Kampong Glam is a fab Singapore neighbourhood with a ton going on — packed with indie businesses, it’s buzzing with creative spirit and is a world away from the slick and shiny CBD or the crowds of Orchard Road. There might not be soft plays or baby superstores, but there’s tonnes to discover. So grab the kiddos and let’s eat and shop our way around Arab Street and Haji Lane, Sassy Mama style!
Start at Aliwal Street by grabbing a bite at A for Arbite or Eatplaylove Cafe. A for Arbite is a casual all-day resto which serves up Asian fusion dishes with a European twist, has a lego theme (they give littlies a jar of lego to play with!) and a wide selection of specialty beers on tap — Papa’ll love it! While Eatplaylove is an arts and crafts cafe where you can pay for the littles to play and create while Mama tucks into one of their yummy Thai dishes. Both are located in the Aliwal Arts Centre, a performing arts venue which often hosts interesting events. Check out their Facebook page to see if there’s anything fun to check out during your visit.
From Aliwal Street, mosey down to Kandahar Street to grab a fab cup of coffee at Maison Ikkoku, located in an old shophouse (as well as their ground floor cafe they have a cocktail bar on the 2nd floor and a menswear boutique on the 3rd!). Their dulce de leche brownies are to die for, or they also do a (pinterest fave) rainbow cake which we’re planning to order for our next birthday party. The space isn’t exactly kiddo-friendly as it’s narrow and cramped, so get your cake and java to go and keep on strollin’!
Just a couple of doors down, you’ll find trendy homewares store Standard of Living with its funky mix of retro finds (mostly mid-century modern) and colourful accessories with Asian flair. They’ve got a small selection of toys to keep munchkins entertained while mama browses.
Down at 54 Kandahar Street, Dong Po Colonial Cafe is a must-visit with visitors who are eager to experience a slice of “real Singapore” — fabulous comfort food washed down with a cup of Kopi in retro surroundings. If you can resist a second helping of their amazing pineapple tarts, you’re a stronger woman than us!
From Dong Po, double back to check out the Malay Heritage Centre at 85 Sultan Gate. There are six permanent galleries inside which cover elements of trade and Malay culture, and you can take a guided tour or take part in a “heritage hunt”. This vibrant attraction is a must-do for mamas with older kiddos. If you’re more concerned with shopping and eating though, you can still enjoy a wander through the pretty gardens and maybe a quick splash in the fountains! During Ramadan, there’s a special Food Bazaar that’s set up just round the corner from the Malay Heritage Centre, which is well worth a wander through.
Baghdad Street is packed with fab restos and cafes specialising in middle eastern food, but one standout spot is La Marelle, an adorable little cafe tucked away on the first floor of a building — look out for the pink staircase painted with fluffy white clouds, and ascend to discover a sweet little boutique/eatery selling French goodies to please every little girl’s heart!
From here, Haji Lane is only a hop, skip and a jump away… If you’re sans kiddos, you must check out uber-cool, hidden cocktail bar Bar Stories (blink and you’ll miss it), or if you’ve got the urge to shop your heart out, Soon Lee has to be one of our fave Singapore boutiques. It stocks must-have accessories like Mischa bags, Annabel Ingall totes and TOMS wedges (did ‘ya know they did wedges?), delicate jewellery and ultra-feminine clothing, but also has a little smattering of homewares and a covetable selection of books. A major fave.
Saving one of the best attractions ’til last, if you’re visiting KG in the afternoon, don’t miss the Children Little Museum at 42 Bussorah Street. They don’t have a website, but you can call ahead to check opening hours on 6298 2713. This quirky little home-made museum is a treasure trove of vintage toys, interactive experiences and a big dose of Kampong nostalgia. Watch out for the full Sassy Mama review coming soon!
Well, that’s it for our Kampong Glam walkabout — let us know if we missed any major standouts. There’s always something new to discover in this ‘hood, so we can’t wait to return again and again!