The Bras Basah-Bugis district is more than hip Haji Lane. Step into Arab Street next door, and check out the best places to eat, shop and chill...
When it comes to checking out the Bras Basah-Bugis district, hitting indie boutiques in the narrow alleys of Haji Lane, snapping street art for Instagram and sipping a cuppa at hipster cafes is dominating our to-do list. Within the bustling area lies Arab Street, Kampong Glam’s row of textile shops, Middle Eastern eateries and quaint cafes. Expect plenty of patterns, happy colours, and delicious eats.
Craving for a hot plate of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine? The gorgeous interiors of Nasrin Restaurant (pictured top) will have you grab a table and survey its menu of mouth-watering appetisers, signature dishes and chef specials, including Turkish faves like kebabs.
Nasrin Restaurant, 31 Arab Street, Singapore 177930
This cake gem is perfect for the sweet-toothed. Serving fresh bakes six days a week, chocolate lovers will fall head over heels with its smooth Nutella cheesecake and Nutella brioche. For some local fusion, grab a slice of its pandan Gula Melaka cake or its Thai milk tea cheesecake. A word of warning: its bakes sell out fast.
Comestival Desserts, 31 Arab Street, Singapore 177930
When it comes to comfort food, Working Title has it down pat. The burgers here are the real stars – think beef or chicken patties wrapped in turkey bacon, smoked duck with Emmental cheese and large portobello patties served with blue cheese dressing. Wash it all down with a chunky chocolate and banana or cookies and cream smoothie, and you won’t want to leave this food paradise.
Working Title, 48 Arab Street, Singapore 199745, p. 6298 8721
All things delicious
Like the name suggests, bakes at this charming bakery-cafe are nothing short of delish. While they aren’t your traditional rounded scones, these triangular, soft Scottish ones are no less scrummy, with toppings like Gula Melaka and orange cranberry calling out for liberal smears of salted butter.
All things delicious, 34 Arab Street, Singapore 199733, p. 6291 4252
Alsaeed by Char Syed
Chef Syed (cooking competition “King” Juara Masak winner and TV host) is the brains behind Alsaeed. The menu offers perhaps the largest range of cuisines you’ll find along Arab Street, spanning Arabic, Mediterranean, Indian, Western and local dishes. But we hear the bamboo briyani is the star of the show – who would’ve thought briyani would taste better when cooked inside bamboo trunk?
Alsaeed by Char Syed, 150 Arab St, Singapore 199832
Tabbouleh Lebanese Cafe and Restaurant
Decorated with mosaic lamps and red tablecloths, this Lebanese restaurant has a quaint and cosy vibe. The menu is packed with a list of Middle Eastern and Western fare, including lamb Kafta with hummus, Halloumi cheese sandwich, charcoal grilled meats and more. For sharing, get a mezze platter that’s served with creamy yoghurt and warm pita bread.
Tabbouleh Lebanese Cafe and Restaurant, 41 Arab St, Singapore 199740
We’d never say no to a sweet treat, and Aroma Gelato provides just that! Hop in for fresh, handmade gelato – a cool refreshing treat on a hot afternoon. Flavours include the sweet and salty caramel sea salt, a non-dairy dark chocolate option, fruity picks like strawberry and mango, as well as bolder tastes like durian and chilli chocolate. Can’t decide? The staff will be happy to give you a free tasting.
Aroma Gelato, 29 Arab St, Singapore 199728
Longing for Aussie vibes? Inspired by Australian cafés, The Hangar is simply the finest! The cafe slow-roasts its own specialty coffee, originating from farms in the region, for the extra kick to perk you up. Tuck into its sweet and savoury menu bites, such as the homemade granola with Greek yoghurt and the signature big breakfast, where the ingredients used are fresh and locally sourced, and also made from scratch. Yup, none of those out-of-a-Heinz-can beans!
The Hangar, 25 Arab St, Singapore 199724, p. 6291 0127
Two words we never thought we’d hear: Halal bar. The rooftop “speakeasy” serves up bespoke mocktails in Arab Street. To create your own, pick your base from juice, tea, sparkling drink and kombucha, then your desired fruit, and finally the kicker: mint, spice, herb, sour, or hot. Otherwise, select from its signatures like the Gurindam which contains apple cider vinegar, demerera, cinnamon, butterscotch beer, lemon juice and vanilla ice cream.
Atap, 48 Arab Street, Level 5, Singapore 199745
Walk by this small indie aromatic studio and you’ll find your curious nose guiding you into it. The niche perfumery explores the world of scent, offering small batches of refreshing scents and custom aromatics. Discover its curated selection of in-house perfumes, as well as wooden soy candles, infused balms and aromatic jewellery.
Sifr Aromatics, 42 Arab Street, Singapore 199741
Definitely a treasure trove of artsy things, wholesaler Kin Soon is known for a range of ribbons in all kinds of colours and textures, including satin, grosgrain, organza, velvet, paper and wired ribbons. You can also get other DIY supplies like buttons, appliques, tissue papers and floral wrappers in-store.
Kin Soon, 36 Arab Street, Singapore 199735
How pretty are Turkish lamps? Get one (or two) for your home at DWiz, known for amazing ceramic works and handcrafted mosaic lamps inspired by different cultures of Anatolia. Many carpet stores stock these lamps and other home accessories too – check out the beautiful display at Sarvan’s Carpets! We couldn’t resist snapping a picture.
DWiz, 53 Arab Street, Singapore 199750; Sarvan’s Carpets, 49 Arab Street, Singapore 199746
When it comes to shopping for fabrics, nothing beats this quaint street full of history and culture. You can’t miss Achakzai Trading, a Persian carpets gallery that’ll catch your eyes with its vibrant pink walls. Royal Fabrics is your one-stop shop for traditional Asian fabrics, including silk, linen and cotton fabrics in a variety of colours, with Middle Eastern and South Asian-inspired designs. And if you’re looking to explore more silk fabrics, Mahaco Impex are the pros. For more Asian fabrics, textiles and sewing supplies, check out Teng Joo Textiles further down.
Achakzai Trading, 94 Arab Street, Singapore 199790; Mahaco, 51 Arab Street, Singapore 199748; Royal Fabrics, 84 Arab Street, Singapore 199780; Teng Joo Textiles, 102 Arab Street, Singapore 199798