The steamed kampung chicken at Ipoh Lou Yau Bean Sprouts Chicken | Photo: Ipoh Lou Yau Bean Sprouts Chicken
Starting at the bottom level, we scour the Harbourfront mall for ten of the best eats, so you won’t be left standing after a long day at the shops. We've got them all – from bites baked for walking, to sit-down restaurants; Malaysian food to Japanese, Thai and Spanish.
Hor fun, seven ways
Ipoh invasion hits with this cafe that serves the Perak state’s capital city’s famed hor fun (Chinese-style flat rice noodles in gravy) in seven ways, with side dishes that range from yong tau foo and prawns to braised meat. Of the nine side dishes, the succulent steamed kampung (Malay for "village-raised") chicken, glazed with light soy sauce and sesame oil (from $9.50), and crunchy bean sprouts ($3) are our picks. The textures complement the silky slurps of the rice noodles.
Ipoh Lou Yau Bean Sprouts Chicken | Address: #B2-24, VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk | Opening hours: Daily 10.30am-10pm
Gastrobar for quality steaks and grilled items
From the folks behind Wooloomooloo Steakhouse, the restaurant occupies an impressive 160-seater spot by the waterfront at Vivocity, which is a casual restaurant and a bar all rolled into one. Try the SelfTap beer bar: purchase a cash card from the reception, walk over to one of the SelfTap machines and pour however much beer you would like. The food menu has something for everyone — cheesy chicken (or beef) quesadillas ($15), a mixed seafood grill ($42, serves two) and burgers. If we had to pick just one, we recommend the mixed meat grill platter ($48, serves two). Why? Read here.
The Chop House | Address: #01-161/162 VivoCity, 1 HarbourFront Walk | Tel: 63769262 | Opening hours: Mon-Thu 1-11pm, Fri, Sat & eve of public holidays noon-midnight, Sun & public holidays 11am-11pm
Homely Italian food that might be hit or miss
It opened amid a great deal of buzz in July 2013, and it's been on either side of the line since. Read here to find out which dishes we thought were worthy of trying.
Jamie's Italian | Address: #01-165/166/167, Vivocity, 1 Harbourfront Walk | Tel: 67335500 | Opening hours: Sun-Thu noon-10pm, Fri & sat noon-11pm
For over 300 types of personal hot pots
There isn’t a need to hunt for “missing” ingredients in the communal steamboat pot. At Jpot, diners get individual pots, which, we think, is a more hygienic alternative. Choose from over 300 types of steamboat ingredients, from dim sum, seafood, beef (such as asparagus wrapped with beef sheets), pork and yong tau foo. Cook these items in nine flavourful broths from laksa and bak kut teh to tom yam. Set menus start from $14.80.
JPot | Address: #01-53, VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk | Tel: 62733536 | Opening hours: Daily noon-3pm, 6-11pm
One of Malaysia's nasi lemak institutions in Singapore
The venerable 36-year-old Malaysian nasi lemak institution opened in VivoCity, Singapore on 19 May. Now that you don’t have to travel five hours north to get your fix of swanky street food, we put their nasi bojari, curry laksa, chendol and of course nasi lemak to the taste test.
Madam Kwan's | Address: #01-152/154, VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk | Tel: 62719989 | Opening hours: Daily 11am-11pm
Famed LA yoghurt shop in Singapore
Famed yoghurt shop from Los Angeles, Menchie’s has set up shop beside Max Brenner Chocolate Bar at VivoCity. Find out why we are so excited.
Menchie's | Address: #01-113/114, VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk| Tel: 63769323 | Opening hours: Daily 10am-10pm
For a comprehensive Peranakan meal
Those peckish for Peranakan cuisine can turn to this restaurant that has a comprehensive menu of more than 20 items from starters to desserts. Two signature dishes that will get the meticulous Nyonyamatriarchs nodding in approval are the assam curry fish head ($25) and the rich ayam buah keluak – chicken simmered in black Indonesian nut gravy ($15).
Nyonya & Baba | Address: #01-54/56, VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk| Tel: 63769138 | Opening hours: Daily 11am-11pm
For British-rooted pub food
Homesick Brits can feel right at home at this 200-seater British-inspired pub – from the décor (for one, art deco paintings of Queen Elizabeth II’s mugshot) to the Brit-rooted grub: plump pan-seared black cod ($34) injected with piquant chili crab sauce and pork bangers & mash (good that they didn’t mess with this, $26). The cavernous half-al fresco eatery also opens up to panoramic views of the harbour.
Book a table here| Address: #01-106/107, VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk | Opening hours: Sun-Thu noon-midnight; Fri & Sat noon-1am
For sweet French-Japanese pastries
A handy pick-me-up after a shopping marathon is the Choco Cro (chocolate croissant, $2.40) from this Japanese café chain. The golden pillow of crisp buttery pastry hides a luscious slab of chocolate, blended from African cocoa beans. Those with a sweet tooth will relish the Little Fuji ($6.30) a hill of vanilla ice cream perched on a croissant that flakes with every bite.
Saint Marc Café | Address: #01-108-110, VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk| Tel: 62222309 | Opening hours: Daily 10am-10pm
For roast suckling pig
The roast suckling pig is the highlight at the only Spanish restaurant at VivoCity. The piglet is marinated with sherry, white wine, vinegar and herbs, before being roasted for six hours. The result? A hunky slab of gloriously browned pork with crackling, which is so tender that it can be sliced with a small plate. Available in various sizes, from $98 for a quarter serving.
Serenity Spanish Bar & Restaurant | Address: #01-98/99, VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk | Tel: 63768185 | Opening hours: Sun-Tues 11am-11pm, Wed-Sat 11am-midnight
Japanese hotpot overlooking Sentosa
Two-storey Japanese hotpot restaurant that overlooks Sentosa Island - for when you're exhausted from all that mall walking and need a warm, comforting meal.
Book a table here | Address: #01-102/103, VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk | Opening hours: Mon-Fri noon-3pm, 6-10pm, Sat-Sun and public holiday noon-10pm
For a Japanese charcoal grill experience
This Japanese restaurant allows diners to get ‘hands on’ with the Japanese-style charcoal grill – the yakiniku – and the best way to reap the full experience would be to order the meat platter (an assortment of Wagyu beef, kurobuta pork and yakishabu beef; from $14.90). Another must-try is the beef hiyaki don ($13.90), a sizzling stone pot of greens, eggs, beef slices and rice.
Book a table here | Address: #01-102/3, VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk | Opening hours: Mon-Fri noon-3pm, 6-10pm; Sat & Sun 11.30am-4pm, 6-10pm
Homely Taiwanese cuisine
The dishes at this Taiwanese restaurant reflect the rustic and simple character of popular Taiwanese cuisine. They serve Taiwanese home style dishes such as fried oysters with vegetables, radish and egg pancake and san bei ("three-cup" in Mandarin) chicken with basil.
Book a table here | Address: #01-51A, VivoCity, 1 HarbourFront Walk | Opening hours: Daily noon-10pm
For sweet-topped fried doughs
This homegrown snack shop tops the humble fried dough with a variety of sweets, from kaya to maple butter and fresh fruits. A must-try is the strawberry chocolate with nuts ($5) – a yin-yang marriage of sweet and sour.
Squirrel Bites | Address: #02-129, VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk | Tel: 63762736 | Opening hours: 11.30am-9.30pm
For a quick-service lunch at a spot with views to Sentosa
Popular for that midday meal is this 150-seater Thai restaurant that has an extensive menu of 68 dishes from the Land of Smiles. Signatures here include the steamed seabass jazzed up with lime, garlic and chili sauce ($33.90), and a velvety green curry with generous amounts of beef or chicken (from $14.90). It has similarly expansive windows that overlook Sentosa, outside of the fire-red walls adorned with Buddha motifs.
Thai Accent | Address: #02-145/146, VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk | Tel: 63769282 | Opening hours: Daily noon-10pm
For feasting on silver platters
Live your medieval feasting fantasies at this castle-themed restaurant, complete with life-size knight models, a kitschy stuffed tiger and wooden tables. Knights of the round table would love the combo-style dishes served royal banquet style – the King’s Banquet ($220) is an oceanic assemblage of grilled lobster, deep fried seabass, chili crab, razor clams, scallops and oysters on a silver platter.
The King Louis Grill & Bar | Address: #03-07A, VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk | Tel: 62760862 | Opening hours: Sun-Wed noon-10pm, Thu-Sat noon-11pm
Kenneth Lornie Goh is a freelance writer, who enjoys anything edible with cream, from pasta to pastries. He has been published in The Straits Times, The New Paper and Food&Travel magazine. In his free time, he enjoys queuing up to check out new food haunt around the island.