Unwind in the enclaves of Holland Village and Dempsey Hill if you’re on the hunt for casual, laid-back places to drink in Singapore.
The far west of Singapore is home to a number of nature parks such as the Japanese and Chinese Gardens, and the Jurong Bird Park. However, if it’s a different sort of greenery you’re after, healthy cafés and restaurants flourish in these parts, too.
Healthy bento sets
As its name suggests, Lean Bento gives the traditional Japanese bento (home-packed meal) a healthy makeover. Customise your own bento (from S$11.95) by picking a protein, which ranges from chicken to salmon to tempeh (fermented soyabean), followed by your favourite complex carbohydrates, additional add-ons and salad greens. There are brunch options like the vegetarian sunshine flatbread pizza (S$10.85), protein cookies (S$4.95), waffles (S$3.95) and muffins (S$3.95) that are available all day.
Lean Bento. 43 Holland Drive #01-49, Singapore 608782. +65 6750 4504.
Mon-Fri 10am-9pm; Sat & Sun 10am-6pm.
Spotlight on superfruit açaí
Here’s a healthier, but equally sweet, alternative to ice cream: açaí, a berry native to the Amazon rainforest known for its high concentration of antioxidants and other nutritional goodness. Project Açaí, Singapore’s first dedicated açaí café tucked away in a nook of Holland Village, showcases this superfruit in two ways: bowls (S$6.80-S$14.90) topped with nut butters, vegan cookie crumble or granola; and thick smoothies (S$8.50) blended with coconut water, chocolate oat milk or cold-brewed coffee. If you want to make your own superfruit bowl or drink at home, Project Açaí also sells pre-packed frozen Sambazon Superfruit packs.
Holland Village. 27 Lorong Liput, Singapore 277738.
Pronounced ‘haw-coon’, Haakon is where those in the know go for their mid-day superfood fix. This Scandinavian-inspired café doles out all-day breakfast options like smashed avocado and feta (S$14.90) and superfood bowls that’ll satisfy your sweet tooth, minus the guilt. You can’t go wrong with Haakon’s classic açaí bowl (S$7.90-S$12.90), topped with coconut flakes, banana, strawberries and blueberries, or an extra thick smoothie like the Pitaya Berryday (S$5.90-S$6.90), which is an antioxidant-rich blend of pitaya, raspberry, skim milk and coconut ice cream.
Raffles Holland V. 118 Holland Avenue #01-03, Singapore 278997.
Poké bowls with Asian flavours
Chicken rice chilli salmon and tangy Thai tuna—these are just two Asian-inspired flavours offered at Katto. This cosy café serves seasoned raw fish bowls (S$7.90-S$12.90), inspired by the traditional Hawaiian dish called poké, but with flavours that are familiar to the local palate. Besides six flavours of sashimi, you’ll get to pick your base of white rice, brown rice or salad, and sides of vegetables to complete your meal.
Galaxis Building. 1 Fusionopolis Place #01-21, Singapore 138522.
Mon-Fri 11am-2pm, 5.30-8pm.
Grilled meats atop salad greens
Don’t expect to find processed meat with run-of-the-mill dressings at The Lawn—this café specialises in flavourful grilled meats (S$10.60-S$15.90), such as maple chicken breast, chargrilled garlic prawns, butter and parsley Pacific dory. Looking for even more quality proteins? The Lawn’s premium cuts include Worcestershire black pepper duck and balsamic steaks. Top everything off with one of eight homemade dressings, which run the gamut from sesame ginger to wasabi honey.
Nanos. 31 Biopolis Way #01-07, Singapore 138669. +65 6478 9739.
Mon-Fri 10.30am-9pm; Sun 10.30am-4pm.
Asian-style vegetarian food
This no-fuss organic vegetarian café specialises in traditional Asian dishes like the Hakka lei cha (rice and vegetables served with a broth made from tea, nuts, grains and herbs, S$8.50) and Hakka abacus seeds (yam balls, S$7). Sunny Choice uses organic tofu and mushrooms in its meatless version of bak kut teh (S$8.50), a herbal Chinese soup that’s conventionally cooked with pork ribs. You can pick up a variety of organic and natural goods like brown rice noodles, chia seeds and coconut oil.
If you’re headed to The Rail Mall outlet, take a walk in one of the nearby nature parks such as Dairy Farm Nature Park, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and Bukit Batok Nature Park before or after your meal.
The Rail Mall. 434 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 678060. +65 6892 2383.
For the list of full outlets, visit here.