Our neighbourhood guide on where to eat, drink, sleep, explore and shop in Kampong Glam
EAT – Symmetry
Australian brunch culture meets French bistro dining at Symmetry, the shophouse-turned-restaurant-bar just a hop, skip and jump away from Arab Street’s celebrated Middle Eastern fare. The restaurant’s whimsical interiors have made it a firm favourite of locals and expats alike, so whether you’re looking to kickstart your day with the classic smashed avocado on toast or treat yourself to a hearty wagyu steak after a long stint at the office, Symmetry’s got you covered.
DRINK – Atlas Bar and Grill
It’s always gin o’clock at Atlas. Housed in the lobby of the art deco-inspired Parkview Square office building, the bar is home to the world’s largest gin collection, with more than 1,000 variations of the good stuff, the lion’s share of which is afforded pride of place in a shimmering three-storey gin tower at the centre of the room. But those less partial to a nip of juniper should fear not, for the drinks menu extends to more than 60 pages, with staff more than happy to assist.
EXPLORE – Masjid Sultan
Masjid Sultan mosque’s majestic golden domes and intricate panelling are well known among Singaporeans. Designed by Irish architect Denis Santry and largely unchanged since 1932, when it replaced a previous mosque built on the site, Masjid Sultan is the spiritual centre of the Muslim-majority Kampong Glam neighbourhood. Visitors can learn more about the building’s history, design and the role it plays in the local community by taking guided tours in English, Malay, Chinese or Japanese.
Sleep – InterContinental Singapore
A short, ten-minute walk from the hipsters of Haji Lane sits the recently renovated InterContinental Singapore. The hotel pays homage to the area’s rich cultural tapestry through its shophouse-inspired facade and Peranakan interior design motifs. Rooms are spacious and ooze a certain colonial elegance, while the property’s location close to Bugis MRT station makes it a great jumping off point for visitors looking to take in Singapore’s major sites.
SHOP – Haji Lane
With its brightly coloured storefronts and eclectic array of bars, restaurants and independent boutiques, Haji Lane is a breath of fresh air in corporate-minded Singapore. It’s a place where young fashionistas rustle excitedly through treasure troves of sartorial gems, locals share stories over craft beer and tourists indulge in Kodak moments against some seriously impressive street art. From the exclusive boutique Modparade to the buzzing Mexican corner restaurant Piedra Negra, the lane’s broad cultural offerings belie its status as the city-state’s narrowest street.
This article was published in the December edition of Southeast Asia Globe magazine. For full access, subscribe here.