When in Singapore, Jalan Besar is the perfect neighborhood to visit when you’re hungry but not yet sure what you want to eat. Tucked in between Little India, Farrer Park and Bugis, this neighborhood offers up dining options to fit every taste and budget. Here’s our selection of the best restaurants in Jalan Besar to feed your appetite.
On the surface, AEIOU seems like yet another vintage café in Singapore. It’s true, these cafés have become a dime a dozen across the island. However, AEIOU has a level of authenticity that other cafés have not managed, in part thanks to the owners salvaging and repurposing much of the furniture and decorations inside. The café is easy to miss, because the storefront sign is in fact still the one from the old antique shop that was housed there the 1970s. The menu is more sophisticated than your standard vintage café, with offerings such as beef cheek and pan seared sea bass. They are most famous for their avocado coffee, which is served in a repurposed Absolut vodka bottle.
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Lighthouse Bistro + Bar
Bar, Bistro, Seafood, Pub Grub, European, Wine, Beer, $$$
Fishermen's Angel Hair | Courtesy of the Lighthouse Bistro + Bar
The Lighthouse Bistro has been serving up delicious, maritime-inspired meals to the Singapore Maritime Officers Union for the last decade. Their commitment to having the freshest selection follows a maritime concept that will please anyone who loves to eat seafood. For the widest variety, start with their Fisherman’s Board, which offers a selection of tiger prawns, Batavia squid, Atlantic dory and blue mussels. The Fishermen’s Angel Hair, a spicy fusion dish, has consistently been one of their most popular dishes.
Go to Cocotte if you fancy French dining without leaving a hole in your wallet. This casual French restaurant is located in the lobby of the Wanderlust Hotel. Thanks to its location, their menu is quite extensive. Along with offering a weekday set lunch, they also offer a full buffet breakfast daily, and an all-day à la carte menu featuring French classics, such as steak frites and beef short rib Bourguignon.
Hungry Heroes, Singapore | Courtesy of Hungry Heroes
One of Singapore’s earliest themed cafés, and the island’s first café with a superhero theme, Hungry Heroes feels more like a toy store than a restaurant when you first step in. And to be fair, it is a toy shop, in the sense that many of the decorations on the walls are available for purchase. However, once you’re seated and you turn to the menu, you’ll see that Hungry Heroes is also ready to satisfy your inner carnivore. Their menu has extensive meat offerings, including pork ribs, steak and lamb and, if you feel like sharing, go for the Nice to Meat You platter, which serves three to four guests, with half a rack of pork ribs, a 200-gram sirloin steak, a 250-gram chicken leg and pulled pork with a choice of roasted potatoes or fries. Seriously, it’s all about the meat at Hungry Heroes.
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Japanese, Beer, Wine, $$$
The Refinery interior | Debbs/Flickr
The Refinery is a cool place to hang out based on the ambiance and decor alone. The space is divided into three stories; a Japanese yakitori on the first floor, a craft beer and bespoke cocktail bar on the second, and a designer workspace on the third – the open-concept layout of these floors means that the first floor has incredible, three-storey high ceilings. The food is a mix of traditional yakitori skewers, small bowls and Western-inspired sides – the style is more akin to tapas than a full meal, so go with a group and taste as much of the menu as you can!
The Bao Makers take the classic Singapore bun snack and modernize it with successful results. Their main focus is mantou buns, either steamed or fried, with different fillings including the classic pork belly, a Korean-inspired bulgogi, the ever-popular salted egg shrimp and the classic Singaporean flavor, chili crab. Besides bao, they also offer a menu of both Asian- and Western-inspired sides and main dishes, such as fish and chips and yakiniku don, a rice bowl with stir-fried beef slices and an onsen egg. The Bao Makers Café and Bakery, 78 Horne Rd, Singapore, +65 6291 2330