Although more family and office crowd oriented, come here for an afternoon perk-me-up at Jalan Kayu—The Prata Café or some tasty local cuisine at Grandma’s (just the way nanna ordered).


CD Plus

#B1-56K/L, 6259-3320.

For those starved of good New Age music, you’re most likely to find that ambient CD here. Specializing in music to soothe our hectic lifestyles, owner Alan Tan stocks a multitude of New Age, jazz, classical and audiophile favorites, as well as regional titles. Expect to find a good selection of concert DVDs too.

#B1-17/32/33, 6356-5434.
For some wholsesome, home-made Peranakan-inspired and local dishes, look no further than Grandma’s. Must-tries include the nasi lemak, curry chicken and a sambal kangkong that will work up a sweat.


Jalan Kayu—The Prata Café
#01-12/13, 9237-9005.
You don’t have to travel all the way to Jalan Kayu to have your fix of hearty prata anymore. This is where all the office workers come during lunch hour for some cheese prata ($2), chicken murtabak ($3) and Milo Dinosaur ($2), or just a cup of teh tarik ($1) to get through the day.

Mandeville Music & Drama
#03-21, 6250-1911.
Mandeville stocks an assortment of violins, drums, guitars and pianos from the US and Europe ($190 upwards), and holds classes for those wanting to try their hand. Membership starts at just $10.

San Bookshop
#B1-56F, 6256-1184.
This beloved secondhand bookstore stocks anything and everything—from murder-mystery to romance to horror to non-fiction. Rental starts at just $2 per book.

NEXT: Novena Square / Velocity 



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Located just behind United Square, the vibe around Goldhill is a tad old school (with lots of small scale offices and some dodgy bars), although the selection is anything but.

Da Luca
#01-19/21, 6258-4846.
This 55-seater, three-month-old Italian joint is the pioneering effort of young Italian chef Luca Pucciani, who hand-makes all his pastas in his kitchen, ensuring the authenticity of his dishes. Already a favorite among the Italian community in this city, highlights include linguini with fresh prawns in squid ink sauce ($22.90) and T-bone steak with seasonal vegetable and mustard sauce ($54.90). Top off an excellent meal here with a glass of house wine from $12.

#01-01, 6259-9053.
Shoot the breeze at this mostly-expat joint where the beers are cheap ($8 upwards) and the crowd convivial. The vibe is similar to that of Charlie’s, so just kick back, relax and perhaps, make a few new friends along the way.

ROSZY’s tiffin house
#01-203, 6225-4788.
Set up by former shipping consultant Rosny James, this cozy café offers homestyle Javanese cuisine like nasi ambeng ($18 per person), a stacked rice platter that’s usually prepared during weddings in Java, and a very delicious one at that. It comes complete with seven dishes, including fried ikan teggiri, sambal goreng and bagadel (Indonesian potato cutlet). The mango sambal here is also pretty awesome.

155 Thomson Rd., 6254-6629.
Great after a hot day under the sun, Udders offers a huge range of liqueur and Asian-inspired homemade ice-creams including lychee martini, java whiskey choc and Bailey’s & Bourbon. The ice-cream café’s modern layout is also very inviting.

Wine + Superstore
#01-05/11, 6253-9151.
A massive 4,000 sq. ft. showroom which stocks over 500 wine labels and a wide variety of champagne, whiskey, liquor and spirits. Prices are competitive, but it’s the weekly in-store promotional prices and regular wine tastings that make it worth visiting often. And, it has the biggest white wine collection in the city.



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The great thing about Novena is that most of the lifestyle options are housed within walking distance from one another, namely the three main malls of Square 2, Novena Square and United Square, with a few more interesting options around Goldhill Plaza. The vibe here is pretty posh yet relaxed, befitting of the many expats who reside in the condos around the area. Yet the shopping and dining options prove to be surprisingly varied and interesting.

There are more than a few reasons why we love Novena and Balestier. Sandwiched between the city center, Bukit Timah and Little India, these neighbors are the city’s most accessible and interesting “suburbs,” with a myriad of shopping, dining and leisure options for those who stay around the area. But for those who don’t live in the hood, it’s worth venturing down to soak in the eclectic atmosphere, especially for Balestier’s ghetto-like street offerings, while the more contemporary Novena has some pretty interesting shops that rival those on Orchard Road. It’s the wonderful contrast between the two that draws us back there time and time again—perhaps it’s time you visited too.

Square 2

10 Sinaran Dr.
Although known predominantly for Korean fashion, there is a slew of other cool shops here like music store The Attic and countless choice boutiques that will win you over with their quirky charm spanning four floors.

18 Karaats
#01-13, 6397-6430.
Never mind that they are simulated diamonds—the rings, necklaces and pendants found here ($300-2,000) are gorgeously set.

The Attic
#01-64, 6235-0165.
Owner Bobby Yeo, a veteran in the local music scene, specializes in rare imported CDs and vinyls spanning rock, jazz, R&B, folk and oldies. Some of the gems found here include a limited edition Bob Dylan box set ($200) and Japanese import albums by Jethro Tull and Joni Mitchell ($50 upwards).

#02-68/69, 6397-7358.
This chocolate specialist offers a welcome respite after a hard day’s worth of shopping in the mall. We recommend the gelatos here—from pistachio to rum & raisin to caramel—for just $4.90 per scoop. Or if you like your chocolates purer, try the Venezuelan and Caribbean Islands chocolates by the piece.

The Clothier Place
#01-50, 8228-2289.
If you’re a self-confessed cool kid looking for that elusive rag, then you’ve come to the right place. This place stocks affordable clothes from underground local label Men-Da. We especially dig the trendy hats ($29), and the shirts are a steal at $39-89 (various designs).

Fravis Array
#02-41/42, 9844-3398.
This month-old boutique features a selection of classic dresses and jackets with a modern twist imported mostly from Hong Kong and Taiwan. We like the navy drape wrap dress ($54.90) with its cut and carefully layered drapes, and the taupe corduroy jacket with round bronze buttons down the front ($44.90).

Girls Over Flowers
#03-114/115, 6397-2678.
Girls Over Flowers imports apparel and bags that are often seen on Korean girl groups or boybands. We fell in love with a pair of washed-out slim cut jeans ($59) and a Marilyn Monroe graphic cotton long-sleeved tee ($25).

Han Sang Korean Family Restaurant
#03-32-35/40-44, 6397-6752.
Tying in with the Korean-inspired concept of Square 2, Han Sang Family Korean Restaurant is one of the better Korean restaurants here. We like the Samgye-Tang or Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup ($23), one of their signature dishes, a delicate and clear broth which complements chicken bits, ginseng and glutinous rice stuffing—yum.

#01-70, 6397-6568.
Specializing in imported fashion from Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Italy, some of the highlights here include the silk ruffled shorts ($59), red-with-a-tinge-of-leopard-print dress ($99) and the genuine leather tote bags ($59) in brown, orange and aquamarine blue.

Kimi Organics
#03-47, 6397-6890.
Founder Alicia Tan is an advocate for healthy eating, so she set up this store which specializes in organic foods imported from the US and Australia. It is the sole distributor and retailer of One Healthy Habit’s 100% Organic Mangosteen Juice ($50 for 700ml), a refreshing drink that boasts antioxidant properties. If you prefer to snack, check out the Sensible Foods Organic Crunch Dried Snacks ($5).

Mama Patisserie
#02-06/07, 6397-6789.
Mama Patisserie bakes all bread and pastries daily with premium Japanese flour and no preservatives. Some of their loaves like black sesame ($2.30) and pain de mie ($1.90) contain no egg, making them healthier options. Their signature bread is the Chocolate Bowl ($2.50), a dome-shaped fluffy chocolate confection studded with dark chocolate chips. For something savory, try the wasabi mayo crayfish bread ($1.80).

#02-70, 6397-6009.
One of the better street style boutiques for men, the store is chock-full of men’s shirts ($39.90 upwards), trucker caps ($29.90 upwards) and belts and accessories. One for the young or the young at heart.

Merry Mary
#02-62, 6397-7009/9772-4107.
With an array of toga dresses ($20-30) and prom dresses ($39,90), this treasure trove carries so many items, you’ll really need to dig to find the good stuff. Our picks: A fashionable and functional fishnet grey knit vest ($25) and an ethnic apple green embroidered tote bag imported from Vietnam ($25).

Ns’ Boutique
#01-168/169, 6397-2628.
A hot favorite among tai-tais in the area, the inviting interior is where standout pieces like studded heels ($99 upwards) and “cut” designer labels ($150 upwards) can be found. You’ve got to dig through the racks for your favorite as pieces are very limited, but well worth the effort.

natalie e
#02-03, 9748-0824.
Tastefully furnished by proprietor Shirley Chew with miniature paintings of Paris and antique-looking wallpaper, Natalie e houses two brands: Natalie e is a collection of classic styles for workwear, such as a black-and-white sleeveless shift dress ($97) and a coral pink capsleeved shift dress ($95), while Nicole David’s range of clothes features richer fabrics, such as a beautiful lilac lace overlay dress ($159) and a unique black polyester mix dress with curly white embroidery ($209).

Polish The Nails Room
#04-06, 6397-6597.
The first thing that attracts you about Polish is the red chinoiserie decor and plush armchairs. The next thing you notice is the warm, friendly attitude of the nail technicians. Offering over 400 nail colors from OPI to China Glaze, Polish is known for its hygienic pedicures and patient service. A usual express manicure or pedicure here costs $12.

#01-47, 6397-2420.
We love the healthy portions of the premium sandwiches found here, which are a step up from the usual Subway variety. Try the spicy beef & cheddar with bacon or the smokey chili turkey ($6.90 for 6”, $10.30 for 12”), best with savory soups of broccoli cheese and chicken noodle ($3.50 per bowl).

ResearchBooks Asia
#03-22, 6252-5575
This is the place to go for science and health and fitness books. The collection here is almost as astounding as the various anatomical models and skeleton replicas which could make cool interior objects. They also take special orders—yes, even for non-science related books.

#03-04, 6397-2616.
Come here for the varied ties, which are currently on sale for just $35 per piece, or $60 for any two designs. Selected shirts are also at 40 percent off—the classic white pieces are definitely good bets.

Silence Concept
#01-153/154, 6222-1128.
Don’t let its simple facade fool you. Targeting PMEBs, Silence Concept sells tops and dresses that are pretty fashionable: The lace kimono top in white or yellow ($89.90) is a nice dress-down Friday separate, while the white lace overlay dress ($71.90) and muted red shiftdress ($89.90) both deserve a place in any office wardrobe.

#01-31, 6397-6505.
Owner Joanie Lee sources all the pieces in her store from Hong Kong and Korea. Apart from the quality leather bags under her own Carry N Wear label ($150 upwards) and emerging regional brands like Gisele and Paisley, some of the highlights here include the one-off frilly silk dress ($169) and other rare finds.

Urban Tool
#02-60, 6397-7069.
Catering to those who wish to travel light, the range of bags here is affordable and stylish. The slotBar ($75) comes in six colors and can be used in three ways: As a sling bag, waist pouch or mini handbag. The style-conscious can even custom-make their very own with embroidered Swarovski crystals ($52-189, depending on the complexity of the design).

Zen Beauty
#03-88/106, 6397-7168.
This place offers facial/spa, nails, foot refloxology and eyebrow services in a luxurious and intimate setting.

NEXT: Goldhill Plaza-Centre / United Square / Novena Square-VeloCity

SKIP to Balestier



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Adam Kimmel @ Club 21b; Uniqlo's +J


So I’m not one who believes in hype. You know—hype. Fashion’s attempt to convince you that a certain product is cooler than it actually is. But I have to say, after being in the market here for a year or so, the +J collection by Uniqlo has grown from strength to strength and is, well, cooler than ever. The Spring/Summer 2011 collection is definitely a few sartorial steps up from its last Autumn/Winter collection, which was boring and, ahem, impractical, to say the least.

Terry Ong
Issue Date: 
2011 Feb 17 - 23:00

So I’m not one who believes in hype. You know—hype. Fashion’s attempt to convince you that a certain product is cooler than it actually is.

With the opening of its first store in Singapore, the legendary Japanese fashion empire Comme des Garcons has finally come of age, says I-S

It’s finally here. Two years in the making and with no less than three guerilla (or “pop up,” as the fashion folks like to put it) stores here so far in offbeat places like Haji Lane, Chinatown and Bukit Merah, the first standalone Comme des Garcons finally makes its way here in the form of a clean, minimalist 3,035 square feet space at the Hilton Shopping Gallery, taking over the previous Dolce & Gabbana Store.

Hardcore fans will be glad to know that the store carries almost the entire range of the Comme des Garcons main lines, namely Comme des Garcons Homme Plus, Comme des Garçons Shirt Girl, Comme des Garçons Shirt, Comme des Garçons Play, Comme des Garçons Black and the accessories and perfume range, sans the Ganryu and Junya Watanabe offshoots (the latter two are available at the Club 21b and Club 21 Men boutiques respectively). Having all the legendary label’s seasonal collections under one roof also means that Club 21, which operates the store, can bring in “three times more” of the collection than was previously sold at the Club 21 and Club 21 Men boutiques at Four Seasons Hotel. “We are also able to bring in more edgy pieces than before, which was edited in the previous stores due to space constraint,” says marketing manager Jean-Michel Cosny.

Indeed, the store offers the most coveted Comme des Garcons products under one roof here for the first time. As you step into the clean space, a special series of vintage Paco Rabanne metal bags set in a classy glass display greets you first. But the rest of the store is quintessentially Comme. The joyful Play collection is housed in a capsule design of sorts on your right, and just opposite is where the wallets and fragrance (including Wonderwood, Comme des Garcons White and the special Monocle collaborations incense) can be found.

But it’s the ready-to-wear that takes center stage here. Hundreds of Comme clothes, in all their thoughtful deconstructed glory (especially the gorgeous Comme des Garcons women’s line near the store entrance on the left) will bowl you over. The more affordable replica Black line is also displayed in a special enclosed black paneled area (as opposed to the simpler, white washed space elsewhere, all designed by chief designer Rei Kawakubo herself), while the Plus Homme and Deux line are located at the far right of the store. Standout pieces include the jackets and pants ($1,060 upwards) with skull motifs from the Spring/Summer collection for men, while ladies should keep an eye out for the special collaboration: Dr. Martens boots that cost only $460 and the playful and chic Shirt Girl collection. Cool basics are also available in the form of socks ($60) and simple tees ($190 upwards) which are great for everyday wear.

For clued-in fashionistas, this flagship store has been a long time coming, and is testament to the brand’s crowd appeal and staying power in a fickle industry where only the true visionaries survive. From the looks of it there’s no stopping this 30-year-old powerhouse label.

Comme des Garçons is located at #02-39/40 Hilton Shopping Gallery, 581 Orchard Rd., 6304-1362.


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Club 21b Opens; Local Labels at Tangs; Revolution Pop Up Shop


Certainly some of the most exciting news for menswear enthusiasts in recent memory: Highly coveted US fashion designer Adam Kimmel will be debuting his first ever collection here—inspired by the high-rollers and hoodlums found inside casinos (now that’s what we call gangster chic)—at Club 21b (#01-07 Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Rd., 6304-1459). Drum roll please.

Terry Ong
Issue Date: 
2011 Feb 10 - 23:00

Certainly some of the most exciting news for menswear enthusiasts in recent memory ...