Look no further for nature’s therapeutic calmness. Former industrial area Hillview along Upper Bukit Timah is flanked by slopes of rolling greenery, making for scenic nature trails even as new malls and eats spring up to cater to condo-dwellers. BiTES breathes in the green while taking in old and new eats.
HILLV2 (4 Hillview Rise)
Nestled within the prime estates of Upper Bukit Timah, this mixed-used development set in an al fresco format boasts prime lifestyle outlets such as Spa by Traditional Javanese Massage Hut (#02-18) and Epi Treatz (#02-14). Browse for your favourite tipple at Wine Connection Bistro (#02-05/06) to pair with a meal at iO Italian Osteria (#02-01).
Kinsa Sushi (#02-02)
Step into this Japanese restaurant boasting Singapore’s first levitating sushi belt. Indulge in premium items at a fraction of the cost such as their Soo Gyu Don ($24.80++) which uses A4 grade beef from Kagoshima paired with an onsen egg, or their fresh fish selection where you pick out your own seafood and decide on its preparation method for no extra cost. Prices vary according to fish. Mon-Thu 11.30am-3pm, 5.30-10pm; Fri-Sun & PH 11.30am-10pm. Tel: 6710 7278
Black Angus Steakhouse (#01-06/07)
Black Angus Steakhouse takes extra pride in their meats, with the assurance that their USDA choice beef are aged 21 days or more. Their signature prime ribs start from $45.90++ for a half pound cut, and beef sliders ($18.90++) are good for starters. Mon-Sun 11.30am-2.30pm, 6-11pm. Tel: 6710 7137
DEAN & DELUCA (#01-01)
The one stop destination for fine food, explore their wide selections of cakes such as their signature DEAN & DELUCA original cheesecake ($38), as you browse through gourmet delights that include smoked fish & speciality food and infused olive oils. Mon-Thu 1am-10pm, Fri 10am-10.30pm, Sat-Sun 8am-10pm.
Burgerup Classix (#01-11)
Gourmet burgers at fast food prices are a welcomed treat anytime. Customise your own burgs at the signature full self-ordering system, and chomp your way through. At this locally born brand, chicken burger sets start from $7.65 while beef and fish burger sets go for $8.55. Daily 11am-10pm.
Hillview MRT and Community Club
Come 2016, witness the change The Downtown Line will bring to the Hillview area, drastically reducing the time taken to travel to the city and bringing greater access into this quiet neighbourhood. The new Community Club planned to be situated near HillV2 will also help to foster community activities and amenities.
Don’t miss the shuttle service from Bukit Gombak MRT to HillV2 for quick and free transport. If you are feeling healthier and more sporty, venture a walk down the park connector from Bukit Batok Nature Reserve that leads past HillV2 to Dairy Farm Nature Reserve and enjoy the view of the quarries in the area. Continue on to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve for a quiet walk in the rainforest.
Walk along railway tracks that are still preserved in certain sections of this trail with the magnificent truss bridge next to Rail Mall still spanning across the road for picturesque moments and spend time surrounded by nature, birdwatching and even catching glimpses of the notorious monkeys of Bukit Timah.
RAIL MALL (380 Upper Bukit Timah Road)
Two rows of single-storey shophouses make up this shopping arcade of sorts that gets its name from the antiquated railway line that runs right alongside it. It services the residents nearby with 24-hour eateries, a gourmet deli and supermarket.
The Coffee Bean & Tea leaf
Hide away from the heat in this cozy little space with a book or two and sip on some premium brews (White Chocolate Dream Latte) and rare loose-leaf teas that the company is known for. Their ice blended drinks (The Original Mocha Ice Blended Drink) are not to be missed in sunny Singapore.
Let Iron Chef Thailand winner Tan Yong Hua tantalise your tastebuds with exquisite Chinese cuisine such as Peking duck ($48++ half, $88++ full) roasted with lychee wood in a custom oven and braised vermicelli with pork knuckles ($24++) which are braised daily for five hours. Daily 12-3pm, 6-11pm. Tel: 6465 1698
Kick back and enjoy an icy beer while surrounded by the eclectic design of a North American roadhouse. Try the BlooiE’s special portobello cheese burger ($19.90++), or their signature BBQ beer butt chicken ($38.80++) which is a whole chicken marinated and cooked upright on a full can of beer, one day advanced order is required. Sun-Thu 11.30-1.30am, Fri-Sat 11.30-3am. Tel: 6766 1588
Give health a chance when you stop by award winning Sunny Choice, a vegetarian café as well as a mini supermarket for all things healthy and organic. Gobble up local Hakka health food Thunder Tea rice ($8.50 nett) or go for a Korean original, bibimbap ($8.50 nett) and have vegetarian sushi ($7 nett) on the side whilst shopping for a healthier option. Wed-Mon 10am-9pm. Tel: 6892 2383
Praisehaven Family Thrift Store (500 Upper Bukit Timah Road)
Thrift shopping every day of the week? We’re in! The retail arm of the not-for-profit organisation Salvation Army processes and retails donated items of good condition to help those in need. Get Macbook 15” retina display covers at a mere $10, or furniture and paintings at a fraction of the cost in this iconic ship-like building. Weekdays 10am-6pm, weekends 10am-9pm. Tel: 6349 5312
Though surrounded by condominiums and landed properties as far as the eye can see, the BiTES team uncovered two elusive, humble eateries hidden away for workers in the area. If you’re craving simple hawker favourites for lunch, then these are the best options within walking distance.
Lam Soon Industrial Building (63 Hillview Avenue, level 6)
Ascend to the carpark on level 6, turn right and head to the innermost corner, and you will be greeted by a hidden canteen with four stalls surrounded by greenery from the cliffside it faces. Savour mee rebus ($2.50) or mixed vegetable rice (from $2.20) in the hidden tranquility of an industrial building. Mon-Fri 7am-2pm
Kewalram Hillview Canteen (120 Hillview Avenue, level 7)
Take a walk through long windy corridors paired with vintage designs and bygone technology and arrive at a homely cafeteria right at the top of the building. Free soup of the day is available with local offerings of ayam penyet ($3.50), mee goreng ($3) or even fish and chips ($4). No pork and lard used. Mon-Fri 7am-4pm.
Dairy Farm Nature Park
A 63-hectare area that once supplied Singapore with locally produced fresh milk has been converted to a nature park that links up to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. An old cowshed converted into the Wallace Education Centre provides exhibits to learn about changing landscapes and conducts research studies.
Keep a lookout for local woodland birds and try identifying the flora in the underbrush during this 20-minute hike that leads to the stunning backdrop of a granite quarry surrounded by a lake. Admire the wetland habitat from the viewing platform and bask in the tranquility of nature.