Piedra Negra, Singapore

Chilli PepperExamining the stamps on my passport recently, I concluded that, for a man who lives in Scotland, I I travel to Singapore a lot.  Luckily for me, when travelling to Singapore I always fly in Business, with either Air France or Emirates.  If I fly with Air France, I have flown from Edinburgh to Paris, had a 3-hour layover in the (completely unremarkable and boring) lounge at CDG and then boarded a 14-hour flight to Singapore.  If I travel with Emirates, I have travelled 8 hours to Dubai, stopped off at the (much better) Emirates lounge for a few hours, and then had another 8-hour flight to Singapore.  Either way, I always arrive sweaty, dazed, confused and generally a bit broken.

The first thing I always do (after taking a shower and putting on some clean clothes) is to take a trip to Piedra Negra. I am not really sure why I do this but it’s something I do every time.  It’s usually the only Western food I have during my stay in Singapore.

Piedra Negra is situated on the corner of Beach Road and Haji Lane which is incredibly handy if you are staying in the Park Royal on Beach Road as all you need to do is cross the road (take the foot bridge, it’s faster than waiting for the lights).  The restaurant itself is a very informal Mexican and is frequented by a lot of tourists and big groups of young locals out for a lot of drinks and a little food.  The kitchen is open very late (although there is a reduced menu available after a certain time; 11pm I think).

Piedra Negra has tables outside (in the heat) and inside (which has a lot of fans). I have never seen all of the inside tables occupied, but usually most of the outside tables are taken.  All of that said, I have yet to make a visit and been refused a table – people always seem to be seated even if that involves extra tables magically appearing!  Random artefacts adorn the walls inside – you might want to take a look if you are into that sort of thing!

The service here is usually pretty good, considering how busy this place is.  If you need something you just need to catch the eye of one of the many (young and pretty) servers.

My most recent visit here was at almost midnight on a Saturday and it seemed that the entirety of Haji Lane was buzzing (with perhaps, the exception of the Arabic eatery directly opposite Piedra Negra with the very large ‘Alcohol Free Zone’ posters all over it.  I think this is though, a perfect example of how tolerant Singapore is? Anyway lets get back to it…).  Piedra Negra was full, save for the last table in the corner, which I managed to bag.  We (two colleagues who had also travelled from the UK and I) took a seat and called for a jug of Tiger, which arrived very quickly and was served with ice-cold glasses.

The menu here is pretty standard and has the usual stuff that you would expect; Nachos, Enchiladas, Burritos, Patatas Bravas, Quesadillas, etc.  They do however make fresh guacamole right in front of you which is a pretty cool trick to show off to your friends; you can even do some pestle and mortar work yourself if you ask nicely!

We ordered one of pretty much each of the examples above (!) with two portions of Patatas Bravas as they are pretty spicy here and one of my favourites.  The food here probably wont change your life, but it is perfect for filling that carb craving that I sometimes get when travelling; it’s great comfort food and it arrives quickly.

This is a place to party, there is always a good atmosphere here and in my experience, people are happy to share their party with you!  The price is not cheap when compared to food at say the nearby Golden Mile complex (further up on Beach Road, lots of Thai food) but offers much better value, and a lot more fun, than your hotel.

Make a visit after a long flight; I’ll bet you feel much better afterwards!

Piedra Negra, 241 Beach Rd, Singapore 189753.  Website.

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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