The Joo Chiat and Katong area has been a veritable hive of activity. Not that it wasn't already. The trendy estate has already been humming with fitness studios, hip cafes, lifestyle stores, and famed hawker fare, but it hasn't stopped a slew of new cafes and restaurants (and a couple of takeaway concepts) from sprouting up anyway. Here's what's piquing our interest.
If you appreciate fresh handmade pasta, then Forma is where to make a reservation. The new dining outfit is born out of a collab between The Cicheti Group and pasta artisan Lee Yumhwa of Ben Fatto 95.
The focus is on pasta made wth traditional techniques - the opening menu features the likes of the Oriechette al Sugo d'Agnello, a ear-shaped pasta typical of Puglia that scoops up a hearty braised lamb shank sugo, and tiny pork-filled parcels that star in the Tortellini in Brodo.
Pasta aside, the antipasti and mains by executive chef Dylan Cheong are star players too. The Polpette di Baccala, breaded salted cod and mashed potato bites, and the Prosciutto di San Daniel e Melone are both winners.
For secondi, there's a pan-roasted blue cod that boasts an airy wafer-like skin and tender flesh in a silky vermouth-butter sauce stew. Or get the heftyy Bistecca di Tomahawk to hare, which stars 55-day dry-aged grass-fed Australian beef.
Forma is at 128 Tembeling Road, Singapore 423638. It's open for dinner from 6pm (Tues to Sat).
Dickson Nasi Lemak
Dickson Nasi Lemak may have just opened a month ago, but it's already drawn snaking queues. Helmed by the same people behind Champion Polo Bun, the takeaway dining concept prides itself on Malaysian-style Nasi Lemak, which supposedly uses the same recipe as Kuala Lumpur's famous Village Park Restaurant.
The only main on the menu is the Ayam Goreng Berempah ($8.60+), which comes with fragrant coconut rice (made with homemade coconut milk), half a hard-boiled egg, and a spiced chicken leg that's fried upon ordering. Then there's its signature sambal, which uses 18 ingredients and is cooked for over five hours.
Dickson Nasi Lemak is at 320 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427571. Closed on Wednesdays.
Kohi Roastery & Coffee Bar
If not for its bright yellow exteriors, it'd be pretty easy to miss this new coffee joint - after all, it quite literally is a hole in the wall. There isn't any seating available, and it's more of a takeaway kiosk for when you need java on the go.
There are the usual suspects of Espresso ($3.50), White ($6) and Dark Mocha ($7). Or check out its signatures (all at $7), like the mint-infused Kohito, the Iced Coco Espresso with coconut water, or the Iced Coco Hoji that melds coconut water with hojicha.
Kohi Roastery & Coffee Bar is at 283 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427535.
Next to Kohi is Natsu, opened by the Ebb & Flow Group and chef Lewis Barker of the newly awarded one-Michelin-starred Sommer - and the coffee here is supplied by Kohi, too.
Come here for Western brunch classics given a Japanese flair, like eggs benedict layered with sansho glazed ham and sauteed wasabi spinach ($28++), sandos (from $22++) and jiggly souffle pancakes with white peach slices and almond cream ($23++).
The quaint and contemporary space doused in pastel hues also makes for fodder for your Instagram feed.
Natsu is at 283 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427535.
Joo Chiat Caphe
Joo Chiat's home to an array of Vietnamese eateries, but if you're after a Muslim-friendly option, there's Joo Chiat Caphe, which uses ingredients from halal sources.
You'll find mainly banh mi here, but with a twist. For fusion-style takes on the Vietnamese classic, there's the Mackarel Otah With Homemade Vietnamese Mayonnaise ($6.50), and the Batter Crispy Fillet with Honey Mustard Sauce ($7).
Or go all out with the Earthquake ($8.50) loaded baguette filled with cold cut ham, grilled chicken thigh, lemongrass beef patty and chicken pate. Apart from banh mi, there are also options like Kuning Fish Nasi Lemak ($2.20), Otah Toast ($2.50) and Soft-Boiled Eggs ($1.80).
And if you need a caffeine fix, Vietnamese drip coffee is available here, too.
Joo Chiat Caphe is at 263 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427517. Visit its website for more information.
There's been a lot of hype surrounding Supernova, a new cafe concept helmed by the same people behind Atlas Coffeehouse, Apollo Coffee Bar, The Neptune, Lunar Coffee Brewers, and Columbus Coffee Co.
Surrounded by glass windows that afford plenty of natural light, the space is a mix of modern and classic elements, with wooden furniture, marble tabletops, and a chandelier overhead.
Menu-wise, expect hearty brunch fare in the day, from Steak Hash ($26.90++) with cubes of pan-seared striploin and crispy potatoes, Chorizo, Eggs & Avo ($20.90++) and Passionfruit French Toast ($20.90++).
The menu also differs for lunch, with options like Shoyu Butter & Garlic Rigatoni ($18++), Wagyu Cheeseburger ($22.90++) and Eggs in Meurette, a poached eggs in a red wine stew ($24++).
Bonus: it's a pet-friendly cafe.
Supernova is at 266 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 437053.
Dochi Dochi by WTV Food
Love all things mochi? Pay a visit to Dochi Dochi, a bakery that specialises in mini mochi doughnuts. It started out as a home-based business, before recently opening a physical store in Joo Chiat. Made fresh on the daily with no preservatives, it serves up both sweet and savoury bite-sized balls of bliss like Parmesan Garlic Butter, Truffle Mushroom, Maple Osmanthus, Biscoff Crunch, and Oreo Bomb.
Prices start from $7 for 10, depending on the flavour you go for.
Dochi Dochi is at 95 Joo Chiat Rd, #01-02, Singapore 427389. Visit its Instagram page for more information.
After opening its first outlet in Upper Thomson, Hello Arigato has done well enough to open the doors to a second space in Joo Chiat.
It's all about the sando (Japanese-style sandwiches) here, with choices running from the signature Gyu Sando ($26++) loaded with 160g of Angus beef striploin, to the Tamago Sando ($14++) with tamagoyaki and an Ajitama Egg. And just for the Joo Chiat outlet is the HCG Sando ($16++), stuffed with a shrimp paste chicken or har cheong gai that's been marinated for 48 hours and cucumbers.
If you're up for something sweet, it offers baked goods like Miso Banana Cake ($7++), cookies ($5 per piece) and a Yuzu Meringue Cake ($9++) too.
Hello Arigato is at 314 Joo Chiat Road, Singapore 427565. Visit its website for more information.
Wen Kang Ji Wanton Noodle
Fans of the popular Wen Kang Ji Wanton Noodle at Golden Mile Food Centre will be glad to know that it has opened a second joint in Joo Chiat, housed in the same coffee shop as the equally well-known Da Dong Prawn Noodles.
The stall is best known for its juicy, glistening char siew that's roasted in-house. The Wanton Noodles come in two sizes ($6 and $8), and are served with boiled wantons and a zesty housemade chilli sauce. Pork lard can also be added upon request.
Also on the menu are Dumpling Noodles ($5), Dumpling Soup ($5) and Wanton Soup ($5).
Wen Kang Ji Wanton Noodle is at 354 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427600. Closed on Tuesdays.
For a quirky cafe experience, make your way to USD Cafe, which stands for Upside Down. Get the camera ready - you'll get lots of fun photo ops with furniture and decor that have been hung upside down.
Apart from the novel experience, the spotlight is on the coffee, and especially Ipoh-style white coffee in an array of interesting concoctions. Think Cheesy Salted White Coffee, Okinawa White Coffee, Banana White Coffee and Jasmine White Coffee (all at $7.50++).
Food-wise, dig into all-day brunch fare, toast, pastries, and a variety of cheesecakes.
USD Cafe is a 171 East Coast Rd, #01-05, Singapore 428877.
If the scorching weather has you longing for an icy treat, may your way to i12 Katong (also newly opened with a slew of dining options) for all-natural vegan ice cream at Kind Kones.
It's the brand's first location in the East; its other outlets are located in town at Paragon and The Forum.
Free of dairy, eggs, preservatives and refined sugar, sink your teeth into luscious flavours like Almond Brittle Fudge, Baklava, Pecan Praline, and Passionfruit Sorbet.
Kind Kones is at #02-25 I12 Katong, 112 East Coast Road, Singapore 428802.
This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly.