We scoured Cecil Street, Telok Ayer Street, Amoy Street, McCallum Street and Stanley Street for the best noontime eats so you don't have to
New kids on the city block, the Honeycombers are taking a very personal interest in CBD dining. After a couple of months spent navigating the veritable smorgasbord of lunch options in the area, we put together this list to determine which of the long, snaking queues are worthy of your lunch money.
We’ve raved about The Black Swan more than once (and that’s high praise). Now we’ve moved in (to the same building!) With their 2-course set lunch for $28++, or 3 courses at $34++, it’s a great place to go for a romantic lunch date or if you need to impress a big client. Cecil Street is also home to a branch of Salads & Wraps, where you get to beat the lunch queue as long as you phone in your order before 11am.
Telok Ayer Street
Home to our favourite sandwich shop Sarnies (we recommend the roast chicken and the chicken schnitzel), Telok Ayer Street is the ultimate hotspot for lunch. The Rotisserie – we like the soup, salad and panini combo – and Lime Deli (Caribbean delights, baby!) are also particularly good.
The street offers quite a few Japanese options if you’re craving, but Hachi Tei (147A Telok Ayer Street) gets our vote for the great service and reasonable prices. In the mood for some Middle Eastern? Get your kebabs, shawarmas, and falafel from Urban Bites.
If you’d like lunch with a side of Paris, the warm, buttery smells of Sophie Bakery beckons oh-so-invitingly. Wrapped around the corner of Telok Ayer and Boon Tat Street is restaurateur Osvaldo Forlino’s No Menu Bar, a pasticceria serving up delectable cold cuts and hearty Italian bread.
Speaking of Boon Tat Street, there’s DEN (29 Boon Tat Street, p. 6220 0629) – a European-inspired bistro by day, and a contemporary tapas and wine bar by night. Try their truffle mac and cheese for a super comforting treat!
Feel like splurging on lunch? We like The Market Grill, which makes its mark with beefy offerings like the Wagyu Teaser and CW Blue Cheese burger. Ocean Curry Fish Head (181 Telok Ayer Street, p. 6324 9226) is excellent for company lunches because they take table reservations. The usually dragon-long queue actually moves pretty quickly, so you can consider getting packed rice for lunch.
The Black Swan
We’ve shown love to Amoy Street Food Centre before – now get ready for another onslaught. One of the best fish soups in Singapore can be found at Piao Ji Fish Porridge (#02-100) – non-purists can get the mixed seafood version for extra oomph. Fans of lor mee (noodles in gravy) would be well acquainted with Yuan Chun Famous Lor Mee (#02-79), which has been around for close to 50 years. The wanton mee (noodles with dumplings) and hor fun (rice noodles) at Ah Liang Ipoh Hor Fun (#02-122) are very decent too.
A little slice of Vietnam in the CBD, complete with steaming bowls of pho and spring rolls, is available at 57 Amoy Street. They also serve Trung Nguyen drip coffee.
The $10 set meals at Red Pig Korean Restaurant (93 Amoy Street) or Wang Dae Bak Korean BBQ Restaurant (98 Amoy Street) are great if you’re lemming for bibimbap, or other Korean staples. They’re not stingy with the side dishes – we love!
Fronted by two culinary stars, Chef Gabriele Piegaia and General Manager Paolo Colzani, stylish Italian restaurant Burlamacco already has a loyal following. The 3-course executive set lunch, priced at a competitive $34, changes monthly.
Australian-inspired Moo Bar & Grill is a must-go even if you’re not a fan of steaks – their all-day 1-for-1 Main Course is just about the best promotion ever!
Want breakfast for lunch? SPRMRKT is where it’s at. Besides eggs ben and its brunch-y counterparts, the menu of soups, salads, and mains here changes daily, so you’ll never be bored in this part of the CBD.
Fact: everyone loves to slurp up a steaming bowl of ramen. Thrilled to find our ramen fix in the CBD at Ramen Bar Suzuki (17 Stanley Street), we’re happy to report that there’s free flow green tea, eggs, mashed potatoes, and bean sprouts. Plus, the Tonkotsu broth is flavoursome, and not too salty.
On the subject of broth, we are quite astounded by the love Singaporeans show for Chinese-style soup, given how packed Souperich (2 & 9 Stanley Street) was. The signature Lotus Roots with Scallop & Peanut Soup is better than average (but probably not as good as mum’s).
Vegetarians, we have a winner for you! At Angel’s Bistro (28 Stanley Street), you can actually have ‘meat’ without dying from an overdose of gluten, though from the prices ($7.50-$9.50), we are skeptical that everything is organic as advertised. The Brown Rice Set and the Tom Yum Soup Noodles are quite yummy nonetheless.
We know, there’s a lot of territory in this concrete jungle, but you’ll be pleased to know we’ve also covered Far East Square, Market Street, and Tanjong Pagar. Now the only thing left for you to do is to decide where to lunch.