Last Updated: July 10, 2019
The Chinatown area is known for its good food, especially the various hawkers and eateries that allow you to enjoy delicious grub at affordable prices. Nearby lies Keong Saik Road, which is slightly further away from all the hustle and bustle. This hip area was once a red light district, but not anymore.
It is now home to various establishments, from bars to bistros and restaurants. I have to admit, these places are pricier than usual. Hence, I decided to go on a hunt to find 10 places along Keong Saik Road that’ll make you want to return when you’re feelin‘ fancy. These places serve great food that’s well worth your money!
I’m sure most of us know Man Man Unagi. After all, they are known for their snaking queues, with eager diners in line to get their freshly imported char-grilled eels.
The Hitsumabushi (S$26.80+) is meant to be eaten in three different portions, each portion serving an alternate and unique way to enjoy unagi. You can have your eel and rice with spring onions and nori, grated wasabi and sauces or dashi stock.
The unagi is char-grilled perfectly, with its crispy skin and tender white flesh. It was so flavourful, and perfectly seasoned with heavy notes of saltiness and sweetness.
Man Man Unagi Japanese Restaurant: 1 Keong Saik Road, #01-01, Singapore 089109 | Tel: +65 6222 0678 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 3pm & 6pm – 10.30pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun | Facebook
Olivia Restaurant & Lounge caught my eye as the rustic vibe of the place was very encapsulating. Serving Barcelonian-inspired food, I was very intrigued.
Their Homemade “Catalunya” Lobster-Avocado Roll (S$25) sounded more Japanese than Barcelonian just by its name. However, it was served with roe and caviar for a Barcelonian touch. It was light and refreshing; a perfect appetiser that I would definitely return for.
The Japanese Tuna Cheek With “Marmitako” Sauce (S$35) is one unique main I’ve never tried before. It was a delightful, sweet and flaky fish that complemented the sauce perfectly. I personally am not a fan of tuna but this was done so well.
Those who know me know I love desserts in general, but this was on a whole other level. Olivia’s Creamy Homemade Cheesecake (S$14 per slice, S$80 for a whole pie) was the best cheesecake I’ve had. Look how oozy the centre is. The creaminess was juxtaposed by the buttery crisp crust. It was surprisingly light on the palate too.
Olivia Restaurant & Lounge: 55 Keong Saik Road, #01-03 Singapore 089158 | Tel: +65 6221 0522 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2pm & 6pm – 10pm (Tue to Thurs), 11.30am – 2pm & 6pm till late (Fri & Sat) | Website | Facebook | Instagram
Serving up Asian fusion food, Butcher Boy is not a place to be missed. They pride themselves to be a grill and bar, with the concept of social dining and communal food sharing.
With a twist on traditional dishes, we got the Fried Chicken, Yuzu Kosho, Kewpie, Bao (S$18). The bao was soft and fluffy, which paired well with the buttermilk fried chicken. It was crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. The tangy onion sauce and kick from the chilli pepper helped to cut through the richness with extra flavour.
Of course, we had to get their Black Angus Tender Valley Rib Eye (S$42 for 250g) as our main. The beef was grilled nicely with a delightful pink centre just the way I like it. The light char on the exterior gave it a light touch of smokiness.
It also came with five different types of sauces: Sambal, Black Pepper, Vietnamese, XO Sauce and Yuzu Bearnaise. Each sauce is made to give a different flavour profile, just to further elevate the dining experience.
This is one of my personal favourite places to have a meal whenever I’m feeling like a fancy meal. Wine & Chef serves up delicious yet modestly priced food here. Most of their dishes also come with a wine pairing, if you’re intending to have a drink.
The Scallop Capellini (S$28++) was not only aesthetically pleasing but packed full of flavour too. Every mouthful I had was a burst of umami, from savoury ikura and furikake to the sweet pomegranate seeds. I appreciated how fresh and juicy the Hokkaido scallops were too.
If pasta is not your thing and you prefer something more local, the Pork Roulade (S$24++) would be perfect. Slow roasted for an entire day, the pork was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The sides of polenta, broccolini and achar went together well in complementing the savoury richness of the pork.
Wine & Chef: 7 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089115 | Tel: +65 6221 9279 | Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm (Mon to Sat), Closed on Sun | Facebook
If you are into more European cuisine such as French food, Taratata Bistrot is the place for you. This bistro serves up quality and authentic food in a lovely ambience that is reminiscent of a fine dining restaurant.
We went for the Seared Tuna with Sarawak Pepper, Pesto, Tapenade & Poached Egg (S$18 a la carte) as our appetiser. I loved how the tuna was perfectly seared with a beautiful pink centre. It was fresh with no fishy aftertaste and complemented the pepper crust well.
It was a bonus that the yolk was perfectly runny too, adding a touch of richness to the dish.
For mains, we decided to go with the Coq Au Vin (S$36 a la carte), which came with a whole chicken leg and stewed vegetables. It was hearty and comforting, and I liked the addition of red wine which enhanced this modest chicken dish.
Taratata Bistrot: 35A Keong Saik Road, 089142 | Tel: +65 6221 4506 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 3pm & 5.30pm – 12am (Tues to Fri), 5.30pm – 12am (Sat), 11.30am – 3pm & 5.30pm – 10.30pm (Sun), Closed on Mon | Website
If you love French food, here’s another place that is worth visiting, Gaston Burgundy Bistro & Wine Bar. It’s relatively new to the Keong Saik ‘hood but was pretty crowded by 7pm which said something. They had a homely vibe to them, which I really liked.
Of course, since I was in a French bistro, I had to try out their Escargots de Bourgogne (S$15 for six, S$29 for 12). But unlike those where you have to remove them from their shells, this was already done. In fact, it was coated in a buttery pastry shell, then drizzled with a sauce made of garlic and butter parsley. It was something different, yet so good.
We decided to try out the Classic Beef Bourguignon (S$32), which was served in red wine sauce and mashed potato. The mash was silky smooth yet airy, which made it so easy to eat. The red wine sauce was also not too rich, just enough to add more flavour and not overwhelming.
Gaston Burgundy Bistro & Wine Bar: 25 Keong Saik Road, #01-01, Singapore 089132 | Tel: +65 6909 8120 | Opening Hours: 5pm – 12am (Mon), 12pm – 12am (Tue to Fri), 5pm – 12am (Sat), Closed on Sun | Website | Facebook | Instagram
The Guild is one of the many bars along Keong Saik, with not only 19 craft beers on tap but unique beer grub too.
Their General Tso’s Frog Legs (S$14) is a twist on the usual buffalo wings. They are fried then coated with a soy-ginger-garlic-chilli mixture. It had a myriad of flavours that was tantalising.
If you prefer something more classic, the Mac n’ Cheese (S$18) is equally delightful. The house-cured egg yolk gave a depth of creaminess that was rich and appetising.
Pasta is one of those dishes that are offered at most eateries. However, what sets Pasta Bar apart is that they have an open-concept dining space so diners can watch the chef cook up their pasta. Helmed by Chef Alessandro Giustetti from Genova, the pasta here is unlike any other.
The Reginette (S$30++) is a flat pasta with wavy curls along the side. The cream-based sauce had a distinct earthiness from the mushrooms used, with a crunch from the pine nuts. The pasta was cooked al dente, and the sauce adhered to its curls well.
The rabbit meat in the pasta was shredded to maintain its juiciness with a subtle sweetness. Although it was slightly gamey, the prominent rosemary notes did help to mask it.
If you’re not a meat lover, the Lagane (S$28++) is a perfect vegan option. Topped with chickpeas, the pasta was drizzled with spicy garlic oil which was very fragrant indeed. It complemented the mild and buttery cream sauce.
Pasta Bar: 55 Keong Saik Road, #01-05, Singapore 089158 | Tel: +65 6222 0627 | Opening Hours: 6pm – 11pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon | Website
Thevar serves up extremely unique modern Indian food, nothing like I’ve ever tried before, and I love it.
These may look like ordinary spring rolls, but they are anything but. The Mutton Kheema Roll, Min Sauce (S$8) was aromatic and packed full of spice. The mutton filling was not too gamey and complemented the house-made mint sauce which was smoky yet refreshing on the palate.
We also tried the thosai, which is something I would usually get when I’m having Indian food. This Mackerel Dosai, Tomato Chutney (S$14) completely blew me away. The thosai was soft and thin, packed with flaky mackerel in a tangy tomato chutney. It tasted so delicate and exquisite, I would come back again just for this.
Another favourite of mine was the Butter Mushroom Naan, Paneer Cheese (S$16). This dish had an intense earthiness from the mushrooms, with a smoky and rich aftertaste. I appreciated that the naan wasn’t overly thick, which complemented the sauce without being too heavy on the palate.
Last but definitely not least, Potato Head Folk. I personally really love burgers, so this is one of my favourites places.
I decided to go for something a lil’ fiery and tried Burning Man (S$24). It was a 150g prime beef patty served with jalapeno relish. Well, they are not kidding. It really packed a punch, and nailed its flavour profile. The beef patty was grilled to perfection as well; lightly charred on the outside and juicy on the inside.
If you are not a fan of beef or any meat, they got you covered too. The Impossible Dream (S$27) was so tasty, where the XO mayo and onion marmalade bounded all the flavours together perfectly. The Impossible patty was so juicy, I was pretty blown away that it wasn’t meat.
There are many more delicious places to visit along Keong Saik Road. I’ve only managed to skim the surface. Surrounding Keong Saik Road also has tons of amazing options, not limited to only food.
If you are searching for a place to hold a celebration, or just to treat yourself, this guide will come in handy. What’s your favourite place to go when you’re feelin’ fancy?