When it comes to immersing yourself in what is characteristically and truly ‘local’ Singaporean – from the various faces of local residents, provision shops and fruit stalls vending rainbows of seasonal produce to the hawker centres that lie tucked away between the HDB blocks and the green community gardens that border its perimeters – few places can compete with neighbourhoods like Everton Park.
The buzz about town claims that Everton Park is Singapore’s latest hipster enclave, joining the ranks of neighbourhoods like Tiong Bahru, but Everton Park has its own unique identity and stands as one of Singapore’s best (somewhat, still hidden) gems. The cluster of HDB blocks that comprises this humble neighbourhood sits subtly behind the towers of The Pinnacle at Duxton on Neil Road, within earshot of buzzing hotspots like Duxton Hill and Tanjong Pagar. It is the perfect blend of traditional and modern, with long-term tenants holding strong and a small cluster of new arrivals taking up vacant spots.
The quiet neighbourhood comes alive at the lunch hour as workers from Tanjong Pagar’s offices flock to the various food outlets and traditional provision shops, because as with anywhere in Singapore, food options are hardly scant. Plenty of classic hawker fare can be found in Everton Food Place, situated in the centre of the residential blocks. For a lighter lunch, check out Unlisted Collection’s The Provision Shop (#01-79, Block 3 Everton Park) for their salads, pierogis, quiches and even a classic roast (on weekends only). The cute little café, Chew The Fat (#01-16, Block 6 Everton Park) is a new kid on the block, serving comfort foods like baked rice. If you fancy something different, Walnut Tree (#01-55, Block 2 Everton Park) is a humble Korean eatery and bakery, selling traditional Korean dishes and desserts.
Ji Xiang Confectionary (#01-33, Block 1 Everton Park) is famous across the island for the ang ku kueh (or ‘Red Tortoise’ cake). While you can find this dessert elsewhere without too much trouble, the flavours and incredible quality of this little snack-type dessert are definitely worth seeking out. The colourful glutinous rice dumplings are flavoured with sweet bean, peanut, yam, coconut and even durian paste fillings, each carefully made by hand and steamed on a banana leaf. Delightfully chewy, sticky and at just 80 cents apiece, you’ll definitely want to order a whole box. For another favourite (and healthier) local snack, head to Beano (#01-16, Block 6 Everton Park), which has been selling soymilk and beancurd for over a decade. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous flavour-wise, the friendly shop owner also offers Bandung (rose syrup) and almond flavoured soy puddings.
If you simply can’t say no to a cupcake, head to the The Audacious Cakery (#01-61, Block 2 Everton Park), which stays true to its name with a display window absolutely filled with boldly flavoured cakes, tarts, cupcakes and macarons. Their Salted Egg cupcake with a custard centre (inspired by the salted egg yolk bun) is a definite signature. Otherwise, try their Faith cake (Japanese green tea and black sesame mousse atop a green tea sponge) or get a kick of out the Monet (orange mousse with champagne and raspberry compote on a Cointreau-soaked sponge). Check out Grin Affair too – a tiny, hole-in-the-wall shop, which serves wonderfully cute dessert-filled jars of flavoured mousse, sponge cake and inventive toppings. To really beat the heat, you can’t go too far wrong with Everton Creamery’s (Block 7 Everton Park) wide range of gelato or Seriously Ice Cream’s (#01-44, Block 4 Everton Park) creative flavours and waffles.
The bean scene isn’t bad either. For a fuss free cuppa, there is the aptly named Just Want Coffee (#01-27, Block 1 Everton Park) that offers patrons a choice over both their preferred coffee bean (sourced from all around the world) and brewing style. Nylon Coffee Roasters (#01-40, Block 4 Everton Park) serves up high-quality coffees too, as well as plenty of takeaway beans and accessories for your home-brewing needs!
For a touch of pampering, ladies should consider taking a peek into Beauté By Kew (#01-47, Block 2 Everton Park), an all-ladies organic beauty bar. Gents, join A Few Good Men (#01-20A, Block 5 Everton Park) for a classic, vintage barbershop cut and shave. Complete the look by checking out The Redundant Shop (#01-22, Block 5 Everton Park), a painfully stylish lifestyle concept store selling hipster goods from wallets to bags and bicycles. A grunge fashion retailer has just opened in recent weeks too and it goes by the name of D’Jamais Vu (#01-77B, 3 Everton Park), great for teens looking to give their wardrobe an edge.
In essence, the charm this neighbourhood has is that it is not trying to be the next big thing nor identify itself as something it blatantly isn’t. There is a genuine sense of honesty here… While there are plenty of new shop tenants, you need only wander between the blocks, glance inside the traditional provision shops that sell everyone’s favourite childhood candies or buy some fresh fruit from the local vendor to get a sense of the spirit of the local community, which remains as strong as ever.
Left: Hawker Food at Everton Park; The Provision Shop ; Snack at The Provision Shop.
Right: Wall art at Chew The Fat; Red Tortoise cakes at Ji Xiang Confectionary; Soymilk delights at Beano; Cupcakes at the Audacious Cakery.
The Provision Shop and Audacious Cakery – Find This Spot On Goru App
This page: Just Want Coffee exterior; Grin Affair; Ice Cream display at Everton Creamery; Interior at Nylon Coffee Roasters
Right: Cafe Culture; Local barber posing outside A Few Good Men
Just Want Coffee and Nylon Coffee Roasters – Find This Spot On Goru App
By: Aaron Joel Santos When I first visited Singapore seven years