Keong Saik Road is having a moment right now, giving us more reason to hop over to the hip ‘hood.
A mecca for local eats, regional French and Italian cuisine and the coolest bars in town – it’s hard to imagine that Keong Saik Road in Singapore, was once a prominent red light district peppered with brothels back in the 60s. Today, a new wave of residents sit nicely in this buzzing ‘hood. Plus, it’s located just a stone’s throw away from the bustling Chinatown. We let you in on Keong Saik’s coolest hangs, from the hottest restaurants and bars to hotels and even wall art. Clear out your day, there’s just so much to do.
Where to eat and drink in Keong Saik
Gaston Burgundy Bistro & Wine Bar
So you’ve had French cuisine. How about Burgundian? We went on a jaunt (you can read more about it here) and were floored with Gaston Burgundy Bistro & Wine Bar. Burgundy native Geoffrey Daurelle is at the helm, bringing his homemade and comforting specialities to this quaint spot. Must-tries are tarte à la tomate et chèvre frais: a goat cheese tart with tomatoes, pistou and salad; truite à l’aligoté: trout fillet, asparagus and fondant potatoes with the creamiest white wine sauce and a hearty boeuf Bourguignon.
Gaston Burgundy Bistro & Bar, 25 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089132, available online
Kyuu’s kitchen is helmed by chef Issey Araki who was from Kappa Shunsui, of Michelin Tokyo Guide’s Bib Gourmand fame. Expect a stellar ten-course sashimi and robatayaki course menu with the freshest ingredients. There’s also an a la carte menu with tempting dishes including diver scallop with butter soy sauce, grilled wagyu with wasabi and wine sauce, salmon ikura don and more. Your meal here is best paired with sake – there’s a whole list to choose from!
Kyuu, 29 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089136
Once you’ve had fresh pasta, you can’t go back. Case in point: a throwback to dinner at Pasta Bar. Watch Chef Alessandro and his team whip out regional Italian pasta dishes at the open kitchen. Chef uses 11 different otherworldly doughs so no two pasta dishes are the same. We still daydream about the tortelli with pumpkin and sage which are basically little pockets of caramelised goodness and the classic pappardelle with rabbit ragu. Or try the eggless lagane, a Southern Italian dish – that’s apparently the first pasta dish ever recorded – made with chickpea and a spicy kick of chilli and garlic.
Pasta Bar, #01-05, 55 Keong Saik, Singapore 089158, or available online
The Old Man
With close relation to the best bar in Asia (the original bar in Hong Kong recently topped the Asia’s 50 Best Bars list), The Old Man really has a lot to celebrate. We were invited to this unassuming spot in Keong Saik (you’d never guess the interior from outside) and were transported to Ernest Hemingway’s den. The Old Man does pay homage to the novelist after all. Even the bar is named after his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Old Man and the Sea.
All nine innovative cocktails are inspired by Hemingway’s work but with an Asian twist. Don’t leave without trying ‘The Sun also Rises’ an Asian Negroni concocted with coconut oil fat-washed applejack, curry leaf infused gin, sweet vermouth sous-vide pandan leaves and lime kaffir. Or The Snows of Kilimanjaro, a boozy take on Yakult that has marshmallow gin, lacto-fermented raspberry, citrus and topped with gruyere cheese. After learning about the thorough prep, technique and ingredients that go behind each cocktail, we were pleasantly surprised to know that each cocktail is priced at just $17++.
The Old Man Singapore, #01-04, 55 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089158, also available online
Heart of Darkness
Craft beer lovers, rejoice! Vietnam’s Heart of Darkness has relocated to Keong Saik with an upgraded space that’s bigger and better. You’ll find more than 25 craft beers on tap at the bar, alongside a neat selection of wines, beer cocktails and western fusion tapas from the kitchen. Oh, and you won’t miss the larger-than-life Dragon and Merlion mural symbolising the collab between the brand’s home country and Singapore, done in partnership with local visual artist Tobyato.
Heart of Darkness, 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109
Olivia Restaurant & Lounge
Can’t walk around Keong Saik Road and miss a chance to dine at Olivia Restaurant & Lounge. Step into the concept restaurant to experience Barcelona’s vibrant, cosmopolitan dining culture smack in the middle of Singapore. Expect hearty homestyle Catalan inspired dishes created using traditional cooking methods and presented with modern sensibilities. And of course, an array of Spanish and international wines to pair.
Olivia Restaurant & Lounge, 55 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089158
Potato Head Singapore
The undisputed face of Keong Saik, there’s no doubt that PTT Family’s venture in Singapore has taken Keong Saik by storm. Offering an awesome four-in-one dining concept, choose to dig into gourmet burgers – including the highly-raved Impossible Burger – at Three Buns (level one and two), lounge at reservation-only bar Studio 1939, or hit the rooftop garden and soak up the sights and sounds of Chinatown over a cocktail. Head down early or risk being put on a lengthy waiting list.
Potato Head Folk, 36 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089143, also available online
Wine & Chef
We never thought we’d see Hokkien and Italian cuisine come together but here we are. Wine & Chef blends both cuisines with dishes like Asian herb duck confit, a salmon risotto: soy and coriander cured salmon fillet with mascarpone and ‘Hokkien mee’ with crab claw, flower clams and in-house rendered lard. Wash it down with a glass of wine from their featured collection or take a bottle from the wine cellar home.
Wine & Chef, 7 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089115, also available online
A modern Indian grill, Thevar whips up creative interactions of traditional Indian flavours. Think sweet and savoury cranberry and pistachio pulao, a deliciously chewy Chettinad chicken roti with tender filling, hearty pepper and tamarind Iberico pork chop with mango curry and more. Finish off with a drink or two – this resto doubles as a buzzy bar too!
Thevar, 9 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089117, also available online
When a restaurant serves only Chinese roast and wanton noodles, you know it has to be good. The roast meat at Foong Kee is probably one of the best in town and if the snaking queues at lunch hour don’t entice you, we don’t know what will. Order the mixed platter of sio bak (roasted pork belly), roast duck and char siew to try the best of everything. Add a plate of wanton noodles and you’ve got yourself a hearty meal.
Foong Kee, 6 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089114
Kok Sen Restaurant
Another spot for local eats, Kok Sen is the kind of place you’d swing by if you fancy an authentic coffee shop-style experience – and Singapore Michelin Bib Gourmand zhi char (also a perfect spot to impress the in-laws). Order up dishes like the big prawns bee hoon soup, claypot yong tau foo and big prawns hor fun.
Kok Sen Restaurant, 30 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089137
We love a good Sunday roast and Butcher Boy has just the kind of roast meats we live for. We tried the Sunday brunch and were absolutely floored. The Asian-inspired grill serves up baos stuffed with fried chicken and yuzu kosho mayo, IG-worthy and totally incredible chicken and prawn laksa dumpling and also a hearty meal of excellent cuts and melt-in-your-mouth fantastic roast beef, lamb rump and pork belly. Who needs cutlery when you have the most tender roasts in front of you?
Butcher Boy, 31 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089138, also available online
Tong Ah Eating House
The Honeycombers team has more than a few happy memories of chowing down on awesome zi char (Chinese homestyle cuisine) at this nostalgic golden oldie.
Tong Ah Eating House, 35 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089142
Have a penchant for craft beers? The Guild will quench your thirst. Hailing from Hong Kong’s acclaimed and largest independent craft brewery Young Master Brewery, The Guild serves up a whopping 19 different taps of indie craft beer, along with natural wines and cocktails concocted with small batch, artisanal spirits. Chef Vincent Lauria helms the kitchen using locally-sourced ingredients grown by indie farmers – including sea farmer fresh oysters farmed locally in Pulau Ubin.
The Guild, #01-01, 55 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089155, available on GrabFood, Foodpanda and Deliver
Ah, the cure for hunger (no pun intended). Cure hosts a fine-dining experience without burning a hole in your pocket. On top of its chef’s tasting menu (which differs each year), Cure also has an a la carte menu from Monday to Thursday that includes beef short rib and roast pigeon as well as snapper and white asparagus. Wine pairing is also available with the tasting menu.
Cure, 21 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089128, also available online
This Michelin-starred resto whips up French cuisine with an Asian twist, helmed by Head Chef, Sun Kim, who’s earned his stripes in Waku Ghin and Tetsuya’s in Sydney. The highlights on this menu? Titillate those taste buds with a wagyu beef tartare served with pear kimchi, egg jelly and rice, or savour Hokkaido scallops with endive, miso and squid ink crackers. But for a real treat, try the slow-cooked grass-fed beef short rib topped off with parsnip and oyster mushroom.
Meta, 9 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089117, also available online
Party promoters, Sunshine Nation (who’ve brought us kickass events like the Garden Beats Festival) rolls out a party for your palate with Don Ho Social Kitchen & Bar. Featuring an innovative fusion menu that blends Eastern and Western influences, expect novel menu items like sweet potato hummus with hazelnut dukkah, burnt onions and home-made focaccia, and Morroccan spiced lamb tenderloin.
Don Ho, 1 Keong Saik Road, The Working Capitol Building, Singapore 089109, also available online
Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant
This unagi-speciality restaurant serves fresh charcoal grilled unagi imported directly from Japan. You know it’s fresh when the chef cuts, skewers and grills the freshwater eel (a.k.a. ‘unagi’) in the flesh upon you ordering your dish. If you can’t stand the sight of blood, there’s always a spot away from the ‘prime seat’. Find eel-ectric dishes like Una Tama Don (unagi and tamagoyaki on rice) and Hitsumabushi (unagi don with spices and dashi) on its menu.
Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant, 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109, available on GrabFood and Foodpanda
This flamingo-infused Hawaiian tropical poké bar and deli looks like something out of Ace Ventura’s wardrobe – another great Instagram opportunity – and the great vibes come with even greater food. Not related to pokéballs, poké is a a raw fish salad, commonly served as a starter in Hawaii. Loloku has five basic bowls on its menu, but you can opt to “Build Your Own Bowl”, and pick your favourite bits and pieces.
Loloku, 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109
Bread & Hearth
Keong Saik’s artisanal bakery-café offers a lip-smacking spread of handcrafted European-style bread, tarts, and sweet rolls. Tip: enjoy the pastries with a generous slather of the café’s homemade jam.
Bread & Hearth, 18 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089125, also available online
For a dose of authentic French fare, and some of the most value-for-money set lunches in town, Taratata Brasserie is your answer. Chef-owner Bertrand Raguin works hard at dishing out classic French dishes complemented with top-class hospitality. Find your French favourites like the Coq au vin (chicken braised in red wine with lardons, mushrooms and carrots) and Blanquette de veau (traditional veal stew served with pilaf rice).
Taratata Brasserie, 35A Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089142
One of the five F&B concepts to open at co-working space The Working Capitol, this quirky dining joint serves up authentic Japanese small-plates like edemame hummus, cucumber-goma salad, tuna tartare and baos & bone marrows. In addition to these small dishes, dubbed “birdfeed”, Neon Pigeon also whips up some killer cocktails. Note: Neon Pigeon will run its final serve on 11 July 2020.
Neon Pigeon, 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109, also available online
Vegan-friendly deli by day, cool bar by night, Afterglow is Keong Saik’s go-to spot for the health conscious. Pop by in the day for nutritious grub like deconstructed sushi bowls and raw zucchini linguine with walnut ‘meat’-balls, and chia seed puddings, or head down after work for innovative drinks concocted with fresh juices, herbs, flowers, and all things healthy.
Afterglow, 24 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089131, also available online
What to see in Keong Saik
Cool wall art
Commissioned by The Working Capitol, Ripple Root turned boring white walls at Keong Saik Street into playful backdrops filled with their own take on floral motifs of the traditional Peranakan tiles located around the area. According to the duo, the project was “to inject lively fun into classical Keong Saik Street heritage.” And boy, did they manage to do just that! For more wall art inspo, check out our Honeycombers Wall Crawl series.
Location: Next to Loloku, 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109
Duxton Plain Park
If you need a break from the hustle and bustle, Duxton Plain Park is a peaceful respite for residents and visitors alike. Flanked on both sides by the backs of shophouses, it’s a narrow and curved park between New Bridge Road and Yan Kit Road in the Chinatown precinct. It is a unique luxuriant spin on the typical shophouse back alley and gets its meandering shape from the site bring an old railway line.
Duxton Plain Park, Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089140
Is your wardrobe filled with vintage gems? You’ll fit right in at Dustbunny Vintage. Spilling with in-house label items and finds from around the globe, step up your style with sailor shift dresses, pencil skirts, fit-and-flare pants in the most vibrant prints and patterns.
Dustbunny Vintage, 2-A Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089110
Looking for a staycay or need temporary living space for a month? Imagine living in the heart of it all – with bars, restaurants and local eats including Pasta Bar, Olivia Restaurant & lounge and The Old Man located just steps away from each other. Ahh..sounds like heaven to us. You can have it all with Kesa House’s flexible-living concept. Choose between ‘Sky, Studio, Entertain, Cozy’ for various staying options in the 60-room building. Communal spaces like the KesaLobby and the Affogato Lounge: an integrated check-in space and lounge where guests are served decadent affogatos and micro-batch ice cream; KesaKitchen where you can sip on a cuppa from Sarnies and whip up a quick breakfast using the fully-equipped cooking stations and KesaTerrace, a social area with views of the Duxton Plain Park are ones to watch. Fancy a stay?
Kesa House, 55 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089158
The Working Capitol
It’s difficult to miss The Working Capitol — this massive facility is sprawled across five shop houses and occupies an old 1920’s biscuit factory. Adopting a minimalistic approach for their interior design scheme, they’ll provide co-working spaces, event spaces, private offices, a café and five other eateries. Talk about killing multiple birds with one stone.
The Working Capitol, 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109
Trust the Japanese to know a thing or two about beauty fixes. This specialist salon from the Land of the Rising Sun that has been drawing a loyal crowd with its impressive range of services that includes colouring, curling, straightening, and even eye lash extensions (which is available separately at KJ Studio up on the second floor).
Covo, 43 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089147
Consisting of five conservation shop-houses built in 1929, this cool boutique accommodation features 32 individually designed rooms decked in a mix of classic designer and retro vintage furniture. There are no two rooms are alike in this hotel, with everything from furnishing and beds right down to the clear glass bathrooms being unique. 1929 also offers 2 specially designed suites with outdoor baths set in tropical roof gardens that overlook the bright lights and bustling streets of charming Chinatown. Unique, hip and comfortable, rooms are stylish yet affordable.
Hotel 1929, 50 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089154
When you’re done walking around the area, pop by this spa for a good massage. Bodylite offers a range of spa treatments including a 30-minute back and shoulder massage, as well as foot reflexology for those aching soles. Pamper yourself with an hour of Wellbeing Body Massage and feel rejuvenated after.
Bodylite, 26a Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089133