Start your day bright and early at Glyph Supply Co, a minimalist new café located in 111 Somerset. They showcase rare beans such as Ethiopian Wush Wush from partner roasters and serve treats including flaky almond croissants and fruit tarts.
Now that you’re awake, take a 20-minute stroll along Orchard Road to the Peranakan Gallery at Claymore Connect. Here you can learn more about the history and customs of the Peranakans (individuals of hybrid Chinese and Malay heritage), dating back over 500 years. The experience includes walking among ornate shophouse façades, browsing beautiful ceramics and marvelling at intricate embroidery and beadwork.
For lunch, head to Marmalade Pantry, which just re-opened its flagship at ION Orchard. Enjoy hearty fare that borrows from global flavours, such as spicy crabmeat pasta, kimchi fried rice and truffle beef burger.
A short cab ride will then bring you to the National Museum of Singapore. The current “Packaging Matters” exhibition (until 15 September) provides a nostalgia-filled look into the evolution of local packaging design in the Lion City and how it reflects the changing identity of the nation.
“I recommend that tourists visit Peranakan heritage boutique Rumah Bebe along East Coast Road. It’s a true blue showcase of Peranakan food and clothing.” — Raymond Khoo, founder of The Peranakan Gallery
This month also welcomes the annual M1 Contact contemporary dance festival, where companies perform bold new works, many of them presented at the iconic durian-inspired Esplanade. If you’re more of a traditionalist, perhaps the annual Ballet Under the Stars, running over two weekends at Fort Canning Park, will be more to your liking. You can spread out a picnic mat and enjoy highlights from shows such as Swan Lake and The Nutcracker performed by the Singapore Dance Theatre.
For dinner, head to the border of Chinatown and the CBD for a meal at Kilo Kitchen. The long-beloved, Japanese-leaning restaurant settled into its new location on Duxton Hill late last year but still serves casually elegant dishes such as wasabi tuna tartare and lamb shank.
“At Chinatown Hawker Centre, you can share a dish of claypot rice and chicken or a piping hot bowl of noodles with fish balls. Finish with an iced dessert of sea coconut or ice kachang.” — Ming Tan, executive chef of Jam at Siri House
All this month, Kurios by legendary acrobatics act Cirque du Soleil will be playing at the Big Top tent, located besides Marina Bay Sands. A celebration of 19th century inventions, the show promises death-defying movements and magical illusions that has made this the company’s top touring show.
Post-show, head to Lounge Bar, an extension of artisanal outfit Restaurant JAG. Following the eatery’s theme, the “French cocktail bar” focuses on herbs from the Savoie region as the foundation for creations such as the hyssop-infused rum.
For a hearty start to your day, the no-frills Casuarina Curry on Upper Thomson Road is a hugely popular local favourite, beloved for its fish-head curry, nasi briyani and roti prata.
With your tank full, wander over to Lower Peirce Reservoir Park next door, a verdant expanse surrounding one of the city’s main water catchment areas. The leafy boardwalk trail winds through secondary forest alongside the reservoir, and you might spot monitor lizards and macaques.
After communing with nature, grab a cab to leafy Dempsey Hill and make a beeline for Siri House, a destination that combines retail, art and dining under one roof. That includes Jam, where the seared Chilean sea bass with mushroom dashi and the corn-fed chicken in a white-wine cream sauce are particularly recommended.
Afterwards, take a walk to Singapore Botanic Gardens. Experience sections of rainforest that showcase the herbs, ferns, trees and shrubs found in this part of the world, plus an orchid garden filled with 1,000 species.
With a name meaning ginger in Malay, The Halia sits within the Ginger Gardens and has alfresco seating where you can enjoy an afternoon snack of sticky toffee pudding and iced cardamom milk tea.
Next, take a taxi over to Gardens by the Bay and drop in on the latest attraction, Floral Fantasy. It features four garden landscapes under the themes of Dance, Float, Waltz and Drift, and a 4D ride that simulates the flight of a dragonfly. Also worth visiting is the Scentsational Orchids display at Cloud Forest that’ll lead you on a journey through the sweet, hypnotic perfumes produced by these truly diverse plants.
For dinner, head to Guccio Ristorante on Gemmill Lane – their seasonal fine-dining cuisine celebrates all regions of Italy, with selections like tagliatelle with duck ragout, pan-seared Sardinian octopus and beef short ribs with celery-root puree. Be sure to leave space for the signature tiramisu dessert.
From here, take a stroll to The Monarchy, a British-style cocktail bar with grand décor to match the regal name – they also offer a large selection of whisky and gin. Check out the art pieces on display by rising artist Alex Wakefield, all of which are for sale.
Have a light breakfast in preparation for today’s culinary escapades – this month sees the return of the Singapore Food Festival from 12 to 28 July. During this annual gastronomic extravaganza, with over 20 events peppered across the island, you’ll be able to sample wonderful plates from local and international chefs at popup restaurants, chow down on the creations of up-and-coming hawkers and savour a taste of the past at the 50 Cents Fest in Chinatown.
Feed your mind first, though, at the recently opened Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop located in the URA Centre. A collaboration between Huggs Coffee and the local publishing imprint Epigram, it offers great bites and coffee, which you can sip on while browsing more than 400 books about Singapore or by Singaporean authors.
“One of my favourite coffee joints is Plain Vanilla at ION Orchard. I like their lattes and delicious tarts. The other place is Patisserie G located at Millenia Walk for a coffee and lemon tart.” — Ron Choo, owner of Huggs Coffee
Then head west to Palate Sensations, one of the city’s premier cooking schools, for a fun and educational cooking class. They cover everything from South Asian to European cuisines, but why not get some local insight by opting for their class on local heritage dishes.
After toiling over a hot stove, reward yourself by heading a 10-minute drive further west to the Clementi area for a cooldown at Pobo Gelato. The cosy gelataria is situated in a neighbourhood community centre and is known for its classic gelato flavours from chocolate to hazelnut, as well as Asian-inspired creations such as matcha and pandan.
Head back to your hotel to freshen up before going for dinner at Gaston, a bistro and wine bar whose menu and ambience pay tribute to the region of Burgundy despite its location in an ornate shophouse on Keong Saik Road. Their signature dishes include jambon persillé (parsley ham) and truite a l’aligoté (steamed trout fillet with white-wine sauce).
A short walk around the curling roads of Tanjong Pagar and you’ll be at Risky Business. Named after the Tom Cruise film, this fun bar’s cocktails bear names inspired by the American celebrity’s oeuvre.
This article was originally published in the July 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine