Looking to move to a new neighbourhood? Nothing would be better than to hear from the residents themselves. We speak to French expat Marion Elise, about the ins and outs of living on Cavan Road.
What street do you live on?
Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home?
“Uncle, stop next to Jalan Besar stadium or Lavender MRT.”
What’s the name of your neighbourhood?
Closest MRT station?
Lavender or Farrer Park.
How long have you lived here?
When I arrived in Singapore in 2013, I spent four days in this area and appreciated the atmosphere and convenience as it’s so close to the CBD where I work. At the time there were none of the nice cafés and restaurants that exist now; it has became so trendy, and almost every Sunday I go for brunch in one of them!
When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is:
Jalan Besar Stadium. I love it when it a soccer game is on, as the area becomes so animated and so full of supporters attending the game. I often go and support the local team, the Lions XII.
The closest store to your front door is:
Edith Patisserie and Charlotte Tattoo. You can basically create yourself a tattoo and enjoy a delicious cake at the same time!
Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less:
Of the old factories. So many of the industrial buildings have been converted into fancy restaurants and cafés – and I really hope it continues.
The unofficial uniform of your street is:
Supporters wearing the Lions XII jersey.
When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you:
Go to the local Community Centre to learn a new language, or participate in an Indian or Chinese cooking class.
If you’re missing home, you:
Go to AEIOU Café, for the French music and heavenly homemade dishes.
A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is:
Chye Seng Huat Hardware Café, for the cool outdoor terrace decorated with cactuses and funny arty plants, and the super combination of a beer and a pizza for about $20. We take our gourmet guests to The Tiramisu Hero so they can experience the best tiramisu in town, in a range of different flavours.
You’d swap houses in a second with:
Antoinette Café: I like the Marie Antoinette-style décor and ambience, and they serve amazing French pastries.
A common myth about your neighbourhood is:
That it has a 24-hour flower shop. (When I hear that, I always say, “What for?”)
If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to:
My two kittens who look longingly out the window and meow something along the lines of, “I want to catch the birds sitting in the trees outside.”
A massive late-night rager on your street is likely to be:
Patrons enjoying themselves at one of the KTV bars or late-night spas.
Your favourite neighbourhood joints are:
Two Bakers for bread (88Horne Road); Bao Makers for specialty buns (78Horne Road); dim sum at Swee Choon (187 Jalan Besar); café fare at Oberstrasse (#01-50 Block 809 French Road) and coffee at The Bravery Café (66 Horne Road). Each place has a unique soul and matchless atmosphere, which can easily transport you somewhere else; it’s easy to forget you’re in Singapore!
You won’t find better local food than at:
Lai Huat Seafood Restaurant. The chilli crab, butter crab and black pepper crab are as good as anything served at Jumbo Seafood and much less expensive, and you will most likely be surrounded by local people only.
The strangest thing you’ve ever seen on your street is:
A regular customer of the hotel situated in front of my place who drinks vodka every night with the guests of the hotel. He’s a really nice guy; I once went for a drink with them – now we’re friends! We love a good bargain.
The best deals in your neighbourhood are:
I think Swee Choon dim sum is better than Din Tai Fung and half the price! Can you believe it?
The guiltiest pleasure in your area is:
Midnight cheese pratas at Mufiz.
One thing you’d never change is:
The giant swimming pool at the Jalan Besar Swimming Complex.
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is:
The ice cream shop, because a person inside rings the bell every time I pass by to try to sell me an ice cream!
This article first featured in the May 2016 issue of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy for the full article, or Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!
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