Good for supper runs, breakfasts and cheap lunch sets, this quaint neighbourhood is bursting with great food. Queue up for one of Singapore’s most famous chicken rice before grabbing a coffee at one of the many cafes.
Upper Thomson is synonymous with good food. From serving some of the country’s best local dishes (think bak chor mee, prata and chicken rice), the stretch is now peppered with hipster dining establishments, and mom and pop restaurants galore. The bad: It’s gotten so popular, URA has recently banned new F&B outlets from opening to ease traffic congestions. The good: The current variety is interesting enough to keep us going back.
NOOK AND CRANNY (#01-03, 9 SIN MING ROAD)
Taking over defunct Five by Five is Nook and Cranny. Serving scrummy grub in the day, the space transforms into a laidback drinking den come nightfall. Fit for a king is their delectable brioche toast ($6.50) sprinkled with cinnamon. Griddled until golden, the buttery treat is perfect with a scoop of ice cream. They take extra pride in their coffee, so don’t leave without grabbing a cup of Joe. Sun-Thu (excluding Tue) 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11am-12mn. Tel: 6452 7449
SPARKS (#01-04, 9 SIN MING ROAD)
One of Thomson V Two’s newest additions, Sparks whips up mouthwatering homemade pastries. The moist butter cake slice, served with a dollop of ice cream ($3.80) promises to send you to foodie heaven. Takeaway is impressive with yummy treats like fragrant eggless earl grey cookies ($8) and classic sugee cake ($38/1kg). At night, the joint becomes a buzzing sake bar, offering quality labels like Tsukasa Botan Hana Junmai ($21/carafe) and Ichinokura Karakuchi Tokubetsu Junmai ($24/carafe). Mon 11.30am-10pm; Tue-Sun 10am-10pm. Tel: 6635 3539
FAMOUS ICE CREAM ROLL SHOP (#01-12, 11 SIN MING ROAD)
The name says it all. This halal creamery has garnered a huge following for its grilled ice cream rolls ($4.20 nett). With flavours including Milo, Nutella, Thai ice tea and mango, these handmade desserts boast a unique, chewy texture we can’t resist. Best served on top of fluffy Belgium waffles (additional $1.50 nett). Mon-Fri 4pm-10pm; Sat 2pm-11pm; Sun 2pm-10pm. Tel: 9272 5119
MENG’S KITCHEN (246B UPPER THOMSON ROAD)
This noodle joint is constantly packed even up till closing time. While they serve fancy bowls topped with abalone, their simple bak chor mee is still the best selling bowl here. Noodles are springy and the bowl is overflowing with mushrooms and minced meat. Have it doused in vinegar and chilli for an added oomph. Daily 12pm-12am. Tel: 6455 4890
THAI IN TOWN (244P UPPER THOMSON ROAD)
Aside from dishing out authentic Thai grub like pad thai ($7.90 nett) and seafood tom yam soup ($13.90 nett), this modern Thai eatery is better known for their creative spin on Thai favourites. Indulge in the extravagant Lobster Seafood Tom Yam Thai Mama ($49.90 nett), which features an entire lobster! Round off your meal with a cloyingly sweet parfait-esque Red Ruby sundae ($10.90 nett). Mon-Fri 11.30am-11pm; Sat-Sun 11am-11pm. Tel: 8687 9990
THE EUREKA COOKING LAB (8 JALAN KURAS)
Founded by chef Jason Lim of Men-Tei Ramen, this fully-equipped cooking lab specialises in Japanese ramen classes ($5,000) for aspiring professionals who are keen on opening their own ramen store. The five-day course teaches you how to create the perfect ramen, from noodles to broth, as well as tips on managing and running your own restaurant–you’ll even be attached to a ramen store for a day to see what goes on behind the scene. The Eureka Cooking Lab organises parties and business networking sessions from a more pocket-friendly $200 too. Daily 10am-6pm. Tel: 6456 4322
YAHAVA KOFFEEWORKS (4 JALAN GELENGGANG)
Coffee connoisseurs, this one’s for you. Roasting their coffee beans in-store daily, the coffee ($5 nett) here is first-rate and well-balanced. Beat the sweltering heat with their cold brew ($8 nett) while you munch on their zesty orange loaf ($6 nett). The coffee specialists also organises three-hour barista courses ($180 nett) and informative coffee workshops ($30 nett). Daily 9am-6pm. Tel: 6554 7080
SEMBAWANG HILLS FOOD CENTRE (590 UPPER THOMSON ROAD)
Stalls here rarely open at the same time. Visit Lai Heng (#01-15) for his slippery char kway teow ($3 nett) and tasty grilled batang fish otah ($1 nett). Fresh Fish Seafood Soup (#01-36) honours its name by serving quality bowls of oceanic goodness ($4.50 nett). Supporters of famous Ang Mo Kio satay bee hoon ($3.50 nett) will be pleased to know they can find the second branch here under the name Centre Satay Bee Hoon (#01-28).
NAM KEE CHICKEN RICE & RESTAURANT (201 UPPER THOMSON ROAD)
Pastel blue tiles lined the walls of this charming old-world restaurant. One of Singapore’s longest running Hainanese chicken rice eateries, Nam Kee is frequented by older generations who prefer the lightly seasoned version of this staple local dish. There’s also a wide variety of traditional Chinese tze char dishes to choose from. Daily 11am-9pm. Tel: 6253 4502
PASTA J (205 UPPER THOMSON ROAD)
Make a date with your furkid as this pet-friendly restaurant provides free treats for dogs. Almost everything on the menu is made in-house, from their pesto ($6.50 with crackers) to soup stocks. Fill up on a wide selection of pasta offerings like the piquant seafood laksa ($23.90) and cured salmon carbonara ($29.90). Mon-Fri 12-3pm, 6-10pm; Sat-Sun 10.30am-10.30pm. Tel: 9004 1800
LES PATISSERIES (222 UPPER THOMSON ROAD)
Formerly located in Toa Payoh Central, this pastry shop and cafe’s main draw is their delicate pastries. Giving Parisian bakeries a run for their money is their croissant ($2.80 nett)–light, airy and crisp. Tend to your sweet tooth with their over-the-top waffles (from $13.90 nett) that’s crowned with a macaron, along with an array of chopped fruit, nuts, syrups and ice cream. Sun-Thu (excluding Wed) 11am-12am; Fri-Sat 11am-2am. Tel: 9744 0504
SIN MING ROTI PRATA (#01-51, 24 SIN MING ROAD)
Hidden in Jin Fa Kopitiam, this humble stall may not seem like much. But all that will change once you bite into their freshly made coin prata ($3.50 nett) that’s crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. Top up $3.50 nett for creamy chicken curry to go along with your prata. Daily 6am to 7pm. Tel: 6453 3893
OLD SCHOOL DELIGHTS (215M UPPER THOMSON ROAD)
Resembling a classroom from yesteryears, Old School Delights has an extensive collection of vintage knick knacks. Signature dishes include their Old School Heritage Mee Siam ($5.80), which follows a 30-year old recipe. Their Laksa D’Lite ($7.40), which is a lighter rendition of the coconut-based dish, is another favourite. Tue-Fri 11.30am-10.30pm; Sat-Sun 11am-10.30pm. Tel: 6458 4518
CHICKEN HOUSE (255 UPPER THOMSON ROAD)
Serving only kampong chicken, which is low in cholesterol and fats, their poached chicken is lean and tender. Elevating the dish is the accompanying fragrant and well-oiled rice. Go easy on their chilli if spicy food isn’t your forte. Daily 10.30am-9.30pm. Tel: 6456 0698
DINO CAKE HOUSE & CAFE (257 UPPER THOMSON ROAD)
Opened in 1993, cakes from this long-established bakery are simple and homely. Their dense sweet sugar roll ($0.80 nett) and coffee peanut roll ($8.50 nett) brings back fond memories. Fans of the king of fruits will love Dino’s die die must try durian cake ($16 nett) and Durian Well ($3 nett) that’s made with D24 durians. Daily 9am-9.30pm. Tel: 6552 5088
TOMOE JAPANESE CUISINE (263 UPPER THOMSON ROAD)
Dishing out authentic Japanese grub since the early 90s, Tomoe is well-loved by locals and Japanese expats alike. Skip the dinner crowd and go for their affordable bento lunch set instead. They have a wide range of sets including pan-fried yakiniku ($10), chicken misoyaki ($12) and mixed teppan combining seafood and chicken ($14). All sets come with miso soup, watermelon and pickles. Daily 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm-10pm. Tel: 6732 7522
LITTLE PART 1 CAFE (15 JASMINE ROAD)
This electrifying neighbourhood watering hole boasts a wide selection of craft beers from German, Japan and Belgium. The comprehensive food menu offers comforting favourites like chicken and waffles ($18.90) and Irish beef stew ($21.90); only available on weekends. Tue-Thu 12pm-3pm, 5.30pm-10pm; Fri 12pm-3pm, 5.30pm-12am; Sat 12pm-12am; Sun 12pm-10pm. Tel: 6451 7553
Did You Know?
Thomson Road was named for John Turnbull Thomson, a government surveyor of the Straits Settlements for 12 years who helped lay out the road we see today. In 1959, the Singapore Rural Board renamed the stretch from Thomson Road junction to the junction of Mandai and Sembawang, as Upper Thomson Road.