Fashion Plates

You know the feeling. You’re shopping furiously away like there’s no tomorrow—determined to find the perfect pair of shoes. And unexpectedly, the hunger pangs hit and there’s nothing more you want to do than chow down on some good grub. That’s when you should hit a fashion cafe for a great two-in-one. Here’s our line-up of some of the coolest fashion cafes around.
, Fashion PlatesProjectshop Café @ Paragon
#03-41/44 Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd., 6735-6765. Open daily 10:30am-10:30pm (last order 9:45pm).
Location: Inside Projectshop Blood Brothers.
Style factor: You’ll feel your hip quotient inch up a notch once you step in this cool, laidback cafe. With muted brown and earth tones, wooden floorboards and a large rack of overseas magazines, everything is tastefully understated.
Food score: The popular P.S. Caesar salad ($16), is well worth the price, as the portion (like everything else), is huge. The poached egg sitting on top of crunchy greens is a nice touch, along with smoked crispy bacon bits and tons of crunchy toasted croutons, all tossed up in a delightful dressing chockfull of grated parmesan cheese. Try the homemade steamed Jaffa pudding ($10.90) that’s drowning in chocolate sauce and a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Heavenly.
Crowd: Blonde-haired, bronze-bodied Caucasian ladies, and dressed-down-but-brazenly-cool types.
Service: Excellent—smiley, attentive and friendly.
Overall: A great stop if you want to see and be seen.
, Fashion PlatesFront Row Café
G/F, 5 Ann Siang Rd., 6224-5501. Open Mon-Sat noon-8pm.
Location: On the ground floor of three-storey establishment Front Row—a boutique is on the second floor and an art gallery on the third.
Style factor: The charm of this cafe lies in its eclectic, cozy vibe. A gleaming counter is where salads, sandwiches and sauces are made only when they are ordered—so everything is super fresh and totally tasty. Black and white tiles and mirrors make up the décor.
Food score: The Works ($11.50) is their most popular sandwich. We can see why—hardboiled egg, back bacon, chicken, green apple, tomato and cheese make up the yummilicious filling. Equally delicious are Mozzilla ($10.50) and Waldorf West ($10.50)—open-faced sandwiches with sliced honey roasted ham, and raisins for the latter. But our favorite is the Chicken Terri-Tory (named after I-S’s Creative Editor Terry Ong, $10.50) which is a sweet and irresistible assemble. Crunchworthy salads include Masako ($11.50), a refreshing, nutty salad with crispy rice noodles, and The Terri (also named after I-S’s Ong, $10.50), with a creamy teriyaki dressing.
Crowd: Nearby executives dropping by for lunch.
Service: Friendly and thoughtful.
Overall: A haven for salad fans and sandwich lovers who are into healthy, yummy options.
, Fashion PlatesIsland Café
#01-187 TANGS VivoCity, 1 HarbourFront Walk, 6303-8649. Open daily 10am-10pm.
Location: Tucked snugly away in TANGS VivoCity.
Style factor: While TANGS may not be Prada, this new VivoCity outlet is still modern, shiny and huge. Take a break and quaff down some good food to distract yourself from your pressing shopping dilemmas.
Food score: Pretty good, despite a smaller menu than the TANGS Orchard outlet. The tuna otah pizza ($12) is robust and tasty with otah paste and tuna flakes. The pomelo and smoked salmon fettuccine with pink cream sauce ($14) is competent too. But what we really like is the laksa with crayfish ($13), which has just enough spice and is incredibly fragrant, with loads of taupok and fishcakes. If you love bak chor mee (minced pork noodles), guzzle the shitake mushroom and bak chor bolognaise ($11), which is—you guessed it—spaghetti sprinkled with minced pork, onions and shitake mushrooms. Curry freaks will be pleased with the masala curry chicken served with foccacia bread ($12). The curry is yummy, and the bread fresh and soft.
Crowd: We’re sure a healthy base of TANGS diehard fans will frequent this cafe.
Service: Fast, efficient, knowledgeable.
Overall: A more than adequate stop to satiate your squealing stomach.
, Fashion PlatesESPRIT Café by Canele
#03-100 Centrepoint Shopping Centre, 176 Orchard Rd., 6733-7898. Open daily 10:30am-9pm.
Location: In the recesses of the essential fashion boutique, ESPRIT.
Style factor: Expect quality desserts and bistro fare from the Les Amis folks. This cafe is relatively tucked away, so there’s an air of privacy about it that makes it perfect for you to stir your drink with the cool air of a seasoned shopper. Try to get the window seat.
Food score: Good. The salade Canele ($8.50) makes a fab and light starter with loads of crabmeat. The brioche burger ($9.50) made up of fig compote, chicken breast, tomato and lettuce, is sweetly robust and tasty. Fans of creamy spag will love the mushroom alfredo spaghetti ($12.50), a large serving of mushroomy goodness. The Jupiter ($6.50) a chocolate confection, will promptly skyrocket you to the realm of 100 percent chocolate satisfaction.
Crowd: Tai-tais, Japanese expats and shoppers.
Service: Two ‘Fs’—friendly and fast.
Overall: Pleasant, relaxed cafe with great, affordable food.
, Fashion PlatesEdmund’s Café
#01-09 Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade, 9711-1922. Open Mon-Sat 10:30am-8:30pm.
Location: This cafe shares the space with a Francis Cheong boutique and Valen Fleur Florist.
Style factor: It’s near Francis Cheong—so think opulent quirkiness. We loved the relaxing ambiance—water feature, loads of plants, etc.
Food score: There are some main courses here too, though the small bites are good enough—the brownie with ice cream ($3.80) is sweet and dense. A must-try is the popular cheese toast ($1.50)—four pieces of warm, cheesy, buttery, crispy toast. The shitake mushroom pie ($3.20) is also light and flaky, and stuffed with shitake mushrooms, peas, carrots and more. The Midnight Blues ($3.90) blueberry cheesecake is pretty solid too.
Crowd: Tourists and expats looking for a spot to bask in the sun, and tai-tais.
Service: Fast and friendly, but it’s a one-man show, so be patient if it gets busy.
Overall: Lovely place to get away from the world with some cafe chow.