Joo Chiat, a heritage hub parked near East Coast and Katong, which the Peranakans and Eurasians called home in the 20th century. Walking distance from Katong, you would find many popular restaurants, Peranakan eateries, and of course hipster cafes along this stretch. We have covered the whole stretch and may we present to you the Top 5 Cafes & Restaurants you shouldn’t miss!
#1 : Exotica, Expertise, Endurance – King’s Cart Coffee Factory
Like any good coffee place, King’s Cart Coffee Factory barrages customers with delectable aromas, only stronger, with bean roasters chugging away in the background. Their world-spanning offerings range from precise conventional brews to bold speciality drinks that promise adventures from one’s seat.
Opening post circuit-breaker, the café is a successful debutant in Singapore’s F&B scene despite the trying times. While we mourn losses to the epidemic, we decided to celebrate those who endured as well. As circuit breaker ended, Rebecca opened King’s Cart’s first café/retail outlet. Much to her surprise, the reception was overwhelming. “We thought it’s going to be a slow and steady easing into the café scene, but it was not slow and easy, it was like wham and there was the crowd.”
When asked what set them apart, Rebecca cited their coffee’s potency, “People find our coffee very strong…our coffees are all double-shots unless you specify otherwise…you’re here for the coffee and not for the milk.”
King’s Cart Coffee Factory
328 Joo Chiat Place, #01-05,
Opening Hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm
#2 : Binchotan in Joo Chiat – Nee Yakitori
Nee Yakitori, Joo Chiat’s latest addition, aims to break the neighbourhood’s lasting impression of a rowdy backwater. Owner Joey Lee make meticulous effort to bring subtle elements of Ginza’s starched collar cocktail culture to our shores. The team employs the famed charcoal Binchotan, known for its searing heat that form the smokey flavour profile that is synonymous with Yakitori.
Nee Yakitori has appeased many thirsty customers with its broad collection of Japanese alcohol and affordable bar bites, which we had the chance to try. On Joey’s recommendation, we sampled these 3 skewers, Buta No Marine ($4.50), Tori Teriyaki ($2.50) and Ebi Garlic ($5.50).
This cosy grill-bar takes the concept further by preparing a range of Teppanyaki dishes that compliment the variety of Yamazakis’ and Hibikis’ you may find on the shelves. We tried the Salmon Wafu Teppanyaki ($12.50) and was impressed with the fine pairing of sauce with with the moist slices of salmon.
325 Joo Chiat Rd,
Opening Hours: 4:30pm – 10:30pm
#3 : The Neighbourhood Oasis – Staple
Opened in December 2020, Staple was intended to be epidemic-proof. While its four founders’ day-jobs floundered, the bar has flourished. We met one of them, Dixon, who expounded on their philosophy, “good and bad times, people still need to eat, still need to drink…that’s why it’s called Staple.”
Citing Singapore’s lack of family bars, Dixon said, “(Staple) is just a place where people can come and feel comfortable. Like they don’t own the place but they feel like they own the place.” “When they come here, they’ll be looking for us, then … we’ll be greeting them, drinking with them,” he explained, when asked why customers return.
More than the dining, Staple promises to be a fixture in one’s life and routines. Much like the neighbourhood kopitiam, but less raucous and with finer features and drinks. Have a chat with the staff, one may find a place amongst friends here.
325 Joo Chiat Rd,
Opening Hours: 4:30pm – 10:30pm
#4 : The Best Of JB At Your Doorstep – You Kee XO
You Kee XO is a household name in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, with 5 restaurants scattered across the state. Chef Lim Chin You has lead the charge across the Causeway with the support of his team, mostly family, consisting of siblings and nephews to replicate the what we miss so much in Johor.
You Kee XO is ultimately famous for 2 things, herbal soups and roasts. We had the wonderful opportunity some weeks ago to find out why there are snaking queues at most of their outlets.
We tried the Roast Meat Platter ($23.80/$33.80/$43.80), this is a combination platter with three of You Kee’s roast bestsellers, XO Signature Roast Duck, Crystal BBQ Char Siew, and Roasted Belly Siew Yok. These dishes are certainly not for those on a diet, expect a full layer of juicy fat along side tender and flavourful lean. Notably, the charsiew is prepared in a Malaysian sweet and sticky style rather than the Singapore style which is drier and less sweet.
Another signature is the Handmade Signature Volcano Toufu ($8.80), this served sizzling in a claypot with handmade toufu, that tastes much smoother and has a more pronounced soya bean taste that goes extremely well with the sizzling gravy and rice.
You Kee XO
43 Joo Chiat Place,
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 3:00pm , 5:00pm – 9:00pm
#5 : The Ultimate Comfort Food – Ang Mo Wanton Mee
Ang Moh Wanton Mee in Joo Chiat takes pain to trace its heritage back to the Ang Moh who sold wanton mee from a pushcart in the 60s. The premises still look like an old school coffeeshop but neater and slightly modernised. There are posters and digital signboards telling the stories of the shop and hawking its food.
We ordered the Signature Wantan Noodle Dry ($4), an all time comfort food for Singaporeans. The texture and flavour of the noodles were great! Noodles were al dente and the chilli was a balance of fiery and savoury. The char siew was standard stuff, but it added flavour to the dish without overpowering everything else.
Their prices are very reasonable and there is variety of side dishes on the menu!
Ang Moh Wanton Mee
182 Joo Chiat Road,
Opening Hours: 8:00am – 9:00pm