A beautiful contrast of old and new, our buzzing Malay heritage area of Kampong Glam and Arab Street pays homage to tradition and history, while making way for many modern boutiques, trendy eateries and bars. On one end you will find old school perfumeries, historic architecture and long-standing textile stores; and on the other, contemporary restaurant and bars frequented by those in the know.
The ’spine’ of Kampong Glam precinct, Arab Street is filled with stores selling carpets, textiles, perfumes and other trinkets–similar to yesteryear when the Malay and Muslim community made this their town centre. Take a stroll and discover artisanal scents at SIFR Aromatics, an aromatic studio inspired by the owner’s grandfather perfumery at Kampong Gelam in 1933, before enjoying an authentic Turkish meal filled with kebabs and home-made baklava at Sufi’s Corner.
THE HANGAR (25 ARAB STREET)
This Melbourne-styled establishment not only roasts their own coffee beans, but makes their bread and sauces from scratch too. Come nightfall, the laidback space turns into a haven of boisterous fun. Fill up on well-loved tacos, especially their appetising Brazilian spiced chicken ($15 for 3) filled with roasted garlic tahini, as you take a swig from one of their many craft beers available and jive to good music. Daily 9am-10pm. Tel: 6291 0127
(WORKING TITLE) BURGER BAR (28 ARAB STREET)
Sink your teeth into the juicy Power of Tower ($22 nett) filled with two grilled beef patties topped with caramelised onions, double cheddar, mesclun, tomatoes and truffle tater tots with barbeque sauce, before finishing off with their daily selections of cakes and tarts. Make use of the natural lighting at their makeshift garden backdoor for Instagram-worthy photos. Mon-Thu 11am-10pm; Fri 11am-11pm; Sat-Sun 10am-11pm. Tel: 8248 2841
The Nameless Drink Stall
Look out for a blue building opposite Kampong Glam Café and beside the start of Kandahar Street for the best teh tarik in the vicinity! The place is always packed with customers young and old alike.
Mention Haji Lane and beatnik hipsters pop into mind. But prior to being the cool kids’ hangout, Singapore’s narrowest street was a gathering spot for pilgrims on the way to Mecca. Today, the colourful lane is lined with independent fashion boutiques, offbeat eateries including popular Mexican joint Piedra Negra and crowd-puller I Am, who is known for their seven-layer rainbow cake.
LONG PLAY (4 HAJI LANE)
Boasting a well-curated playlist, Long Play spins catchy tunes from the 50s to the 70s. The space is laid out with brass mirrors fitted along the dining table as well as cosy booths boasting linen curtains for added privacy. Tipples here are top-notch and pretty potent. Fans of spiritforward cocktails must try the cognac-based Marlon Brando ($20) that’s mixed with maple, beer reduction and ginger ale. Wed-Sun 4pm-12am. Tel: 6291 3323
AL’ FRANK (12 HAJI LANE)
Support home grown cookie brand Al’ Frank and fill your cookie jar with their gluten-free cookies like the bestselling oatmeal macadamia nut cookie ($8 nett/100gm) and the delicate early grey almond cookie ($8 nett/100gm). Using finely grounded oatmeal to replace wheat and flour, the cubed cookies are baked fresh in-store and are healthier with a nice crunch. Al’ Frank also does customisable orders (minimum 500g). Daily 11am-8pm. Tel: 6341 7041
CAD CAFÃƒ”° (23 HAJI LANE)
All about coffee, art and design, this colourful space is usually packed with young creatives. Not only do you get to enjoy one of the best cups of Joe ($3-$6 nett) in the area, CAD Café also hosts regular block parties where they serve craft beer on tap. Tue-Wed 9am-10pm; Thu-Fri 9-12am; Sat 10-12am; Sun 10am-10pm. firstname.lastname@example.org
THE PANTRY AT SHOP WONDERLAND (37 HAJI LANE)
Part florist stall, part café, this lovely space resembles a whimsical garden. Cakes here are pretty and filled with toothsome floral flavours like the delicate Earl Grey Lavender ($8.60) and Rose Blossom ($8.60). The perfect joint for a day out with the girls! Daily 10am-6pm. Tel: 6299 5848
BAR STORIES (57A HAJI LANE)
From their drinks to the gorgeous Scandinavian interior, aesthetics play a major role in this bespoke cocktail bar. Leading the bar is jovial bartender and fervent foodie Dave Koh, who is known to present drinks with an interesting twist and bar grub you can’t resist. Here, drink menus are thrown out the window, so let the talented mixologists surprise you with a special concoction. Sun-Thu 4pm-1am; Fri-Sat 4pm-2am. Tel: 6298 0838
Gleam insight into your life with a tarot and oracle card reading, or engage their spiritual healing and feng shui services at Life By Design Consultancy (42 Haji Lane). The holistic centre also acts as a retail store, carrying metaphysical and occult products like white sage, chakra stones, Ouija board and essential oils.
Previously named Sultan Road back in 1910, this popular tourist stretch leading up to Sultan Mosque was home to many sheikh haji (pious men) as well as a large Javanese community who were known coppersmiths. Today, Bussorah Street is lined with many Turkish restaurants, a really cool Children Little Museum filled with local toys from the past, and the famous Kampong Glam Café that gathers a crowd with their delicious nasi padang and local Malay dishes.
ALATURKA (16 BUSSORAH STREET)
Experience a genuine Turkish dinner at Alaturka where beautiful mosaic-patterned tiles and traditional Turkish ornaments adorn the walls and floors–similar to restaurants found in the Eastern European country. Coming in a group? Start off with the tasty Meze Tabagi ($17 small; $26 large), an assorted platter of popular mezzes like patlican salata and shakshuka, before sharing the Karisik Kebab ($38) filled with lamb chop and beef meatballs. Mon-Thu 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11am-11.30pm; Sun 11am-11pm. Tel: 6294 0304
PIZZA FABBRICA (70 BUSSORAH STREET)
Industrial-chic pizzeria and bar Pizza Fabbrica specialises in delicious wood-fire pizzas and homemade pastas. Line your belly with gourmet pizzas such as their pungent Gorgonzola ($30) that’s topped with fresh figs, parma ham, walnuts and mozzarella, as well as their unique Birramisu ($12) that’s infused with stout beer. They also have an interesting selection of craft beers on tap like Hitachino Nest and Fabbrica Birra Perugia. Tue-Thu 12-11pm; Fri-Sat 12pm-12am; Sun 12-11pm. Tel: 6291 0434
LE FRENCHIE (73 BUSSORAH STREET)
Less than a-year-old, this vibrant French tapas bar serves up a tempting spread of small plates. Prices are kept low despite the high standard of quality in both wine and nosh. This is mainly because the owner’s family dabbles in wine production back in France, allowing him to import and distribute them directly. Pick on the mix platter ($30) filled with six types of cheese and charcuterie while you sip back a glass of ChÃƒ ¢teau de Monteberiot La Closerie ($13.50). Tue-Fri 12pm-3pm and 5pm-12am; Sat-Sun 12pm-12am. Tel: 9825 6067
Kandahar Street remains the same with a slew of eateries; only back in the days it was street hawkers instead of restaurants. But one street hawker remains from the early 1940s: Rumah Makan Minang. Still serving their specialties like chunky beef rendang and crispy tahu telor, the familyrun business is now part of the Singapore Tourism Board’s heritage trail.
MAISON IKKOKU (20 KANDAHAR STREET)
Café and cocktail bar all rolled into one. Swing over for a cup of aromatic coffee and delicious all-day breakfast grub, before continuing on to the bar upstairs for their crafted cocktails made with fresh fruits and culinary herbs. Must-tries on their cocktail list is their famous dark chocolate Flambé-tini that’s topped with toasted marshmallows ($28). Cafe: Mon-Thu 9am-10pm; Fri-Sat 9-11pm; Sun 9am-7pm, bar: Mon-Thu 6pm-1am; Fri-Sat 6pm-2am. Tel: 6294 0078
BOX N STICKS (28 KANDAHAR STREET)
A friendly staff invites you into this warm izakaya that resembles a small family-owned diner in Osaka. The menu is extensive with delicious dishes like clams sautéed with chilli and Japanese rice wine ($9.80) and their signature buta kakuni buns ($9.80). The highlight of their menu, however, is their yakitoris. Choose from over 25 different sticks including ebi mentai mayo ($6.80), pork belly ($2.40) and shishamo ($1.60). Tue-Fri 12-3pm and 6-10pm; Sat 1.30-10pm. Tel: 6341 7780
OUR TAPROOM (32 KANDAHAR STREET)
This unpretentious brand new bar is run by an animated team who are best known for their bespoke concoctions ($18 to $25)–we had a spicy gin-based tom yam bloody Mary that was surprisingly refreshing. Bar grub reminds us of home where the menu is heavily Asian influenced. Have their addictive crunchy yam chips along with the sinful popcorn pork belly that comes together with the owner’s homemade sambal. Mon-Sat 5pm-12am. Tel: 6291 8001
CICHETI (52 KANDAHAR STREET)
Pronounced as ’chi-keh-tee’, Cicheti is named after traditional small plates in Venice’s wine bars. Presenting Italian dishes from different regions, eat your way through Italy in one setting at this modern restaurant. Don’t leave the restaurant without trying their wood-fired Napoletana ($18) pizza topped with anchovies and the decadent Salted Chocolate ($12.50) made with 72% Venezuela cocoa and pink sea salt. Mon-Fri 12-3pm; Mon-Sat 6.30-11pm. Tel: 6292 5012
Café hop your way through Bali Lane and visit hotspots like vintage-industrial themed Stateland Coffee, which is known for their creamy mentaiko aglio olio and red velvet waffles. On weekends, the street revs up with tipplers having a pint at the ever buzzing BluJaz Cafe. Keep your eyes peeled for spiffy dudes too, as this lane is also home to pioneering gentlemen barber Hounds of the Baskervilles as well as many men’s boutiques.
?RICHMOND STATION (17 BALI LANE)
Inspired by the owners’ barista stint in London, this British-inspired halal café serves scrumptious all-day English breakfast that comes with homemade traditional crumpets or English muffin bread. Be blown away by their scrummy crab benedict ($18) featuring shredded crab meat and a runny egg atop spongy crumpets. Mon-Fri 11am-10pm; Sat-Sun 10am-10pm. Tel: 6291 4170
KRAVE (28 BALI LANE)
Marrying Asian flavours with western dishes, Krave is notyour usual, run-of-the-mill café. Take their creme brulee ($7 nett) for instance; the bittersweet dessert showcases chempedak emulsion within the custard base. Plus, revel in their rendition of Bolognese ($16 nett) that swaps tomato-based ground beef with minced beef rendang. Tue-Thu and Sun 11.30am-10pm; Fri-Sat 11.30am-11pm. Kitchen closes 4.45-6pm. email@example.com
PITA BAKERY (29 BALI LANE)
This quaint bakery is run by a friendly Middle Eastern bloke who gave us free pitas just because he wanted to share his passion. Drop by and be introduced to a variety of pita flavours including garlic, zaatar herb and sesame seeds ($2.20 nett). The bakery also whips up yummy homemade hummus ($5 nett for 100g) to go with the freshly-baked pitas. Daily 10am-8.30pm. Tel: 6635 6256
BROTHER BIRD (30 BALI LANE)
Opened by the brains behind Stateland Coffee, this rustic ice cream parlour is a hit for their luscious soft serve in unique flavours like spiced pumpkin pie. Follow the crowd and savour their Signature Rice Donuts ($14) served with creamy cookie butter soft serve, almond crunch and sweet caramel sauce. Wed-Mon 12-10pm. Tel: 9800 7628
Did You Know?
The base of Sultan Mosque’s dome, which was built in 1824, is actually made up of black bottle caps collected from poor devotees who were eager to have a part in building the mosque.