SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE - In the middle of my walk towards Maxwell Food Centre I caught sight of these two little roads, Ann Siang Hill and Erskine Road, on the other side of the street. The row of of old Chinese shophouses looks interesting enough that I made a vow with myself that I will go check those out after we finish our dinner at the Maxwell Food Centre. Without giving ourselves much time to rest even just for a while and wait for our food to go down, we marched down towards Erskine Road to start our journey to the unknown.
Most of the shops that we ran into that day was closed as it was a Sunday. Anyway, I do not need to go inside to see what the shops are offering. Just peeking through the glass windows of the establishments that I pass through is already enough for me to deduce what they sell. There was some kind of beauty salon there, a lot of RTW stores and a convenience store. Near the end of Erskine Road we caught sight of this posh looking hotel popping out from a distance due to its black and bloody red facade. A golden sign in the middle lets us know that its name is The Scarlet. The name is very apt for its look and the image that it wanted to portray and more so the moment you step inside the establishment and book a night or two there. The Scarlet extends to both sides, almost encompassing the whole of Erskine Road. It was then that I realize that most of the shops we passed through earlier are part of The Scarlet.
ANN SIANG ROAD
Rounding up at the back led us to Ann Siang Road. Unlike Erskine Road, Ann Siang Road is sandwiched by 2 rows of old Chinese shophouses and looked more alive than the former. Once a homeground of traditional Chinese clan association and exclusive social clubs, both sides of the road are now packed with quirky shops and establishments that awakened the shutterbug in me.
One of the establishments that caught my eye is the Screening Room. The Screening Room lets you enjoy a four-meal course and a nice movie at the same time for only SGD$ 68/pax. I bet it is only here that you get to experience something gastronomic and cinematic at the same time. As their tagline says, it is the place where food meets film! Do not worry if you do not have that kind of money to spare for a single night, a minimum purchase of SGD$ 15 worth of food and beverage at the THEATRE bar is already enough to get you a complimentary movie screening. Call them up first to book a reservation prior going though as they can only accommodate a few!
If you are not in for a movie and just wanted to have a chit-chat with your besties, you can do that also and on three amazing locations found in the 5-storey establishment. At the basement is the Mamounia Lounge designed based on Medieval Arabia complete with mosaic tiles, velvet cushions and gold paneling. The lounge is perfect for after work drinks and private gatherings. If drinking is not your cup of tea, you can just have your fill of gastronomic delights in the Mamounia Restaurant on the first level which serves food spanning from Mediterranean, Spanish and French cuisines. Choose between a sit-down dinner inside the centralized restaurant or step outside to their secret courtyard to dine al-fresco style. If a party atmosphere is what you are after, head up to the La Terraza rooftop bar for some drinks and crowd-mingling up until the break of dawn.
CLUB STREET: THE SURPRISE ON THIS JOURNEY
At the end of Ann Siang Road, you'll get to a point where you have to choose between Ann Siang Hill and Club Street to move on to. We went with our guts and chose Club Street. Unlike the previous two roads we had tracked, this one is the most vibrant of all! For one, the shophouses are more colorful. Also, we saw a lot of people already having a good time chatting with their friends and enjoying a cold glass of beer in mid afternoon. A lot of their shops too are open on Sundays so that is a huge plus if you are in the lookout for places to go to near Chinatown in the middle of a Sunday.
I was told that these roads, particularly the Ann Siang Road and Club Street, were being closed to vehicles after 7 PM on weekends to give way to all sorts of pedestrian festivities. I now wonder what can find of tomfoolery happens in this area during those times! I bet it is crazy! Anyway, I am hoping to witness the night crowd the next time I will be here.
So if you happen to be booked nearby or is running out of options for a good night out with your friends, come down on this part of Chinatown to meet people and to have an awesome time!