As a born and bred Singaporean that has lived 26 years of her life in the West, I’ve curated an ultimate guide to secret date/gathering spots peppered over Hillview, Beauty World, and King Albert Park.
It’s refreshing to see new date/gathering activities pop up every now and then. But the truth is, more often than not, we’re too lazy to travel thaattttt far for one activity. So if you’re a westie, you’re in luck. Here’s to having fun and getting home ASAP after.
P.S, I’d cover more areas, but that’s for next time okay ):
Ultimate guide for things to do in Hillview
Spend the afternoon with kitties at The Cat Cafe
A dog’s love is unconditional, but if you’ve managed to earn the affection of a cat, you’re probably a saint. To test if you’re truly virtuous, make a visit to The Cat Cafe at Railmall where you’ll be judged by a panel of 14 rescued kitties.
The interior of the cafe is kept pretty simple, but take a closer look and you’ll find many obstacles on the walls for the felines to play on. The place is also littered with cat posts and toys, a true haven for these devils.
Entry will cost S$16 per customer and you’ll be granted two hours with the kitties and a complimentary soft drink. Other bakes are also available for sale, just in case you’re feeling peckish — but don’t leave your food unattended!
Make your reservation here.
Take a photoshoot or hike along Rail Corridor
For those who do not know, the Rail Corridor is a nature trail along the former Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) railway line connecting Singapore and Malaysia. The Malaysian rail service ceased operations in 2011, leaving the place as an icon that all hipsters and fitspos are familiar with.
The 4km section stretches from The Rail Mall to the conserved Bukit Timah Railway Station near King Albert Park MRT station, allowing you to stop and admire landmarks such as the Hillview Bridge, the Upper Bukit Timah Road truss bridge, and the Singapore Quarry Bridge along the way.
Since there are eight access points to the rail tracks, you can hop off this rustic trail whenever you like and head for some refreshments. Our ultimate guide also leads to Beauty World, so if you’re planning for a pit stop nearby, read on!
Find out more about the Rail corridor here.
Trek to Singapore Quarry
For those living in the West, it’s not uncommon to hike up Singapore’s highest point at Bukit Timah Hill. But for a change of pace, try trekking to Singapore Quarry instead.
The vast lake is home to plenty of fishes and small reptiles such as tortoises and monitor lizards, and you’ll even get to see rarer species of birds here.
For those that live for the gram’, there’s also a boardwalk that’ll provide photo ops.
To reach the place, take the concrete track starting from the entrance near car park A. The distance is about 1.3km and will take around 30 minutes to reach.
Do wear proper shoes as the terrain here can get rocky!
🗓️ 8am–5.30pm (Daily)
Things to eat in Hillview
iO Italian Osteria — Modern-day tavern with truffle stuffed bread
It can be disappointing to visit a restaurant for its ‘authentic’ food only to be let down. But at iO Italian Osteria, there’ll be no such baloney. The modern-day tavern serves up some of the best Italian nosh in Singapore, and even has daily fresh bakes that always draw snaking queues.
For starters, try the Traditional Stuffed Roman Schiacciata (S$10). Generously loaded with truffle cream, the Italian flatbread is served in golden, thin-crusted sheets.
You can’t say that you visited an Italian restaurant if you didn’t have pasta, so go for the Homemade Tagliolini with prawns, asparagus, lemon, and aromatic breadcrumbs (S$22). Expect a perfect al-dente texture with crunchy prawns, all tossed in a special umami sauce.
Make your reservation here.
Coexist Coffee Co. — Hidden rooftop cafe with split colours
Nestled on the eighth floor of Hillview Terrace, Coexist Coffee Co. is a true hideout for the westies. The place used to be a canteen which serves the building’s tenants, but has since been refurbished to welcome this new baby.
Most cafes that choose red and white for their interior design scream “Majulah Singapura”, even if unintentionally. But if anything, this dual-toned cafe looks chic and rustic — the stuff of Instagram dreams.
Over at Coexist Coffee Co., they have a variety of fusion dishes, including Rendang Wagyu Beef Burger (S$22), Sambal Fish & Chips (S$20), and the Middle Eastern Chili Crab Shakshuka (S$16).
Filled with chunks of juicy crab meat, a power-packed chili crab sauce, and topped with a poached egg and mantou, the Chili Crab Shakshuka is one of the must-tries at the cafe.
Wang Family Kitchen — Home-style family buffet under $20
Put the words ‘Korea’ and ‘buffet’ together and one might think of KBBQ. But for a true Korean experience, head to Wang Family Kitchen at Hillview Community Centre, where you’ll get to indulge in a home-style buffet at only S$18.90/pax.
Run by a Korean family, the menu changes on a daily basis so you’ll always be surprised. Some of the previous mains served are Spicy Garlic Fried Chicken, Beef Bone Soup, and Bulgogi Beef, and they’re served with the usual side dishes such as steamed egg, tteokbokki and even gimbap.
Since it’s a buffet, you can request unlimited refills — there’s no service or GST charge either!
Springleaf Prata Place — Huge crispy pratas & murtabaks
Springleaf Prata Place is no stranger to the people who crave a hearty breakfast and the nocturnal eaters of Singapore. Known for their crispy prata, the place is visited by people who know their doughs.
Besides the wide variety of flavours, Springleaf Prata also offers the Ultimate Murtabak (S$12) — a mega-sized murtabak that’s suitable for four pax. If you’re hanging out with your friends, this is the place to go.
Ultimate guide for things to do in Beauty World
Get a massage at Tang Dynasty in a private room for 2pax
Tang Dynasty Massage & Spa’s slogan is “The Royal Treatment You Deserve”, so if you know a bud that’s been slogging at work, this is the place to take them to knead the stress and tension away.
The massage parlour offers a private treatment room for two, where you’ll get to lie on soft padded beds and have access to a private shower cubicle. With an oriental body massage and soothing music in the background, your worries would melt away. At S$115/60 minutes for 2pax, this breaks down to an affordable price of S$57.50 per person — how’s that for a guide to navigating Beauty World?
Tang Dynasty Massage & Spa (Bukit Timah outlet)
📍 2 Chun Tin Road, Singapore 599589
🗓️ 10am–4am (Daily)
Make your reservation at 6894 6466.
Get Korean snacks and groceries at KORYO MART
Korea is more than just the land of oppas and jjimjilbang (bathhouses). Korea is also a landfill of good food and exquisite snacks. From the sought-after LOTTE Choco Pies to Honey Butter Almonds, they have it all at KORYO MART.
Though many guides have been written on Beauty World, hidden along Lor Kilat, the mart remains unfounded by many. The treasure trove of Korean snacks is just waiting to be snagged off the shelves, so grab a basket and make the biggest snack haul of your life.
KORYO MART (Bukit timah outlet)
📍 17 Lor Kilat, Singapore 598139
🗓️ 10.30am–9.30pm (Daily)
See exotic fishes at Exquisite Fishes
COVID-19 bred a new wave of home bakers, green thumbs, and pet keepers. And if you belong in the third group, you’ll love Exquisite Fishes, an aquarium that specialises in exotic and show fish.
These fishes are known for their beautiful colours and markings, and are kept at optimum conditions due to their delicate nature. If you’d like to get into the hobby, they are available for viewing and purchase.
Run by fish enthusiasts, they’ll be sure to provide you with extensive information on how to properly keep these babies — but remember not to get any pets purely on impulse!
📍 68 Jln Jurong Kechil, Singapore 598587
🗓️ 11am–4pm (Tues–Fri), 1pm–5pm (Sat), 12pm–4pm (Sun), Closed Mon
Opening timings may differ, check their Facebook page for updates.
Things to eat in Beauty World
BBQ Box — Meat skewers from $1.20
If you’ve a penchant for eating food off skewers, you’re in for a treat. At BBQ Box, order as many skewered meat and seafood skewers as you like and eat to your heart’s content.
Skewers start at S$1.20/piece and there’s an assortment of meat to choose from. Whether it’s beef, mutton, chicken, or even vegetables you crave, they have it all. Since the skewers are served on top of a heat-up box, your food stays warm.
Other popular dishes include Grilled Fish (S$38.80) and Japanese Pork Dumplings (S$9.80), which’ll be great for sharing.
BBQ Box (Bukit Timah outlet)
📍 22 Cheong Chin Nam Rd, Singapore 599746
🗓️ 2pm–2am (Mon–Fri), 12pm–2am (Sat, Sun)
Ajiya Okonomiyaki — Japanese Teppan house with potato cheese mentai
Ajiya Okonomiyaki has long been famed for their DIY okonomiyakis. Although that liberty has been taken away by COVID-19, the small Japanese eatery still stands strong with a loyal chain of customers.
Just 5 minutes away from the MRT, this restaurant remains as a favourite in this guide to Beauty World. One step into the restaurant transports you to a Japanese Teppan house where you’ll be greeted with food on hot grills.
You can order the okonomiyaki and order other side dishes such as the Potato Cheese Mentai (S$11) and Yaki Soba (S$12).
PINK CANDY — Rooftop garden Korean eatery
Our guide to Beauty World may be extensive, but price and budget matters too. If you’re up for affordable army stew on a rooftop with alfresco seating, look no further. Located in the humble Beauty World Hawker Centre, the restaurant serves up authentic Korean dishes at low price points.
Share an Army Stew (S$22.90) that’s perfect for two, or order a myriad of delectable side dishes such as Spicy Rice Cake (S$8.90), Seafood Pancake (S$12.90), or Grilled Pork Belly (S$13.90).
With over 10 years of experience in making Kimchi, Pink Candy claims to have the best kimchi recipe in Singapore — don’t miss out on that.
Joo Seng Teowchew Porridge — Comforting food with lots of side dishes
For a humble meal to end your day guide to Beauty World, indulge in a hot, comforting bowl of plain ol’ porridge at Jooseng Teowchew Porridge, a perennial favourite amongst Singaporeans of all ages. The porridge itself is nothing to shout about, but its meant to be paired with other delicacies such as the tenderly braised duck leg, which is drenched in a savoury-sweet sauce.
Other accompanying dishes include otah, steamed fish, and chye poh (radish) omelette that’ll complete your meal.
Jooseng Teowchew Porridge
📍 14 Cheong Chin Nam Rd, Singapore 599738
🗓️ 9.30am–4am (Daily)
Oven & Fried Chicken — Popular Korean fried chicken
To sum up our guide to Beauty World, we’ve left the best for the last.
Not doing or thinking about work but frolicking around all day? Sinful. Deliciously deep-fried chicken coated in a sensational garlic soy sauce? Even more sinful. If that’s what your hearts are after, satisfy your desires at Oven & Fried Chicken.
While there are lots of parts to choose from, we recommend going boneless for the best experience. Try the Yang Nyeom Chicken (Boneless) (Whole S$42/ Half S$25) for spicy kick or the Soy Sauced Chicken (Boneless) (Whole S$42/ Half S$25) if you prefer sweeter notes.
Ultimate guide for things to do in King Albert Park
Get the VIP experience at independent cinema, EagleWings cinematics
Wanna have a luxe movie-going experience, with plenty of legroom and not having to joust for elbow space in a cramped theatre? This independent theatre at King Albert Park Mall is just what you’re looking for, then.
With a multitude of halls to choose from, ranging from the premium and spacious 18-seater Platinum Class to the 63-seater classic hall, you can choose the best movie experience tailor-made to you. Of course, the cosy Platinum Class would provide a memorable movie date experience that includes a plush pre-screening lounge.
Catch toys not feelings at Cow Play Cow Moo
A popular arcade that’s home to many shiny neon-lit arcade machines, particularly renowned for claw machines, where you can try your hand at winning a plushie or figurine. Catching a prize successfully is an achievement that will garner you fame, pride, and glory from the on-lookers. But catching a toy for your date? That’ll win you her heart.
Besides, nothing helps connect better than talking about your nostalgic childhood memories hanging out at arcades! While this is a smaller space as compared to their flagship, it’s still a nice pit stop before your next meal or movie.
Settle a quarrel at Axe Factor at The Grandstand
Have some steam to vent and an axe to grind with your colleague but can’t because you’re such a kind, civilised person? We’ve all been there, that’s why Axe Factor is a godsent for frustrated peeps to let off some steam where you can freely, and safely, throw some axes without breaking any laws.
Starting from S$30 per pax for 1 hour, you’d get instructed by an experienced “Axe-pert” to ensure your swings are smooth and glide safely without injuring anyone. So you don’t have to worry and just aim for the bullseye!
Make a booking here.
Feed bunnies and ride horses at The Gallop Stable
What makes for a better date between 2 animal lovers than a relaxing afternoon out feeding cute animals? And unlike the crowded and noisy zoo, you can get up close and personal for these cute critters to eat right out of your hand for S$2 per feed packet, during feeding sessions on weekends between 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 6pm.
Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also hop onto horseback with leisure riding sessions starting from S$70/hour where you can trod through the lush greenery and hidden trails off the beaten road. Find out more here.
Wander back in time to Junkie’s Corner
Are old-school cafes and taking snapshots on retro film cameras your vibe? For the old soul in a young body, Junkie’s Corner is a rare corner of Singapore where time has completely stopped and remains electrifyingly vintage.
Not only can it satiate your wanderlust and fondness of everything nostalgic, the whimsical trinkets and charming rustic vibes also make for great OOTDs in a hidden gem that will let you stand out from the crowd.
But if you’re an aspiring antique collector, you’d probably feel like a kid in a candy shop as you walk through cramped shops filled to the brim with old-timey typewriters, sturdy wooden stools, unnervingly lifelike statues, and even busts of Master Chief from Halo. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
📍 2 Turf Club Rd, Singapore 2879887 Binjai Park, Singapore 589821
🗓️ 10am–5pm (Daily)
Things to eat in King Albert Park
LINO — Affordable pizza nights
Wanna impress your date with some fancy schmancy Italian food without burning into your savings? LINO is your answer — the cosy Italian restaurant offers sumptuous Italian fare at affordable prices, located in a quaint enclave away from the bustle of crowds, perfect for an intimate dinner after a day out exploring Beauty World.
Their signature Burrata Pizza (S$26) will sweep your date off their feet with a gorgeous blob of sexy oozy burrata, with aromatic whispers of pesto to add some spice to it. Or get a plate of their Beef Short Rib Fettuccine (S$29), where you’d probably fight over every last strand of the richly-coated pasta and end up in a lady and the tramp spaghetti slurping kinda sich.
Make your reservations here.
MoMiJi Kyoto Cafe — A trip back to Kyoto without your passport
Wanna fulfill bae’s wish of going to Kyoto but the big bad pandemic isn’t letting you be the romantic hero you want to be? You can still do it anyways — just whisk them off their feet for OOTDs with the iconic “Torii gates” here at Momiji Kyoto Cafe.
While at the same time, you can also experience the different seasons in Kyoto in 4 different themed seats, with the cherry-blossom walls of the spring area particularly eye-catching.
Besides the immersive Kyoto-themed decor, the food here also throws you back to Japan with authentic sandos including Tamago (S$10.80) and Pork Katsu (S$12.80), as well as the fragrant Matcha Pudding Kyoto Hot Sandwich (S$16.20) for matcha lovers.
IVINS Peranakan restaurant — Peranakan food with most dishes under $8
Looking to add some spice into your dinner dates? IVINS Peranakan Restaurant can help you do that — literally. Founded in 1988, this hidden gem serves up homely Peranakan cuisine at wallet-friendly prices, perhaps one of the best spots for a satisfying meal in the Beauty World area.
Some of their signature dishes include the tangy and fork-tender Babi Pongteh (S$6.80), the indulgently fragrant Nyonya Curry Fishhead (S$23.80), and the enigmatically jet-black Ayam Buah Keluak (S$7.50). You can then end off your meal on a sweet note with authentic desserts such as Pulut Hitam (S$1.40) and Chendol (S$1.40).
IVINS Peranakan restaurant
📍 19/21 Binjai Park Singapore, Singapore 589827
🗓️ 10am–7pm (Daily)
Tearuk Dessert Bar — Fluffy buns with overflowing fillings
If you’re missing the decadent street food of BKK, you can get a taste of the +66 right here at this cute Thai dessert cafe at Grandstand. They specialise in Yaowarat Buns (S$2.50 each) which are loaded with a glut of luscious filling. They are so stuffed, it looks like they can overflow at any moment!
The best thing about Tearuk Dessert Bar’s 8 flavours is the fact they aren’t limited to the usual suspects like condensed milk. Besides Milk, there’s also Thai Tea Kaya, Taro, and Chocolate. Their signature Thai Pandan Kaya is also perfect if you’re tired of our local kaya toast breakfasts.
Cover image adapted from SabyLoves on YouTube