Paya Lebar is a region in Singapore that’s constantly bustling with life, especially with the newly-renovated SingPost Centre and the Geylang Serai market within walking distance from the MRT station. However, not many people know of the hidden gems in the area, which make this part of the East all the more appealing.
If you have a bit of time to while away one afternoon, or fancy a little cafe hopping, here’s a list of 10 places in Paya Lebar where you can chill out at:
1. Knots Cafe and Living
If you’re looking for somewhere nice for a cuppa, Knots Cafe is the place to visit. Run by the folks behind Xpress Flowers, it’s no surprise that there’s an array of plants decorating the spacious interior of the cafe.
Menu offerings include brunch staples such as Salmon Benedict ($17.90), and hearty lunch items such as the Blue Swimmer Crab Risotto ($24.90), and good ol’ Fish and Chips ($13.90).
Not in the mood for a full meal? Knots Cafe also serves up light snacks like Truffle Fries ($10.90), and mean cups of coffee. We recommend the Salted Caramel Latte (Hot: $6.50, Cold: $7.50) if you’re looking for a special cup of joe.
Expected damage: $20 – $30 per pax
Knots Cafe and Living: #01-07 Orion @ Paya Lebar, 160 Paya Lebar Road, Singapore 409022 | Tel: +65 6817 0383 | Opening Hours: 9am – 9pm (Mon to Thurs, Sun) , 9am – 10pm (Fri & Sat) | Website | Facebook
2. Nuevo Cafe
Fans of rice bowls, swing by Nuevo Cafe when you’re in the area! Located among industrial buildings, this cafe is truly a hidden gem. The dining space of the cafe is connected to a kitchenware showroom, which is free for your perusal while you await the arrival of your food.
One of Nuevo Cafe’s charms is its menu, which boasts rice bowls and pasta dishes for under $10.
Don’t be thrown off by the price, as the quality of the rice bowls is impressive. The Yakiniku Beef with Sous Vide Egg ($8.50) rice bowl came with fork-tender beef and a perfectly runny egg.
The cafe also serves up interesting and unique sides seldom found in Singapore, such as Sweet Corn Croquettes ($8) and Potato Mochi ($8).
Expected damage: $15 – $20 per pax
Nuevo Cafe: #01-01, 115 Eunos Ave 3, Singapore 409839 | Tel: +65 9632 6045 | Opening Hours: 8am – 10pm (Daily) | Facebook
3. Blocs Inc.
Blocs Inc. trumps in terms of its accessibility, since it’s located right outside Paya Lebar MRT station. If you’re not so keen on travelling away from Paya Lebar station, this spot is perfect for some downtime.
Blocs Inc. was known for its coffee customisation method which made use of wooden blocks. While that is no longer available, it does offer waffle bowl salads which are interesting and pretty out of the ordinary.
The waffle bowls come with Yuzu Smoked Duck ($9.90), Homemade Roast Pork ($9.90) salads, and more. Paninis are available as well. As a bonus, you can request for latte art with the coffee you order!
Expected damage: $10 – $15 per pax
Blocs Inc. :#01-71, 60 Paya Lebar Road, Paya Lebar Square, Singapore 409051 | Tel: +65 6385 6449 | Opening Hours: 7.30am – 8pm (Mon to Thurs), 7.30am – 10pm (Fri), 9.30am – 8pm (Sat & Sun) | Facebook
4. Sweet Garden Dining Cafe
Sweet Garden Dining Cafe will make you feel as if you’re visiting your relative’s house for lunch. In other words, it’s extremely cosy. The menu is also extensive, so even the pickiest of eaters will be able to find something that tickles their fancy in this humble eatery.
The homey feel is amplified as little twists are incorporated into the dessert presentations.
One wouldn’t really expect to see colourful marshmallow flowers and dragon fruit pieces scattered around Belgium Charcoal Waffles with Gelato (one scoop: $13.90, two scoops: $16.90), and a Classic Crème Brulee with Vanilla Gelato ($11).
Other items to try on the menu include Seafood Tomyam Squid Ink Spaghetti ($15.90), and Smoked Duck Japanese Curry Rice ($11.90).
Expected damage: $20 – $30 per pax
Sweet Garden Dining Cafe: #01-50, 32 Cassia Crescent, Singapore 390032 | Tel: +65 9100 4286 | Opening Hours: 1pm – 11pm (Fri to Wed), Closed on Thursdays | Facebook
5. Swee Heng 1989 Bakery Cafe
Swee Heng 1989 Bakery Cafe will satisfy all your needs when you’re craving local fare, or just want to get your hands on some old school treats.
Located in the basement of the newly-revamped SingPost centre, the cafe serves up comforting bowls of Mee Siam ($5.20), as well as all-day breakfast items like BBQ Chicken Thigh Bolo Bun ($2.80 a la carte), and Curry Chicken Pocket Sandwich Toast ($2.80 a la carte).
It’s the perfect place to go to get yourself a piping hot cup of Kopi O, or to dapao a snack. Besides the local fare, you’ll also find sweet treats such as the Tiramisu Mousse ($4), and Fruit Gateau ($4).
Expected damage: $5 – $10 per pax
Swee Heng 1989 Bakery Cafe: #B1-158 SingPost Centre, 10 Eunos Rd 8, Singapore 408600 | Tel: +65 6655 0300 | Opening Hours: 7.30am – 10pm (Daily) | Website
6. Bing Go Jung Korean Dessert House
Of course, we can’t leave the ever-popular Korean dessert, Bingsu, out of this list. Bing Go Jung Korean Dessert House along Guillemard Road serves up various flavours of Bingsu, and waffles.
Although they may not have the best Bingsu in town, Bing Go Jung’s Bingsu items are still pretty refreshing, and are also viable options when you’re looking for treats to beat the heat with.
What’s even better about Bing Go Jung is that it’s situated right next to Ju Shin Jung, a Korean BBQ place, which means that you can enjoy a full Korean meal without having to travel much.
Expected damage: $15 – $20 per pax
Bing Go Jung Dessert House: #01-01, 102 Guillemard Road, Singapore 399719 | Tel: +65 6440 5509 | Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm (Daily) | Facebook
7. The Flame Cafe
The Flame Cafe is where you should head to if you’re with a large group of friends or with co-workers, judging by the size of its popular 4-Tier Cheesy Hotpot & BBQ Pagoda Steamboat (Starting from $21.90++).
This steamboat masterpiece allows you to boil, steam, and grill your food all in one contraption. In addition, you get to choose between Cheese, Mongolian, and Salted Egg Yolk dips to accompany your feast.
Don’t feel like hanging out with such a large group of people? Fret not. The Flame Cafe also has an extensive a la carte menu containing items such as Laksa Pasta ($9.50) and Lemongrass Chicken Chop ($8.90) which are also sure to please.
Expected damage: $10 – $50 per pax
The Flame Cafe: Level 1 Centro Bianco Building, 73 Upper Paya Lebar Rd, Singapore 534818 | Tel: +65 6282 0251 | Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm (Mon to Thurs, Sun), 11am – 1am (Fri & Sat) | Website
8. Cafe Melba at Goodman Arts Centre
Families with young children would love to know that Cafe Melba has a bouncy castle on its premises, which is open to the patrons of the cafe, but available only on weekends.
The establishment is another one of those cafes which serve breakfast all day long, while still making its menu exciting by introducing special items that change every month.
You’ll find mostly Western fare such as Crayfish Pasta ($27), and various Pizzas on the menu, and don’t forget to check out the Weekend Roast, which consists of Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding – the works.
Expected damage: $15 – $40 per pax
Cafe Melba: #01-56 Block N, 90 Goodman Road, Singapore 439053 | Tel: +65 6440 6068 | Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon to Fri), 8.30am – 10pm (Sat & Sun) | Website
9. Brawn & Brains
Brawn & Brains is somewhere you can head to if you’re looking for a chill hangout spot to relax and pass time, without the disturbance from the hustle and bustle of the city.
It’s home to the popular Oven Baked Molten Eggs with a side of Smoked Salmon, Avocado, and Melted Cheese ($16.80) that’s graced the insta feeds of many.
Besides brunch, Brawns & Brains also carries quality coffee at relatively cheaper prices. Whites go for $4.50, and Espressos go for $2.80.
Expected damage: $15 – $25 per pax
Brawn & Brains: #01-02, 100 Guillemard Road, Singapore 399718 | Tel: +65 6538 0501 | Opening Hours: 8.30am – 6pm (Mon to Fri), 9.30am – 6pm (Sat & Sun) | Website
10. The Tuckshop
The Tuckshop is a quaint cafe which serves up brunch items which are influenced by both local and Western flavours. This is perfect for people who are adventurous, but still want some sense of familiarity.
Brunch offerings include the classic Eggs Benedict (with bacon: $9, with smoked salmon: $10), and a less conventional selection of savoury and sweet french toasts.
Come dinnertime, The Tuckshop sells an array of select beers and fusion mains like Rendang Prata Pizza ($18), and local sides normally found at zi char stalls like Har Cheong Kai ($13) and Anak Sotong ($14).
Expected damage: $20 – $40 per pax
The Tuckshop: 403 Guillemard Road, Singapore 399795 | Tel: +65 6744 8205 | Opening Hours: 5pm – 12am (Mon to Fri), 11am – 12am (Sat & Sun) | Website
There’s definitely more to the Paya Lebar area than just industrial and housing estates. From Korean culture enthusiasts, to millennials who are looking for cafes to embellish their ‘grams, Paya Lebar is able to deliver. All it takes is a short walk, or a bus ride from the MRT station.