Entering The Dragon Chamber is like stepping into the set of a late-1980s Hong Kong drama. First, you're greeted by an unremarkable kopitiam setting, then you are led through a beer fridge – yes, you read that right – into a dimly lit passage that opens up into the restaurant. While the menu boasts staples of Chinese cuisine like the Yangchow fried rice ($16) and wok-fried vegetables, exotic items like the Dragon Claw ($45), which is actually braised crocodile's foot on a bed of kale, and the Roasted Pig Tail ($28) are also available for those who are daring enough.
Situated at the back alley of Gemmill Lane, the entrance to Burger Joint is marked by a simple neon burger sign and an arrow. The entrance itself is shielded by velvet curtains and a dark passageway. Burger Joint's signature hamburger ($17.10) and cheeseburger ($17.80) prove juicy and filling, but if you have room for more, pick up the milkshakes ($11.80) or a pint of craft beer to complete your all-American burger experience.
This cosy restaurant off Amoy Street gives a hip, underground vibe with its hidden entrance (you have to enter via the side alley), exposed brick walls and tiny square windows. A popular hangout for both the lunch and dinner crowd, The Flying Squirrel offers Japanese-inspired cuisine ranging from sashimi ($49/platter of 16), handmade sushi ($42/platter of ten) and lunch bento sets ($19-$30) to the less conventional truffled ebi fry ($15), uni shooters ($22) served with sake and yuzu ponzu, as well as a wagyu burger pâté ($38).
To find Kabuke, you have to climb up a narrow flight of stairs along Telok Ayer street. The Japanese gastrobar occupies the second floor of an intimate shophouse space, with affordable lunch offerings like the beef gyu don ($15) and the Okinawa braised buta don ($16). For dinner, a wide range of bar bites, skewers and rice bowls are available alongside premium sake selections. Guests can design their own sake flight ($24) – which consists of a selection of three sake pours to your choosing – a great way to sample different types of sake, whether you’re an experienced drinker or just starting out.
Those who frequent Serene Centre will be familiar with popular dessert spot Sugarhaus. However, few will know that hidden within its premises is a cosy, open-grill steakhouse that focuses on lesser-known cuts of beef. At Fat Belly, you can forget about sirloins or rib-eyes. Instead, off-cuts like the Angus flat iron steak ($22) (a cut of beef from the cow’s shoulder) and the Mayura station wagyu tri tip ($55) are available. The latter comes from the famed Mayura station cow, which is fed chocolate to enhance the taste of the meat. Sides like sautéed thyme mushrooms or its creamed kale dish are also available at $5 each.
Tradition meets modernity in this Peranakan café situated within the Thian Hock Keng temple complex at Telok Ayer, which was gazetted as a National Monument in 1973. Menu mainstays include nyonya delicacies like laksa ($11.80) and kueh ($1.50 a piece), as well as Nanyang-style kopi and teh. With its pale-blue lattice frames and intricate tiles, the café is also certified Insta-friendly.
Yorimichi Yakitori isn't so much hidden as it is difficult to find, especially given its location at Golden Mile Tower, where mookata restaurants thrive. The izakaya's interior is covered floor-to-ceiling with Japanese posters, flyers, and various paraphernalia. Wisterias hang from the ceiling trellis, an homage to Japan's native flora, but it's the food that truly reminds one of the Land of the Rising Sun. Yakitori here start from $5 per skewer for items like the torikawa (chicken skin) to $9.80 for lamb and kimchi pork.
Up on the 19th floor of Oxley Tower in the heart of Tanjong Pagar lies Myo Restobar. It can be a bit of a pain to get to – take the wrong elevator and you end up in a carpark – but the trouble is definitely worth it. It's the sister restaurant of old-school Chinese restaurant Kia Hiang at International Plaza and serves homey Cantonese dishes like the claypot spring chicken ($18) and dim sum dishes that are sure to hit the spot. Here's how to get there: take the lift from lobby 1, hit the button for level 19 and push through the white door once you've made your way to the top.