Gillman Barracks: Where to eat in the arts enclave
SINGAPORE, Aug 27 — Looking for a place to dine and relax this weekend without braving the crowds in shopping malls or having the need to elbow away Pokemon hunters, who seem to be everywhere these days?
Gillman Barracks might be your best bet. This contemporary arts cluster, located off Alexandra Road, is hoping to attract more foodies with an expansion of its food and beverage offerings this year, with new outlets such as Creamier, Nekkid and Handlebar coming onboard.
Specialising in the craft of creating different flavours of premium ice cream and sorbet using their own unique recipes, Creamier followed its success in Toa Payoh Lorong 1 and opened a second outlet at Gillman in March to build on the brand’s knack for creating communal spaces in charming, offbeat locations.
“It’s rare to find a space in Singapore which remains largely untouched by modern development, yet still accessible to public. As a converted former army barracks, this place offers locals a sense of discovery and serves as a resting place for visitors to the surrounding art spaces and gatherings of friends and families while enjoying our handmade ice cream, waffles and coffee,” shared Wan Chin, co-founder of Creamier.
A rotating selection of 18 ice cream flavours ranging from classics such as Roasted Pistachio and Madagascan Vanilla, to locally inspired favourites such as Sea Salt Gula Melaka and Kaya Toast, are handcrafted and churned from scratch daily at the onsite kitchen.
Coffee lovers can also rejoice at the espresso blend served up at Creamier Gillman Barracks — it is a custom blend called Neighbourhood, “which we have developed with our friends at Papa Palheta”, said Chin.
“Consisting of a combination of Ethopian Suke Quto and Guatemalan San Antonio Bourbon beans, the blend offers hints of floral, caramel and stone fruit and a balanced body with a black tea finish,” said Chin, who added that their signature recommendation would be the Affogato, which is served with Madagascan Vanilla ice cream and a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Even older F&B tenants such as Naked Finn are doing more to make the trip to Gillman worthwhile, with its new offshoot Nekkid and new additions to the menu.
In 2015, The Naked Finn, known for its yummy lobster rolls, prawn noodles and seafood dishes, moved from Block 41 to Block 39, and Nekkid took over as a bar with affordable small plates.
After receiving public feedback, Nekkid has since included more food options mainly from the Naked Finn’s menu, such as its popular lobster roll, hae mee tng (prawn noodle soup) that was part of their successful supper menu, and the recently created Mozambique lobster risotto.
Another dining option Red Baron opened in April last year as a standalone red brick and glass structure located next to NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, housing a cafe, bakery and bar. It prides itself on bringing more people to the arts enclave through organising a range of events such as live music festivals, street parties, outdoor film screenings and a monthly Farmers’ Market.
Co-founder Prashant Somosundram shared: “We have always been keen in looking at our surroundings and activating dead spaces through quirky events. It’s really nice to see that even in Gillman’s fourth year, we get feedback that it is the first time for many Singaporeans and that they never knew such a unique, yet “ulu” space existed in Singapore.”
“Singaporeans have always been willing to travel for good food. There are many who may not be art buffs but would come in to try our Quinoa Goreng. But with our proximity to the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, we always recommend that they take a post-meal ramble through the galleries. I’d like to think that through the music events, craft beer festivals and farmers’ markets that we regularly run, we have facilitated the exposure of contemporary art across a wider audience,” he added. — TODAY