If you’re in Singapore, you already know it carries serious culinary clout: few cities have been shaped by the flavours of so many competing cultures. You’ll find Chilli crab, the city’s zingy and iconic signature dish, all over the city. But for more unusual fusions, there’s 40 Hands in Tiong Bahru, where brunch is a considered an artform, or Sari Ratu on Haji Lane, arguably Singapore’s best Indonesian restaurant. Fill up on artisan burgers at Potato Head or trendy tapas at Esquina, both in Keong Saik, or wander into traditional hawker centres or kopitiams (found everywhere) for more traditional treats.
Mr & Mrs Smith x Tokyobike
Discover Downtown Singapore
The skyscrapers and flyovers don’t immediately suggest that cyclists are welcome in Singapore, but at street level you’ll find a neat network of agreeable routes in one of the world’s safest cities. Compact and easy to explore, multi-ethnic, multicultural Singapore is ripe for discovery by bike. The art deco shophouses of Tiong Bahru; colourful, trendsetting Haji Lane: if you’re looking to revel in the city’s two most-cherished pastimes – shopping and eating – then these are the laid-back locales we recommend to the more discerning cyclist.
Right around the corner from Tokyobike, the Gotham-inspired Atlas Bar is an imposing monument to Twenties euro-glamour. Pop in – if only for the Great Gatsby-style gold and marble interiors – and you might find yourself sipping an expertly mixed Martini in a glass custom-made for this five-star, ever-so-slightly cheeky bar. For the coffee-obsessed, Chye Seng Huat Hardware café towards Lavender Street is tantamount to a mecca – don’t miss its nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee.
Books Actually, opposite Forty Hands in Tiong Bahru, is fast-becoming a Singapore institution: not only is it the city’s chief purveyor of quality literature, it also does a pleasing line in stationery and other trinkets. Head to Haji Lane for an eyebrow-raising look at how hipster ideals have taken root in Singapore, like at industrial space Know It Nothing, a multi-label boutique that’s home to some of the coolest international clothing and footwear, and Spoil Market, a treasure trove of vintage wares and fashion.
Singapore is a global leader when it comes to architectural innovation. Its buildings range from the inspiringly idiosyncratic to the monumentally brutal, and from the unapologetically awful to the downright clever (check out its remarkable vertical gardens as proof of the latter). Either way, it makes for a fascinating canvas on which to paint your own interpretations, especially by bike. The Henderson Waves footbridge is an undulating oddity well worth its salt on Instagram, as are the various angles the city provides for the eye-popping ‘stranded surfboard’ that houses an infinity pool atop the Marina Bay Sands complex.
If ever you needed proof that a coming-together of diverse peoples might produce explosive art, then check out the Southeast Asian Art Museum, whose well-presented exhibitions are as thought-provoking as they are insightful. Or visit the Asian Civilisations Museum, which delves into the origins of Singapore’s multiculturalism. If you’re more interested in the future than the past, then head to the Gardens by the Bay in the Colonial District, where space-age bio-domes and high-tech supertrees bring into focus a future usually reserved for the pages of science fiction novels.
Rub shoulders with Singapore’s urbanistas at Naumi hotel in the business district, if only for the views of the skyline from its secret 10th-floor pool deck. Smooth coffee is served at its cream-and-black hued Lounge and Bar by day, but at night you have the opportunity to gain insight into an Asian obsession when it becomes a sophisticated whiskey bar, with 17 stellar labels to choose from. If you’re back late, don’t worry – the bar is open until 2am at weekends.
You'll find Tokyobike's Downtown store at:
38 Haji Lane