CITYLINK MALL (1 Raffles Link)
This 350-metre-long connection from City Hall MRT station used to be shoppers’ only underground link to Marina Square, Suntec City and subsequently The Esplanade when it was opened 14 years ago. Did you know it’s designed by a New York architect and boasts 60,000 sq ft of retail space? Packed with familiar F&B brands like BreadTalk (#B1-42) and SaladStop! (#B1-13), the mall is great for those who want grab a bite on the way to their next destination. Alternatives: Cookies for Sid (#B1-10), Fun Toast (#B1-04) and newcomers Duke Bakery (#B1-65) and Swissbake (#B1-03/05).
Profits from sales here are given as allowances to the makers–people with psychiatric disabilities who otherwise might not have a job or income. Find innovative and lovingly handcrafted gifts such as bouquets (from $7.50), mini note pads ($3) and clips ($3.50/pair). www.moses.com.sg
Meyvé Shakes (#B1-67A)
Detox with shakes from this boutique juice bar (pronounced “Mey-vey”) which opened in June. Choose from various concoctions of 100 percent fruit, non-fat milk and yogurt: try bestsellers Jolly Good Berries and Mango Glow ($5.80 each). Dairyfree and cold-pressed options available. They also sell fresh fruit and will do up yummy fruit bouquets (from $15.90) to freshen up any occasion. www.meyveshakes.com
Did you know?
The Record 1981
This art installation in CityLink Mall is a series of cast bronze relief tablets by Cheung Yee. Count them: 120 rectangular plaques line the wall beside the escalator which leads to Marina Square; then admire them: each depicts different scenes and ancient auspicious Chinese symbols like longevity, harvest, dragon and phoenix. With a left-to-right vertical script, it’s like a book that signifies the harmonious co-existence between man and the universe.
Esplanade Xchange–catch your breath between mall-hopping here
This link mall might confound first-timers in Singapore. It doesn’t lead to The Esplanade, but to CityLink Mall, Raffles City Shopping Centre, Marina Square, Suntec City, and of course, Esplanade MRT station. Claim to fame: it’s the first Xchange in a Circle Line station (opened July 2010) and the third largest: lots of F&B options, a pharmacy, a clinic, tech stores, ATM machines and a 7-Eleven.
iExperience (#B1-10 to 18)
AKA Infocomm Experience Centre. Know what’s a “dai gor dai” or want to see yourself on 3D TV? Learn about Next Gen services like fibre broadband and the future of networked Singapore at this IDA (Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore) initiative. Pop in for interactive exhibits, guided (45min; daily 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm) or self-discovery tours. Daily 10am-8pm. Tel: 6820 6880
Tourist Hub (#B1-08)
Buy a Singapore City Pass ($68.90/day); it’s a contactless smartcard that lets you “tap in” to attractions here (like an EZ-Link card). It’ll entitle you to three sightseeing tours and at least two must-visits, including Universal Studios Singapore. and the Singapore Zoo. Daily 10am-6pm. Tel: 6337 7391
Nom ‘s Café (#B1-29 to 33)
This “food court” comprises five stalls, a mix of local delights like fried carrot cake, chicken rice ($3.80, no pork no lard), Halal Korean and Japanese cuisine, nasi lemak and nasi padang stalls, and yong tau foo. It’s a good respite from the mad mall-rush as you enjoy your saba fish set ($6) or slurp up spicy kimchi ramen ($5 chicken, $5.50 beef). A customer of the Korean and Japanese stall told us: “hen hao chi (delicious)” , even though Mandarin isn’t his mother tongue.
Did You Know?
Esplanade (1 Esplanade Drive)
Esplanade–also known as “the durian” Singapore’s first premier performing arts centre just turned 12 years old and its 2,000-seat theatre’s automated fly system was upgraded in October. The Esplanade boasts myriad F&B options (from Singapore street food to live music watering holes), rooftop bar Orgo, a library, retail outlets and even a spa. Find out more about concerts, events and how you can book The Esplanade Walk tour at www.esplanade.com
Marina Link was opened in July 2010–also an alternative route to City Hall MRT station.
Fatboys The Burger Bar (#B1-03)
Time for some burger construction at this eatery set up by brothers Kennie and Bernie Tay. Build-Your-Own-Burger via the iPad: choose from four types of buns and patties, over 25 toppings and 11 sauces (that’s 4,400 combinations!). Get some sides (Disco Fries, $4.50) too. Daily 11am-9.30pm. Tel: 6635 6660
LOVEin Bread (#B1-18)
Totally vegan: from the creamy and rich best-seller raw chocolate avocado cake ($8.50/slice) packed with organic and dairy-free air-flown chocolate; to the breads (around $2 each), made with organic flour. Try also the mushroom sandwich ($7.80 with organic pear or apple juice) with vegan cheese (made entirely from plant foods; think Daiya) and coffee nanaimo cake (raw), a no-bake Canadian dessert. Opened by brothers Skye and Ray after two years of R&D. Sun-Fri 10am-9.30pm, Sat 10am-10pm. Tel: 6338 4173
MARINA SQUARE (6 Raffles Boulevard)
Marina Square–nothing square about bowling, movies and an arcade
Meet Marina Centre’s first mall and Singapore’s largest (circa 1985). It’s part of a complex which houses hotels Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, Marina Mandarin Singapore and The Pan Pacific Singapore. From 2004 to mid-2006 it underwent a major transformation (remember the outdoor food court?), and now boasts 700,000 sq ft of retail space. A new shopping extension of 200,000 sq ft is coming up where Centre Stage used to be (below the food court).
NUVO (#02-100, Dining Edition)
This pocket-friendly Italian-Japanese restaurant serves up group chef Mark Richards’ exciting contemporary dishes alongside ample cocktails at the lounge. Be wowed by smoked uni carbonara pasta ($38) and the kakuni-style Kurobuta pork belly ($32), or look to the value $15 weekday lunch and $35 4-course dinner sets. Daily 11.30am-3pm, 5-11pm. Tel: 6822 2098
Bangkok Jam (#02-105B/C, Dining Edition)
Try the flavourful northern Thai stewed pork curry ($12.90), grilled curried fish paste wrapped in banana leaves ($13.90), spaghetti with prawns in coconut sauce ($12.90), and spaghetti with roasted pork crackling ($13.90). For dessert, there’s the durian panna cotta ($9.90) with sticky rice and the pineapple and jackfruit crumble ($8.90). Mon-Fri 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-10pm; Sat-Sun 11.30am-10pm. Tel: 6338 6632
Rent a car to zip around the city-state in style, pronto. Grab a mid-week offer (Tue-Thu, up to 20 percent off) and drive a car from Group C (Toyota Vios 1.5, from $140/day) to Group N (BMW 5 Series 520D SE 4dr, $416/day) then opt to drop it off at their Changi Airport counter. Other services: limousine with chauffeur and airport transfers. Daily 12pm-8pm, except PH. Tel: 6336 0866
Elements by Home-Fix (#02-248/249)
The hardware shop-style Home-Fix is now an 8,000 sq ft lifestyle one-stop-shop. Just re-opened in September, it stocks new and exclusive brands like Ecoya soy wax melts candles in French Pear, Lotus Flower, and Sweet Pea & Jasmine ($40 each); a massive 14-litre 5-in-1 EuropAce Airfryer ($299); and a Roman electronic mini steamer ($69). Our fave is new Do-It-For-You (DIFY) department–friendly experts will be on hand to help you with any query, from lighting to electrical, bathroom fixtures and household security. They also offer supply, installation, repair and painting services. Daily 10am-10pm. Tel: 6883 2038
Level 3 of the mall has a section designated for tots and mums-to-be with shops Kiddy Palace (#03-160), Maternity Exchange (#03-108) and more; as well as a newly upgraded carpeted playground complete with climbing house, slide, four-way see-saw and coin-operated rides.
This bowling alley is affiliated with the Super Funworld arcade opposite, and both are household gaming names. Standard house rules apply: socks are a must (or purchase for $1.50), shoe rental at $1/pair and pay per game (from $3.40 for students). Bring your SAFRA card for discounts. Sun-Thu 10am-1am, Fri-Sat, eve of PH 10am-2am. Tel: 6334 1000
Teddy & Me Café (#02-207A)
Remember Mr Bean? The hapless 90s telly character portrayed by Rowan Atkinson now has his own themed café. Watch reruns on the iPad, place orders (rainbow mille crepe $8.80), surf the web and charge your mobile phone after taking many selfies here. Daily 11am-10pm