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South Union Park
South Union Park

Hidden restaurants in Singapore for a quiet and private experience

Check out these off-the-grid joints that will make you feel like a bonafide insider

Written by
Kylie Wong
,
Fabian Loo
&
Izza Sofia
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In a city filled with spinning signs and numerous hawker centres, there’s a certain value to keeping secrets. Like speakeasy bars, these hidden restaurants and cafes have a certain air of mystique. Tucked away in nooks and crannies and hidden entrances, these eateries serve up a little mystery with their tasty grub.

If you wish to have something different from your usual brunch hotspots or popular food joint, we have rounded out five of the most enigmatic eateries. Follow us on a gastronomical food hunt as we sniff out these hidden gems.

RECOMMENDED: The best secret bars in Singapore and The best hidden trails in Singapore to explore

  • Restaurants
  • Outram

If you are one who enjoys a restaurant that changes its menu every month, then this spot is made for you. Nestled at Duxton Plain Park, this pop-up restaurant has an intimate space serving a series of concepts lasting 20 days. This hush-hush business has no fixed cuisine, so the dining theme can jump from the free flow of mussels to roast chicken or Mediterranean couscous. In November 2018, the restaurant adopted a Swiss Alps theme and decorated the space with hay. It also served raclette to cheese-lovers. Last month, it had a Mexican theme and served free flow tacos with wine and beer for $79. 

‘Hush’ refers to its secret location, which you can access via the backdoor of a shophouse in Duxton Plains Park, while ‘20’ refers to the number of days each concept runs until the shophouse decides to adopt a new theme. 

This restaurant only takes reservations for 30 every night – and only those who manage to score a seat here will be given directions to this hideaway.

Reservations by WhatsApp only: 8127 2728

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Bukit Batok

Here's a fun fact: “Cacio e Pepe” translates to “Cheese & Pepper," two things that always go well together. This restaurant at Chu Lin Road brings a warm atmosphere of traditional Italian to Singapore. 

Located in a much quieter district, the place is a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of restaurants in the city. Order up the Tagliatelle al Tartufo, a pasta dish topped with thick, creamy sauce and hints of truffle. The dish is also loaded with scallops, prawn and egg tagliatelle. The truffle and cream is pretty much a match made in heaven.

The Prosciutto Parm Ham is also one of the restaurant's signature dishes. Freshly baked in-house, the thin-crust pizza has a nice spread of tomato puree and a generous offering of parma ham and wild rockets. Another dish you shouldn't miss include Prosciutto & Melone, a classic pairing of saltish Parma ham with refreshing rock melon and the classic Lava cake. 

 

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  • Restaurants
  • Bedok

Ensconced in the quiet residential estate of Kembangan, South Union Park prepares a well-thought-out menu that boasts exquisite European fare. South Union Park is run by young chef-owner Terrence Chuah, who has worked in various restaurants overseas. The café is where Chuah shows off his culinary skills and fills the tables with dishes that are nothing less than brilliant.

On the extensive menu, you’ll find a whole host of comfort grub, including duck confit tagliatelle, duck confit hash, and the mushroom ragout. The Duck Confit Tagliatelle features freshly made pasta and is served in hazelnut cream and sauteed spinach. The pasta is topped with small pieces of hazelnut and lemon zest, giving the dish a nutty yet zesty flavour that enhances the savoury dish.

The Duck Confit Hash has a good portion of duck, potato and spinach. The flavours are combined together harmoniously and the duck’s aroma is infused throughout the entire dish. If you have room for more, try the Apple Crumble dessert. What’s interesting about this dessert is that the restaurant has deconstructed the dish and made it uniquely their own. The chefs stewed the whole granny smith apple until it is soft on the inside, before serving it alongside Greek yoghurt, crunchy crumble, vanilla bean ice cream and drizzles of butterscotch. Eat a little of everything together and feel the explosion of flavours in your mouth.

  • Restaurants
  • Peranakan
  • Sembawang

Despite food delivery apps making our lives easier than ever, there is still great food worth journeying to the very ends of the island for. Sembawang’s Woody Family Cafe is one of those places, and it serves both authentic Nyonya dishes and Peranakan dishes with a twist. At this eatery, you’ll also find tons of vintage knick-knacks and quirky decor on display. Take your time to look at vintage lanterns and sparkling lights, and beautiful portraits of legends from yesteryear. 

Adventurous diners will find it interesting exploring the menu section where they serve buah keluak (black nuts) omelette and nasi ulam, which is rice mixed with herbs including wild betel leaves and turmeric leaves. Other dishes include Spicy Peranakan Buffalo Wings, Squid Ink Pasta in Seafood Chilli Crab Sauce, and Lamb Shank Rendang.

A must-try dish is the Tom Yum Prawn Pasta, where fragrant Tom Yum spices such as kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass are pounded into a delicious paste. Combined with coconut powder and paired with fresh prawns and flat pasta, the dish is well-executed.

Another innovative Peranakan dish is the Duck Rendang. The duck is cooked in a blend of rendang spices, making the dish fragrant. It is also topped with a dash of red wine which offers a subtle brightness to the overall offering. If you are a spice lover, Woody Family Cafe serves Buffalo Wings in varying levels of spiciness, with the highest level called the “Towering Inferno.”

Many of these dishes are traditional Peranakan recipes passed down from the owner's mother. She then refined and reimagined these dishes to make them modern yet still undeniably Peranakan.

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  • Restaurants
  • Tanglin

Plug out, disconnect, and retreat from the urban sprawl with a trip to Fusion Spoon nestled in the Botanic GardensThis family-friendly restaurant offers a wide array of sweet and savoury dishes from Western, Asian and Japanese cuisine. Highlights include Curry Chicken, Laksa, and Nasi Lemak with Minangkabau Rendang Beef. If you are craving something cold and refreshing, opt for the Ice Kacang or bingsu. Most of these items are under $10, with the exception of fancier dishes like steaks.

After reconnecting with nature, tuck into a hearty bowl of laksa, a favourite among diners. This noodle dish is served with a thick and creamy coconut broth and topped with traditional sambal chilli. 

According to Fusion Spoon, its Curry Chicken is said to “invoke the feeling of nostalgia.” The bowl of goodness is filled with tender chicken with gravy that packs a punch.

This place also has an indoor and outdoor playground, keeping your kids occupied while you enjoy your meal. After a feast like that, you’ll get to stroll across the sprawling Botanic Gardens to shake off the food coma. We really can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than great food in a lush garden enclave.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Bishan

At mealtimes, Omoté draws a steady crowd. Many stand in line for its affordable Japanese fare, and in particular, the chirashi don ($12.80) that’s topped with freshly diced seafood. But there’s another reason why people keep coming back – and it involves no queuing at all.

The reason: Omoté Dining, an exclusive dining space that's hidden at the back of the restaurant, available only to those in the know. Finding the restaurant is part of its appeal. And those that are privy to its low-key existence can look forward to an elegant meal, served in a Zen enclave outfitted with minimalist furnishings and ornate Japanese ceramics.

Here, the menu revolves around washouku, a form of traditional Japanese cuisine that focuses on rice and side dishes made with seasonal ingredients. Head chef Nagae Toshiharu uses grains sourced from Niigata prefecture as a base for his set meals, or in the sushi omakase menu. It’s an intimate, bespoke dining experience typically reserved for Omoté’s regular customers, their friends, and now, you. Seek out more about this covert restaurant, as well as other hidden finds in our story here

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Raffles Place

Following the directions on Google Maps alone won’t get you to The Dragon Chamber; you’ll need to sleuth around to find this elusive restaurant. From the outside, you’re first greeted by a clean-looking kopitiam serving wonton noodles and roast meats. But have a look around for a fridge door – for that’s where the real entrance of The Dragon Chamber is. Step inside, and you’ll be transported to a darker, more mysterious location – with old posters and chinoiserie that lend a grungy, underground vibe reminiscent of gang dens of old Hong Kong. 

But the intrigue doesn’t just end here. The menu, too, is full of surprises. Uncommon ingredients are celebrated, resulting in dishes like the Dragon Claw ($55), a crocodile paw braised in a herbal sauce; the theatrical Flaming Pineapple Beef ($30); and the D*** Soup ($30), where herbs are double-boiled with the reproductive organ of a male crocodile for over six hours.

Not everything is made for dramatic purposes, though. The less adventurous can stick to signature plates of cheeseburger Firecracker chicken (from $16) and wagyu truffle beef hor fun (from $36). These playful adaptions of classic flavours still make for a meal unlike any served in conventional Chinese restaurants. Sample its latest creation, kueh pie tee ($25), where julienned carrots and cucumbers come crowned with a plump slice of lobster and dollop of premium Kairos caviar.

There’s also the baked garlic prawns ($48), where jumbo Tiger prawns are topped with garlic butter and crispy garlic bits. The Chamber Roasted Chicken ($38) is also worth an order. Have it as is, or dip it with some piquant lemon chilli sauce. We also like the Coconugget ($12), where coconut pudding comes served in the husk of the fruit, topped with brown sugar hazelnut, lime zest, coconut flakes, and lime sorbet. 

The dark, neon-clad interior makes The Dragon Chamber a romantic drinking spot as well. It has a series of cocktails including the Post of Aiden ($24), served with a cloud of smoke to match the deep notes of bourbon, amaro herbal liqueur, and Aperol; and Compassion ($24), a fruit-forward gin-based concoction made with lychee liqueur, fresh lemon, fresh strawberry, and prosecco. To uncover the inspiration behind this clandestine eating space, as well as other hidden restaurants in Singapore, read our story here

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Chinatown
  • price 1 of 4

Music lovers should bookmark Tempura Oji – not just for the food, as much as crunching into the deep-fried king tiger prawn ($19) give out a satisfying sound – but for its slick beats.

The sizzle from the tempura bar frying up spam ($10) or tempura moriawase ($19) might permeate the space in the day, but as dusk settles, techno tunes and house music starts to take over. It’s provided by a lineup of local DJs in a concealed bar located within Tempuja Oji. To gain access, search for an odd-looking beer fridge and walk through the door.

And those adventurous enough will find themselves at Brown Sugar, a hidden bar with nightly performances that range from house, soul, and funk – complemented with a selection of signature cocktails that include the Kaffir Sour ($20), made with ginger-infused whisky, kaffir lime leaves, and homemade ginger marmalade; and The Blind Pig ($24) served with Roku gin, beetroot marmalade, gula Melaka, and a slice of candied bacon.

“It’s something meant to be discovered,”  shares Dragg Wong, co-founder of this two-in-one concept. Uncover more about this unique space – and other hidden concepts – in our story here

  • Restaurants
  • Chinatown
  • price 1 of 4

Situated at the back alley of Gemmill Lane, the entrance to Burger Bar – formerly called Burger Joint – is marked by a simple neon burger and a glass. The entrance itself is shielded by velvet curtains and a dark passageway. Burger Bar'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.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Tanjong Pagar

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).

Kabuke
  • Bars and pubs
  • Tanjong Pagar

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 a great dinner menu – 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. 

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Fat Belly
  • Restaurants
  • Steakhouse
  • Tanglin

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 Signature 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 ($8) or its creamed kale dish ($8) are also available. 

  • Restaurants
  • Yakitori
  • Kallang

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.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Raffles Place

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 Myo claypot organic chicken ($33) and dim sum dishes ($4.20-$8) 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.

For more places to explore

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