Our perfect weekend with the family involves eating at kid-friendly restaurants, hanging out at the park and stocking up on gourmet organic goodies at local shops. And whenever possible there’s nothing better than sneaking in some cheeky pampering time before a hot date night. But life with little kids in tow is hectic, so all of the above needs to be close to home. That’s why we chose to live in super family-friendly, central Holland Village. It also helps that it’s just 10 minutes from Orchard either by Holland Road or MRT. If you’re looking for your next low rise, leafy home or just keen to explore a new neighbourhood, we’ve got all the insider tips and tricks to this very awesome Singapore suburb.
Holland Village (HV) has a vibrant dining scene with abundant bars and restaurants offering every cuisine you could crave. There are two main streets to check out – Jalan Merah Saga and Lorong Mambong. Here’s our hit list:
Jalan Merah Saga, otherwise known as the quaint, tree-lined Chip Bee Gardens strip, is jam-packed with excellent foodie options. Starting at the bottom and working your way up…
- The Daily Scoop serves top quality ice cream – both in terms of taste and value. Kookie Monster for them and Salted Mr Brown for you. #01-78, 43 Jalan Merah Saga; thedailyscoop.com.sg
- Da Paolo Gastronomia is a foodie’s paradise stocking rustic Italian fare such ready-made lasagne and rocket salad, pasta sauces, slices of pizza and indulgent desserts (tiramisu – yes please). #01-74, 43 Jalan Merah Saga; dapaolo.com.sg
- Baker & Cook is our go-to for coffee, cakes, fresh bread and moreish dips. #01-56, 44 Jalan Merah Saga; bakerandcook.biz
- Da Paolo Pizza Bar is our favourite pizza joint in the ‘hood with it’s thin crust bases and inventive toppings. #01-46, 44 Jalan Merah Saga; Da Paolo Pizza Bar
- A sure-fire winner for the little ones is visit to All Breeds Pets – the pet shop with everything from fish, to hamsters and beyond. 44 Jalan Merah Saga.
The buzzing Lorong Mambong stretch is home to some cracking restaurants. We go there with kids in the early evening when the street closes to traffic (6pm).
- Tucked away in a tiny store at the bottom of the street is Project Acai. Head there for a healthy super-food bowl or smoothie treat. High on taste, low on guilt. 27 Lorong Liput, Singapore 277738; project-acai.com
- On the corner you’ll find a small cluster of hawker-esque restaurants including Indian, Thai and some of the best burgers we’ve had in Singapore. Perfect for a chilled-out Friday night sans kids.
- Cross the road and you’ll hit the Holland Village food court and wet market. The kids rate the chicken rice and we always order the Japanese gyoza and famously spicy 363 Katong Laksa. The fresher than fresh squeezed juices cool down frazzled kids in the heat of the day. Nip around the back to the wet market to pick up good quality fruit and veg and spectacular orchids.
- El Patio is a riotously colourful eatery offering equally appealing Mexican nosh. The nachos will satisfy the kids while you go for a fiery fajita and margarita combo. Mexican neighbour Cha Cha is a solid alternative if you can’t snag a table. 34 Lorong Mambong; elpatio.com.sg
- Fatboys The Burger Bar is a hit with the whole family for it’s good ole’ royale with cheese and fries and the oh-so-creamy mac and cheese. The booths inside are better for younger children as the high stools outside are a little perilous. 29 Lorong Mambong; fatboys.sg
Holland Village doesn’t have a reputation as a family-friendly neighbourhood for no reason. There are loads of great condos and lovely green spaces for the kids to stretch their legs.
- The HDB Playgrounds on Holland Avenue have been keeping local and expat kids alike entertained for years! Start strolling away from Holland Road at the corner of Holland Avenue and Taman Warna and you’ll soon stumble upon two HDB playgrounds. If the kids still have energy to burn continue down the road and stop in at the two additional playgrounds (one across the other side of the road) and one on the corner of Commonwealth Avenue.
- A 10-minute drive from HV off Bukit Timah Road is our kids’ favourite playground of all time – at Watten Estate. The flying fox, swings, slides and sand might have something to do with it. Not to mention the shady trees and scooter paths. Wander around the corner for a quick lunch or coffee at the Greenwood strip of restaurants afterwards. Watten Estate Road (just past the corner of Hillcrest Road); nparks.gov.sg
- The Sunset Way Playground is a bit of a hidden gem. This huge, leafy green open space is a welcome respite in this busy city. The play equipment and fitness station has something for kids of all ages. Bring bikes and scooters. Sunset Way, past Clementi Arcade; nparks.gov.sg
- If it’s indoor play centres you’re after, there are two a short drive from HV.
- Fidgets at Turf City is a definite kid-pleaser with multiple play areas (including a baby zone) and an in-house café. 200 Turf Club Rd, #03-10 The Grandstand, Singapore, 287994; fidgets.com.sg.
- Go-Go Bambini at Dempsey has had a bright new renovation and is the perfect way to wear out your little climber. Block 8 Dempsey Road #01-15 Dempsey Hill Singapore 247696; www.gogobambini.com
- Fitness conscious mums and dads will love F45 Training, the new workout craze sweeping Singapore. Warning: it’s seriously addictive and body changing. 22a Lorong Mambong Singapore 277681; f45training.sg/hollandvillage
- Ten Feet Tall carries a range of quality school shoes and offers a professional fitting service. You can make an appointment with a podiatrist and donate used school shoes to needy Asian kids too! #02-16 Holland Village Shopping Centre, 211 Holland Avenue, Singapore 278967; tenfeettallshoes.com
- LEGO-fiends flock to Secret Chamber to find that elusive special edition set. #03-47 Holland Rd Shopping Centre, Singapore 278967; secretchamber.sg
- Lims Art & Crafts has recently re-opened and we welcome back it’s eclectic mix of Asian furniture, gifts and curios. 211 Holland Avenue
#03-12, Holland Road Shopping Centre; limslegacy.com
- Phoon Huat is more than just a baking supply store, it’s the cheapest place to buy gourmet cheese (including bulk), frozen berries and staples like olive oil and nuts. #01-48, 44 Jalan Merah Saga; phoonhuat.com
- The Butcher is the place to shop for a BBQ with friends. Snap up fresh Australian meats and delish condiments to compliment your meal. 44 Jalan Merah Saga, #01-50, Singapore, 278116; thebutcher.com.sg
- Thirsty Craft Beer Shop will lure your husband to join the family shopping trip to HV. Might lose him for hours though… 11 Holland Avenue #02-07B, Holland Road Shopping Centre, Singapore 278967; thirsty.com.sg
- The Clementi Mall (just five minutes from HV) is home to one of the best Fair Price Finest stores in Singapore, cute stationary store Typo and craft mecca Art Friend. 3155 Commonwealth Avenue West, Singapore 129588; theclementimall.com
- Cold Storage stores are dotted around HV. The best one is Jelita for it’s excellent range of hard-to-find ingredients. The International Medical Clinic is upstairs too with a staff of reliable doctors. 293 Holland Rd Jelita Shopping Centre, Singapore, 278628; coldstorage.com.sg
Holland Village is a spa and beauty hub, with literally hundreds of nail salons and massage parlors. And we’ve visited quite a few of them. Here’s where we get buffed and polished:
- We’re into reflexology right now, and always leave My Happy Feet with a smile. 21A Lorong Mambong, Holland Village, Singapore, 277680; myhappyfeet.com.sg
- Qi Mantra Remedial Spa is da boss when it comes to working out that kink in your back with its modern take on Chinese acupressure. 18A Lorong Mambong, Holland Village, 277678; qimantra.com
- Cecilia Westberry is the fastest waxing specialist in town if your nether regions are in need of a little attention. The facials are next level wonderful too. Home visits can also be arranged at your convenience. Block 6 Holland Close, #01-02 Holland Village, Singapore 271006; ceciliawestberry.com
- Strip will wax or IPL your bod into bikini shape. We’ve heard the boyzillians are rather effective too for adventurous men out there! 34C Lorong Mambong, Singapore 277691; strip.com.sg
- When it’s mum-and-daughter mani-pedi time we head to Serenity Cove – the girls love the Ribena and biscuits served on a little tray. If you’re flying solo with a last minute free hour, cruise the third floor of the Holland Road Shopping Centre for an appointment – but try The Nailist first. 211 Holland Avenue, Holland Road Shopping Centre, Singapore 278967; Serenity Cove #03-07 and The Nailist #03-31/ 32; www.thenailist.com
- Winning Style Hair Studio tames tresses. Owner Jenny’s been in the biz for decades so is masterful with blonde highlights at a very reasonable price. #03-33, 211 Holland Avenue, Holland Road Shopping Centre, Singapore 278967; ph. 6469 3915.
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