The idyllic Bukit Timah neighbourhood is filled with nostalgia. It was the place to be in the 1990s when restaurateurs rushed over to the expat-rich enclave to set up shop. While the neighbourhood is a lot quieter when it comes to exciting eats these days, the place remains a regular haunt for those who miss a taste of old-school dishes. Take for instance Brazil Churrasco, a simple eatery that continues to serve up rounds and rounds of grilled meats since the 1990s. It is still a well-loved restaurant amongst Singaporeans.
In recent times, new places that have mushroomed up in the area tend to be less ‘haute cuisine‘ and more ‘homely foods‘ catering to homesick expats. It is then no surprise that one will find many casual Italian and French restaurants promising convivial dining and authentic flavours. For curious locals, Bukit Timah makes a great enclave to discover European flavours without leaving the country.
If you’re having trouble figuring out where to go for Italian in the area, consider Acqua e Farina. This small restaurant, led by Italians Antonio Manetto and Roberto Galbiati, sees a diverse range of their home country’s traditional dishes. Expect Neapolitan-style pizza and handmade pizzas, bolstered by great cheese and wine.
Since opening three years ago, Atlas Coffeehouse has remained a very popular spot for an idyllic brunch. The cafe is opened by founders of Assembly Coffee, so diners are guaranteed of good cuppas over here. Thankfully, the cafe is spacious and comfortable. Atlas often hits full capacity, but there is enough breathing space for eager brunch-goers. Atlas is undergoing a quick revamp now, but we hope that their butterscotch pancakes and eggs Benedict will back on their menu.
Brazil Churrasco has been around for almost 25 years but continues to be a popular spot for those hoping to get a taste of Brazillian fare (which is not common in Singapore). Besides promising an authentic churrascaria experience, the idea of free-flow meats cut tableside is a very attractive idea for buffet-loving Singaporeans. Save space for desserts here, like the Coconut De Manjar parfait.
The Garage is a multi-concept F&B spot within the Botanic Gardens, offering a little haven for those looking to get away from the bustling Orchard Road. On the first floor is casual cafe Bee’s Knees with an all-day menu of sandwiches, salads and pasta. Botanico, on the second floor, sees a more formal affair with a contemporary take on European cuisine and classic cocktails.
Caruso’s also another Italian restaurant worth checking out in the vicinity. This restaurant here specialises in Southern Italian cuisine, specifically delicacies from the small Puglia town of Lorotondo. The menu features some of the best products from the province: burrata, cherry tomatoes and seafood. Do order the pappardelle con ragu di Agnello, a signature dish made with slow-braised lamb.
This old-school cafe is quite a popular spot for simple French fare. The sandwiches and egg dishes (think egg Benedicts and Florentines) are worth trying here. Choupinette also doubles up as a casual grocery stocked with French products and fresh bakes.
After two years of operating in secrecy, Fat Belly has now expanded into a 52-seater concept. Lesser-known cuts of beef are still the highlights of the steakhouse’s menu. This time, Fat Belly introduces more gourmet options such as the Mayura Signature Wagyu tri-tip. The restaurant is only open for dinner. In the day, it becomes a boutique coffee roastery.
This multi-concept F&B spot, named after its quiet neighbourhood, houses some of the freshest seafood in Singapore. Diners will always find grilled fish and fresh oysters on the menu here. But, if you prefer to have a go with these ingredients at home, the friendly staff here are happy to share shopping tips.
The flagship restaurant by local chef and restaurateur Violet Oon has been a hotspot for modern Peranakan cuisine long before its brand expansion. This beautiful place offers many of Oon’s signature dishes and sweets. Brunch is also popular here.