Exciting restaurants that are more than food
Singapore is a foodie's heaven but sometimes it takes a little more than good food to make a great dining experience. There are far too many options when it comes to dining out these days, with the number of carbon-copy indie cafes popping up every month.
We dug a little deeper and found these quirky concept diners that will get you all pumped up to dine out again. Here are 15 dining experiences that are so much more than food.
1. 1942 Alfresco @ Changi
The history buffs among you will be pleased to know that we have a WW2 themed restaurant in our midst. Aptly located in Changi, this area has been converted into a modern space furnished with WW2 memorabilia and war props. The alfresco area is set up with sandbags and fake machine guns. The restaurant even has a private “war museum” set up with memorabilia like old banana notes and Japanese flags, as well as storyboards narrating the series of events leading up to Singapore's fall to Japan.
Address: 30 Cosford Road, Singapore 499550
This clothing store hides a surprise that will please even the most unwilling of boyfriends dragged along for a shopping trip. The 20-seat cafe D-CAF is an anagram of the clothing store's retail name. The owners' intentions are to let husbands and boyfriends have a rest while their female customers shop. Stop by a.f.d.c. and keep your man entertained as you shop to your heart's content.
Address:#03-01 Orchard Gateway, 227 Orchard Road, S238858
3. Premium Barbers
Get your tresses groomed as you sip on a Mojito or a cup of Americano. Ladies, step aside. This place touts itself as the ultimate pampering place for men. They offer old school barbering with modern spa treatments and even a 12-seat bar to get your alcohol fix. So you can get your beard trimmed, pedicure your toes and end the afternoon with a cold beer – all at one place.
Address: #4-12/13 Orchard Gateway, 227 Orchard Road, S238858
4 & 5. Pet cafes
We've all been there. Watching cute animal videos on Youtube or playing with someone else's pet and wishing you had a pet of your own. Reality bites when you think of the responsibility involved in caring for another life. These new pet cafes inspired by similar concept cafes from Japan and Korea will give you a chance to spend quality time with the pets you never got to own.
We are the Furballs
We The Furballs (WTF) is Singapore's first dog petting cafe. Pay an admission charge for a drink and unlimited play time with the adorable dogs. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Address: 45 East Coast Road, Singapore 428765
Neko no Niwa
As covered in an earlier article about the cat cafe craze, Neko no Niwa was inspired by cat cafes in Japan. The owners adopt cats for their cafe instead of featuring only pedigreed cats, like most other cat cafes around the world. For a fee of $12 per person and $5 for subsequent half hour blocks, you can enjoy the company of feline friends while you sip on drinks.
Address: 54A Boat Quay (Level 2), Singapore 119843
This gorgeous restaurant is carpeted in faux grass, draped floor to ceiling in white roses and fitted with indoor pavilions and a vine-draped carriage. If you've ever dreamt of dining in a garden but balk at the idea of melting in the heat, Blisshouse is your type of restaurant. They even provide props for you to pose with. As if its gorgeous setting isn't enough of a draw, Blisshouse also serves well-executed western fare.
Address: 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, #3-21, The Central, Singapore 059817
7 & 8. Art Jamming
Unleash your inner Van Gogh as you sip on cups of artisan coffee and paint your own masterpiece. These art jamming studios marry food with art for a therapeutic afternoon away from work.
Cups N Canvas
This retro-chic cafe doubles as an art school for anyone who wants to give painting a shot. The cafe space is shared with a glass-walled studio where budding Picassos create their own masterpieces. They serve up decent cafe fare and artisan coffee sourced from local range Highlander.
Address: 139 Selegie Road, Singapore 188309
The caffeine-averse among you can try Arteastiq instead. The boutique tea house serves up a range of premium teas for you to sip on as you lounge in front of a blank canvas mulling over your future masterpiece.
Address: Arteastiq Boutique Tea House, Mandarin Gallery, #4-14/15, 33A Orchard Road, Singapore 238867
9. Kombi Rocks
Vintage car lovers and readers familiar with our list of local road trip destinations will already have heard of Kombi Rocks, a diner cum vintage car rental shop. The place has its roots in Koon Kee Restaurant, whose founder dished up Teochew and Thai food. The heritage restaurant underwent a makeover to become a retro-themed vintage diner.
It's not all about the food though. Before you feast on traditional Chinese and Thai dishes, snap photos with the gorgeous vintage Kombis parked right outside the shop. You can rent a car of your choice out for a vintage wedding shoot. The place can also be booked for private events – they even provide a chauffeur service so you can arrive at the party in style.
Address: 66 Yio Chu Kang Road, Singapore 545568
10. Nox Dine in the Dark
You won't walk out with any instagrammable photos of Nox – but the photos are secondary to the entire dining experience. Seated in a pitch black dining room, you'll be served and guided by visually impaired individuals. It's been said that all your other senses become hyper-alert when you lose your sense of sight. Experience it for yourself as you put those taste buds to work trying to identify what you're actually eating.
Address: 269 Beach Road, Singapore 199546
11. Book Cafe
Book Cafe is your perfect study spot. Free wifi, abundant electrical sockets, good coffee and all-day breakfast make for a very, very happy student. If you're hoping to chance upon a good read, browse throught the tomes lining their bookshelves and settle down with a cuppa. The homely vibes from this cafe are so welcoming that you won't feel like you're imposing even if you stay for the whole day.
Address: #01-02, 20 Martin Road S239070, Seng Kee Building, Robertson Quay, Singapore
12. The Plant Story
If you've always wanted green fingers, consider taking a gardening class after lunching at The Plant Story. Situated within the lush greenery of Hort Park, this nature-themed cafe is a tranquil escape from urban life. They hold gardening workshops and provide landscape design services. If you prefer to take things into your own hands, pick up your own low-maintenance garden housed in a small glass terrarium.
Address: HortPark, 33 Hyderabad Road (Off Alexandra Road) S119578, Level 1, Beside the Lawn
Everything is free at Coffeemin – except for the time you spend there. This new concept cafe is a creative space where you can do whatever you want with whomever you want. Pay $6 for the first hour and $1 for every subsequent 10 min. Or pay a full day's rate of $30 and hoard your space for as long as you want.
The prices include unlimited wifi usage, free flow drinks and snacks. You also get access to Xbox games, a pool table and magazines. If the lack of substantial nosh bothers you, just pack your own food along – the cafe is perfectly fine with it.
Address: 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, The Central, #02-33, Singapore 059817
14. The Screening Room
No more rushing through a fast-food dinner to catch a movie after work. The Screening Room fuses two favourite Singaporean pastimes – food and film. Enjoy a martini “shaken not stirred” as you watch Monsoon Wedding – the menu is inspired by the movies you watch.They also serve up hearty Mediterranean fare from an ala carte menu. There are different classic movies screened every day, so check their website for updates.
Address: 12 Ann Siang Rd, Singapore 069692, 6221 1694
This is possibly the most intriguing dining experience you'll ever visit. This ambiguously-named pop-up diner calls itself a “nomadic restaurant”. What this basically means is that its location changes every time it appears – and you'll only be informed of a meeting location on the very day of your dinner. You'll then have to follow strategic clues to uncover your secret dining location.
The dinner includes a theatre experience. We're guessing that means you get to watch a play as you munch on your dinner. We can't divulge anything else about the experience but check out our review of andsoforth to find out more.
More than food
We hope we've convinced you that there's so much more to dining out than eating. We're excited that entrepreneurs are marrying food with a host of other niche interests and experiences. Let us know in the comments below if we've missed out any!