So you’re making the pilgrimage to Alexandra Road… We spill the deets on award-winning hawker food, budget shopping and hidden gems in the neighbourhood!
Queenstown holds bragging rights to a string of firsts for Singapore – the first sports complex, satellite town, and HDB apartments, to name a few. Nuggets of culture aside, this unpretentious neighbourhood is also sprawling with hidden gems. From Michelin Bib Gourmand eateries and cool cafes to old school classics and factory outlet shopping to a swanky hotel with a rooftop bar, here’s all you need to know about Queenstown.
Guide to Queenstown: Eat & Drink
Sick of Ikea meatballs and cafe grub? Indulge in the ABCs of hawker fare at this unassuming but highly recommended place. Almost all dishes are good enough to devour but if you live by reviews, try a plate of Yi Sheng’s Hokkien mee with chilli that could make you sweat, a huge portion of chicken chop at Wow Wow West, and the Michelin Bib Gourmand-listed Traditional Chinese Soup.
ABC Brickworks, 6 Jalan Bukit Merah, Singapore 150006
Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee
Surprise! This specialty coffee house started back in 1960. Yes, Tiong Hoe was probably the mother of all hipster neighbourhood cafes. Besides serving a mean cuppa, Tiong Hoe also conducts coffee appreciation workshops for coffee aficionados. These guys have so much respect for their craft that prices are on a tipping basis. Give Tiong Hoe a go if you’re in pursuit for the perfect roast.
Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee, #01-1133, 170 Stirling Road, Singapore 140170
Alexandra Food Village
Queensway seems to have hit hawker jackpot, with not one but two renowned hawker centres just minutes away from each other. We’re already craving the Zhen Shan Mei Depot Road Claypot Laksa. One spoonful of this piping hot bowl of goodness and your whole world will change. Different from the usual bowl of creamy laksa, this version is muted and served in a claypot, allowing the dish to retain its heat and giving it a distinctive smoky (wok hei) flavour.
Alexandra Food Village, 120 Bukit Merah Lane 1, Singapore 150123
Travel back to the 60s at this quaint colonial bar. Previously a canteen for the British army back in 1953, Colbar serves a wide selection of British beer and comforting Hainanese Western grub. The selling point of this charming bar is in its atmosphere. During relocation, the owners ensured everything, including its clay roof tin and timbre walls, were carefully redesigned to mirror the original bar. From a vintage weighing machine to historic photos of the Colbar Football Club, this joint delivers a slice of old Singapore.
Colbar Eating House, 9A Whitchurch Road, Singapore 138839
This relaxing cafe will take you away from the urban hustle and bustle, while treating you to amazing grub – think fluffy pancakes, brekkie platters, sandwiches, burgers and pasta. It’s a popular haunt for bookworms too, so pack a book and grab a cuppa when your tums are warm and filled.
Cafe Melba, #03-01, 1 Stars Avenue, Singapore 138507
Queensway Shopping Centre
Take a trip down memory lane and hit nostalgia city with old school classics like curry chicken rice, tutu kueh, muah chee and, of course, some of the best laksa in town. No worries, if you can’t find the way (it takes some practice navigating around the mall). The aroma of coconut-y and spicy curry will lead the way.
Queensway Famous Chicken Curry, #01-60; Lau Tan Tutu Kueh, #02-47; Queensway Shopping Centre, 1 Queensway Singapore 149053
Its location isn’t the easiest to find, but the food definitely makes up for the jaunt. An Aussie-inspired cafe by day and tapas bar by night, Paddy Hills is well-loved for its lip-smacking, IG-worthy hotcake (aka Berry Berry) that comes topped with fresh berries, sunflower seeds and vanilla and strawberry ice cream.
Paddy Hills, 38 South Buona Vista Road, Singapore 118164
Eng Kee Chicken Wings
Who needs commercialised wings when you’ve got Eng Kee? One of Singapore’s oldest and most famous names for crispy golden wings, this local joint also serves economical fried bee hoon – a breakfast staple in our Lion City. Although there’s usually a never-ending line here, a plate of freshly fried chicken wings is always worth the wait.
Eng Kee, #01-711, 117 Commonwealth Crescent, Singapore 140117
Arkadas Cafe serves up scrumptious Turkish and Middle Eastern food. We’re talking kebabs, pides, koftas, kanafeh and, of course, spectacular dips aka hummus galore. Wash it all down with a strong Turkish tea or coffee.
Arkadas Cafe, #01-02, Sandcrawler Building, 1 Fusionopolis View, Singapore 138577
Keng Eng Kee Seafood
Trust us, you’ll want to bring the whole clan for this. Probably the best zi char you’ll find in Alexandra (hit us up for other takers), the family-run restaurant is famed for its succulent salted egg crab dish. The coffee pork ribs, silky moonlight hor fun and claypot pork liver are made to impress. Totally worth those calories.
Keng Eng Kee Seafood, #01-136, 124 Bukit Merah Lane 1, Singapore 150124
Chef Masahiro Takada runs the show at this classy Italian-Japanese fusion restaurant. After mastering his skills at Michelin-starred restaurants in both Italy and Japan, it’s no surprise his food here is superb. Start your meal with tagliorini cold carbonara Hokkaido sea urchin followed by a perfectly executed kagoshima wagyu grilled steak that simply melts in your mouth.
Ristorante Takada, #01-07, Alexis, 356 Alexandra Road, Singapore 159948
The Coffee Belt
Can’t bear another lackluster cup of coffee at Ikea? Grab a better cuppa, along with artisanal tea, delightful gourmet sandwiches and homemade pastries, at The Coffee Belt. Nestled in the lobby of Park Hotel Alexandra, just a two-minute walk from Ikea, the sleek and airy coffee joint will entice you with the aroma of fresh brews from the moment you step into the hotel.
Park Hotel Alexandra Lobby, 323 Alexandra Road, Singapore 159972
The modern food court carries an array of food options to satiate your hunger pangs. From new-gen hawkers to European cuisine and traditional hawker fare, there’s more than enough to choose from. And in true Timbre fashion, you’ll be treated to live music from resident artistes every night.
Timbre+, JTC LaunchPad @ one-north, 73A Ayer Rajah Crescent, Singapore 13995
The Milky Way Homemade Ice Cream and Coffee
Unpretentious is the word for this cosy neighbourhood ice cream parlour. Serious about quality, the creamy gelatos are made in small batches to ensure freshness and taste. We love that the buttery waffles are served in half portions, giving us more space for ice cream. Get a scoop of Sicilian pistachio, strawberry cheesecake, stracciatella, or all three!
The Milky Way Homemade Ice Cream and Coffee, #01-333, Blk 48 Tanglin Halt Road, Singapore 142048
Step in and you’ll be instantly transported to the past. After all, Old Habits is a hybrid cafe that houses an antique shop. Once you’ve taken a good look around – there are vintage clocks and posters, old typewriters and knick knacks – treat yourself to amazing fusion dishes, plus your usual mix of cafe grub and hearty mains.
Old Habits, #01-04, Safra, 2 Telok Blangah Way, Mount Faber, Singapore 098803
Guide to Queenstown: Shopping
Queensway Shopping Centre
Yes, this suburban mall is famously known as the sports mall of Singapore, as it’s bursting with big brands. Looking for limited edition Nike kicks or a place to customise your tennis racket? This is the place to be. Little did you know that an arena of bang-for-your-buck optical shops, old school tailors and t-shirt printing shops also await.
Queensway Shopping Centre, 1 Queensway, Singapore 149053
Anchorpoint Shopping Centre
This mall is home to numerous factory outlets – think off-season and discounted goods from Charles & Keith, Billabong, Cotton On and Pedro. You won’t believe the great deals you can bag at a fraction of the price. Plus, we like stocking up on stationery and to-do lists at Typo. There’s also a Fish Mart Sakuraya on the first floor for fresh sashimi, Japanese rice, sake, tidbits and sushi. But if you’re in the mood for value-for-buck buys, take a stroll around the Valu$ store and load up on affordable chocolates and snacks. We won’t tell.
Anchorpoint Shopping Centre, 370 Alexandra Road, Singapore 159953
It’s a no brainer that most of us hit the Queenstown ‘hood thanks to everyone’s favourite Swedish furniture shop. Like a trip to Daiso, you know you’ll always emerge with more stuff from the Market Hall than you intended to get. We’ll pray to the furniture gods as we embark on putting that bookshelf together.
Ikea, 317 Alexandra Road, Singapore 159965
Guide to Queenstown: Stay
Park Hotel Alexandra
In dire need of a staycay? Step inside this urban oasis to enjoy postcard-perfect views of the Southern Ridges and city skyline. Apart from boasting floor-to-ceiling windows in all rooms, the Crystal Club Lounge (set on the highest floor and exclusively for club guests) opens out to the private outdoor terrace garden, making it the perfect spot to unwind after a long day. Or hit The Carvery for an epic spread of roast meats. Not enough? How does a rooftop bar in a glass enclave sound? You know where to find us!
Park Hotel Alexandra, 323 Alexandra Road, Singapore 159972
Guide to Queenstown: Explore the neighbourhood
Queenstown Public Library
Unwind with a book in hand and sink into the nostalgic vibes of Singapore’s first full-time library branch. Yes, you’re in the oldest library in Singapore. Of course, with a huge array of books along with a serene atmosphere, it’s easy to lose yourself and even spend an entire day here. We’re not complaining.
Queenstown Public Library, 53 Margaret Drive, Singapore 149297
This colonial barracks-turned-cool art space is the go-to spot for those seeking a dose of contemporary art with its distinctive galleries. You’ll find leading local-based and international art galleries here, including Fost Gallery (featuring the works of Singaporean artists) and Yeo Workshop (a series of exhibitions and gallery-based projects by emerging artists).
Gillman Barracks, 9 Lock Road, Singapore 108937
Whether you’re an automobile freak, just browsing or feeling the need to walk off those calories after lunch, this stretch of car showrooms a la Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will fix you up nicely.
Car showrooms from 247-315 Alexandra Road, Singapore 159934
Psst: Want to catch killer views of Singapore’s majestic cityscape… for free? Hop on over to this HDB estate and head 47 storeys up to the roof garden. It’s a great under-the-radar spot for a quiet picnic with ample seating and a cool breeze – sans the blazing sun. Look closer and try to spot its competitor from afar (it’s [email protected], but you didn’t hear this from us).
[email protected], 86 Dawson Road, Singapore 141086
Once a British army base, these black and white colonial buildings house numerous art studio and galleries. Spend a day at this undiscovered neighbourhood hopping from studio to studio and chat up various artists who promise to spin an interesting story or two.
Wessex Estate, 9A Whitchurch Road, Singapore 138839