Born, Bred, Breathed in the South Eastern part of Singapore, Jalan Besar has always been my neighbourhood. Having covered food places in many parts of this island city, probably it’s time to head back home to my little estate to celebrate the food scene there. Just how much it has evolved over the years, from the hipters enclaves in Lavender, Kallang and Rangoon districts, to the oldies restaurants that dots the historic Serangoon Road. So here is a list for all who enjoy the food in this part of Singapore, and hopefully, you will discover some new hunts and catch up on memories of the old joints – Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant, Red Eye Smokehouse and even the recently relocated Char Restaurant from Guillemard Road, we can only say Jalan Besar is getting hipper by the day.
*updated as of August 2017
Fancy visiting a café where you can buy all the furniture as well?
Aeiou, which only opened at the beginning of the year, is one vintage café which looks like a vintage furniture warehouse from the outside. I confess that I enjoyed the vintage ambience (but mind me, I am no antique) much more than the food. Most of the furnitures on display are for sale, so check with the owner if you fancy to bring back any item. The cakes are a safe choice, but do try their house blend coffee as well. (tRP’s review)
Where: 111 King George’s Ave, Singapore 208559
When: Monday to Saturday: 10am – 8pm; Sunday: 9am – 6pm
Tel: +65 6225 9931
Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice
Located the the heart of Jalan Besar Road, Beach Road Scissors Cut Curry Rice has become my to-go spot when I am craving for something comforting. There is always a perpetual queue, but not to worry as it moves relatively fast. You can’t go that wrong with having some fried chicken chop, braised pork belly and fried egg drizzled over generous curry and black soy sauce.
Where: 229 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208905
When: Daily 11am to 3.30am
Tel: +65 9826 1464
Previously located in Guillermard Road for about two years, popular roast meat specialty restaurant Char has recently relocated to Jalan Besar, just a few doors from Punggol Nasi Lemak. Expect the same delicious roast meats at an even more centralised location.
Where: 363 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208994
When: Tuesday to Sunday: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm
Tel : +65 6842 7759
Chye Seng Huat Hardware
One of the pioneer cafes to open in the Jalan Besar enclave, Chye Seng Huat is still going strong among the coffee lovers for its quality food and coffee. I can’t deny that the space it occupies has retained the rustic feel of the old shop house, especially the old signboard and the metal grills. This is one café to check out in this neighbourhood if you have not yet been before. (tRP’s review)
Where: 150 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207563
When: Tuesday to Friday: 9am – 7pm; Saturday to Sunday: 9am – 10pm
Tel : +65 6396 0609
Cocotte @ Wanderlust Hotel
French food in Jalan Besar? Don’t doubt it, Cocotte is a one casual French restaurant at the lobby of Wanderlust Hotel, a boutique hotel along Dickson Road. Famous for the poulet platter, this is one cosy and unpretencious restaurant to drop by for some quality French fare without burning a big hole in your pocket.
Make your reservation at Cocotte instantly here.
Where: 2 Dickson Road, Singapore 209494
When: Monday to Friday: 12pm – 2.30pm, 6.30pm – 10.30pm; Saturday to Sunday: 12pm to 3.30pm, 6pm – 10pm
Tel: +65 6298 1188
If you have not heard of CT Hub, it is never too late. This commercial building near Lavender station is fast becoming a hip foodies spot, with restaurants such as Railway Bento, The Snack Culture Company and gourmet burger De Burg. Opened last month, De Burg shifted from Alexandra Village to CT Hub and is now able to provide a more wholesome dining experience as compared to its previous coffee shop stall. The choices for burgers are amazing here, from crabmeat to fish to pork to beef. Lamb lovers should not miss out on the Lamb burger which has Nutella spread, quite a creative and bold combination in my opinion. Salted egg yolk lovers can rejoice in the Chicken burger which spots the yellow sauce. (tRP’s review)
Where: 2 Kallang Avenue #02-15, CT Hub, Singapore 339407
When: Monday to Friday: 11.15am – 3pm, 5.45pm – 9.45pm; Saturday to Sunday: 11.15am to 9.45pm
Tel: +65 6538 2874
Theme restaurants are uncommon in Singapore, so we have Hungry Heroes to satisfy our inner desire to dine alongside Superheroes. This conveniently located restaurant serves up western fares such as meat platters and brunch menu, tucked away in a two-storey shop house which takes our dining experience to a whole new level. We are almost sure of a marvel-lous time every visit. (tRP’s review)
Make your reservation instantly at Hungry Heroes here.
Where: 33 Tessensohn Road Singapore 217656
When: Monday to Friday: 4pm – 12am; Saturday: 11am – 12am; Sunday: 11am – 11pm
Tel: +65 6295 5401
Speakeasy bar in Jalan Besar? Never mind the crude name of Little Bastard, this hidden gem is well-hidden (duh!) within the space of The Refinery (tRP’s review), where access is either via the backdoor in an alley or through a hidden stairway within The Refinery itself. The space at level two serves up Asian fusion cuisine and bar bites such as Szechuan style beef tartare and Japanese udon in tom yum broth. The cocktails are an interesting lot too, with the likes of some locally inspired flavours like ChengTng Gao and Mama’s Kaya Toast. We would say a novel space to venture into if you are adventurous enough. Don’t let the cat out of the bag on its secret location.
Make your reservation instantly at Little Bastard here.
Where: 115 King George’s Ave, Singapore 208561
When: Tuesday to Thursday: 6pm to 12am; Friday to Saturday: 6pm to 1am
Tel: +65 8459 9893
Mahota Commune is one of those hidden gems which we thought we might never ever stumble upon. The whole zen-like vibe of Mahota Commune is a stark contrast to the otherwise sleepy neighbourhood mall in Lavender, which comprises of an organic supermart, wellness studio, Mahota Kitchen, Mahota Pantry Cafe and even a TCM clinic. From our understanding, most of the dishes on the menu are organic, which explains the relatively steep prices if we were to benchmark against other cafes in the vicinity. The brunch menu leans towards the healthier end, where you can expect dishes such as Tofu Egg Benedict, Tofu Scramble and Braised Organic Beef on its brunch menu. Otherwise, there are also pastas and pizzas on the all-day menu.
Where: 809 French Road, Level 3, Kitchener Complex, Singapore 200809
When: Monday to Friday: 11am – 10pm; Saturday to Sunday: 10am – 10pm
Tel: +65 6299 6809
Ming Chung Xing Hua Restaurant
If you like Pu Tien restaurant, chances are you will also like the food at Ming Chung restaurant. This fuss-free coffee shop style Xing Hua cuisine is very popular in Jalan Besar, so be prepared to queue during peak dinner hours. The main draw? Food standards are on a par with Pu Tien at almost half Pu Tien’s hefty price. The downside? No air-conditioned dining. (tRP’s review)
Where: 67 Maude Road Singapore 208348
When: Tuesday to Sunday: 3pm – 11.30pm
Tel: +65 6296 3428
Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh
Countless celebrities and politicians have made their mark here, so shame on you if you have not been to Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh at Rangoon Road. The tender pork meat, tasty soup and traditional tea brewing are just some of the reasons for drawing loyal customers back. (tRP’s review)
Where: 208 Rangoon Rd Singapore 218453
When: Tuesday to Sunday: 7am – 10pm
Tel: +65 6291 4537
Punggol Nasi Lemak
Punggol Nasi Lemak in Jalan Besar? The fairly new joint opposite the old Lavender food centre is a welcoming alternative for some late night supper. The concept resemblances a fast food chain, with a two storey air-conditioned dining space. Try their homemade ice-cream flavours such as the local inspired Milo and Horlicks, or the Sorbets such as Lime and Mango.
Where: 371 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208998
When: Daily 12pm – 11pm
Red Eye Smokehouse
If you are a fan of smoked meats, Red Eye Smokehouse is a no-frills smoked meat specialty restaurant in this area. With a minimalist and industrial décor, you get to choose your own meats at the counter by weight, with the choice of customising your own platter of meats. This is a good place to come in groups if you are looking to try a wider variety of meats. (tRP’s review)
Where: 1 Cavan Road, Singapore 209842
When: Wednesday to Friday, 5pm to 10.30pm; Saturday 12pm to 3pm, 5pm to 10.30pm; Sunday 12pm to 3pm, 5pm to 9pm
Tel: +65 6291 0218
Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant
Need we say more about Swee Choon? The all-time popular dim sum joint along Jalan Besar Road sees snaking queue every evening when it open its doors, all thanks to the affordable prices. Thankfully, there is now an automated queue system to manage the crowd. Opened till 6am, Swee Choon is undoubtedly one of the most popular supper spots in Singapore.
Make your reservation instantly at Swee Choon Dim Sum Restaurant here.
Where: 191 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208882
When: Monday to Sunday: 6 pm – 6am (Closes on Tuesday)
Tel: +65 6225 7788
The Bao Makers
Taking over the Windowsill in the Woods, The Bao Makers spots clean grey walls, white tiles and brown tables outlook. With a focus on baos or buns, the Bao selections are considerably extensive, from the Classic Slow-Braised Pork Belly to the over-hyped Salted Egg anything. Bao Makers is more than just Bao, apparently. They serve other sides (Caesar Salad, Truffle Fries, etc), Mains (Fish & Chips, Seafood Platter, etc) and even Brunch items such as Eggs Benedict and the likes. (tRP’s review)
Make your reservation instantly at The Bao Makers here.
Where: 78 Horne Road, Singapore 209078
When: Monday to Friday 11am to 9pm, Saturday & Public Holidays 10am to 10pm
Tel: +65 6291 2330
The Bravery Café
Just a few doors from The Bao Makers is The Bravery Café, which often confuses people where its entrance is. This is a casual and chill-lax café to get your caffeine fixed which also serves brunch fares. (tRP’s review)
Where: 66 Horne Road, Singapore 209073
When: Monday to Sunday: 8am – 8pm (Closes on Tuesday)
Tel: +65 9452 4785
Along the same row as Aeiou café, The Refinery is a spacious Japanese Yakitori bar concept spanning three levels. The atmosphere is casual and laid back, largely due to its location as well. This is quite a perfect spot for gatherings at the fringe of the city area if you are a fan of Japanese beer and tapas style food. (tRP’s review)
Where: 115 King George’s Avenue, Singapore 208561
When: Tuesday to Sunday: 6pm – 12am
Tel: +65 6293 0461
The Snack Culture Company
Mod fusion. That is how I will describe the cuisine at The Snack Culture Company. If you have not heard of it yet, this relatively new restaurant at CT Hub near Lavender station is also a bakery with its in-house baked cookies. The singular factor which won me over is the food, after I tried the Omakase Degustation dinner menu at an incredibly priced $49, available only from Thursday to Saturday nights for now. If you happen to work around here, have a go at the lunch sets which I heard is equally good. (tRP’s review)
Where: #02-17, CT Hub, 2 Kallang Avenue, Singapore 339407
When: Monday to Saturday: 9am – 7pm
Tel: +65 6443 2006
Tim Ho Wan @ Alperia Mall
Have we got sick of Tim Ho Wan? Apparently not yet. One of the latest outpost of this already famous dim sum joint from Hong Kong is at Lavander Road, in the new industrial mall. Expect to savour the famous buns and usual dim sum fare at this joint, at any time of the day as it is opened 24 hours. Will this be the next popular supper spot after Swee Choon?
Where: 12 Kallang Avenue, #01-01/02/03 Aperia, Singapore 339511
When: Daily 24 hours (Closes on Monday 5am to 10am)
Tel: +65 6684 2000
Rivalling Windowsill Pie along Horne Road is Two Bakers, an artisanal bakery which specialises in pastries from Eclairs to Citron Chocolate Tart by Le Cordon Bleu trained chefs. This is one bakery café to order some bites or mains and have the awesome pastries at the end of your meal. (tRP’s review)
Where: 88 Horne Road, Singapore 209083
When: Monday to Saturday: 10am – 8pm; Sunday: 9am – 6pm
Tel: +65 6293 0329
88 Hong Kong Roast Meat Specialist
Located in a coffeeshop along Tyrwhitt Road, Hong Kong 88 Roast Meat Specialist has recently moved across the street from its previous location along Foch Road. The ‘sio bak’ is the best in our opinion, and it is best to go during lunch hours as the meats sold out quickly. (tRP’s review)
Where: 153 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207566
When: Daily: 10.30am – 8pm
126 Dim sum 搵到食
The other dim sum joint which is often draws parallel comparison with Swee Choon is 126 Dim Sum, located along Serangoon Road in between Boon Keng and Potong Pasir.
126 is directly translated numerically from “wan dou sek” in Cantonses, which means “found something to eat”. A popular supper spot, 126 Dim Sum is known for its cheap dim sum and decent quality if you are looking for a fuss-free spot to satisfy your dim sum cravings.
Where: 1086 Serangoon Road, Singapore 328187
When: Daily 5pm – 2am
Tel: +65 6297 5032
Has this list tempted you enough to make a trip down to my ‘hood yet? If I have missed out any great eats in the area, do share with the Pandas! We will scoot down right away to chew on those!
Ranted by The Ranter & Rantee