Whether or not you’re in town for the FORMULA 1 2019 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX, there’s plenty to explore in the area around the track. Start your day bright and early with breakfast at Ronin, where concrete walls and dim lighting set the stage for fabulous coffee and scrumptious bites such as sweet French toast with berry compote, honey mascarpone and pistachio crumble.
From here, it’s a short stroll across the Singapore River to the new Funan mall where you can spend a good few hours browsing the abundance of international and Singaporean brands including Beyond The Vines, Carrie K. and Love, Bonito.
Once you’re all shopped out, head up North Bridge Road to the former convent and school CHIJMES for lunch at Whitegrass, which reopened this year. Particularly notable options from their impressive French-Japanese menu are their oysters from Hyogo Prefecture and the seasonal fish from Kyushu.
Afterwards, drop by the nearby St Andrew’s Cathedral, Singapore’s largest, completed in 1861. Note the three stained glass windows in the apse, dedicated to notable individuals in Singapore’s colonial history.
For a mid-afternoon snack, swing by the first Southeast Asian branch of Taiwan’s Wu Pao Chun Bakery at Capitol Piazza for a Lychee Rose Royale loaf, if available – they sell out fast.
A seven-minute walk will bring you to the MINT Museum of Toys, packed with 8,000 nostalgic vintage and collectible toys on display, some dating back to 1840. Then take a 20-minute stroll over to Gardens by the Bay for the Mid-Autumn Festival lightup. On until mid-September, it includes cultural performances in the Supertree Grove and grand floating lanterns. Afterwards, head back to Raffles Hotel, reopened after a 20-month renovation. Browse bespoke Italian leather shoes by family-owned store Vincitore, then enjoy dinner at the newly opened yì by Jereme Leung. The eponymous celebrity chef returns to Singapore, bringing with him fine, provincial Chinese cuisine.
To end your evening on a sweet note, take a quick amble to Ah Chew Desserts in Bugis, where more than 50 traditional and modern treats await, among them mango sago with pomelo; papaya boiled with fresh milk; and black sesame paste.
Take a day to explore Singapore’s heartlands, where citizens coexist in tightly woven communities. Get a cab up to Teck Ghee for breakfast at Belinda’s Pancake. The chewy, crispy pancakes stuffed with coconut, red bean or peanut often sell out by the time the stall closes at noon. Accompany it with local brews from the hawker centre such as teh tarik (frothy milk tea with condensed milk) or kopi halia (coffee with ginger). A 15-minute walk will bring you to Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West. Stairs flanked by towering palms lead up to a picturesque hilltop plaza. At the western end of the park, you’ll find the Kebun Baru Birdsinging Club. View birdcages raised on flagpoles containing various feathered crooners chirping melodies.
Grab lunch nearby at Block 724 Ang Mo Kio Food Centre. Must-tries are the fragrant mee rebus (egg noodles in a sweet savoury gravy) from Yunos N Family and the icy desserts at the newly opened Four Seasons Cendol, an off shoot of the original stall in Toa Payoh. Afterwards, hop in a taxi to Coney Island in the northeast, also known as Pulau Serangoon. Explore grassland, mangroves, woods and coastal forest alongside 80 species of birds, including baya weavers that create intricate nests in the acacia trees. For those who prefer living history, Kampong Lorong Buangkok is the last remaining traditional kampung (village) on the main island, with its enclave of tin-roof homes, dirt roads and plenty of free roaming chickens.
For dinner, take a short cab ride to Mustard Seed, a former pop-up now transformed into a fully fledged 13-seat restaurant in the heart of Serangoon Garden, run by Singaporean owner chef Gan Ming Kiat. Expect a single-seating omakase menu that melds Singaporean and Japanese cuisines. Another quick cab ride away is Tachinomiya, an izakaya with a fine selection of Japanese beer, sake and whisky. If you still have ample energy, walk two minutes to JForte Sportainment Centre for some bowling, including Cosmic Bowling on Saturday nights done under neon lights.
Spend your last day in town living the high life. Fuel up first by heading over to Coffee Academics at Marina Boulevard, where you can sip single-origin coffees with your hearty all-day breakfast. Suitably sated, take a 10-minute walk to The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Book a Shopping Concierge for a tailored retail extravaganza with everything from international labels to Singapore-made crocodile leather handbags. If you’re here from 28 September onwards, stop by Marina Bay Sands Theatre for Patek Philippe’s biggest Watch Art Grand Exhibition in Singapore. Ten themed rooms across 1,800m2, including a specially created Singapore room, will showcase rare timepieces and the launch of limited-edition watches by the Swiss horologist. Admission is free.
To rest your tired feet, hop in a cab to Vianney Massot down the road. Formerly known as Bacchanalia, it has been renamed after its chef, a young culinary whiz with Michelin-star restaurant experience. Enjoy classic dishes like duck foie gras.
Next, take a short ride down to Porcelain The Face Spa. Their Illuminate facial, a mixture of oxygen skin infusion, diamond microdermabrasion and vinotherapy, helps to rejuvenate your skin.
For something full-bodied, the Cello Concerto massage at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore is synchronised to the melody of a live cellist. All refreshed, perhaps consider the National Gallery’s Former Supreme Court: Unseen, Unheard tour, running every Friday and Saturday, where you can access restricted passageways and learn of high-profile cases tried in the rooms.
End the day off at Odette on the first floor, the only Singaporean restaurant to make the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list this year. Their eight-course dinner menu, 8 Acts, delves into delectable modern French flavours by chef Julien Royer. For an after-dinner drink, Atlas, less than 10 minutes away by car, has more than 1,000 gins on offer, including some over a century old.
This article was originally published in the September 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine