Tiong Bahru has become famous in recent years for its bumper crop of brand-new cafes, but lesser known are its equally established restaurant outlets, which make up a significant chapter in its culinary heritage. Here, savour everything from classic picks to foreign flavours, all tossed into a melting pot that truly reflects the rich diversity of this quietly alluring estate.
While the cuisine of its Mediterranean neighbour Italy is well-represented in all corners of Singapore, authentic Greek food is much harder to find. Luckily, the BAKALAKI Greek Taverna is here to fill the gap. Styling itself as “the other side of Greece”, this restaurant sources traditional ingredients from regional Greek suppliers, and boasts an impressive range of authentic Mediterranean seafood dishes, as well as a selection of Greek wines and beers.
Though you’ll almost certainly find yourself spoilt for choice, the Taramosalata dip ($15.90) comes highly recommended as a companion to the classic Pita Bread ($2.90). For a taste of something more familiar, try the Horiatiki salad ($20.90), otherwise known as the traditional Greek salad.
Featuring a spacious yet cosy interior and a fresh, innovative take on traditional Mediterranean cuisine, this is one stop you certainly won’t want to miss.
Address: 3 Seng Poh Road, Singapore 168891
Opening hours: 6.00pm–12.00am (Monday–Thursday), 12.00pm–2.30pm and 6.00pm–1.00am (Friday–Sunday)
Price range: $30++ to 70++/pax
Tel: 6836 3688
Adding to the exciting variety of both international and regional cuisines in Tiong Bahru, Bigmama Korean Restaurant is a convenient 5-minute walk from Tiong Bahru MRT station. The restaurant prides itself on providing authentic yet healthy Korean cuisine—to that end, it uses no MSG in any of its dishes.
It is most famous for its signature pan-fried chicken, known as Dakgalbi ($15), best enjoyed with fried rice, kimchi, laver and sesame oil on the side. Another specialty is the steamed pork belly, known as Suyuk ($25/$40), which can be eaten with a variety of sauces. Unlike traditional methods of making Suyuk, which involve boiling the meat in water, excess fat content is removed during the cooking process at this restaurant, making it less oily while retaining the flavour.
With its unique and innovative approaches to traditional Korean recipes, Bigmama Korean Restaurant is definitely worth a visit for health-conscious diners and seasoned foodies alike.
Address: 2 Kim Tian Road, Singapore 169244
Opening hours: 11.30am–3.00pm (lunch) and 5.30pm–11.00pm (dinner) daily
Price range: $25++ to $40++/pax
Tel: 6270 7704
With a history stretching back no fewer than 25 years, this beloved eatery has been run by the Cheng family since its inception. Sitting in the heart of Tiong Bahru Estate along Yong Siak Street, Cheng’s 27 offers a return to old favourites with its classic take on Hainanese zichar. But that’s not to say that it’s going out of style—on the contrary, recent additions to the menu (and a June 2014 renovation) have helped to keep this hidden gem relevant.
Any visit to this refurbished haunt is incomplete without an order of its specialty Pork Chop Curry Rice ($9) and the newly-introduced Gula Melaka Chiffon Cake ($5), made with extra virgin coconut oil. If you’re looking for a restaurant that seamlessly combines the best of both old and new, Cheng’s 27 might just be the place for you.
Address: 27 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168654
Opening hours: 10.30pm–2.30pm, 5.30pm–9.30pm daily. Closed on Tuesdays
Price range: $10++ to $30++/pax onwards
Tel: 6223 7883
The history of the Peranakan community in Singapore is rich with culture and heritage, and the House of Peranakan cuisine (located near the Tiong Bahru Market) is no exception. Its small size (seating just 30 people) only adds to its pleasant ambience and sense of warmth and cosiness.
As is expected of an establishment serving Peranakan cuisine, its signature dishes include the traditional Nonya Ngoh Hiang ($12) and Chap Chye ($10). For something heartier, try the Garam Assam Fish ($18) to tickle your taste buds. At House of Peranakan Petit, you can look forward to savouring the history of an entire community, all in one short meal.
Address: 42 Eng Hoon Street, Tiong Bahru Estate, Singapore 169785
Opening hours: 12.00pm–3.00pm, 6.00pm–10.00pm daily. Closed on Tuesdays
Price range: $15++ to $30++/pax
You’re craving the finest European cuisine. Or maybe something from the other side of the world. Japanese-French hideout IKYU is here to ask: why not both?
Having joined the Tiong Bahru food scene relatively recently in 2012, IKYU has nevertheless firmly established itself as the go-to outlet for authentic Japanese fine dining. Sourcing ingredients directly from the famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Japan (and thrice a week, at that!), this innovative enterprise offers only the best of Japan’s most well-loved exports—of course, with a few unique touches here and there.
If you’re simply looking for a bite to eat, its 3-course lunch menu ($28–43) is a hearty introduction to the IKYU experience that’s sure to leave you wanting more. For those with deeper pockets, its renowned 7-course Omakase ($138) is personally curated by the chef—more than just a meal, it’s an event to remember.
Sleek and sensual in both ambience and flavour, IKYU is a fine-dining experience you won’t want to miss, deep in the nostalgic Tiong Bahru heartlands.
Address: 5 Yong Siak street, Singapore 168643
Opening hours: 11.30am–2.00pm (Tuesday–Saturday), 11.30am–2.30pm (Sunday), 6.00pm–10.00pm (Tuesday–Sunday). Closed on Mondays
Price range: $30++/pax onwards
Tel: 6223 9003
If you’re hankering for something closer to home, you can’t get much closer than traditional Chinese steamboat, served Singapore-style. This charming little joint blends together the best of Chinese heritage and culture into a wide range of regional flavours. Even better, it’s right across the street from Tiong Bahru Market, making it the perfect place to grab a bite after shopping.
The restaurant offers a la carte options, but more tantalising is its all-you-can-eat steamboat buffet ($25.90) which includes more than 80 selections from the very finest of Chinese cuisines. There’s something for everyone and every palate with such an impressive variety of dishes, and you might even find yourself spoilt for choice.
Address: 58 Seng Poh Road, #01-23 Tiong Bahru Estate, Singapore 160058
Opening hours: 11.00am–3.00pm (lunch), 5.00pm–11.00pm (dinner) daily
Price range: $25++/pax onwards
Tel: 6222 9442
Little Elephant Thai Bistro
Next door to the well-known Tiong Bahru Bakery, the Little Elephant Thai Bistro is one of the newest (and most adorably named) additions to Tiong Bahru’s growing roster of eateries, having been opened less than a year ago in May 2018. However, it’s quickly made a name for itself as one of the warmest and most welcoming places to have a meal, with open-air seating and two stout elephant statues standing guard at its entrance.
Here, you can look forward to Thai cuisine with a local twist, featuring dishes like Poh Piah Tod ($8), the vegetarian spring rolls that will be familiar to most diners, and Pia Meuk Phad Kai Kem ($18), better known as stir-fried salted egg squid. Given that “elephant” in Thai is “chang”, it’s no surprise that Chang beer ($8/bottle) is another staple of the restaurant.
Address: 57 Eng Hoon Street, #01-72 Tiong Bahru Estate, Singapore 160057
Opening hours: 12.00pm–3.00pm (weekday lunch), 6.00pm–11.00pm (weekday dinner), 11.30am–11.00pm (weekends). Closed on Mondays
Price range: $20++/pax
Tel: 6224 1646
One can tell from the name alone which cuisine this restaurant serves; but this fine French establishment has a few more surprises up its sleeve. Hidden in the stretches of Eng Hoon Street, its cosy ambience and soft lighting will draw you in, but its rich offerings will make you stay.
The restaurant is best patronised with friends, as it emphasises the concept of social dining that remains ingrained in modern French culture. If you do find yourself wandering its stylish interior or its outdoor garden patio, give the Duck Rillettes ($18) and Pork Tenderloin ($24) a try, before washing it all down with a selection from its array of alcoholic beverages.
Address: 56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-68 Tiong Bahru Estate, Singapore 160056
Opening hours: 8.00am–11.30pm (Tuesday–Saturday), 8.00am–10.30pm (Sunday). Closed on Mondays
Price range: $20++/pax onwards
Tel: 6224 0113
Seafood lovers rejoice: the Sin Hoi Sai Seafood Restaurant, located off Tiong Bahru Road, offers a variety of old-school dishes to fulfil your heart’s desires. Sitting under Block 55, the first housing block to be built in Tiong Bahru, it maintains a reputation as the oldest restaurant in Tiong Bahru—and one of the best.
And with just one glance at its extensive menu, boasting a variety of local favourites, it’s easy to see why. Among its specialties are the Black Pepper Crab and Curry Fishhead, though any seafood dish from here is almost guaranteed to be a hit. But don’t take our word for it; head down to this historic haunt to see why it remains one of Tiong Bahru’s most popular seafood joints.
Address: Block 55, #01-59 Tiong Bahru Road, Singapore 160055
Opening hours: 5.00pm–5.00am daily
Price range: $30++/pax
Tel: 6223 0810 or 6224 3905
The Tiong Bahru Club Singapura
At the junction of Lim Liak Street and Seng Poh Road sits The Tiong Bahru Club Singapura, a bistro and taproom that aims to preserve some of the area’s intangible heritage. This is reflected in the diversity of the culinary creations on offer, whose multicultural origins are exactly what one would expect from a melting pot like Singapore.
Its real strength, however, lies in its Indian cuisine—a unique selling point in an estate so closely tied to the Hokkien Chinese community, but a welcome one to be sure. To that end, the Boneless Chicken Dum Briyani ($9.10) is certainly worth trying out. Other cuisines on offer include the Devil’s Curry ($16.80), which is Eurasian in origin.
Whatever suits your palate, you’re sure to find it here at The Tiong Bahru Club Singapura, where the rich heritage of the Tiong Bahru Estate—and Singapore as a whole—truly shines.
Address: 57 Eng Hoon Street, #01-88 Tiong Bahru Estate, Singapore 267208
Opening hours: 9.00am–10.30pm (weekdays), 8.30am–11.30pm (weekends and public holidays)
Price range: $20++/pax
Tel: 6957 3369
Written By: Soh Ying Qi