Our go-to guide on what to eat at Craig Road
Friday, 12 Oct 2012
Sure Singapore is the island of great food, but Craig Road might be in a league of its own.
There’s plenty to eat just along this short stretch (located right outside Chinatown and behind the Pinnacle@Duxton), so we’ve narrowed the must-eat list down to just four restaurants, including our best tips on what to order!
This Melbourne-inspired café consistently makes our list of best cafes in Singapore, even with the recent boom in café culture. It’s got great coffee and their all-day breakfast menu, while small, is consistently well-executed. Our favourites: their generous serving of fruit salad, a bowl of honeyed greek yogurt topped with plenty of seasonal fruit, and the dean’s breakfast, which combines poached eggs, melted cheese, vegemite, and sourdough toast (just a couple of our favourite things).
The only problem is, we’re not the only ones who give this café a thumbs up – so go prepared to brave the crowd, or…
The Plain, 50 Craig Road, #01-01, Singapore 089688, p. 6225 4387, open daily 730am-730pm.
Selfish Gene Café
Visit this quieter spot – although things are equally manic here on weekends. Just a couple of doors down from The Plain, Selfish Gene’s like the underdog of Craig Road, and everyone’s familiar with that story. What we really love about this place is that they’re always ready to accommodate our requests – they happily redid our coffee when they heard we prefer an extra hot shot.
Our sweet-happy editorial team particularly loves the lemon tart (new on the menu!) and the caramel slice, a salted caramel toffee cake with coverture chocolate glaze and a biscuit base. For something more substantial, these guys also make some mean brunch.
Selfish Gene Cafe, 40 Craig Road, Singapore 089678, p. 6423 1324, open daily 10am-6pm, closed Tues.
Just to give you an idea of how much we personally adore this place, we went back 3 times in 2 weeks and spent our days in between wanting more – it’s unpretentious, affordable, and they serve real Italian portions! Also, Chef Mario (owner of in ITALY and former Chef Patron of Forlino) is a total hoot – the proof is in his BYO +1 policy, where you save on the corkage (score!) and instead bring another bottle of wine for Chef Mario.
Our favourite must-order dishes: definitely the Crostino (which we have yet to find at other Italian restos here), a thin foccacia with melted Taleggio cheese, prosciutto, black olives and endives – think of it as pizza v2.0; the beef raviolio with chianti sauce, a full-bodied red Italian wine reduction that will get you licking the plate); and the squid ink linguine, which comes perfectly al dente and is packed full of seafood goodness, so much so that we spied our resident vegetarian pick sneaking bites. Leave space for dessert, and here’s a tip: ask the kitchen if they have any chocolate lava cake (brilliantly studded with nuts on the inside), which comes with sorbet and berries – you won’t regret it. And while we’re on the topic of space-worthy food, be warned that their complimentary beer battered bread with salsa verde is extremely addictive.
in ITALY, 38 Craig Road, Singapore 089676, p. 6423 0918, open daily 12-230pm & 6-1030pm.
There’s something to be said about private dining experiences – it makes you feel like a celebrity for a night – and Xi Yan offers exclusivity without the crazy prices you’d normally pay for private dining.
Fronted by Hong Kong celeb chef Jacky Yu, Xi Yan operates on a strict by reservation only policy. You’re greeted with a personalized menu upon arrival and they’re also whizzes with dietary restrictions, so just let them know in advance – they’ll even print a special menu just for you! There are 3 different menus for dinner (10-13 courses), and the selection changes daily according to seasonal produce. While the star is undoubtedly Chinese cuisine, it’s also updated to include some fusion dishes, though with an Asian slant. Some of our favourite dishes include their signature green house tomatoes with a sesame and wasabi sauce and the award-winning angel hair mushroom and tofu soup.
Xi Yan, 38A Craig Road, Singapore 089676, p. 6220 3546, open 12-3pm & 630-1030pm.
Image: Selfish Gene Cafe & in ITALY