With everything from cosy bistros like Gaston to creative Italian at Bar Cicheti, and six new F&B launches from Kesa House (which occupies a stretch of 10 shophouses), Keong Saik is the foodie enclave du jour. It’s also a popular locale for street parties and festivals, as its narrow lanes are easy to cordon off.
Caribbean, African, French, Korean, Indian, Spanish… the culinary diversity here is largely responsible for turning the district into a gastronomical trove.
Geoff rey Daurelle, owner and manager of Gaston Burgundy Bistro & Wine Bar, cites the “melting pot of cultures” in this neighbourhood as the main reason for setting up shop here. “I find Keong Saik Road an exciting place because of its great cultural diversity and a mix of local restaurants, fine dining, bistros and wine bars,” says Geoffrey.
“For that reason, it attracts a lot of people, especially in the evenings. It has a really good vibe.” Chef Alain Devahive of Olivia Restaurant & Lounge agrees. “Keong Saik Road is attractive both commercially and visually – the diversity of the restaurants and vendors is so rich and intriguing. It’s a hub for independent dining establishments and therefore appeals to many types of diners. So we feel it’s a great privilege to be able to join such an eclectic dynamic in one of Singapore’s most iconic roads.”
Here’s our guide to the best global grubs :
1. Lime House
Photo: Lime House
This Caribbean restaurant and bar has made its home here since 2013. Its undisputed perennial favourite is still the jerk chicken with a homemade marinade. Other well-loved classics include the curry goat, oxtail, and doubles with curry chicken – with
the curry made from scratch here. Lime House has also developed a tapas menu and most recently added two new dishes: seafood cakes (a medley of salted fish, shrimp and crab), and Caribbean bruschetta (homemade coconut bake topped with a spiced mix of tomatoes and pepper).
The music, service and decor really do bring home the “liming” (hanging out with friends) vibe of the Caribbean. Authentic.
2 Jiak Chuan Road
2. Kafe Utu
Photo: Instagram / @kafeutu
This cafe serves a combo of East and West African brunch. It reminds us of the vibrant culture of the continent: Its decor is a mix of multiple portraits of men and women from countries in Africa, and it even has hand-blown water glasses imported from Kenya. Foodies, be prepared to indulge in a very different kind of brunch from the usual here.
Think spicy Swahili fish curry made with house curry, and a rich Caribbean goat curry. If these dishes haven’t piqued your interest yet, Kafe Utu’s coffee is another unique thing about the cafe. Using a house blend of Uganda, Mexico and Brazil beans, the coffee has a robust fragrance but a light taste.
12 Jiak Chuan Road
3. Loloku / Don Ho – Social Kitchen and Bar
The trendy Loloku operates in the daytime, offering poke bowls and wraps, and Don Ho takes over in the evenings with its simple yet refined plates of fresh lobster, homemade wood ovenbaked focaccia, and handcrafted cocktails. Loloku is a chill hangout with tropical decor that meets your Insta needs. Pick from five basic poke bowls, or build your own bowl.
It’s perfect for the office crowd in the area looking to grab a quick lunch. In the evenings, mellow out in the same spot as Don Ho transforms the place into a social kitchen and bar reminiscent of hot tropical nights on the beach. With its communal dining table, an open kitchen and the intimate setting, Don Ho’s concept focuses on social interactions, making it easier for diners to strike up conversations with one another.
Dishes come in small individual plates as well as big sharing platters, and the cocktails are wild and colourful.
The Working Capitol,1 Keong Saik Road
This story was first published on Her World’s June 2019 issue