For those who want to take the café experience outdoors: Beauteaq
Photo: Beauteaq / Facebook
Good news for the brunch devotees. Three-year-old Beauteaq sources its picnic basket bites from popular cafes offering French, Italian, and American fare – Betterfield and Kith Café, among them. Its biggest crowd-pleaser is a cheese-and-wine basket for two, which includes mats, utensils, artisanal cheeses, crackers, mixed berries, sparkling water, and Prosecco.
But if you’re in the mood for local flavours, Beauteaq can make that happen for you too. Pick the hawker fare you want – no, you can't specify which hawker centre you want it from – and the team will dress it up to make it posh. Lock down a basket early. Beauteaq’s co-founder Jasmine Low says the company accepts only about half of 40 to 50 orders it gets each month, because of time and manpower constraints, and not wanting to compromise on the personalised experience.
Pick up your own basket (from $150), or get the picnic planners to set it up for you. You'll have to pay extra, of course.
For those who want it bespoke: Picneeds
Think of Picneeds as a concierge service. You pick a theme from amongst packages like the chic “A Class Act” (think minimalist white hues) and the whimsical "Life's a Beach" (expect drinks balanced on pink flamingo floats). The team then customises the set-up, down to details like the picnic mats, cushions and cutlery, as well as props like lanterns, fairy lights, and flowers. It also offers add-ons, like instant cameras, card games, or kites to amp up the outdoor experience.
The best part? Not having to lift a finger. Picneeds delivers the an achingly hip wicker basket (from $190) – packed with Instagram-ready croissant sandwiches and cupcakes, does the set-up, and cleans up when you’re done.
Owners Siti Nadzirah and Khairul Amri say many clients also ask for indoor picnics – at homes or in hotel rooms – to beat the heat. Orders have spiked, from eight a month three years ago, to about 50 a month now.
For those who want it luxe without the trimmings: Heaven’s Bloom & Baskets
This one takes it back to basics. No props or elaborate set ups, but expect good food and gorgeous blooms. Heaven’s Bloom & Baskets weaves golden magnolia flower bouquets in with packed baskets (from $240). This touch comes from the company's belief that flowers bring cheer to their recipients. The food is sourced from local boutique stores. Choose light bites like crackers and dips, cheese, and seasonal fruits, or a opt for a heartier meal like roast chicken. The team is also exploring healthier menus for those who prefer eating clean.
And the heat's got nothing on your day out. “Our baskets come with a built-in compartment that keeps cheese and fruit chilled, even under the hot sun,” says founder Grace Tay. Trust the pros to think of everything. Bonus: you get to keep the basket.
Pack these: They beat the heat and keep mozzies at bay
1. Off! Insect Repellent Spray
Forget strong and overpowering citronella that can be a total buzzkill. This one has a fresh tropical fragrance which lasts up to two hours and it's small enough to fit inside your handbag. At $4, from Redmart and at Fairprice supermarkets.
2. Nano-Ice Scarf and Necklace
Photo: Nano-ice / Website
Put this boho-chic accessory in your freezer for two hours, then put it on. It’ll keep you cool for up to three hours. From Amazon, at $54.
3. Ergodyne Chill-Its Evaporating Cooling Bandana
You “activate” the bandana by soaking it in water for about five minutes. After that, it stays hydrated for up to four hours, and gives you a long-lasting cooling effect when you put it on. From Amazon at $5.80.
The Insta-worthy picnic spots
These locations are just as pretty as picnic favourites like East Coast Park, Botanic Gardens, and Marina Barrage, but minus the crowds:
1. Woodlands Waterfront
Home to the longest recreational jetty in Singapore, this scenic park in the north-west was once a warehouse site. There’s even a spot dubbed "picnic green" because of its flatter terrain. Perfect.
2. Sembawang Park
Photo: The Straits Times
This park is at one of Singapore’s more tranquil natural beaches. It also gets plus points for the magnificent, unobstructed views of the sunset.
3. Punggol Waterway Park
Unwind amid the lush greenery and spot birds like kingfishers and parakeets. Thanks to Punggol’s revamp in recent years, the former fruit-growing district now boasts al-fresco dining and activities like cycling and canoeing. After your picnic, take a walk to the nearby Punggol Lalang Field – it’s popular with shutterbugs
4. Esplanade Rooftop
This rooftop garden is a less-crowded alternative to Marina Barrage, with equally cinematic views of the city skyline. Roll out your picnic mat and fall in love with the bright lights – and each other – all over again.
5. Pandan Reservoir
This find is nestled across the river from its better-known neighbour, West Coast Park. For those who want a little activity instead of lounging on a picnic mat, the place boasts two spots for fishing – along West Coast Road and Penjuru Road.
This story was originally published in the July 2017 issue of Her World.