From local bites to restaurants and hip cafes, Upper Thomson is a serious contender for Singapore's best foodie neighbourhood
The Upper Thomson enclave has a rep as one of Singapore’s best food havens, and rightly so. This stretch is home to supper spots serving local eats, loads of restaurants and a bustling cafe scene. We don’t blame you if you’ve got a bit of choice paralysis, so we’ve let you in on our neighbourhood faves…
Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters
If you haven’t been to Pacamara (pictured above), you’re seriously missing out. First of all, this place is flooded with natural light – an Instagrammer’s paradise. But more than just a photogenic cafe, it also serves up some of the best truffle fries in Singapore. The mains don’t lose out either: The duck confit mash and eggs Benedict are constant favourites. The best part? The stellar selection of coffee and craft beers.
Pacamara, open daily from 9am-11pm, 185 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574333
Columbus Coffee Co.
One of the latest additions to the Upper Thomson cafe scene, Columbus Coffee Co. is helmed by the same people behind Atlas Coffeehouse and Lunar Coffee Brewers. It’s hard not to love the well-lit space, and the decor and wooden furniture make for an inviting environment. Food-wise, expect dishes such as buttermilk fried chicken and salmon soba noodles. Coffee aficionados will be pleased to know that Columbus Coffee Co. gets its coffee beans from Two Degrees North Coffee Co., a renowned roaster that sources single origin beans from coffee capitals of the world like Ethiopia, Colombia and Kenya.
Columbus Coffee Co., open from Tue-Sat, 9am-10pm and on Sun from 9am-7pm, 220 Upper Thomson Road Thomson Garden Estate, Singapore 574352
This quaint cafe is one of the long-term survivors of Upper Thomson and it’s not without reason. Fairly priced food and amazing coffee are the name of the game here and if you’re still into truffle fries, we honestly think the version here outshines Pacamara’s. The brunch selection is plentiful, with the pulled pork Benedict and scrambled chilli eggs being long-time stars of this place. Of course, the coffee is excellent, which is all the more reason to while your afternoon away at this chill spot.
Habitat Coffee, open from 10am-10pm from Tue-Sun, 223 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574355
Little Part 1 Cafe
Fitted out with wooden tables against monochrome walls, Little Part 1 Cafe looks every inch the indie hangout people dream of. To make things better, its food menu is incredibly extensive, and you can indulge in pizzas, crepes as well as mains such as shepherd’s pie and chicken schnitzel. Wondering about the drinks? You won’t be disappointed. Choose from a wide range of craft beers ranging from IPAs to fruit beers or if you’re in the mood, one of the bottles of vino.
Little Part 1 Cafe, open from Tue-Thu from 12pm-3pm and 5.30pm-10pm; Fri from 12pm-3pm and 5.30pm-12am; Sat from 12pm-12am and Sun from 12pm-10pm, 15 Jasmine Road, Singapore 576584
One Man Coffee
One of our personal favourites along Upper Thomson, One Man Coffee serves superb coffee, decently priced food and healthy yoghurt bowls. Don’t miss out on the famous gashouse eggs, hearty and flavourful, it will be tempting to order one more. Seeking something a little more substantial? The big brekkie can do no wrong. With its Spanish chorizo sausages and sourdough bread, it’s guaranteed to fill you up. Pair your meal with a specialty espresso or tea and you’re good to go!
One Man Coffee, open daily from 9am-5pm, 215R Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574349
Ever in need of a coffee fix while in the area? Head over to this pleasant cafe. The first thing that hits you is the aroma of coffee. The interior is amazing in its own right, with the star of the show being a massive world map on the wall. The owners pride themselves on the tagline ‘adventure in a cup’ and if you’re wondering why, it’s because the team travels the world searching for the best Arabica coffee. Talk about dedication. Food wise, don’t expect to find anything other than cakes but hey, who needs fries when your coffee is this good?
Yahava KoffeeWorks, open daily from 9am-6pm, 4 Jalan Gelenggang, Singapore 578188
The Roti Prata House
Arguably the pride and joy of Upper Thomson, this establishment has cemented its spot as one of the top prata places in town. Just check out the massive crowd. No surprise really, the signature plain prata is crispy and flavourful, albeit terribly sinful. Don’t miss out on the wide array of other dishes including mee goreng, murtabak and variations of prata that are bound to get prata purists squirming. Fair warning: If you go for the ice Milo, you’ll end up ordering more than one.
The Roti Prata House, open from 7am-2am from Sun-Thu and 7am-4am from Fri-Sat, 246 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574370
If you’re talking about roti prata, this is one name that will inevitably come up. An icon in the industry, Casuarina Curry serves up one of the biggest pratas ever, so much so that it has problems fitting on the plate. It’s not just about the size though, you can expect perfectly made fluffy pieces. Pair that with the awesome fish or chicken curry and you’ll end up having quite the feast. Apart from its signature dish, have a go at the nasi briyani and fish cutlets, which frankly never fails to disappoint.
Casuarina Curry, open from 7am-12 midnight, 136-138 Casuarina Road, Singapore 579526
With its right mix of vinegar and chilli, it’s no wonder this establishment gets throngs of hungry people every day who are more than willing to queue just to have a taste of its signature bak chor mee (minced meat noodles). Feel like something a little different? The laksa and soupy variants of noodles are equally satisfying. We feel this place is a bit overhyped, but it opens till the wee hours of the morning – bonus points for that.
Meng’s Kitchen, open from 9am-5am daily, 246B Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574370
Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh
Craving a bowl of peppery and fragrant soup? There’s no better place in the area than Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh (bak kut teh is basically pork ribs in soup, usually paired with servings of tea). This establishment has been in business since 1976 and its rich history shows in the perfectly balanced broth and succulent pork ribs. It also offers a range of side dishes such as beancurd skin and salted vegetables. Of course, no bak kut teh meal will be complete without tea and as a way of respecting tradition, Rong Cheng is one of the last few places which serves its customers traditional tea (known as gongfu cha).
Rong Cheng Bak Kut Teh, open daily from 9am-9pm, Blk 26 Sin Ming Lane, #01-114 Midview City, Singapore 573971
Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice
For the uninitiated, this renowned Singaporean dish is the epitome of sinfulness. Don’t be deceived by its lacklustre appearance – while it may not do wonders for your Instagram feed, we assure you it’s damn good. This dish is basically chicken chop, fishcakes, luncheon meat etc unevenly cut up using scissors and served with rice and a dollop of decadent curry that threatens to spill over from the sides of the plate. Fact: When it’s late and you’ve just finished a night of drinks, this plate of grub will taste a million times better.
Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice, open from 11am-10.30pm daily, 244p Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574369
Sembawang Hills Food Centre
Everyone has that one place they go to when they can’t decide what to have for lunch. For Upper Thomson residents, Sembawang Hills Food Centre springs to mind. Whether you’re feeling fish soup, char kway teow or carrot cake, this oasis of good eats will ensure you never leave feeling unsatisfied. We have to mention that the bak chor mee there is on another level too. The uncle helming the stall used to work at Tai Hwa, which was recently awarded one Michelin star, so you know it’s good!
Sembawang Hills Food Centre, open daily, individual stalls opening hours differ, 590 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574419
Mark our words, this cosy restaurant will satisfy any Japanese cravings you might have, and it’s reasonably priced too. The bara chirashi don goes for $12.80 and is packed with salmon, tuna, octopus and prawns over a very generous portion of rice. If raw fish isn’t your thing, the smoked duck don will be sure to hit the spot. There’s also seasonal offers such as uni and sashimi so keep your eyes peeled! The queues can get pretty long, and by long we mean up to a two-hour wait during dinner time so either head there early or late.
Sushiro, open daily except for Tue, 11.45am to 2.15pm and 5.45pm to 9.15pm, 01-22/30, 301 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574408
Ban Leong Wah Hoe
Seafood lover? This zi char place is just what you need. Ban Leong Wah Hoe has been in the same spot at Upper Thomson since 1986 and indulging in the signature chilli crab is a must. Unlike some other places, it strikes a perfect balance between the sambal chilli and the natural sweetness of the crab. Other dishes on the menu that might strike a chord with are the oyster omelette, prawn paste chicken and thearray of steamed fishes. If you’re in need of a drink, go for the lime juice, which is freshly squeezed!
Ban Leong Wah Hoe, open from Sat-Thu from 11am-2.30pm and 5pm-11pm; Fri from 11am-2.30pm and 5pm-12am, 122 Casuarina Rd, Singapore 579510
Two Chefs Eating Place
Another zi char place that’s often frequented in the Upper Thomson area is Two Chefs, which is all about affordable and delicious dishes. You simply cannot leave the place without trying their butter pork ribs: you’ll definitely be hooked once you sink your teeth into it. If you’re craving a classic, the honey chicken, sweet and sour pork as well as their selection of noodles will satisfy you just the same.
Two Chefs Eating Place, open daily from 11am-2.30pm and 5pm-10.30pm, 409 Sin Ming Avenue, #02-01, Singapore 570409
E-Sarn Thai Corner
Upper Thomson is home to a few Thai restaurants but frankly, E-Sarn Thai Corner wins the battle. Situated at the corner of the same row of shops as Habitat Coffee and Pacamara, this hidden gem isn’t known by many. Pity, this place serves up some amazing Thai dishes and one visit would never be enough. For first-timers unsure of how to navigate the rather long menu, we recommend going for the stuffed boneless chicken wings, sun-dried pork, garlic prawns and papaya salad. The crispy omelette is also a must too and it’s well worth the sinfulness! Oh, and don’t even get us started on the mango sticky rice…
E-Sarn Thai Corner, open daily except for Tuesday, 11.30am-3pm and 5.30pm-10pm, 9 Thomson Ridge, Singapore 574637
Without even trying the food, this bistro already makes quite the good first impression. It makes its home amidst the lush greenery of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, and if you think this place scores high on ambience, wait till you’ve tried the food. Burgers are what they do, and beef lovers might disagree, but the best dish here might just be the Har Cheong Gai burger (that’s chicken with shrimp paste). Juicy and oily, it’s ridiculously good. If you’re not a burger fan, the sakura ebi pasta will do just fine too. But for us, it’s all about the mentaiko fries. Pro tip: Ask for extra mentaiko.
Grub, open from Mon-Fri, 11am-3pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm; Sat-Sun, 9am-10.30pm, 510, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, Singapore 569983
Stellar North Indian cuisine? Count us in! This restaurant is one of the old horses of the Upper Thomson area, and to survive this long in the dynamic F&B environment takes something special. No prizes for guessing right, but Daawat Tandoori nails it when it comes to food. Expect to find the regular stuff such as butter chicken, mutton korma and a whole selection of naan, but all taken one notch higher in terms of flavour. Alternatively, you can go for the set meals which pack a punch in terms of the portions yet won’t break the bank.
Daawat Tandoori, 11am-11pm daily, 207 Upper Thomson Road, Yew Lian Park, Singapore 574346
Like this story? Check these out too: