Our next jaunt into the Singapore dining scene is for all you trendy foodies. Use this to plan your makan dates for next week and prepare to see some admiring glances coming your way. The list boasts variety — there’s a new cafe, Korean restaurant and even a one-of-a-kind bakery — but they all have one thing in common: none of them have been open longer than a month.
The 7th Cylinder
#01-01, 1 Jalan Pisang, open Mon, Wed & Fri 10am — 9pm, Sat — Sun 9:30am — 9pm
How fun is our cafe scene? The newest kid on the block — the increasingly famous Jalan Pisang (home to Cake Love, Fluff Bakery and Hajjah Maimunah), to be precise — supports a super subculture and serves mouthwatering Western food. Here, bikers can attend appreciation events or just sit down with a cup of coffee and ‘refresh’ their equipment for free using the DIY polishing kit and all-purpose cleaner in-store. But we seriously recommend curing your hunger pangs with their Pepperoni Chopper ($13.90), a sandwich filled with succulent pepperoni, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes sitting on a bed of balsamic-dressed greens. We love our meat, so we also had their Balls of Steels ($7.90), which we’re happy to report, are made up of real (not frozen) meatballs.
Afterglow by Anglow
24 Keong Saik Road, open Mon — Sat 11:30am — 11pm
Call it what you want — vegan bar, cafe, deli, grocer — but month-old Afterglow is the hangout spot du jour for advocates of the #eatclean movement. On the menu are raw, vegan-friendly items like drag-pom salad ($16) and cauliflower couscous ($15), as well as their signature nori rolls ($12) — achar or kimchi — with nuts acting as a substitute for rice. Both the raw crackers and cheese on the appetiser menu are homemade — the former is dehydrated right in the open food prep area at the back of the eatery, while the cheese – originating from nuts – can take up to two weeks to produce. As if being located in the unendingly colourful Chinatown neighbourhood wasn’t enough, owners Carmen Low and Lionel Ang have also made the 20-seat space both homey and vibe-y, filling it up with furniture and accessories by local artists. The retail racks also sell products from local businesses like The Panic Room, as well as eco-friendly bodycare products (yes, including the current cult fave virgin coconut oil). Before you head out, don’t forget to take bottles of the cold-pressed juice and coconut water with you — they’re perfect companions in this weather. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a couple of what looks to be medicine bottles filled with fabulous cold-pressed coffee Bob’s Brew still available — make sure you try one! Pro-tip: Check back in a month or two — Afterglow’s bar making cocktails with cold-pressed juices might be available then.
Kimchi Korean Restaurant
#02-387 Suntec City Convention Tower, open daily 10am — 10pm
Barely a week into its official opening, Kimchi is already swamped during the peak hours of lunch and dinner. Its location in the Central Business District certainly helps, but we’d honestly make the trek out anywhere for Andong native Chef Choi Minchul’s hearty and well-adjusted recipes. Do us a favour and order the Andong jjimdak ($15), a hot pot of braised boneless chicken thigh marinated in gangjang (light soy sauce). It’s strategically laced with cheongyang gochu, a Korean green chilli pepper whose taste intensifies with each bite, plus ample amounts of carrots, daikon, lotus root, potatoes and glass noodles. If you’re a fan of stew, you really can’t afford to miss this one, but if you want to enjoy it in other forms you can — chef’s family recipe is also available as a chicken dolsot bap and a marinated options for barbecuing. Another notable item on the menu is the ginseng chicken duk ($12). Korean gingseng, Chinese herbs, kamcho or Korean liquorice plus red dates are simmered in rice to produce a stocky porridge so satiating that we’d go as far as call it ‘soul nourishing’. Bonus: it goes well with most other items on the menu. Oh, you don’t get free flow of banchan here, but that’s why the prices are so awesome, so we have no complaints.
29 Bali Lane
This is one for lovers of Mediterranean cuisine, or at least anyone who dip pita bread in everything. Touted as the first manufacturer of pita bread in Singapore, Pita Bakery has ony been operating for about a week and sells the good stuff at an affordable $10 per bag of 10. They don’t serve fillings, but owner Oscar will be happy to spread copious amounts of Nutella in a sample slice if you’re feeling peckish. Honestly, any day we can get fresh pita bread in a bag and sit down to a piping hot cup of coffee (Stateland is just next door) is a good day.
37 Kampong Bahru Road, open Mon — Tues, Thurs — Sun 11am — 10pm
If you like Strangers’ Reunion, you’ll like their lovely dessert neighbour. With its vintage-style furnishings and open-concept food prep area, the vibe is about the same. Plus of course, they’re basically the same place except the new spot is an expansion of Reunion’s buttermilk pancake expertise. Some of the items ($14.90 each), like the squid ink waffle with poached eggs, are a tad ambitious — stick to the sweeter of the nine-option menu such as the red velvet, and you’re good.
Read the first edition of Coconuts Singapore Flavour Tour here: