A charming enclave within Singapore’s Chinatown, Keong Saik Road is brimming with chic bistros and cafes, stylish hotels, and sexy watering holes. Once home to Singapore’s gangster dens and brothels, the burgeoning street has experienced a serious facelift over the last few years, redefining itself as the go-to neighborhood for young professionals and trendy travelers. Here are the top spots to bookmark ahead of your next trip to the Lion City.
A tiny, 18-seat restaurant serving what’s best described as a twist on Australian barbecue, Burnt Ends will have carnivores drooling for more. The brainchild of Singaporean restaurateur Andre Chiang and Australian chef Dave Pynt, this chic urban eatery whips up choice cuts of meat that have connoisseurs queuing out the door. The menu changes daily, a reflection of Pynt’s focus on fresh, quality produce, but if you’re lucky, you’ll get to try the Burnt Ends Sanger — a pulled pork burger with coleslaw and spicy chipotle aioli — and the moreish suckling pig with crispy skin.
20 Teck Lim Road, (+65) 6224-3933.
Quaint is the best word to describe Esquina, the modern Spanish tapas restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton. But what Esquina lacks in space, it more than makes up for with its industrial-chic décor and exquisite plates. The no-reservations eatery dishes up unique, sharing-style tapas dishes bursting with flavor. Start with oysters in jalapeño ponzu with salmon roe and pickled ginger; move onto the saffron paella and divine iberico pork and foie gras burgers with avocado mayonnaise; and finish with the warm chocolate fondant, finished with malt ice cream.
16 Jiak Chuan Road, (+65) 6222-1616.
A secretive watering hole with imaginative cocktails on the menu, The Library is a refined, speakeasy-style space hidden behind a bookcase. To get in, you’ll need to whisper a password to the staffer manning the library-like storefront — it’s not hard, just ask a waiter at adjacent eatery The Study, or have a look on their Facebook page. Once inside, you’ll find a retro, dimly lit space mixing up signature tipples like the Silver Screen and the Piscotheque. If you’re sharing, opt for the heady Hot Tub Thyme Machine.
47 Keong Saik Road, (+65) 6221-8338.
The Cufflink Club features brooding décor embellished with art deco touches, and a menu of potent, cheeky drinks with names like Peru 1:1 Chile, From Firenze with Love, and For Whom the Bell Tolls. For a stiff drink, try the Club’s twist on the Zombie – the Walking Dead is a concoction of 13 rums, pineapple, apricot, passionfruit, and lime, finished with a bubblegum eyeball. If you’re after something milder, try the Coke-Cane, made of five rums, a homemade cola reduction, fresh lime juice, and a sugar cane swizzle stick.
6 Jiak Chuan Road, (+65) 9694-9623.
A swanky boutique hotel spread across five lovingly preserved shophouses built in 1929, Hotel 1929 is the ideal bolthole for in-the-know style mavens. Check into one of the 32 individually designed rooms that boast a compelling mix of classic designer and vintage furniture, and clear glass bathrooms. The two creative suites also feature outdoor baths in tropical roof gardens that overlook the bright lights and bustling streets.
50 Keong Saik Road, (+65) 6347-1929.
Housed in original 1920s Peranakan-style buildings, Naumi Liora is a chic boutique hotel combining world-class heritage and modern aesthetics. Check in for the standard amenities — like a 24-hour gym — and stay for the special extras. You’ll love the complimentary treats of cookies, chips, ice cream, Nespresso coffee and Dilmah tea at the 24-hour self-service snack bar on the ground floor.
55 Keong Saik Road, (+65) 6922-9000.