Judging by the throngs at VivoCity, we’re guessing that practically every Singaporean has been there by now. Besides lining your shopping bags with good buys, you can line your stomachs with great food. From Japanese to German, chocolates to teacakes, modern Thai food to café bites, VivoCity’s got it all. Here’s where you can go when you need an energy boost.
Aji by Hanabi
#01-158, 1 HarbourFront Walk, 6376-9788.
This modern Japanese restaurant looks impressive. Classy, sleek, minimalistic, with lacquered tables, a stunning waterfront view, and soothing Japanese music, it is a joy to be in. And we were just as impressed with the quality of the food, which is inspired, creative, different and tasty. The grilled red snapper with capsicums ($18) was a lovely creation of crispy, deep-fried red snapper seasoned with cream, soy sauce, chili and wasabi. The textures were great and the flavors blended well. We suggest you try the grilled beef with Japanese herbs ($22)—an elaborate construction of crispy, fried noodles, with medium-rare beef nestled in the middle and crunchy slices of sweet potato around. Also try the pan fried goose liver with radish ($18). Eat the goose liver and the radish in the same mouthful and you’ll experience the dish at its best. End your meal with the green tea ice-cream and red bean paste ($6). Open Mon-Thu 11:30am-3pm, 6-10:30pm; Fri 11:30am-3pm, 6-11pm (last order at 10:30pm); Sat 11:30am-11pm; Sun 11:30-10:30pm.
#01-149/151, 1 HarbourFront Walk, 6272-8815.
This enormous, airy German restaurant is a bier (beer) bar and restaurant. The German beers are brewed according to the Purity Law of 1516, and include well-known ones like Paulaner. This restaurant uses a lot of warm, woody surfaces, with dark, wooden pull-out benches. The amiable Chef de Cuisine, Hans Lüftenegger, recommended a few specialties. The gulaschsuppe ($7.50) is spicy beef goulash served with a huge pretzel, and is an excellent appetizer. No one eats at a German restaurant without trying the sausages, so we had gänseleberwurst—goose liver sausage with German spätzle, cranberry sauce and red cabbage ($26.50). The sausages were tender and juicy and the spätzle (a concoction of flour and egg cooked in water) was addictive. If you like spätzle, you’ll want to order the käsespatzle ($14.90), a Bavarian specialty of homemade spätzle and topped with melted cheese and onion rings. It’s pretty filling, so share it with your friends! Germany is the home of black forest cake, so you might want to end your meal with that. The schwarzwälderkirschtorte as it’s called, is made up of chocolate sponge cake, cherries and whipped cream. Check out the wall mural behind the bar while you’re there. It’s very German, whimsical and even has the Merlion and Sir Raffles in it! Open daily noon-12am.
#02-145/146, 1 HarbourFront Walk, 6376-9282.
Authentic and not-too-expensive Thai food is pretty hard to find, but Thai Accent fits the bill. Tastefully decorated and brand new, this spacious restaurant has a modern, fresh approach to Thai cuisine. If you like slightly salty curries, the green chicken curry ($12.90) is good to start with. The flavor was robust, and the chicken soft and juicy. We tried the tom yam prawn soup ($9.90) and were pleased with the delectable soup, fresh prawns and crunchy straw mushrooms. Another restaurant fave was the crispy catfish with mango salad ($11.90). Fried to crispy, golden perfection, the catfish was incredibly light, with an almost airy consistency. The mango salad is tangy and moist—which provides the perfect balance. Try the stir-fried minced chicken with hot basil leaves, served with rice and a sunny-side up egg ($11.90). Check out some Thai desserts too—the water chestnut served with coconut milk ($3.90) and mango sticky rice ($6.90). The former is swimming with generous, large pieces of water chestnut and the latter is a gorgeous mix of sweet mango and milky glutinous rice. If the waiting time gets slightly long, be patient—because the food is honestly good. Open Mon-Thu 11:30am-3pm, 6-10pm; Fri-Sun 11:30am-10pm.
White Dog Café
#02-131/132, 1 HarbourFront Walk, 6376-9970.
This is a great place to rest after you’ve walked a long way. This one-month-plus old funky café boasts a wide selection of cakes, muffins, appetizers, pizzas, pastas, main courses, ice-blended drinks, smoothies, frappes and loads more. The crisp soft shell crab ($8.50) started our meal and in Japanese-style with wasabi tobiko and lime sauce. The calamari rings which arrived with it deserve special mention because they are huge, crispy, fried just enough and tender. Pasta lovers should try the crabmeat linguini ($16.90), which has quite a lot of crab meat, crunchy pasta and a yummy tomato cream sauce with white wine, chili and onions. The warm chocolate cake served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream ($6.80) and the mocha frappe ($6.90) make a filling, rich end to a very decent meal. An added bonus is that this café uses no pork nor lard in its preparation. Open Mon-Sun 11:30am-10pm (last food order 10pm, last beverage order 10:30pm).
#01-116, 1 HarbourFront Walk, 6273-1611.
This new outlet is done up in a sophisticated, appealing fashion with open shelves in white oak and ceiling-high cabinet showcases. You’ll find droolsome delicacies such as chocolate-dipped candied fruit ($22 per 100g), as well as Chocolixir beverages ($8). These come in dark, white and milk flavors, and are only available here and Godiva’s CityLink outlet. Choose from the mind-boggling range of truffles ($26 per 100g), pralines ($22 per 100g), dipped strawberries ($9 per piece), caraques ($22 per 100g), cookies ($22 onwards per box) and biscuits ($22 onwards per box). Sinfully irresistible. Open Mon-Thu 10am-10pm; Fri-Sat 10am-10:30pm; Sun 10am-10pm.
#01-106, 1 HarbourFront Walk, 6376-9895.
You’ll be taken with the lovely interior of this European-styled milk bar and bakery that looks both contemporary and old world. Filled with soft, plush armchairs, shining mirrors and adorned with sepia-toned photographs, it’s a comfy place to relax with friends while tucking into custom-blended drinks and tasty teatime treats. And, you’ll find salads, sandwiches, soup, smoothies, pastries and cakes here too. The Corduroy Café Club sandwich ($12) is a nice bet and so is the beef stroganoff pie ($7). Try the tempting confectionaries that are laid out prettily at the counter. The apple rhubarb crumble with vanilla custard ($6.80) tastes as good as it looks. With names such as nutty muddy ($6.50), chocolate royal ($6.50) and zesty lemon tart ($6), you’ll be hard pressed to choose. Watch out for Corduroy’s special milk concoctions that feature milk in flavors like banana, berry dream, pear cinnamon and many more. Open Mon-Thu 10:30am-11pm; Fri-Sun 10:30am-12am.