Keong Saik Carnival


Keong Saik Road’s renaissance is culminating this weekend with the Keong Saik Carnival. Like the ever changing landscape of Singapore, Keong Saik Road has continued to offer new and interesting openings, whilst maintaining the beating heart of old Singapore.

One of my favourite views on the street is when you look up to see the behemoth of The Pinnacle rising before you. Lee Kuan Yew’s iconic HDB rises grandly from the old school shophouses around, showing us exactly why Singapore has progressed so far in so little time.

This weekend’s carnival kicks off at 12 noon on Saturday (28th May). The street will be closed to traffic (and so will Jiak Chuan) and features over 30 vendors lining the streets, live performances and, most importantly, yummy food and drinks. Luxe, Three Buns (aka Potato Head Folk) and Limehouse are just three of the venues participating. You can see more on the facebook page.

If you want to check out some of the more permanent fixtures in Keong Saik Road I’ve summarised the options below.

Neon Pigeon


Neon Pigeon now take reservations, but they also leave space for walk-ins so try your luck either way. The Japanese-esque food is designed for sharing (obvs) and the buzzy room definitely has a bit of the Izakaya feel about it. Albeit with a very non Japanese crowd. It’s worth noting that the room is fairly noisy, so a romantic dinner restaurant this is not.

The food overall is excellent. Lots of good flavours and textures with interesting twists on classics.


KFC is a stand out, a gorgeous crispy battered chicken thigh that yields to succulent meat. Served with a side sauce of tamari with a raw egg on top, and chill sauce for a more robust flavour.

The Tsukune (chicken) sliders are also delicious with the yakitori style patties tender and full of flavour, as are brussel sprouts with gorgeously smokey bacon and the grilled duck breast katsu style.

Service on each of my visits to Neon Pigeon has been good, sometimes very good. Pricing is reasonable (well, depending how much wine you drink!) but we usually escape with spending less than $100 each (and we eat and drink a lot 😉 ).
Neon Pigeon
1 Keong Saik Road, #01-04, Singapore

Luxe 

Luxe has turned into a great venue that offers a haven for those in search of a relaxing weekend brunch, a night out with friends or anything in between.

The room is light and bright, with clean, modern lines and plenty of open space. The menu is simple, with only about six starters and six mains plus a good range of bar snacks. After dinner Luxe offers late night snacks like oysters, charcuterie and olives.


You can read a full review of Luxe here.
Luxe
1 Keong Saik Road, #01-04, Singapore

Cure

If you want to treat yourselves on the weekend head to Andrew Walsh’s Cure. Walsh, formerly of Esquina fame, has been going great guns with his modern European cuisine. The set menu concept gives diners the opportunity to try Andrew’s best work, but the prices are reasonable enough to keep you coming back.

Highlights were arancini with duck and bacon, beetroot smoked salmon in almond soup and a yoghurt and curry (yes, curry) granola with mint. You can read more here.
Cure
21 Keong Saik Road, Singapore, 089128
Opening hours are:
Dinner from Monday to Saturday from 6pm
Lunch on Thursday and Friday from 12pm

Lollapalooza


Where there is hype there is often disappointment. Lollapalooza is the more modern cousin of Lolla in Club Street.

The space at Lollapalooza is sparse and modern, very pastel aqua and not at all homey. And not at all like the definition of lollapalooza which is, “a person or thing that is particularly impressive or attractive”. Lollapalooza is fine and comfortable but it wasn’t particularly impressive or attractive to me.

On my last visit the service was ok, attentive although not particularly knowledgable. The menu is prepared daily, based on available ingredients (apparently) and it is quite extensive. I can’t help thinking that concentrating on a reduced menu and putting more attention into a select few dishes might bare better fruit.

We tried fresh and creamy burrata with pesto and pomegranate. The cheese was a delight and although I enjoyed the first few mouthfuls, after a while I found the dish lacking a certain something. The contrast of creamy cheese with pomegranate just wasn’t enough for me (although that’s probably because I prefer a more savoury dish).

The Hokkaido Scallop Ceviche was delicate and light, the addition of subtle herbs and tomato a nice complement to the tender ceviche. We paired these two dishes with the baked flatbread and olive oil. The bread was very good, kind of in between a pita and a foccacia if that makes sense. A little chewy but very tasty and moreish.

Then we moved onto grilled lamb hearts. The hearts were tender and they had a subtle offally taste about them. The tomato puree on the side was also a nice acidic addition. Friends tried the roasted quail with duck foie gras but I abstained in sympathy with the poor duck. A langoustine was presented beautifully but lacked any dazzling flavours and the portion size was pretty small. Overall we paid around $80 each for food (including service and tax). It was all good, just not great. Wines are also on the pricey side and we struggled to find anything under $100 for a decent bottle.
Lollapalooza
1A Keong Saik Road, Singapore
phone +65 6221 3538

The Lokal

The Lokal is known more for brunch but it’s also open in the evenings where they serve light and tasty meals and you can get a beer or glass of wine at very affordable prices ($12 and $10 respectively). You can make a reservation directly through their Facebook page below.
The Lokal
136 Neil Road (corner of Keong Saik Road), Singapore
phone +65 6423 9918

Potato Head Folk

I just love that you can look over the rooftops of Chinatown at the Potato Head Folk rooftop bar. You can read more about Potato Head Folk here. Drinks are good, plus I really can’t get enough of those naughty fries….
Potato Head Folk
36 Keong Saik Road, Singapore
Open 11am to midnight Tuesday to Sunday

Afterglow
A vegan restaurant that serves wine might sound like two competing forces but it works incredibly well. The cute and dimly lit space in Keong Saik Road is homely without being hippy and healthy without being preachy. I’ve written before about the food at Afterglow here but it maintains its position as the best vegan or vegetarian restaurant I’ve been to in Singapore.
Afterglow
24 Keong Saik Road, Singapore
Closed Sunday

31 Bar & Kitchen
I still really like this space for a casual bite to eat or a couple of drinks. The street frontage gives good options for seating outside and the staff are always helpful and smiling. You can read more here.
31 Bar & Kitchen
31 Keong Saik Road, Singapore
Open Monday to Saturday 3.30pm to midnight

But Wait There’s More 
For local food you can’t go past Tong Ah, famous for their kaya toast and eggs but also for the tofu with minced pork and preserved vegetables. This dish is so naughty but so nice it’s irresistable! There are several other coffee shops along the street, most notably the big one on the corner of Neil Road.

And I couldn’t possibly fail to mention that a few of the very best dining options in Singapore can be found around the corner at Esquina or Burnt Ends, not to mention cocktails at The Cufflink Club or The Library.

Visit Singapore Foodie website.
Penilaianmu: MagBe