Skip the additional GST cost at these restaurants, serving everything from wholesome bentos to an eye-catching unicorn waffle.
This just in. Singapore’s GST is set to increase to 9% between 2021 and 2025, which means the price of food is sure to increase! Fret not, we have come up with a quick list of beautiful cafes and restaurants to indulge in without worrying about the extra cost.
From the people behind (working title) and The Mad Sailors comes Santap. Come here for the cosy foliage-themed decor, and stay for the wholesome menu of rice bowls, acai bowls and fruit smoothies. Cauliflower florets and wholegrain brown rice form the base of the bowls, which includes a crowd-pleasing Salmon ($15) and Lamb ($15). The latter features premium cut lamb and greens, topped with mint chutney for a rounder flavour. Their sandwiches, like their signature Chuck Meatballs Sandwich ($15), are assembled with artisanal bread and pair well with their specialty coffee offerings. Round off your meals with their take on everyone’s favourite ice cream and waffles, with an Acai Waffles with Berries ($12, with one scoop of ice cream).
16 Madras Street. Tel: 8245 6284
A Mexican dive bar doling out the holy trinity of tacos, nachos and booze is Chimichanga. Our go-to combo is the Taco Trio ($12) of soft tortillas wrapped around tender, flavourful chunks of pork carnitas, fiery ancho beef and the crispy boracho fish, a side of Jalapeno Pops W Nachos ($12) and a cold pint of Mexicali ($10/bottle or $30/5 bottles during happy hour). The former can also be enjoyed as part of their $10 lunch deal (12pm – 2pm), which comes with a drink. Come evening, regulars can often be found popping shots of tequila to rum ($6/glass during happy hour), but don’t miss out on their smoky yet refreshing Mezcal Magarita ($18).
36 Dunlop Street. Tel: 6293 3314
Ulu Ulu Pet Cafe
Paw-rents will love Ulu Ulu Pet Cafe. The cafe is located in the tranquil corner of D’Kranji Farm Resort, and boasts a huge al fresco space, with tons of running space for your dogs as well as a pet-friendly pool. Even those without puppies of their own can enjoy the company of the owner’s trio of misfits; Waffle the eager beagle, Jam the slipper-snatching goldie and the youngest, Toastie the husky. Food wise, we recommend the Wafflelicious ($15), which includes a generous serving of free range scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon on top a fluffy waffle, and the Top Shell ($12) with homemade Thai dressing. There’s also meats and vegetables available for the hungry doggos, with the beef ($4.50/100g) being the most popular. It’s not often that you get to enjoy the lush greenery in Singapore, so if you have time take the Kranji Countryside Express and explore the area.
#01-01C & 10D, 2 D’Kranji Farm Resort, 10 Neo Tiew Lane. Tel: 8208 2651
Smith Street Taps
Topping the list for anyone into craft beers is Smith Street Taps. The bare-bones stall has recently went through an upgrade to dispense a total of 12 fresh brews at any time. You never know what’s gonna be on tap, and that hardly matters. The hospitable and boisterous staff are always ready to recommend you a pint that’s sure to impress. As a taste, they’ve recently tapped Young Master Ale’s Salted Lime Goose (mentioned here) as well as Garage Project’s Touch Wood, an elderflower and honey tripel. As for your ‘bar bites’, the whole of Chinatown Complex, with its many delectable local favourites, is at your disposal.
#02-062, Chinatown Complex, 335 Smith Street. Tel: 9430 2750
Bar Bar Black Sheep (Cluny Court)
Love your spice? Enjoy the best of Thai, Western and North Indian cuisine at Bar Bar Black Sheep at nett prices. The Cluny Court brunch is our favourite with its affordable Thai set lunches and dinners. It starts from Set A ($35.90 for two) with a bowl of Tom Yum, stir-fry, basil chicken and rice, to Set D ($99.90), which comes with eight dishes, including the aromatic Green Curry Chicken. Cool off the spice with their uniquely flavoured lassi cocktails – Creme de Menthe, Coconut Brown Sugar or eXpresso Chocolate ($15/each or $25/2).
#01-05C, Cluny Court, 501 Bukit Timah Road. Tel: 6763 4757
Treat yourself to a magical afternoon at Enchanted Cafe. The show stealing, Instagram-worthy Sorcerer’s Elixir ($9.90) is often the reason many flock to the cafe. Presented with tons of fan fare, diners watch as the deep blue drink transforms itself into a mesmerising, glittery purple when the ‘potion’ is poured in. Pair it with their signature, savoury Ngoh Hiang Burger ($18.90). The refreshing bits of water chestnut juxtaposed against the robust black garlic sauce keeps us coming back for more. There is also a Berries Compote French Toast ($14.90), topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, for dessert fiends.
#01-04, 88 Rangoon Road. Tel: 8813 1086
Hatter Street Bakehouse & Cafe
You can have your GST-free cake and eat it too with these playful desserts. The whimsical Hatter Street Bakehouse & Cafe is our pick for a relaxed afternoon date (without breaking the bank). Enter a magical world as you impress your other half with an adorable Unicorn Whoaffle ($14), which comes with two scoops of ice cream decorated into a docile, rainbow unicorn. We love their matcha latte so much, we’d recommend lugging home their massive Devil Matcha cake ($60).
#01-59, 462 Crawford Lane. Tel: 8501 5491
Real Food (South Beach Avenue)
Bask in the serenity of the pristine South Beach Avenue at Real Food. Even the most adamant of meat lovers will have no problems switching over to their wholesome menu of Barley and Mushroom Burger ($13.80) or Curry Soup Noodles ($12.80) made with organic soy milk, coconut oil and spinach noodles. It is also one of the more central spots to grab a nourishing cup of Kombucha Iced Tea ($6) or the chocolate-y Feeling Good ($8.50) , while watching the sun set through the floor-to-ceiling windows here.
#B1-19, 26 Beach Road. Tel: 6384 2206
Having just reopened in February with a brand new look and an expanded menu, Lean Bento is back to impress with their healthy yet lip-smacking creations. Expect more flavourful proteins such as cheddar chicken and sambal salmon to go along with unique sides of basil couscous and truffle edamame. Prices range from $11.95 to $17.95 for the bentos, but don’t miss out on the low calorie protein muffins and waffles available in original, chocolate and matcha ($4.50 each).
43 Holland Drive. Tel: 6567 5045
A hidden JEM in the west made its’ debut mid last year. Known as Poppy Pops, this colourful Popsicle cafe offers a variety of flavours, perfect for cooling off after spending a day under Singapore’s sun. There’s the usual suspects of chocolate and strawberry, but go for the refreshing lemon blueberry or a rich coffee caramel flavour. They also serve them with a crisp yet soft Maple Butter Waffle ($7.80), topped with a milk chocolate drizzle and biscuits.
#06-03, JEM, 50 Jurong Gateway Road. Tel: 6262 0339