There’s a real sense of culinary magic in the air on the streets of this city. The best restaurants in Singapore aren’t afraid to tear up the restaurant rule book and reinvent eating from the ground up. Yes, you’ll find a few gimmicks here and there, and a sunset dinner cruise or two. But the best chefs and cafe owners are using a global gathering of textures, aromas and flavours to wow your tastebuds. Track down some local Singapore cuisine, by all means, but be prepared to go Greek under the stars, contemplate Caribbean coconut waffles or simply take a guess at what you’re eating in complete darkness. A city for foodies, where palate-wowing is the norm and great coffee isn’t hard to find. Bliss.
Tiong Bahru Bakery
If you’ve been carefully nurturing a sourdough starter in your airing cupboard for a couple of weeks, spare a thought for Tiong Bahru Bakery – and their 159 year old starter. They use it for their sourdough waffles – immediately putting them on the ‘must try’ list. Sourdough excellence aside, this Singapore bakery has nine sites across the city to keep you breakfast and brunching throughout your stay. The first in the city to bring French bakery excellence to the scene, Tiong Bahru know their buttery bakes. And while independent and local is our go to – when you find pastries and breads this good, it pays to make an exception. Convenient, delicious and, probably the only place in Singapore where you’ll find a quiche Lorraine sitting squarely on the menu beside a smoked salmon squid ink roll. Pop in for a handmade croissant, apple crumble or chocolate kouign amann to have your breakfast cake fantasies fulfilled.
In need of a little variety at breakfast? Wild Honey is one of the best restaurants in Singapore when it comes to a truly global menu. With three locations to choose from, an all day breakfast menu and an early doors opening policy, it’s a must for breakfast lovers. Categorised by meat, fish and vegetarian, the breakfast menu is also broken down by country. Meaning you can chomp on a Corsican feta and goat cheese omelette, go plant-based with a Californian tofu scramble or tuck in to a Tunisian shakshouka. Things start to get a little different in the Norwegian, Caribbean and Persian end of the menu, with grilled asparagus spears, smoked salmon or coconut waffles straying from the ever-popular morning staples. Not ready to face a full cooked breakfast? Bagels, granola, scones and cheesecake are waiting to tempt you too.
The one dish that brings together everything Wild Honey is about? The Salmon Gougere. Choux buns, stuffed with smoked salmon, sour cream and salmon pearls with just a hint of dill. Delicious.
Free the Robot
Let’s discuss the electronic expectations in the room. There is no robot at Free the Robot (FTR). Yes, there’s some stellar robot art on the walls and the robot exists as a concept, but you won’t have your coffee poured by anything other than a top notch (human) barista. And, before we even get started on lunch, it’s worth pausing to smell the freshly brewed house blend. FTR know their beans. Sold by the bag, you’ll likely want to leave room in your case to ship a couple home. And, while the nutty taste, with chocolate and caramel notes goes just a little too well with this restaurant’s brownies, the menu will have you ordering much more than a snack. Feast on cognac infused prawn pasta, philly steak sandwiches, grass-fed sirloin or salmon sashimi. Vegans and veggies aren’t left out either with wraps, salads and pasta dishes to tinker to your particular plant-based preferences. Oh and, Free, the conceptual robot, occasionally hands out free coffees. Handy to know.
Orbzii tip: It’s worth popping a note in your foodie itinerary to say that Free the Robot is only open from Wednesday to Sunday.
Birds of a Feather
It’s a tough ask, cramming all the best restaurants in Singapore into your evening schedule. So it pays to tick off a few at lunch, just for good measure. And, the spicy Sichuan menu at Birds of a Feather is a deliciously exotic, flavour-packed excuse to pause the sightseeing for an hour or two. Pore over the a la carte menu if you dare. You’ll find foodie FOMO dishes leaping off the page. Fear not, the indecisive among us are saved from themselves by the sharing menu. Crab brushetta and Yu Xiang eggplant intro the meal nicely following up with ‘spicy good slime shine’ (a noodle dish) or ‘strange flavour prawn’ and homestyle braised pork belly.
Choices still need to be made – but the ‘this or that’ approach will temper your food lust just a little. And, while the Chinese, Chengdu influences abound in this Amoy Street restaurant, there’s more than a few nods to western cooking too. Much like Singapore’s wider cuisine.
Dine in the Dark
“There’s fire involved. What could possibly go wrong?” This quote, from the Nox Dine in the Dark cocktail menu, says everything you need to know about their quirky approach to dining. And, while quite a lot could go awry in a pitch black dining room when the flaming cocktails come out, happily, Nox sits among some of the best restaurants in Singapore. From the moment you arrive, you’re plunged into a sensory-deprived world where you’ll be clueless as to what’s on your plate. For some, this is a complete nightmare. For others, it’s a chance to put those tastebuds to the test and see if you can tell your pate from your prawns. The Prix Fixe mystery menu comes in at S$88 per person and romps through 12 dishes split between 3 courses.
Orbzii tip: Many of the servers at Nox are visually impaired and, as your hosts for the evening, will share insights into their day–to–day life.
Despite the huge number of restaurants in Singapore, you can still find unique spots to dine – without a gimmick. Step forward Original Sin. The only vegetarian, Mediterranean spot in the city draws a mixed crowd of plant-based foodies looking for a change of flavours and a veg-curious crowd, both eager to find out what makes this neighbourhood nook award winning. It’s partly the ambience. Dining under the stars, spooning in mouthfuls of moussaka from table decorated with mosaics almost puts you on a Greek island in the med. A refreshing change from Singapore’s shimmering, sky-rise views, Original Sin is a stellar shout for dinner. Especially if you’re looking for a break from the city’s wagyu steak and caviar scene. Don’t miss the Tiramisu – the best in Singapore. And, prepare to be a little bit baffled by the Impossible meatball pasta. So convincing, you may well suspect a mix up in the kitchen.