Trying to find child friendly places to eat in Singapore isn’t that difficult but it is always comforting when someone recommends somewhere. Here is a list of places that we have had fun at – as always add to the list if you know of somewhere great or add to the comments if you feel we have missed something, or if your opinion of somewhere has changed.
THE LINE AT SHANGRI LA
22 Orange Grove Road
T: (65) 6737 3644
Where am I? Orchard
What am I? Decadent Sunday brunch; bit of a splurge
In our opinion, one of the best champagne Sunday brunches in Singapore. Where the whole family can come but the parents can pretend they don’t have any children and the kids can pretend they have no parents! By far the most modern and well thought out hotel brunch that also has a spot for kids – an indoor bouncy castle, balloon artist and an entire low level childrens’ buffet. It gives The Fullerton a run for its money on the ‘pile it high’ stakes and even the St. Regis could take a tip or two at the dessert counter (though the Fullerton wins hands down on cheese and the St Regis on seafood). One of the few places that manages to marry adult decadence with child friendly dining, this is certainly a place for all the family to enjoy, though perhaps not on too regular a basis – whilst you can undoubtedly get your money’s worth; this place is not easy on the wallet!
Opening times: Lunch: Noon – 2.30pm (weekends and holidays until 3pm)
ROCHESTER PARK CAFE
7 Rochester Park
T: (+65) 6773 1212
What am I? Playroom plus restaurant
Where Am I? Rochester Park
An utter haven for those looking for somewhere to fill a couple of hours with kids. The playroom charges $6 for first hour and $6 per subsequent hour on weekdays or per subsequent half hour on weekends. The toys and internal space on the ground floor are designed with children up to five in mind, while upstairs the computers and games are aimed at a slightly older clientele but will keep anyone up to the age of 12 amused. The food isn’t bad but the service still has some teething probs as they get to grips with their huge and very early success. Get there early, or book a table, is our advice…and avoid weekends if you can. During the week it is a lovely place to go with friends for tea or coffee and cake and they are happy for you to leave your little people in the competent arms of helpers in the playroom while you relax on the terrace. BTW: Be aware that all dining is all alfresco because their inside space has been consumed by the kitchen and playrooms.
Opening Times: 9.30am to 10.30pm daily
JUNGLE BREAKFAST AT SINGAPORE ZOO
Ah Meng Restaurant
80 Mandai Lake Rd
T: (+65) 6269 3411 or (+65) 6360 8560
What am I? Brekkie with Orangutans and over-priced orange juice
Where am I? Zoo
You have to sit down by 9am to really get your money’s worth but this is great fun, with or without the kids. Unleash your hidden child within and be entranced by the orangutans that perform and eat alongside you under the watchful eye of the keepers. You may well get to see the elephants being washed and get to stroke a python…if that is your thing. The breakfast isn’t anything to write home about as a culinary experience, but then that isn’t really why you go. BTW: Don’t forget your camera – there are plenty of opportunities for snapping. Cost is $25.00++ for adults and $16.00++ for children between 6-12 years old (prices exclude admission). Make sure you book at least a day in advance.
Opening Times: Breakfast; 9am-10.30am daily
Rasa Sentosa Resort
T: +65 6371- 2930
Where am I? Sentosa
What am I? All day family fun and food that won’t break the bank
The waterside restaurant at the Rasa Sentosa Hotel does a pretty good brunch. They will tell anyone that will listen that they are the Shangri La Sentosa but this is misleading if you think that you will get the same style Sunday brunch available at the Shangri La in town. However, if it is a day off the island that you require, particularly with children between 3 1/2 and 10, then this is the place for you. Adult brunch is $68++, and kids under 6 eat free and small cost for 7-11 yr olds, and for the price of lunch you get access to all the hotels facilities – ie pool, spa and childrens’ entertainment that runs from 1-2pm on the lawn outside the restaurant. Have breakfast at home, pitch up around 10am to get a decent spot by the pool and enjoy a coffee and swim, with your family splashing about nearby, to work up an appetite. At noon, head to the restaurant to pile your plates high and enjoy the ubiquitous free flowing champagne. Send the kids to watch the entertainment (usually magic and balloon art with chance to ride about in pedal cars etc) while you let things settle, then back to the pool for a bit of afternoon sun. Book ahead as it gets busy, and check that the pool is open as there are rumours of it closing.
Opening Times: Lunch; 12.30pm – 3pm Sundays only, but also open for dinner from 6.30pm-10pm daily
SOL PLAYGROUND CAFE
200 Turf Club Road (#01-21)
T+65 6467 8681
Where am I? Turf City
What am I? Cheap and cheerful oasis
A lovely little café at the taxi stand end of Turf city, close to Art Boot Camp. A really nice place to hang out for a couple of hours. They make a good coffee and have reasonably priced children’s food. But that isn’t why you will go. There is a charming (if tired) indoor play area; a soft area, slide, trampoline and lovely little library of books and toys for little people and free wireless internet for big people. It is simple, rustic and sweet…and for the price of a cup of coffee your little person can jump about under your vaguely watchful eye. It is a calm and kind place that is a great stop off treat/bribe to ensure good behaviour if you are trailing toddlers around the supermarket next door. BTW: it is also great if you have more than one child – while one is at tots tennis/art boot camp/soccer tots etc, you can have some quality time with the other in close proximity.
Opening Times: 9am-8.30pm Mon – Fri; 8.30am-9.30pm Sat & Sun
100 Turf Club Road
T: (+65) 6877 1191
Where am I? Turf City
What am I? Fun, French family fare
A bar, bistro and bakery, this place is a good all-rounder; good for brunch, lunch or relaxed weekday dinner, Picotin has something for everyone. French-ish food (they are also well known for their pizzas), their menu is large but simple. Weekend breakfast/brunch gets very busy so make sure you book ahead. Get small people to them to bring a ball, tricycle or scooter – there is plenty of room to play. If you forget wheeled activities, don’t worry – there is pétanque and horses to look at. The horses are occasionally available to ride, though don’t go by published times and call ahead.
Opening Times: 8am-11am daily; 12pm-10pm Mon-Fri; 12pm-10.30pm Weekends
320 Tanglin Road
Tel: (+65) 6836 5528
Where am I? Phoenix Park, off Tanglin Road (Central)
What am I? Modern Aussie brasserie verging on splurging; playground
A relative newcomer to the modern Australian food scene in Singapore and part of the latest development of Phoenix Park, this is a nice place to go for breakfast/brunch, low-key lunch or dinner. It didn’t knock our socks off, but this was mostly due to the tepid coffee, ineffectual staff and large bill. However, they have a (nearly) enclosed playground which is a godsend for family outings, a great menu/wine list and a really nice atmosphere. The breakfast is pretty generous (so good with a hangover) but don’t go if you are in a hurry…and take mozzie spray if you are sitting outside. The meat is good and comes from the Cameron Highlands, and the chef is accomplished; his menu is well thought out and includes interesting options for vegetarians and children. Dinner can be quite romantic, especially if sitting outside and the food tends to be consistently good in the evenings.
Opening Times: 8am-10.30pm daily
CRYSTAL JADE GOLDEN PALACE
290 Orchard Road
T: (+65) 6734 6866
Where am I? Parent-friendly Paragon
What am I? Grown up dim sum; playground
Delicious Cantonese and Teochew food with delectable dim sum, served to you to graze on from thrown-like chairs, imperial style. The child-friendly spin is that Paragon has a proper indoor playground on the same level, as the restaurant (but just outside restaurant door), which means that your little emperor can let off steam when he needs to (and without disturbing other diners).
Opening Times: 11.30am-3pm Mon-Fri, 11am-3pm Sat, 10.30am-3pm Sun; 6pm-11pm daily
YUM CHA RESTAURANT
20 Trengganu Street (#02-01)
Off Temple Street
T: (+65) 6372 1717
Where am I? Pulsing heart of China Town
What am I? Low-key dim sum
Feels rather large and commercial, like it might be part of a chain, but actually it isn’t. Due to it’s downtown Chinatown location, the clientele is an inevitable mixture of tourists (groan) as well as – surprisingly – locals (phew). With no airs and graces, just good dim sum, it’s a great place to go with or without your brood. Minor entertainments here (actually not designed for children, but they seem to like them) include fish tanks as well as a big brass gong. BTW: Try the rather unlikely sounding red bean paste banana fritters – delicious and not too sweet.
Opening Times: 11am-11pm Mon-Fri, 9am-11pm Weekends
56 Tanglin Road (#01-01)
T: (+65) 6733 0992
Where am I? Orchard
What am I? Contemp Aussie / Euro nosh
Opened at the end of 2008, this establishment has quickly become part of the furniture. Owned by the same restaurateurs behind Flutes at The Fort, this lovely, brasserie style restaurant combines good food with unpretentious flair. The staff are kind to children and need to be…they have the largest tree house that we know of in Singapore…all cleverly fenced in on the main intersection of Tanglin and Napier Road. Despite being on the corner of 2 such huge roads, it does in fact feel like a bit of an oasis from the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road. A fantastic wine list and well thought out menu makes this an easy choice when trying to feed the whole family or just wanting a good meal any night of the week. It’s a really great place to go for a proper breakfast or brunch as we know it (10am/11am – vs the buffet variety) and they are open at 9am everyday (8am on Sundays). BTW: if you go for breakfast make sure your order includes the homemade baked beans – they are slow cooked with ham hock and are truly divine.
Opening Times: 9am-9pm Mon-Sat, 8am-7pm Sun
140B Piccadilly – this is what they say their road is, but it isn’t, see below…
T: (+65) 6482 0244
Where am I? Seletar Air Field
What am I? Good, plane fun plus chicken wing wonder, in local, kampong setting
Listed under ‘Kids’ for two reasons: 1/because despite the legendary chilli heat of their buffalo wings, you CAN actually ask to have them with no chilli at all – and 2/ It’s on an airfield, so you may, if you are lucky, get to see the odd plane taking off and landing as well as one of their famed sunsets if you time it right. Bonus! Generally speaking though, this place is the place to go if you want to eat buffalo wings in Singapore. In fact, it’s such a legendary, bizarre place that it’s worth coming here – and the other food is good enough to warrant it – even if you don’t. For starters, it’s deliciously obscure…and in fact an absolute mission to get to. This is mainly because the restaurant, despite what they tell you, is not actually on Piccadilly. You need to drive the length of Piccadilly before spying Old Birdcage Walk; take this road and once on it, follow any signs you see to ‘East Camp’. There is sometimes the odd ‘Sunset’ sign with rather faded arrows thrown in to the mix, so between both of them, you should be OK. Drive past the parked, private planes and helis and you are there – at the Singapore Flying Club which is where the restaurant is actually based. Super low-key, it’s actually a very well oiled machine and VERY busy. Time it wrong and with no reservation there can be an hour’s wait….(on the weekends they don’t take reservations, so it’s best to go later, just before their last order at 9pm). Other things to note are that the chilli heat of the chicken wings is rated and starts at a seemingly modest level 1 (hot, hot, hot – do not go higher) and goes up to level 10 – although they say they have an off-menu level 30 for those that dare. This makes it sound very gimmicky but actually it’s not, and the atmosphere, enhanced hugely by way of strings of fairy lights, the sounds of crickets and the sense of space the deserted green fields far from the city give you, really makes you feel like you’re on holiday. All the chilli they use here is actually Mexican – Asian chilli is apparently not hot enough. On the non-spicy front, you can actually ask for level zero buffalo wings; the burger is delicious and the full/half rack of pork ribs, very good too. Wine is chilled Italian red at around $8 a glass and there is of course Tiger. Corkage is $20 but probably not really worth it on the basis that this is low-key nosh.
Opening Times: 4pm-9pm Fri, Sat, Sun; 4pm-9.30pm Mon, Weds, Thu. Closed Tues