A blog about special neighbourhoods, local atmosphere and stellar coffee.

Singapore - around humble, innovative Everton Park

A handful of independent, creative businesses and immaculately crafted coffee are breathing new life into Everton Park's maze-like, sleepy public housing apartment blocks. Nestled between historic shophouses and modern skyscrapers, walking along the area is like visiting many different eras at once.

Everton Park is a tiny sub-neighbourhood in Singapore that has embraced creative culture and uniqueness by concentrating on small scale independent trading. Located within a short walk from the buzzing Chinatown and Keong Saik Road yet it is a great spot to hide the crowds. It is amazingly quiet and feels very organic, as Everton Park is essentially a residential estate composed of public housing apartment blocks. It could not feel any more local and residential with laundry hanging on the balconies, dark concrete maze-like corridors, and pensioners gathering outside to talk and observe the neighbourhood. Yet, the ground level has a handful of well curated little independent shops, trendy barber, ice creamery, cafes and small restaurants. I walked around the estate a few times as it is not easy to find these; they seem to hide behind the sleepy facade but hide true gems behind.

In addition to the iconic housing blocks, the streets around Everton Park showcase some of the most charming rows of preserved shophouses. Shophouse is a colonial-era architectural style that is an eclectic mix of different cultural influences and decorated in tiny details. These quieter, colourful stretches, for example Everton Road and Blair Road were two of my favourites in the city. I was captivated by the continuous, covered front terraces with various potted plants and beautiful Peranakan tiles. What makes this area particular is that the traditional public housing in Everton Park and the historic shophouses are surrounded by cutting-edge, innovative highrise buildings. Walking along these streets is like visiting many different eras at once. Mixing the old and the new aesthetics, various streets are decorated with skillful murals by a local artist Yip Yew Chong. These are depicting local traditions and customs, preserving the country’s cultural heritage.

Nylon Coffee Roasters

Nylon Coffee Roasters (4 Everton Park) enjoys its status as one of the best specialty cafes in Singapore’s raving third wave coffee scene. Located at the ground level of one of Everton Park’s humble blocks of flats, this small cafe boasts an adjoining roastery at the back, ensuring fresh coffee each time. The beans are sustainable and ethically-sourced, and each day Nylon offers both a house-blend as well as a single origin. Everything revolves around coffee here; no pastries, no food, just solid good coffee. Nylon’s coffee menu is simplified where all the usual coffee variations have been discarded. Instead, they offer ‘white’ and ‘black’ options by the cup size (3, 5, or 7 ounces) where the key is the espresso and milk ratio. The filter coffee is offered by Aeropress or Kalita drip. My 5 oz coffee was smooth, velvety and nutty, definitely a practiced balance between the rich coffee and creamy milk. Nylon almost felt like a special coffee tasting room; the small space is dominated by a long communal table around which people stand. There were only three simple chairs with little stool-like tables in the corner section. Despite the slim chances of sitting down, the place was constantly busy with coffee connoisseurs. The baristas showed a great knowledge of their beans and you could tell they are passionate about their product. Nothing is more attractive than passion and Nylon really has it.

Strangers’ Reunion

Strangers’ Reunion (35 Kampong Bahru Rd), located just behind some of the most beautiful shophouses on Blair Road, is an ideal stop to get caffeinated and rest your legs when in this neck of the woods. It is another third wave coffee haunt where lots of work has been put in to ensure the freshest, smoothest cup each time. The baristas are often national champions, mastering various brewing methods. If the excellent coffee won’t lure you in, the eye-pleasing interiors surely will. Everything seems very contemporary and calculated; big industrial windows, rustic benches, metal light fixtures and grey-washed walls. The dominating white and grey hues are contrasted with pastel coloured decorations. Even the coffee machines and drips were in sweet pastel tones to compliment the concept. Just as with all the spatial attention to detail, there is a big emphasis on food presentation. The menu has all the stable dishes for this kind of place, such as acai, oats, healthy grain bowls, eggs and avocado galore. Their photogenic buttermilk waffles with real flowers seemed to be the biggest hit. Despite all the coffee awards and aesthetic qualities, Strangers’ Reunion felt surprisingly relaxed and local.


Poke has become a fresh and wholesome meal option in the humid Singapore and this Hawaiian native dish has even reached Everton Park’s residential blocks. Alakai (3 Everton Park), set in one of the small ground level units, served one of the tastiest plates I tried in the city. They offer different set menus but you can also customise your own concoction as I did. The fish is marinated only when ordered, and so my salmon in soya sauce tasted very fresh, complemented by cold Hawaiian mac-n-cheese, cucumber kimchi, fresh pineapple salsa and rice. All the Hawaiian, Singaporean and Korean elements were harmoniously mixed to make a beautiful dish. I really enjoyed Alakai, led by an outstanding service and casual feel. The blue and white coastal decor as well as the calm atmosphere made an impression that I was somewhere by the coast, not in the middle of a housing estate. In a way this tiny eatery was a bit like a microcosm of the whole estate; despite the small size, it had a big soul.