Dining in a colonial house
Jalan Kayu might be known for its stretch of prata joints, but there’s more in the area dedicated to a British guy named C.E. Wood but is better known as a term used to address football referees.
Previously part of Seletar Airbase, large swathes of the area have since opened up to the public. The best part: colonial bungalows have been converted into a collection of hipster cafes and new hangout spots, all as part of the initiative to turn Singapore’s first international airport into Seletar Aerospace Park.
We braved the rain to the new cafe enclave – also known as The Oval – to find out what charm the ex-British military airbase has that will keep more than just Northeasties coming back.
Here’s what we found:
1. Young’s Bar and Restaurant: Modern European cuisine
Nestled right by the main road, the 130-seater restaurant can’t be more obvious with a huge signboard that screams ‘YOUNG’S’. Keep your eyes peeled on the road because once you spot them across the road, you know in the right hood.
With posh cushioned chairs and luxurious padded walls, Young’s makes a great date night spot to feast on modern European cuisine while basking in the tranquil of this pastoral town. Despite the atas vibes, I was pleasantly surprised that their food turned out more affordable than I expected.
We went ahead with their top picks:
Young’s take on the classic Flank Steak ($26) was delightful. We had our beef done Medium and it was seared to pink-perfection. I liked how the onions added a touch of crunch with every bite and for a well-marinated lean cut, it was pretty worth the price. But if you’re a big eater, be prepared to order side orders to fill you up.
The steak came served with whipped potato and I loved how the sauce was flavourful without overpowering the creamy mash. I tend to skip the carbs at night but this was light on the palate and I almost wiped it out, but for the huge pizza that came later.
Oooooooooh just look at that runny yolk
Not sure if their egg-shaped pizzas were inspired by being part of ‘The Oval’, but the creative spin on their flatbread base for the Bacon & Eggs Pizza ($18) was a good one. Besides, its square-cut slices relieves us all from evil droopy pizzas that can potentially ruin a good skirt.
Verdict: Young’s set the bar high with their food and the price points are hella attractive. However, their service leaves more to be desired.
Young’s Bar and Restaurant
Address: 3 Hyde Park Gate, The Oval @ SAP, Singapore 799531
- Monday to Thursday: 11am – 1am
- Friday & Eve of Public Holidays: 11am – 2am
- Saturday: 8am – 2am
- Sunday and Public Holidays: 8am – 1am
Contact: 6734 2850
2. Wildseed Cafe: Fresh Bakes and Magic Potions
Having an open kitchen also means free whiffs of their fresh bakes!
Some people think it’s insane to be driving this far north just to lim expensive coffee at a cafe. But before you think Wildseed Cafe is just another “cosy Scandinavian-interior coffee bar”, you’ll be blown away by their ‘magic potions’ and freshly-baked pastries made with ingredients from their garden.
All desserts are made from scratch daily and you’ll never be one of those suay people who end up nom-ing on stale, leftover bakes from the night before.
With PoPPy Flora Studio snuggled in the same space, the garden-themed cafe makes a good spot for quiet catch ups over wholesome cakes and a good pot of tea.
Fun fact: Their garden is home to 59 plants, some of which are used in their food!
It’s not teatime without pampering yourself with some sinful cake. Banana lovers, head straight for the kill: their Ginger Flower Banana Loaf ($6.50). Wildseed sweetens the old-fashioned recipe with a generous layer of smooth, ginger toffee and topped it off with some interesting homegrown ‘rojak flowers’. I liked how the glaze was thick but not too sweet.
Nomad’s Cold Brewed Coffee ($6)
For drinks to wash down all that sugary goodness, pick one of their signature cold brews made from 100% Arabica coffee beans. They work closely with Nomad the Gallants for quality coffee and they’re great for a solid morning boost or mid-day perk me ups.
If you don’t want yourself drowning in caffeine, opt for these unique AF bottled teas called Magic Potions ($6). Available in two flavours, Queen’s Sorrow is blend of Lychee, Mint and Green Tea while Black Widow combines the richness of Black Tea with Grape and Wolfberries.
Edward Cullen’s favourite but more magical.
Now here’s the mind blowing part: THEY ACTUALLY SPARKLE. These bottles of liquid gold are left sitting innocently in the chiller till someone picks it up for a good shake. And when that happens, IT’S LIKE MAGIC.
Verdict: A laidback nature-inspired cafe that’s great for mid-day catch ups over affordable fresh bakes and exquisite drinks. Their $6.50 cakes put many others from huge coffee chains to shame.
3. Wildseed Bar
Hit up Wildseed Bar just a few metres ahead if you’re craving for more filling treats or plan to chill till late with your kakis. Wildseed Bar takes on a more savoury menu with their burger-like homemade sandwiches.
Featuring yet another open-kitchen concept, Wildseed Bar tops it’s cafe counterpart by allowing customers to get up close and personal with their food and the chefs. Watch your bartenders mix up cocktails and handcraft all the tiny details of your drink right before your eyes!
Their homemade burgers are huge, and The Independent Uruguay ($15)’s the most interesting of the lot. A vegetarian burger piled with vegetarian falafel made from carrot, pesto, feta cheese, lettuce and beetroot, a drizzle of yogurt sauce was all it took to pull all that crunchy ingredients together.
Major S/O to their vegetarian falafel – these chewy balls are so good, I find it hard to convince myself there wasn’t a single trace of meat in there. Didn’t think a blend of vegetables could actually taste this good.
Don’t leave without having a refreshing Beetroot Hibiscus Sling ($21). Even though beet isn’t a particularly favoured vegetable, I adored how it stole the show by breaking away from it’s typical “Apple Beetroot Carrot” juice stint. Served in a Wildseed can, this drink made beetroot shine so effortlessly when paired with cherry brandy.
Now whisky lovers beware, chances are that you’ll fall head over heels with Dark and Stormy ($21). Made with Auchentoshan Three Wood Whisky, lemon juice, ginger beer and homemade spiced syrup, this is absolutely refreshing to have on the rocks. Besides it’s shiokness, the most intriguing this is also watching how it’s made.
The drink was infused with hickory smoke right before my eyes and it’s said to bring out the whisky’s full oakiness. Mmmhmm *swirls whisky about glass and nods in approval*
Verdict: Hipster material with their nature-inspired menu and cool cocktails. Burgers are worth the penny and drinks are unique.
Wildseed Cafe and Bar are just two dining concepts housed under The Summerhouse for your English countryside escapade. Standing on a sprawling 45,000 sq ft piece of land, you’ll also find The Summerhouse Dining Room Restaurant on Level 2. Though each of them have different dining styles, the entire establishment dedicates themselves to bringing you the heartiest and freshest farm-to-table experience.
The Summerhouse Dining Room – Level 2 Source
The Summerhouse Dining Room on Level 2 were still in works then but they’re now open! Check out some of their food here.
Address: 3 Park Lane, Seletar Aerospace Park, Singapore 798387
- 10am – 7pm (Tues – Fri)
- 9am – 7pm (Sat & Sun)
- Closed on Mondays
- 11am – 10pm (Tuesday – Thursday + Saturday)
- 11am – 11pm (Friday & Saturday)
For The Summerhouse Dining Room’s opening hours, stay tuned for updates on their website.
Contact: 8608 3340
4. Wheeler’s Estate: Bona Fide Australian Cuisine
Why go to Wheeler’s Yard when you can own the whole estate?
Venture further into the idyllic locale and you’ll be greeted by a sleek, silver camper van. Don’t mistake it for a glamping site just yet, it’s actually a trademark to that shows you’re right in Wheeler’s hood.
Most of you cafe dwellers will never leave the Wheeler’s Yard without posing with their iconic bluedoor but it’s time to ditch the cliche backdrop for Wheeler’s Estate’s countryside feels.
Perfect for your #ootds
The building was transformed into a 6-concept dining town by the Ong brothers this year. The idyllic Wheeler’s Estate brings you a restaurant, cafe and bar to savour the true flavours of Australian cuisine. For truly Aussie food fare, head to The Verandah on Level 2.
With whitewashed walls, glass seating alcoves and textured bistro tables, find yourself almost dining in your dream home.
Devour this fast because the stretchy cheese cools really quickly
Come prepared because their prices can get pretty steep. We gave their Chicken Parmigiana ($26) a shot and it was huge enough for two to share! Dive into this cheesy plate of goodness that stars a parmesan crumbed chicken schnitzel topped with ham, fresh Napoli sauce, and truckloads of mozzarella.
Limited by a budget, we didn’t get to try other of their signatures but we’ve heard it from the chef himself that their Wagyu Teres Major ($39) is rarely found in Singapore. This highly desirable cut is the second most tender part of the entire Australian cattle used. So to all meat lovers out there, you might wanna have a taste of this bovine!
Their drinks bar is a pretty sight to behold
They not only dedicated to fill you up with the best Aussie cuisine but with the entire Wheeler’s Estate sitting on a whooping 2-acres of land, they are availble for events and parties, or simply drop a mat on their spacious lawn and enjoy your own picnic.
It’s also not Wheeler’s style without some cool bikers hanging around. So PSA to all cycling fanatics: you can join the WY-WE-CYCLE Group for their 33km leisure ride that runs from Wheeler’s Yard to Wheeler’s Estate too!
Verdict: A quiet, beautiful place to dine over high-quality Aussie cuisine. They will have more to offer when the Grillhouse on Level 1 opens. So stay tuned!
Address: 2 Park Lane, Seletar Aerospace Park, Singapore
- Closed on Mondays
- 11am – 10pm (Tues – Thursdays)
- 11am – 10.30pm (Friday)
- 9am – 11pm (Sat & Sunday)
For reservation: 62620001
For a night of peace and quiet
It’s 2017 and the last thing you need to kickstart the new year is be bogged down by more stuggles of the concrete jungle. It happens a lot in tiny Singapore and that’s a great reason why you should check out this ulu hangout perfect not only for North-easties.
It might be a little tedious to get to the outskirts of busy Singapore just to dive into the tranquil of dining in one of these colonial houses, but my virgin trip to the redeveloped Seletar Aerospace Park was a worthwhile experience. Sometimes we all need a break from the hustle and bustle, only to rediscover ourselves over good food or some great cuppa.
Not gonna lie, the best way to get here is by car. But it doesn’t mean broke asses like myself will be left out either.
Alight at Punggol MRT and hop on Bus 117 at the Punggol Temporary Interchange. Alight at Seletar Aerospace Drive and a short walk is all it takes.
The best time to head down is about 6pm, right before the working crowd ends their day. Don’t be afraid to linger till late, even if Seletar’s one of the ulu-est places you’ve been. Because if all else fails and you become a lost child in a land of green, Uber or Grab will always be your best friend.