PUBLISHED September 26th, 2019 12:01 pm | UPDATED May 18th, 2020 06:52 pm
Unofficially crowned the CBD‘s buzziest ‘hood – though it’s a tough fight with the neighbouring Amoy Street – Telok Ayer never stops teeming with gastronomic life. By day, the hungry office hordes descend on its noodle joints, hip cafes, and hawker centres; by night, the barflies flock here for fine dining and happy hour drinks. Since deciding where to eat is hungry work, we’ve helped you pick out some of the best and the underrated restaurants and bars in Telok Ayer.
Restaurants in Telok Ayer
The Market Grill
If you’re feeling like some surf ‘n’ turf, you can’t go wrong with The Market Grill. This cosy diner serves up fresh seafood and juicy chargrilled meats in an industrial-chic interior. Sink your teeth into their succulent selection of premium steaks, such as grass-fed David Blackmore Wagyu, Rangers Valley WX, and dry-aged John Stone Black Angus. For those who like their meats in a fluffy bun, The Market Grill also does some mean burgers − opt for the Bleu Cheese Burger (S$21/29), a walnut raisin bun loaded with bacon and blue cheese, or splurge on the Lobster Roll, a luscious affair of whole lobster and herbed pommery mayonnaise atop toasted brioche (S$56). Check out our review here.
The Market Grill is located at 208 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068642, p. +65 6221 3323. Open Mon-Sat 11.30am−2.30pm and 6pm−10pm. Closed Sun.
13% Gastro Wine
Tucked on the second floor of a charming shophouse, 13% Gastro Wine takes European wining and dining to new heights. This cosy gastrobar prepares all its charcuterie in-house to ensure the finest flavours−think aromatic duck rillettes, pork marinated in five spices, and the signature 13% Short Rib (S$42), a melt-in-the-mouth slab of slow-cooked beef. The star attraction, of course, remains the sprawling wine list, with varieties curated from more than ten different countries and exciting new labels brought in regularly. Check out our review here.
13% Gastro Wine has outlets in Telok Ayer, Kiliney Road, and Aliwal Street. 13% Gastro [email protected] Ayer is located at 123A Telok Ayer Street 2nd Floor, Singapore 068592, p. +65 6224 6885. Open Mon-Fri 12pm−12am. Closed Sat-Sun.
Chuan Hung Noodles
This unassuming Sichuan joint takes its noodles very, very seriously. Its specialty Mian Yang noodles are sourced from artisans in a specific Sichuan village, handpicked after a full year of research across Sichuan by the Chuan Hung team. The strands of slurpworthy goodness arrive swimming in your choice of clear, red, or mixed broth, topped with fragrant meats like King Prawns with Vine Pepper (S$15.50) and Signature Braised Beef (S$13.50).
Chuan Hung Noodles is located at 51A Telok Ayer St, #01-01, Singapore 048441, p. +65 9755 1058. Open Mon-Fri 10am−3pm and 5pm−9pm, Sat-Sun 10am−9pm.
With a freshly garnered one Michelin star in hand, Cheek Bistro serves up modern Australian fare in a classy-casual setting. Its vibrant array of small to large plates is packed with innovative twists of flavour, courtesy of Chef Rishi Naleendra and team. Fans swear by the signature Confit Duck Leg (S$34), sweetened with parsnip puree, orange, and spiced caramel, as well as the classic Burrata (S$22), accented with a punch of fermented green chili. See our review here.
Cheek Bistro is located at 21 Boon Tat St, Singapore 069620, p. +65 6221 1911. Open Mon-Fri 12pm−2.30pm and 6pm−10pm, Sat 6pm−10.30pm. Closed Sun.
An offshoot of Chef Carles Gaig’s Michelin-starred restaurant in Barcelona, Gaig Restaurant is full of relaxed vibes and rustic charm. The family-owned restaurant offers impeccable renditions of authentic Catalan fare, with recipes preserved from the 19th century. The cannelloni (S$16.50)−pork and foie gras-filled pasta in rich truffle cream sauce−boasts the timeless flavours of the 1869 original, while the Catalan Crème Brûlée (S$10.50) is a rare marvel of cream custard and caramel. Check out our review here.
Gaig Restaurant is located at 16 Stanley Street, Singapore 068735, p. +65 6221 2134. Open Mon-Fri 12pm−2.30pm and 6pm−10pm, Sat 6pm−10pm. Closed Sun.
This laidback Aussie cafe in the heart of the CBD is a go-to brunch spot for Singapore’s hipsters. With their massive sandwiches, hearty salads, and mean cuppas, their brekkie will get you all fuelled up. For lunch and dinner, they also do a great range of pastas and steaks made with grass-fed beef and hormone-free chicken.
Sarnies is located at 136 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068601, p. +65 6224 6091. Open Mon-Tues 7.30am−10.30pm, Wed-Fri 7.30am−12am, Sat-Sun 8.30am−4pm.
There’re no gastronomic rules or boundaries at Preludio, where ‘Author’s Cuisine’ takes centre stage and the menu is ever-changing. Rather than having a specific cuisine focus−say, French or Italian−this avant-garde approach is all about playing with surprising textures and flavours. Preludio’s current chapter, ‘Monochrome’, is an intriguing exploration of black and white tones − think inky black cuts of meat set off by snow-white dressings and cloud-like desserts on ebony tableware. See our review here.
Preludio is located at 182 Cecil Street, #03-01/02 Frasers Tower, Singapore 069547, p. +65 6904 5686. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am−2.30pm and 6pm−9.30pm, Sat 6pm−9.30pm. Closed Sun.
Kitchen by Food Rebel
Kitchen by Food Rebel is proof that healthy food can taste exciting. A pioneer in Singapore’s clean eating scene, this bistro features a colourful array of organic greens, gluten-free wraps, hormone-free meats, and superfood salads. With tasty options like Zoodle Beef Bolognese (S$18) − a zucchini-noodle twist on spaghetti − or The Rebel Chicken Burger (S$21), it might just be cheat day everyday. See our review here.
Kitchen by Food Rebel is located at 28 Stanley Street, Singapore 068737, p. +65 6224 7088. Open Mon-Fri 8am−6pm, Sat 9am−3pm. Closed Sun.
There’s much to love about Muchachos, a neon-lit diner with all the Cali-Mex comfort grub we need. From the hearty California Burrito (S$13.50) to the succulent Buttermilk Fried Chicken (S$12/16.50), the food coma you get after will be completely worth it. Check out our review here.
Muchachos is located at 182 Cecil St, #01-01 Frasers Tower, Singapore 069547, p. +65 6513 0215. Open Mon-Sat 11am−9pm. Closed Sun.
The Mast’ of Mozzarella
Get your fromage fix at The Mast’ of Mozzarella, an Italian restaurant which produces its own mozzarella from traditional buffalo’s milk. Their gooey, fragrant mozzarella makes its way into exquisite dishes like the Salmon Scozzese pizza (S$20/26) and the Tris di Bufala cheese platter (S$38). Check out our review here.
The Mast’ of Mozzarella is located at 182 Cecil Street, #01-05/08 Frasers Tower, Singapore 069547, p. +65 6513 8010. Open Mon-Sat 10am−10pm. Closed Sun.
Best Bars in Telok Ayer
Sum Yi Tai
Drink and dine like Hong Kong’s glitzy gangsters at Sum Yi Tai (meaning ‘Third Wife’ in Cantonese). Crimson-lit and lined with mahjong tiles, this 3-story shophouse exudes all the gritty glamour of a 1980s mobster den. The ground-floor Tapas Bar has a lunch menu of quintessential Hong Kong eats − think dim sum, roast duck, and char siew noodles − and a decadent array of Chinese tapas for dinner. For the full gangster royalty treatment, head up to the third-floor Rooftop Bar. There you can toss back a chrysanthemum-infused Longevity Spritzer (S$16) paired with their Signature XO Carrot Cake (S$12), amidst dreamy canto-pop oldies and majestic skyscraper views. Check out our review here.
Sum Yi Tai is located at 25 Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069622, p. +65 6221 3665. The Tapas Bar is open Mon-Fri 11.30am−2.30pm and 5pm−1am, Sat 6pm−1am. The Rooftop Bar is open Mon-Sat 6pm−1am.
If Sum Yi Tai feels like a mafia boss’ hangout, Mona Lounge would be the plush playground of their alluring, mysterious mistresses. Set on the second floor of the same building where Sum Yi Tai is situated, Mona Lounge is a sumptuous narrative of the ‘third wife’, draped in Oriental prints and leather. This inviting back-room bar serves up creative Cantonese food-inspired tipples, each accompanied by tantalising snippets of Mona’s life. Songstress (S$22) offers a taste of youthful heartache with its bittersweet mix of Bulleit Rye, Pi Pa Gao, and Angostura bitters, while My Favourite Roast (S$22) employs homemade char siew syrup and chili padi to evoke that Hong Kong staple. There’re also delicious Cantonese bites to nosh on as you soak up this atmosphere of glam 80s intrigue. Check out our review here.
Mona Lounge is located at Level 2, 25A Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069622, p. +65 6221 3665. Open Mon-Sat 6pm−1am.
Bitters & Love
The longtime haunt of Singapore’s coolest tipplers, Bitters & Love is beloved for its zany bespoke cocktails in imaginative presentations. You can’t visit without trying their signature Kaya Toast Cocktail, a concoction of rum and earl grey tea topped with a crisp piece of kaya toast. And if you’re in the mood to venture off-menu, the bartenders are only too happy to whip up something wild. Check out our review here.
Bitters & Love is located at 118 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068587, p. +65 6438 1836. Open Tues-Thurs 6pm−12am, Fri 6pm−2am, Sat 7pm−2am. Closed Sun & Mon.
This craft beer den is a snug place to hole up in for after-work pints and quality pub fare. With 16 rotational beers on tap and a sprawling bottle list at Freehouse, your options will never run dry. Pair your brew with an array of scrumptious bar bites, from wings to fries to tacos.
Freehouse is located at 21A Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069620, p. +65 8362 6740. Open Mon-Thurs & Sat 5pm−12am, Fri 3pm−12am. Closed Sun.
Shin Gi Tai
Having relocated to Telok Ayer from Haji Lane last year, Head Bartender-Owner Anthony Zhong’s striking creations will give your jaded palate a kick. The Hot Peanut Butter Rum (S$22) puts a nutty twist on the rum hot toddy, while the jalapeño-infused Green, White, & Red (S$20) will certainly make your tongue dance.
Shin Gi Tai is located at 179 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068627, p. +65 9768 4132. Open Mon-Sat 6pm−12am. Closed Sun.
Le Quinze Vins
Classy Parisian wine bar Le Quinze Vins is an oenophile haven, carrying well over 1000 French labels for all budgets. No worries if you find yourself lost within the sprawling 50-page wine menu − have a chat with the friendly sommeliers for recommendations as you nibble on artisanal cheese and cold cuts.
Le Quinze Vins is located at 29 Boon Tat Street, G/F, Singapore 069624, p. +65 6222 8266. Open Mon-Wed 3pm−12am, Thurs-Fri 12pm−12am, Sat 4pm−11pm. Closed Sun.
Decked out in paper lanterns and Japanese murals, Shukuu Izakaya has all the gritty charm of Tokyo’s alleyways. The bar stocks around 50 artisanal sakes from Japan’s best breweries, with the owners refreshing their sake options every few months. Choose from a delicious selection of nosh − sashimi, stews, yakitori and more − and the staff is reasonably decent at offering recommendations for sake pairings.
Shukuu Izakaya is located at 8 Stanley Street, Singapore 068727, p. +65 6327 9240. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am−2pm and 5.30pm−11pm, Sat 6pm−10.30pm. Closed Sun.
Top Image: The Market Grill