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Mount Emily Road, Singapore: Guide to living, eating and shopping in the Mount Sophia neighbourhood


Name: Laura Hook and Julia Mittelhamm

From: UK and Germany

Occupation: Online marketer at Cheaptickets.sg and jewellery designer for Pearls & Rebels
The Specifics:

What street do you live on?

Mount Emily Road.

How do locals pronounce it?

They don’t know it!

Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home?

Parc Emily? No? Niven Road? No? Okay – Peace Centre, Mount Sophia. Take a right to Niven Road and pull up in the spare parking space.

What’s the name of your neighbourhood?

Mount Sophia, behind the Istana.

Closest MRT station?

Little India.

How long have you lived here?

One and a half and two years respectively.

Why here?

Gorgeous, bright, new apartments, a 50-metre pool and a beautiful adjoining park. Anywhere in the city is quickly accessible.

The Scene:

When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is: 

An Indian convenience store that sells silks – the same man is always sitting outside. From the back gate, you enter a street of old shophouses.

The closest store to your front door is:

A boutique dress shop called Time to Make a Dress. We are always peeking in through the shophouse windows to see their latest creation and dream of being their next customers.

Your street would make the perfect backdrop for a remake of:

Melrose Place. There is a multitude of young couples lounging by the pool on the weekends, sipping coffee or cocktails… we love it!

Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind fewer:

Door alarms. Super-tight security can be very noisy when the computer says no!

The unofficial uniform of your street is:

For the locals – turbans and saris. For the many expats – Havaianas.

If a celebrity moves in next door, it will most likely be:

Michael Phelps. He can come and swim in our pool any day!

When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you:

Go to the Sikh mosque to meet the monks and to have lunch with them. They are very welcoming.

If you’re missing home, you:

Bake my mother’s chocolate cake. It’s a secret recipe, and afterwards I distribute it to the condo gang. It’s the best to see their smiling faces and a good cure against homesickness. – Julia
I go to Marks & Spencer to pick up treats. – Laura

A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is:

The wet market at Tekka Market – we are both regulars there. We stop by to see Mr Chia for vegetables, Mr Bean for fish, David for meat and finally our favourite smiling chicken uncle – he knows we like it skinned and deboned.

You’d swap houses in a second with:

One of the renovated three-level shophouses on the street!

A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be:

Us! We love to chill by the barbecue pits with our latest duty-free haul until we finally get told to move on. Then we usually head to Emerald Hill.


The Superlatives:

Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are:

Again, we love Mr Chia’s stall at Tekka Market – he has five types of lettuce, porcini mushrooms, sweet peppers and olives. The closest restaurant to us, Phad Thai, was just opened by expats and has a Thai chef – try the succulent pandan chicken and different types of mango salads without bill shock.

Your shop that you can’t live without: 

Dhoby Ghaut Laundry in the Peace Centre. Josephine, the super-cute owner, takes care of our men’s ironing requirements, as we don’t have maids!

Your favourite special find:

Derick Toi at Master Color Services in the Peace Centre. He turns our photos into wonderful postcards to send home within minutes. We have never seen a person work so fast with Photoshop. Amazing.

You won’t find better food than at:

Le Bistrot Du Sommelier. It is fantastic! After a three-course meal, it is hard to make the 800-metre walk home.

The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is:

When workmen cut down the beautiful banyan tree right outside our back door last month. It even had a Buddhist shrine built into the trunk! A piece of history died.

We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are:

At Tabernacle, the small beauty salon in the Little India MRT station. Jessica will give you perfect brows for $6!

The guiltiest pleasure in your area is:

The karaoke bar on Prinsep Street – the locals are not so keen on our choice of songs though. Or maybe it is our rendition of Oasis…

One thing you’d never change is:

Mount Emily Park. We love the calm and serenity in the heart of the city and views of the CBD from the top.

But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is:

The speeding motorists leaving the Peace Centre – quite often at night, with no lights on!

The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to:

We love it the way it is, but a few speed bumps would be helpful. Plus, a new sign showing that the CBD does in fact end down the street from our condo would clear up endless disputes with taxi drivers who try to add a $3 surcharge to the fare.