James Wilkie from Scotland tells us about his condo in Somerset, The Beaumont, which is tucked away from the business of Orchard in a quiet part of Devonshire Road. It’s very close to Somerset MRT and right on the doorstep of Triple One Somerset. There are loads of fantastic places to eat in the immediate vicinity and, of course, along Orchard.
About the area near Somerset MRT
What’s the name of your street? Devonshire Road.
What’s a common myth or misconception about your neighbourhood? We’re pretty much parallel to Orchard Road so most people think we live in this incredibly busy place. However, The Beaumont on Devonshire Road is tucked away near the red bus in Somerset Youth Park. It’s really quiet.
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home to your condo in Somerset? “Triple One Somerset, please.” That’s the building directly opposite the portion of Devonshire Road we live on. It’s quite strange; Devonshire Road is split into two by Somerset Road and not many Sat Navs pick it up!
Closest MRT station? Somerset (red North-South Line).
How long have you lived in this condo in Somerset? We moved to The Beaumont in March from River Valley where we had lived in the same condo for nine years. Our rent was doubling, so we used our pocket-power and moved literally 500 metres down the road, closer to Orchard! Our old flat has been empty ever since. There’s a lesson there, I’m sure.
Condo Fact File
Name: The Beaumont
Facilities: Swimming pool and gym
Apartment size: 2,000 square feet
Age: Very old
Distance to amenities: Somerset MRT, supermarket and places to eat and drink are seconds away
Community vibe: Skatersmeet-bankers/lawyers
Overview of the area
When you walk out of your condo in Somerset, what’s the first thing you see? The Triple One Somerset building that looks like a giant Transformer waiting to wake up.
What’s the closest store to The Beaumont? There are lots of places to eat and drink at Somerset. Triple One Somerset, which is the nearest to us, has wine bars, cake shops, bakeries, traditional dim sum, FairPrice Finest, you name it. And it’s less than 100 metres away.
If your street was chosen for a remake of a film, which would it be? Transformers: They Live Among Us!
We’re sure your neighbours are great, but is there anything you wouldn’t mind a little less of? The man who blows the leaves every morning for hours. I think his mission is to rid The Beaumont of every single leaf every single day! It has this start-stop noise that drives me nuts.
What’s the unofficial uniform of your street? Skate wear. The Beaumont is right next to the skate park at Somerset so low-slung shorts, bushy hair and a long board is something we see a lot!
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen around you condo in Somerset? Chickens. For a very downtown location there are tons of wild chickens, which I think is charming.
What are your three favourite places to eat or drink at Somerset? Shinjuku, hands down one of the most authentic Japanese eateries in Singapore. It was recommended to us by a Singaporean friend who swore us to secrecy about it. It’s in Cuppage Plaza and it’s so tiny and legitimate we love it – and now the secret is out!
The 19th-floor rooftop of the JEN hotel has the most incredible 360-degree views of the Singapore skyline. It’s a great place for a casual drink and to watch the sun set over the city. Just pick a direction and stare at it!
KPO is a bar right above the post office on Killiney Road – it stands for Killiney Post Office and seems to be where the glitterati of Singapore go to drink beer, judging by the cars parked outside and the bouncers on the door. But it has a very relaxed vibe and lots of outdoor spaces to drink very cold beer.
What are the best places to shop at in the neighbourhood? Design Orchard is one of the quirkiest places to shop in Singapore. All of the products are made by local Singaporean artisans, be that handmade beaded handbags, jewellery or t-shirts with local expressions on them! It’s very cool and we literally get all our Singapore gifts for friends and family there.
What are some fun or interesting things to do in the neighbourhood? The first ever surf and ski park is being built on our doorstep, which is pretty cool. Singapore never stops pushing the boundaries as to what is possible – we love that.
What’s one thing you’d never change? Our old low-rise ambience. This block must be 40 years old surrounded by all these super-modern high-rises and there’s us, all alone! No one knows we are here – we love that.
How about one thing you would change? The fact no one can find our street, ever!
If the city gave you a million dollars to soup up your street, how would you use it? I’d build a massive chicken coup, and a self-cleaning street!
Things to do in Singapore
What are your favourite Singapore spots for taking out-of-town guests? Col Bar! Hands down one of our favourite places to take visitors, nestled in the Portsdown Estate amongst all these black-and-whites is the most unassuming Chinese and traditional English food restaurant and old rugby club which has been relocated. It’s not fancy at all, but the food is amazing, the people are lovely, it’s totally quirky and the surroundings are beautiful. There’s a great walk around the nearby black-and-whites. It’s also connected to the green corridor, so we can walk lunch off while heading home.
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, where do you go? Culture to us is exploring the vast array of countries and history around us, so we travel a lot in Asia. We like to collect antiques and objects that are unique to the countries that surround us, so India, anywhere in Indochina, Bali and Thailand are our favourites. We also have a place in Sri Lanka and to be honest that tops the list every time for everything!
If you’re missing home, what do you do? We’re such nomads that home to us is where we live. Neither of us have a home in the traditional sense so coming home to Singapore after a trip is just as fulfilling as seeing our families in Scotland or elsewhere, or going to Sri Lanka. Home to us is very much where we live now.
Do you love your neighbourhood?
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This article about living close to the Somerset MRT and Orchard appeared in the October 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy! Moved to Singapore recently? Read our latest City Guide here for free!