SINGAPORE - SHOP - Manifesto

This multi-label concept store is unlike any other you’ve seen so far in the city. The first thing that crosses your mind is “Where am I?”. Well basically, you’re in Walid Zaazaa’s creative mind, a world where art, architecture and fashion all come together. This French fashion designer has worked with brands like DKNY and Calvin Klein for 15 years before opening what is today the most avant-gardist and coolest store in town. More than half of the brands you’ll find here are new to Singapore. Think Gilet, Inari, Mads Norgaard or Maison Olga… And by coming here, you’d definitely save a shopping trip to Japan, Denmark or France.

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Zaazaa’s idea is to welcome everyone, “no matter if it’s to buy an affordable postcard, or to get a 300 dollars Maison Kitsuné dress”. That sounds like a lovely Manifesto.

ASK : What’s coming up. The store also aims to host events and exhibitions, Daniel Buren for example might come soon.

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image Shop lifestyle at Manifesto
image Shop fashion at Manifesto

 

 

SINGAPORE - RESTAURANT - ANDRE - Delectable

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André Chiang, born in Taiwan, had worked under French master Chefs such as Pourcel, Robuchon, Troisgros, Gagnaire… before he decided to settle in Singapore and call his restaurant home. This charming heritage house behind a welcoming little olive tree, takes you on a culinary journey and into André’s creative universe based on an “Octaphilosophy”. Unique, pure, texture, memory, salt, south, artisan and terroir.

The result is French, but different. Nouvelle cuisine, but not too much. In this place awarded best restaurant in Singapore, the meat comes from France (4 times a week), and lunch is worth the 100 dollars + you’d spend once in a while (or a lifetime) on a gastronomic restaurant.

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The daring “veal aspic” basically a deconstructed revamped “tête de veau”, would make you surprizingly ask for more brain, tongue, and other kind of offal you thought you’d never eat. Menu changes daily, but his signature dessert the “Snickers” chocolate bar (new creation each year) remains. The 2015 version is to die for.

And when André leaves you a note on a menu sheet saying “Life is about good food, good wine and lots of good friends”, it’s just delectable.

ASK: To be seated downstairs to feel the kitchen vibes.

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Singapore - Sorrel - Bistronomy, as asian as possible

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We French people take bistronomy seriously. So when a restaurant, in Singapore, opens and vows to make the best of high-end bistro food with (almost) only asian products, we go like “Ok on verra”. Named after the sweet and sour herb “sorrel”, this restaurant helmed by incredibly young 24 years old executive Chef Johnston Teo has one mantra : “Good food doesn’t have to be complicated”. There are no classic asian or western dishes revamped as the game is to create something new. Think “Edamame & fromage blanc” or “Chicken with white asparagus & oyster mushrooms”. When you miss Europe but still want to eat “local”, here’s a place to go.

ASK: To be seated at the bar facing the kitchen to observe and eat.

Lunch is affordable but not hearty.

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Singapore -50 shades of chicken and donburi- Bincho

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This hidden little gem is housemate with the traditional coffee shop “Hua Bee”. Feel like a spy and enter by a door at the back (from the parking) for the best of Osaka yakitori cuisine brought by Chef Asai Masashi, specialised in the art of charcoal grilling. For dinner, go crazy with a kind of 50 shades of chicken menu. Or be reasonable and gentle to your wallet with the Donburi set lunch. Famous Chef and boss Andre (Chiang) is never too far to check on the quality of the sashimi or wagyu beef.

ASK: for the green tea ice cream to finish the hearty meal.

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Singapore -Kopitiam & Cinema- Hua Bee

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Here is where you can head to if you forgot your wallet and have some change left in your pocket. A bowl of mee pok starts from 3 dollars. The flat egg noodles are served with an accompanying bowl of soup with fish cake and fish balls. The stall has been operating for more than 70 years, but it’s Eric Khoo with his first movie “Mee Pok man” in 1995 that immortalized this traditional old fashion Kopitiam (coffee shop). Atmosphere hasn’t changed, nor the decor. Marble tables, pale blue tiles, While savouring your meal you could hear actress Michelle Goh shouting “Mee Pok!!” in your head. A journey back in time. Scene in a movie.

ASK: for some teh tarik (milk tea) to go completely local

Tuesday - Sunday 7am - 3 pm

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Singapore -Comfort Cake- Nicher

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Inspired by the French verb “nicher” meaning “nest”. That’s precisely what “Nicher” is, tucked in a little space and sharing premises with Loo hainanese curry. This mini bakery would easily go unnoticed and it would be a shame actually. 1. Because their pound cakes and muffins are fresh baked in house and delicious. And 2. Because young owners Melvin and Lewis are super friendly. Their flavours range from orange to earl grey berries. Having the almond marble pound cake with a coffee from the kopitiam stall next door is one unpretentious simple pleasure.

ASK: For your cakes and muffins in advance as they mainly bake by order.

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Singapore -One of a kind- Books Actually

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Your attention please, rare specimen here. This Independent bookstore, unique in Singapore, almost went out of business several times but survived thanks to owner Kenny and his team’s passion and devotion. Specialised in fiction, they house the largest collection of Singapore literary publications and publish poetry, novel and essays under their imprint “Math Paper Press”. You’ll also go crazy for the wide range of magazines. Plus they have a vintage bric-a-brac at the back, like a tiny tiny flea market. If you have time for only one place in Tiong Bahru. This is it.

ASK: for the hand stitch notebooks and stationery they produce under Birds & Co.

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Singapore -Candy Cake- Galicier

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This traditional Nonya Kueh, cake and pastries shop will make you feel like a kid in a candy shop. You’ll be stricken by all the colours and the wide range of choice. Don’t panic if nothing is familiar. Two of their specialties are a must try: The sweet Kueh dadar (pancake coconut roll) and salty lemper, Indonesian glutinous rice filled with chicken or shrimp. Affordable and delightful.

ASK: For the latest baked

9 am - 9 pm. Closed on Mondays.

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Singapore -Pizza Chic- PS Café Petit

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Who said fast food wasn’t chic? Clink glasses at PS café while waiting for your Pizza in a Great Gatsby decor to prove the contrary. And if you feel too guilty with the pizzas and desserts they offer, choose to go light with their salad bowls. There are 6 PS Café altogether in Singapore and two of them claim to offer a gourmet takeaway prepared with a slow food sensibility. The wine shop has a curated selection of French bottles. Love it.

ASK: For the smoked mozzarella Margherita. Classic yet different.

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Singapore - French Café - Tiong Bahru Bakery

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While exploring the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood, don’t be surprised if some French people stop you and ask their way to Gontran’s Bakery. They’re talking about… Tiong Bahru Bakery. French Master baker and ex TV star Gontran Cherrier had a good nose and opened his first Singapore joint in today’s famous Eng Hoon Street. Essentials are all displayed, croissant, pain au chocolat, baguette, sandwiches… The taste is not exactly like home, but good. Some eccentricities like classic croissants remade and packed with sausage, chicken or salmon would make a true French hit the roof. But it’s modern… Or is it?

ASK: For the brioche crusty cake “kouign amann”, a Breton speciality sometimes hard to find, even in France.

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Singapore -Coffee Maven- 40 Hands

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Forty Hands is a pioneer in Singapore’s barista scene and has been one of the first coffee joints to facelift the neighbourhood. Founder Harry Grover who has been studying coffee farmer communities for his Masters in Asian Sustainable Development, believes that it takes 40 hands to produce a single cup of coffee from bean to cup. This is where you’ll find delectable ones, Aussie style, with fine latte art on top. Their Big boy breakfast (with organic smoked beef or pork sausage) is also a must-try. 

ASK: For their Tau Sar Pau (Red bean bun). They claim to have the best in town though they are too cute to eat.

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Singapore -Open Door for Champagne- Open Door Policy

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ODP’s dining space with a “behind a glass show kitchen” will transport you directly in Manhattan New York. Helmed by Chefs Daniele Sperindio and Ryan Clift (from Tippling Club), their globetrotting menu highlights the best of Modern bistro cuisine. With a focus on western and Asian fusion. From guacamole risotto, spicy lamb spring rolls to braised beef cheek, the dishes are startling, yet familiar.

ASK: Your friends to go during the weekend. They have a countdown champagne brunch. So chic.

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Singapore -Café- No fuss at Flock

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Flock aims to be the kind of cafe where you can relax and go every day, while most of Tiong Bahru’s other places are off on Mondays. Run by a Singaporean family, Gourmet sandwiches like Prawn avocado or Pork Cheek gruyere paninis are handcrafted. Breakfast is served all day and their coffee beans come from the renowned roaster Liberty coffee. A simple place with no fuss.

ASK: For the Genmaicha latte. Unusual.

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Singapore -Flower Couture- One Olive

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This little “flower couture” shop is worth having a peep at. Old French songs are playing (ones my own grandparents won’t even recognize). Even if you have no one to buy flowers to, let yourself go to the romantic atmosphere and floral scents. Prices are up to 5 times the Tiong Bahru market next door, but it’s (haute) couture isn’t it?

ASK: to meet Sunday, their star cat even has a soft toy in his image.

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Singapore -Crazy for Porridge-Ah Chiang

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If you think porridge is boring, wait until you see this place. According to the queue it seems more like looking for the Holy Grail here. All those people waiting for their comfort food from this stall, well established since the 1970’s. Mr Cher Kee Chiang has retired since but Cantonese style porridge (smooth and gooey rice congee) is still cooked over gas and traditional charcoal from 4 am. You can customize it in a dozen ways.

ASK: For the Century eggs one if you dare

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Singapore -The Curry Institution-Loo

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Loo is an institution. And mister Loo father and son have been serious about curry rice since 1946. The one only to be found in Singapore, as hainanese cooks learned from the nonya families. As curry alone takes three days to make, the result is a winning recipe. You can choose from the pork and vegetable chop to the spicy prawn and squids… A long queue awaits you during lunch hour, a sign that’s good.

ASK: For some cabbage to complement

8 am - 2pm. Closed on Thursdays.

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Singapore -Crazy for hawker- Tiong Bahru food Centre

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What would be a heritage neighbourhood without its food legacy? The Tiong Bahru market was the first country modern market to be built inside a housing area. Located above the wet market, the Tiong Bahru food centre has over 80 stalls and it would take weeks to try them all. Very very traditional, some of them have been in the business for over 50 years. Like “Tiong Bahru Pau” (stall #02-18), who started on Seng Poh road in 1965 and now sells its dim sum in over 6 outlets all over Singapore.

ASK : For a fresh sugar cane juice, they do it right in front of you.

Most stalls closed on Mondays

Tiong Bahru Market Food Directory by Bravo

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Singapore -Tintin & Co- Woods in the books

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Another Indie bookstore and neighbour of Books Actually. Woods in the books specializes in picture books for all ages. From comics to graphic novels, you’ll meet Tintin and The little Prince. And also gems from local authors, Illustration paradise.

ASK: For drawings and toys created by the shop owner and artist Mike Foo.

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Singapore -Hipster Corner- Strangelets

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This is the story of 4 interior designers and architect friends who travelled the world in order to create a shop that would gather charming and clever items. The result is this little design shop, a response to hyper-mega mass production. High-End. Think tableware by Astier de Villatte, Jewellery by Kiel Mead, lighting by Mark Product…  Beautiful, quirky, and expensive.

ASK: For the singaporeans frozen treats “Popaganda”. And for the crafts from Heart works, part of a social project in Cape Town. They’re one of the few little affordable things to buy in Strangelets.

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