Head to Seletar for family fun ranging from yummy locavore cuisine, to a water playground, to nature trails, to an animal petting farm, and much more!
There’s a growing whisper of excitement about Seletar (pronounced Selita in case you didn’t know, mama!) with the opening of The Oval at the redeveloped Seletar Aerospace Park. Seletar has been flouted as the new hot spot for family-friendly alfresco brunch or fine dining dinner. And it’s not just for foodies. Seletar has a reservoir nearby for cycling and birdwatching, a water playground for kids and even a rustic horse-peacock-rabbit feeding farm. With a real ulu feel that still sparkles with Singapore cleanliness, Seletar is having a bit of a moment. Fancy an adventure? Pack your suncream, load the kids into the car (or cab or bus) and make it into a day trip.
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It’s a 30-minute drive to Seletar from town (or less if the roads are clear). The Oval, Park Lane defines a sprawling cluster of black and white ex-Royal Air Force bungalows that have been spruced up and turned into lovely colonial style restaurants and cafes, reminiscent of Dempsey. The surrounding streets conjure up old England with names like Oxford Street and Piccadilly.
Brunch at Wildseed
Head straight to Wildseed for brunch. Open at 9am, Wildseed is just one part of the multi-concept lifestyle destination that makes up The Summerhouse. Wildseed is the cafe on the ground floor with a florist next door. Part alfresco dining, part aircon, Wildseed is a casual cafe serving up gourmet breakfasts and homemade patisseries and cakes. It’s popular with dog walkers and families alike – they have kids’ colouring sheets and crayons to keep little hands busy. By night the space turns into a bar serving cocktails while upstairs there’s The Summerhouse for fine dining (more on that later).
Order this: All Day Breakfast ($28pp), a multi -course spread of eggs, a small plate of cheeses, a plate of cold cuts, homemade artisanal jams like passion fruit, papaya and chocolate spread plus breads. For something more unusual there’s Corn Pancakes ($8) or Kaya Toast ($8) – a pocket of sourdough roll stuffed full with kaya jam, toped with shredded coconut and served with a wobbly soft egg. Coffee is by Nomad the Gallant coffee roaster, plus there’s a selection of healthy smoothies and fresh juices.
There are a few other restaurants to choose from at The Oval, Wheelers Estate (sister of Wheeler’s Yard in Balestier) does breakfast, Australian style steaks, fish and chips and burgers, as well as picnics in their lovely outdoor garden. Young’s Bar & Restaurant offers modern European cuisine and high teas, and sister outlet Di Wei Teo Chew Restaurant does traditional Teochew fare.
Behind Wildseed, let the kids skip along the paths until you reach the The Summerhouse’s herb garden – look out for mint, basil and pandan. Bring your magnifying glasses and score points for bug or butterfly spotting.
There’s a playground in between The Summerhouse and Wheeler’s Estate – it has not officially been opened yet but it looks all set to go so watch this space. Above is a sneak peak of what’s waiting!
Animal Resort opens at 10am and is a, 8-minute car ride away. This rustic kampong place is rickety and dishevelled which is part of the charm. It’s probably not worth a trip here on its own, but since you are out in Seletar its a fun side trip that the kids will love. Head here early morning or later afternoon to avoid the hottest part of the day. It’s free entry so save your dollars to buy some animal feed. There are rabbits and guinea pigs which lie panting, half asleep and uninterested in their offerings of carrots. You’ll also see peacocks, some guinea fowl, geese and ducks as well as fish to feed. We had the most fun feeding the charismatic horse (who bites, so says the sign!). There’s old style swing chairs, dog kennels (with yapping dogs) and the usual farm smells.
Stroll, scoot or cycle along nearby Lower Seletar Reservoir – there are lovely wooden viewing platforms and boardwalks. Further along there is a large kids’ water play area complete with water jets and fountains for little ones to cool off in. Take your binoculars and look out for birds and monitor lizards. There is fishing in designated areas and kayaking clubs if you fancy a paddle.
There’s also a Butterfly ‘Park’ at Seletar Country Golf Club – we use the term park very loosely as the Butterfly Park just consists of a patch of plants within the country golf club that attract butterflies roaming freely. Entrance is free, though so this could be one for butterfly enthusiasts.
Dinner at The Summerhouse, Seletar
If your Seletar adventure starts in the afternoon and stretches into early evening, head to The Summerhouse for drinks and dinner. This fine dining establishment by 1-Group (of 1-Altitude and UNA at One Rochester) is set on the first floor of an ex-RAF commander’s black and white bungalow. You can expect good things from the German Chef de Cuisine, Florian Ridder as he is no stranger to Michelin stars with tenures at 1-Michelin-star Piment, 3-Michelin-star La Belle Epoque in Germany and most recently sous chef of the Michelin-starred Alma by Juan Amador at Goodwood Park Hotel. The menu is “nature-inspired” with produce from the backdoor edible garden and locally grown as much as possible.
Order This: Go for one of the tasting menus (6 courses for $90pp or 10 courses for $128pp), though there are a la carte options too. You may be treated to Buckwheat Porridge, a comforting bowl of creamy, chewy buckwheat, sunflower and pumpkin seeds with smoky bacon and parmesan crisps. Or the deceivingly simple German dish of Iberico pork, brined, smoked and then cooked sous vide for 3 days resulting in clean, sweet smoky flavours, or the Australian Mayura beef (the cows are fed cacao!) with slivers of pickled pumpkin. To end, a refreshing tropical dessert of guava yoghurt, lychee-coconut mousse, raspberry puree and rose meringue.
And there you have it. A little adventure in Seletar awaits. Let us know how you get on and if you discover anything else worth doing in this hood!
Lead image and image #6 courtesy of singaporethroughmyeyes.