We’ve seen countless food and restaurant concepts from all over the world opening up here over the years and while Singapore remains a hub for all things new and trendy with regards to gastronomy, there are several heritage gems that still, and will always, bear timeless appeal.
These are the places that our parents and even grandparents used to frequent, the original hangout spots before the era of modern cafes and posh eateries. Taking a trip down memory lane, here is our list of 10 dining establishments that will transport you back to old Singapore.
Offering a full-on menu of both Asian and Western fare, Colbar is one of the few gems in Singapore that we can safely say, has truly stood the test of time. Opened in 1953, the establishment formerly served as a canteen for the British army. It, therefore, gave rise to its name, Colbar, otherwise referred to as ‘Colonial Bar’.
Granted that it’s a little out of the way, especially for those who do not drive, it is still a charming spot that’s worth the trip. It is a retreat from civilisation and it is also a great place to catch a glimpse of the old days.
This rustic hideout is furnished with retro interiors like Formica tabletops and old photographs, which bring an air of nostalgia that sets you back in time. Whether you’re pining for a beer, some food or a place to chill, Colbar is one that’ll guarantee you a relaxed and tranquil experience.
Strategically situated right in between the bustling Bugis neighbourhood and City Hall area, Purvis Street is pretty much the centre of it all. In the vicinity of places such as the huge National Library and the iconic Raffles Hotel, Purvis Street is visited by both locals and tourists alike.
For us, Purvis Street has it all—both old and new. Filled with swanky European restaurants amidst honest and humble old school eateries serving local cuisines, the eclectic mix of a plethora of different restaurants is something anyone can appreciate.
If you are not familiar, here is a guide to Purvis Street’s Restaurants & Cafes. It is time to start planning a trip down for some good food!
We shared our favourites cafes and best-kept secrets in the West of Singapore previously, and today, we will let you in on our picks from the East. There are gelato bars, coffee studios, kids-friendly cafes, cake lovers’ heaven and so many more.
Characteristic and thematic in their own rights, these finds make great hang-out places and some are already our regular haunts. Some are a stone’s throw from town, and they are alternatives to go to when you need to get away from the crazy crowd. Else, there are cosy units that serve burgers and truffle fries that pack a punch. And we won’t say no to more options for our daily cuppa.
The East is a lovely enclave of artisan finds, serious brews and comforting brunch food. We are real advocators of quality over quantity, so while there may be hundreds of names out there, we really prefer sticking to the ones we know we can count on for good food and drinks.
We will update our list from time to time, but for a start, here is our Guide to the best cafes in the East of Singapore:
Kaya toast and eggs is the nation’ favourite breakfast combination. Together with an aromatic cup of local-style coffee or tea – or what we affectionately call kopi or teh – it is the simplest form of comfort food and one that we will never get sick of.
Whenever we dine at YaKun or Toast Box, we’d wish for an operator to reinvent the environment of a toast-and-eggs joint with a modern and cafe-like take. So when we heard about La’ Coffee - located next to Old Hen Coffee Bar in the Rangoon Road neighbourhood - we headed down on its first week of operation to check them out.
Chin Mee Chin confectionery at East Coast Road is one of the few old-school coffee shops left in Singapore. I’m sure most of you are familiar with Chin Mee Chin (CMC) since many of the Singapore Food Blogs have written on them before. In many ways, CMC reminds me of the popular Yut Kee in Kuala Lumpur.
Sometimes, I think we take Kaya Toast for granted. This humble breakfast food is simple, yet so delicious, and it is often overlooked because it is so common in Singapore. From places like Ya Kun Kaya Toast, Killiney, Good Morning Nanyang Cafe, to the local coffee shops – good kaya toasts are everywhere in Singapore.