*This post was updated on 28 March 2014
Once upon a time, Tiong Bahru was a sleepy housing estate not particularly known for any outstanding reason. Nowadays, the area has undergone a quiet shake up of sorts. It started with indie bookstore, BooksActually, moving into the area. In quick succession, many other painfully hip establishments followed and it's very hard to keep up with the comings and goings of all the restaurants/bars/cafés in the area. But fret not! We've explored the area and uncovered several hidden gems that are just waiting to be visited - so read on and find out what Tiong Bahru has to offer.
Loh Lik Peng does it again. By day, the space still functions as the slightly rundown kopi-tiam joint, Hua Bee, and you can still get the steaming bowls of fishball noodles that locals rave about. However, walk through to the back and the space transforms into the more modern Bincho with metal and copper finishing and a cool bar where you can choose from over 30 labels of Japanese whiskey or enjoy cocktails prepared by The Library’s head bartender, Stefan Rafalli.
78 Moh Guan Terrace #01-19
Tel: +65 6438 4567
Hours: Tue - Fri: 6pm - 12am, Sat - Sun: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 12am
Find Bincho on Facebook
COQ & BALLS
The cheeky name first got to us (haha!) and then its beer menu did. The six month-old gastropub has made a name for itself (frat boy moniker aside) for its extensive beer menu that's sure to get you all, um, excited. Hard to find labels like Wychcraft, Fuller, as well as lagers from Duvel are all available here, but if you'd just prefer to kick back with a good-ol Hoegaarden or Stella Atois, they have those too. Don't expect any mind-blowing cuisine from this joint, it's more of a down to earth establishment than a snooty Michelin-starred resto.
6 Kim Tian Road
Tel: +65 6276 6609
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 4.00pm to 12.00am
Visit Coq & Balls website
Find Coq & Balls on Facebook
DOUGH & GRAINS
Having been entered in the Singapore Book of Records as the first establishment in Singapore to sell bread infused with TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Dough & Grains offers up an extensive range of TCM-influenced breads that are not only good for satisfying hunger but also for physical wellbeing. Try their Yin and Yang bun, which is topped with white sesame seeds and filled with black sesame paste. Not one to be missed!
71 Seng Poh Road
Tel: +65 6225 5223
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 7.30am to 8.30pm.
Find Dough & Grains on Facebook
DRIPS BAKERY CAFÉ
Charming interior? Check. Good coffee? Check. Decent prices? Check and check! Drips bakery Café is an adorable little place that serves up scrumptious tarts and desserts with unique flavors. If you don't believe us, just try their cherry brandy tart - its sweetness belied a kick of the brandy and it was just too good to share. The aromatic coffee is made using syphons, which promise a richer, fuller flavor and we were definitely not disappointed!
82 Tiong Poh Road
Tel: +65 6222 0400
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11.00am to 9.30pm, Friday and Saturday, 11.00am to 11.00pm, Sunday, 11.00am to 9.30pm
Visit Drips Bakery Cafés website
Find Drips Bakery Café on Facebook
A family-run establishment, Flock is an industrial-chic cafe that serves up pretty good fare for its price. They use Liberty Coffee and their flat whites, lattes and cappuccinos go for only $4.80 a pop. A special mention must be made for its prawn and avocado sandwich, filled with juicy prawns and a delicious sauce.
78 Moh Guan Terrace
Tel: +65 6536 3938
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8.00am to 6.00pm.
Visit Flock Cafés website
Find Flock Café on Facebook
FOODIE MARKET PLACE
Foodie Market Place is a great place for you to get some of the best cuts of meat in Singapore. They stock everything from airflown lamb and beef to hard-to-find cheese and yoghurt selections. If you're looking to tock up on those organic steaks for barbecue night, this is definitely the place to head to.
225 Outram Road
Tel: +65 6224 3290
Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 11.00am to 8.00pm, Saturday and Sunday, 9.00am to 6.00pm. Closed Mondays.
Find Foodie Market Place on Facebook
Inspired by Asian remedies and cures, Harnn provides a holistic range of harcare, skincare and bodycare products that use all natural ingredients like rice bran oil, which is high in vitamin E, to restore health and balance to your body. We love the traditional packaging and all-natural ingredients, and We're sure you'll love them too!
71 Seng Poh Road
Tel: +65 6224 9788
Visit Harnn's website
Find Harnn on Facebook
We've come to love IKYU for the fresh ingredients that they use and, of course, Executive Chef Seki Takuma's inventive creations. The well balanced flavors of the sushi and sweet freshness of the sashimi impressed us deeply and left us wanting more. If you're feeling lucky, request for the Omakase set - a delicious selection of sashimi, steamed, grilled and fried nigiri, topped off with one of their desserts.
5 Yong Siak Street
Tel: +65 6223 9003
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11.30am to 11.00pm. Closed Mondays.
Visit IKYU's website
Find IKYU on Facebook
Contrary to what the name suggests, Nimble/Knead is not another café. This is actually a spa located in the heart of Tiong Bahru, where you can go to for aromatherapy, massages and facials. Founded with the belief that going to a spa isn't just about working out the knots in your body, Nimble/Knead seekds to inspire and transport customers away through pure relaxation.
66 Eng Watt Street
Tel: +65 6438 3933
Hours: Daily, 11.00am to 9.00pm.
Visit Nimble/Knead's website
Find Nimble/Knead on Facebook
OPEN DOOR POLICY
Decorated like a chic Manhattan restaurant, Open Door Policy grabbed our attention from the moment we walked through the door. ODP (as it is lovingly known by regulars) is a great place if you want to have brunch. Come at around 12.00pm and you'll find the place buzzing with chatter and laughter, punctuated by the occasional sip of ODp's rare micro-lot coffee supplied by 40 Hands and the consumption of its delicious brunch menu. Another huge plus point is its friendly staff, and the fact that they don't charge the 10% service charge.
19 Yong Siak Street
Tel: +65 6221 9307
Hours: Monday, Wednesday to Sunday, 12.00pm to 3.00pm (lunch), 6.00pm to 10.30pm (dinner). Brunch on Saturday and Sunday, 11.00am to 3.30pm. Friday and Saturday, bar open till 12.00am. Closed Tuesdays.
Visit Open Door Policy's website
Find Open Door Policy on Facebook
Read our full review on Open Door Policy
If cupcakes are your thing, Plain Vanilla is a must. Fresh, moist and overall delicious, these cupcakes will have you making trips to Tiong Bahru especially for these cupcakes. Our favorites have got to be Cinnamon Brown Sugar and Carrot, but there is a whole variety of flavours to choose from.
1D Yong Siak Street
Visit PLAIN VANILLa's website
Find PLAIN VANILLA on Facebook
When you think of potatoes, they're usually the accompaniment to steak (either mashed, baked or sautéed) or as starters like fries and potato chips. Cue PoTeaTo, a funky little establishment that turns the spotlight on the humble spud. Think dishes like potato and salmon cakes and sweet potato tartlets - satisfying and filling at the same time. You'll still find it partnering its friends (i.e. Louisiana Pork Ribs and Sandwich among others) here but that's okay, we all know who the real star is.
78 Yong Siak Street
Tel: +65 6221 2488
Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 12.00pm to 10.30pm, Saturday, 10.00am to 10.30pm, Sunday, 10.00am to 9.00pm. Closed Mondays.
Find PoTeaTo on Facebook
PS CAFE PETIT
The smallest PS Cafe of them all, this is a new takeaway concept that allows customers to take away freshly made pizzas and wine. The tiny store exudes cool and though you won't want to squeeze between one of its minuscule booths, you can rest assured that the food you're packing home is still of the highest quality.
78 Guan Chuan Street
Tel: +65 9226 7088
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11.00am to 10.30pm. Closed Mondays.
Visit PS Cafe's website
Find PS Cafe Petit on Facebook
THE FRENCH BOOKSHOP
An indie little bookstore with a nondescript shopfront, The French Bookstore is a veritable treasure trove of little known French books and secondhand vintage French books. Art exhibitions and events are also held here regularly so do stop by to find out what's happening next.
55 Tiong Bahru Road
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11.00am to 6.00pm, Sundays, 11.00am to 3.00pm. Closed Mondays.
Visit The French Bookshop's website
THE ORANGE THIMBLE
Art and food don't always mix in the best way, but The Orange Thimble is an exception. Conceived as a corner for creativity and a place for thinkers, believers and neighbors to hang out, The Orange Thimble holds the ideals of honest neighborhood living close to its heart. The interior is split into five sections where you can relax and enjoy the art on the walls with a cup of specialty coffee while munching on a bacon, brie and cranberry sandwich (delish!).
56 Eng Hoon Street
Tel: +65 6223 8068
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 9.00am to 11.00pm, Friday and Saturday, 9.00am to 12.00am, Sunday, 9.00am to 9.30pm
Visit The Orange Thimble's website
Find The Orange Thimble on Facebook
TIONG BAHRU BAKERY
Sitting on the corner of Eng Hoon Street, Tiong Bahru bakery may just be our favourite spot to hang out in Singapore for great pastries, heavenly sandwiches and excellent coffee. The abundance of breads and cakes makes this place an exercise in olfactory heaven and will make you want to try everything they have to offer. A note of caution though: head there early to get a seat and so you don't miss any of their awesome food.
56 Eng Hoon Street
Tel: +65 6220 3430
Hours: Daily, 8.00am to 8.00pm.
Visit Tiong Bahru Bakery's website
Find Tiong Bahru bakery on Facebook
Read our full review on Tiong Bahru Bakery
TIONG BAHRU BAR
This 4000 square feet space is the latest addition to Tiong Bahru. Patrons can enjoy a vast tapas menu, an adjoining wine gallery with over 400 wines and even a cigar room. Whiskey drinkers, you'll appreciate the variety of The Glenlivet that they have as well.
3 Seng Poh Road
Tel: +65 6438 4380
Hours: Daily, Noon to 2:00am
TWO FACE PIZZA & TAPROOM
Two Face is like the superhero of the F&B scene - regular kopitiam by day, hip pizzeria-bar by night (rather like Superman, don't you think?). The place serves up an unapologetically locally-influenced menu in addition to regular Western comfort food like pizzas and pastas. Think home made har cheong gai (shrimp paste chicken) and a kiam he (salted fish) pizza, which was oddly tasty. But our absolute favourite has got to be the foie gras on fries, greasy, indulgent and all kinds of scrumptiousness.
56 Eng Hoon Street
Tel: +65 6536 0024
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 5.00pm to 11.00pm, Friday and Saturday, 5.00pm to 12.00am, Sunday, 10.00am to 10.00pm
Find Two Face Pizza & Taproom on Facebook
WE NEED A HERO
This one's for the guys! We know you like to keep clean and groomed, so do check out one of latest editions to the Spa Esprit Group. We Need a Hero is a all men's grooming salon - haircuts, shaving, brows and waxing, they've got it all.
57 Eng Hoon Street, #01-86
Tel: +65 6222 5590
Hours: Mon - Fri 11am - 9pm, Sat 10am - 9pm, Sun 10 - 8m, closed selected eve and day of public holidays
Just a month old, this Tiong Bahru coffee joint has great energy and ambiance, plus a passionate owner who is an alumni of the New York International Culinary Centre. Start with a cup of Strangers Reunion followed by a perfectly moist Carrot Cake or a Chocolate Chip Cookie. We hear they may start high tea soon, so this is definitely a spot to keep an eye on.
58 Seng Poh Road #01-15
Hours: Tues - Thurs: 9am - 8pm, Sat - Sun: 9am - 10pm
Find Whisk on Facebook
40 HANDS COFFEE
The origin of this hole-in-the-wall coffee joint's name is an interesting one. The owners of the place decided to call it 40 Hands because it takes an average of 40 hands in the production of the coffee, from plant to cup. As you may have guessed, 40 Hands uses sustainably produced coffee beans and are committed to making a positive impact on the lives of coffee growers in developing countries - just another reason to enjoy their fragrant blends even more. The food is not yet up to par, but if you're a coffee lover like us, it doesn't really matter because all we want/need is a good cuppa.
78 Yong Siak Street
Tel: +65 6225 8545
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 8.00am to 7.00pm, Friday and Saturday, 8.00am to 10.00pm, Sunday, 8.00am to 7.00pm
Visit 40 Hands website
Find 40 hands on Facebook
Read our full review on Forty Hands
Enjoyed this post? Check out our Robertson Quay Guide, Club Street Guide & our guide to The Triangle (Chinatown's hippest new district).