In Singapore’s competitive dining scene, malls have to constantly refresh their food offerings in order to stay palatable. Republic Plaza in Raffles Place has completed a major makeover, while Jem mall and Suntec City have updated their food halls with new concepts that offer mall-exclusive items.

Come December, at least six new tenants will progressively open at Great World City. They include gourmet grocer Ryan’s Grocery and the second outlet of Australian zero waste grocery store The Source Bulk Foods. And then there’s the newly-opened Paya Lebar Quarter mall that’s perfect for Easties.

We suss out what to eat at these new foodie havens:

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Text: Eunice Quek/The Straits Times, Additional reporting: Elizabeth Liew

PAYA LEBAR QUARTER 

Well-known overseas food brands have found a home in Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ) mall, which opened in September and is now quite a foodie haven.

Fried chicken fans can tuck into South Korea’s fried chicken and burger chain Mom’s Touch, or tuck into authentic Swiss sausages at Wursthans. For those who seek the comfort of Taiwan’s charcoal-grilled toast and milk tea, be sure to visit Fong Sheng Hao, which is the Taiwanese cafe’s first overseas outlet.

Fong Sheng Hao
Photo: Fong Sheng Hao

The brand started in 2013 and is known for leading the trend of selling charcoal-grilled toast and milk tea in Taiwan. Its Taiwanese founder, Steven Hsu, 42, comes from a family of bakers.

It took seven months to develop the brand’s famous bread made in-house using New Zealand’s Fonterra NZMP Anhydrous Milk Fat, which is said to be richer and creamier. Other ingredients made in-house include the smooth peanut butter and sugar cane syrup that flavours the milk tea.

Menu highlights include the pork, egg and cheese toast (from $7.30 with a drink), TW Special Pork Patty toast (from $7.30 with a drink) and peanut butter special and hard-boiled egg (from $7.10 with a drink).

Photo: Mark Cheong for The Straits Times

Over at Mom’s Touch, prices start at $5.70 for the signature Mom’s Thigh Burger, and from $8.70 for the Mom’s Fried Chicken set with a drink and fries. The juicy chicken thigh is battered and breaded in the kitchen, and marinated with the brand’s special blend of seasoning.

Go for the refreshing drinks – raspberry melon, elderflower apple or peach pear ade ($3.80 each) – which include bursting passionfruit boba pearls.

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PLQ also has home-grown brands which are putting a spin on some common food and drink items, such as customisable sushi sandwiches (onigirazu) from Hayai and chicken rice wrapped like a burrito from Lucky Bird.

You can get your caffeine fix from new local brand Morphine Coffee, Singapore’s fourth Starbucks Reserve outlet, and cafes Joe & Dough, huggs, Mellower Coffee and Jimmy Monkey.

Photo: Donburi King

There’s also a number of Japanese restaurants for lovers of the cuisine: Donburi King, known for their Signature Kaisen Don (pictured above) made with nine types of sashimi flown directly from Japan; Hokey Poki, which moves its outlet from Sultan Gate; and Makino, a new Japanese dining place and shabu-shabu concept by the Akashi group.

Across the road from the mall, more dining options are in the pipeline for office tower PLQ 3, which currently houses Japanese restaurant Hibiki Sake Bar & Dine. It specialises in yakitori, along with a selection of exclusive sake.

PLQ mall is at 10 Paya Lebar Rd, #02-01, Singapore 409057. Visit their website for more details. 

REPUBLIC PLAZA

Photo: RENDY ARYANTO/VVS.sg

After a $70 million revamp which started in April 2018, global real estate operating company City Developments Limited (CDL) has launched Republic Plaza’s refreshed retail enclave.

More than 80 per cent of the retail tenants are new to Republic Plaza. Returning ones include home-grown tea parlour TWG Tea, Patisserie Glace and The Herbal Bar, which specialises in herbal soup.

Food and beverage outlets now span three floors, with new home-grown concepts such as grain bowl eatery Heybo, protein bowl eatery BigDaddy and Kueh & Mee.

As its name suggests, Kueh & Mee – a new brand by F&B company Creative Eateries – offers assorted kueh, along with local noodle dishes such as mee siam and mee rebus.

Aside from the usual traditional kaya toast and local kopi, the 30-seat all-day dining outlet switches things up with butter honey French toast, gula melaka latte and ondeh ondeh cake.

 

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Also putting a modern spin on tradition is bao kiosk Chin Sin Huan, run by the second- generation owners of the famous Tanjong Rhu Pau, Chloe Yap and her brother. The brand is named after the coffee shop set up by their grandfather, which is where their 71-year-old father started making bao.

The kiosk offers traditional bao, as well as a yuan yang bao ($1.30), which is a mix of red bean and lotus paste and molten salted egg yolk.

Chloe, 41, is looking to roll out bento sets for the busy diners in the Central Business District who want grab-and-go meals.

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Another option for a quick meal is Heybo, the first grain bowl concept by salad chain SaladStop. The menu features Asian-inspired grain bowls such as Kampong Table ($9.90) which comprises grilled lemongrass chicken, crispy tempeh, sweet potato turmeric dip, and green chutney; and Shibuya Nights ($12.90) which comes with baked salmon, soba, grilled mushrooms, avocado edamame dip, and beetroot miso.

Other sauces include Sichuan mala and pineapple tamarind.

On its selection of tenants for the revamp, CDL’s chief executive for commercial Yvonne Ong says: “They were chosen with our office community in mind. There are outlets that serve grab-and-go meals for busy people, as well as eateries with a bigger seating capacity for those who wish to dine in.”

To better serve the working professionals in the building, CDL has also launched a CityNexus app for tenants to book meeting rooms, dedicated VIP parking lots and pre-order meals from eateries.

Republic Plaza is at 9 Raffles Place, Singapore 048619. Visit their website for more details. 

JEM

Photo: JEM

The Jurong East mall’s refurbished food basement marks the highly- awaited return of American rotisserie restaurant Kenny Rogers Roasters. Works started in March and were completed earlier last month (October).

The new 2,200 sq ft restaurant, which seats 80 diners, opened on Oct 6. Prices start at $13.90 for the Kenny’s Quarter Meal with a quarter roast chicken, two sides, and its signature house-made muffin.

The menu also features Outrageous Mouthwatering Guiltless (OMG) Chicken (from $13.90 for two pieces) and the new Kenny’s nasi lemak ($7.90) with either roast or OMG chicken, hard-boiled egg, prawn crackers and rice cooked with extra virgin coconut oil.

Another opening that has been drawing long queues for the past two weeks is Monga, a fried chicken brand by Taiwanese celebrity comedian Nono. The brand has more than 45 outlets in Taiwan, as well as other branches in Canada, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Photo: Monga

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It is known for its honey-marinated deep-fried chicken fillets which are at least two centimetres thick. The signature fried chicken include The King ($6.90), with original salt and pepper seasoning; Hot Chick ($6.90), seasoned with chilli paprika made with Anaheim peppers; and The Taiker ($6.90) with Japanese sauce and Okinawa seaweed powder. Complete the set with a drink and/or fries.

Monga is run by food and beverage company Baoshi, which is also behind the debut of Ah Chiang’s Porridge in a mall. The original store in Tiong Poh Road was established in 1971 and is known for Cantonese-style congee.

Exclusive to Jem is the Three Egg Porridge ($4.80), which features egg, salted egg and century egg.

Other highlights include mixed pork porridge ($4.80) with liver, intestines and pork slices; fish stomach porridge ($5.80); and pork ball Porridge ($5.80). Pair the porridge with sides such as ginger chicken ($6), salmon yusheng ($6), and Thai-style fried beancurd ($5).

Baoshi’s business development director James Peck, 35, chose to open at Jem due to the “dense population” in the area.

Another Monga outlet is already in the works for this year, with two more that are in discussion which will have a bigger menu and seating space.

Other new eateries in the food hall include Yu Kee Specialities, which specialises in braised duck; Bangkok’s Go-Ang Pratunam Chicken Rice; and Pontian Wanton Noodles.

Jem is at 50 Jurong Gateway Road,  Singapore 608549. Visit their website for more details. 

SUNTEC CITY

Photo: Suntec City

From just four restaurants previously, Suntec City’s West Wing Basement 1 has been reconfigured to house 17 food and beverage establishments.

The refurbishment started at the end of March and has been opening in phases since July, says Anthony Yip, deputy chairman of APM Property Management which manages Suntec City.

 

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New entrants include Hokkaido’s 108 Matcha Saro, which specialises in green tea desserts; souffle pancake cafe Fluff Stack; Shi Miao Dao, which sells Yunnan-style rice noodles; as well as a branch of Taiwan-style eatery The Salted Plum, which first opened in 2018 at Circular Road.

Fluff Stack’s menu features classic souffle pancakes ($8.80) with honey butter, maple syrup and chantilly cream; oolong souffle pancakes ($9.80); and hazelnut chocolate souffle pancakes ($13.80).

Over at 108 Match Saro, highlights include warabi mochi (from $4.90 for eight pieces), which is made fresh in store daily; Obanyaki (stuffed pancake, from $2.90), which comes in five flavours including red bean paste and matcha custard.

At its Suntec City outlet, The Salted Plum now offers breakfast on weekdays. Each set ($5 with soya bean milk) offers either oyster mee sua or gua bao with a choice of Lu Rou 2.0 (braised pork belly) or Burnt Chilli Chicken filling.

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Photo: The Salted Plum

Store-exclusive items include dou miao ($15) stir-fried with bacon and Cold Tofu ($10) topped with fried century egg and shallots.

Other familiar names in the enclave include Bali Thai, Soup Restaurant, pho eatery So Pho, popular fast-food chain Jollibee, as well as the new 125-seat White Restaurant. This is the sixth outlet by the 20-year-old brand, which is known for its white beehoon. For its new opening, the zichar establishment will offer mala white beehoon (from $9.80++, available till Dec 31).

Suntec City Mall is at 3 Temasek Boulevard, Singapore 038983. Visit their website for more information.

GREAT WORLD CITY

meidi-ya
Photo: Great World City

Great World City is set to be a haven for grocery shopping. In addition to the mall’s existing Cold Storage store, the four-month-old Japanese supermarket Meidi-Ya offers a wide range of Japanese produce.

Meidi-Ya also runs two adjacent stores: Hokkaido Dosanko Plaza, which sells Hokkaido snacks, and Food Plaza, which stocks a variety of ramen, Japanese curry and soba offerings. By the end of the year, the malls will roll out more new tenants.

Get your hands on organic groceries and meats at Ryan’s Grocery. It will introduce an Australian-inspired cafe, a first for the brand. It will also increase its product range to include meats from Australia such as Mara Organic Beef, Five Founders Carbon Neutral Premium Beef, Bultarra Organic Saltbush Lamb, and Borrowdale Carbon Neutral Free Range Pork.

READ MORE: Cook And Eat Healthier With This Award-Winning Range Of Organic Rice And Pasta

Photo: The Source Bulk Foods

You can also support zero-waste shopping at the second outlet of The Source Bulk Foods. The 1,600 sq ft bulk food store from Australia will be two-and-a-half times the size of the outlet at Cluny Court. There will be more than 100 new products, along with a kombucha bar offering six flavours on tap.

Other eateries that are slated to open by year-end include Malaysia Chiak!, which offers Malaysian street food; casual restaurant London Fat Duck; Tambuah Mas Indonesian Restaurant, known for its homely fare; and Plentyfull Bakery & Deli, which focuses on seasonal produce.

Earlier this year, other brands that entered the mall include meatless restaurant elemen Classic; modern dim sum cafe Masa by Black Society; and Japanese restaurant Issho Izakaya.

Great World City, owned by Allgreen Properties, began renovations in mid-April 2018. The works are slated for completion by 2020, ahead of the Great World MRT station opening along the Thomson-East Coast line in 2021.

Great World City is at 1 Kim Seng Promenade, Singapore 237994. Visit their website for more information. 

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