If you are looking for some unique restaurants for fuss-free lunches to intimate nights’ out with the group or family, consider The Rail Mall at Upper Bukit Timah Road.
This is quite unlike any other malls in Singapore, filled with an eclectic row of restaurants, cafes and bars – many of these names you cannot find anywhere else in Singapore.
The façade is filled with Instagram-worthy backdrops, plus it is a short walk away from the famous truss bridge of Old Bukit Timah Railway Station and Hillview MRT.
From vegan-friendly offerings, authentic Italian cuisine, American-style comfort food, to a cute cat-café, here are 9 food places you can check out at The Rail Mall:
Green On Earth
The Rail Mail, Unit 386/388
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm Last Order 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
For Vegetarian Zi Char, Sichuan-Style Mala Xiang Guo and Shui Zhu Yu
Green On Earth’s aim is to change people’s perception of vegetarian food. Behind the brand is a team of experienced and accomplished chefs. Together, they use the freshest ingredients and precision cooking to deliver comforting vegetarian zi char dishes.
Don’t miss their signature Mala Xiang Guo, a numbing-spicy possibly sweat-inducing dish cooked using ingredients of your choice ($3 per 100g). A key ingredient is the homemade paste made of 20 different top-secret herbs and spices.
If you worry about the heat, you can choose the level of spiciness accordingly.
Another popular spicy main is the Sichuan Boiled Fish ($28), a classic Shui Zhu Yu dish. It is prepared with slices of ‘cod’ wok-fried in a spicy and savoury mala soup base.
This succulent ‘fish’ is actually made of soy beans, accompanied with Chinese cabbage, mushrooms, bean curd skins and broad bean sprouts. And to keep it tongue-tingling spicy, it is further topped with jade green Sichuan peppercorns and chilies.
Other specialties include Pickled Vegetable Fish ($28), Cumin Pork Ribs ($15, $20, $25), Rendang Mutton ($10, $15, $20), Sweet & Sour Chicken ($12, $17, $22), Curry Chicken ($15, $20, $25), and Oatmeal Prawns ($18, $25) – all meat-free of course.
The Cat Café
The Rail Mail, Unit 392
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Tues, Thurs – Sun, PH), 3pm – 10pm (Wed)
Purrfect Feline-Friendly Coffee Place
Chill out over freshly brewed coffee while you mingle with cats at The Cat Café.
Not only does it provide a venue for brewed coffee/tea/grub, it is an inspiring place known to promote cat adoption. You may find the furry companion meant for you at The Cat Café.
This safe, clean, and spacious café is home to 14 locally rescued cats, rescued by Kitty Care Haven. All cats were once strays or abandoned; and now found home at The Cat Café.
One of the cats was Mochi, looking handsome in a tie. It is perhaps one of the biggest local cats you will see. Imagine a height and length 1.5x the typical local cat.
For $16, you get to spend 2 hours in the café, with 1 complimentary soft drink. Need more time? Add $4 for every additional 30 minutes. It is best you book a seat via www.thecatcafe.sg before dropping by.
Cool down with Ice Cubes Coffee ($6.50 for ala carte, $3.50 for top up price), a refreshing chilled milk poured over espresso-flavoured ice cubes. The coffee cube is also in the shape of a cat. A must-try especially on hot, humid days.
They also offer tea and fresh-baked pastries.
Lasagne with Chips ($9.50) is The Cat Café’s best-seller, available with beef or chicken filling in between al dente flat pasta.
The Rail Mail, Unit 398
Opening Hours: 3:30pm – 10:30pm (Mon – Fri), 11:30am – 10:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Local Fusion Delights and Tex-Mex Mixed Tacos
Located at the chill end of The Rail Mall, Sixteen Ounces is a bistro which serves 8 craft beers on tap.
The craft beers rotate regularly to give tipplers variety. Plus, it houses over 50 bottled and canned craft beers and ciders from all around the world.
With all the choices, you are bound to find the best drink to pair with their local food delights.
From the kitchen of Sixteen Ounces comes fusion mains including filling sandwiches. Popular menu items include Cheeseburger ($20), Spiced Lamb Burger ($22), Butter Chicken Burger ($16), Steak & Fries ($25), Mushroom Cheese Naanwich ($15), Chilli Beef Dog ($15) and Classic Hotdog ($10).
Get the Cheeseburger (or make it a Double Cheeseburger for only $25) and treat yourself to a tender, juicy beef patty tagged along with onion jam, dill pickle mayo and melty cheese.
Add some Mixed Tacos ($12 for 2 pc, $15 for 3 pc) to complete your meal. Choose from fillings of Fish, Beef Brisket, Chicken Tikka, and a savoury-sweet Pulled BBQ Jackfruit.
Acqua e Farina
The Rail Mail, Unit 400
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm; 5:45pm – 10:00pm (Tues – Thurs, Sun, PH),
11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:45pm – 10:15pm (Fri – Sat), Closed Mon
If a public holiday falls on Monday, the restaurant will remain open and close on Tuesday instead.
Trattoria-style Italian Restaurant Specialising In Homemade Pasta and Pizza
Two trained Italian chefs, Roberto Galbiati and Antonio Manetto, teamed up to start and operate Acqua e Farina. Hailing from the northern and southern parts of Italy, together they created a menu showcasing the distinctive cuisines of Italy.
Recommended pizza is the brand-bearing signature Pizza Acqua e Farina ($33).
A spread of red tomato sauce is laden with shredded mozzarella and dollops of ricotta cheese, then topped with savoury slices of salami and sautéed spinach.
Fresh pasta offerings here include Fettuccine Nere alla Polpa di Granchio ($33) of squid ink pasta with crabmeat in tomato sauce; Fettuccine Verdi alla Bolognese ($31) which is spinach pasta tossed with classic beef bolognese; and Tagliatelle alla Boscaiola ($32.00) with mushrooms, Italian sausages and bacon tossed in tomato sauce with a touch of cream.
For pasta, try their rendition of Spaghetti ai Gamberi ($32). This aglio olio style pasta uses extra virgin olive oil, combined with garlic, chilies, and pepperoncino, further accompanied with succulent prawns.
The Straits Wine Company
The Rail Mail, Unit 424
Opening Hours: 12pm – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
Artisanal Wines From Around The World
Specialising in boutique and artisanal wines from around the world, The Straits Wine Company is Southeast Asia’s leading wine importer, retailer, and distributor.
Since 2006, they have operated in Singapore and Malaysia. Drop by their retail store and see an extensive inventory of wines. Aside from the usual European wines, they offer unique finds from not-too-common wine regions like India, Lebanon, Croatia, and China.
Go for a white wine like S De Suduiraut Vieilles Vignes Blanc Sec 2015 ($86). Made from a blend of 94% Semillon and 6% Sauvignon Blanc grapes from Sauternes, France, this wine is light-yellow in colour with green glints.
Nose is subtle initially revealing aromas of crusty bread, vanilla, and spices. Give it a swirl and discover a complex and delicate nose of white flowers, lemon, and aniseed, rounded off with white fruit and gunflint. Sip and taste its acidity combined with aniseed and pear.
Enjoy this young wine with decantation, and experience its long finish of almond notes, mineral, and spices.
If you like red wines better, try Marques de Murrieta Rioja Reserva 2016 ($61) made from Tempranillo grapes from Rioja, Spain. With vineyard in the Ygay Estate, Marques de Murrieta winery is known for its elegant, balanced, and consistent wines.
This reserva wine has a balanced aging of 2 years in new/partly new American oak barrels, and 1.5 years in bottles. An elegant wine that is both fine and complex.
The Rail Mail, Unit 426/428
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 12am (Mon – Fri), 10:30am – 12am (Sat – Sun)
Experience North American Roadhouse Feels & Food
BLooiE’s is a bar & grill with dining, drinking, entertainment, and lounging areas with large dining space.
For more than 20 years, BLooiE’s has fed and satisfied tipplers with good ole homemade burgers, booze and more. Their comfort food dishes are prepared using in-house ingredients, including marinades, sauces, and dips.
Dining with a small group? Get the German-inspired Crispy Crackling Pork Knuckle ($38.80) accompanied with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. Large enough to be shared among 2-3 diners.
If not, enjoy a burger all by yourself. The Bacon Mushroom Cheeseburger ($18.90) serves a 180g all-beef grilled patty topped with cheese and portobello mushrooms. You’ll vanish that hunger away as this comes with homemade slaw and Cajun fries.
But if you are in the mood for Asian flavours, they also serve traditional Taiwanese fare from LEE’s Taiwanese. Now you can savour a bowl of comforting Taiwan Beef Noodle ($13.80) with hearty soup here.
The Rail Mail, Unit 434
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 9pm, Last Order 8.30pm (Mon – Sun)
Vegan and Vegetarian Café Known For Hakka Thunder Tea Rice
When it comes to healthilicious choices, Sunnychoice provides it all. Not only does it serve vegan vegetarian food, the store also offers natural and organic products.
Having both dining and shopping areas make this a convenient place for anyone who embraces a healthy-living lifestyle.
Dishes are served without garlic, onion, leek, eggs and dairy.
Start off with a dish popular among the Chinese Hakka community, Thunder Tea Brown Rice or Hakka Lei Cha Fan ($9.50, add $3.50 to upsize).
Sunnychoice upgraded this traditional dish by using natural brown instead of white rice. Its unique tea paste is blended with 10 different ingredients to create a distinct taste.
Plus, they use cashew instead of peanut and 100% pure non-GMO rice bran oil instead of vegetable oil. Even seasonings are healthier, replacing MSG with mushroom seasoning, and table salt with natural sea salt.
If you love sushi, try their Brown Rice Sushi and Veggie Sushi ($7 each). Gone is the usual white Japanese rice – they use a healthier fibre-rich brown rice. Veggies also took the place of raw seafood and the sushi is wrapped with gold standard roasted seaweed from Korea.
Homemade sauces and wasabi are available to enhance the taste even further.
The Rail Mail, Unit 454
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm Last order 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Modern Japanese Fusion Donburi, Sushi Rolls and Aburi Dishes
Hankering for Japanese food? Head out to Yuba Hut ユバ屋 and taste their wide selection of sushi rolls, signature Aburi-style dishes, fresh sashimi, and donburi rice bowls. Service is fast casual so it is best for a quick meal.
Order the signature Champion Floss Maki ($9.90 for 4 pcs, $16.90 for 8pcs), with sushi rice wrapping strips of fresh cucumbers and thick slices of buttery rich aburi-ed salmon sashimi.
A creamy homemade mayo sauce tops the roll, along with juicy popping ikura and savoury chicken floss. All that flavours and textures make this roll oishii.
Other recommended rolls are Cream Cheese Mentaiko Salmon ($9.90 for 4 pcs, $16.90 for 8pcs) and Salmon Aburi Maki ($8.90 for 4 pcs, $15.90 for 8pcs).
Japanese rice bowls (priced between $7.80 and $16.90) are just as popular, especially Salmon Aburi, Spicy Salmon Aburi, Hamachi Salmon Aburi, Buta Yaki, and Beef Steak Don.
Get the bestselling Salmon Aburi Don ($14.90), loaded with creamy, smoky torched salmon slices served atop fluffy white rice. Toppings of cured salmon and flying fish roe slathered with a tasty sauce add a delightful crunch and savoury flavours.
Kings Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant
The Rail Mail, Unit 456
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Traditional North and South Indian Cuisine
Kings Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant is a small family-run eatery serving a diverse spread of Indian cuisine since 2017.
Their dishes are prepared using natural ingredients, herbs and spices and reflect authentic Indian-style cooking. Most are served on banana leaves, hence the name of the restaurant.
Highly recommended is the Curry Fish Head ($22 for small, $28 for medium, $32 for big) featuring Angoli or white snapper fish head. The fresh fish is marinated in spices, then cooked with a homemade masala till tender. All the flavours from tamarind juice, curry leaves, turmeric, garlic, coriander power fuse with the creaminess of coconut milk for this robust main.
Pair it up with Garlic Naan ($3.50), a type of leavened white flour bread topped with chopped garlic and butter fry on the charcoal Tandoori Pot.
If you like Biryani, you’ll find their Kollimali Biryani ($22) quite unique. Kollimali Hills are in Southern India and the source of the spices used for this dish. Unlike the usual biryani, it uses “Seeraga Samba” rice, a type of small grain rice used traditionally for biryani in South India. They wrap the biryani with banana leaf and place it in the dum for at least 1 hour.
Take note that this special dish is only available on Sunday from 11am onwards.
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with The Rail Mall.