Tiong Bahru, who? Jalan Besar’s a neighbourhood for foodies with cool cafes, restaurants and bars – and some great shopping too
Tiong Bahru may hold a special place in our books as the coolest neighbourhood to eat, play, and stay. But hot on its heels is the still up-and-coming Jalan Besar, which has sealed its status as a foodie heaven with its cafes and restaurants. This is Singapore’s under-the-radar hipster hangout spot. Here’s why:
You don’t just get one type of experience at The Refinery – you get three. The establishment is split into three levels; the first floor houses a yakitori restaurant, the second floor is home to a bespoke cocktail bar, and the third is where you’ll find a craft workshop. What’s not to love?
The Refinery, 115 King George’s Avenue, Singapore 208561, p. 9111 1210.
There’s nothing we love more than the buttery smell of baked goods, and that’s what pulled us into Butter Studio, which started off as a small store in Changi Airport Terminal 3 (it’s still there!). Their cupcakes are all-round winners – try the red velvet – and they get extra points for the nostalgic décor.
Butter Studio, 147 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208865, p. 6294 7115.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware
A must-visit for all caffeine addicts, this speciality coffee joint needs no introduction. Brought to you by the guys behind Papa Palheta and Loysel’s Toy, Chye Seng Huat houses Singapore’s first 360-degree coffee bar. Try the cold brew on tap for a smooth and refreshing coffee treat.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware, 150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207563, p. 6396 0609.
The Tiramisu Hero
Moving from a dot com to a brick and mortar store proved to be a wise move for Aileen and Peggy, owners of this quirky dessert shop. Now, everyone can get a taste of the finest – what else – tiramisu in town. They come in flavours like original, Ovaltine, matcha, lemon lavender, and cinnamon – just to name a few.
The Tiramisu Hero, 121 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207548, p. 6292 5271.
Got the late night munchies? Head to alittletashi: a new Mod-asian space which opens until midnight. The sprawling new resto boasts two sections in its 1200 square foot space: the communal-style Dining Room and the ‘Laundry’, where you can dine on the staircase with bar bites. The menu’s all about Asian comfort foods with diverse influences – think stir-fried cockles and crispy pork belly with foie gras and bone marrow. Want the full review? Check out our Editor’s review of alittle tashi here.
alittle tashi; 39 Tyrwhitt Rd, Singapore 207538
Everything about uber retro joint Druggists is old school, from the décor to the space (it shares the building space with the Singapore Chinese Druggists Association), and even the menu. Try items like the paper wrapped chicken and choose from over 20 types of beer available on tap.
Druggists, 119 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207547, p. 93851752.
Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant
Sure, it’s not new and shiny like the other contenders on this list, but that doesn’t make it any less noteworthy. Swee Choon Dim Sum is our go-to spot for amazing Cantonese delicacies like har kao and liu sha bao. Best of all: it’s open till 6 in the morning!
Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant, 191 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208882, p. 6225 7788.
This Muslim-owned cafe has got to be one of our top halal dining spots. Its no-signboard, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it location hides many secrets, including its sinfully delicious Bullesye steak and other hearty mains, including slow-cooked lamb ribs and rice bowls.
The Bravery, 66 Horne Road, Singapore 209073
The General Company
Besides paying homage to good design and craftsmanship with the array of artisanal products on offer, The General Company is also the place where you can pick up handy skills with crafty workshops like leather making and terrarium planting.
The General Company, 15 King George’s Ave #03-02 Singapore 208561
The Artists Village
Founded by contemporary artist Tang Da Wu, Singapore’s first local artist enclave, The Artists Village moved several times from its original location at 61B Lorong Gambas in Sembawang before settling down in its current spot in Jalan Besar. This group of arty peeps is still a beacon for experimental and alternative art in Singapore, with their most recent project centred on artists in Pulau Ubin.
The Artists Village, 91A Hindoo Road, Singapore 209126.
For a fancy afternoon away from the city hordes, head to Antoinette. Named after the last queen of France, the Parisian pâtisserie has some of the most fine-tasting, meticulously-crafted pastries and desserts. As befitting its name, the space is unendingly chic, with French wall panels, sumptuous seating, and marble counters.
Antoinette, 30 Penhas Road, Singapore 208188
Quiet Horne Road hides a charming little secret: a bakery-slash-cafe with some of the best baked goods in Singapore. Helmed by a Le Cordon Bleu Paris trained chef, pastries are made with only French butter, premium ingredients and homemade fresh cream. Sweet tooths would be hard-pressed to select from the massive range of desserts, as it includes tarts (flavours include yuzu lemon and pear almond), crepe cakes and decadent cakes made with fluffy sponge bases, light-as-air cream and smooth glaze.
Two Bakers, 88 Horne Road, Singapore 209083
Sin Hoe Huat cafe
Take a step back in time at Sin Hoe Huat Cafe. By day, the breakfast institution serves up local breakfast staples of kaya toast, eggs and kopi, with Cantonese music blaring softly from its speakers and vintage portraits and knick-knacks lining its walls. By night, it turns into a kitschy watering hole with ciders and beers, and live soccer screenings for boisterous fanboys.
Sin Hoe Huat Cafe, 383 Jalan Besar, Singapore 209001
Coffee diehards love Liberty Coffee. For starters, these guys source speciality beans from all over the world, including Kenya, Brazil and Indonesia, and roast them in Singapore. Its new space in Jalan Besar may have pastas, sandwiches and finger food but make no mistake: coffee is still the star. The brew bar takes centerstage to showcase the cafe’s unique blends and single origin coffees.
Liberty Coffee, 387 Jalan Besar, Singapore 209002
Love quirky furnishings? You need Onlewo in your life. The homegrown brand is famed for its bespoke home decors and wares which feature Singaporean motifs inspired by the city’s heritage and cultures. If you’re planning on a major furniture overhaul, Onlewo does reupholstery – it partners with a local workshop and offers consultation on design and fabrics. Go with its Peranakan fabrics, as well as its Little India and Tiong Bahru prints to display your #localpride.
Onlewo, 29 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208847
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