THE NEW YEAR HAS ANNOUNCED ITS arrival and with it comes
the age-old slew of lofty goals. Better decisions, better experiences, a better
you. But before you can renege on your New Year resolutions, make time for better
experiences with just one MRT train ride. If adventure and spontaneity are on your
list for 2017, the one district to visit is Tanjong Pagar.
While remaining the obvious haunt of white- collar and media types in the central
business district (CBD), it has also blossomed into more than just an after-hours
watering hole. Brimming with snazzy new bars, exotic up-and-coming eateries and
the latest nightlife events, this cultural enclave will allow you and your partner
to take a journey around the world in less than 80 hours, without the need for a
plane ride or passport.
Tucked away in an unsuspecting corner of Tanjong Pagar near the Red Dot Design Museum
is Fat Prince. Fondly referred to as a “café-kebabery”, the bar combines craft cocktails
with Middle Eastern fare in a luxe Arabesque setting, reminiscent of Istanbul’s
artsy Karakoy quarter. Choose from a list of traditional Turkish dishes with a modern
twist — think duck-fat hummus and taco- sized kebabs — for a Sultan-era feast straight
out of the Ottoman Empire.
For a cure to your beach side blues, head over to Keong Saik Road for Potato Head
Folk, a three-storey wine-and-dine outlet with a rooftop tiki bar. Toast the New
Year with a delicious tipple in hand while soaking in the laidback, tropical atmosphere.
And if you and your date are looking for a more casual dining affair, swing by Park
Bench Deli on Telok Ayer Street. Its menu is a spin on classic American sandwiches,
with hoagies like the Vietnamese-inspired kong bak banh mi and fried chicken sandwich.
Off the Beaten Path
It’s not all wining and dining at Tanjong Pagar, though. There are also activities
to bring out the adventurous side in you and your partner. Want to put your thinking
skills and teamwork to the test? Then get caught at Trapped, a horror-themed escape
room that will force you to put on your thinking caps and work together to break
free. Choose between two themes — Hostel or Alice in Wonderland — and get ready
to solve puzzles without the help of Dr Google. That’s right, mobile phones are
not allowed here.
Creative souls can also wander off the beaten track and into the industrial Tanjong
Pagar Distripark for a taste of Southeast Asian art. Don’t be fooled by its factory-like
appearance — the warehouse opens up into five vast galleries filled with colourful,
indigenous art pieces.
Amoy Street, Pekin Street and Telok Ayer Street are renowned today for their vibrant
mix of eateries and shops. But they were once the stronghold of Hokkien immigrants
who sailed from the Fujian province of China hoping to carve a life for themselves
on our shores. Take a trip with your partner down memory lane and visit some of
Singapore’s oldest Hokkien temples, which include the Thian Hock Keng temple, one
of Singapore’s most majestic Chinese temples to date.
This article was first published on DUET magazine.