Wallet-friendly European fare in Singapore
Mention European cuisine, and an image of a fancy restaurant - where dressing up is mandatory - immediately comes to mind. Its menu will probably be peppered with French and you’ll feel as though you have to sell your soul just to have an appetiser.
But don’t have to blow up your bank or know French to enjoy authentic European cuisine in Singapore. You don’t even have to suit up - just turn up in flip-flops and a tenner in your pocket, and enjoy an ang moh feast at one of these laid-back eateries.
1. Lad & Dad
Lad & Dad has been serving up classic Lancashire stew right in the middle of Serangoon Gardens ever since opening in 2014. Also called The Dad ($8), it is a pot full of slow-braised veggies with beef or mutton chunks in a pool of hearty gravy.
If you still have space in your tummy-tum-tum, end your meal with their Yorkshire Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream ($3). The warm pastry pairs delectably with the maple syrup-drizzled ice cream. Serangoon Gardens deserve more hype than just Chomp Chomp.
Address: Garden Market & Hawker Centre #32, 49A Serangoon Garden Way, Singapore 555945
Opening Hours: 12pm - 8pm
Phone: 9247 7385
2. Ô Comptoir
Bringing joie de vivre into your everyday hustle, Ô Comptoir offers sweet and savoury crêpes from $5. Impress your friends with this wee bit of French: the sweet items are called crêpes while the savoury ones are actually called galettes. With the kitchen staff fully trained in Brittany, France, this is as authentic as it gets.
For crepes, we recommend the Normandy Landing ($8) for the generous drizzle of homemade salted caramel and dollop of vanilla ice cream. If you are here with a friend, split the bill and get down with a Menage a Trois ($14) - a galette of ham, eggs, and cheese. Now if only we can start off every single day like this. C’est la vie.
Address: 79 Circular Road, Singapore 049433
Opening Hours: 11am - 12am
Phone: 6534 7645
3. Quick Spanish
You don’t have to head to the Southern coast of Europe for a paella. With 5 locations in Singapore, Quick Spanish brings the seafood-infused rice to our little island.
Being at any one of its outlets brings you the glorious sight of seafood, chicken and an array of vegetables sitting on an entire pan of paella. Chow down some Saffron Paella ($6.90) and Chicken Croquettes ($2.80) for a taste of el Carnaval - a celebration of Spanish flavours right in a Singaporean food court.
4. Ivan’s Carbina
Out of all the generic stalls selling Western fare in kopitiams, there are a few gems that do more than the usual chicken chop, pork cutlet, and fish and chips. Dishing out freshly-made rosti on a daily basis, Ivan’s Carbina is one of them.
To ensure the biggest bang for your buck, order up a set of Rosti + Chicken Cutlet ($7.80). Both items on the plate are definitely bigger than the size of both your palms. Spritz some lemon over the sour cream and let that balance out the starchiness of the potatoes - before ending the experience with some crunch from the cutlet.
Check out our full review of Ivan’s Carbina here.
Address: Lucky Star Coffeeshop, Block 354A Woodlands Ave 5, #01-01, Singapore 730354
Opening Hours: 11am - 9pm (Tue - Sun)
Phone: 9048 0333
The next best thing that Germany exports to Singapore other than their cars are their deep fried pork knuckles. Aptly named, Knuckles brings the German specialty to Kovan.
A typical set of German pork knuckles will set you back at least $30 but here at Knuckles, you can satisfy your craving for deep fried Pork Knuckles with Mashed Potatoes and Sauerkraut for just $10. If you think that jabbing your knife against bone just to earn your meat is too much work, Knuckles debones the knuckle before serving it to you.
For the purists out there, feel free to ask for the bone to remain but for me, this is how customer service should be done. Now I am wondering when will cereal prawns be de-shelled before being served.
Address: Blk 212 Hougang Street 21 #01-33, Singapore 530212
Opening Hours: Daily 7pm - 11pm
Phone: 6285 0549
6. Otto Berlin Haus
Nestled right in the heartlands of Toa Payoh, Otto Berlin Haus offers a lunch menu where each set costs just $10 nett. This includes a soup of the day, a main of your choice and coffee, tea or soft drink. It is as complete as a meal can get.
The highlight on the lunch menu is definitely the German Half Pork Knuckles ($10). Weighing about 600g, it is certainly enough for two to share.
Address: Blk 211 Toa Payoh Lorong 8 #01-01, Singapore 310211
Opening Hours: Daily 11:30am - 1am (Lunch Menu from 11:30am - 3:30pm)
Phone: 9833 7486
7. Erich’s Wuerstelstand
If you are a regular at Chinatown’s hawker centre, you’ve definitely walked by Erich’s Wuerstelstand with its array of smoked meat, potatoes, sauerkraut and of course, wurst. Helmed by an Austrian chef, every item on the menu is crafted according to his personal recipes.
You will be glad to know that everything here is $5 or less! That means that you can get the signature Currywrust ($3.50), a Meatloaf Sandwich ($5) and a dollop of good ole’ Mashed Potatoes ($1.50) all at once.
Address: 5 Banda St, Singapore 050005
Opening Hours: Daily 11am - 9pm
Phone: 9627 4081
8. Il Piccolo Pizzeria
Just opposite the Toa Payoh Public library is Il Piccolo Pizzeria, a humble hawker store offering bona fide Italian nosh. With the numerous pastas lining up it’s menu, you’re gonna be spoilt for choice.
If you only have space in your belly for one item, do not miss out the Gnocchi Di Patate ($6). It is hard enough to find well made gnocchis in Singapore, let alone in a hawker centre. Drenched in a combination of cream and tomato sauces, it brings authentic flavours of Italy to the heartland.
Address: Blk 78C, Toa Payoh Central, Singapore 313078
Opening Hours: Daily from 10am - 10pm
Phone: 9152 0571
9. Ah Bong’s Italian
Take a trip down to Tiong Bahru, pick a cafe at random, and you’ll probably find ordinary pastas going for about $20. Places offering overpriced pasta are dime a dozen, but Ah Bong’s Italian is not one of them.
Keep your eyes peeled to the ever-changing menu where at least three pasta will definitely cost $10 or less. A fancy one I had was the Pork Genovese ($8) with slow-cooked pork belly, cherry tomatoes, and cheese atop a bed of linguine.
A permanent item on the menu, the Comfort Eggs ($8) are a must-try. With onsen eggs atop Hungarian pork sausages and mushrooms, it’s surprising how simple ingredients can create such a flavourful medley in the hands of a skilled chef.
How to win at #foodporn
Ah Bong’s Italian just opened a second outlet a stone’s throw away from Bugis MRT Station. Albeit a little more pricey, it retains the same charm as its first outlet. Check out our review on the new place here!
Address: 56 Eng Hoon St, #01-46, Singapore 169793
Opening Hours: 10am - 2pm (Monday - Saturday)
Phone: 9650 6194
Smør specialises in open-face sandwiches - an essential in Scandinavian fare. Health nuts will be relieved to know that the sandwiches emphasises on seafood and garden vegetables instead of processed meats and sauces laden with preservatives unlike commercial sandwich chains.
Go straight for the Salmon Open-Faced Sandwich ($6.90). It’s hard to go wrong with smoked salmon, fish roe, dill and sweet mustard.
Do grab your seats early, the 20-seater store gets really packed during lunch hours.
Address: One Raffles Place, #B1-23, Singapore 048616
Opening Hours: 8am - 10pm (Mon - Sun)
Phone: 9430 1500
Cheap European food in costly Singapore
From pastas to paellas, our seemingly-atas European food cravings can finally be satisfied, even if there’s just a single red note left in our wallets. Skip the fishball noodles the next time you’re out, and indulge in some rostis for a change - without having to wash the dishes to pay for your meal.