Singapore’s Hidden Culinary Gems: 8 Ulu Restaurants Worth the Journey

Many hidden restaurants dot across our tiny island. Much of it is steeped in tradition as these restaurants have been serving great food for decades.

From quirky decor to fresh ingredients, these hidden gems are sure to make your travel worthwhile!

1. Little Island Brewing Co.

Little Island Brewing Co., located at Changi Village in Singapore, is a 10,000-square-foot, 400-seater microbrewery and smokehouse known for its locally brewed craft beers and sumptuous smoked meats.

It offers a laid-back, rustic vibe typical of Changi Village, making it a great spot for relaxing under starry skies and twinkly fairy lights. This venue is recommended by The New York Times as a must-visit destination in Singapore.

The microbrewery prides itself on selling only its own beer, made in-house, and offers a range of beers on a rotational basis. Their classic English pale ale is an all-time favourite, with nonalcoholic kombucha also available for non-drinkers.

The menu features a variety of dishes, with highlights including 15-hour smoked beef brisket and melt-in-your-mouth pork belly. Their Napolitano-style sourdough pizza, created with a house-made kombucha starter, is a specialty to look out for.

Customer reviews generally highlight the excellent atmosphere, the variety of beers and food, and the unique vibe of the place. However, opinions on specific dishes vary; some find certain items less to their liking. Overall, the reviews paint a picture of a popular spot with a strong local following, known for its good food, diverse drink options, and enjoyable ambiance.

2. Bistro Gardenasia

Bistro Gardenasia is a unique dining destination that offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

This bistro is part of a larger establishment that includes farm stay and event space, providing a serene and peaceful atmosphere, especially on weekday evenings when it’s less crowded.

The menu at Bistro Gardenasia features a variety of dishes that emphasize a farm-to-table experience, with ingredients sourced from local farms. Their offerings include appetizing selections of salads, steaks, pasta, and local dishes with a unique twist. A popular choice is the Pan-Roasted Lamb with Fresh Mint Sauce and the Grilled Ribeye with Red Wine Gravy. These dishes are noted for their tenderly grilled meat and fresh, flavorful ingredients. The Pan-Roasted Lamb, for instance, is particularly praised for being succulent and well-prepared.

An interesting aspect of their menu is the ‘Meat Add-On’ option, where diners can pair a salad with a protein such as Pan-Roasted Lamb or Char-grilled Ribeye for an additional cost. The Char-grilled Ribeye Hor Fun is a noteworthy dish, offering a generous portion of ribeye on top of Hor fun, with a sauce that is both sweet and peppery.

The bistro is also known for its large servings, with salads noted for their fresh and crunchy greens, and generous amounts of toppings like melted mozzarella cheese on portobello mushrooms.

3. Rasa Istimewa Waterfront Restaurant

Rasa Istimewa Waterfront Restaurant in Singapore is well-regarded for its excellent location and diverse food offerings. This restaurant offers a picturesque view overlooking the Johor Strait, making it an ideal spot for a relaxing dining experience with a scenic backdrop.

The restaurant specializes in a variety of cuisines including Seafood, Asian, Singaporean, and Malaysian dishes, and it caters to different dietary needs by offering Halal food options. Customers can enjoy a range of meals for both lunch and dinner. The ambiance of the restaurant is often described as nice and breezy, making it a good choice for family outings or romantic dinners.

Customers have consistently praised the quality and taste of the food, highlighting dishes such as satay, sambal stingray, butter-fried prawns, and steamed fish. The service is noted for being prompt, and the restaurant’s unique location on a jetty extending into the water adds to its charm. The opportunity to stroll around the jetty and enjoy the fresh air and views is a bonus that many visitors appreciate.

Rasa Istimewa Waterfront Restaurant is also a part of a larger group, with other outlets located at SAFRA Jurong and Pasir Ris Park, each offering their unique dining experiences.

4. Springleaf Prata

Springleaf Prata Place in Singapore is well-known for its creative and diverse range of prata dishes. The restaurant is appreciated for its Indian, Asian, and Singaporean cuisine, offering vegetarian-friendly and Halal options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch​​.

One of the highlights of Springleaf Prata Place is its innovative approach to fusion prata dishes. They began this trend in 2012 with the Ultimate Murtabak and have since released a variety of unique prata creations each year, such as the Murtaburger, Plaster Blaster, Umami 50, Salted Egg Prawn Prata, and Prata Alfredo. Each dish reflects a blend of traditional prata with elements from different cuisines and culinary inspirations​.

For example, the Salted Egg Prawn Prata is a Singaporean-inspired dish, featuring a blend of salted egg, prawns, and mozzarella, served in a rectangular shape reminiscent of a murtabak. It’s praised for its perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors, complemented by stretchy cheese and fresh, juicy prawns​​.

Another popular dish is the Plaster Blaster, which is a take on Eggs Benedict with a prata twist. It combines a creamy texture with an aromatic “Indian sauce” (a spiced version of hollandaise sauce), a slice of ham, and a runny egg, creating a rich and flavorful experience​​.

The restaurant also offers the Praclette, an inventive take on the Swiss raclette. It’s a plain prata topped with raclette cheese, truffle oil, sauteed onion, shiitake mushroom, black olives, sriracha, and turkey ham, presenting a strong and savory taste​​.

Aside from these inventive dishes, Springleaf Prata Place also serves more typical prata dishes like the Mini Ultimate Murtabak, loaded with tandoori chicken, portobello mushrooms, and mozzarella, offering a tasty yet milder flavor profile compared to their more experimental offerings​​.

5. Hub & Spoke Cafe

Hub & Spoke Cafe, located just outside Changi Airport Terminal 2, is a unique and attractive destination for both airport staff and visitors. This hidden glass house cafe, surrounded by lush greenery, offers a refreshing break from the bustling airport environment.

The cafe is known for its appealing black and white colonial style and provides a tranquil space with ample natural sunlight. With seating for 30 (24 indoors and 6 outdoors), it’s a cozy spot that caters to various dining preferences. The cafe operates from 7:30 am and offers a diverse menu that includes local breakfast toast and traditional kopi/teh, as well as more cafe-style brunch, pasta, sandwiches, and trendy drinks like Bubble Tea and Avocado Shakes.

Some of the recommended items at Hub & Spoke Cafe include The Big Brekkie, Wagyu Beef Burger, Crab Pasta, Nasi Lemak with Chicken, Avocado Toast, and Truffle Crab Roll. The brunch menu, featuring items like Scrambled Egg on Toast, Egg Benedict, Salmon Benedict, and Big Breakfast, is noted for being reasonably priced compared to many other cafes.

Patrons have particularly appreciated dishes such as the Salmon Benedict, which is well-executed and offers good value for its price. The sandwiches, like the Chick & Ave with grilled chicken and roasted tomatoes on toasted sourdough bread, have also received positive reviews. The traditional kopi and teh are a hit among cyclists and other visitors looking for a robust and energizing drink.

6. The Punggol Settlement

The Punggol Settlement, located in northeastern Singapore, offers a unique waterfront dining experience. It has undergone significant redevelopment from its days as Punggol Jetty, a popular seafood spot in the 1970s to 90s. Today, it’s a bustling area with a variety of restaurants, bars, cafes, and activities suitable for families and tourists.

Visitors to The Punggol Settlement can enjoy a range of dining options, including seafood, thanks to establishments like House of Seafood, Inspirit House, Ponggol Seafood, White Restaurant, and more. The area is particularly recommended for those looking to enjoy a meal with a refreshing ambiance away from the city.

The reviews for The Punggol Settlement are generally positive, highlighting its great seaview, especially for watching sunsets. It’s described as a quiet place to relax, especially in the morning, with a go-cycling kiosk available and many restaurants along with a 7-11 store. The area is also linked to Punggol Park, offering a great view of the Johore Straits.

Visitors have praised the food quality, particularly noting dishes like Ponggol Chilli Crab and Seafood. The service is reported to be excellent, with staff being friendly and welcoming. Additionally, the ambiance of dining in a garden-like setting with greenery outside the windows has been well-received.

7. Beaulieu House

Built in the 1910s, it originally served as the holiday residence of Joseph Brooke David, a Jewish businessman. The name “Beaulieu” translates to “beautiful place” in French, aptly describing its scenic location and intricate design.

During the 1920s, Beaulieu House was acquired by the colonial government and has since served various roles, including as a residence for senior naval officers. After 1971, when the British forces left Singapore, the area around Beaulieu House was redeveloped into Sembawang Park, and since 1981, the building has been functioning as a restaurant. In 2005, it was accorded conservation status​​.

The restaurant offers a wide variety of Western and Chinese cuisine. Its menu includes set menus, a la carte options, and weekend brunch. Some of the standout dishes include the Hainanese Pork Chop and the Nasi Lemak with Chicken. Patrons can enjoy their meals in an air-conditioned indoor setting or opt for non-air-conditioned areas for a more nostalgic feel. The restaurant’s location atop a hill overlooking the Johore Straits provides a magnificent view of the sea, adding to the overall dining experience.

Customers have generally praised Beaulieu House for its great ambiance, which combines old nostalgia and a colonial house feel. The sea views are particularly appreciated, making it an ideal spot to relax and enjoy the scenery.

8. Smith Marine Floating Restaurant

Smith Marine Floating Restaurant, Singapore’s sole floating kelong restaurant, revolutionizes dining with its unique offshore setting. Nestled between Changi and Pulau Ubin, it beckons guests for an exclusive adventure, accessible solely via a chartered bumboat from Changi Village Ferry Terminal. This journey is not just a commute; it’s an escape from the mainland, adding an extra layer of excitement to the dining experience.

More than just a culinary destination, this modern kelong doubles as a bustling fish farm, producing around 30 tonnes of fish annually. It’s home to favorites like seabass, red snapper, and grouper, sprawling over nearly 5,000 sqm. It also serves as an enlightening educational hub, particularly for children eager to learn about aquaculture.

At Smith Marine, the adventure heightens with the “Sure Catch” Pond. Here, diners don’t just eat; they engage. They can hook groupers and snappers themselves, choosing to savor their catch fresh in Hong Kong or Teochew styles right at the restaurant, or take it home as a trophy.

The menu at Smith Marine is a seafood lover’s paradise. It boasts a diverse array of oceanic delights: mussels cultivated on-site, squids, and flower crabs sourced from local fishermen. Seasonal specialties include mud crabs and lobsters, fattened right at the farm. A skilled Chinese chef, reminiscent of zi char culinary traditions, artfully prepares these dishes.

As a halal-certified venue, it does not serve alcohol. The ambiance, enriched by the sea breeze and scenic views, offers an enjoyable experience, though the lack of air conditioning is a consideration during warmer days.

Need To Get Around? Look No Further

Some of these places are remote enough that having no motor vehicles would entail long walks and bus rides. Hence, you might want to consider getting a foldable bike to accompany you on these journeys!

In June 2017, LTA approved the boarding of foldable bikes onto public transit. This creates a cheap and alternative way to travel to remote places, without spending excessively on Grab or gas.

We carry a wide variety of foldable bikes — ranging from traditional road bikes to bikes that can go through dirt paths. Check them out on our store today!

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