No one knows you quite like… you. And that’s precisely why solo dining is great: it allows you to satisfy your cravings without dissent, save yourself from awkward mealtime conversations, and simply dine at your own pace. So for days when you just want to tune in and dine out, here’s a handy guide for restaurants and cafés to visit when you feel like taking yourself out for a meal.
It’s now possible to enjoy a barbecue party for one. Settle down at one of Yakiniku Like’s solo-dining booth, which offers individual grills to char choices cuts of meats. Hectic day ahead? The special, smokeless grill ensures that you won’t smell after lunch, and the quick service from the fast-food chain promises to deliver the food from kitchen to table within three minutes. Fill up, get out and be on your way.
This small café can get crowded during peak hours, but dining for one means you can easily snag an odd seat at the large communal table, or snuggle up at the side bench with tables just large enough for your laptop and a plate of jaffle (from $13). Its spin on a toasted sandwich, which comes layered with ingredients of roasted chicken thigh and pulled beef cheek will give you the fuel you need to power through that report. Those in need of a caffeine boost can also sip on brews made with seasonal beans from Cata Coffee.
Japan’s highest-earning conveyor belt restaurant opens its first outlet in Southeast Asia at Tiong Bahru Plaza. It might look like a regular sushi joint – you grab a seat facing the conveyor belt (no awkward eye contact with other diners) and start eating – but it’s in the kitchen where things differ. Three sushi-making robots help create parcels of vineyard rice, with air pumped within each morsel to make it less dense. Over 200 varieties of sushi and side dishes are available here – including tuna ($2.20), yellowtail ($3.20), and the special roasted pork with green onion ($2.20). You won’t even need to interact with the waitstaff when ordering. Grab what you want from the lower rotating belt, or order from the iPad and have it delivered straight to your table via the top conveyor belt.
The lack of proper sit-down tables and chairs makes it difficult for big groups to dine at Park Bench Deli – and that’s good news for solo diners. We like grabbing a seat by the high stools facing the wall and chow down on a signature, hearty sandwich. If you’re treating yourself, get the fried chicken ($16.50), where Southern fried chicken thigh comes sandwiched between potato buns, or try the popular Cubano ($16.50) with smoked pork shoulder, Virginia ham, mozzarella, and pickles that come stuffed between pressed ciabatta.
While most ramen places are usually solo dining-friendly, Tsuta makes it easier with its counter seating at its 18 Tai Seng outlet. You get assigned a seat at the bar, and the chef serves piping hot bowls directly to you. It features the same menu as its flagship, with three soup bases – shoyu, shio, and miso – to choose from. Prices start from $15 for ramen with a piece of char siew.
The good thing about dining in the CBD – the lunch crowd is predictable, and you can plan your mealtime accordingly. Drop by after 1.30pm – that’s when most would have returned to office – and enjoy a wholesome grain bowl filled with tasty veggies and premium meats. Customise your own bowl ($16) with choices that range from salad greens to bulgur wheat, and freshly cooked choices of toppings to go with. It’ll give you the fuel you need, without any of the food coma that comes after.
With just 30-seats in the restaurant, dining at Bao Boy might be challenging if you have more than one person in your dining party. When alone, grabbing a seat at the bar counter is much easier. Opened by Andrew Walsh of Cure and Butcher Boy fame, dig into the famed fried chicken and cheese Bao ($14), chased with a cocktail or two. And instead of dinner conversations, past the time by watching the chefs work their magic in the open kitchen.
If you prefer the company of books, consider the elegant Cook and Tras Social Library, located within Six Senses Maxwell. Settle into one of the plush chairs and lose yourself in one of the 3,000 books. And when you’re feeling peckish, locally inspired dishes made from sustainable and organic produce are also available, like the Iberico Pork Sate ($9) served with ketupat and achar, or the Barramundi Bakar ($18). Feel free to linger after you finish your meal – the space also has free Wi-Fi and power sockets if you wish to squeeze in some work.