City sprouts sprout hub is a self-contained community garden, social hub and chill dining area located in southern Singapore. It sits on the grounds of the former Henderson secondary just opposite Bukit Merah town central.
A community city garden hub
Moreover, here at Sprout hub, you might notice rows of green houses on your way up towards the establishment. These are part of a community garden initiative by the local GRCs here. Notably, the other half of the school blocks here were also repurposed into a Kindergarden childcare center ground run by Sparkletots. Also, it coexists with a student hostel, a nursing home and an outdoor fitness gym too.
Also, the initiative is a pilot to tackle social issues of food disconnect and connecting the widening inter-generational gap. This is achieved through having inter-generation events in a single location, around sustainability, food and urban farming.
Moreover, City sprouts claims to be a Garden of eden, where you find a place with horticulture and food intertwined. Here, you find a community transposed into a place with abundance of food and greenery in the midst of the surrounding concrete jungle. Interestingly you can check out a vertical hydroponics farm in the compound too.
Sprout Hub, a school Tuck shop reinvented
Furthermore, Sprout Hub sits at the school’s old multi-purpose hall building, where the canteen grounds reside on the ground floor. Also, the place is notably spruced-up by local artist groups, such as the Art box. There is free parking and nearest MRT station is Tiong Bahru.
Notably, the place opened on February 2020, but didn’t see much fanfare till they reopened for business now in June after the COVID-19 circuit breaker period. The dining area comprises of a mix of tall and sit-down tables in a non-air-conditioned environment with lots of open ventilation. Even the toilet exteriors are themed. The place is pet-friendly too.
Additionally, there are 4 notable stores open and running on my visit. First off we have O-kome, an Asian rice bowl store serving burgers and asian skewers too. Secondly, we have Meet and Greet, a European cuisine stall and lastly the Pyroast coffee store. Let’s check them out with a dine in.
O-kome Asian Rice bowls
o-kome is an Asian inspired store selling a variety of meat and rice bowls. Prices hover about the $10 to $15 range for a bowl which comes with a side coffee drink for an additional $3 during lunchtimes. Moreover, despite being one of the smaller stalls here, they actually serves quite a variety of Japanese rice dishes selections.
Recommendations includes their Unagi grilled freshwater eel bowl ($12). You get a small serving of shredded vegetables with a nicely grilled eel doused with teriyaki sauce. Additional recommended menu options includes their sliced ribeye ($12). It is a pan roasted rib-eye seasoned with black pepper sauce and seasonal greens.
Food quality is not bad, the meats are firm and rice are of the Japanese premium sticky kind seasoned with spices. I however, found the portions little too small for me. Additionally, their rice bowls are served in biodegradable cardboard bowls with wooden cutlery. Talking about being environmentally friendly hipster! Topping up their offerings includes their roasted duck with sweet Thai chilli and pickled cabbage ($10), Chicken Nanban ($10). Their most pricey option is their Mentaiko salmon $15.
Dirty Bun Burgers
Moreover, if you think sprout hub is lacking a western burger store, you might actually be wrong. On close inspection, o-kome also masquerades as a western burger joint. You be forgiven if you did not notice it (as I didn’t on my first visit too). It takes a keen eye on their menu to see that the rice bowl store also offers a selection of three (well actually 2) burger types.
Also, the burger joint goes by the “Dirty buns” name and positions itself into offering really affordable gourmet burgers at a bargain prices, and which is not a Ramly burger.
Here, menu choices starts with a classic meal ($11) for a single patty beef burger with straight-cut fries, canned coca-cola or 100 plus. You can add $3 for a double patty. An ala carte beef burger costs $8 with the double at $11. Their other burger choice is a Hot and spicy chicken burger, otherwise known as their Hot chick burger ($7). $10 similarly, makes it a meal combo with a side serving of straight cut fries ($2). Miscellaneous drinks includes Cold brew $6 and interestingly, Tieguanyin Kombucha at $7 a pop.
However, the burger quality is mediocre. The beef patties are tasty and ingredients such as the lettuce and cheese are fresh. However, I found their burger buns quite a letdown. The buns are lightly toasted buy a light and airy, feels like those thin burger loaves you can grab off convenience stores. Instead, pop-in those proper thick chewy burger buns, lightly toasted with some garlic and I think you have a winner here.
Meat and Greet European grill and pasta
Topping up the stores here is one of the largest of them. Meat and Greet specialises in European grill and Pasta dishes. Their menu offerings revolve about their signature Smoked beef brisket ($24), where you can have as a main with 2 sides.
You should try their Smoked beef brisket ($24) or their similarly priced St louis BBQ ribs ($24) which also comes with 2 sides. It is a giant platter suitable for 1 pax topped with crispy curly fries and a mushroom mix mash. However, I found the brisket tad little too salty to my liking, still it is flavorful without being too overwhelming in taste.
Also, the neutral taste of the Brisket mushroom sides does neutralizing the overall taste of the dish. Also, the dish is one of the more expensive offerings here at the sprout hub. Additional grill items includes their Chicken Kebab ($15) and Lamb kebab ($17). Both comes with a choice of 1 side.
Try their Pasta
Moreover, if you prefer a more cheaper offerings, their pasta are not too bad too and is quite filling if had as a meal. Selections include their Duck pasta ($14), Beef Brisket ($12) with the beef diced into cubes and tossed into al-dente Fettuccine.
Additionally, a recommendation will be their Beef Brisket and Duck pasta. It is not bad and one of their signature items priced from an affordable $12 to $14. The store accepts cashless payments including Visa. Also, you get generous servings of duck to go with your pasta, it is soft and chewy.
Additionally, during lunchtime, for $13, you get your pasta served as a set meal with a scoop of Ice-cream and artisan coffee (available white or black) from Pyroast.
Topping the pasta offerings are their Pork Ragu and Rocket Pesto Pasta, both at $12 a pop. Also, if you are in a group you could consider their pair-pasta deal at $20 for 2 pasta mains. When done, dessert selections includes their homemade ice cream $3. The store runs $12 weekday set lunch menus where you can have a pasta, coffee and ice cream for an affordable $12.
Lok-Kol Asian skewers
Lok-Kol Asian skewers is a rather affordable “Yakitori” style skewer shop offering a mix of “snack on sticks”. They are great for sharing in groups as a side and costs and affordable $1 each per stick. They are served with sweet chili sauce on biodegradable cardboard trays.
Interestingly, Lok-kol does not actually have a store front. To my discovery, you take your skewers and pass/pay at the o-kome stall adjacent to it. Hence, o-kome is tad like 3 stalls (a rice bowl, burger and Yakitori) masquerading as one.
Pyroast Coffees and Beer
Toppping up the stores here is Pyroast. They offer well-priced premium artesian coffees as well as bottled booze or from the tap. Notably, Pyroast also serve coffees as set meals beverages with both Meat and Greet and o-kome outlets in a collaboration.
Price-wise, here, an espresso starts from $3, with long blacks and flat white going at $4 and $4.50 respectively. Also, if you want something more vanilla, a set you back latte ($4), Mocha ($4.5), or hot chocolate ($5). Moreover, Pyroast claims that the coffee is locally roasted with Loring. Their hand-brewed coffee sets you more a relatively more expensive $7 per pop.
Coffee on a budget
Interestingly, Pyroast also serves a selections of local coffee flavors, such as Kopi and Teh. These costs under a dollar per cup. Additionally, gardeners from the nearby greenhouses usually chill out here on a break after gardening. Fancy a some premium serve, or a $2 potong ice-cream on a hot day after gardening? The eateries have you covered too.
The establishment opened on 1st February 2020. But had its opening dampened by the COVID-19 circuit breaker. Notably, today, the place is mostly quiet on weekdays where you can see one or two patrons working from the tables here. The store owners shared the place do get notably busier on weekend nights.
Do note that while the place opens 9am to 10pm daily, some stores closes earlier at 9pm (like Meat and Greet) while some (O-kone) have shorter opening up to 6pm doing this quieter COVID-19 period. Opening hours are expected to be revised in response to crowds.
All in all, City sprouts sprout hub is a chill new hipster place with value for money food. I can see Sprout hub being a great spot for young aspiring hawkers starting their F&B business ideas in a chill and conducive environment. Definitely a place to check out on your visit to the South.
Must Go! | Actually pretty Good | Worth Trying | Shortlist Optionally | Should Avoid
City sprouts sprout hub Locality Map
Old Henderson Secondary school tuck shop,
102 Henderson Rd,
Opening Hours: 9am– 10pm daily