Regular readers will know from Urban Bites – Good Lebanese Food that I am fond of Middle Eastern cuisine.
The joy of living in Bugis for a year was proximity to both Little India and the Kampong Glam district (also known as Arab Street) – both were only 10 minutes walk away.
Many an evening in Kampong Glam starts with a drink or two at one of the little bars on Bali Lane. These places are small, dark. and usually pretty friendly – a good transition point between the working day and a relaxing evening with friends.
Down the end of Bali Lane is the Blu Jaz bar – usually reserved for drinks at the other end of the evening prior to heading home, but a nice place to sit and watch the world go by at any hour, time allowing.
As you can see from the photo above, it is very well supplied with plant life Blu Jaz supplies good pub food – not fine dining but better than you will get in a lot of similar establishments in the more touristy Boat Quay area. They do have a pretty good cocktail menu – and these are very reasonably priced by Singapore standards.
Down an alleyway and you are in Arab Street proper – a street of many silk and carpet dealers. If you cross the road and head down Baghdad Street, you will see the Sultan Mosque on your left (first image above) – and on your right is Bussorah Road, home to some good eateries. My favourite remains Amirah’s Grill:
Amirah’s has rooms upstairs for large groups – but if I am in a small group I’d prefer to sit outside with the passers-by and the scents of shisha smoke in the air – the shisha (a large pipe used exclusively for flavoured tobacco here) is not harsh like cigarette smoke at all.
Two things Amirah’s does better than anywhere else I’ve tasted – grilled seafood and lamb kebabs. The grilled seafood is slathered in a rich buttery sauce and includes prawns, scallops, fish, mussles and potatoes:
The minced lamb kebabs are coated in a rich gravy and served with vegetables and spiced rice:
If you’d like to sample a wider range of kebabs, Amirah’s also serves a mixed kebab platter with lamb, chicken and beef kebabs.
Please note that many Kampong Glam eateries are fairly strictly Halal – no pork, and no alcohol. There are a couple of places on Baghdad Street that serve beer and wine (and the aforementioned Bali Lane/Blu Jaz) – for myself, I’d rather have a drink or two before, go to where the truly great food is, then go back to a bar afterwards if so inclined.
And what would an evening in Kampong Glam be without a stroll around afterwards, possibly to stop and have a glass of mint tea and some Apple/Grape shisha?
The Kampong Glam/Arab Street district is well worth a visit if you have a couple of hours to visit on a trip to Singapore – just take the MRT train to Bugis and take the Raffles Hospital exit. Head up Victoria Rd past the hospital, turn right onto Ophir Rd, left onto North Bridge Road, and you’ll see Bali Lane across the road. Enjoy.