Portsdown Road Guide - A Hidden, Humble Escape In Singapore Where Time Stands Still

Portsdown Neighbourhood

Tucked away in a cosy corner in between One-North and Buono Vista is Portsdown Road. This picturesque place is hidden away from the rest of bustling Singapore, and here, time stands still.

The place makes you feel like you’ve been transported back in time to Singapore in the 1950s, where the streets used to be lined with beautiful, rustic colonial houses and the roads were narrow and windy. Besides these beautiful houses, there are quite a few places to explore if you’re looking for a little adventure and even a few age-old eateries that still bear the same-old rustic appeal.

Here, we have compiled a list of 5 of the few things you can do at Portsdown Road if you’re up for an adventure.

Abandoned water tank portsdown


We discovered this place quite by accident while we were exploring the area. Tucked away on a hilly area of Portsdown road was an abandoned water tank, which is something that you don’t see much in Singapore these days.

The water tank added a beautiful somewhat rustic charm to the area, and it really made you feel as if you were living in the past. A shroud of eeriness and mystery surrounds the tank, but that is precisely why we enjoyed hanging around it.

tammy water tank portsdown

The surrounding area of the tank is filled with lush greenery and makes for a great place to take some aesthetic photos. If you’re looking for a place to take some new photos to update the ‘gram’, this place is a great place to check out.

colbar portsdown


Walk into Cafe Colbar and you’ll feel like you’ve taken a blast back into the past. Short for Colonial Bar, Colbar used to be an old British Canteen from 1954 that was preserved all the way till now.

Everything here is kept the way it was from 60 years ago, from the old CRT television sitting on the counter to the faded photographs that line the wall.

colbar food 3

Cafe Colbar not only has a nostalgic infrastructure, it also has nostalgic dishes that have kept people coming back for years. Some of the must-try popular dishes here that we have tried are their Pork Cutlet Chips And Mushrooms, their Cheese Omelette And Chips and their Dry Hor Fun.

For those looking to quench their thirst, Cafe Colbar also carries a pretty extensive selection of ice-cold craft beers.

9A Whitchurch Road
Singapore 138839
Tel: +65 67794859
Daily: 9.30am – 10pm
(Closed on Mondays)
Nearest Station: Commonwealth

jimmy monkey


A little further down Portsdown road more towards the one-north area, is Jimmy Monkey Cafe and Bar. Jimmy Monkey is an Australian Cafe that was inspired by a monkey called Jimmy.

jimmy monkey interior

The interior of Jimmy Monkey is very unique, and if you look closely, you can spot a toilet bowl dangling from the ceiling, which adds a quirky touch to the decor of the place.

This eccentric little cafe is a great place to retreat to if you want a nice place to study or a chill place to hang out with your friends over some drinks. Some must-try items here are their signature blend Violet Crumble and Jimmy’s JM Breakfast Sandwich.

One-North Residences
9 One-North Gateway
Singapore 138643
Tel: +65 67778470
Daily: 8am – 6pm
Nearest Station: Buono Vista



This restaurant is pretty popular despite it being in a rather inaccessible location, which must mean that the food is really good If you’re planning to make a trip down to check them out we suggest that you make a reservation beforehand. They offer both alfresco and air-conditioned dining so it caters to anyone who wants either one.

Some of the popular items here are the Melanzane Alla Parmigiana, Raviolo Rossi Con Burrata Al Pomodoro, and their Merluzzo Al Forno Con Vino Bianco Olive Nere E Pomodorini. All bit on the pricey side, which is around S$30 per pax, but worth the money.

5B Portsdown Road, #01-03
Singapore 139311
Tel: +65 647995521
Mon to Fri: 11.45am – 2.30pm, 5.45pm – 10.30pm
Sat to Sun: 11.45am – 2.45pm, 5.45pm – 10.30pm
Nearest Station: Commonwealth

wessex tavern


This quaint English was cafe set up by none other than the younger generation of the Colbar family. They are a much more modern establishment as compared to Colbar, but they still sell great, delicious food just like their previous generation have been doing for years.

wessex tavern interior

This place is great to go to if you want to have a chill day out and away from the busy city life.

avocado sandwich wessex tavern

We tried their Avacado Sandwich which was served on multigrain bread with romaine, rocket, tomatoes and alfalfa (S$8.90). Other popular must-try items there are their Homemade Lorraine Quiche, their Big Breakfast as well as their Homemade Beef Stew.

5B Portsdown Road #01-01
Singapore 139311
Tel: +65 64757019
Mon to Fri: 8am – 6pm
Sat: 9am – 6pm
Sun: 9am – 5pm
Nearest Station: Commonwealth