Maison Ikkoku

Cafe, Bar, Boutique and so much more

By Cheryl Chew

A three level lifestyle café boutique, MAISON IKKOKU (translated: House of Moments) is the brainchild of two lovely couples – Janice and Thomas as well as Shanie and Franz – and a ‘destination’ for people to enjoy a day out in this cosy, contemporary house; where customers can feel at ease to shop, eat and enjoy a good cuppa at the same time.

Celebrity Chef Hiroshi Swada

Even though the idea was mapped out two years ago, it took a mere four months for it to turn into a reality. Thomas is a café owner, a freight-forwarder, and a father. This intense schedule has not allowed any time for golf at the moment, he jokingly confesses. Of course, the process did not come easy — it was difficult to find the right designer who could deliver the layout he wanted, and it took time to convince the labels to trust his credibility.

Their efforts certainly paid off, for the shop brewed a contemporary, quirky new look. Black pipes,cupboards hanging from above, tables made of recycled doors – the place sets a compelling tone for writers, businessmen, and travellers in search of creative inspiration.

Eggs Benedict ($16.99)

Maison Ikkoku is unique for its coffee and breakfast. The owners – ardent Japan lovers, took  initiative to approach Japan celebrity Hiroshi Sawada to impart his latte art and coffee-making skills to Maison Ikkoku. As a fan of Latte, I ordered the MI Latte and the taste stuck with me. It wasn’t too thick or sweet. Breakfast is served all-day long on weekends.

I have personally tried their House Specialties, MI Musubi and MI Pork Bun Kong Bak Pao. The MI Musubi is a Hawaiian recipe; an excellent blend of ham and Japanese short grain rice, leaving a salty aftertaste. It was Franz’s favorite snack while waiting for Shanie during their college dating days’ in Hawaii and it tastes fantastic. On the other hand, the Kong Bak Pao is a light, traditional dish passed on to Janice as a secret family recipe, and it fills the mouth with juicy stewed pork right from the first bite. Highly-recommended!

Maison Ikkoku Boutique

At the fashion boutique on the second level, I was particularly enraptured by the Portugese shoebrand, Twins For Peace. For every shoe that a customer buys, another pair will be donated to the needy – a concept quite similar to TOMS Shoes –  the only difference being that the left and right shoes are designed to look completely the same, so it doesn’t matter which side you put your shoe on!

Canvas Shoulder and Tote Bags

Janice mentioned that the items are limited edition. Hence, expect brands from exclusive vendors like  Deluxe (jackets), Discovered, Hobo, Kuro (denim), Lad Musician, Industry Of All Nations, Miansai (wartime vintage jewellery), Lucien (phone accessory), and Teddyfish (eco-friendly stylish bags).

Come November, the third level cocktail bar will be open and its perfectly designed for wine and private parties. Feel free to check out MAISON IKKOKU at 20 Kandahar Street, Haji Lane district.