Say YAY to lunchtime chao-kenging and peaceful weekend shopping! The unique feature of the newly renovated One Raffles Place (facebook) is that it is opened 7 days a week. (Usually, malls at CBD close during weekends.) There is a range of shops on 6 floors, from fashion and accessories to health and wellness to dining. Big names include H&M, UNIQLO, Pandora, Victoria Secrets, and The Hour Glass, but many of the 100 shops are independent. Show some love to small business owners.
The Daily Cut Salad
1 Raffles Place, #B1-31, Singapore 048616
M-F: 11am-9pm, Weekends: 11am-4pm
Though expensive, this is my favorite eatery in the mall, and may even be my favorite salad shop in Singapore. Opened by muscleman Jonathan Yang, who also owns Muchachos, all sauces are made in-house, and meats are cooked on the spot (except roasted turkey breast).
You customize your own salad: pick 1 to 3 meats ($12/$15/$18) and other toppings. The vegetables were crispy fresh, and meats very tasty. The well-marinated, tender chicken thigh worked best for me, but the medium-rare, good quality steak (+$1) came a close second. Salmon (+$2) was overly charred, hence bitter, but the inside was a perfect pink. Dressing is served by the side by default, which is how all salad shops should do it. I recommend the zesty ginger ponzu dressing, over the popular honey mustard or barbecue. I’m a carnivore and I approve of this salad shop.
Ramen Isshi Japanese
1 Raffles Place, #04-29, Singapore 048616
T: 6438 1350
First Singapore outlet from one of the top ramen shops at Kyushu, Japan, the chefs here are Japanese. Noodles and buns are freshly made in-house daily, and you can witness the noodle-making from 3-5pm. Sauces, like the XO sauce, are also made in-house. A private room for 12 is available at minimum spending of $350. Kawaii takeaway tiffin carriers with thermal bags ($20) are available soon, and you can reuse them.
Value-for-money lunch sets (11.30pm-2.30pm) at $13: Ramen + Gyoza + freeflow salad bar, OR ramen + bao + freeflow salad bar. The specialty, tonkotsu shiro ramen ($12), had awesome creamy but not jerlat broth, and smooth noodles with a beautiful texture. On your second visit, try tonkotsu kuro ramen ($13), which is the original broth, seasoned with sesame oil, garlic, and shallot–very fragrant and garlicky. The char siew could be more tender, and I gave my feedback about the eggs. They will change it to a runny version in near future.
We couldn’t understand some side dishes, like carrot cake with saffron and XO sauce ($8, like a spicy and glutinous mochi), and vegetables wrapped in pork loin ($10, tough pork, bacon would be better), but we adored the tuna sashimi & avocado with 70-degrees (hardboiled) egg yolk ($12, below), a refreshing, and delicious tuna tartare.
For drinks, fruit juices are freshly squeezed on the spot, not from a carton, and you can add unstrained cooked soy beans ($3.50-$5.50). It tasted grainy, but at least nutrients weren’t lost through straining. There are also alcoholic fresh fruit shochu ($9) and a creamier, sweeter version, fresh fruit makgeoli ($9), great when you just cannot enter an after-lunch meeting sober.
1 Raffles Place, #B1-17, Singapore 048616
T: 6536 6466
Vietnamese chef Lucas Dinh travelled throughout his country, north to south, sampling dishes, and presents the best in Ngon (which means “delicious”). The decor mimics a casual roadside dining in Vietnam, and the iconic Vietnamese conical hats, non la, hanging on the ceiling are in the shape of Vietnam. Many ingredients are imported from Vietnam, and some items are handmade daily, such as the huge meatballs in pho, and banh cuon (steamed hand roll or Vietnamese cheong fun, $4.50, above), which Huccalyly couldn’t stop eating because of its chewy glutinous-like texture.
She also liked the very strong, imported Vietnamese coffee that she returned the next day to buy another cup (but she groused that the server gave her a normal coffee, instead of Vietnamese); and she liked the Chicken chop with egg ($9.90), grilled beautifully, but, to me, it tasted funky. Broth for pho is boiled with more than 10 herbs over 24 hours, but it could be more robust. A good value set menu (main course+spring roll+tea/coffee) at $11.90.
Feel Rock Korean-Styled Chinese
1 Raffles Place, #03-21, Singapore 048616
T: 6438 6484
According to the Korean lady boss, Feel Rock is a franchise from Korea. Koreans pronounce 必乐 (“Confirm Happy”) as fee ler, which sounds like Feel Rock–that’s the origin of the shop name. Noodles are made in-house; ingredients are imported from Korea; Korean chef. Their specialty is jampong (above), noodles in seafood broth, which originated from China.
Maybe it was the first time we came across jampong, or maybe they needed some time to run in to Singaporeans’ palate. We were indifferent to the numbingly spicy red jampong ($14.50), and jajangmyun (noodles in black bean sauce, $11.90), but the noodles had a wonderful buoyancy. The side dish, lemon tangsuyuk (regular $15.90, L $24.90, above), a sweet and sour pork in lemon sauce, was addictive. Very crispy with thin slivers of pork, almost tasting like Taiwan’s street snack, tian bu la.
Three Cups Coffee Co Cafe
1 Raffles Place, #04-31, Singapore 048616
T: 6438 4108
M-F: 7.30am-7.30pm, Weekends & PH: 10am-8pm
The coffee is a naturally processed, organic blend of Brazilian and Sumatran beans, starting from $3.50-$7. More suited to local palates (robust, acidic, and sharp) than western standards (mineral and mild). The food recipes are the owners’, and some items, like pickles and an awesome strawberry jam, are homemade. But the food needed some fine tuning: the signature Reuben rosemary beef ($9.50) was slightly dry and required some adjustment to balance its flavors; and although the brioche was dry, and ice cream generic, in strawberries, blueberries & banana toast ($10.80), it was addictive.
Matt’s The Chocolate Shop Cake/Takeaway
One Raffles Place B1-38 Singapore 048616
T: 6557 0535
Other outlet: 44 Amoy St, Singapore 069870
T: 6557 2274
Skip the sandwiches, and mediocre tiramisu, and go straight for the chocolates. The milk chocolate truffles maintained a nice balance of sweetness and chocolate-ness. Chocolate cookies ($6/150g) were rich and crisp and buttery. My advice is take two pieces, and lock up the rest, if not you’re likely to finish the box.
But I had doubts with the star, the chocolate fudge cake ($4/$30 6inch/$50 8.5inch). The first time I had it at the Amoy outlet, I found it hard, dry, and not rich enough. I bought another piece at One Raffles Place, which was better, but still thought it was so-so.
Food Leisure Food Court
Food Leisure is on the 5th floor (top floor), which has a nice view. Limited options: duck rice, fish soup, ramen, salad, Astons, halal nasi padang for our Muslim friends, Indian food, etc. Lacking: Vegetarian food.
The most interesting is Skewers and Bites, a Spanish stall opened by Serenity Spanish Restaurant. The Spanish suckling pig ($59 quarter/$118 half/$228 whole) looked interesting but I was recommended pork knuckles ($18 half/ $32 whole/ pork knuckle rice $19.80) and ribs (full slab $18.80).
You can either buy a la carte, or add brown rice and salad. I bought half a pork knuckle ($18), which came with sour sauerkraut to undercut the fat; the meat was a little dry, but skin was crackling. Also bought ribs set ($9.80), with brown rice, salad, and tender and extremely sweet ribs–might be too sweet for some. The food was not bad, but overpriced for food court. Who will spend $228 for Spanish babi guling at a food court? With that money, you can take a plane to Bali and eat it.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.
ps: Thanks, Ranjeet, Harris, Claris, Jonathan, Patricia, Evan, Jovy, Benjamin, Sue, Michael, and FeelRock.