Whether you are a lady who lunches or chairman of the bored looking for a new lunchtime liaison, this string of restaurants should give you some inspiration. They all serve dinner too, but have a larger lunchtime appeal.
db BISTRO MODERNE
Marina Bay Sands (#B1 The Shoppes)
T: +65 6688 8525
Found at the Galleria Level of The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sand, just across from the theatre, Daniel Boulud’s offering is a rather understated but nice spot. He does a seriously good looking burger for $22 and up to $42 if you want the signature one with foie gras. The Heirloom tomato salad was just lovely but it was the Croque Monsieur that won the day. Have it with a fried egg on top and call it a Croque Madame. Call it whatever you like – it the best damn thing we have eaten this side of Paris. They don’t do a proper latte – be warned – they do the french rather stronger, smaller version but good (though it will cost you $8, so it should be). Their frites ain’t half bad either.
Opening Times: They are open for lunch and dinner (but not in between) everyday from 12pm-2.30pm; dinner runs from 5.30pm-10.30pm. Go on the weekend though and you get the Croque Monsieur on the brunch menu from 11am.
34 Lorong Mambong
T: (+65) 6468 1520
If mexican is your thing then you will struggle in Singapore. Check out Taqueria – a tiny shack with outdoor tables on the crest of the hill in Phoenix Park – just off Tanglin Road – but only go between 12pm and 1pm on weekdays. The rest of the time it is either closed or has run out of the good stuff. They are mean with their guacamole and salsa but it is good. It is also very cheap and there fish tacos are really not bad at all. All ingredients are fresh and everything is cooked to order. But that isn’t what we’re talking about here.
Nestled on a strip that can only really be described as Singapore’s answer to Puerto Banus, El Patio is halfway up the Holland Village main drag. Beware though, it is nestled slap bang next to another restaurant that is not good at all – unless of course you are after processed cheese and refried beans out of a can. Actually, if I could be sure they were straight out of the can I would be a little less uncomfortable about eating there…need I say more? El Patio is the one with the lovely poncho tablecloths and they give you freshly made tomato salsa and real corn chips while you think about what to eat. They do the best fresh lime juice that is delivered to you in a jar – very authentic and their food has not disappointed yet. It is not really anywhere to write home about – but it ain’t bad – and the service ain’t too terrible either!
Opening Times: basically 11am-11pm, but can be flexible – worth calling to book to avoid disappointment!
#02-42 Shaw Tower
100 Beach Road
T: (+65) 6291 1433
What: Delicious middle eastern food
Where: In rather an unlikely mall that you’ve driven past but probably never been in to
Wear: Whatever you want – no stylo milos in here
We’re: Quite well known among flatbread and tabouleh lovers
A Turkish restaurant on the second floor of Shaw Towers, this joint is worth a trip but not necessarily a pilgrimage. Fabulous for veggies and a real find if you are craving decent Arab (ish) food. Their sesame puffed breads and wood-fired oven baked flatbreads are really very good. They also do classic stuffed vine leaves, very good eggplant dishes and a decent smooth Houmous (though ours was a little dry at the edges). Their Cacik (Turkish version of Tzatziki) is delicious and their kebabs are definitely worth a try. It is not a very exciting mall destination and is decidedly dead after six…but brave the ghost town and get some decent Arab food in this hidden gem. It gives most of the food on Arab Street a run for its’ money and there are certainly less tourists but you won’t be able to get a beer here…strictly no alcohol…but the bill for four of us filling our boots came to $100!
Opening Times: 12pm-9pm daily
What: DTF goes hawker
Where: Riverside hawker centre opposite Great World City
Wear: Flip flops and T
We’re: Established with a big following
This hawker centre is just opposite Great World City and you have probably driven past it lots of times before but never stopped…but now you have the best reason to: Dumpling Auntie. Her stall is actually called: Hao Pei and she has been here for about 30 years. Her son now helps her and everything, from the noodles casing to the pork mince which is non fatty and flavoured with herbs, is made to her own recipe. There is a minimum order of 10 dumplings for $6 and they come 2 ways: steamed or fried. Both are delicious and although the filling is identical, taste quite different. Wash it down with some freshly made, cancer-busting soursop juice, or a coconut, from CHUN KEE FRESH FRUIT JUICE a few stalls down, sit at a table by the riverside, eat and enjoy.
Opening Times: 12pm-2pm; 5pm-8pm daily, EXCEPT Tue & Wed when she is closed
SUN WITH MOON
Wheelock Place (#03-15/16/17)
501 Orchard Road
T: (+65) 6733 6636
What: Stylish sush
Wear: Sleek city chic
We’re: Good shopping stop-off point
Stylish sushi, generally more a la carte than conveyor belt (the latter is always a preference but a good, stylo place is hard to find here – suggestions anyone?) with a heavy steer towards set menu choices. Good. Reserve for lunch on weekends as it gets quite busy. Ask to sit in section 1 (with ‘pod’ seats) or section 6 (curtains and cushions).
Opening Times: 12pm-11pm Mon-Thu & Sun; 5pm-12am Fri & Sat only
100 Orchard Road
T: (+65) 6739 8370
What: Good stab at representing all the local food types in SG – lunch only though
We’re: Great if you are short of time and want to tick some boxes
Come here at lunchtime and they serve a delicious, authentic Peranakan buffet. Great for nyonya nosh novices who get to see what each dish looks like before committing…the lunch is actually named ‘Singapore Flavours’ and also showcases food from other dialect groups including Hainanese, Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, Teochew, Malays and the Indians all at once during lunchtime. Perfect if you are visiting and short of time but want to try several specialty dishes.
Opening Times: 12pm-2.30 Mon-Fri only
Customs House (#01-04)
77 Collyer Quay
T: (+65) 6532 9939
Part of the Florentine powerhouse and it has travelled well. We love it here and have nicknamed it ‘Pork Scratchy’ as it does rather sound like that when you say their name fast! Delicious lunches served up at around $30+ if you go for the set, three course lunch menu which is faultless. It’s also a great place for dinner. Surprisingly not too hideously expensive which so many authentic and proper Italian joints can be over here. Our only criticism would be one of decor/vibe as it’s a bit too corporate feeling for our tastes if you eat inside (no choice if you go at lunchtime though as it’s just too darn hot to be out on one of their waterside tables. Make sure you go al fresco for dinner though). CBD location is balanced by Procacci being in Customs House which is like a little oasis of low rise tranquility, dwarfed on all sides by skyscrapers and the mass of office workers within them; its close proximity to Lantern Bar (see EAT ME, DRINK ME Raising the Bar) and waterside setting. BTW: there is no parking at customs house. You can either valet park at Fullerton Bay Hotel for $10 (and walk through the hotel until you reach their outdoor decked area which connects to Customs House) or park in the Microsoft building’s multistory car park which is on the corner of Collyer Quay, just before Marina Boulevard, and walk for 2 seconds until you arrive at Custom’s House.
Opening Times: 12pm-2.30pm; 5.30pm-11pm daily
Customs House (#02-02)
70 Collyer Quay
T: (+65) 6533 3471
Fancy a Kinki Japanese lunch anyone? A lot of people evidently do as this place is packed. We love it coz of it’s hip, urban edge in a zone (the CBD) where there is not much in the way of raw creativity (nothing shiny and new about this place, except the money you will be paying with); edgy graffiti walls make it a refreshing change from the sleek and manicured offering around…AND the food is super yummy. Go for what they are famous for which is their maki, and share. Particular die, die must try faves include the warm unagi and Hokaido scallop maki with tempura, snow crab and avocado. Puds are short and sweet, basic but delicious and the black sesame seed ice cream highly superior to the slightly too fragrant and creamy green tea one.
Opening Times: 12pm-2.30pm; 6pm-10.30pm Mon-Fri. Dinner only on Sat. Closed Sun
Esplanade Mall (#02-27)
8 Raffles Avenue
T: (+65) 6423 1881
We’re: Sleek local food for city slickers
Wear: Shift or suit
Bring: Date or Daddy
Grub’s up, and this one’s a place to show-off about knowing. Space is very stylish but infinitely more effortless (and we prefer it all the more for this – no one likes a try-hard) cousin of My Humble House who holds court next door, and stands out from the crowd for its simple yet delectable local classics. The menu offers everything you’d expect to see – and want to eat – from the chic-est chicken rice to the perfectly balanced, sweet, rich laksa. Sweet and rich…if only every lunch date offered such promise! BTW: Try their chilled crab meat served on watermelon from their tapas selection and their moreish vegetable spring rolls – great starters. Perfect place for pre-theatre dinner.
Opening Times: 11.45am-2.30pm; 6.30am-10pm daily
CARILLON DE L’ ANGELUS
24 Ann Siang Road
T: (+65) 6423 0353
We’re: Nice little nook
Where: Club Street/Chinatown area
Wear: Whatever you like
Bring: Friends or family
A sweet little French bistrot with a nice vibe but virtually non-existent (I suppose French style) service…though this doesn’t really seem to matter. Good place to relax and try a variety of different French wines. They have an exhaustive but reasonably priced list – many of which you can sample by the glass. The food is simple and decent and is one of the few places in Singapore that imports the coveted Parisien sourdough Poilaine bread (though ask how fresh it is before purchasing). Sit outside and soak up the atmosphere or hang out at the bar after a wander around the arty vicinity. Find a good spot, order a salade nicoise and a bottle of plonk, and settle in with the book you just bought from the outrageously expensive but seriously stylish Books Actually round the corner. Basically a good place for a long lazy afternoon that seeps into evening. Read the papers and people watch – particularly rewarding checking out the clan house members across the street doing whatever it is they do these days.
21 Duxton Hill
T: (+65) 63233353
We’re: A nice change; an understated little brasserie
Where: Duxton Hill, round the corner from china town
Wear: Whatever you like
Bring: Friends or family
A lovely bistrot on Duxton Hill on the pedestrianized area. Not actually a reference to their signature dish or sole culinary offering, BROTH stands for Bar, Restaurant On The Hill. They always ensure there is a daily broth of some description so as not to disappoint its more literal clients but that isn’t why you come here. A genuine gem, this little restaurant is deceptively serious. The service is top-notch and understated, the food stunningly simple and unpretentious. Salads and pastas, occasional organic offerings and really decent desserts adorn the menu – even picky eaters will struggle deciding what to order. A bit off the beaten track but a lovely place for brunch on the weekend, girlie or business lunch and a nice relaxed vibe in the evenings…not a bad little all-rounder really.
Opening Times: 12pm-2.30; 6.30pm-10.30pm. Closed Sundays
DIN TAI FUNG
290 Orchard Road
T: (+65)6836 8336
We’re: NOT dim sum, we’re Taiwanese dumplings; about $30 a head if you go crazy
Where: The Paragon
Bring: Friends or family
DTF started life in Taipan before going Asia-wide (they are also stateside in NYC). With an almost conveyor-belt-like intensity the masked dumpling chefs work wonders in the all-glass kitchen, you know what you are eating is as slick and fresh as it gets. This is dumpling heaven – be sure to try their signature pork xiao long bao – and, as the queues suggest, very popular. Extra points awarded for the fact that almost everything on the menu is steamed, fresh and fragrant. No fried dim sum heaviness here. A veritable institution, it has been voted one of the Top Ten best restaurants worldwide by The New York Times. An absolute must. They have several Singapore branches – see website for more details.
Opening Times: 11am-9.30pm Mon-Fri; 10am-9.30pm Weekends
Ngee Ann City (#04-19)
391A Orchard Road
T: (+65) 6735 2388
We’re: Stylo milo dim sum
Wear: Lunchtime lovelies will dress to impress
Bring: Family and guests when they’re in town
Their flagship, this is an authentic Cantonese restaurant that we love for its good dim sum. A slick operation, the restaurant is contemporary and…..what better sign of good local food?….packed with locals. Try their meltingly delicious mini squares of crispy pork belly. The char siu buns are salty and sweet and far superior to a boring old char siu pau. BTW: when you reserve, be sure to say that you want to be within the main restaurant. They have an over-flow section at the back that is not nearly as nice.
Opening Times: 11.30am-11pm Mon-Fri, 11am-3pm Sat, 10.30am-3pm Sun. [Dinner 6pm-11pm Sat, 6pm-11pm Sun]
Same but different: CRYSTAL JADE GOLDEN PALACE at Paragon (T: (+65) 6734 6866) offers exquisite contemporary Cantonese and Teochew cuisine with excellent dim sum. Dark and theatrical inside, be sure you are eating what you mean to….duck’s tongue anyone?
76 Bras Basah Road
T: (+65) 6330 3588
We’re: Local dim sum haunt; won’t break the bank
Where: Next to Raffles
Wear: Twin set and pearls
Bring: Colleages or rellies
Ignore the rather corporate Chinese décor, this is a dim sum find and serves very authentic Cantonese style dim sum to a predominantly local clientele. A lunchtime must. BTW: Their ‘lobako’ is steamed not fried, still good, but don’t order it if you are expecting crispy, fried deliciousness; make sure you try their ‘chalia’ – deep fried dough fritters wrapped in cheung fan.
Opening Times: 11.30am-2.30pm Mon-Sat; 11am-2.30pm Sun [6.30pm-10pm daily]
Same but different: HUA TING at Orchard Hotel Galleria (T: (+65) 6739 6666) is a bit of an insider’s gem with a great dim sum selection and a chef from Hong Kong.
THE BARRACKS CAFE
8D Dempsey Road
T: (+65) 6476 6050
We’re: Casual cool with arty attitude
Wear: Juicy Couture
Bring: Wannabe style gurus
A great place for lunch or tea, this has the casual cosiness of a café, but the food and service of a good restaurant. Try their virtuous skinny pizzas, which are a must. They also do great salads but the best thing on the menu has to be the appetizer: a 15 minute mobile back and neck massage delivered to you at your table.
Opening Times: 12pm-3pm Mon-Fri, 11am-4pm brunch Weekends only. [Tea 3pm-6pm Mon-Fri; Dinner 6pm-10.30pm Mon-Sun]
YUM CHA RESTAURANT
20 Trengganu Street (#02-01)
Off Temple Street
T: (+65) 6372 1717
We’re: Slam clatter dim sum (with weekend trolley dollies)
Where: Pulsing heart of China Town
Bring: China town fatigue and friends
Feels rather large and commercial, like it might be part of a chain, but actually it isn’t. Due to it’s central Chinatown location, the clientele is an inevitable mixture of tourists (groan) as well as – surprisingly – locals (phew). With no airs and graces, just good dim sum, it’s a great place to go with or without your brood. BTW: Try the rather unlikely sounding red bean paste banana fritters – delicious and not too sweet.
Opening Times: 11am-11pm Mon-Fri, 9am-11pm Weekends
2 Orchard Turn
T: (+65) 6509 8283
We’re: Cheap and cheerful dim sum – Crystal Jade’s competition
Wear: The lower you go in Ion, the less smart it gets…#B3…go figure…
Bring: Friends and family
The quality of the lunchtime dim sum here can vary wildly, dependant on which outlet you go to, so listen up: Ion (as listed) or Suntec City Mall (#B1-011; T: (+65) 6339 3118; 11am-10pm daily) have never disappointed. Each restaurant has a specialty (Ion’s is Noodle & Congee, Sun Tec’s is Nan Bei) but for the sake of clarity, we are talking dim sum only – and measuring it on all the old faves.
Opening Times: Vary according to outlet. Ion: 11am-10.30pm Weekdays; 10.30am-10.30pm Weekends. Suntec: 11am-10pm daily.
CRYSTAL JADE KITCHEN
2 Lorong Mambong
T: (+65) 64690300
We’re: Cheap and cheerful dim sum that’s nearly always open (7am-4am is impressive)
Where: Holland V
Wear: FitFlops and shorts
Bring: People who want to eat at funny times, or anyone who likes unpretentious dim sum
Basic dim sum that sets the benchmark. Miles cheaper than their swish sister restaurants at Paragon and Taka (although not a match for their quality), it’s very busy at lunchtimes and packed on weekends. Sit outside if you can and watch the world go by.
Opening Times: 7am-3am Sun-Thu; 7am-4am Fri & Sat
Marina Square (#02-06)
T: (+65) 6720 8590
We’re: only salads and sarnies
Where: Marina Square and beyond
Wear: Power suits
Bring: Female colleagues and healthy people
If you work at Credit Suisse you will already know all about this…it’s right next to your office. A bit of a trek if you are a lady who lunches, but a haven for office lovelies who need a break from fattening hawker fare. Choose from their signature salads and wraps (with great names, including ‘Cheaper than a Facial’, ‘Go Geisha’ and ‘Hail Caesar’) or go wild and create your own off-piste sensation. Prices start from $8.80 and you can customise your salad or wrap with over 35 free toppings.
Opening Times: 8am-9pm Mon-Fri; 11am-9pm Sat. Closed Sun
AU PETIT SALUT
40C Harding Road
T: (+65)6475 1976
We’re: Elegant French cuisine
Wear: Anne Fontaine
Bring: Kristin Scott Thomas
A favourite haunt for French expat ladies who lunch…how wrong can they be? The weekday set lunch is $30++ and represents great value for money in terms of fine French fare (with perfectly executed starter, main AND pud, with masses to choose from). There is also a secondary, bistro branch in Chip Bee Gardens.
Opening Times: 11.30am-2.30pm Mon-Sat; closed Sun. [Dinner 6.30pm-10.30pm Mon-Sat]
Same but different: Try Chinatown’s unexpected French offering NICOLAS LE RESTAURANT at 31 Keong Saik Road (T: (+65) 6224 2404) that also does a good value set lunch.
39C Harding Road
T: (+65) 6473 9965
We’re: European comfort food
Where: Converted church in Dempsey
Wear: Banana Republic or Prada shorts
Housed in a beautifully restored old chapel on Dempsey Hill, White Rabbit is one of the few brasserie style restaurants that exist in Singapore. Perfect for a casual lunch, this place isn’t cheap but is consistently good. Having trained and worked in Europe the chefs’ food is predictably European – but that is where the predictability ends. There are some really outstanding dishes as well as a list of simple, non-fussy fare. It is a great place to try oysters, not least because they offer them in every way you could possibly want to eat them (Rockefeller, Au Gratin or Natural) and the steak tartare is a classic, served in such a way that even the purists amongst us are impressed. Lobster thermidor sits happily on the same menu as a ‘White Rabbit Mac & Cheese’ – a far cry from the packet variety of childhood memories, this is a truly grown up affair, complete with shavings of black truffles. Try to leave room for pudding – the baked alaska was lovely but we weren’t enormous fans of the slightly rubbery, and disappointingly non-flaming, crêpe suzette. BTW: they do a remarkably well priced (approx $30), 2 course, set lunch during the week.
Opening Times: 12.30pm-2.30pm Tue-Sun, closed Mon. [Dinner 6.30pm-9pm]
JONES THE GROCER
Dempsey Hill (#01-12)
9 Dempsey Road
T: (+65) 6476 1512
We’re: Easy Aussie open-plan eatery
Where: Dempsey of course
Wear: Flipflops, ballet pumps or wedges
Bring: Expat yummy mummy
Affectionately known as Jones the robber…and for good reason….but the extortionately high prices ARE occasionally bearable because you can (if you queue) get a fab brunch or breakfast, lunch and dinner… and an occasionally decent ‘flat white’ or latte. Lunches and dinners are also served with aplomb but none of these are really the reasons you go to Jones….it’s for the grocery shopping you can do whilst you wait…see BUY ME Food & Drink entry. They also have a branch at Mandarin Gallery (T: (+65) 6836 6372).
Opening Times: 9am-6pm Mon; 9am-11pm Tue-Sun
Meritus Mandarin (L5)
333 Orchard Road
T: (+65) 6831 6291 / 6831 6288
We’re: Hawker food for scaredy cats
Wear: GAP or Gucci
Bring: Tourists or chicken rice snobs
Home of the famous Mandarin Chicken Rice that some people swear is as good as it gets. Chatterbox is an iconic coffee house that has been around since the early ‘70s. A VERY gentle introduction to one of Singapore’s most famous dishes and other smartened-up (cynics would say sanitised) hawker favourites – you would be hard-pushed to find lobster laksa on offer at any food court.
Opening Times: 6am-1am Sun-Thu; 24 hours Fri & Sat & eve of PH
Same but different: SPACE (see entry above) offers an almost identical version in funkier surroundings but a less central location.
50 Keong Saik Rd
T: (+65) 6347 1928
We’re: Mod Euro
Where: China Town
Wear: Unbranded chic or Miu Miu if you must
Bring: Old friends or new
Delicious food that is perfectly executed (try the foie gras) and served immaculately. Nearly always full for both lunch and dinner. In a former shophouse and found on the fringes of China Town, a great place for a less predictable lunch date. Consistently good food that is imaginative without being pretentious. Their set lunch is great value for money. BTW: Try their softshell crab with wasabi.
Opening Times: 11.30am-2.30pm Mon-Fri. [Dinner 6.30pm-10.30pm Mon-Sat]
8d Dempsey Road
Singapore 249 672
T: (+65) 6475 2217
We’re: Lavish lunchspot, with side portion of science
Bring: Someone you want to impress
A masterclass in molecular gastronomy, this restaurant is one of a kind in Singapore. Hailed as Asia’s answer to Ferran Adria or Heston Blumenthal by foodies in the know, Ryan Clift serves up challenging and very visually impressive food. Not somewhere you would instantly think of for lunch, but if you can’t quite stomach the prohibitive dinner prices then check out the good value lunch on Thursday through to Saturday or go for drinks on ‘The Terrace’ (evenings only) and sample one or two plates to whet your appetite. Just don’t ask for tap water – they don’t do it.
Opening Times: 12pm-3pm Thu-Sat as well as last Sun of month. Closed Mon. [Dinner 6pm-10.30pm Tue-Sat; Tippling Terrace: Tue-Sat 6pm-9pm]
290 Orchard Road
T: (+65) 6733 8893
We’re: A haven
Where: Basement of The Paragon
Wear: Paragon worthy attire
Bring: Your bagfuls of shopping and tired feet
Inviting, Louis XIV-style armchairs offer a welcome break for the weary, this is a heavenly croque-stop for a low blood sugar emergency. Macaroons are a must for pud…choose from their many flavours, but we defy you not to fall in love with their sticky chocolate version. With a total of 4 branches scattered around the city, this pâtisserie chocolaterie also serves up a mean cuppa.
Opening Times: 9am-9.30pm daily
ROYAL CHINA AT RAFFLES
1 Beach Road
T: (+65) 6337 1886
We’re: Yum yum dim sum; won’t break the bank
Wear: Elasticated trousers
Bring: Large appetite
Not many dim sum restaurants can lay claim to starting out in London and being so wildly successful that they move back to Asia with a serious reputation. Royal China offers a high standard of classic food.
Opening Times: 12pm-3pm Mon-Sat; 11am-2pm Sun. [Dinner 6pm-10.30pm daily]
56 Tanglin Road (#01-01)
T: (+65) 6733 0992
We’re: Easy eatery
Wear: FitFlops or wedges
Bring: Low-key lunch date
Opened at the end of 2008, this establishment has quickly become part of the furniture. Owned by the same restaurateurs behind Flutes at The Fort, this lovely, brasserie style restaurant combines good food with unpretentious flair. The staff are kind to children and need to be…they have the largest tree house that we know of in Singapore…all cleverly fenced in on the main intersection of Tanglin and Napier Road. Despite being on the corner of 2 such huge roads it does in fact feel like a bit of an oasis from the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road. A fantastic wine list and well thought out menu makes this an easy choice when trying to feed the whole family or just wanting a good meal any day of the week. Also a really great place to go for a proper breakfast or brunch.
Opening hours: 9am-9pm Mon-Sat, 8am-7pm Sun
123-125 Tanglin Road
T: (+65) 6333 6683
We’re: Tucked away, intimate and cosy
Wear: Red nail varnish and Chanel
They do a great set lunch at their cosy café-restaurant (their name, not ours) that comes in at $25 and is both generous and delicious. It even includes a glass of wine and what’s more, you can choose between starter + main + vino/coffee or starter + pud + vino/coffee.
Opening Hours: 9am-8pm daily
Great World City (#B1-07)
1 Kim Seng Promenade
T: (+65) 6734 3433
We’re: Far superior to Itsu but similar in look and feel
Where: River Valley
Wear: You can get away with Japanese slippers
Bring: Sushi virgin – if there are any left in the world…
Ichiban Boshi (great name) is arguably better than Sushi Tei and all the more charming for having around half as many outlets (6 to their 12). The one at Great World is a good, mid-range sushi and sashimi conveyor belt restaurant. Itsu London fans will feel right at home here, but the quality is significantly better. Each IB restaurant has it’s own specialities: Great World has sashimi-grade fresh fish, to take home and play with as you wish as well as a good range of takeaway lunchbox gems.
Opening Times: 11.30am-9.30pm Mon-Sat; 11am-9.30pm Sun
290 Orchard Road
T: (+65) 6735 9882
We’re: Proud of what we produce
Wear: Paragon-worthy attire. You are here to shop, so don’t eat tooo many carbs or you’ll have to up-size when you pop in to All Dressed Up afterwards
The chap in the window pretty much sets the scene here, all the noodles are handmade and the food is authentic, clean tasting and not too heavy. There is more on the menu besides mere soba, although it’s what you’d travel here for.
Opening Times: 11.30am-10pm daily
29 Tanglin Road
T: (+65) 6506 6887
We’re: Uber sleek and chic dim sum
Where: St Regis Hotel
Wear: Cheongsam – the food’s beautifully authentic here and you should be too!
Bring: Guests you want to impress
Not cheap, but avoid their buffet option and the price is really pretty standard. Beautifully executed dishes and all the classics. Very sleek setting that won’t fail to impress. BTW: Reservation is essential. Try to ask for their ‘opium bed’ seats, of which there are 2. They are the best in the house.
Opening Times: 11.45am-3pm; 6pm-11pm daily. 11am-4pm weekend brunch
THE MAGIC OF CHONGQING HOT POT
Tanglin Shopping Centre (#04-06/07)
19 Tanglin Road
T: (+65) 6734 8135
Where: Fabulous Asian Mall that is Tanglin Shopping Centre
Wear: Low key noshing attire – elastic-waisted trousers practically a pre-requisite
Bring: Plenty of hungry friends
We love this place! A real hidden gem that is great for a party. Oodles of food to choose from that you cook at your table in the central stock pots (just in case you didn’t know). There are 2 choices of stock – very hot and not hot – be warned and don’t get muddled up. If there are veggies lurking in your midst, then you can organise a vegetarian broth for them to cook their food in. They do a fantastically good value buffet lunch (and dinner). Buffet lunch is $17.90++ weekdays, or $19.90++ at weekends. (The buffet dinner costs $29.90++ weekdays, or $30.90++ at weekends.)
Opening Times: 12pm-3pm; 6pm-10pm daily
257 Beach Road (on the corner with Arab Street)
T: (+65) 9002 3853
We’re: Scandinavian café/restaurant.
Where: Airconditioned haven on Arab Street
Wear: Anything you like
Bring: Weary Arab Street Feet
A lovely little stopgap on the corner of Arab Street and Beach Road. An unlikely spot for a Scandinavian Restaurant but nevertheless a welcome change from the Houmous and Tzatziki style fayre everywhere else. Classic Swedish meatballs and ubiquitous lingonberry jam, beetroot and potato salad with soups of the day and of course open sandwiches. They try hard, and it pays off. A rather refreshing addition to the mid-range supper and lunch hangout lists.
Opening Times: 11am-11pm Thu-Sat; 11am-10pm Sun-Wed (but they’ll close earlier if they’re not busy)
THE MARMALADE PANTRY
2 Orchard Turn
T: (+65) 6734 2700
Ladies who lunch come here for some noshing between shopping. Right in the middle of Ion’s 3rd floor, this joint is smart and scrummy for a quick bite. Pricey but delicious salads, great sarnies and other western foodie staples. Always perfectly executed and quite P.S Café in terms of style, service and substance. Advance booking necessary for lunch.
Opening Times: 10am-10pm daily
Chinatown Point (#02-01)
133 New Bridge Road
T: (+65) 6534 4233
Where: Chinatown Point
We’re: Proper dim sum joint with very local clientelle
Wear: Clothes are not important, it’s all about eating
So-called because the word ‘mouth’ sounds similar to this restaurant’s Chinese name. Hidden within the mustard coloured building in Chinatown that you’ve probably passed dozens of times before but never been in to, come here for delicious and very local dim sum (they have the usual, easy to navigate tick-list menu with Chinese as well as English). Pop over to People’s Park Complex (via the link bridge) after you’ve finished for a spot of jewellery shopping (see FUN/Artistic/Creative Fun for details on their amazingly good value jewellery shops, some of which carry ready-made options) before crossing the road to YEW HWA (see BUY ME/FOR HER/Department Stores) which is our shopping mainstay in Chinatown.
Opening Times: 11am-11pm Mon-Fri; 10am-11pm Sat & Sun
GHIM MOH WET MARKET
Ghim Moh Road (off Holland Road)
One of the most famous wet markets in Singapore and fabulous for your daily dose of fresh veggies/kampong chicken/fish etc. The food stalls here are legendary at Ghim Moh and make for the perfect local lunch stop, provided you are not looking to go on a Monday (when most wet markets are shut for cleaning). To get stuck in to the hawker fare, park in the bays to the front of the market, and walk down the right hand side of all the various stalls (vegetable, fish and clothing). You will see a sign telling you that there is a loo on your left. Keep going straight and you are there, in the midst of Ghim Moh’s hawker centre. Stalls to try that have a legendary following and that are known by most Singaporeans include GUAN KEE for fried char kway teow (#01-12; closed Mon & Fri). There is usually a terrible queue (always a good sign) as it’s just Uncle cooking all on his own. Get in line. The roast duck at JIU JIANG SHAO LA (#01-45) is also very good and you can ask for as much or little as you want – from a whole duck, chopped, to 1 portion of breast meat only etc. Add rice, gravy and some veggie and you have lunch fit for a king.
Opening Times: Usually around 5am-2pm is the best time to visit a wet market. Generally, the earlier you go, the less crowded and cooler it is. Closed Mondays. Some stalls close on Fridays too and some are even more random and close every alternate Friday – good luck and go figure…
2 Orchard Turn
T: (+65) 6509 9660
We’re: An atas version of delicious but more low-brow Paradise Inn
Wear: Ion-chic gear but anything goes really
Best Chinese restro in Ion and really worth finding. Order anything you like from the menu but the peking duck was crispy deliciousness (have the meat served with ee fu noodles after you’ve had the pancakes). The starters were incredible and the combination of pan-seared foie gras, wasabi mayonnaise prawn and slice of peking duck with condiments is out of this world/heart attack on a plate. Far, far superior to Canton-I which isn’t worth it (although it has fabulous décor).
Opening Times: 11am-2,30pm weekdays, 11am-4pm weekends; 6pm-9.30pm daily
19 Smith Street
T: (+65) 6327 1286
Where: China Town
We’re: Singaporean Mr Wong (owner) is THE noodle king. He is so esteemed that mainland Chinese would-be noodle chefs travel to him here in SG, for apprenticeships.
Seriously worth a trip into China Town to go and eat the delish handmade noodles and dumplings that are created before your very eyes. They’ve been here for years and the regulars are all locals although you can expect to see a few tourists here too – such is Wong Seng Wai’s reputation. Ask them what they recommend – we loved their pot sticker dumplings as well as their steamed ones (very DTF but half the price). On the noodle front, their pork chop noodles and dumpling noodles are winners at around $8 a dish. It’s also a very good place to take any veggies who may be lurking in your midst – great local vegetarian food is pretty hard to find. Try their spring onion pancake as well as homemade tofu. (Parking is easy – come early and park in the open air coupon-only car park just off South Bridge Road – at the junction with Erskine Road – to the side of yellow Maxwell Food Centre.)
Opening Times: 12pm-11pm daily
For further lunchtime inspiration, check out ‘Brek/Brunch/Coffee Joints’, as well as ‘Everyday Dinners’.