Each month we ask readers to talk about their homes, specific condos and neighbourhoods – to help others who are living in Singapore make a better decision. Moving is always pretty stressful, so it’s good to get recommendations first. Here, we talk to resident DIVYA CHOPRA – a lawyer originally from New Delhi, India – about living in the D’Dalvey Condo in Dalvey Estate.
What’s the name of your street? Dalvey Estate.
What’s a common myth or misconception about your neighbourhood? That it only has Good Class Bungalows and no condominiums!
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home? “Dalvey Estate, near Stevens MRT on Bukit Timah Road”
Closest MRT station? Stevens (blue Downtown Line – it will also be a station on the brown Thomson-East Coast line, probably from 2022).
How long have you lived here? Why here? Five years. My husband loves staying close to nature. We wanted to stay close to the Singapore Botanic Gardens and I wanted a master bedroom that has a walk-in closet and a big balcony – so we found the perfect match.
When you walk out of your place, what’s the first thing you see? Beautiful trees and large bungalows. From the back, we have an amazing view overlooking the MOE (Evans) Stadium – it looks amazing in the evening when the flood lights are turned on!
What’s the closest store to your front door? Cold Storage. There are two, in fact, 500m and 1km on either side of us.
If your street was chosen for a remake of a film, which would it be? About Time – the entire road has a British romantic time-travel movie feel to it.
We’re sure your neighbours are great, but is there anything you wouldn’t mind a little less of? Nothing really; our neighbours and condo residents are just awesome!
What’s the unofficial uniform of your street? Sportswear – everyone seems to run to the Botanic Gardens and back.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street? A poster stuck to the tree stating a monetary reward to find a lost parrot!
Where are your favourite places to eat or drink in the neighbourhood? Dempsey Hill, which is nice and close, has a mix of casual and formal dining restaurants in a quiet, peaceful setting. Our personal favourites there include Baker & Cook for a hearty Sunday breakfast, Chopsuey for nice Asian cuisine and Margaritas for Mexican lunch. Cluny Court near the Botanic Gardens is also our usual pit stop for a quick cup of coffee after a good run in the gardens. In particular, Plain Vanilla Bakery serves the most amazing coffee!
What are the best places to shop at in the neighbourhood? Tanglin Mall is the closest mall that has everything you need – groceries, home décor, fashion and food. However, for me, I still go to Orchard Road for all my fashion and other shopping needs, since it’s a five-minute drive from the condo.
What are some fun or interesting things to do in the neighbourhood? Visit the Botanic Gardens! You can explore this place a thousand times in different ways and at different times of the day. Mornings are perfect for exercise such as yoga or jogging. Lazy afternoons under the shade of a tree are perfect for a picnic; in the evening, the dimly lit street lights add the perfect picturesque theme for a romantic stroll with your partner.
The other thing we do enjoy (when we have free time on our hands), is to hop in our car, put on some nice soft music and drive around the area to visually rank the exteriors of the bungalows in the vicinity! It doesn’t cost to dream, does it?
What’s one thing you’d never change? There are some large empty green spaces that are very pleasing to the eye. I hope they don’t transform these into concrete buildings.
How about one thing you would change? Have some more casual restaurants in the vicinity – the food-delivery options are fairly limited.
If the city gave you a million dollars to improve your street, how would you use it? I would probably use half of it to build an overhead shelter on the pathway between the condo and the MRT station – right now it’s a bit challenging to walk to the MRT when it rains or when it is super sunny. For the other half, I would build a kids’ play area with swings and slides in some of the vacant green spaces.
Beyond the Neighbourhood
What are your favourite Singapore spots for taking out-of-town guests? East Coast Park, Sentosa and, of course, the Botanic Gardens!
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, where do you go? For shopping culture, I go to my favourite malls. However, for real culture (arts and music), we go to Esplanade and see if there are any shows running in the open-air theatre by the bay.
If you’re missing home, what do you do? Video call my family, visit a temple in Little India, watch a Hindi movie at a nearby movie hall, or gorge on Indian food at the various Indian restaurants in the city. Our personal favourite for North Indian food has to be Khansama in Little India – the taste and smell is probably the closest to what you would experience back home in Delhi.
About Divya’s condo
Name of condo: D’Dalvey
Condo facilities: Swimming pool and gym
Size: 37 units
Nearby supermarket: Cold Storage at Cluny Court or Alocassia
Apartment vibe: “Romantic, tranquil and laid-back”
Fact file: The Dalvey name in Singapore
Time for some Expat Living trivia! Dalvey Road and Dalvey Estate are two intersecting roads to the east of the Botanic Gardens, between Evans Road and Stevens Road. They and the D’Dalvey Condo likely take their name from a residence called “Dalvey” that was erected in the area in the 1860s. The building belonged to AL Johnston & Company, a prominent European trading house in 19th-century Singapore. Johnston himself was a founding member of the Singapore Chamber of Commerce in 1837, and its first chairman.
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This article first appeared in the July 2021 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!