Not quite as atas as the other Bukit Timah, Upper Bukit Timah is a stretch known mostly for nature reserves and roadworks (thanks to an upcoming MRT line). The area will probably blow up, Holland Village-style, once the MRT stations are up and running. But in the meantime, there’s plenty in store for those who make the trek.
Little Guilin, credit: mailer_diablo
Let’s start with the obvious: there’s a whole lot of nature here. Even though Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is partially closed for the next year or so, there’s still Bukit Batok Nature Park and the picturesque Little Guilin. The latter looks like a scene straight out of China, with towering granite and tranquil lakes. Fun fact: it’s also a popular make-out spot among westies.
Now that the hoarding has been lifted from the Cheong Chin Nam stretch, we remember why this strip of road still remains a popular supper hangout spot. Long-time favorites Al Ameen and Al-Azhar pander to our late night prata and milo dinosaur cravings, while across the road, in Beauty World Center and along Lorong Kilat, there is a cluster of Korean eateries that serve up authentic dishes. Our vote is for Joo Mak Korean Restaurant in Beauty World Center for awesome Korean BBQ.
Carpenter and Cook (credit: Carpenter and Cook)
Of course, no up-and-coming ‘hood is complete without its Instagram-worthy cafes. There’s the quaint Carpenter and Cook that’s decked out in vintage furnishings, while deeper into the residential estate you’ll find Necessary Provisions which checks all the hipster boxes: industrial-chic decor, indie magazines on display and craft beer on the menu. If you want more than coffee, there’s Spruce @ Old Fire Station and for hearty weekend brunches.
A brand new mall
Regular heartland malls can be pretty yawn-inducing, but not the airy new HillV2, which boasts some serious contenders on the food front, like Dean & Deluca’s third outlet, Joyden Canton Kitchen for seriously good Cantonese food and Burrito Boys for casual Mexican. On the drinking front, there’s the much-loved Wine Connection and German bier bar Starker. Oh and you’ll also find a specialty Korean mini-mart that sells everything from pre-packed kimchi to teas and seaweed.
Le Spa (credit: Le Spa)
If you need to unwind further, there are also a couple of neighborhood massage joints that stay open till late so you can get a rubdown in the wee hours. One of them is Tang Dynasty, which stays open till 6am and has affordable rates (a 45-minute body massage costs $45). Another cheap and cheerful one, also along Chun Tin Road, is the new-ish Le Spa which currently has an opening offer for first-timers (a 45-minute massage goes for $38).