Booking a flight ticket for a holiday seems out of question this year. But if you’re aching to travel and satisfy your wanderlust, fret not! Gather your friends and visit some cafes—we’re not talking about just any normal cafe—but those with serious vacay vibes. Leave your passport at home, what you require is a chill afternoon this December. From a quaint hideout that feels like England to a cafe that’ll bring you to the streets of Mexico, here are 12 cafes we’ve sieved out to get you through till your next vacation!
1. Poison Ivy @ The Bollywood Veggies
An oasis hidden away from the buzzing life of Singapore, Poison Ivy bistro is a farm-to-table concept cafe with its wholesome food and locally sourced dishes. It is found inside Bollywood Veggies situated in the countryside of Kranji where you can appreciate the simple but overlooked pleasures in life. Enjoy a rustic, farm-fresh meal at a leisurely pace and enjoy local and fusion cuisines including the Nasi Lemak Platter, otah omelette and even banana curry! If you have enough to spare, you can pick up a couple of fresh organic fruit, kaya and tapioca potato chips before you leave. Then, complete the journey by taking a leisurely walk through their organic farm. With no HDBs or high-rise buildings in sights, you’ll instantly be transported away from the concrete jungle which doesn’t feel like Singapore!
Address: 100 Neo Tiew Rd, Singapore 719026
Opening hours: Wed-Fri 7am–5pm Sat-Sun 7AM-7PM. Closed on Mon and Tue
2. Wildseed Cafe @ The Summerhouse
Every so often, when you catch yourself dreaming of a break from the routines of daily life, grab your travel buddies and pop by this quaint little spot! Wildseed Cafe is designed to feel like summer vibes in Korea all year round, decorated with its enthralling display of flowers of all kinds around. The location makes it seem as though this floral wonderland is on the outskirts of a town, where it is surrounded by lush greenery of Seletar countryside. Housed in a colonial building, this pet-friendly cafe offers freshly roasted coffee, floral cakes, pastries, hearty weekend brunches and casual, all-day meals.
Address: 3 Park Lane, Seletar Aerospace Dr, Park, 798387
Opening hours: 8:30am–9:30pm
3. Lucha Loco
If you’re all about Latin-American flavours, then make a trip down to Lucha Loco that will transport you to the cantinas of Mexico city. Their menu is handpicked with Mexican favourites like Baja tacos to fusion recipes like buttermilk chicken burritos using only fresh and premium ingredients. Do not forget their Arroz Con Leche (gelato) that will send you to dessert heaven. For an unforgettable experience, go during sunset and book the outdoor seating in their garden cocina. Decked with pretty fairy lights and together with the Spanish background music playing, you will definitely feel like you are in another time and place.
Address: 15 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089598
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am–10:30pm Sat 5–10:30pm. Closed on Sun
4. Soek Seng 1954 Bicycle Cafe
Having a meal at this cafe is a unique experience in itself. Sitting beside an airport for private jets and some commercial airlines, diners here are able to watch planes take off while they eat! Come around evening time when you can witness the sunset with an unobstructed view. This is one of the rare few spots around the country without any high rise buildings around. Their menu consists of a combination of local, western and Japanese cuisine that are mostly under S$20. With such an eclectic mix from Japanese gyudon to sirloin steak and beef rendang, it really is worth the effort to make all the way here for the experience. While you may not travel for leisure now, perhaps imagining yourself in the planes in the sky will satisfy your travel wanderlust.
Address: 80 #01-01 MAJ Aviation Building, Seletar Aerospace View, 797563
Opening hours: 10am – 10pm Tuesdays to Sundays
5. The Halia
Reminiscing about your time spent in a tranquil spot in one of Bali’s many cafes? Get one step closer and treat yourself to some delectable modern European cuisine with touches of Asian flavours at The Halia. Set in a wonderful location inside the Singapore Botanic Gardens, this restaurant is surrounded by lush foliage of plants. Some of the recommended mains to try are Singapore-Style Chili Crab Spaghettini and Paperbag Oven-Baked Halibut Fillet. End your meal with their signature dessert The Ginger Garden, which consists of orange blossom vanilla mousse, Galangal poached apples, blood orange coulis and ginger flower sorbet! The Halia has to be one of the most beautiful dining destinations in Singapore.
Address: 1 Cluny Rd, Ginger Garden Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore 259569
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am–9pm Sat-Sun 10AM-9PM
6. Wanderlost Lounge
Halal has become a word that many travellers search for throughout the recent years. Introducing Wanderlost Lounge, a halal mocktail bar that steers clear from alcohol. Start your meal with delicious Western and fusion mains, but be sure to try their range of bespoke mocktails inspired by classic fictional stories such as Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Snow White and Harry Potter. Some of the recommended drinks are The Alchemist mocktail and The Little Prince. These drinks will be prepared with fancy props and even mist coming out of the drinks. A page taken right out of a fairytale, you will feel like you aren’t quite in Singapore!
Address: 15 Enggor Street #12-01 12th floor, 079716
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 5:30–11pm Sat-Sun 11:30am–3pm, 5–10:30pm
7. Sushi Airways
Get your boarding passes ready, you are invited to come on board Singapore’s first aeroplane-themed restaurant. You may think, it is not quite the same as the real deal, but it is a fun outing to satisfy the aerophile in you. Featuring waitresses dressed as flight attendants, the entire atmosphere is decked out to resemble the vintage Douglas DC-3 aircraft. All the little touches such as airplane lighting, windows, a menu that is a “flight manual” and real airplane meal trolleys add to the overall ambience. Pick between Japanese favourites like sushi, sashimi, handrolls and other Japanese dishes! If you want to lift yourself above the clouds, get their omakase complete with seasonal specialty items that are flown in that week. Your favourite airlines may be a great way to fly, but Sushi Airways is a great way to dine.
Address: 20a Baghdad St, Singapore 199659
Opening hours: 11:45am–2:30pm, 5:45–9:45pm
8. Merci Marcel
When you think of French cuisine, does a delectable cheese menu, freshly made crepes and croque monsieur come to mind? If so, you’ll have to dine at Merci Marcel. Be prepared to be swept off your feet by their Parisian-inspired decor. Featuring a number of highlights of their mains like Ravioles de Royans and Barramundi tartare, this all-day dining destination also has coffee, wine, spots for Instagram pictures and even a shop. Take a little French flavour home by getting their spreads and cheese selection.
Address: 56 Eng Hoon St, #01-68, Singapore 160056
Opening hours: 8am–10:30pm
9. Whisk & Paddle
Set amongst a backdrop of lush greenery, located on the banks of the tranquil Punggol-Serangoon Reservoir, this is as tranquil as it gets. Soak in the ambience at their riverside cafe while you sip on freshly ground coffee, enjoy homemade pastries made fresh daily in their pastry kitchen and tuck into mains such as coq au vin and lamb shank. Or you could enjoy an ice cold beer under the stars at their spacious al fresco dining at night. Plus, it is ulu and you will feel like you’ve actually gone overseas.
Address: 235 Telok Kurau Rd, Singapore 423839
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 3.30PM-10.30PM, Sat-Sun 9.30AM-10.30PM
10. Cafe de Nicole
When you think of concept cafes in general, a lot of us reminisce of times in Melbourne and London cafes. Well, be swept away to the countryside when you dine at Cafe de Nicole! Originally a florist shop, it focuses on a garden theme with the interiors decorated with potted plants and bright colours everywhere else. Even their dishes display a little touch of floral, with decorative edible flowers as garnishes to their drinks and lattes. The cosy vibes will definitely make you want to stay and spend all afternoon there to indulge in coffee or catch up with friends over some good grub. Order their delicious Tiramisu Souffle Pancakes, Acai Bowls, burgers or their all-day brunch menu! Did we mention that this aesthetic pet-friendly cafe has a resident cat too? Don’t forget to pet and say hello to Lao Ban the cat on your way out!
Address: 235 Telok Kurau Rd, Singapore 423839
Opening hours: 9AM-9PM
Calling all Bali lovers, this picturesque cafe is the place you’ve been looking for. Surgarfin cafe ticks all the typical Bali vibes boxes complete with quirky decor and the healthy-kind of Bali cafe food. Get comfy here with a good novel, some coffee and Acai Smoothie Bowl or Coconut Smoothie Bowl, and have a seat against their aesthetically pleasing backdrop plastered in pink and chic decorations. Also, try their home-grown cold-pressed juice brand, A Juicery! It’s the perfect place to bring the whole family or your travel buddies for a hearty and healthy brunch or tea break. What more could you need for the perfect Instagram photo to make you feel like you are travelling overseas?
Address: 21 Lor Telok, Singapore 049033
Opening hours: 9AM-5PM Mon to Fri
12. Central Perk
Take a step back into time and get yourself into the nostalgia mode as you step into Central Perk cafe. This place looks like it can blend into the American cafe scene with its F.R.I.E.N.D.S themed eatery, bricked walls, neon lights and iconic bar counter. Even their food, from desserts to coffee and even pizzas, has a hidden reference for F.R.I.E.N.D.S fans. The mains that you can indulge in include Joey’s Fisherman Stew, Janice’s Oh My God Baby Back Ribs ($39) and You’re My Lobster Salad. Pair your mains with a cup from their special coffee menu with six different roasts. If you have a sweet tooth, tuck into their recommended dessert, the Chandler’s Edible Helium Balloon!
Address: 1 Magazine Rd, #01-01 Central Mall, Singapore 059567
Opening hours: 11AM-11PM
We are all missing that year-end long vacation now but quell that wanderlust with these ambience-heavy cafes right here in Singapore. Save this page and plan a travel-themed cafe-hopping adventure that will give you that travel vibes you’ve been sorely missing!
Amira is a flight attendant who has always been a lover of adventure, writing, and cooking. She also really, really wants to see the Southern Lights! Follow her adventures on www.amirapunya.com, and @asingaporeanabroad on Instagram and TikTok.