For those not in the know, the crowded French-inspired patisserie Tiong Bahru Bakery is the obvious choice for the first meal of the day. While the salted caramel Kounig Aman deserves its ‘bestseller’ title, Tiong Bahru locals trust the Bakery’s sister property 40 Hands with their weekend brunch. The chefs at 40 Hands make a mean Eggs Benedict with Juicy Steak that highlights what Singapore does best: perfectly poached eggs that erupt into a thick gooey volcano of yolk over steak fit for a dinner table. Tucked in one of the many 77-year-old conservation estates on Yong Siak Street, the elbow-to-elbow seating and chatty atmosphere is ideal for a social brunch, but save the second coffee for Plain Vanilla across the street.

40 Hands_Interior 03 (WF)

Plain Vanilla

For a more community feel, Plain Vanilla has just two large communal tables in an open space. Inside, the counter is stacked with sweets like salted caramel tarts, black and white short bread and chocolate lava cake. Across from the open-kitchen bakery, customers can purchase wine (for takeaway) and condiments. But if delicious creations in jars are your thing, hop over to the newly opened Crateful next door. The Singaporean-owned and operated urban grocer sells locally produced homemade preserves and spreads like dragon fruit and lychee jam and almond nut butter.

The rows of pre-war 1930s art deco shophouses put Tiong Bahru on the tourist trail, but what makes this place special in Singapore is – unlike most trending ‘hoods’ – it doesn’t fit into the category of just a ‘foodie’ or ‘shopping’ district.

One of the best places to really absorb the chilled out je ne sais quoi atmosphere of the heritage district is Books Actually. The tiny indie bookstore is filled with rare out-of-print titles, niche mags, essays, poetry, history texts, and an entire table filled with locally published books. A couple of times a month the owner will put out a $5 bargain box of old books outside. You won’t find any great page-turners for a train journey, but there are some old crime or romance titles worth a quick read.

Another popular boutique is Flea and Trees on Seng Poh Lane. Looking like the grandiose closet of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, the clothing store is decorated with antiques and sells new and vintage frocks and statement jewellery imported from Korea and Japan. By boutique standards, items are relatively inexpensive with most pieces under $100. The inventory and dramatic layout change monthly to keep the regular customers interested.

Bah Kuh Teh

Tiong Bahru Bak Kut Teh

Once the retail therapy is over, have a healthy(ish) low carb lunch at Tiong Bahru Bak Kut Teh. There may be better BKT places out there, but popular chains tend to pump out bowls of soup and pork like a production line. I come here for the home made Teochew taste and warm service. Once satisfied, I meet up with friends for a pint or two at The Tiong Bahru Club, a brand new retro kopitiam bar on the corner of Eng Hoon Street and Seng Poh Road.

The service is a bit green but the open-air eatery is quickly earning a name as a reliable new local watering hole. On tap, HB Dunkel, HB Weiss and Asahi all sell for $12, and the glasses of house Bordeux are a competitive $9. The faux vintage decor is a bit over done in Singapore, but the atmosphere and proximity to the main Eng Hoon Strip manages to rake in a regular clientele. For a catch-up with friends, order the guilt-inducing mozza sticks and okra fries – the portion is large enough to share between four to five people. Once you’ve got the appetite going, head to where most nights in Tiong Bahru end, Coq and Balls. Despite the steeper drink prices, the service is very personable and they serve some of the best-polished pub grub I’ve had in Singapore.

The wagyu steak Coq and Balls Burger is stuffed, and stacked with everything from the produce section of a deli, and the carbonara with an egg yolk twist is worth the number of new holes punched in your belt.

For a food baby digestif, hop over to Bincho at Hua Bee, which resides in a 70-year-old kopitiam. By day it’s a pok mee shop but by night it’s a high-end yakatori and cocktail bar with Japanese-inspired ‘Japertif’ cocktails. Order the ‘Yuzu Be Alright’, a refreshing yet potent blend of sake, gin, lemon and mint, the perfect drink to close down your day in Tiong Bahru.

This page from top: Strolling through Tiong Bahru; cookies at Plain Vanilla; Flea and Trees; TBB’s Kounig Aman; Brunch at 40 Hands; Books Actually

For those not in the know, the crowded French-inspired patisserie Tiong Bahru Bakery is the obvious choice for the first meal of the day. While the salted caramel Kounig Aman deserves its ‘bestseller’ title, Tiong Bahru locals trust the Bakery’s sister property 40 Hands with their weekend brunch. The chefs at 40 Hands make a mean Eggs Benedict with Juicy Steak that highlights what Singapore does best: perfectly poached eggs that erupt into a thick gooey volcano of yolk over steak fit for a dinner table. Tucked in one of the many 77-year-old conservation estates on Yong Siak Street, the elbow-to-elbow seating and chatty atmosphere is ideal for a social brunch, but save the second coffee for Plain Vanilla across the street.

Crateful2

Crateful

For a more community feel, Plain Vanilla has just two large communal tables in an open space. Inside, the counter is stacked with sweets like salted caramel tarts, black and white short bread and chocolate lava cake. Across from the open-kitchen bakery, customers can purchase wine (for takeaway) and condiments. But if delicious creations in jars are your thing, hop over to the newly opened Crateful next door. The Singaporean-owned and operated urban grocer sells locally produced homemade preserves and spreads like dragon fruit and lychee jam and almond nut butter.
The rows of pre-war 1930s art deco shophouses put Tiong Bahru on the tourist trail, but what makes this place special in Singapore is – unlike most trending ‘hoods’ – it doesn’t fit into the category of just a ‘foodie’ or ‘shopping’ district.

One of the best places to really absorb the chilled out je ne sais quoi atmosphere of the heritage district is Books Actually. The tiny indie bookstore is filled with rare out-of-print titles, niche mags, essays, poetry, history texts, and an entire table filled with locally published books. A couple of times a month the owner will put out a $5 bargain box of old books outside. You won’t find any great page-turners for a train journey, but there are some old crime or romance titles worth a quick read.

Another popular boutique is Flea and Trees on Seng Poh Lane. Looking like the grandiose closet of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, the clothing store is decorated with antiques and sells new and vintage frocks and statement jewellery imported from Korea and Japan. By boutique standards, items are relatively inexpensive with most pieces under $100. The inventory and dramatic layout change monthly to keep the regular customers interested.

Once the retail therapy is over, have a healthy(ish) low carb lunch at Tiong Bahru Bak Kut Teh. There may be better BKT places out there, but popular chains tend to pump out bowls of soup and pork like a production line. I come here for the home made Teochew taste and warm service. Once satisfied, I meet up with friends for a pint or two at The Tiong Bahru Club, a brand new retro kopitiam bar on the corner of Eng Hoon Street and Seng Poh Road.

The service is a bit green but the open-air eatery is quickly earning a name as a reliable new local watering hole. On tap, HB Dunkel, HB Weiss and Asahi all sell for $12, and the glasses of house Bordeux are a competitive $9. The faux vintage decor is a bit over done in Singapore, but the atmosphere and proximity to the main Eng Hoon Strip manages to rake in a regular clientele. For a catch-up with friends, order the guilt-inducing mozza sticks and okra fries – the portion is large enough to share between four to five people. Once you’ve got the appetite going, head to where most nights in Tiong Bahru end, Coq and Balls. Despite the steeper drink prices, the service is very personable and they serve some of the best-polished pub grub I’ve had in Singapore.

The wagyu steak Coq and Balls Burger is stuffed, and stacked with everything from the produce section of a deli, and the carbonara with an egg yolk twist is worth the number of new holes punched in your belt.

Flea and Trees 1

Flea and Trees

For a food baby digestif, hop over to Bincho at Hua Bee, which resides in a 70-year-old kopitiam. By day it’s a pok mee shop but by night it’s a high-end yakatori and cocktail bar with Japanese-inspired ‘Japertif’ cocktails. Order the ‘Yuzu Be Alright’, a refreshing yet potent blend of sake, gin, lemon and mint, the perfect drink to close down your day in Tiong Bahru.

56 Eng Hoon Street,
www.tiongbahrubakery.com

40 Hands Coffee,
Blk 79 Yong Siak Street,
www.40handscoffee.com

Books Actually,
9 Yong Siak Street,
www.booksactually.com

Flea and Trees,
68 Seng Poh Lane,
www.fleaandtrees.com

Bak Kut Teh,
58 Seng Poh Road

The Tiong Bahru Club,
01-88 Blk 57 Eng Hoon St.,
www.facebook.com/thesingapuraclub

Coq and Balls,
6 Kim Tian Rd,
www.Coqnballs.com

Bincho at Hua Bee,
78 Moh Guan Terrace, #01-19
www.bincho.com.sg

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