Once a prominent red-light district peppered with brothels and secret societies, Keong Saik has abandoned its notorious past and flourished into one of Singapore’s trendiest heritage neighbourhoods. Nestled in the heart of Chinatown, the vibrant shophouses host some of the city’s hippest restaurants, bars and modern accommodation options, standing in stark contrast to the skyscrapers around. Here are a few of V&VPR’s top picks:
At the heart of the neighbourhood, KēSa House is Keong Saik’s newest addition and has already taken the area by storm. Introducing an entirely new concept of flexible-living, the social hub is suited to the Little Red Dot’s fast-paced lifestyle. It’s perfect for everyone, whether you’re looking to stay a night or stay a while.
Adding a new dynamic to the street’s dining scene, you’ll be able to indulge in Singapore’s hottest new tables, including Pasta Bar, Olivia Restaurant and The Old Man. Expect authentic, hand-made pasta at Pasta Bar, with its selection of 11 different pasta dishes – some of our favourites are the Tortelli with Pumpkin, Sage and Amaretti and the flavourful Truffle Fettuccini. If you’re looking for some Barcelonan delights, head to Olivia Restaurant & Lounge. We love the Jamón Ibérico de bellota (free-range oak forest ham fed with acorn) and the Lomo de Buey Wagyu con salsa de trufa y piminetos del piquillo confitados, a succulent Wagyu striploin with truffle sauce and confit piquillo peppers.
The Guild, a collaboration between Hong Kong’s independent craft brewery and Chef Vincent Lauria, offers an extensive drinks menu of craft beers, cocktails and all-natural wines, coupled with good homestyle cooking. A tribute to the celebrated writer and cocktail enthusiast – Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man Singapore is ideal for cocktail lovers. This quirky restaurant and craft beer bar has an “open” bar concept, allowing you to learn the art of cocktail-making while mingling with the mixologists.
iThink, Asia’s leading boutique hospitality consulting firm, is behind the stunning design, while the flexible accommodation Kēsa House is operated by 8M Collective, the evolutionary operations management arm of 8M Real Estate. Afterglow by Anglow
At the forefront of Singapore’s plant-based movement, Afterglow’s vegan offerings aim to bring back the charm to healthy eating. We love the Avocado Kimichi rolls, Lentil Flax-Seed “Nuggets” (oven-baked, served with garlic cashew aioli) and the Raw Crispy Lasagne (Zucchini sheets, cashew nut cream cheese and mixed herbs pesto). The restaurant also makes its own vegan cheese!
3. Burnt Ends
A contemporary Australian barbecue restaurant amongst Asia’s 50 best restaurants and a must-visit for foodies. The amazing line-up of dishes from Chef David Pynt and his team include the mouth-watering Smoked Quail Egg and Caviar, Onglet topped with Bone Marrow and Whole Red Snapper. Make sure you get counter seats for a front-row view of the open kitchen theatrics!
Potato Head’s rooftop bar, with its hanging plants and view of the Chinatown nightscape, is one of our local favourite. There’s nothing like sipping on a refreshing Coconut Negroni while watching the sunset.
With his new micro-seasonal menus, Chef Andrew Walsh curates new dishes based on the seasonality of vegetables, which means that you can come back time and time again and always be surprised by something new. We can’t get enough of the Beetroot Tartare with blood orange & creme fraiche or the Foie gras custard and Aubergine.
Keong Saik is not just about restaurants and bars, it’s also a thriving social and business hub. Spanning across three conjoining shophouses, The Working Capitol is a coworking space that has transformed the conventional work environment. With its multiple event spaces, beer garden and three restaurants, the Working Capitol ensures that you have a chic space for creative collaborations, lunches with clients and team celebrations.
In light of the growing trend of socially conscious businesses in Singapore, The Social Space fills a unique niche with its focus on eco-friendliness and conscious living. This aesthetic spot along Keong Saik consists of a Tea Bar & Café, a Nail Salon and an area of fair-trade retail, which provides refuge to those facing barriers to employment. Eco-lovers and social justice warriors will love this nook!