The nex mall in Serangoon Central opened in November to much fanfare amid heightened expectations from residents in the area. It is currently Singapore’s largest sub-urban mall with over 360 premium tenants and brands like Isetan, FairPrice Xtra, Shaw Theatres nex, Cold Storage and Courts.
Besides being a place for residents in the area to shop, play and run errands–the SkyGarden on its top floor has a dog park for pets and a dry and wet children’s playground, and the Serangoon Public Library is set to open soon–nex is fast becoming a go-to destination for foodies. Visitors can indulge in their very own gastronomic adventure with over 90 food and beverage (F&B) including familiar favourites like Crystal Jade Kitchen, Putien, Sushi Tei and Carl’s Jnr.
Here are our pick of some of the most interesting F&B choices at nex:
Opening hours: Mon-Fri:10am-10pm; Sat-Sun: 10am-10.30pm
The opening of this first Singapore outlet of the Japanese cult burger chain is one of the most anticipated launches in nex. Among the things that fans love most about Freshness is its fresh and natural ingredients that include some organic selections.
Every menu item is freshly made, including its freshly-squeezed-on-the-spot orange juice. Freshness serves organic coffee and tea, and uses natural ingredients and unique items like pumpkin buns and potato wedges that are imported straight from the chain’s very own potato farm in Hokkaido, Japan.
Besides the fresh factor, the burgers here are also very unique and different from those offered at other burger joints in Singapore. The ‘spam burger’, with its thick slice of fried luncheon meat that’s paired with gooey fried egg, brings back comforting childhood memories. The ‘tofu vegetable burger’ gets a zesty kick from chunky guacamole.
Besides the nex branch, Freshness also has a presence in The Central and Century Square Shopping Centre. There are plans to open at least three more outlets this year.
Must-tries: spam burger ($4.50), tofu vegetable burger ($5.90), pop over ($3.30).
Opening hours: Daily: 10.30am-10.30pm
Broaster Chicken has been an American tradition since 1954 and now, it is available in Singapore. Fans swear that the chain’s special combination method, of combining pressure cooking and deep frying, works to produce a more tender, juicy and flavourful chicken. Each chicken piece is marinated in a special solution for eight hours and is only coated with flour and fried upon order.
Previously, Broaster Chicken was only available in big 7-Eleven outlets like the one in Serene Centre and Sengkang Sports & Recreation Centre. Now, its standalone restaurant at nex is drawing the crowds who come for the two-piece chicken set–the mash potato is exceptionally good–as is the very conveniently packed boneless chicken with cheese.
Must-tries: boneless chicken with cheese ($4.90), 2-piece chicken set ($6.90)
Opening hours: Mon-Thur: 11am-10pm; Sat, Sun, PH eve & PH: 11am-10.30pm
This innovative outlet features all things laksa. Penang assam laksa, Singaporean laksa lemak and Sarawak laksa–you name it, they have it. The menu also features other laksa-based dishes, like laksa lasagna (layers of pasta, chicken and taupok smothered in a laksa sauce, topped with cheese and grilled) and laksa fish burger (grilled fish fillet served on a bed of greens, in a burger bun, topped with laksa sauce).
When you dine at this restaurant, you are doing good too as Laksania is a part of an emerging breed of social enterprise who do business with a heart. Mentally-ill patients from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) are hired to prepare ingredients such as fish, chicken and the spicy rempah paste at a central kitchen located within IMH.
Said Laksania spokesman Tay Su Yin, “These groups have benefited from on-the-job training in the various aspects of F&B and have been fully integrated into our business model. To further contribute to the community, our future plans involve the hiring of other marginalised groups to work in the various eateries.”
Must-tries: laksa lasagna ($8.50), laksa fish burger with fries ($8.50), Singapore laksa ($6.50)
Opening hours: Daily, 11am-10pm
Call it tacky if you wish, but there is no doubt this nautical-themed restaurant brings back nostalgic memories. The original The Ship, complete with lighthouse, anchors and flags, is located in Shaw Centre and was started by a group of sailor-friends back in the 1960s. The nex outlet is the currently the restaurant’s only branch outside of the city area. It is similarly decorated and serves the same Western and Asian dishes that The Ship is well known for, including ‘chicken Maryland’ (chicken cooked Southern style, with bacon, fried banana and corn fritters) and ‘ship steak’.
The Ship spokesman Stella Yun says, “We decided to choose nex for our second outlet because we have a history in the area. We used to have a branch in Serangoon Central years ago and it does evoke a sense of nostalgia to come back to the same area.
“We also want to introduce our restaurant to families and the younger crowd, and nex has a good mix of brands which are likely to draw them in.”
Must-tries: chicken Maryland ($15.90), escargot bourguinonne ($13.90 for half dozen), ship steak ($34.90)
The Ship Restaurant
Opening hours: Daily: 11am-10.45pm
Bright, cheery and fun–that’s what you feel when you step into the Glacious store. Fashioned like a playground for frozen yogurt lovers, guests are free to mix and match their own yogurt flavour combination from the self-serve machines. Then, customise your dessert further by adding the toppings you desire. The dry toppings, like granola and raisins, are dispensed from hygienic dispensers, ensuring a fuss-free experience as well as the freshest possible toppings.
You pay by weight for all yogurt and toppings–$0.30 per 10g or $0.35 per 10g if you choose toppings from the premium range.
Glacious, which also has a take-away branch at Bukit Panjang Plaza, said that its best sellers include the mango and original frozen yogurt. New flavours are introduced regularly so keep up with what’s fresh and available on the Glacious Facebook page or on the @glacious_yogurt Twitter channel.
Must-tries: mango and original flavour
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