Riders café is a rustic family restaurant serving western grill and pasta. They are tucked at Fairways Drive near the turf city mall in the Bukit Timah neighbourhood. Let’s check them out with a dinner dine-in today.
This is possibly given its remote location in the heart of what used to be the training and stable grounds of the now-defunct original Singapore Turfclub. Today the Saddle club still resides here, with the turf club moved to their new premises in Karanji since 2000. Also, the place is so remote, the roads here are devoid of any streetlamps at night.
Also, there is free parking available at the carpark in front of the Cafe grounds. To think about it, Riders cafe does have a similar vibe to Colbar, a Hainanese style western and eatery in the wilderness.
Moreover, the cafe overlooks the Saddle club, a riding school and stable, where you can see various horses being brought out for a walk and some kept and resting in the stables. Also, the view, for the record, I did not notice any foul smells coming from the stables, though the restaurant could be upwind from the restaurant during my dine-in. Dinner entrees are served from 5pm to last order around 9pm.
Dinner Western grill
Furthermore, Rider’s café menu offerings are a mix of western Italian, with burgers pastas and western entries on the menu. Moreover, the restaurant has a reasonably well-stocked bar, serving the residents living the Bukit Timah neighbourhood.
Additionally, if you like steak, their Steak Frites ($35) is a recommendation. I find their steaks hearty, but it is not exactly their best dish. Also, the steak in my visit was tad overcooked and tough to my likeness. I would put their steaks behind in terms of quality to iSteak grass-fed premium options despite being similar priced in the $30 range.
To make up for it, their Rider’s Café Beef burger ($19) is quite a joy. Their patties are 200gm Angus Beef Patty, soft and juicy and topped with American Cheddar, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle, House Burger Sauce. It is quite a well-made burger served similarly with a side of fries and sauce.
However, the same can’t really be said for their vegetarian friendly impossible burger ($20) which is not as flavourful. It could boil down to the differences in taste richness between real beef and plant-based ones, despite looking nearly identical. But this is a debate I would probably not tackle here, though the burger is well-made. All burgers here are served with sides of straight cut fries, and comparable to the quality and price point we previously had at Fat Papas.
Try their pork chops
If you are hungry, I would recommend their pork chops. Riders cafe Bone In Pork Chop are served in bone (like pork rib) and are really juicy. The meat is easy to cut and consume. The meat is also well peppered and marinated with Pumpkin Puree spices.
Also, the pork chop portions are also pretty sizable given the asking price, served with Cauliflower. It makes for a rather filling meal by itself too. Their pork chops is one of the better menu offerings I would put ahead of their beef steak.
Moreover, their grilled Chicken Parmigiana is also one worth trying too and is one of the restaurant staple offerings. The chicken is fried well coated with Tomato Sauce, Pork Ham & melted Mozzarella on the top. It is served with greens and over a bed of Mashed Potatoes.
Also, on top of their Burgers, other recommended menu options include their Beer-Battered Barramundi fish and chips, and pasta including squid ink pasta. I found their fish and chips crispy on the outside and soft within. The batter is also not full of air, meaning it’s a tight batter packed with large fillet of Barramundi within. You are getting your money worth here, and a far cry from the disastrous Fish and Chip we had at PS Cafe.
Squid ink pasta
Additionally, their Squid Ink & Lump Crab Arrabiata is one to try from their pasta selections. However, the squid ink Linguine cooked with Spicy Arrabiata Sauce, which might be tad too spicy to your liking. It is an interesting offering, packed with chunks of crab meat. It is tad pricey for the price and quantity, though it is quite a good take on an Asian-spicy flavour Italian fusion dish.
A Rustic setting
Furthermore, the eatery has tad a ranch setting. You can find a wall full of punter and equestrian horse greets you at the entrance of the Cafe. Some photos of horses and their jockeys are notably dated since 1992- a good 30 plus years ago, probably a race winner and punter in the era begone. Also, service is prompt and quick and you get tabled service, following being seated by the welcome staff at the entrance.
The dining area is not air-conditioned but airy with large fans and natural cooling which what these colonial bungalows are know for. Still there at air coolers and portable air conditioners littered around the restaurant, which was tad redundant on my visit in a cool drizzly evening on the year end.
Moreover, the restaurant sits half a floor above ground level, overlooking the adjacent saddle club. It is typical of colonial buildings back in the day modelled after raised traditional Malay-style kampung huts. These engineering marvels in keeping cool in the day and warmer at night via convention air circulation. Interestingly, for the record, the restaurant toilets are located in the lower basement floors. Notably the toilets are air conditioned.
Closing for good
Wrapping up, after speaking to the restaurant staff, Rider’s cafe be closing at the end of February 2023 due to government acquisition of the land for redevelopment works. To date, the restaurant has no plans to move to another location and plans to close for good.
All in all, that wraps up on our visit to Riders Cafe at Fairways Drive. Tucked in the stables area of the old Bukit Timah race course. It is probably one of the last such dining places you can find in urban Singapore serving good food in a chill ranch setting. We wish them all the best.
Must Go! | Actually pretty Good | Worth Trying | Shortlist Optionally | Should Avoid
Riders cafe Makan Place Locality Map
Riders cafe 51 Fairways Drive
51 Fairways Dr., Singapore 286965
Opening Hours: Tuesday 8am– 9pm