6 places to dine and discover in north-east Singapore


Once an industrial area of Singapore, the island’s North East region has over the last decade become a residential hotspot. The Serangoon and Woodleigh neigbourhoods are particularly favoured by expats and locals for their laidback charm and open, leafy streets. A string of cafes, bars, and restaurants in the area make for relaxing alternatives to those within the bustling city centre, which is only a short bus or taxi ride away, while pretty boutiques and ultra-modern retail parks provide an endless supply of shopping options for pleasant Saturday afternoons.

1. Plonk

Right in the heart of Serangoon Gardens is Plonk, an uber popular food and wine bar among residents in the area. Fronted with tropical plants and outdoor seating, guests can dine al fresco or opt for a table indoors, where stylish wooden interiors offer a relaxing vibe to catch up with friends or family. Food served from breakfast through to dinner takes its inspiration from the Med, with the likes of wood-fired pizza or classic chicken parmigiana on the menu. It’s also a good place to go for an evening drink, with a huge variety of handpicked wines and international beers available.

2. Sun Ray Cafe

Everything is made from scratch at Sun Ray Cafe, from their specialty breads to their unusual bacon jam. Diners will find a perfect mix of eastern and western options in the menu, from sandwiches and burgers to tom yam soup. What’s really impressive is the place roasts its own coffee under its Parchmen and Co. brand, which has won countless awards. Coffeeholics can opt to have their drinks machine-, hand- or cold-brewed, with a choice of two espresso blends: the fruity Fair Lady using beans from Ethiopia and Myanmar, and the nutty alternative from Guatemala and Rwanda. Prefer the other brew? An impressive selection of specialty teas awaits. Pet owners rejoice because Sun Ray welcomes them with open arms.

3. Nex

There’s a wide selection of Asian boutiques in Serangoon, but the seven-storey Nex Shopping Mall is by far the biggest retail attraction in the area. Inside you’ll find such international favourites as Levi’s, Dockers, and H&M, amongst other jewelry, shoes, home & lifestyle, and accessory stores. For families, there’s a range of kids’ fashion and game stores, as well as books, music, and electrical brands. A cinema, a large arcade, as well as fitness facilities, make Nex a good place to take refuge on hot and humid summer days. There’s also a rooftop water playground, which is a fun place for children of all ages.

4. Chomp Chomp Food Centre

Whether you live in the area or not, Chomp Chomp food centre is considered one of Singapore’s best hawker spots due to its buzzing thoroughfares, high quality vendors, and excellent variety of dishes. With that in mind, you might have a hard time finding a table late at night, particularly on a weekend, so arrive at 5 p.m. to secure a spot. But if you’re happy to hop from stall to stall, then make the most of the lip-smacking food on offer: start with a plate of roasted chicken wings with chili sauce, and finish with BBQ stingray drizzled with spicy sambal sauce, served on a banana leaf. While it can get busy on weekends, this hawker spot is in keeping with Serangoon’s slow-paced way of life, with its inviting friendly atmosphere and the best in local street-food.

5. Affinity

This multi-award winning development by Oxley sits on the former Serangoon Ville estate and is home to over 1,000 luxury flats. The project is anchored on an island concept, with a central tropical water feature tying the units together, allowing residents to “island hop” across the development. Keeping to the theme is a stylish floating gym right at the heart of the complex, with secluded shorefront hammocks. Communal spaces in the skygarden include BBQ facilities, an open-air kitchen, and dining space. The flats range in size, from brightly lit one-bed properties to a four-bed penthouse, all with modern furnishings and smartly-designed storage.

6. Park Colonial

Nestled on the city fringe, this exciting luxury development will sit right next to Woodleigh MRT station, surrounded by a number of lifestyle amenities, including the well-known Nex Shopping Mall a train stop away. On hot summer days, Park Colonial residents can cool off in the development’s cantilevered lap pool or unwind in one of the many floating hammocks dotting the grounds. A beautiful communal pavilion makes for the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing weekend breakfast. There are one- to five-bedroom flats available, with those on the sixth floor and above boasting sweeping views of the surrounding area.

This article originally appeared in Issue No. 149 of PropertyGuru Property Report Magazine