Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Bourgeois guide to eating, drinking, shopping, and pampering in Singapore

Scrambled eggs and bacon on a flaky croissant from Populus Cafe

My friends will probably laugh at the title. I've made some lovely friends online from the travel blogger community groups but one thing was bothering me... I'm not a backpacking hostel type of female traveler nor am I into full-on luxury travel. I fall somewhere in between and I think a lot of you do too. I like a bourgeois way of life that is not overtly luxurious or bargain hunting for the cheapest hostel around. Its the middle of the road for me. I also do my research for the best places to eat, shop, drink.

I enjoy good food whether its from the corner street stall at the hawker centres commonly found in every area of Singapore to fine dining. As long as it tastes good. ;-) I like a good massage but it doesn't have to come from the most luxurious spa. I will take public transportation but if its raining or too hot to walk outside and I have to look presentable then I'd take a taxi or Uber car. You get the picture...

PS Cafe Petit at Robertson Quay
Black fried carrot cake and fresh watermelon juice at Makansutra Gluttons by the Bay

Food & Drink:

1) P.S. Cafe at Robertson Quay
I've grown to love this homegrown chain of restaurants for the food, ambiance, design aesthetic of the restaurant, and locations they tend to open. My favorite location is P.S. Petit Cafe at Robertson Quay. The location is a bit on the residential side but close to Robertson Walk where there are a number of al fresco dining options. A very chill vibe in this neighborhood that reminds me of life in Europe but more tropical weather. The restaurant is also beautifully designed with a design hipster sensibility i.e. white exposed tiles, cake displays, handwritten chalk boards, flower arrangements. Order the parmesan truffle fries! I've not had a bad meal at P.S. Cafe so you can't really go wrong.

2) Wild Honey at Mandarin Gallery
You may start to notice that I like quiet, chill, eclectic type places. The decor at Wild Honey is eclectic, colorful, yet has a hip grandmother-feel to the upholstery and choice of dining room furniture. A good place for brunch and catching up with girlfriends over strong black coffee and eggs.  I like the eggs benedict.

3) Imperial Treasure at Ngee Ann City
This is my favorite Chinese restaurant in Singapore. I really like the dim sum here. The ambiance is less chill and beautiful design-centric as the other two but like I said, the food is good. Be prepared to wait for a table when it gets busy for dim sum lunch. They also have really good Chinese food. I like to order the Beijing dumplings here. The pork and scallions with a hint of ginger is addictive!

4) Satay club at Makansutra in the Esplanade
This curated outdoor food centre is particularly lovely at night after a performance. The Satay is made Malaysian style served together with a peanut chilli sauce. Wash the satay down with a fresh juice from the juice stand then take a walk towards the bay. The views are wonderful with the backdrop of the city lights from the Central Business District and the behemoth Marina Bay Sands hotel and casino.

5) Manhattan bar at The Regent Hotel
This is probably the most expensive from this list as this bar is a top-rated luxury hotel bar. But for the discerning drinker who likes a smooth negroni, only the best mixologists will do. I don't come here often but I have been here a few times over the past 4 years. I threw my birthday party/going away party here a couple years ago. The food here is good but overpriced, the drinks are phenomenal but overpriced but on the same level as other bars in Singapore of the same caliber. The dark interior and leather reminds one of being inside a cigar room for dapper gentlemen or a speakeasy of the 20s. A great place to have a birthday or a date.

6) Cedele at Wheelock Place
This chain of restaurants and cafes are found throughout Singapore but this location is a sit down restaurant with a chill vibe and views overlooking the fountain and the busy road intersection from above. The food here is pretty good and they have a focus on nutrition and wholesome food. My favorite things to order here is the caesar salad, pumpkin or butternut squash soup, and earl grey with fig ice cream. Prices are middle of the road so you won't break the bank eating here.

7) Boon Tong Kee at River Valley Road
A fairly clean chicken rice restaurant that has renovated itself to be a full fledged restaurant from the chicken rice joint that it once was in the 90s. I still like the chicken rice and its my favorite place to get chicken rice in Singapore. They also serve other dishes that are found in Chinese restaurants. I like to order chicken rice to go but if I eat here, I order steamed chicken with chicken rice, a veggie dish, and an appetiser to share with my dining companions.

8) Bar hopping on Club street, Ann Siang Hill, Keong Saik Street
I never really know where I'm going when I meet friends in these areas for drinks. There are so many bars and restaurants on these streets. After work hours are the most popular times. This area is also good for people watching. Some bars to look out for: The Library, The Cufflink club.

9) Sanpoutei Ramen at Holland Village
I like my ramen noodle soup at this casual ramen place because the noodles are springy, thicker, and the soup is a nice rich broth. When this place first opened, the broth was a bit too fatty for my tastebuds but now I know not to order the tonkotsu (pork bone broth) and all is well with the world. I like tonkotsu ramen but not at this place. The shoyu or the tori + miso ramen broth works really well with the springy noodles.

Yoga Movement at Robertson Quay
Getting foot reflexology at Natureland

Shopping and Pampering:

1) Jurlique Spa and the shops at Wheelock Place
The Jurlique products and the facials at the spa keep my skin refreshed and glowing. When I'm in Singapore, I try and fit a facial appointment here to rebalance my skin out. The change in temperatures while traveling can really mess the moisture levels of my face.
The shopping centre is a curated experience of smaller boutiques and they are fun to poke around in because some of them have a focus on local designs or hard to find products.

2) Natureland at Robertson Walk
There are a few rituals in Singapore that I do when I'm in town. I book myself a foot reflexology appointment because my feet take a beating from walking miles and miles, exercise, and dancing up a storm in studios. Foot reflexology is my time to unwind and get all the kinks out. When I was teaching over 48+ hours of dance, this became a necessity. My feet and legs were taking a massive beating and I needed this badly. My foot reflexologist is based here and the space is relaxing but not too posh. I like that I can use the free wifi and catch up on blogging while getting my feet massaged!

3) Mandarin Gallery Shops
I like wandering around this little shopping centre in the middle of Orchard Road because the air conditioning is strong, quiet and peaceful, and the shops are not your run of the mill shops that you can find in any other mall in town. However, they did just open a flagship Victoria's Secret so I don't know how quiet this place will be or a sign that more mainstream shops will occupy the stores inside eventually.

4) Kampong Glam boutique shops
In the Kampong Glam area around Arab street there are some adorable little boutique shops and cafes that have opened up in the recent decade. It is the place with an eclectic mix of styles that border from hipster cool to urban fashionista. Definitely a fun place to walk around.

5) Far East Plaza
This old shopping centre houses some eclectic boutiques, nail salons, eateries (the rojak shop is good!), and hair salons. I like browsing some of the shops here for the eclectic and quirkiness that other new shiny malls lack. This place was also a favorite place to shop as a pre-teen for baggy jeans, flannel, and used books. You can still find some really good deals here. There are also tailors here that can do alterations for not exorbitant prices.

6) Manicure and Pedicure at Holland Village Shopping Centre
There are so many places in this complex. I no longer get manicures or pedicures done regularly because its easier to keep my nails looking neat and healthy by keeping it short and no polish. Also because I'm traveling quite a bit that its difficult to maintain a pretty polish from looking chipped. When I do feel like a little pampering, I come to Holland Village Shopping Centre and get my nails done. I like I love Nails for efficient service, affordable prices, and they do a pretty good job. Its a no frills place so don't expect a spa atmosphere.

7) Yoga class at Yoga Movement
I started to go to weekly yoga classes again this year and it has been wonderful to find yoga classes during my travels. When I'm in Singapore, I go to Yoga Movement. The classes can be purchased per class or by a class card. There are a lot of yoga studios in Singapore but most of them require some kind of membership which doesn't work for travelers like me. Thankfully Yoga Movement has been expanding throughout the island and opening up new studios in different locations.

All of the places mentioned in this post are my own opinion and suggestions. If you like my post please follow me on Facebook and Instagram. I am also available if you would like to do a collaboration post or sponsored post, just drop me an email

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