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Gardenasia
Photograph: Gardenasia

Secluded restaurants in Singapore worth travelling to

Sometimes it's not just about the food – a little change of scenery might just boost your dining experience

Delfina Utomo
Fabian Loo
Written by
Delfina Utomo
&
Fabian Loo
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Accessibility is a plus when it comes to dining at our favourite places but sometimes, you might just want to switch it up and take a mini-road trip somewhere in Singapore. Sure, places like Punggol and Kranji aren't that far away (if you have transport) but it still takes quite an effort to get to these places in this list. Take a ferry to a floating seafood restaurant or drive up to the countryside for some mushroom soup made from 'shrooms fresh from the farm.

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  • Restaurants
  • Tanjong Pagar

Many have been drawn like magpies to the glossy Corduroy Palace, never mind that the entrance is hidden in the dingy back alley of Gemmill Lane. The appeal lies in the grand, gilded, and often gold-hued interiors; swoon-worthy spaces that pique curiosity. Snuggle up in oversized banquettes that help give the illusion of privacy. During the meal, a trolley might be wheeled by the table to offer bumps of caviar ($20) – a true sign of opulence. If you’re feeling lucky, the washroom is lavished with Le Labo hand products and trays of knick-knacks from matchboxes, keychains, and condoms.

 

Buona Terra
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Newton

The journey to the restaurant is part of its charm once you uncover it in the midst of the quiet colonial-era bungalows of Chateau TCC along Scotts Road. Inside, the small, cosy interior makes it the perfect setting to focus on your date – and the food. Share a toast with its impressive wine list, then tuck into an award-winning dinner that spotlights the best of Italian flavours. Trust us, you'll feel like the inquisitive Tom Cruise in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.

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  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Harbourfront

Resting atop a hill in Labrador Park and immersed in nature, history geeks can also marvel at the 19th-century fixtures and take a sneak peek into the island’s colonial past. Like the restaurant, its cuisine is a fusion of old and new as its chef, Thiti Thammanatr, embodies Thai culture, albeit with a Canadian twist. Try the Wagyu sirloin and foie gras topped with green curry reduction, plus the deep-fried river lobster served with tamarind sauce. While you’re at it, get involved with a feisty tom yum martini.

  • Restaurants
  • Hawker
  • Seletar

This isn't your fancy restaurant with fairy lights! Boh Geh Uncle Canteen is a no-frills makeshift canteen that is trapped within a time capsule. A popular spot for those working in the area, cyclists, joggers and also curious sorts. Don't expect anything for the 'gram – firstly, photos and videos are not allowed in the canteen and also, it really is a part of the former Seletar Camp that has been around from 1969. And it still feels like the late 60s at this corner where patrons sit on rickety tables and mismatched stools and benches under a DIY tarp canopy. Food-wise, there are only three stalls here – a cai png shop, a Muslim food stall and a drinks stall run by Boh Geh Uncle himself – who is also the owner. Prices are beyond cheap for food and drinks  

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  • Restaurants
  • Park cafés
  • Yishun

You’ll need to walk the tranquil grounds of Yishun Pond Park to get to Slow Bakes. The bakery gets its name from the lengthy fermentation process it uses to create a line-up of warm bread and pastries. With views of lush greenery, unwind and savour a healthy menu – vegan and gluten-free – which includes sweet pumpkin pancakes ($11.80), scrambled tofu ($9.80), tom yum vermicelli ($11.80), and more. You might even be greeted by a friendly bird friend, named Roger, sauntering around the alfresco deck.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Jurong West

Do not be fooled by the interior of this zen-like Japanese teahouse. The menu at this café is, in fact, largely dedicated to espresso-based brews. After all, this tranquil hideout, located in an industrial building at Jurong, is opened by Suzuki Gourmet Coffee, one of the oldest roastery on the island that has been around since 1979. Climb up to the second storey, push open a latticed sliding door, and enter a wood-clad space reminiscent of a chashitsu or traditional tearoom. The drinks-only menu features a lean selection that shines the spotlight on aromatic brews – filter coffee, flat white ($8), cappuccino ($8), and tea-based drinks of hojicha and matcha.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Bukit Batok

The directions to Coexist Coffee Co might sound a little dubious, but those who are willing to make the journey will be greeted by a secret rooftop café. To find the hidden establishment, first, drop by the industrial area of Bukit Batok and look out for the unassuming Hillview Building. Once there, enter a cargo lift, go up to the seventh floor, then climb up a flight of stairs. Expect to be greeted by a minimalist hide-out, split into white and red. Those willing to brave the heat can choose to head outdoors and dine at the rooftop patio, which comes with partial views of the greenery at Bukit Batok Nature Park.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Seletar

Welcome abroad Hangar66. This aviation-themed café comes hidden within a plane hangar – complete with views of a runway and parked airplanes. During a time when travel borders remain largely shut, Hangar66 Cafe provides a novel setting to satisfy those hungry for coffee – and adventure. Be warned: checking into the place itself is quite the journey. The café is tucked away in the Seletar Aerospace district, but its secluded locale provides a tranquil escape from the bustle of the city. Low-rise buildings and expansive green fields stretch for as far as the eyes can see.

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  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
  • Lim Chu Kang

Yes, the Kranji countryside may be far from the centre of the city and most residential areas but hidden gems like Gardenasia make the trip worth it. The grounds are used for multipurpose events but the bistro sits at the heart of it. The menu features plenty of dishes with ingredients that are sourced locally and from surrounding farms. Dig into the traditional fish and chips ($16) made with the catch of the day and the list of local themed dishes like fish soup ($18) also with locally caught fish and farm-grown leafy greens. 

  • Things to do
  • Lim Chu Kang

Taking a trip to Bollywood Veggies is already half the adventure done. Journey through Singapore's countryside – that's Kranji for you – and you might feel like you're almost not in the country. Upon entering take some time to follow the trail around the farm but don't forget to stop by the bistro for some fig or lemongrass tea made from the produce in the farm. We'd also suggest getting a kueh platter for a treat – it comes with banana bread (made from the bananas on the farm), kueh kosui and kueh bingka. Pick up some groceries at the small mart area – there are bananas, mushrooms and assorted local vegetables from the farm – before you set off on your journey back into urban Singapore again. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Singapore

Fancy digging into the freshest catch of the day at a modern kelong, floating on the waters between Pulau Ubin and Changi Point Ferry Terminal? Takes a 15-minute boat ride to the Smith Marine Floating Restaurant where you can tuck into a wide spread of seafood – think sambal mussel ($28), chilli crab (from $68), steamed prawn (from $35), calamari ($28), and steamed lobster with pumpkin sauce (from $120). A set menu for up to 8 people starts from $480, and you get the best of each. If you want level up the experience, head to the resto's pond and catch your very own seabass or snapper at $35.

  • Restaurants
  • Changi 

Located on the outskirts of Changi, this casual dining hotspot is a treasure trove of retro memorabilia. Think antique bicycles, vintage cameras and kerosene lamps. The restaurant itself is spacious and airy, flooded with natural light due to its floor-to-ceiling windows, while surrounding greenery provide ample opportunities for an outdoor shot. The menu includes sharing plates like har cheong gai (prawn paste chicken) ($14), crispy pork ribs ($16) and wagyu cubes ($24), while seafood selections like the grilled octopus ($31), sambal squid ($21) and drunken lala clams ($23) promise to be fresh and filling. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Bistros
  • Punggol

Boasting a large outdoor veranda that looks out at Punggol-Serangoon Reservoir, Whisk and Paddle is a tranquil oasis that's perfect for a leisurely meal after a hike at Coney Island or some plant shopping in the area. Its comprehensive menu includes an all-day breakfast selection, burgers, pastas, pizzas and mains lke the coq au vin ($28.80) and lamb shank ($30.80). The family-friendly space even has a kids' menu and small playground to keep the tykes entertained. 

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Changi 

Away from the airport, man-made waterfall and rooftop gardens, there lies a secret garden café that is hidden from plain sight. Hub and Spoke Cafe, located just off Terminal 2, offers a tranquil escape to unwind and grab a bite. But first, you’ll need to uncover this elusive spot. Your best bet is to take a short stroll from Terminal 2 to the café. But it’s this hard-to-access address that provides the place with a serene, exclusive allure; the glasshouse-looking space lets in oodles of natural sunlight, and the breezy alfresco veranda comes flanked by plenty of fauna. The menu is simple but extensive – there's kopi and teh, and also eggs Benedict and bubble tea. There are pasta dishes and local favourites – but the main draw here is the secluded and relaxing vibes. 

 

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