Explore every nook and cranny of the buzziest neighbourhood in the CBD. Here's where to eat, hang out, shop and even work out!
There’s no denying that we seriously dig Telok Ayer. The locale is the home of Honeycombers HQ and has everything we need to live the good CBD life. Lunch is never dull, thanks to the huge variety of hawker centres and coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants. Gyms and fitness studios are aplenty in the vicinity, with spas and salons quietly lining the streets if you’re in dire need of midday pampering. Since we love it so much, we thought we’d give you the low-down on what’s buzzing in our cool but busy neighbourhood. Read on for an insider look at what’s hot in this CBD ‘hood…
Joining the ranks of A Poké Theory and Aloha Poké in the Telok Ayer area is Pololi. Hailing from Hong Kong, the poké chain certainly doesn’t mess around when it comes to variety: it offers 20 different flavours (with five on rotation daily) ranging from yuzu salmon to sweet onion teriyaki swordfish, Thai spicy tuna, and even a locally-inspired sambal – definitely the ideal takeaway lunch bite that won’t leave you feeling guilty.
Pololi, 51 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 048441. Open Mon-Fri 1130am-9pm, Sat 1130am-6pm.
Fat Saigon Boy
This isn’t just your run-of-the-mill Vietnamese pho place. Fat Saigon Boy churns out steaming-hot Vietnamese cuisine with a contemporary twist. The result? Irresistible comfort food like the tender, juicy roast pork belly rice paper roll and hearty banh mi.
Fat Saigon Boy, #01-02, 51 Telok Ayer, Singapore 069694.
This lively modern smokehouse specialises in thrillingly-tender, juicy meats prepared on-site using smokers specially flown in from the States. Its beef brisket ($25) hits the spot with just enough charred and fatty bits, while the fried chicken ($22 for half, $40 for whole) is battered to perfection.
MeatSmith, 167 & 169 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068620, p. 6221 2262.
Fu Lin Bar & Kitchen
Who’d ever guess that you could fuse hipsters and Yong Tau Fu together? At this trendy Yong Tau Fu spot, they serve delicious crispy Yong Tofu, served with minced chicken and mushroom broth and springy noodles. And guess what? When the sun goes down, this place turns into a stylish tapas bar!
Fu Lin Bar & Kitchen, 127 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068596, p. 64230311.
Moosehead Kitchen Bar
Nestled in a shop that’s endured since pre-war times, Moosehead Kitchen Bar features an array of palate-teasing Mediterranean food in a fun and laid-back ambience. The bar also offers a smorgasbord of fine beverages from new-world wines to boutique labels.
Moosehead Kitchen Bar, 10 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068579, p. 66368055.
The Muffinry has got to be one of our favourite hideaways for lunchtime meetings, as the space is massive (we’re talking three floors here) with plenty of cosy corners. It boasts the best muffins in the area, along with a whole host of pastries, and sandwiches (served on Turkish pide) for lunch; these are all entirely baked inhouse.
The Muffinry, 112 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068581
The Market Grill
This snazzy, industrial-chic restaurant has us salivating with its sizzling meats and naturally flavourful seafood. The buttery chargrilled lobster is a top choice, as is its sinful burgers – for a unique take, try the Bleu Cheese ($25 for 150g, $34 for 200g). The complex beef patty burger comes with bleu cheese, sweet burnt onion marmalade, and bacon sandwiched in a walnut raisin bun.
The Market Grill, 208 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068642, p. 6221 3323.
The impressive range of wine available at this underrated bar and French bistro should very well please vino lovers. Sampling the South European labels by the glass is easy on the wallet too, with $8, $12, $18 and premium options to taste.
Napoleon, 206 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068641, p. 6221 9282. Open Mon-Fri 11.45am-12am; Sat 6pm-12am. Closed on Sun.
One of the most affordable healthy options in the CBD, Sun Moon is a fruit shop that whips up nutritious, juices (think a combination of apple, beetroot andcCarrot for $3.50) and fresh salads for a mere $5 (that’s no typo!). We frequently pop in for a juice as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up – this is a real winner in our books.
SunMoon, 167 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068618.
Free the Robot | Bitters & Love
This cutesy robot-themed café provides potent, coconut-infused coffee, as well as an array of scrumptious Western-style brunch food by day, before transforming into a buzzy alcove of specialty cocktails and bar snacks by night – our personal Honeycombers hangout!
Free the Robot | Bitters & Love, 118 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068587, p. 6438 1836
Manna Korean Restaurant
Manna serves up a fragrant and hearty ginseng chicken soup, as well as Korean cuisine staples like spicy tteokbokki (sliced rice cakes and vegetables in hot sauce), seafood pancakes and bibimbap.
Manna. For a full list of locations click here.
Sizzle things up with a good ol’ Japanese BBQ boasting a wide selection of beef cuts, flown in from Japan. If you’re looking for a wallet-friendly lunch, then be sure to check out their lunch specials that start from $8. A new lunch spot contender, perhaps?Yakiniku-Oh, 122 Telok Ayer, Singapore 068591.
If you are yearning for an Australian hipster café fix, this is your place. Sarnies was one of the first decent coffee shops to open in the Singapore business area, and has become our go-to for coffee and lunch fare. They have also introduced a range of healthy options like the fabulous vegan soft-serve, Cocowhip – very on-trend, we say.
Sarnies, 36 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068601.
It’s safe to say that Korean BBQ lovers have plenty of options to choose from along Telok Ayer. A popular hangout spot for big groups, this Korean BBQ restaurant serves everything from flavourful beef cuts to dolsot bibimbap (bibimbap served in a hot stone bowl).
Magal BBQ, 123 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068592, p.6221 8246.
Bumbu is an ideal spot for spice-loving folks looking to dig into scrumptious Thai-Indonesian cuisine. Some key dishes include tom yum seafood soup and pandan leaf chicken – perfect for sharing.
Bumbu, 125 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068594. Open Mon-Sat 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm. Closed on Sun.
My Awesome Cafe
With its Chinese medicinal store façade, and charming interior made up of random bits and bobs, My Awesome Café is absolutely endearing. The great range of salads makes for a satiating, healthy lunch – we can’t go past the My Awesome Salad, a generous portion of mesclun with smoked salmon, herbed chicken breast, duck rillettes, avocado and tomatoes ($15).
My Awesome Café, 202 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068639, p. 8428 0102.
If you’re in need for an affordable Indonesian feast that doesn’t skimp on flavour, then hop down to Nusantara Cuisine. This laid-back nasi padang eatery has a pretty straightforward menu of Indonesian classics like nasi goreng cabe hijau (green chilli fried rice) and beef noodles. Order the Teh Tarik for a midday caffeine boost. You’re welcome.
Nusantara Cuisine, 171 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068621.
Gold Ocean Curry Fish Head
The go-to place for those with a hankering for authentic fish head curry, this seafood restaurant has stood the test of time and continues to draw in the crowds with its winning recipe and quality ingredients.
Gold Ocean Curry Fish Head, 181 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068629.
Chong Wen Ge Cafe
Nestled within Thian Hock Keng (Singapore’s oldest Chinese temple), Chong Wen Ge is a vibrant Peranakan cafe that serves heritage dishes with a modern approach, complete with beautiful decor of Peranakan tiles and a tempting spread of Nyonya kueh.
Chong Wen Ge Cafe, 168 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068619, p. 8688 3028. Open Mon-Fri 10am-8pm; Sat-Sun 9am-8pm.
Offering freshly baked croissants, Pantler does a rendition of the traditional French pastry that consistently wins us over. Beautifully crusted with buttery texture and a soft, fluffy consistency, Pantler’s croissants – priced at $3 – are definitely worth a try!
Pantler, 198 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068637, p. 6221 6223.
A Poke Theory
Still getting bites from the poke bug? This poke joint in Telok Ayer allows you to fully customise your Hawaiian poke bowl with a vast selection of fresh ingredients, including crispy salmon skin, Thai mango, kimchi and pineapple – great for picky eaters like us! The raw fish here come with a selection of piquant sauces too, including spicy mayo, garlic sesame and avocado miso. And instead of Japanese sushi rice or crunchy romaine lettuce, you can even switch your base to a nutty lemon herb quinoa.
A Poke Theory, 27 Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069623.
Shop Wonderland has moved from Haji Lane to its new home in the CBD. Just like its old digs, the two-storey space houses a quirky botanical-themed café on the ground floor and a floral studio upstairs. So what’s on the menu? Beside pretty cakes (such as Earl Grey lavender and green tea black sesame) and delish coffees, you can satiate your appetite with hearty mains of beef goulash and The Wonderland Om veggie grain bowl.
Shop Wonderland, 134 Telok Ayer Street Singapore 068600, p. 6299 5848.
Royz et Vous
Once located in Bali Lane, Royz Et Vous is now thriving in our very own Honeycombers ’hood of Telok Ayer. Mains here are nothing short of spectacular, with classic dishes like herb-crusted salmon, steak and smoked duck with roasted potatoes. But one thing that puts this restaurant ahead of the game is its Halal wines (yup, you read that right) – these have been de-alcoholised through vacuum distillation.
Royz Et Vous, Locations in Telok Ayer and Chai Chee.
Want to dress to impress? Then Q Menswear is the way the go. The menswear label, which was founded just four years ago, offers ready-to-wear casual apparel, accessories, and grooming tools. But if you’re looking for something more unique, they do bespoke too.
Q Menswear, 116A Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068585, p. 6636 6939.
Founded by local shoe aficionado, Donovan, and having recently relocated to Telok Ayer, Custom Made is the go-to place for bespoke shoes for men. No ‘middle-men’ involved in the selling process means that Custom Made is able to offer quality dress shoes for the fraction of the cost. Also, with a huge variety of colours and customisation to select from, on top of using premium genuine leather, you can definitely expect the finest quality of shoes here. Still unsure if this is your best bet? Its comprehensive step-by-step customisation guide can help you understand the process before committing to it. It ain’t rocket science!
CustomMade, 82 Telok Ayer Street, #02-04, Singapore 048467, p. 8717 0179. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-7pm.
Nagore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Centre
Did you think Telok Ayer was gonna be all about food? Think again! This culturally-rich enclave also has a plethora of historic landmarks that would excite any culture vulture. Take a peek inside Nagore Dargah – arguably one of the more prominent landmarks in the area – and you’ll find a gallery that showcases Singapore’s Indian Muslim culture and heritage.
Nagore Dargah Indian Muslim Heritage Centre, 140 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068604.
Ying Fo Fui Kun
Another historic landmark to check off the list is Ying Fo Fui Kun. It’s the home to Singapore’s Hakka clan association – a smaller Chinese dialect group. And while centuries have passed since its construction, its heyday is far from over, with meetings and events still held there to this day.
Ying Fo Fui Kun, 98 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 048474.
Thian Hock Keng
A visit to Telok Ayer is never complete without checking out this marvel of ancient Southern Chinese architecture! Singapore’s oldest Hokkien temple has been a familiar sight in this area since 1839, and is now a must-visit for tourists looking to explore Singapore’s rich and diverse history.
Thian Hock Keng, 158 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068613.
Beng Kong Ee Seah
Ever curious about acupuncture? Steel your nerves and book an appointment at acupuncture centre, Bee Kong Ee Seah. There, the resident acupuncturist will insert needles in specific chi paths, practising a healing art that is widely believed to have many health benefits.
Bee Kong Ee Seah, 210 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068643.
Sandwiched between shophouses, this low-key mosque is one of first few mosques ever to be built in Singapore. A place of worship among Tamil Muslims back in the 1850s, this mosque was later refurbished to accommodate 900 people, a whopping five times its original capacity.
Al-Abrar Mosque, 192 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068635.
Singapore Musical Box Museum
Venture within the ancient confines of Thian Hock Keng temple, and you might spot this museum that houses an extensive collection of musical boxes that date back centuries. Fun fact: these artefacts were left behind from European settlers back in the day.
Singapore Musical Box Museum, 168 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068619.
Aside from being a beautiful place to work out and its convenient location, Level keeps fitness interesting with a huge variety of original, high-end equipment that creates a different, dynamic and fresh routine every time you visit – there’s not a running machine in sight! Whether you’re looking for boxing, weight-lifting, toning, or cardio, you’ll find a bit of everything at Level.
Level Gym, 137 Telok Ayer Street #01-03, Singapore 068602. p. 6222 4766. See website for more details.
The Yoga Mandala
Relax, recharge and rejuvenate at Telok Ayer’s only yoga studio. All it takes is a short climb up the stairs to find this hidden sanctuary of stress-free vibes in the midst of this buzzing street. Classes are available for drop-ins, beginners, and advanced yogis. Remember to bring a mat!
The Yoga Mandala, 134 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068600.
SPAS AND SALONS
Might of Many
The centrally-located Might of Many is a draw for busy CBD types who would want to squeeze in a haircut during a weekday lunch; best to make an appointment first before dropping by. Might of Many provides the classic grooming services – from a half shave to a basic cut with hot towel service. What could be better than getting a hot towel shave or cut during lunchtime, and then returning back to the work grind all refreshed – and looking sharper for that afternoon meeting?
Might of Many, 120 Telok Ayer Street, #02-120A, Singapore 68589, p. 6224 4919.
While not exactly a men’s only spa, Beaute Hub is an award-winning spa and skincare specialist that caters to both sexes. Here, they provide an array of services such as body contouring and slimming, skincare and spa. For the lads, highlights of its face, body slimming and spa services include Beaute Hub microdermabrasion, Beaute Hub Meso Body Slim Therapy and Beaute Hub Body Scrubs and Wraps with Tourmaline Hot Stone Sauna. The friendly staff at the outlets will walk you through the treatments to find one that best matches your needs.
Beaute Hub, 124 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068593
Okay, we admit it: a reflexology sesh can sometimes be a little tortuous, but there’s nothing like a good kneading from a relentless reflexologist to get us back on track. Ancient Therapy on Telok Ayer is a traditional Chinese massage studio – we’re talking multiple massages going on in a room – but for us, it absolutely hits the spot when we need to turn the lunch break into an emergency therapy session. We’ve popped in for just a 15 minute massage, and this is one of the most affordable places in town, so no excuses: squeeze in a treat.
Ancient Therapy, 184 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068631, p 6223 3873 to book
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