4 new foodie enclaves to check out

As the number of food havens such as Keong Saik Road and Haji Lane continues to grow, it is time to shine the spotlight on new foodie enclaves.

The Alexandra area near furniture retailer Ikea welcomes the new Park Hotel Alexandra and Alexandra Central mall.

Others, on the other hand, have been given a new lease of life.

The stretch of eateries along Block 106 Clementi Street 12 in Sunset Way have now been rebranded as Sunset Lane.

Mr Derrick Kuek, 57, director of Aquilyne Capital, which is the new landlord for Sunset Lane, is looking to rejuvenate the area and restore it to its former glory.

He says: "We feel that the area has a lot of potential as more people are moving away from shopping malls and Orchard Road because of the crowds. With our tenant mix, we want to draw people here because we have good food."

The new restaurants at Sunset Lane include Brazilian churrascaria restaurant Carne & Caipirinha; Thai mookata restaurant Happy Mookata; and Sticks & Wings, which sells local barbecue favourites such as sambal stingray and chicken wings.

They add to older restaurants in the area such as Megumi Japanese Restaurant and Rocky's Pizza.

All business owners are hoping to draw the crowds again.

Back in 2010, the future of Megumi was uncertain because of rental hikes by the previous landlord.

Its managing director Hazel Hok, 52, says she is now paying "reasonable rental".

She says: "In the past, there were many issues, and we were also hit by the financial crisis. The rejuvenation of this area is good and I hope that we can have more prominent signage so that diners know where to find us."

The Fort Canning Arts Centre in Fort Canning Park has been revamped, and now houses the Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris, as well as four new restaurants.

They include French restaurant Balzac Brasserie, and Myra's, which serves Mexican and North Indian cuisine.

In Orchard Road, the former Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade is now known as Claymore Connect.

It houses the artisan coffee house Jewel Coffee, and chic cafe Mon Bijou, among others.

More F&B outlets are slated to open over the next few months at Claymore Connect and Alexandra Central.

Sunset Lane

Over the years, Sunset Way's Block 106 has had its fair share of food and beverage shake-ups, mainly due to rental woes.

And the area, once touted as the next Holland Village, is set to make a comeback as Sunset Lane with its new landlord Aquilyne Capital, which used to own food franchises.

New eateries include Brazilian churrasco buffet restaurant Carne & Caipirinha, Chinese seafood restaurant De'Beer Seafood Restaurant, Thai mookata restaurant Happy Mookata and Sticks & Wings, which specialises in barbecued chicken wings, satay and stingray.

Coffee studio and brew bar The Tiny Roaster has also moved there from Clementi West Street 1, into a bigger space in Sunset Lane to accommodate its coffee workshops.

Have your fill of charcoal-roasted meats at the 74-seat Carne & Caipirinha ($49.90 for an adult, $24 for a child aged five to 12), or go for the Thai-style mookata buffet ($25.90 nett a person from 6 to 10.30pm, $16.90 nett a person from 2 to 6pm) at Happy Mookata.

De'Beer Seafood Restaurant's speciality dishes include fried lala or clam bee hoon (from $18), and sauna prawns (from $30).

The new restaurants add to the existing ones in the area, such as Texas smokehouse and grill Smokey's BBQ, Rocky's Pizza, Megumi Japanese Restaurant and Buttercake n Cream bistro.

Hoping that the rejuvenation of the area will draw more traffic is Smokey's BBQ founder Rob Szepvolgyi, 52. The restaurant, which opened in 2013, smokes its meats in-house, and he has another outlet in Joo Chiat which opened in 2009.

He says: "This area used to be a vibrant destination, but it slowly fizzled out. With the newcomers, we have a better mix of cuisine to draw people in, and hopefully make the place vibrant again."

CARNE & CAIPIRINHA

Where: 01-50, Sunset Lane, Block 106 Clementi Street 12, open: 5.30 to 11.30pm (Monday to Saturday), 5 to 11.30pm (Sunday)

Info: Call 6464-0478

HAPPY MOOKATA

Where: 01-46, Sunset Lane, Block 106 Clementi Street 12, open: 3 to 10pm daily

Info: Call 9380-9028

THE TINY ROASTER

Where: 01-62, Sunset Lane, Block 106 Clementi Street 12, open: 12.30 to 10pm (weekday), 9.30am to 10pm (Saturday), 9.30am to 6pm (Sunday)

Info: E-mail coffee@thetinyroaster.com

STICKS & WINGS

Where: 01-44, Sunset Lane, Block 106 Clementi Street 12, open: 5.30 to 11.30pm daily, opens for lunch from Sept 1, 11.30am to 2.30pm

Info: Call 8876-8466

DE'BEER SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

Where: 01-38/40/42, Sunset Lane, Block 106 Clementi Street 12, open: 11am to 3pm, 5.30 to 11pm daily

Info: Call 6464-1365

Fort Canning Arts Centre

Fort Canning Park may be synonymous with outdoor theatre and music performances, but the new eats at the recently revamped Fort Canning Arts Centre could prove to be the biggest draw.

The arts centre is a 10-minute walk from Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station, and home to the first international outpost of the French museum, Pinacotheque de Paris.

Singapore Pinacotheque de Paris shares its home with the 50-seat French restaurant Balzac Brasserie, which moved from Rendezvous Hotel.

Executive chef Jean-Charles Dubois, 39, says: "I think we fit well asweare a French restaurant with a French museum above us. This is something which is a recent trend in Paris, where French chefs are invited to open in museums."

And while the restaurant may now be off the main Orchard Road shopping belt, the chef is not worried as he hopes to cater to small weddings, private functions and laid back Sunday brunches.

Also in the building is Myra's, a 140-seat restaurant that serves Mexican and North Indian fare. Fajitas, burritos and tandoori chicken are on the menu, and the restaurant also has branches at East Coast Park and the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Another familiar name at the arts centre is Fort by Maison Ikkoku, a new bar by executive chef and mixologist Ethan Leslie Leong of the first Maison Ikkoku in Kandahar Street.

A six-course dinner is priced at $128 ($188 with cocktail pairing), and includes dishes such as The Sea, which is Hokkaido scallop and Irish oyster with sea salt sorbet and ikura; and The Fort, a signature spicy handroll with tuna, onion sprouts and Japanese cucumber.

Next month, new F&B company Giojio Concepts will bring in two new brands - Italian gelataria Giovanni L, and American chowder house Seattle Pike Chowder.

BALZAC BRASSERIE

Where:5 Cox Terrace, B1-08, open: 10amto10pm(Sunday to Thursday),10am to 11pm (Friday and Saturday), closedonMonday

Info: Call 6336-0797

FORT BY MAISON IKKOKU

Where:5 Cox Terrace, (01-02/03), open:4pm to midnight daily

Info: Call 6336-0507

MYRA'S

Where:5 Cox Terrace, B1-05/06/07, open: 11am to 11pm daily

Info: Call 6694-4567

GIOJIO CONCEPTS

Where:5 Cox Terrace, 01-01, open: 10amto8pmdaily (from next month onwards)

Info: Call 6225-9898

Alexandra Road

Shoppers familiar with furniture retailer Ikea Alexandra can now check out its new neighbours for moredining options.

The new Park Hotel Alexandra features The Coffee Belt for takeaway coffee (from $4.80 nett) and baked treats; The Carvery, which is a premiummeat buffet restaurant; and AquaLuna bar.

Prices at The Carvery are $38++ (lunch daily), $52++ (Sunday to Thursday dinner), and $62++ (Friday and Saturday dinner).

Aqua Luna serves bespoke cocktails and bar snacks such as truffle polenta fries ($10++) and battered cauliflower ($8++).

Next to the hotel is the Alexandra Central mall, which currently houses The Bakehouse by Carpenter & Cook; Alibabar cafe and bar, which serves Western food; ramen restaurant Otoko Ramen; beer retailer Southend Beers & Ciders; Korean barbecue restaurant The Gogi and popular laksa shop 328 Katong Laksa.

Alexandra Central adds to the others in the vicinity, namely Queensway Shopping Centre and Anchorpoint.

The Bakehouse serves gourmet coffee, tea, cold press juices and smoothies, as well as savoury items such as pasta and pizza.

Alibabar, an offshoot of the original hawker bar in Joo Chiat, has a menu that features all-day breakfast items, pasta and burgers.

On the current mix of food options, Park Hotel Alexandra's general manager Angeline Tan says: "The Alexandra area has few concept restaurants, which is a vantage point for our outlets.

"With Singaporeans' increasingly discerning palates and keenness to explore new offerings, there is definitely room for more F&B concepts to enter."

AQUALUNA

Where: Park Hotel Alexandra, Level 7, open:Noonto 11pm (weekday), noonto 1am (weekend)

Info: Call 6828-8885 or e-mail aqualuna.phal@parkhotelgroup. com

THE COFFEEBELT

Where:Park Hotel Alexandra, Lobby Level, open:7amto8pm daily

Info: Call6828-8880 or e-mail fnb.phal@parkhotelgroup.com

THE CARVERY

Where:Park Hotel Alexandra, Level 7, open: Noon to 3pm, 6 to 10pm daily

Info: Call 6828-8880 or e-mail thecarvery.phal@parkhotelgroup. com

THE BAKEHOUSE BY CARPENTER & COOK

Where:01-14, Alexandra Central, 321 Alexandra Road, open:8am to 10pm, Sunday to Thursday,8am to 11pm, Friday and Saturday

Info: Call 6250-0040

ALIBABAR

Where:01-15, Alexandra Central, 321 Alexandra Road, open: 11.30am to 11pm (Sunday to Thursday), 11.30 to 1 am (Friday and Saturday)

Info: Call 6250-2633

OTOKO RAMEN

Where: 01-16, Alexandra Central, 321 Alexandra Road, open: 11am to 3pm, 5 to10pm(weekday), 11am to 10pm (weekend, public holiday and eve of public holiday)

Info: Call 6250-2889

SOUTHEND BEERS & CIDERS

Where:01-20, Alexandra Central, 321 Alexandra Road, open: 11am to 9.30pm daily

Info: www.facebook.com/ southend beersandciders

THE GOGI

Where:03-01, Alexandra Central, 321 Alexandra Road, open: 11.30am to 3pm, 5.30 to10pm daily

Info: Call 6250-3119

Claymore Connect

The former Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade has been given a facelift, and is now known as ClaymoreConnect.

The mall, a 10-minute walk from Orchard MRT station, is connected to Orchard Hotel as well as Delfi Orchard. It is owned by CDL Hospitality Trusts, which is also the owner of the hotel.

Some of the food and beverage tenants that have opened include Jewel Coffee, American-style restaurant RedBank Bar & Grill and chic cafeMonBijou.

Redbank specialises in meats cooked in a Josper charcoal grill.

Offerings include the 1.2kgTomahawkSteak ($164, serves two), Carolina- style pork ribs ($38), as well as seafood items such as Virginia-style crab cake ($18).

For a coffee fix, head to Jewel, which has new signature drinks including The Terminator ($10.80), four shots of espresso blended with ground coffee powder, milk and chocolate ice cream; and Cocoa Cold Brew ($7), cold-brewed coffee mixed with chocolate milk.

Cafe-hoppers can check out Mon Bijou, which serves all-day breakfast items such as Crab Cake Benedict ($20), MB Brioche French Toast ($14), and Sliders Trio ($22) with a crab patty, chicken ngoh hiang patty and beef patty and a side of fries.

For desserts, the selection includes Raspberry&LycheeMacaroon Cake ($7.80) and chocolate pralines with flavours such as Earl Grey, Lavender and Chocolate Banana ($2.20 each).

Fans of Orchard Hotel's Chinese restaurant Hua Ting can look forward to the new Hua Ting Steamboat, which opens next month.

The menu will have eight types of soups, including fish soup with wintermelon and conpoy, and Sichuan Spicy.

There will also be a wide selection of condiments, steamboat ingredients as well as set menus and side dishes.

The Rotisserie and Wine Connection are also opening there.

Mr Vincent Yeo, 46, chief executive officer of M&C Reit Management, which manages CDL Hospitality Trusts, says: "The refreshed mall is well-poised to plug a gap in family-friendly malls, given the increasing number of residential developments along the fringes of Orchard Road.

"The tenant mix comprises more outlets that better cater to the spectrum of demands of families, which will differentiate Claymore Connect from other high-fashion malls in Orchard Road."

JEWELCOFFEE

Where:01-01, Claymore Connect, 442 Orchard Road

Open:7am to 11pm (Sunday to Thursday), 7 to2am(Friday, Saturday and eve of public holiday)

Info: Call 6235-3945 or go to www.facebook.com/Jewel CoffeeClaymore

REDBANK BAR & GRILL

Where:01-02, Claymore Connect, 442 Orchard Road

Open: Noon to midnight daily

Info: Call 6694-5376 or go to facebook.com/redbanksg

MON BIJOU

Where:01-19/20, Claymore Connect, 442 Orchard Road

Open: 11am to 8pm daily

Info: Call 6739-6738 or go to monbijou.sg

euniceq@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on August 23, 2015.
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