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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Whole new Vista

New malls and new concept eateries are cranking up the buzz already in the Buona Vista area
The Straits Times - March 25, 2012
By: Eunice Quek
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Whole new Vista ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

It may not be rocket science, but boffins searching for chic and cheap eats know where to go - their own backyard.

The 400,000-plus residents and office workers in the Buona Vista area, including those at science hubs Fusionopolis and Biopolis, are spoilt for choice as the food scene there multiplies.

And come September, the area will add a new mall, The Star Vista, to the mix.

More than half of the 163,000 sq ft shopping centre is being set aside for new concept eateries, including the first Jamaica Blue coffee joint from Australia, Owl coffee brand's first Asian-inspired Owl Cafe and seafood restaurant Boston Seafood Diner.

The Star Vista, owned by CapitaMalls Asia, will open next to the month-old Rochester Mall, which adds a more mid-range mix to the upscale restaurants in the neighbouring Rochester Park.

Indian restaurant Krish in Rochester Park has undergone a revamp and is now known as Nosh. The restaurant, which features international cuisine, officially opens on Tuesday. Other eateries in the area include Chinese restaurant Min-Jiang and modern Japanese restaurant B@Rochester.

Over at Rochester Mall, new mid-range offerings include pie shop Pies & Coffee, Cali Cafe and Ben & Jerry's. Upcoming openings include Rick's Pub in two weeks' time and roast chicken specialist The Rotisserie's third outlet in May.

The Rotisserie's owner, Mr Jason Pope, says: 'We chose this location because we recognise the potential for growth in this area. This area is definitely up and coming with both residential and commercial areas.'

Over the past year, chic eateries have also mushroomed in the neighbouring Fusionopolis and Biopolis.

In addition to food chains such as Pasta Mania and Salad Stop in Fusionopolis, some smaller eateries have opened.

Hungrywich's, which serves sandwiches and muffins, is run by Mr Joe Oh, 40, and his wife, Ms Jeanie Tan, 41.

The couple, who live in the Sixth Avenue area and also run a semiconductor business, chose the location because it serves the working community in the area.

Ms Tan says: 'Even if we open more outlets, our strategy will be to open in business parks. Business has been thriving, especially after the Circle Line station opened in October.'

They have started opening until 9pm to cater to office workers working late. Previously, they closed at 7pm.

Similarly for week-old snack shop Munch Munch, cousins Ken and Norman Quek, both 30, chose to open in Fusionopolis to target office workers. The quirky shop, stacked high with old-school biscuits and sweets, has attracted young and old alike.

Mr Ken Quek says: 'Most of the time, you see one mall, you've seen them all. It's not easy to capture the attention of customers and we wanted to open something different.'

Over at Biopolis, The Lawn Cafe, which specialises in salads with grilled items, opened in November last year, while coffee joint Long Black Cafe opened last June.

They add to the older tenants such as Peranakan restaurant Spice Peranakan, Parkway Thai restaurant and modern European restaurant Infuzi.

When LifeStyle visited the area last week, the Biopolis area was buzzing with hungry office workers getting their lunch.

Research assistant Gwendolyn Cheng, 28, who works in the vicinity, says: 'There's a good variety of food so far in this area. My colleagues and I don't have to drive out to Holland Village for lunch. It would be good to open another food court, as the current one is always crowded and at least we have a slightly cheaper option to the cafes and restaurants.'

Manager Jeremy Tan, 20, who lives in Dover Road, is looking forward to checking out the new openings. He says: 'There's a good mix of upscale dining in Rochester Park and the new malls have more affordable eateries.

'I like that the area is still quite quiet now, I can relax with my book at Rochester Mall on my days off. Once everything opens, the area will be really lively.'


Munch Munch

What: A throwback to one's childhood days, this snack shop, piled high with biscuit tins, sells more than 50 types of biscuits ($1.50 for 100g) such as Smiley Pineapples with pineapple jam, ice gems, alphabet biscuits, flying fish biscuits and roll crackers. They also sell assorted sweets ($1 for 15 pieces) and assorted nuts ($1.80 for 100g).

Where: 1 Fusionopolis Way, Connexis, B1-23, open: 11am to 8pm (weekdays), 11am to 6pm (weekends)

Info: Go to


What: The 30-seater cafe specialises in sandwiches (from $5.50) and muffins ($2 each). Try the teriyaki chicken, cajun roast beef and tuna melt. Muffin flavours include blueberry, green tea, double chocolate and winter cherry.

Where: 1 Fusionpolis Way, Connexis, B1-03, open: 8am to 9pm (Mondays to Saturdays, closed on Sundays)

Info: Call 6467-9602 or go to

The Amino Bar

What: Fitness buffs, get your protein shakes at The Amino Bar, which moved from 313@Somerset to the Fusionopolis 11/2 months ago. They serve shakes (from $5.90) to build muscles or burn fat such as Berry Manilow, a blend of berry protein, mixed berries juice and red apples. Fresh juices (from $4) are also available.

Where: Connexis B1-01, open: 11am to 8pm (weekdays), 10am to 4pm (Saturdays), closed on Sundays

Info: Call 6466-1176 or go to


Cali Cafe and Ben & Jerry's

What: Tuck into Western fare at the cosy Cali Cafe which is run by the same people behind deli-bakery CA California in Dempsey and the Ben & Jerry's franchise in Singapore. Menu items include macaroni and cheese with parma ham ($11.50), pizzas (from $18.50), and mains such as pan-seared salmon with soba ($23.50) and glazed baby back ribs ($25.50).

Where: 31 Rochester Drive, 01-01, Park Avenue Rochester Hotel, open: 11am to 10pm daily

Info: Call 6684-9897 or go to

Pies & Coffee

What: Pair your pies with a cuppa (from $3.80) at Pies & Coffee. Savoury and sweet gourmet pies include steak and foie gras, duck confit, cheddar chicken and American apple pie. The pies (from $8.95) - 4- or 9-inch - are served with mashed potatoes and salad.

Where: 35 Rochester Drive, 01-02, open: 9am to 11pm daily

Info: Call 6570-0080



The Lawn Cafe

What: The chic cafe lets you create your own salad with grilled meats and mixed greens. Get the Bowl ($8.90), which comes with one grilled item, four toppings and a dressing; or the Pot ($10.90), a choice of two grilled items, six toppings and a dressing. Grilled items include char-grilled garlic prawns, emperor snapper with fresh herbs and portobello mushrooms.

Where: 31 Biopolis Way, Nanos, 01-07, open: 9.30am to 9pm (weekdays only)

Info: Call 6478-9739 or go to


Long Black Cafe

What: Have a break at Long Black Cafe which sources its beans from Brazil, Guatemala, India and Ethiopia. Prices start from $2.50 for a single espresso shot. Signature items include the LB Supreme Burger ($11.90), which has mushrooms, caramelised onions and cheese; seafood baked rice ($15.50); and truffle mushroom sandwich ($21.30).

Where: 20 Biopolis Way, Centros, 01-02, open: 8am to 8pm (weekdays only)

Info: Call 6478-9945 or go to



Yummy chocolate cake made of zucchini