From Bedok to Joo Chiat to Punggol, these hideaways offer great food, chill ambience and respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The nooks and crannies of Singapore will either lead you to stunning architectural landmarks, lush green spaces, under-the-radar watering holes or nondescript restaurants that offer superb nosh. Look even further and you’ll find one of our best-kept secrets: Hidden heartland cafes. To escape the crowds, put on your exploring boots and loosen those jeans as we take you on a delicious adventure across the island.
Whisk and Paddle
This massive, open-air bistro provides tranquil views of the Punggol Serangoon Reservoir and its surrounds. On the menu, you’ll find a whole host of comfort grub, including macaroni and cheese, eggs benedict with smoked salmon served atop waffles, and a wide selection of pizzas. It’s also a charming watering hole in the evening; come by to kick back over cocktails and bar bites.
Whisk and Paddle, #01-01, 10 Tebing Lane, Singapore 828836
On the fringes of Ang Mo Kio, in the quiet residential area of Jalan Kuras, lies a humble coffee spot that roasts its beans in-house. Take your pick from white, black or filter coffee, but a potent shot of piccolo will always be our recommendation. Then, pair your coffee or tea (the ginger latte here is wickedly good too!) with the all-day brunch menu that’s bursting with toastie options.
Thus Coffee, 4 Jalan Kuras, Singapore 577723
After gallivanting around Bedok, make a pit stop at Refuel for a little…refuelling (we couldn’t help ourselves). The good thing about heartland cafes is that they won’t leave your wallet high and dry. Over here, you can treat yourself to a hearty brunch of vegan baked eggs or fluffy pancakes for less than $10! Feeling bougie? The breakfast platter, which features bacon, mushrooms, eggs, cheese, toast and tomatoes, will only set you back $10.90!
Refuel, #01-3029, 744 Bedok Reservoir Road, Singapore 470744
Nestled in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, away from the busyness of city life, Grub’s menu has a soft spot for burgers. Take your pick from unique and classic flavours such as the spicy mala burger, vegetarian-friendly portobello burger or the popular beefy cheeseburger. The guys behind Grub pride themselves on providing honest and gratifying food, so there are no fillers or binders in the beef patties.
Grub, 510 Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, Singapore 569983
The Garden Slug
Not too far from the iconic colourful shophouses of Joo Chiat, this hidden heartland cafe is in a non-descript strip off Still Road. A permanent fixture in the area since 2006, the dog-friendly spot is a great place to catch up over good food: Think pasta, salads and sharing platters. Make yourself comfortable in the alfresco area and just watch the world go by. Do check its website too, as the menu changes from time to time.
Garden Slug, #01-59/61, Bright Centre, 55 Lorong L Telok Kurau, Singapore 425500
This floral-themed hidden heartland cafe looks right out of a fantasy novel. Drenched in purple and pink hues, with dried flowers embellishing the walls and cascading down from the ceiling, along with a four-metre floral wall on the second floor, you’ll feel like you’re dining in a garden. The theme extends to the dessert menu as well, with treats like the rose-shaped apple pie, macarons with flower petals and the popular flower pot dessert, which is made with matcha sponge cake, white chocolate ganache and cream cheese.
Wild Blooms, #01-01, The Midtown, 1187 Upper Serangoon Road, Singapore 533971
South Union Park
Having worked in restaurants overseas, chef-owner Terence Chuah now shows off his culinary skills in a cafe setting, where the tables are perpetually filled and the dishes are nothing less than brilliant. Make your way to Kembangan and you’ll be treated to a menu that boasts exquisite European fare. Try the duck confit tagliatelle, bouillon with seared seabass and the pork chop with pommery mustard. If you have the room for more, go for the brownie, which is served with salted caramel ice cream.
South Union Park, 101 Jln Kembangan, Singapore 419139
The Coastal Settlement
At this cosy, dog-friendly spot, you’ll find tons of vintage knick-knacks and quirky decor on display. Food-wise, expect honest comfort food, including burgers and pizzas, as well as local favourites like beef rendang and nasi lemak. Surrounded by nature, it’s a perfect venue for your pets to roam and explore while you dine. It’s also located next to a not-so-hidden haunted spot (ahem, Old Changi Hospital) that you can venture into if you’ve got the courage!
The Coastal Settlement, 200 Netheravon Road, Singapore 508529