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First Look Of New Bahru: “Shopping Mall” At The Former Nan Chiau High School With Local Brands & Restaurants

New Bahru, lifestyle destination with over 50 brands   

Just when you thought you couldn’t keep up with the latest openings in Singapore, a new lifestyle venue has just popped up. It’s called New Bahru, and is located in River Valley.

Helmed by lifestyle brand Lo & Behold Group, who are behind aesthetic places like The Warehouse Hotel and Tanjong Beach Club, you can be sure this will be a hoot. New Bahru’s first wave of retail and dining outlets are now open. But with the creative cluster spanning a total of 20,156sqft, we get that it can be quite overwhelming. Read on for an unofficial directory to New Bahru – you can thank us later.

What is the history of New Bahru? 

While its name means “new” in English and Malay, the site that New Bahru stands on has a rich history. It was once home to Nan Chiau High School – before the school moved to its current address in Sengkang, that is. The school was opened in 1941 at Kim Yam Road in River Valley, and was further expanded in 1974.

But this isn’t the first time the space has been transformed into a lifestyle destination. 46 Kim Yam Road was formerly known as The Herencia, housing tenants like KURA Patisserie and Crane, a co-working and events space.

What to do at New Bahru

– Retail –

1. Sojao

Mix & match organic cotton bedsheets

Those who are familiar with homegrown bedding brand Sojao may have visited its Joo Chiat flagship store. The boutique at New Bahru is slightly smaller, but borrows certain elements like the dark wood finishing and colourful crates used as display.

New Bahru - sojao 2

Known for their organic cotton bedsheets, Sojao’s products will help you turn your bedroom into a sanctuary with staycay vibes. It helps that they come in a myriad of colours too – from solid colours like burnt orange, grey, and olive green, to striped ones.

New Bahru - sojao

Prices for a single-sized fitted sheet starts from $92 while duvet covers start from $128. But you can also get a sheet set (from $117.92), which comes with a pair of pillowcase and fitted sheet, or a bundle set (from $227.94), which includes a duvet cover. They’ve got a “Build Your Dream Bed” section in the store where you can mix and match the colours and materials – be it sateen or percale.
Loungewear like organic cotton t-shirts (from $30) and loungewear pants (from $52) is available as well – made out of the same comfy materials.

Unit number: #03-05
Contact: 8894 3341

2. Soilboy

Plant store with Japanese zen garden vibes 

Stepping into Soilboy feels like retreating into a peaceful sanctuary. The store has been designed to look like a Japanese zen garden – with a neutral colour palette, play on natural light, and of course, plenty of green plants.

New Bahru - soilboy
This bb is yours at $138. 

If you’ve been wanting to shop for plants for your BTO, Soilboy has plants that come equipped with pots. While prices aren’t cheap, the staff are equipped with all the plant care knowledge you’ll need before committing to taking one home. Most of them also come in beautiful ceramic planters – so they’re ready to be part of your home decor.

Unit number: #02-07/08
Contact: Soilboy website 

3. MAKE O by GINLEE Studio  

Pleating workshops  

New Bahru - ginlee

For unique locally-made pieces, head to Make by GINLEE. It’s an initiative that uses repurposed or leftover materials by the brand to keep them off the landfill for as long as possible. You can find customisable bags with the same pleats that the brand is known for, resulting in a one-of-a-kind arm candy.

Similar to the one at Raffles City, the MAKE Studio here holds pleating workshops ($88/pax) instore, where you’ll get an introduction to the craft of pleating and circularity before getting down to business. Choose from a selection of pleats, colour and wraps, straps and eyelets. At the end of the class, you’ll be able to take your creation home.

Unit number: #02-1046
Contact: GINLEE Studio website 

4. Crafune 

Leather goods & crafting workshops

What’s better than treating yourself to a new leather product? Making one yourself, of course. Whether you’re getting a thoughtful gift for someone or investing in a card holder for your big girl or boy job, Crafune has different leather crafting workshops where you can make various accessories – from triangle coin pouches ($45) to cross body bags ($110).

Should you choose to take a shortcut and purchase a ready-made item instead, know that you can still choose to have your name or initials engraved on it. We love the different fonts available, be it Y.Serif or Optima.

Unit number: #02-11
Contact: 8218 4223


5. Kotuwa  

Elevated Sri Lankan cuisine

Kotuwa’s been serving up elevated Sri Lankan food in the lobby of the Wanderlust Hotel since its inception. Now, it has moved into its own space at New Bahru. Expect similar aesthetics, a cosy restaurant with decor that nods to chef Rishi Naleendra’s heritage.

Image credit: Kotuwa 

Order up mains like the Lamb Shank ($42), braised in Sri Lankan red curry paired with plain ($5) or egg hoppers ($7). If you’re on a plant-based diet, know that there are also veggie-based mains like the Amba Curry ($18), green mango cooked in turmeric and coconut, and the Gowa Mal Kiri Hodi ($18).

If you’re just there for a tipple, there’s also the bar located right at the entrance. The menu is inspired by the 1996 Lion’s Cup, with cocktails like the Head Spinner ($25) – a punchy concoction of Aba Pisco, guava, tamarind, and chilli – or the rum-based Uncle Percy ($25).  

Unit number: #01-03
Contact: 6518 4278

6. The Coconut Club 

Restaurant specialising in nasi lemak 

New Bahru - the coconut club interior design

If Nasi Lemak is your favourite local food of all time, then you’ll love The Coconut Club. In fact, the restaurant specialise in dishes that are based around coconut milk, hence its name.

You can’t leave without trying their Signature Ayam Goreng Berempah Nasi Lemak ($18), which has spiced fried bone in chicken thigh and crispy rempah crumbs. It’s served alongside a serving of coconut rice, fried egg, anchovies, peanuts, cucumber, and sambal. If you want to try something new, the Quail Goreng Berempah ($21) is a River Valley exclusive.

Image credit: @thecoconutclubsg via Instagram 

Unit number: #01-14
Contact: 8725 3315

7. Artichoke 

“New school” Middle Eastern cuisine

Artichoke isn’t just any ordinary eatery. Its new space in New Bahru isn’t much of a departure from the Middle Road location – with mismatched furniture and tongue-and-cheek art lining the walls. We heard that some of them were created by chef-owner Bjorn Shen himself – thanks to AI, that is.

Image credit: @artichoke_sg via Instagram

If the art doesn’t interest you, know that the food will. Dubbed as “New School Middle Eastern”, the menu consists of reinvented classics like the Cauliflower Mujadara ($20), a dish with fried cauliflower served with onion lentil rice, tahini, tomato daqqus, and chopped salad, and the Shakshuka ($20). If you’re heading there for dinner, try the Lamb Shoulder ($38), slow roasted and drizzled in a milk sauce.

New Bahru - small's artichoke

Head to the back of the restaurant and you’ll find Small’s hidden behind some curtains a la secret izakaya bars in Japan. It’s a 7-seater space which acts as a “test kitchen” serving up experimental pizza flavours, amongst other creations like jamon wrapped jackfruit with mascarphone and hazelnuts. It costs $75++ per seat and each person get to choose 3 snacks and 1 pizza, as well as a dessert of the day.

Do note that you’ll have to make reservations in advance – but we’ve heard that Small’s is fully booked up for now. Either way, you’ll still be able to dine at Artichoke.

Unit number: #01-02
Contact: Artichoke website 

Kid-friendly tenants & activities 

8. Sea Apple 

Sustainable clothing for kids & DIY “craft bar” 

New Bahru - sea apple

Once mama and papa are done with retail therapy, the little ones can have their fair share at Sea Apple. This sustainable children’s clothing brand for those aged 0-14 has everything – from outfits featuring original prints inspired by the 90s to a range of children’s books and Jellycat plushies.

New Bahru - sea apple

The highlight of the store is located at the counter. There’s an initiative called Sea Apple Create, where you can purchase a product from the store with the “Sea Apple Create” tag and bling it up with patches (from $1) and stickers ($5). It’s a fun way to let your kids flaunt their creativity. Psst, it’s also a perfect crafting idea for those who are young at heart.

Unit number: #02-09
Contact: Sea Apple website

9. Oatside Outdoor playground 

Free playground with trampolines, swings & massive slide 

New Bahru - oatside slide

What used to be a lawn back when the area was Nan Chiau High School has now been transformed into a playground for the kids to run wild at in between meals and shopping sprees. The design is loosely inspired by the iconic dragon playground in Toa Payoh.

New Bahru - playground trampoline

There’s an Oatside-branded slide that’s perfect kids, 2 trampolines, and swings. It’s also located right next to a grassy field surrounded by towering rain trees, which brings in an element of nature to this lifestyle cluster.

10. Kiztopia Prestige 

Indoor playground with in-house cafe

Kiztopia Prestige marks a fresh new concept for the Kiztopia brand, adding on to its list of indoor playgrounds around the island. There are over 8,000sqft worth of interactive role-play rooms, thought-out classes, and even an in-house Kith Cafe.

Image credit: Kiztopia

The kids can spend all day here playing in the sand and ball pits, zooming down curving slides, and jumping around on the trampoline. Plus, this outlet is all decked out in neutral colours, encouraging the concept of “soft play”.

There are 3 membership tiers to choose from: Silver ($868), Gold ($1,588), and Prestige ($3,288), which all comes with unlimited playtime.

Unit number: #04-01 (small block)
Contact: 8201 0393


11. Alma House 

83-room serviced apartment inspired by old-school HDBs

With so many dining and retail options to keep you occupied, we don’t blame you if you’d want to BTO in New Bahru. Enter: Alma House, an 83-room serviced apartment on the premises. 

Fun fact: These guest rooms were once classrooms back when the building was still Nan Chiau High School.

There are different room categories ranging from the Deluxe Room and Studio to a 1- and 2-Bedroom Suite. Each boasts interior design that’s inspired by old-school HDB units in Singapore. For those having a staycation with the kiddos, the Alma Family Suite is also available.

Before you rush to book a stay, hold your horses. The property will only be open for reservations from 1st August 2024. Standard rates start from $1,140 for 6 nights, which is the minimum number of nights you can book.

Unit number: #03-03
Contact: Alma House website

Visit New Bahru at Kim Yam Road 

New Bahru may still be in its soft launch phase, but there are plenty to do. You can easily spend a whole day here. According to a spokesperson, it’s slated to be officially open in September. Once it’s fully operational, you can expect more than 50 local businesses ranging from F&B to retail, entertainment, wellness, and even education. Think of it like an alternative shopping mall.

Other F&B establishments that will open here include One Fattened Calf Burgers and PPP Coffee. Retail-wise, expect local names like Curious Creatures, Studio Yono, Beyond The Vines, and independent homegrown bookstore Woods in the Books. There’ll even be fitness studios like Off Duty Pilates and Mobilus.

Address: 46 & 58 Kim Yam Road Singapore 239351
Opening hours: 10am-10pm, Daily
Contact: New Bahru’s website

Photography by Ally Siew.