The 60 minutes that every frazzled executive looks forward to in a day filled with emails, meetings and phone calls – the hallowed lunch hour! Who can afford to spend time pondering over where to dine, especially when seats fill up faster than you can say “chope”?
Here’s a quick compilation of the food options available in and around Raffles Place, Shenton Way and Marina Bay. I’ve tried to classify them the best I can; do leave a comment if you have any to add!
Quick, cheap, fuss-free lunches – for when the work never seems to end
- Golden Shoe Hawker Centre – $2.50 Hainanese curry rice, fish soup, wanton mee (2nd floor); rather pricey Peranakan mixed rice, popiah, ipoh hor fun (3rd floor)
- May Hua Food Court – at one end of Golden Shoe car park, with very decent porridge, fish soup, chicken rice and $0.60 mini char siew baos / assorted dim sum
- 109 Teochew Yong Tau Foo, 90 Circular Road – great variety, tasty laksa and clear soup bases, seating for large groups available
- Pontian Wanton Mee, 57 Circular Road – a decent bowl of wanton mee in dark sauce with a bowl of soup for $4
- Sinar Pagi Nasi Padang, 13 Circular Road – delicious nasi padang served on real banana leaf, introduced to me by the vivacious secretaries. Especially love the achar and bergedil!
- The Arcade Fish Soup, #01-35 The Arcade – legendary fish soup bee hoon at Hup Lee Cafeteria, especially with a generous serving of fried garlic. Seating near impossible to find. The neighbouring cai png / mixed rice is pretty delicious too.
- The Arcade’s 1st floor – also houses great herbal soup, chicken rice, fruit stalls, Bengawan Solo and Maki-san!
- Asia Square Food Court
- Lau Pa Sat
- Hock Lam Beef Noodles, 6 North Canal Road – beef done in a variety of ways, swimming in an umami rich stock made all the better by preserved salted vegetables and cincalok (fermented shrimp).
- Aussie Roll, Change Alley Basement – bastardised maki with more rice than toppings keeps you real full on a small budget. Rolls 3 for 2 after 6pm!
- Lanna Thai Restaurant, 66 Boat Quay – for big groups, its zichar with a Thai twist. Unless you really don’t want to share that plate of morning glory, of course.
Fancier fast food
- Grain Traders, 138 Market Street – pricey “ang-moh cai png”, but the tuna tataki with brown rice, furikake and miso caramel is one of my favourite combinations
- &SONS, 20 Cross Street – decent Italian fare at great prices; average $12 for a pasta lunch
- Sarnies, 136 Telok Ayer Street – great sandwiches on lovely chewy bread, accompanied by a good cup of coffee to tide you over the mini post-lunch food coma
- Cedele, Golden Shoe / Ocean Financial Centre / Chevron House – rosemary chicken wholemeal sandwich? Comfort food! Multiple locations are always a plus.
- Dome, UOB Plaza 1 – for when you’re in a real pinch and can’t go further than the office lobby…very decent chicken avocado panini. One day I’ll try the muffins.
- Kraftwich by Swissbake, 1 Raffles Place basement – wholegrain croissants stuffed with a variety of charcuterie, for when you want to eat healthy but not really
- The Moomba Tuckshop, 4 Battery Road – great sandwiches
- The Salad Shop, 80 Raffles Place – DIY salads in generous servings
- Hombre Cantina, 53 Boat Quay – Mexican fast-food, not quite Chipotle
Bakeries & quick snacks
- One Raffles Place basement – Barcook Bakery, Paris Baguette, Bakery Cuisine, Fun Toast, J.Co Donuts, Smor (A Scandinavian Deli), Famous Amos, QQ Rice
- Maison Kayser, OCBC Centre – for traditional European bread, especially when you’re in a carbs mood but want to feel a little more refined
- Bengawan Solo, The Arcade – egg tart for dessert? Count me in!
- Mr. Bean, Exit B Raffles Place MRT – a tea-time pancake never hurt
- Dim Sum, Hua May Food Court – on-the-go, no-frills dim sum
- Popiah, The Arcade level 1 – hit and miss…pray you don’t get a soggy one, but it’s very satisfying when it’s done well
- Change Alley – Artisan Boulangerie Co, Krispy Kreme
- BreadTalk – Marina Bay Link Mall
Longer, languid lunches
- Katanashi, 77 Boat Quay – Japanese donburi at very decent prices; the Katanashi Fried Chicken is delicious as well!
- Imakatsu, 52 Boat Quay – specialty tonkatsu restaurant to meet your fried food craving, ignoring the fact that you spend 12 hours a day sitting on your ass.
- Koji, 3 Pickering Street – famous for their chirashi don topped with puffed rice. Go early to get a seat, no reservations.
- Suzuki Ramen Bar, 61 Circular Road – rich tonkotsu ramen done Kyushu style, with hard boiled eggs on the side.
- Botan Japanese Restaurant, 36-37 Pekin Street – satisfying Japanese teishoku, with permutations of sushi, tempura and sashimi paired into filling lunch sets
- Dallas Restaurant & Bar, 31 Boat Quay – hearty American food, just be careful not to get the burger juices all over your crisp office attire!
- Din Tai Fung, Marina Bay Link Mall – for when you have to meet friends that work ~downtown~
- O Comptoir, 79 Circular Road – Brittany-style crepes, to cider or not to cider?
- Baikohken Ramen, 7 North Canal Road – Hokkaido-style ramen
- Mouth Restaurant, 22 Cross Street – baked liu sha bao! And other assorted dim sum
Drinks & Coffee – because you like the taste of it, not that you actually need it, right?
- Jewel Coffee, Change Alley, Shenton Way – great blends, though I am told the stronger ones are reserved for the CBD outlets…because.
- Dimbulah Coffee, Philip Street, Change Alley
- Artease, Philip Street – bubble tea
- Gong Cha, 1 Raffles Place basement
- Eskimo, Marina Bay Link Mall
- JAB Coffee Bar, 1 Raffles Place basement
- Mr Teh Tarik Express, 1 Raffles Place basement
- Coffee & Toast, Raffles Place MRT Exit B
- Fun Toast, 1 Raffles Place basement
- Jamaica Blue, 1 Raffles Place level 1
- Three Cups Coffee Co, 1 Raffles Place level 4
- Huggs Coffee, Chevron House basement
- Old Tea Hut, Chevron House basement
- Toast Box, Marina Bay Link Mall
- Ronin Cafe, 17 Hongkong Street – love the dirty ronin sandwiches
- Killiney Kopitiam, 11 Lorong Telok
- San Francisco Coffee, 3 Philip Street
- Spinelli, 9 Battery Road
- FOC Restaurant, 40 Hongkong Street – fantastic tapas, love the watermelon gazpacho (review here)
- MEATliquor Singapore, 99 Duxton Road – great burgers
- Senso Ristorante, 21 Club Street – refined Italian food (review here)
- Maggie Joan’s, 110 Amoy Street – edgy mediterranean update (review here)
- Jade, Fullerton Hotel – a Cantonese treat
- Platypus Lobster Shack, 3 Pickering Street, #01-13 Nankin Row
- No Menu, 23 Boon Tat Street – great Italian
Ok, so I got a little bit lazy towards the end. This is no definitive Raffles Place food guide, but I’ll keep updating it as and when I try new places out! Hopefully this’ll cut down the decision-making time by just that little bit more.