Tiong Bahru, a haven of good food
Adapted from source
As a resident of quaint Tiong Bahru, I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by both traditional and modern concepts of Singapore’s food industry. From hawker stalls that serve curry rice to hipster cafes that look like they belong in a magazine - I can never complain that there’s “nothing to eat”.
The wide variety of eateries here shows how ‘old’ and ‘new’ can coexist harmoniously - a reflection of Singapore’s culture and heritage even in modern times. Here are some of our favourites in this charming neighbourhood:
Drips is a minimalistic cafe which offers sweet treats as well as healthy salads, so anybody who is watching their waistline can still stick to their healthy lifestyle while cafe-hopping.
But worth ruining your diet for are the Mixed Fruit Tart ($8) and Cherry Brandy Tart ($8). The former is a vibrant berry delight, whilst the latter is suitable for a more sophisticated palette - and both are pure decadence.
Address: #01-05, 82 Tiong Poh Road, Singapore 160082
Opening Hours: Mon - Thurs: 11am - 9:30pm | Fri - Sat: 11am - 11pm | Sun: 11am - 9:30pm
Telephone: 6222 0400
2. Open Door Policy
Gastropub Open Door Policy has their own greenhouse, meaning you’ll be getting plenty of fresh herbs in your meal. You’ll be the picture of health after a trip to this 100% dairy-free and gluten-free restaurant.
We hear that the Braised Veal Ossobuco ($32), a hearty dish served with vegetables, white wine and broth is pretty good! The Eight Spice Apple Crumble ($18) is also a delight, with intense spices accentuating the sweetness of the apple.
Open Door Policy
Address: 19 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168650
Opening Hours: Daily: 12am - 3pm, 6pm - 11pm
Telephone: 6221 9307
3. Cream & Custard
Cream & Custard is Singapore’s answer to Black Star Pastry in Sydney - with their Strawberry Watermelon Cake ($6.80) being a perfect replica of its Australian counterpart. With an actual chunk of watermelon in between its layers, topped with berries and rose petals, this is a best-seller you’ve got to sink your teeth into.
Now you can have your Unicorn Poop, and eat it too. Source: @jamie_yen
Other whimsical creations include the rum-infused valrhona Galaxy Cake ($8.80), and Unicorn Poop ($9.80) - a raspberry mousse cake with a popping candy centre, topped with a sprinkle of glitter!
Cream & Custard
Address: #01-894, 46, Jln Bukit Ho Swee, Singapore 160046
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 11am - 7pm | Sat: 10am - 6pm, Closed on Sundays
Telephone: 9111 8696
4. Lee Tai Fu
Lee Tai Fu has board games like Snakes and Ladders plastered onto every table - so put your smartphone away and interact with your date over some good old-fashioned fun.
With a great selection of alcoholic beverages and a delicious Otah Pizza ($22) it’s easy to waste the hours away in this vintage, time-transporting space.
Adding to the nostalgic ambience are hundreds of old bottle caps on parts of the cafe’s tabletops and floors! Source: @danielisbored
Read more about our dining experience at Lee Tai Fu here.
Lee Tai Fu
Address: 16 Kim Tian Road, Singapore 169251
Opening Hours: Tue - Sun: 3pm - 11:30pm | Closed on Mondays
Telephone: 6376 2338
5. Plain Vanilla Bakery
While simple, Plain Vanilla Bakery honours home baking traditions that keep recipes uncomplicated. To this day, this bakery is still one of my favourite spaces in Tiong Bahru to chill out at because of its open, airy space and cute decor.
Their cupcakes are amazing, with my personal favourites being the Cookies and Cream ($3.90) and Chocolate Hazelnut ($3.90). Plus, they serve breakfast now too - at a fraction of the prices of most cafes!
The Grilled Toast With Banana and Nutella ($8) is a sweet way to start your morning, but they also have Baked Eggs on Brioche ($7) for those who prefer something savoury and protein-packed. But be quick, cause the Baked Eggs on Brioche are only served on a weekend and there are limited portions!
Plain Vanilla Bakery
Address: 1D Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168641
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 7pm | Sun: 9am - 6pm
Telephone: 8363 7614
6. Tiong Bahru Bakery
Opened in collaboration with celebrity baker Gontran Cherrier, Tiong Bahru Bakery is now one of the most popular cafes in this neighbourhood. In particular, their Croissants ($2.50 - 3.20) shine above the other pastries, debatably the best ones you can find in Singapore.
Apart from that, their Kouign Amann ($4) - a buttery, crusty Breton pastry - and Pineapple and Coconut Cake ($6) are also pretty popular.
Can’t decide on what drink to order? Look to their beverage wall for some help. Source: @marikoohta
Tiong Bahru Bakery
Address: #01-70, 56 Eng Hoon Street, Singapore 160056
Opening Hours: Daily, 8AM-8PM
Telephone: 6220 3430
Bincho is like Cinderella in the form of a restaurant - during the day, they’re a traditional mee pok stall, but as night falls they transform into an open-concept yakitori bar. To get into the secret yakitori bar, enter at the back of the restaurant, near the carpark.
They serve delicious Donburi Sets priced from $25 to $45, which includes appetizers, salad, pickles, karaage, soup and dessert. Aside from that, you can check out their other tasty sets here! An a la carte menu is also available in store, for those who aren’t such big eaters.
Address: #01-19, 78 Moh Guan Terrace, Singapore 162078
Opening Hours: Tue - Sun: 12pm - 3pm | Closed on Mondays
Telephone: 6438 4567
8. Whisk Cafe
Whisk Cafe has no service charge or GST, so what you see is what you get. Homely confections here include the New York Style Cheesecake ($7), Lemon Tart ($5) and Carrot Cake ($7) which has plentiful of nuts, shredded carrots and pineapple too!
As it’s a family-run business, you’ll see various members of her fam helping out at the cashier or serving cakes, so you can really feel all the love and effort that’s put into this little cafe.
Address: 58 Seng Poh Road, Singapore 160058
Opening Hours: Tue - Thurs: 9am - 7pm | Fri - Sat: 9am - 11pm | Sun: 9am - 9pm
Telephone: 6222 6543
9. Cheng’s @ 27
Cheng’s @ 27 is a family restaurant, with the mum calling the shots as head chef! Expect home-cooked zi car with only the freshest meat bought from the market every morning - some of the popular meat dishes are the Crispy Chicken with Ginger ($30) and Steamed Pork Belly with Black Vinegar ($30).
To cater to the sweet tooths, they’ve also opened up a new dessert counter - with a coffee maker and local delights like the Gula Melaka Chiffon Cake ($5) and assorted Kueh ($5 per box).
Cheng's @ 27
Address: 27 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168654
Opening Hours: Mon: 5pm - 11pm | Wed - Sun: 5pm - 11pm | Closed on Tuesdays
Telephone: 6223 7883
10. House of Peranakan Petit
If you’ve ever found yourself yearning for homecooked Peranakan dishes after watching “The Little Nonya” on Channel 5 - House of Peranakan Petit will give you just that. Managed by a Peranakan family for 3 generations, the restaurant housed in a mint green shophouse has a history dating back to the 80s.
More popular dishes include the Babi Assam ($16), a pork belly stewed in chilli paste and starfruit, and the Nyonya Chap Chye ($10), a hearty vegetable stew.
House of Peranakan Petit
Address: 42 Eng Hoon Street, Singapore 169785
Opening Hours: Mon: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 10pm | Wed - Sun: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 10pm | Closed on Tuesdays
Telephone: 6222 1719
11. BigMama Korean Restaurant
Adapted from source
If there’s one thing most people can agree on, it’s Korean food. A former Korean caretaker used to cook for students - and now she cooks for everyone at BigMama Korean Restaurant! With table-service for some dishes such as the Chicken Dakgalbi ($15 per pax, min. 2 pax), you’ll get to see your dish cooked right in front of you.
To further whet your appetite, there are also free-flow side dishes. I especially like the Creamy Lotus, and often ask for it to be refilled multiple times. #buaypaiseh
BigMama Korean Restaurant
Address: 2 Kim Tian Road, Singapore 169244
Opening Hours: Daily: 11:30am - 3pm, 5:30pm - 11pm
Telephone: 6270 7704
Coq&Balls is a punny name that has done a good job of bringing curious customers in - both expats and locals.
Having tried a few of their dishes, my favourites are the Mini Wagyu Beef Sliders ($14.90) and Chicken Quesadillas ($14.90) - both of which contain tender and juicy meats, and are just the right size to snack on.
They also serve an extensive variety of alcoholic drinks, with specials like Chuck Norris ($30), which is a flaming concoction shot of absinthe green, blue and red. This gastrobar is the perfect drinking spot for large gatherings.
Coq n Balls
Address: 6 Kim Tian Road, Singapore 169246
Opening Hours: Mon - Thurs: 5pm - 12am | Fri: 4:30pm - 12am | Sat - Sun: 3pm - 12am
Telephone: 6276 6609
13. The Orange Thimble Cafe
Update, Sep 2017: The Orange Thimble Cafe has ceased its operations.
While the hustle and bustle of Tiong Bahru is appreciated most of the time, The Orange Thimble Cafe’s peaceful ambience is a welcome change, hidden in a relatively undiscovered location in this popular neighbourhood.
If you come for brunch, we recommend The English Roll ($6.50), which is a hot dog bun stuffed with a Bratwurst sausage, crispy bacon and sauteed mushrooms. If you’re popping by for dinner, the Shepherd’s Pie ($9) is a flavoursome and hearty meal that’ll warm you right up.
The Orange Thimble Cafe
Address: #01-68 56 Eng Hoon Street, Singapore 160056
Opening Hours: Tue - Sun: 11am - 9pm, Closed on Mondays
Telephone: 6223 8068
14. Caffe Pralet
While Caffe Pralet’s decor is kind of canteen-y, don’t judge a book by it’s cover - they’ve got some pretty shiok Asian-Western fusion cuisine and a variety of desserts up their sleeve. And the best part? There’s no GST or service charge!
If you’re fan of satay, you’ll love the juicy Satay Chicken Chop ($14), a tender slab of chicken served with a generous amount of peanut sauce.
For dessert, we recommend the Signature Pralet Cake ($6.50) for any self-proclaimed chocoholic. The luscious chocolate ganache, creamy chocolate mousse and crisp wafer layer will send you right to chocolate heaven!
Address: #01-04, 17 Eng Hoon Street, Eng Hoon Mansions, Singapore 169767
Opening Hours: Mon - Sun: 11am - 9pm
Telephone: 6223 5595
15. Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice
Despite the ever-increasing amount of trendy cafes popping up in Tiong Bahru, Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice still has people queuing up for their hearty dishes.
If you’re becoming broke from those fancy pastries and cakes, step it down a notch with the affordable but well-portioned fare here. The Hainanese Pork Chop ($2), Prawn Curry ($2.50 per prawn), and Chap Chye ($0.70) are all satisfyingly drenched in their flavourful gravies.
Loo's Hainanese Curry Rice
Address: #01-49, 71 Seng Poh Road, 160071
Opening Hours: Daily: 8am - 2:45pm
Telephone: 6225 3762
16. Le Le Pot
Source: Le Le Pot Tiong Bahru
Everybody has, at least once, had that craving for a good old steamboat buffet that’ll leave you feeling warm from the inside. Le Le Pot, a Chinese restaurant specialising in steamboat, is your answer to that - with comforting soup bases like Herbal Chicken and Laksa.
Other than YTF ingredients like tau pok and fishballs, you can also expect to see trayfuls of thinly-sliced meat and a variety of seafood from shellfish to crustaceans.
Le Le Pot
Address: #01-23, 58 Seng Poh Road, Singaore 160058
Opening Hours: Daily: 11am - 3pm, 5pm - 11pm
Steamboat Buffet Prices: Adults: $22.90 on Mon - Thu, $23.80 on Fri - Sun and PH | Children: $13.80 on Mon - Thu, $14.80 on Fri - Sun and PH
Telephone: 6222 9442
There’s something for everyone at Tiong Bahru
If you want some humble Singaporean cuisine from a hawker stall, Tiong Bahru’s got it. If you wanna nibble on a fancy cake that looks like it came from outer space, Tiong Bahru’s got that too. Being such a food haven, it’s no wonder that this neighbourhood is one of the most happening places in Singapore!