September 2, 2016
In café-crazy Singapore, there is no shortage of places for people to relax and chill out at, especially when it comes to Tiong Bahru. The heritage neighbourhood is home to some of hippest hangout spots in town, but lately, it’s received a little boost with the opening of COO – a swanky new hostel that has a strong focus on design and food.
The design of the hostel is quirky with clear nostalgic influences. Grilled metal gates found in old estates are plastered all over the space, while there’s even an abstract neon light map of the surrounding streets. As for the food element, that is taken care of by an all-day, 60-seater bistro that serves ‘glocal’ cuisine, which is basically COO’s self-styled version of local food delights with international flavours.
For instance, there’s the Tiong Bahru Platter ($28); which consists of roasted pork belly, grilled chicken satay, barramundi and mackerel keropok, and the Tiong Bahru ‘Chwee Kueh’ ($9); which isn’t actually steamed and doesn’t involve any radish. Instead, the chwee kueh is a panna cotta pudding that is topped with candied walnut and balsamic strawberries. It might sound a little kitschy, but local pride is a huge factor here.
Other food items include Prawn Noodles ($18), Pork Cheek Capellini ($18), Prawn Risotto ($25), Grilled Beef Hanger Steak ($26), and Braised Lamb Shoulder ($32). Do note that the menu is split into all-day brunch and dinner. You can take a look here.
If you’re a guest at the hostel, you’ll be able to enjoy a complimentary breakfast in the morning, and if you want to meet new people, you can do so via COO Connect – a social matching tool that allows you to chat with hostel guests prior to your stay. While that might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it could help complete strangers become good friends.
That being said, COO doesn’t just stand out from other hostels around town, it’s an affordable option in expensive Singapore. Plus, there’s free bike rentals too! One major downside though is that there are only dorm rooms available, and it might be a little tricky having a staycation with your partner over here. Other than that, the overall space seems like a decent bet to brighten up Tiong Bahru (not that it needed it before anyway).
COO is located at 259 Outram Road, Singapore 169056. Visit their official website at www.staycoo.com.