Saturday, December 14, 2019

Eat, Drink & Gallop! at Cheval Cafe, Bar & Bistro (Singapore Turf Club Riding Center)

This blog post has been in the pipeline for almost a year. I’m happy I’ve finally gotten around to completing it! 

This is unlike my usual restaurant review where I visit a restaurant with an agenda to talk about the decor, ambiance and service, rate a select few dishes based on their presentation, portion-size and taste and finally give you an overall summary of my dining experience. This post doesn't follow any format rather provides a general overview on a place that has gradually become our go-to venue for family time and to and unwind after a busy week. 

The prelude to this post includes a bit of background for context.

Before the kids were born, me and my husband used to go out to eat a lot. And when I say a lot....I mean, A LOT! Except hawker centers, we would make our way to either a cafe, bistro, ethnic eatery, pub, casual dining restaurant, or fast food, several times a week with occasional visits to fine dining establishments. The location seldom mattered since both of us can travel great distances for good food! Most of the times it would be impromptu dinners brought on by a sudden impulse to go out or else boredom of having to cook at home but also after an evening of shopping or after catching a movie or meeting up with single friends or fellow childless couples. Orchard road, Clarke Quay, Robertson Quay, Arab Street, Holland Village, Bukit Timah and Dempsey were some of our frequent haunts.  

Once our twins were born, all that came to a screeching halt! We still did eat outside food (although considerably lesser) but it was mostly in the form of home delivery. Back then, we didn’t have the option of leaving the kids home and going out by ourselves. Lugging around an elephant-sized baby bag while wrestling two squealing toddlers into their car seats is something I never looked forward to doing. Not to mention, I barely could enjoy my food (and even forget to photograph it....gasp!) with all the fussing over the little ones. And once our children started growing older, we realized that they were less human and more pint-sized tornadoes so venturing out of the house with them was always going to feel like an epic adventure. Going to an enclosed indoor restaurant invariably translated into table banging, cutlery clanging, spilling beverages, knocking things over, tugging tablecloths, ear-splitting shrieking, running into service staff, crashing into glass doors and the dreaded “I’m bored” chanting. Our kids like to draw or color only when they are in an artsy mood and keeping them preoccupied/distracted with electronic gadgets during mealtimes is my biggest parenting pet peeve so I refuse to do it. To add to our woes, we could never take them too far because the barfy duo tend to get sick in a moving car. So, to summarize, going out for a meal as a family was not much fun at all (for us adults mainly 😝) until the past year or so. 

The solution for us was quite obvious - going to nearby family-friendly restaurants with al fresco dining where kids have room to run around without being a nuisance or which have designated play areas, preferably a kids menu and most importantly, where being noisy doesn’t elicit annoyed looks. Although we still prefer home delivery, we have been going out more and there are a couple of restaurants that the kids really like going to such as Cheval, Marche, Blooies Roadhouse, Wildseed Cafe, Pasarbella and Jamie's Italian. 
Nestled within the tranquil Singapore Turf Club Riding Center, Cheval Cafe, Bar & Bistro treats its patrons to an unblocked view of the majestic horses trotting around the stadium.

Cheval offers casual and cosy indoor dining as well a relaxed al fresco dining area overlooking the vast expanse of the training grounds cloaked by lush greenery. A live band plays every Friday and Happy Hours extends from 12pm-9pm. Adults can enjoy a fun game of darts in the indoor area whilst the outdoor area is a better choice to view the horse-riding activities. 

This is one place where we do not have to shadow our kids. There are no vehicles in the immediate vicinity of the bistro so they are free to run around as they please. We tend to leave them to their own devices and they find something interesting to look at or do. Whenever they are hungry, they come to the table, gobble whatever they fancy and run off again. Even when they are noisy, other patrons either don’t seem to notice or else, pointedly ignore them 😆 It is one of the few times when dining out when me and my husband can actually sit back with a drink and chill while enjoying a good conversation just like the old times! Cheers to that! 

Getting to the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre is easier by car. There is a complimentary parking lot on the premises. The nearest MRT is the Kranji MRT station and it is a 10-15 min walk from there.  

We usually get here around 6pm and begin by ordering drinks. I love the cocktails here. I usually order the Singapore Sling and/or the Mojito.

The food is your standard western fare. The menu isn't very elaborate but you have the popular crowd pleasers. Not too many options for vegetarians but you will not go hungry I promise! Cheval has great cocktails and surprisingly nice desserts. There is a kids menu as well. The portion-size of the dishes is good and prices are very reasonable. 

We have always experienced friendly and efficient service at Cheval. The food and drink is served promptly without errors or delays. The staff are courteous and especially considerate when it comes to children. There is a kids menu and the kids are given their own cutlery. When our children are fighting for the cherries in our drinks, they are given a few extra to keep them happy. And when they are noisily running around the cafe both outdoors and indoors (despite our pleas to get them to sit down for a while), they are never reprimanded by the staff. 

Another aspect that I must mention is the sunset that patrons can view from here. The sunsets are noteworthy and on most evenings we have been able to enjoy the beautiful coral-flecked sky while sipping a drink and enjoying the peaceful surroundings.

Going to Cheval invariably translates to some sort of animal interaction which immensely appeals to our children. Having said that, there have been instances when we haven’t spotted any horses during the entire duration we were there. And on the instances that we have, not all the riding instructors are nice enough to let the kids approach a horse but there are some that do. During the first few times there was a resident cat at Cheval whom my kids were very taken with (but the said cat hasn’t made an appearance the past several visits). Then there are times when patrons bring their friendly dogs and have let my children interact with them. And this one time there were a host of amicable birds which we were lucky to witness and even feed!  

Since we discovered the existence of this hidden gem in the North, we have been to Cheval umpteen times. Sometimes it has been just the four of us and other times we have gone with family or friends. The mere mention of the bistro is enough at get my children’s rapt attention. We usually get off work early on Fridays so on the days we plan to go to Cheval for dinner, we are there by 5:30pm. The wide open space is ideal for our energetic 5 year olds, the sight of the horses drives them mad with excitement, there is a tiny indoor area to keep them occupied once they are done with the outdoors (I do always carry coloring books and crayons), the food is good, drinks are great, the staff are friendly and it is a great place to unwind and relax after a tiring day. And most importantly for us, it is barely a 10-minute drive from home so it is an all-round win! 

Before signing off, let me provide you with some additional useful nuggets of information. Pony rides are available on Sundays from 11am-12pm. Also, the Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre offers horse-riding to the public at affordable prices. It does not charge membership fees and is the only riding centre with its own equine surgical facility. It has more than 40 horses, 60 stables and four riding instructors.

If you happen to be in the neighbourhood, do check out Cheval (especially if you have kids who love the outdoors!). We owe this place many wonderful evenings spent together as a family. 

Address: Singapore Turf Club Riding Centre
               1 Equestrian Walk
               Singapore 737863 

Phone no: +65 6269 0918 


Opening hours: Mon-Thu & Sun 11am-midnight                             
                          Fri-Sat 11am-2am 


This is not a sponsored post. All views and opinions are my own and from personal experience

1 comment:

  1. Great Blog. I want to know more about horse riding in Singapore. I know many top athletes of Singapore and they are very excited to participate in that.


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