Here are our top 10 picks for eateries in Bugis. Trendy watering hole, a tried-and-tested spot with comfort food, or a hipster café that will not just fill your tummy, but also contribute to your Instagram feed? Your pick!
1. Ah Chew Desserts
Ah Chew is our personal perennial favourite for whenever overseas friends are visiting, because of its old-school charm and extensive menu. We particularly like the Mango Sago dessert ($3.80), which is served with generous chunks of fresh, sweet mango. Perfect for combating the heat.
Springy noodles, just the right amount of vinegar and mouth-wateringly fragrant minced pork. Those are just a few of the reasons why we love this stall’s Minced Pork Noodles ($3.50) so much. Add in the fact that they're open 24/7, and we’re sold.
Joo Bar is where all the cool kids hang out and don’t even think of coming without a reservation on weekend evenings, because you’ll be relegated to the waitlist in the blink of an eye. Try their new Kimchi & Mushroom Roulade ($16), which comprises of house-made kimchi, chicken breast, shitake mushrooms and tomato ragu. Two thumbs up for the great flavours and the crunchy texture!
The Signature Hokubee Beef Don ($28) we had at Gastrosmiths was hands down our favourite dish amongst the rest featured in this article. You get a marbled steak that is tender beyond belief, and a 63 degrees egg, both on top of a bed of furikake rice. Stir the egg in, mix it up, have a spoonful and be prepared to never look at beef bowls the same way again.
5. Churro 101
Churro 101’s slogan is “better than a boyfriend” – and such lofty and assertive declarations of excellence do not go unchallenged! Our verdict? The Cinnamon Churro from our Ice Cream and Churro Set ($5.90) was a tad lacking in flavour, but we liked the subtle milky taste of the ice cream, as well as the richness of the Dark Chocolate Churro ($5.40, ordered separately).
Jinjja Chicken is pretty similar to 4fingers, except without the snaking queues. The Jinjja Wings (6 pieces for $7.90) come in two different flavours - Soy Garlic and Yangnyeom (spicy). If you can’t make up your mind, opt for the mix, which gives you the best of both worlds! Wash it down with a light and refreshing Sikhye Rice Drink ($2.50).
Going by looks alone, Symmetry is just another “standard issue” café with its wooden tables, exposed brick walls, and trinkets from a long-gone era. What makes it stand out, though, is its food, or more specifically, The Flan ($24). We loved the tender pork cheek, and the combination of all the other elements (rocket salad, sautéed mushrooms, poached egg, mashed potato) housed in the most fragrant, buttery pastry shell.
8. Artichoke Cafe and Bar
With its outdoor courtyard and rustic set up, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurant Artichoke is strongly reminiscent of cafés in Bali. Try the Lamb Shakshouka ($26), which tastes as good as it looks. The sauce, comprising of tomatoes, peppers, and labneh (yoghurt cheese), is extremely well-balanced and flavourful, and you can bet your last cent we mopped up every bit of it with the fragrant pita bread.
These ice cream pops are made fresh in-house on a daily basis. We loved the Baklava ($7), which is an orange blossom ice cream dipped in dark chocolate and coated with a nut dukka. And of course, true to its name, it comes with chunks of sticky, sweet Baklava (a Middle Eastern filo pastry dessert) encased in the ice cream itself.
If you’re a fan of prawn noodles, chances are, you’ll probably have tried this place before. It’s downright mystifying how the broth from their Prawn Noodles ($4.80) can taste so rich and good when there’s zero MSG added. Pro-tip: Help yourself to some chilli padi for that extra oomph.
Written by Cherie Foo Images: Cherie Foo