Dining

Keong Saik's cool again: going back to the classics

The revamped Keong Saik neighborhood boasts culinary diversity and quality. Here's your guide on all the great classics on this new 'hood of choice'
 

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Photo: Taratata

With everything from cosy bistros like Gaston to creative Italian at Bar Cicheti, and six new F&B launches from Kesa House (which occupies a stretch of 10 shophouses), Keong Saik is the foodie enclave du jour. It’s also a popular locale for street parties and festivals, as its narrow lanes are easy to cordon off.

Caribbean, African, French, Korean, Indian, Spanish… the culinary diversity here is largely responsible for turning the district into a gastronomical trove.

Geoff rey Daurelle, owner and manager of Gaston Burgundy Bistro & Wine Bar, cites the “melting pot of cultures” in this neighbourhood as the main reason for setting up shop here. “I find Keong Saik Road an exciting place because of its great cultural diversity and a mix of local restaurants, fine dining, bistros and wine bars,” says Geoffrey.

“For that reason, it attracts a lot of people, especially in the evenings. It has a really good vibe.” Chef Alain Devahive of Olivia Restaurant & Lounge agrees. “Keong Saik Road is attractive both commercially and visually – the diversity of the restaurants and vendors is so rich and intriguing. It’s a hub for independent dining establishments and therefore appeals to many types of diners. So we feel it’s a great privilege to be able to join such an eclectic dynamic in one of Singapore’s most iconic roads.”

Here’s our guide to the best classics : 

 

1. Taratata

food

Photo: Taratata

Old is truly gold at Taratata Brasserie. This stalwart French restaurant has been in business here since 2011. It was the conserved shophouses and vintage vibes here that spoke to owner and executive chef Bertrand Raguin when he was looking for a place to set up his business. Eight years later, it’s still a staple for diners seeking French fare.

Chef Bertrand has been sticking to his original recipes for items from the beef bourguignon to the pate. His pride in French cuisine is reflected in the traditional ingredients he uses, and the way the food is prepared at the restaurant. There’s no central kitchen, which means that all the food is cooked and prepped “a la minute at the time of ordering”. Say it like the French: mangez bien!
35A Keong Saik Road

 

2. The Guild 

guild

Photo: The Guild

This was set up by the guys from Young Master Ales, a Hong Kong brewery. The Guild is their first step into Singapore’s craft brewery scene. “The shophouses offer a lot of character, allowing us to truly create a uniquely convivial environment. As a
brand coming into Singapore from Hong Kong, we also felt that establishing our base in Chinatown connected well to our roots,” says their rep.

They offer cocktails, highballs and loads of craft beers on tap: The Cha Chaan Teng Gose is sour beer modelled after alcohol served at tea restaurants, commonly found in Hong Kong.

55 Keong Saik Road

 

3. Potato Head Folk 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Potato Head Singapore (@potatoheadsg) on

Photo: Instagram / @potatoheadsg 

Studio 1939 on the third floor features an open bar as well as an extensive list of wines and other tipples. Go alfresco in the rooftop garden for even headier cocktails and a unique view of Chinatown. (Pssst… the Three Buns kitchen here now serves an Impossible burger as well.]
36 Keong Saik Road

 

This story was first published on Her World's June 2019 issue

ALSO READ: KEONG SAIK'S COOL AGAIN: NEW KICKS ON THE BLOCK and KEONG SAIK'S COOL AGAIN: GLOBAL GRUBS

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