Expat shocker: Brits rally around beer and curry

Expat shocker: Brits rally around beer and curry

Drink up, laddies -- the Colonial Bar in Singapore wasn't turned into a highway flyover after all
Colonial bar in Singapore
The original Colbar sign was rescued from destruction and lovingly restored by the Colonial's expat regulars.

For generations the Colbar -- short for Colonial Bar -- was located on Jalan Hang Jebat, a small street in an area of Singapore that once housed British soldiers. But in a turn of events reminiscent of 'The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,' the Colbar was recently threatened with closure due to a planned highway extension that would overrun its sleepy street.

Colbar regulars leaped off their bar stools and into action, petitioning local authorities for a stay of execution.

In due time, a new home was found for the historic eatery. The original building was declared a historic monument, carefully dismantled and completely rebuilt on new premises in Wessex Estate, a tree-filled residential neighborhood that is slowly becoming a new dining destination.

The new location is just minutes away from the Colbar's old home on Jalan Hang Jebat.

A fantastic throwback to a bygone era, the Colonial Bar in Singapore essentially consists of a kitchen and couple of rooms, none of which are air-conditioned.

There’s a large open area in the back with several tables and more tables on the front and side of the restaurant.

The crowd is 'expat eclectic' and the food is basic -- tasty versions of popular Chinese and Western classics like chicken, pork chops and steak and chips. Omelets and full English breakfasts are also available.

But the dish that most go to the Colbar for is chicken curry, made "extremely lemak" (meaning, with tons of coconut milk) and very mild. Locals consider this kind of curry very Chinese, as opposed to Malay or Indian. The meat is incredibly tender; the portion is generous.

At just S$7, it’s a Colonial Bar bargain that often sells out by noon.

9A Whitchurch Road, Wessex Estate, tel. 6779 4859
 

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