From dawn till dusk, the neighbourhood of Keong Saik is a place where the traditional and the modern fuse seamlessly together.
Originally named after Chinese businessman Tan Keong Saik, this creative enclave has transcended its origins as a red-light district, and is now a bustling hub for local artists, discerning gourmands and lifestyle enthusiasts alike.
Its conserved shophouses—which stand in stark contrast to the backdrop of the Central Business District’s skyscrapers—house a trove of world-class restaurants, hip bars and bustling creative hubs, making the neighbourhood a great place for a bout of urban exploration.
Whether you’re a morning lark or a night owl, Keong Saik’s eateries, bars and gathering places are certain to pique your interest. Here’s our guide of the neighbourhood, encompassing activities and places of interest for all hours of the day.
The Working Capitol
Rub shoulders with Singapore’s passionate creatives over a cup of coffee at The Working Capitol. This establishment fuses professional co-working spaces for creative and digital agencies with a range of lifestyle offerings.
To soak in the buzzing atmosphere and supercharge your lunch conversations with creative energy, drop by 1KS by Park Bench Deli. Located on the ground floor of The Working Capitol, this American-style eatery serves up mouth-watering sandwiches, healthy breakfast options and a mean cup of joe. We recommend trying the lox toast or the short rib sandwich.
Park Bench Deli at The Working Capitol. 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109. +65 6221 1792.
Mon-Fri 8am-6.30pm; Sat 10am-5.30pm.
Ripple Root Wall Mural
Once you’ve grabbed some grub, you’ll want to venture outside the building and hunt for the mural painted along its walls for a perfect OOTD opportunity. This whimsical piece of street art was created by RIPPLE ROOT, a dynamic local art duo whose works are inspired by nature and wildlife.
The Working Capitol mural by RIPPLE ROOT. 1 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089109.
Keong Saik Bakery
If old school eats are your thing, you need to pay a visit to Keong Saik Bakery, an establishment that fuses old-world charm with modern baking techniques. Grab a seat indoors, admire the delightfully kitschy retro interior, and partake in a selection of sweet treats and locally-inspired creations.
We recommend sampling the bakery’s Chendol Delight, a cake that fuses traditional chendol (local iced dessert) ingredients with rich coconut custard.
Keong Saik Bakery. 41 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089146. +65 6909 3199.
Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant
If you’re hankering for perfectly grilled unagi (eel), you’ll want to stop for lunch at Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant. This two-time Michelin Bib Gourmand winner flies in its unagi straight from Japan, and visitors will get to see the restaurant’s chefs cleaning, gutting and charcoal-grilling the eels from its open kitchen. It’s a sight that’s certain to deepen your appreciation for the rigours of Japanese cuisine.
First-time visitors should certainly sample the restaurant’s signature dish, hitsumabushi (grilled unagi coated in a sweet sauce, and served with rice).
Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant. 1 Keong Saik Road #01-01, Singapore 089109. +65 6222 0678.
Mon-Sat 11.30am-3pm, 6-10.30pm.
With the number ten spot of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 and a Michelin star to its name, Burnt Ends is a great dining spot to experience the joys of unpretentious, Australian-style barbeque. The deliciously smoky flavour of the meat dishes here comes from its four-tonne, dual cavity custom-made grill, fired by coal, apple and almond wood. Burnt Ends upkeeps a seasonal menu to ensure that the freshest produce is always served.
Burnt Ends. 20 Teck Lim Road, Singapore 088391. +65 6224 3933.
Tue-Thu 6-11pm; Fri & Sat 11.45am-2pm, 6-11pm.
Potato Head Singapore
A multi-concept F&B and lifestyle establishment that spans four floors of a heritage building, Potato Head Singapore is a club, a bar and a restaurant all in one.
American comfort food lovers hankering for a bite can enjoy the gourmet burgers at Three Buns, a hip burger joint that also doubles up as a space that supports creatives through collaborations and apparel launches.
If cocktails, great music and buzzing nightlife are what you crave, venture up to Potato Head’s third floor and rooftop. The former houses Studio 1939, an Asian-themed speakeasy with a vast collection of fine spirits, while the latter is a space holding a tiki-themed rooftop bar, playing a range of genres from funk to soul. Get acquainted with the regulars, bust out some dance moves, and show off your social charms; the party’s just getting started.
Potato Head Singapore. 36 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089143. +65 6327 1939.
Tue-Thu & Sun 11-1am; Fri & Sat 11-2am.
Classic cocktail connoisseur? You’ll want to befriend fellow lovers of mixology at Gibson. Located along Bukit Pasoh Road, this intimate award-winning cocktail bar has won numerous accolades, including a number 22 showing at the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018.
The bar has recently updated its menu to include 17 new, Asian-inspired cocktails across three distinct menus: Classic, Southeast Asia and Japan-inspired. The low-key ambience and conversation-starting cocktails here make this a great venue to meet fellow night owls and appreciators of fine drinks.
Gibson. 20 Bukit Pasoh Road Level 2, Singapore 089834. +65 9114 8385.
Mon-Thu 6pm-1am; Fri & Sat 6pm-2am.
If you’ve fallen in love with Keong Saik and would like to fully immerse yourself in the neighbourhood’s charms, you should consider a stay at Hotel 1929. This boutique hotel gets its name from the five conservation shophouses that make up the current building, and boasts 32 individually-designed rooms that take inspiration from Singaporean heritage.
Guests will have opportunities aplenty to make new friends at this establishment: The hotel encourages mingling in its kitchenette area—where guests are welcome to cook their own meals—while the patio makes a great space to relax and grab a quick breakfast.
Hotel 1929. 50 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089154. +65 6717 1929.