A touchstone destination for locals and visitors alike, Orchard Road is constantly evolving and expanding. Start your day of catching up with the glitzy retail area’s newest additions with a caffeinated kick at Jewel Coffee, a homegrown roaster with two outlets on Orchard Road (at Claymore Connect and Orchard Xchange). The menu changes daily, but single-origin beans from Brazil, Ethiopia and Sumatra are usually available.
Then stop by Design Orchard, a new shopping hub that’s home to more than 60 of the Lion City’s top design companies and fashion labels. Curated by local company Naiise, it offers everything from household décor and sweet treats to travel accessories in a 835m2 space.
Next, take a 30-minute stroll down to City Square Mall’s basement for a spin through Don Don Donki, the largest Singapore outlet for popular Japanese retailer Don Quijote. It’s packed with all manner of Japanese cosmetics, fashion, toys, costumes and curiosities, plus a Japanese food court and supermarket.
Save room for lunch, however, at Duckland, located in United Square Shopping Mall. Specialising in a duck hybrid flown in from Ireland’s Silver Hill Farm, Duckland complements such succulent signature dishes as roast duck and duck confit and waffles with other Irish fare.
Afterwards, make your way back to Orchard Road to relax over a mid-afternoon treat at Lady M‘s redesigned flagship patisserie. Grab a table under the towering trellis decked out in seasonal art and dig into their trademark green tea mille crêpe or a slice of tangy yuzu cheesecake.
Rest and refresh at your hotel before dinner, where classic Peranakan cuisine with hints of British influence are on tonight’s menu at Violet Oon Singapore at ION Orchard, the latest brasserie from Singapore’s beloved food celebrity. Oon’s black pepper tiger prawn pasta and beef rendang are both exceptional.
Once you’ve had your fill, indulge in something sweet at The Dark Gallery. The chocolaterie offers delectable dishes including frozen s’mores and ice cream served with chocolate waffles.
If you still have energy to burn, take a quick cab ride to the Fullerton Pavilion for a cocktail at MONTI Nights, a nightly rooftop bash with live DJ sets under the stars.
Before hitting the gym, fuel up by grabbing a to-go coffee from Japanese import Omotesando Koffee, near Tanjong Pagar MRT station. The original Tokyo location was previously based in a traditional Japanese machiya (wooden house), and the morning crowds here prove its enduring popularity.
Sip your cuppa during a brisk 10-minute walk to BEAT X, home to three cutting-edge fitness studios with thumping club-ready soundtracks. Sign up in advance for the BEATX Lite class, a low-impact, full-body trampoline workout catered to beginners.
Head back to your hotel to shower up. The World Gourmet Summit (1 April to 12 May), runs all month long, so take some time to check the day’s schedule for Singapore’s biggest annual celebration of all things culinary.
After a little rest, reward yourself with a hearty lunch. Located across the street from the sprawling Chinatown Complex, where its original hawker stall is located, Liao Fan Hawker Chan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle earns accolades for its simple, satisfying versions of chicken rice and roast pork. Don’t let the queue scare you off, as the food is well worth the wait.
Next, take a 20-minute stroll to the nearby Asian Civilisations Museum, which hosts through 28 April an in-depth exhibition exploring the life and mixed legacy of modern-day Singapore’s founder, Sir Stamford Raffles (2019 marks the 200th anniversary of his arrival here). One-hour guided tours conducted in English are offered thrice daily on weekdays and twice daily on weekends.
When you’re ready, start the evening at White Label Records, a cool and casual vinyl shop by day and cocktail bar by night. In-house and guest DJs hit the decks for themed nights ranging from deep house to ’90s indie rock.
From there it’s a stone’s throw away to long-celebrated Kilo Kitchen for dinner and drinks. Recently relocated to Duxton Hill, the restaurant beautifully fuses Asian and European flavours in such dishes as sea urchin rigatoni pasta and wasabi tuna tartare.
Have breakfast in your hotel, then make your way by taxi to Gillman Barracks, the old British army barracks now home to art galleries, cafés and restaurants. Those with kids shouldn’t miss Playeum, where a sustainability-themed exhibition incorporates household products, recycled fabrics and natural materials.
Stay at Gillman Barracks for a seafood lunch at Naked Finn. The chilled somen, which is tossed with Hokkaido queen crab leg, chopped wild salmon and Alaskan scallops, is worth the moderate splurge. All lunch items are fairly light, which means you can enjoy a scoop of ice cream at Creamier around the corner.
Hail a taxi for a quick ride to the underrated NUS Museum, located on the National University of Singapore’s campus and home to some 8,000 artworks and artefacts. Local artist Yeo Shih Yun’s fascinating mixed-medium exploration of Chinese ink ends its eight-month run on April 27.
Thereafter, it’s another taxi ride to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the world’s only tropical garden with Unesco World Heritage status. You’d need a full day to explore the whole grounds, so maximise your time by starting at Nassim Gate, winding down to the National Orchid Garden and ending at the Botany Centre, near Tanglin Gate.
Walk across Holland Road to Dempsey Hill for a little shopping and dinner at Siri House. It includes an art gallery; a boutique with products from Thai designers; and Jam, a restaurant and bar serving small plates and mains like charcoal- grilled Ibérico pork and smoked soft-shell crab.
If you’re into craft beer, head east to Ubi for pints at Pink Blossoms Brewing, a new Singaporean microbrewery. Up to eight beers are tapped at its tasting room. If beer isn’t your thing, Taiwan’s Shilin Night Market takes over the Singapore Turf Club out west at Kranji the last two weekends of April with street food, arcade games and outdoor movie screenings.
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This article was originally published in the April 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine