The communal spirit of 17th-century London coffeehouses meets the theatricality of Japanese Noh theatre in this minimalist dessert studio on Seah Street.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

The lone long table.

Kki Sweets is a home-grown dessert studio known for its handcrafted confectionery as well as its plated desserts.

Founded in 2009 by wife and husband Delphine Liau and Kenneth Seah, Kki (pronounced keh-kee, after the Japanese pronunciation of cake) first called Ann Siang Hill home before moving to SOTA. Earlier this year, it moved into its newest home at Seah Street.

“Natural sugar is great. Processed sugar, on the other hand, is bad for your body. If you’re going to indulge in sweets, be discerning” says Delphine. This reverence for sweets is apparent in her new spot – a chic, minimalist stage for both of its delectable offerings. Designed by Produce, a local multidisciplinary studio, the space has no signboard, and some items on the menu – which features no photo and is designed to fan out like a Pantone colour swatches – are only available via reservations.

The highlight, of course, is the communal table that seats about a dozen diners. Its trapezoidal shape was derived directly from the shape of the space while its design concept is adapted from the long communal tables in London’s 17th-century coffeehouses that encouraged sociability.

Kki Sweets’ version makes room for space between small clusters of diners as per the social distancing regulation right now. The glossy white tabletop is the perfect backdrop for taking pictures of the desserts with their irresistibly Instagrammable plating that runs the gamut of colourful landscapes with mysterious elements to a planter of sorts with a tiny sprout.

Organically-shaped openings at the centre of this table hold planters that bring in nature. A glass wall with a mirrored finish that fades towards the centre separates the kitchen and dining area, offering a view of the dessert preparations. Another attraction is the ceiling installation in a translucent, flash-spun fibre material from DuPont called Tyvek.

Inspired by the hashigakari or the bridge-like section connecting the main Japanese Noh stage, it sits at a carefully calibrated height – 2m above the floor – so that it doesn’t obstruct the view but compels diners to duck while they are taking their seats, as if they were entering the stage. “They are invited to participate in the spectacle initiated by Kenneth and Delphine,” shares Produce’s design director Pan Yicheng.

The Tyvek panels fold inwards towards the centre of the table, creating a triangular origami-like pattern. Each fold matches the positions of the seats. Coming up is a plan to incorporate a projector into the table, thus transforming each fold into a personal show for each diner. Kki Sweets may be made up of only a few parts, but the clarity of the owners’ expression encourages diners to generate a new appreciation for desserts – and for the brand to forge its vision of a multisensory experience.

Kki Sweets is located at 3 Seah Street. Reserve a spot at www.kki-sweets.com

My Reading Room

The triangular origami-like Tyvek structure. 

My Reading Room

J is made with goma, matcha and yuzu and fashioned to look like a planter. 


text ASIH JENIE spatial photos DANIEL CHIA, FRAME.SG