Family-friendly cafes, great shopping and some of Singapore’s iconic restaurants: there's something for everyone to love over at Dempsey Hill.
Dempsey Hill is one of the hippest places for families to hang out, eat and play in Singapore. This enclave of ex-military barracks has been carefully renovated over recent years and is now home to some of Singapore’s best restaurants, cafes and boutiques. Just a five-minute trip from the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road, Dempsey Hill is a lush tropical oasis. We’ve spent many hours exploring all that this wonderfully relaxing area has to offer (all in the interest of research) and have hand-selected the best spots to eat, play and shop around Dempsey Hill!
Cool things to see and do in Dempsey Hill
1. Core Collective Dempsey
Fresh off the back of its Anson co-working space launch in 2018, Core Collective has opened a fitness and wellness centre smack in the heart of Dempsey. The family-friendly space is great for entertaining the whole family – from personal training, pilates and total body conditioning to wellness services, the Dempsey space is truly a stomping ground for those seeking to live better.
After all that working out, you’ll no doubt have worked up an appetite. Feeling like pizza? Opt for the ever-popular sister outlet Plank Sourdough Pizza. We’re all for tucking into some nom-tastic cheesy goodness at this family-friendly pizza restaurant, and our kids gave the outdoor play area a big thumbs up!
Where: Core Collective Dempsey, 27A, 30B/C Loewen Road, Singapore 248839
2. SWISH! Swim School
This lovely school is tucked away within the Loewen Cluster on Dempsey Hill, and we admire the indoor and outdoor pools set in a beautifully restored black-and-white property. The water is temperature-controlled and saltwater chlorinated, which is much more gentle on the skin. Swimming lessons for kids of all ages, including babies, are available, the school also provides a dedicated coach for children with special educational needs.
SWISH! Swim School also has instructors offering kids’ classes at the Core Collective pool down the road – a no-brainer since the brand new fitness and wellness space is perfect for families to while away the weekend.
Where: SWISH! Swim School, 72 Loewen Road #01-08, Singapore 248848
3. Huber’s Bistro
There’s a whole lot to love about Huber’s awesome location in Dempsey Hill. The bistro is uber-casual, designed to complement the two-storey butchery. Head straight to the amazing soft-fall playground for the kids to run wild. It’s shaded and gated, so you won’t have to worry about losing track of your adventurous little people. Then retire to the bistro for a bite to eat and a refreshing drink. As you can imagine, the meat is as fresh as it comes. They’ve got at least seven sausage dishes on the menu, and some pretty good-looking burgers, too. Before you leave, don’t forget to stock up inside, and you’ll be sorted for meals for the foreseeable future!
Where: Huber’s Bistro, 22 Dempsey Road, Singapore 249679
4. The Yard
Bend, stretch and flip! The Yard is where it’s all at for tumbling tots from age 12 months (where parent-participation classes will give little ones the perfect building block for future gymnastic success), right through to senior classes (for talented gymnasts age 11-plus where they can accelerate their cool skills). The Yard’s fun but challenging vibes will encourage mini gymnasts to really get to grips with coordination, strength and agility during their weekly lessons. Expect state-of-the-art equipment and top-notch local and international instructors on hand to help your kiddo nail that backflip.
Where: The Yard, 72 Loewen Road, Singapore 248848
“Forest school” is a unique experience in Singapore that you can enrol your kids in, and Wildlings is one place that is highly recommended. Offering plenty of fun activities that even us adults would want to take part in – adventure camps, nature plays, even birthday parties… Get in touch with nature by spending time exploring the outdoors, right within its exclusive space!
Where: Wildlings, 27A Loewen Road, Singapore 248839
Kiddos, time to let loose at Block 16! kids21club has four unique studios – we’re absolutely lovin’ The Inventors’ Studio! – where children can make new friends by just hanging out, or rolling up their sleeves and get messy. Don’t feel left out parents, you’re more than welcome to join in as well! The spaces at Block 16 also serve as venues for bespoke playdates, workshops and camps, themed celebrations and birthday parties and are open for private bookings. Looking for something funky fresh to update le wardrobe? kids 21 is there for you to browse and purchase.
Where: kids21club, 16A Dempsey Road, Singapore 247695
Where to eat in Dempsey Hill
1. Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari
With many wide smiles and much excitement, we stepped into the Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari tent when it first opened in 2018. It’s a fab cafe experience where the grown-ups are well-catered for, as are the small people. The cool cafe has brought us handmade croissants, unique lattes and amazing breakfast jars in a pretty garden setting… this is one brunch adventure the whole family is sure to love!
Where: Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari, 130E Minden Road, Singapore 248819
2. Open Farm Community
Our absolute favourite spot to treat the kids (and ourselves) to a feast is Open Farm Community. The moment you step into the epic grounds of this farm-to-table restaurant, you’ll see why it’s such a family favourite. Abutting thriving beds of kale, thyme and Italian basil you’ll find a huge sandpit for the kids to play, a garden, a collection of quirky sculptures and more. The kids’ menu is so healthy, fresh and inventive that you’ll happily scoff their leftovers. Resist the temptation and save your appetite for the transcendent steamed Tiberias barramundi with smoked mussel butter (or anything else from the superb menu for that matter). Warning: once you go, you’ll find yourself back most weekends.
Where: Open Farm Community, 130E Minden Road, Singapore 248819
3. PS. Cafe
For an elegant dining affair, check out PS. Cafe at Harding Road – it’s a great idea for date night with the SO! The food is truly magnificent, and special mention must go to the cakes, which are stunning both in terms of taste and magnitude (one serve of the Blackout chocolate cake will satisfy four, and then some). Watch out, the shoe-string truffle fries are seriously moreish. The ambience at this stylish cafe is simply divine, and the outdoor lawn and garden will entertain your little ones for a good hour or so.
Where: PS. Cafe, 28B Harding Road, Singapore 249549
4. The White Rabbit
A HoneyKids fave, the White Rabbit is a stunning former chapel on the outskirts of Dempsey proper. The high arched ceilings and intimate booths make for a truly grand dining experience, and we love the whole Alice in Wonderland whimsical vibe. The modern European fare is similarly special. We couldn’t go past the lobster and kongu linguini (or let’s be honest, the dark chocolate caramel tart). Owned by the Lo & Behold Group (the masterminds behind Tanjong Beach Club, Loof and OverEasy), it’s little wonder we feel right at home here. The Rabbit Hole is one of our favourite places on earth, so make sure you step into the garden before and/or after your meal for a gin or two.
Where: The White Rabbit, 39C Harding Road, Singapore 249541
If you’ve got a hankering for hot and spicy nachos, enchiladas or quesadillas, then look no further than Margarita’s. The venue has a fun Mexican vibe, with its terracotta and cobalt tiles, smoky aromas and La Bamba beats. It doesn’t hurt that the frozen margaritas are some of the best to be found in Singapore. As you can imagine, it gets pretty rammed here in the evenings, so book ahead. If you can’t get a table, but still need a hit of chilli con carne, head a few doors down to La Salsa.
Where: Margarita’s Dempsey Hill, 11 Dempsey Road #01-19, Singapore 249673
6. The Dempsey Project
Previously Jones the Grocer, The Dempsey Project is now our go-to for weekday takeaway coffee and weekend lazy breakfasts. And did we mention it’s a dog-friendly venue? We challenge any foodie worth their salt to leave the place without a bag full of goodies from the bakery, deli and shop. It’s just the place to put together a fabulous antipasti platter. And if there’s anything you just can’t source, head across the way to Culina for more epicurean delights (psst: they supply to Fairprice Finest).
Where: The Dempsey Project, 9 Dempsey Road, Singapore 247697
7. Samy’s Curry
Samy’s isn’t just a famous curry restaurant, it’s an institution. Traditional fiery curries have been served straight onto banana leaves at this Dempsey Indian eatery for over 20 years (and it’s still so good!). It’s a no-frills kind of joint, which only adds to its appeal. Indulge in signature South Indian dishes such as chicken masala and the famous fish head curry. It’s a Singapore must-do, and seriously tasty! We highly recommend it.
Where: Samy’s Curry, 25 Dempsey Road, Singapore 249670
8. Chopsuey Cafe
Chopsuey serves high-end East-meets-West nosh in blissful French-influenced colonial style surroundings. It’s brought to you by the same crew that runs PS. Cafe, so as you’d expect the food, ambience and fit-out is spot-on. While Chopsuey feels more ‘date night’ inside, you won’t feel out of place with your junior diners out on the terrace for the delish Sunday yum cha. True to the Asian dining experience, it’s a plate-sharing concept, which you’ll be thankful for when the feast arrives – no food envy! You’ll find something for all tastes with classics like steamed dumplings, more adventurous offerings like tingling chilli-jam prawns and inventive dishes such as the delectable steamed ‘lasagne’ of snapper and tofu.
Where: Chopsuey Cafe Dempsey, 10 Dempsey Road #01-23, Singapore 249549
9. Jumbo Seafood
The grand-daddy of family-friendly seafood restaurants, Jumbo takes prime position at Dempsey Hill. See how many peanuts your kids can eat with chopsticks while you await delicious seafood fried rice, dipping buns and scallops with broccoli. Crab lovers will be in their element with the sweet and soupy chilli crab, but make sure to don the large paper aprons. The little ones will love checking out the fish and crustaceans in the floor-to-ceiling tanks inside. (Psst: If you love Dempsey and Chinese seafood joints, don’t miss Long Beach Seafood just down the hill).
Where: Jumbo Seafood, 11 Dempsey Road #01-16, Singapore 249673
10. Jim Thompson Restaurant
If you’ve been lucky enough to visit Jim Thompson’s home in Bangkok, you’ll adore his sophisticated Thai restaurant in Dempsey. While the man himself is no longer with us (he went missing on a walk at Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands in 1967), his passion for Thai food and culture lives on. The décor is just as quintessentially Thai as his pad, with paper white walls, dark wood and generous silk furnishings. The food is an extension of the opulent interiors, with distinctly traditional Thai dishes such as fresh pomelo salad, prawn cakes with chilli-plum dip and creamy red curry.
Where: Jim Thompson Thai Restaurant & Wine Bar, 45 Minden Road, Singapore 248817
11. RedDot Brewhouse
RedDot Brewhouse is a locally owned (but South African-influenced) open-air bar that serves handcrafted beer and good pub grub. It’s a relaxing place for a drink with friends and/or a family dinner as there’s plenty of shade, room to roam and a gentle breeze. If you go on Sunday between 11.30am and 2pm, the kids can get involved in activities like cooking classes, face painting and catching fish in the pond (with masks on and social distancing measures in place). Plus, there’s ample free parking right out front, making it easy to nip in and out.
Where: RedDot Brewhouse, 25A Dempsey Road #01-01, Singapore 247691
12. Baker & Cook
Baker & Cook is housed alongside Core Collective Dempsey, SWISH! Swim School, Yoga Lab and Barre Lab; so when you’re done with your activities, just nib in here to enjoy a great cup of joe and some delicious bread and baked goods! Looking for something healthy? Its leaner and greener all-day dining options are good for you and the fam. Also, there’s also a shaded outdoor playground! So parents, you know where to bring your kids to so that you can enjoy a little R&R at this cafe.
Where: Baker & Cook, 30C Loewen Road, Singapore 248839
13. The Pantry
Fussy little eaters, you have no excuse to skip out on your meals as there’s something for you to nom at The Pantry! The specially curated menu offers a great selection, such as the family bundle. Kids, burn off your energy at the treehouse playground next to kids 21, which is free for patrons of The Pantry. There’s also some play equipment right next to the alfresco seating where parents can keep a close eye on kids as they dine.
Where: The Pantry, 16A Dempsey Road, Singapore 247695
Where to shop in Dempsey Hill
1. Affordable Style Files
If you’ve seen our interview years back with the utterly fabulous Hong Henwood of Affordable Style Files, you’ll know we’re already huge fans of this interior stylist and everything she does. And we are seriously crushing on her retail venture in Dempsey. Pop into the store for divine homewares (we’ve got our eye on the stylish all-weather rugs).
Where: Affordable Style Files, 6A Dempsey Road, Singapore 247661
2. Cuckoo Little Lifestyle
Cuckoo is a treasure trove of exquisite children’s products including furniture, decor, fashion, toys and gifts. We think they’re one of the best stores in Singapore for cool kids’ furniture. Mumpreneurs Francesca and Emily will help you find all the to-die-for furnishings you need to create the perfect little person’s room (and then some). Never fear, if you have any room left on your credit card, you can always nab that essential Oliver bunk bed online. Love.
Where: Cuckoo Little Lifestyle, 6B Dempsey Road, Singapore 247662
3. RedSea Gallery
Smack bang next to Jones the Grocer you’ll find leading contemporary art space RedSea Gallery. Adorning the walls and floors you’ll find works by local and international artists in mediums of painting, sculpture, print, photography and video installation. With new exhibitions almost monthly, there’s always something new and exciting to see (and buy) at RedSea Gallery.
Where: RedSea Gallery, 9 Dempsey Road #01-10, Singapore 247697
4. Dover Street Market
Besides just brunch and pretty scenery, Dempsey can be edgy too – by way of Dover Street Market, of course. Founded by Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo and her husband, the multi-label concept store stocks luxury fashion brands, streetwear labels and exclusive collaborations like Gucci x DSM and Converse x DSM.
Where: Dover Street Market, 18 Dempsey Road, Singapore 249677
What do you love most about Dempsey Hill? Send us a DM on Instagram and let us know!