Singapore’s Upper Thomson area, near Marymount MRT, is a serious contender to become the next Tiong Bahru, as more cafés, restaurants and boutiques continue to open up in the area. Currently it’s a tad difficult to get to for lazy CBD-dwellers – a 15-minute walk away from the closest MRT line that doesn’t even pass through the city. But that will all change in a few years when the Upper Thomson Line opens and connects the neighborhood directly to the likes of Orchard and Outram Park.
Instagram-friendly plating and affordable, delicious brunch fare, has made Habitat Coffee very popular with the local student crowd. The café offers fairly standard brunch items such as eggs benedict, pancakes and waffles – some of the mains are more adventurous such the Pick A Date date pudding with butterscotch sauce, chili crab linguine and as a Canadian, I certainly appreciate that they take a stab at my national dish of poutine. Where Habitat Coffee truly shines is their coffee selection and range of hot and cold coffee beverages.
📍223 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574355 , +65 6456 2567
Old School Delights doubles down on the themes with both retro and school cafeteria themes. The store is stocked with vintage toys, with the decor to complement it. Think CRT televisions, rotary phones and typewriters. Old school delights is one of the most affordable restaurants in the area with most mains coming in under $10. Expect typical hawker fare such as laksa, nasi lemak and mee siam, with a modern twist.
📍215M Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574349 , +65 6458 4518
Open from 9am until 2am, and always busy, roti prata house will satisfy your cravings for delicious Indian and Muslim fare late into the night. Their claim to fame is being deemed home of the best crispy prata by local press: The New Paper. If you’re feeling particularly hungry, try the mutton curry – it’s quite rich and heavy, but the mutton is succulent and the curry is spiced perfectly.
📍246M Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 574370 , +65 6459 5260
Ready to forget your diet and indulge in all things deep fried? Fatboy’s The Burger Bar has you covered. Singapore’s hipster burger bar has recently taken offense to McDonald’s new slogan, Now everyone can atas, a Singlish phrase meaning everyone can be high class. To counter that, they’ve now started offering their own salted egg soft shell crab burger that looks absolutely delicious and perfect to indulge in on your cheat-day.
Meng’s Kitchen became a Thomson Road staple by offering great food 24 hours a day. But these days, as competition increases, Meng’s Kitchen keeps slightly more manageable hours and is open from 9.30am until 4.30am. Although friendliness in the staff is non-existent and the cleanliness of the restaurant is dubious, Meng’s Kitchen is still worth a visit for its superb bak chor mee, a dish of flat yellow egg noodles, minced pork, fish balls and bits of mushroom, easily one of the best on the island.
Located a little further down Upper Thomson, just past Thomson Plaza on Jasmine Road, Little Part 1 Café is well worth the trek. Specializing in craft beer, comfort food and crepes, this place is as delicious as it is adorable. Try their shepherd’s pie or go big and opt for the Honey Roasted Ribs. Pair your meal with their impressive selection of craft beers including Trappist beers from Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as beers from Germany and Japan.
📍15 Jasmine Road, Singapore 576584, +65 6451 7553
Badoque, which in Malay is slang for ‘to eat’, is popular because of its delicious food and giant portions. It’s also Halal-certified. Although Singapore has a large Malay population, people are often stuck eating McDonald’s as not many restaurants are willing to commit to being Halal. Considering that, it’s great that Badoque Café offers a comprehensive international menu, but if you’re not ordering the spanner crab pasta or the ‘literally falling off the bone’ Badoque ribs, you’re missing out.
📍246 Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 574370, +65 6552 1646
Pacamara is one of those blindingly white minimalist cafés that looks somewhat intimidating but is absolutely worth stepping into. For brunch, they offer dishes like truffle benedict and salmon royale, paired with strong, free trade coffee. For dinner, Pacamara is constantly changing their menu to keep customers coming back. Tip: try the slow cooked ox cheek – one of the few permanent items on an ever-changing menu.
One Man Coffee takes on the speak-easy trend to become one of Singapore’s hidden café gems. These two establishments share one location with One Man Coffee open from 9am until 5pm, and Garçons opening up for dinner at 5pm. One Man Coffee serves mostly sweet breakfast meals, although there are a few savory options as well, and specializes in coffee that is popular in Australia. At night, Garçons serves up French classics with a modern twist in a casual dining environment.
📍215R Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574349 , +65 9658 1685
Satisfy your cravings for kimchi, k-pop and all things Korean at Auntie Kim’s. Besides serving up some seriously delicious samgyetang (ginseng chicken noodle soup) and dolsot bibimbap (hot stone rice with vegetables and red pepper sauce), the restaurant completes the atmosphere with Korean music and waitresses dressed in hanboks, traditional Korean clothing. If you’re looking for something healthier, try the nameyong, buckwheat noodles served in an ice cold, slightly mustardy, broth.
📍265 Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 574392, +65 6452 2112