Singaporean feast at Bugis Street Baileys Hotel

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Baileys Hotel, an old Victorian hotel in Gloucester Road has changed hands and had a facelift. It is now part of the Singaporean group that also owns the Gloucester Hotel next door. 

With the acquisition, they moved their Singaporean restaurant Bugis Street to the Bailey’s Hotel. Sitting on the more prominent position on the main thoroughfare now, it is not such a hidden secret anymore. It was one of my regular stops as it was easy to park outside with a Chelsea parking permit. 

Bailey’s Hotel, the hotel that gave the famous Baileys Liquer its name

Baileys Hotel Gloucester Road

Bailey’s Hotel is one of the original Victorian hotels, 

Bailey’s Hotel and Bailey’s Irish Cream

The Bailey’s Hotel (built 1874) opened its doors in 1876 and was one of London’s first purpose-built hotels. Its original owner, James Bailey, started life as a butler before rising through the class system to become one of the great self-made gentlemen of the Victorian era.

Today, with 212 rooms, it caters to both business and leisure visitors. They have retained a lot of the Victorian charm, with the imposing stairs and restored fireplaces. Each floor has a different theme and the recently refurbished rooms are quite unique.

Baileys Hotel Design Gloucester Road

Bailey’s Irish Cream is not in fact Irish but was invented in the 70’s by a division of Gilbeys in Essex. This was an innovation to pair up two famous Irish products, whisky and cream. The name R.A.Bailey however, is fictional. As the guys who invented it were inspired while at a cafe across the road from the hotel.

You can now taste the Flat White Martini at the bar, a product of their collaboration. I have to say that it is quite delicious.

If you are looking for Singaporean and Malaysian street food in London, head down to the Bugis Street restaurant in The Bailey’s Hotel in Gloucester Road.

Bugis Street restaurant used to be in the Gloucester Hotel (same Singaporean ownership, the Hong Leong Group) down the street but has been moved to a more prominent position, opposite Gloucester Road tube station. It used to be my favourite for a quick meal as it is very easy to find a parking space right outside the hotel.

The restaurant is just off the lobby of this historic hotel. The first room is home to the Bailey’s bar and is separated from the dining room by a fireplace. The dining room spans the length of the hotel with banquette seating on one wall.

About Bugis Street in Singapore

Bugis Street has been one of the most popular tourist destinations for decades. Way back when, it was full of the old fashioned hawker stalls and typical South East Asian night markets. Loud, noisy and a great place to grab a cheap meal, perched on a shaky folding stool and plastic tableware.

Today, like the rest of Singapore, these hawker stalls have been replaced by the newer sanitised versions.

We used to go there for “supper”, in local terms, a late evening snack. Not because the food here was special but because Bugis street was the place where the local trans community gathered. Every night was like RuPaul’s drag show.

This is where the famous Boom Boom Room club was first opened. They had the best drag impersonators who played a couple of sessions a night. Later, their branch in Kuala Lumpur became the place to be seen. I have not been back in a while so I’m not sure if it is still there but there are still a lot of bars and clubs in the area.

Singaporean and Malaysian street food

If you like spicy South East Asian food, you are in for a treat. The chefs have not toned down their recipes and are quite TKK.

For the main course, you get a choice of the most popular street food dishes like Char Kway Teow, laksa, nasi lemak, bak kut teh and Hainanese chicken rice and a wide selection of Chinese dishes too.

On the night, there was a group of us which meant that we could order a few dishes to share, instead of just one dish each.

Bugis Street Singaporean Street Food

For starters, we had a variety of their most popular dishes including spring rolls, pork ribs in capital sauce, satay chicken and sesame prawn toast. I’m not sure how big the regular servings are but there was a lot of food.

Chicken Satay Bugis Street

For mains, we had to have the Char Kway Teow, Malaysian chicken curry, sambal king prawns, steamed sea bass and okra blachan (belacan), all served with steamed rice.

The char kway teow is really good with great wok hei. The extra sambal condiment that we requested has quite a spicy kick with powerful umami from the belacan (or blachan, fermented prawn paste). Lovely fresh sea bass fillets, steamed Chinese style made a nice contrast to the spicier dishes. 

Bugis Street Main Courses
From the top: Char Kway Teow, Chicken Curry, Okra Belacan, Steamed fish and stir fry prawns

Loved the Okra with blachan, lightly stir-fried, slightly spicy but with an umami punch. If you have not had an okra dish that you liked before, this one might convert you.

Char Kway Teow Stir Fried Rice Noodles

The dish that was the least favourite was the chicken curry. It was a decent curry but didn’t wow, a bit overshadowed by the other dishes.

Asian desserts are tricky in London. Chinese desserts tend to be sweet soups with healthy ingredients and South East Asian ones tend to be made from glutinous rice, flavoured with pandan leaves and coconut. I am generalising but it is to illustrate that these are not what you expect a dessert to be.

That night, we had a Chinese favourite, red bean soup with a mochi ball. I loved it as a nice Yin and Yang balance to the meal. If you have get over the idea of soup for dessert, you should try this when you visit. And it is healthy too.

Bugis Street Red bean soup with mochi
Bugis Street Red bean soup with mochi

For some great Singaporean and Malaysian street food in London, head on down to Bugis Street at Bailey’s hotel. Make sure you order the char kway teow and finish with a Flat White Martini in the bar after. 

Bugis Street at Baileys Hotel
140 Gloucester Rd,
South Kensington,
London SW7 4QH
Tel: 020 7373 6000

THe bar at Baileys Hotel
Enjoying a Flat White Martini

EatCookExplore was a guest of Baileys Hotel

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char kway teow at Bugis Street  London

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