Bincho at Hua Bee, Fu Lin Bar and Kitchen, and Free The Robot-slash-Bitters and Love aren’t the only dining concepts that transform! You’re in for a surprise at these fun restaurants in Singapore
Y’know what they say: two heads are always better than one. So how about two dining concepts in one location? Now that’s something that’d make us do a double take, literally. Tapping into the best of both worlds, there are transformative restaurants that bear one theme by day, and yet another once the sun sets – these are either two restaurants sharing one space, or a single owner that switches up its style in terms of menu, service and price range. A mee pok stall that turns into a yakitori izakaya? Why not? Or a yong tau foo spot that metamorphosises into a Spanish tapas bar? Bring it on! Here are 10 unique places that will awe you with their changing concepts – you’ll never be bored… or hungry.
Free the Robot | Bitters & Love
By Day: Nestled just across the Honeycombers office, this cutesy robot-themed café provides potent, coconut-infused coffee, as well as an array of scrumptious Western-style brunch food. And remember to keep a lookout for their oh-so-adorable resident pooch, Bailey.
By Night: Stop by after 6pm, and you’ll find that Bitters & Love has taken over the place with its specialty cocktails and bar snacks. The bartenders prefer to freestyle their cocktails; if you are looking for a surprise, tell the bartender your choice of spirits and flavour, and they’ll prep a mix that’ll pander to your taste buds. Otherwise, you must try try their signature kaya toast cocktail!
Free the Robot | Bitters & Love, 118 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068587, p. 6438 1836
Bincho at Hua Bee
By Day: Known as the mee pok stall featured in Eric Khoo’s 1995 flick “Mee Pok Man”, Hua Bee kopitiam continues to serve its traditional fare of delicious mee pok noodles at this corner of Tiong Bahru.
By Night: Looking for a place to unwind after work? Head back to Hua Bee, and you’ll be in for a surprise as Bincho, a yakitori (chicken skewers) and sake bar, now stands in its place. Start your meal with a side of chicken skin salad and yakitori shio platter, then dig into a bowl of yakitori don and tsukune with egg yolk. You can check out our full Bincho review for the deets.
Bincho at Hua Bee, 78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-19, Singapore 162078, p. 6438 4567
Fu Lin Bar & Kitchen
By Day: Step into this industrial chic bistro-like place, and you’ll find only one thing on the menu – yong tau foo. Preferring to set themselves apart from regular hawker fare, Fu Lin’s yong tau foo is served deep-fried instead of boiled, and complemented with a delicious gooey brown chicken gravy.
By Night: Gone are the metal trays and counters for the yong tau foo; by 5pm, the lunchtime attraction is transformed into Fu Lin bar, a watering hole serving Asian-inspired tapas and drinks. Try out their Spanish Iberico steak, or barramundi served with lemongrass and chervil velouté sauce. Or for something heady and savoury, the creamy crab risotto is an absolute winner.
Fu Lin Bar & Kitchen, 127 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068596, p. 6423 0311
Wanton Seng’s Noodle Bar
By Day: Seng’s wanton mee is one of Singapore’s oldest and well-known local noodle dishes; Benson Ng, owner of Seng’s wanton noodle bar, proves that old is gold with the dark minimalist eatery located along Amoy street. Order familiar Chinese classics such as the siu yok mee, which comes laden with double roasted pork belly, wantons and shallots.
By Night: Come evening, the menu is turned on its head. Previously an a la carte menu of noodle selections, the evening menu offers a customisable selection of premium sides to your $1 handmade egg noodles (which can be topped up too for just a dollar). Pick from the 18-hour-cooked aburi pork belly, slow-cooked pork jowl, or Batalong eggs, and you’ll get a gourmet spin on this local food staple.
Wanton Seng’s Noodle Bar, 52 Amoy Street, Singapore 069878, p. 6221 1336
Day & Night Bistro
By Day: Located in the heart of the hip cafe scene at Tiong Bahru, the place distinguishes itself not with palatable offerings of cakes and coffee, but with a generous bowl of yong tau foo and old-school kopi-o. Order the bowl of local delights, either dry or with soup, and tuck into a mix of fresh fishballs and stuffed beancurd.
By Night: Come evening, the bistro reveals its true colours as chalkboards are raised and retro tablecloths are laid out. This chic pizzeria and tap-room restaurant serves up a variety of yummy nosh; start off with tapas such as the har chong gai, or shrimp paste chicken. But don’t get too enamoured with it before trying out the iconic classic margherita pizza. The restaurant’s signature Day & Night burger is worth trying too; a minced ribeye patty grilled with cheddar, rocket leaves, truffle mayo and caramelised onions, it is served atop burger buns with a side of potato wedges.
Day & Night Bistro, 56 Eng Hoon St, Singapore 160056, p. 6222 6881
The Da Bang | Don’t tell Mama
By Day: The word “Dabang” translates to a Korean establishment that primarily serves coffee, and this cafe features an exotic fusion of Australian and Korean food. Start off your brunch with a kimchi panini or a spicy chicken and avocado sandwich, or overdose on cheese with their nachos cheese omelette. Then, satisfy your sweet tooth with the French toast garnished with maple syrup and berries, or perhaps the cafe’s monster bingsu.
By Night: Once the clock strikes 5, Da Bang cafe disappears and Don’t Tell Mama, a Korean-Mexican bistro bar, takes its place. Their specialty? Soju cocktails! Try an eclectic mix of everything soju with the bar’s spicy melon, bloody mama, and apple jalapeño cocktails. Need a savoury snack to quell the woozies? Grab yourself a side of prawn fries fried with garlic, or the bulgogi quesadillas served nicely toasted.
The Da Bang | Don’t tell Mama, 52 Tanjong Pagar Rd, Singapore 088473, p. 6221 2007
Crack & Press | Copper On Stanley
By Day: Hankering for some good ol’ breakfast grub? With its large selection of sandwiches and penchant for anything eggs, Crack & Press serves up Japanese-influenced breakfast offerings. The tempura fish wrap is a must-try, stuffed with yuzu mayo coleslaw and tomato relish; or order the pork belly sandwich that will net you a sake kasu braised pork belly and vegetables wedged between ciabatta bread.
By Night: Crack & Press vanishes from view after 5pm, and Copper on Stanley springs into action. Replacing the hearty sandwich brunch menu, Copper on Stanley serves up a plethora of sake choices (there are apparently 120 labels available!), accompanied by a menu chock-full of bar grub and donburi offerings.
Crack & Press | Copper on Stanley, 3 Stanley Street, Singapore 068722, p. 6221 3639
Third Place @ Tuas 7
By Day: Enjoy your plate of wanton mee or chicken rice in this bar-like dining concept. The sprawling open food court sports a minimalist chic decor with its wooden furniture and high tabletops; you’ll definitely want to spend your lunch hours lounging at this eatery with your colleagues instead of rushing back to work.
By Night: Come nightfall, the lights are dimmed and the stalls are covered with slogan-covered blinds screaming ‘keep calm and drink beer’, converting the chic eatery into a swanky tapas bar hangout. Chinese zi char is the main order of the night, and you have to try the Five Blessing Platter, heaped to the brim with a mish-mash of popiah stuffed with prawn and salted eggs, sweet and spicy jellyfish, papaya salad, mango prawn rolls, and fried enoki mushrooms. And with salted egg dishes being all the rage, indulge in their salted egg cheese crab which is sinfully rich in taste.
Third Place @ Tuas 7, 18 Tuas Ave 7, Singapore 639272, p. 8182 3471
Dapper Coffee | The Spiffy Dapper
By Day: “#Damngoodcoffee”. That’s the proud proclamation of Dapper Coffee as you enter the stairwell leading up to the second floor. Tucked away in a nondescript corner of Amoy Street, this stylish cafe serves up an intriguing array of beverages and treats. Fancy a bottle of Unicorn Tears? This quirky bevvie dazzles drinkers with its swirling sapphire-blue lime-flavoured concoction. Other peculiar treats include the salted egg black sesame cake and root beer dark chocolate cake.
By Night: At the stroke of 6, the Spiffy Dapper speakeasy replaces the cafe atmosphere of Dapper Coffee; vintage pre-war music starts to croon softly from the speakers and the gins come out from behind the bar counter. Get a sheikh cocktail, made with turkish black tea, gin sour, and cardamom; or choose from the plethora of gin choices such as Edinburgh raspberry gin and Blackwoods Shetland gin.
Dapper Coffee | The Spiffy Dapper, 73 Amoy St, Singapore 069892, p. 8722 495
Shinkansen Salad Bar | The Secret Mermaid
By Day: Taking its name from the shinkansen bullet trains found in Japan, the salad bar’s name is definitely an allusion to the way Singaporeans rush about everywhere! Located in the heart of the CBD, this Japanese salad bar is a convenient stop for busy white collars. Customise your salad with a choice of rice or soba noodles, and stack it up with toppings like red onion, lettuce, salmon, and feta cheese.
By Night: The Secret Mermaid, a little-known spirits bar, specialises in quality boutique spirits and sources their alcohol from independent breweries across the States. Sample drinks such as rhubarb vodka, single malts, and whisky from lesser-known labels such as Alaska Distillery, Defiant Whisky, and Westland for $18. Need some munchies? Get the pulled duck buckwheat corn dogs ($9.50), or smoked bone marrow beef tartar ($16.90) to go with your drinks.
Shinkansen Salad Bar | The Secret Mermaid, 10 Collyer Quay,B1-08 Ocean Financial Centre, Singapore 049315