7 local eateries that transport you to Korea, from autumn-inspired cafes to barbecue joints

Enjoy a cuppa, cakes and scones under a canopy of leaves in autumnal reds and oranges at Cafe Kreams.
Enjoy a cuppa, cakes and scones under a canopy of leaves in autumnal reds and oranges at Cafe Kreams.PHOTOS: CAFE KREAMS/INSTAGRAM

SINGAPORE - There is no knowing when leisure travel will resume, but our own backyard has dining options that will make you feel like you are away from home.

If you crave Korean fare - Korean barbecue or fried chicken, anyone? - or miss cafe-hopping in Seoul, here are local eateries that are reminiscent of those in South Korea.

1. Cafe Kreams

It may be only rain or shine in our island city, but you can experience autumn at Cafe Kreams. Enjoy a cuppa, cakes and scones under a canopy of leaves in autumnal reds and oranges.

This cosy spot serves real dalgona coffee topped with coffee crisps instead of whipped foam. Other beverages include Creamy Choco, Sweet Potato Latte, Creamy Matcha Latte, Vanilla Latte and Cloud Latte.

Where: 01-07 Maxwell Chambers, 32 Maxwell Road


2. Hanjip Korean Grill House


PHOTO: HANJIP KOREAN GRILL HOUSE

If you love authentic Korean barbecue, Hanjip Korean Grill House is the new kid on the block. Opened last month, its decor mixes contemporary design with traditional elements such as Korean paintings and murals.

The restaurant prides itself on an extensive range of aged Australian wagyu and USDA prime beef, as well as its kurobuta pork selection. Dine on classics such as Korean pancakes, army stew, samgyetang (ginseng chicken soup) and fried chicken.

Where: 01-11 The Cannery, Block C, 3C River Valley Road


3. Walking On Sunshine


PHOTO: WALKING ON SUNSHINE/INSTAGRAM

If you have been to Orchard Central, you may have strolled past this garden-themed Korean beauty and cafe concept.

Part of the space is dedicated to a brightly lit hair salon and beauty parlour, with a team of Korean hairstylists that will transform your locks with the latest hallyu trends.

On the other side is a pretty cafe featuring rustic wooden furnishings and a ceiling covered in bunches of dried blooms.

Here, you will find cafe fare with a Korean twist, from souffle pancakes and open-faced toasts to Korean-style pizzas - think kimchi pizza and bulgogi beef cream fettuccini. For those after healthier options, there are salad bowls available.

Where: 03-07 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road


4. Kong Cafe


PHOTO: KONG CAFE/INSTAGRAM

For a minimalist Korean aesthetic, head to Kong Cafe nestled in Bukit Timah.

Opened by Korean artist Hanna Mi Kim, the cafe is decorated simply with wood and black-and-white tones - with the exception of the counter area, which features colourful prints and pendant lights.

Here, you will find Korean-inspired delights such as a Korean-style beef and cheese toastie, honey butter chicken wings, and old-school street food like cheesy corn dogs. Its savoury waffles are some of the most popular items on the cafe's menu.

Where: 01-11, Sime Darby Centre, 896 Dunearn Road


5. Wang Dae Bak


PHOTO: WANG DAE BAK/INSTAGRAM

This is one of the most well-loved Korean barbecue restaurants in town, and is known for its charcoal fire grills and marinated meats.

Its interiors are reminiscent of a retro Korean bar or bistro, with dim lighting, wooden furnishings and signs sporting Korean characters.

Among its lip-smacking dishes are the kimchi pancake and the kimchi jjigae, an anchovy-based stew with pork and tofu. You also do not want to miss the dense, crispy seafood pancake that is sure to fill your tummy.

Where: 01-64 China Square Central, 22 Cross Street; and 98 Amoy Street


6. +82 PlusEightTwo


PHOTO: +82 PLUSEIGHTTWO/INSTAGRAM

This dessert cafe was opened by Seo Eun-kwang from K-pop boy band BTOB, and has outlets in South Korea as well as Malaysia. Its name represents the country code (+82) for South Korea.

The interior has a minimalist-meets-industrial-chic aesthetic, with pops of gold and green from lush potted plants. On the menu are beautifully plated bingsu, toast and pastries, as well as Korean-style beverages - including the colourful Ice Cube Soda .

Where: 01-02 Rendezvous Gallery, 9 Bras Basah Road


7. Ice Lab Cafe


PHOTO: ICE LAB/INSTAGRAM

Bingsu fans will be well acquainted with Ice Lab Cafe, a popular cafe specialising in shaved-ice desserts. With its pristine tiled white walls, minimalist wood furniture and neon signs, it looks like a trendy cafe you would find in Seoul.

The cafe also hosts events that celebrate the birthdays and anniversaries of K-pop idols - from Got7 to BTOB - and other Korean celebrities.

Where: 164 Rochor Road

This article first appeared in The Singapore Women's Weekly.

For more articles, visit The Singapore Women's Weekly website.