friendly. They do however, try to accomodate requests, and are able to make recommendations on pastries and desserts.

Food at Penny University is a mix of Western and Middle Eastern influence. You're assured of getting pretty good pastries, cakes, desserts, and coffee at Penny University, as these are outsourced items, made by reputable brands. Food in the form of mains are another matter though, decent, not terrible, but not outstanding either, and ultimately, rather forgettable. Portions are nicely sized for 1, and prices are affordable, on the lower range for a cafe, budget about SGD $15 per person for a meal here. Overall, my experience here was semi-decent, but I doubt that I'll return.


The bright red & white facade stands out, as does it's large signboard. The small outdoor al-fresco dining area is close to the road, and thus rather noisy, plus it's subject to weather.

Penny University Signage

The portion of Avocado Cheesecake (SGD $7.50) is large, and the texture of the cheesecake itself is dense and creamy, with a slight floral hint of the avocado. The crumbly biscuit base is a little thick though. Although the pastries, cakes, desserts, and coffee here are good, they're also outsourced, and I'll rather get it from the original shops instead.

Avocado Cheesecake

Loved their Spiked Muddy (SGD $6.50) which features their excellent muddy espresso with cold milk and gula melaka / palm sugar, served in a jar. You'll need to spin it around to mix it before drinking. The coffee is suitably strong and smooth, with a slight sweetness that isn't overpowering.

Spiked Muddy 01

Spiked Muddy 02

The Turkish Eggs (SGD $8.60) are 2 poached eggs served in a bowl, topped with lightly whipped greek yoghurt, home made spicy Moroccan harissa sauce, and oregano leaves. It's served alongside several pieces of toasted sourdough bread. I find this poor value for money, as the bread portion is too little, and of the 2 poached eggs, I got one that was perfect, while the other was semi-solid. Overall, a very light dish, decent enough, but I wish there was more bread to go with this.

Turkish Eggs 01

Turkish Eggs 02