I’m bringing together two adventures that could be stand-alone, but if you’re looking to fill a day with your loves, this has something in it for everyone. The first part of this adventure is Fabulous Baker Boy Cafe – brand new, just opposite Clarke Quay (Liang Court), and the pancakes, eggs Benedict and coffee are to die for. My friend Naeema’s cousin, Juwanda is the brains behind the cafe (he writes a great cooking-inspired blog), and he is the chef, a long-termer in the F&B scene in Singapore and a really nice guy. We were wrapped to go there last Sunday – not just because it’s an awesome find, but it’s a perfect brunch venue for active kids. I can’t remember the last time we ventured out to have brunch since the boys came along, because we just haven’t been able to do stuff like this with our lads…
Now we can – yipyah – and not only is the food really great, it’s based at the old River Valley Swimming Pool complex (the original gates and ticket office is still there) and that means space, lots and lots of space. So pack the kids’ scooters or bikes, and if you’re driving, there is a small car park just inside. If all else fails, park across the road under Liang Court, walk over the River Valley Road pedestrian overpass, and you’ll see the cafe from here. Viridian Art House – a neighbouring business, which is also worth a look if your kids are into art – has a good map on its Website if you’re still scratching your head about where it is.
It’s going to get popular here, of that I am sure, so book ahead if you want to be sure of a table (phone 66948336) and the address is The Foothills, 70 River Valley Road, #01-15, Singapore 179037. With or without kids, I can recommend The Fabulous Baker Boy. Right under Fort Canning Park, it’s a pretty peaceful place to relax.
From Fabulous Baker Boy you can obviously head back over the bridge and hunt around Liang Court, or wander through Clarke Quay to spend some time with the kids, or head up to Fort Canning Park – a future adventure. However, I want to make a different recommendation – one definitely to do if you haven’t been here yet. Jump in the car, or taxi, and head out to Farmart at 67 Sungei Tengah Rd, Singapore (699008). I took the boys there today for the first time, and it’s exactly the kind of eclectic place I enjoy taking my little loves too. It’s one of those places where you could be anywhere in Asia in its imperfection and beauty, plus it’s brimming over with quirky stuff to see. However, because we went on a Friday, and it’s not a school holiday, the actual reason we went there – to see the animals – was not meant to be. Even though the animal enclosure – which has ducks, chickens, goats, turtles, frogs, etc, etc, – was supposed to be open from 9am to 1pm, it seems whoever owns it didn’t bother turning up for work today. All of the staff around Farmart suggested the weekend and school holidays would be better if we want to guarantee it’s open. No problem – there was loads of other things to see and do.
To give you a feel for what we found, there was a Quail egg shop with mountains of eggs on display, prawn fishing, a live fish shop full of lobsters, fish, frogs and more (my boys love this stuff), a shop with cute cute kittens, a landscaping shop with more fish and DIY water features, dog shops, a fish spa (and at $4/10 minutes that’s a deal, except it was closed today), and lots more. Here’s the tenants list if you want to know more and the party/balloon shop looked good and cheap if you’re organising a kid’s party.
My two favourite places that were stands-outs:
Outside one shop was the largest chicken I’ve ever seen, in a cage. This was in front of a shop that contained cages full of every kind of chicken you could imagine and the guy that owned this shop was a wood carver. He loves chickens and that’s why he has so many of them in his shop. His professional job is carving word statues and furniture for temples – and he has an amazing talent. He welcomed us in to have a look around his workroom and apart from having quite a few dangerous bits of equipment that the boys thankfully didn’t touch – it was a really interesting place to see. A real artisan’s workshop.
The next was a tiny shop that is actually a multi-religious temple. Managed by Roy Kanesh – a truly lovely guy – if you are Hindu, Taoist, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or more – there is a temple for you. He welcomed the boys in and at the bottom of one temple was an offering for kids, so the boys were rather happy playing with the toys, which Roy didn’t mind. It was a very cool experience visiting Roy’s temple, the boys were really happy, and it’s exactly the sort of place I want my boys to see growing up so they can develop an appreciation for all beliefs in this world.
They were my highlights and both just genuinely nice experiences – so it made my day.
Once you’re done with all of the sights, sounds and smells (and there are definitely some honky smells) there is a massive restaurant area, with lots of different types of cuisine – including an Austwine restaurant if you want to go a little more upscale. Additionally, if nature calls, there are some very clean open air toilets right next to the restaurant. The food court also has rides for the kids, it has a high roof that keeps the area cool, and it seems massive enough to take on the crowds.
If you aren’t driving and want to take public transport, you can catch a train to Choa Chu Kang MRT, and there is a shuttle bus that takes you to Lot 1 Shopping Mall, and then onto Farmart. For directions and bus timetable, check out the link.
So there you go, a new favourite adventure for me, because we got to do lots of poking around with no set schedule. The boys loved it because there was lots of quirky stuff to see and lots of things caught their imagination. If you enjoy doing these sorts of things, you’ve got a full day adventure ahead of you, and we have to go again because I promised the boys we’d see the animals.
It was hot at Farmart though. I’m not the sweaty person in our family, but I had sweat dripping down my face most of the time we were there, so do come prepared, pack hats, and bring water – although you can buy what you need as well. It’s not a big place, but you’ll use up some energy reserves for sure.
Let me know what you think if you go?