Haji Lane, a narrow stretch of pre-war shophouses between Beach and North Bridge roads, is known for being the go-to place for indie and quirky fashions. However, it is also fast becoming a hip food enclave.
In the last year, no fewer than 10 new food and beverage outlets have been added to the mix of restaurants, cafes and bars in the two lanes, joining popular ones such as Mexican restaurant Piedra Negra, Bar Stories and live-music venue BluJaz Cafe.
And the list of food offerings does not stop there. In the coming months, eateries slated to open include Koi Bangers + Izakaya in Haji Lane, an izakaya bar offering its take on bangers and mash, and I Am’s second outlet, a New York-inspired bakery-cafe in Bali Lane.
I Am Cafe at North Bridge Road. Image: ST/ Matthias Ho
New entrants say they hope to complement existing offerings by adding experiential offerings in which both food and ambience take centrestage. For instance, each cafe has a unique concept. Some double up as art spaces, while others showcase their cakes amid quaint furniture and whimsical decor. F&B operators say there is no direct competition as each of them has something different to offer.
Mr Jamuri Busori, 42, co-owner of I Am, a bistro-cafe inspired by the city of Amsterdam, says: “One thing I like about this area is that it has a very bohemian feel and vibe. The narrowness of the street and the pre-war shophouses remind me of the small alleys in Europe. “We’re not here to compete with others. It is a very communal and carefree space that we share.”
Here, we share 16 eateries and cafes to check out:
Co-owner Lee Soon Young of Choo Choo Chicken. Image: ST/ Matthias Ho
1. Choo Choo Chicken
What: The Korean restaurant specialises in crispy fried chicken tossed in sweet, spicy or soya sauce-based sauces ($15 for eight pieces). Other offerings include Choo Choo Chicken burgers, a Korean rice cake with seasoned short-grain rice, seaweed and ingredients such as tuna, kimchi and spam ($6.90). Lunch sets start at $7.90.
Where: 33 Bali Lane
Open: 11.30am to 11pm daily
Info: Call 6299-0980
The red velvet waffle at Stateland Cafe. Image: ST File photo
2. Stateland Cafe
What: Breakfast items include French toast ($11.90), scrambled eggs on waffles ($14.90) and Eggs Benedict ($14.90). There are also three types of pasta ($10.90), while desserts include thick toast with various toppings such as Nutella and chopped nuts, and waffles in flavours such as red velvet and chocolate. A plain waffle with berries and maple syrup starts at $9.90.
Where: 30 and 32 Bali Lane
Open: Noon to 10pm (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday), noon to midnight (Friday and Saturday), closed on Tuesday
Info: Call 9296-4997 or go to www.facebook.com/statelandcafe
3. Unnamed eatery by I Am
What: I Am, at the junction of North Bridge Road and Haji Lane, will be opening a second outlet in Bali Lane. Nestled between Stateland Cafe’s two outlets, the unnamed eatery will be a New York-inspired bakery-cafe.
Where: 31 Bali Lane
Info: Opening in September 2014
Pita bread at Pita Bakery. Image: Pita Bakery
4. Pita Bakery
What: The two-month-old bakery makes fresh pita bread from scratch, which it supplies to neighbouring Mediterranean restaurants as well as cafes and hotels. Customers keen to purchase pita bread in small quantities can buy a packet of 10 for $10.
Where: 29 Bali Lane
Open: 9am to 7pm (Monday to Saturday), 9am to 1.30pm (Sunday)
Info: Call 6635-6256
5. Jiv Jago Vegetarian Cafe
What: The restaurant offers vegan and vegetarian pastas, pizzas and burgers. Expect to spend about $8 to $15 a person.
Where: 17 Bali Lane
Open: Noon to 10pm (Monday to Saturday), closed on Sunday
Info: Call 9679-6722 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Pho 4 All
What: This halal Vietnamese restaurant serves pho, or thin flat rice noodles, in beef or chicken broth. The noodles are complemented with desserts such as red ruby. A bowl of pho starts at about $7.
Where: 7 Jalan Pisang
Open: 11am to 3pm, 6 to 9pm (Monday to Friday), 6 to 9pm (Saturday), closed on Sunday
Info: Call 6294-0703
7. 26 Tapas Bar
What: The East-meets-West tapas bar serves items such as chicken wings with a housemade chilli sauce, curried prawns and smoked duck with green apple. There is also a selection of pasta and pizza. Dishes are priced between $5.90 and $17.90.
Pasta in Genovese sauce at Don Antonio Pizza Bar. Image: ST/ Steffi Koh
9. Don Antonio Pizza Bar
What: The month-old pizza bar is headed by chef-owner Antonio Cocozza, 43, who is from Naples, Italy’s pizza capital. Aside from pizza with toppings such as sundried tomatoes, pepperoni and porchetta, it also serves pastas such as pacheri with Genovese sauce and ravioli with porcini mushrooms, served with butter and sage. Prices range from about $15 for antipasti to $24 for a pasta.
9. Eazy Eazy Kitchen
What: Formerly known as Sarang Cafe, the restaurant recently teamed up with retail shop Eazy Eazy to start a new dining concept. For now, dishes include demi-glazed chicken, Cajun-style grilled dory fish, pizzas and sandwiches. There are plans to introduce Thai dishes in the coming months. Prices range from $10 to $20 a dish.
Where: 29 Bussorah Street
Open: Noon to 11pm (Monday to Thursday), noon to midnight (Friday and Saturday), noon to 10pm (Sunday)
Info: Call 9230-2374 or 9012-5747 or e-mail email@example.com. Go to www.facebook.com/kitchenbyeazeyeazy
10. Working Title
What: Dishes here include lasagna, aglio e olio pasta with smoked salmon, sandwiches, pizzas, eggs and toast as well as ice-cream sandwiches. Prices range from about $5 for a slice of pizza to about $15 for a burger.
Where: 48 Arab Street
Open: 10am to 10pm (Sunday to Thursday), 10am to midnight (Friday and Saturday)
Info: Call 9734-4187 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Array of cakes and sweets at The Pantry at Shop Wonderland. Image: ST/ Steffi Koh
11. The Pantry at Shop Wonderland
What: The Pantry, located on the first floor of Shop Wonderland, serves cakes, coffee and some savoury items. It sells a range of items from bakeries such as Maple & Market, Carpenter & Cook, The Gourmet Pie Company and The Audacious Cakery. Items include black sesame cupcakes, a gula melaka cake with almonds and coconut, and pies.
Where: 37 Haji Lane
Open: 10am to 8pm, daily
Info: Call 6299-5848
12. CAD Cafe – Coffee Art Design
What: Stop by for a coffee or juice as well as breakfast items such as scrambled eggs on toast and grilled cheese toasties. Other items include soups, salads and main courses for dinner.
Where: 23 Haji Lane
Open: 8am to 10pm (Tuesday and Wednesday), 8am to midnight (Thursday and Friday), 10am to midnight (Saturday), 10am to 10pm (Sunday), closed on Mondays
Info: E-mail email@example.com. Go to http://cad.sg.
A burger meal at I Am (left) and Smooshies from Eisky Fabulous (right). Images: ST/ Matthias Ho
13. Eisky Fabulous
What: The takeaway blended-drinks shop sells “smooshies”, a cross between a smoothie and a slushie. The base is fresh watermelon and flavours include strawberry, green apple and cappuccino. Prices start at $3.50.
Where: 11 Haji Lane
Open: 3.30 to 7.30pm (Tuesday to Friday), 12.30 to 7.30pm (weekend), closed on Monday
Info: Call 6341-7212
14. Koi Bangers + Izakaya
What: The eatery will serve its take on bangers and mash as well as sushi and sashimi with a twist. It is an offshoot of Koi Sushi + Izakaya in Club Street.
Where: 9 Haji Lane
Info: Opens in July 2014
15. I Am
What: The breezy non-airconditioned cafe serves hearty sandwiches, burgers, pastas, pizzas and fish and chips. Top sellers here include its seven-layer cakes and rainbow mille crepe cake, priced at $8.90 a slice. Expect to spend $10 to $30 a person.
Where: 674 North Bridge Road, junction of North Bridge Road and Haji Lane
Open: 11.30am to 11pm (Monday to Thursday), 11.30am to 1am (Friday and Saturday), 11.30am to 10pm (Sunday)
Info: Call 6295-5509 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to www.iam.com.sg
16. Cake Delights Bakery
What: The two-month-old bakery is run by a mother-daughters team comprising Madam Latifah Maiden Pichai, 46,Ruquoiyah Abdul Haleem, 20, and Nur Himayah, 17. Madam Latifah’s sister Aynoon Beevi, 47, and her daughter Naziroh Najim, 22, help out. Cupcakes, available in various flavours such as milo, salted caramel and red velvet, are priced at three for $10. More items such as fruit tarts and cheesecakes will be introduced soon.
Where: 664 North Bridge Road, between Haji and Bali lanes
Open: 11am to 6pm (Tuesday to Thursday), 11am to 8pm (Friday and Saturday), closed on Sunday and Monday
Info: Call 6341-5059. Cake orders should be made five days in advance
This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on June 15, 2014. For similar stories, go to sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.