I absolutely love the TV show “Friends.” It’s almost like comfort food, where it’s my go-to TV show if I want something relaxing or something to cheer me up. When they announced the pop-up Central Perk cafe in New York in 2014, my friend and I waited in line for almost 3 hours to get our 15 minutes in the itty bitty cafe. So I was obviously thrilled to find out there was a permanent Central Perk in Singapore and was excited to check it out!
I was giddy right when we walked in because you could see the coffee bar tops, the famous couch, and the window with the cafe decal. It feels like you’re walking onto the set of Friends because with an “On Air” light. It’s a very open space with plenty of seats. There’s a projector with “Friends” playing throughout the day and the cafe has a very fun and casual atmosphere – as Central Perk should!
Beyond the cafe, you can explore a replica of part of the set. We walked through Monica’s kitchen and Joey and Chandler’s living room. There were memorable pieces such as Rachel’s wedding dress, the Miss Pac-Man machine, and the creepy Gladys / Glynnis “art work.” It’s a small space but fun walk for fans and almost feels reminiscent of walking through an old friend’s house, where you share a lot of memories. In the store, you’ll be able to pick up a variety of “Friends” tshirts, mugs, and other souvenirs.
Reading the menu already had me giggling because I was thinking back on all my favorite episodes and all the nuggets of jokes on the menu. The menu online is slightly different from what was at the cafe, but you get the idea. Favorite items include the Rachel Green Salad, Chandler’s Righteous Mac and Cheese, and Joey’s “You’re My Everest” Turkey that will give you the meat sweats.
As a word of warning: for an avid “Friends” fan, this was a fun experience and the highlight of my weekend. BUT, we made the mistake of going for a light dinner. The food is mediocre at best and we really should have gone as for an afternoon coffee. Our creamed spinach was more watery than creamy and our pizza (Joey special – two pizzas!) was underwhelming. The table next to us had fries and I feel like I could enjoy coffee, some baked goods and fries for an afternoon at the cafe.
For a light and breezy cafe atmosphere, the food is very expensive. You’ll notice the food will be marked up around 30-40% higher than you would find at a typical cafe. The team that opened the cafe needs to pay WB a licensing fee, which is translated into higher food prices.
So what’s the verdict? This is a fun and gimmicky cafe. I hope the cafe hosts more trivia / game nights to attract more customers. I would definitely go back again with friends for a relaxing afternoon on that big orange couch.
Central Perk Singapore (aka Friends Cafe)
1 Magazine Road, Central Mall #01-01
Check out their Facebook page to stay up to date on events held at Central Perk, such as Trivia Night, Comedy and live music.