If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s to never take anything for granted, including the littlest of routines like heading out with our colleagues or business associates for lunch on weekdays. More Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) are being implemented, people are travelling for leisure again, and business travel is all set to kick back into full gear again soon (we hope!).
We’ve rounded up a list of some of the best eateries to visit with your business associates or colleagues locally or from abroad. From fine dining restaurants with a view to local afternoon tea spots, we’ve got something for every occasion.
1. For when you want to make a good impression
If there’s any moment to indulge in an extended weekday lunch, it would be to welcome your associates from abroad. After all, there's nothing like a luxurious meal to leave a lasting impression on them. For a taste of authentic Japanese flavours, visit Mikuni.
Nestled in a quiet corner of Fairmont Hotel, Mikuni has been around for years, and consistently serves up Japanese fare of the best quality. In terms of food, there are a number of lunch sets on the menu, ranging from bentos to sashimi, teppanyaki sets, and donburis. They’ve also got a selection of desserts, including treats like mochi ice cream and sweet musk melon, available a la carte, so you can get a couple or all of them to share.
For something lighter and more contemporary, NOKA at Funan is a good option. This modern-Japanese eatery serves up small plate dishes crafted with great care, and bursting with umami. It's also Singapore's first rooftop urban farm-to-table Japanese restaurant—highly specific, but you know you’ll definitely be getting the freshest of produce. Some of their key ingredients, like their Koshihikari rice, are flown in from Japan, but others, such as mushrooms and herbs, are harvested from Edible Garden City’s rooftop garden right outside the restaurant. That said, it could be a good chance to bring in topics of Singapore's local food culture and sustainable food chains for some non-work-related conversations over lunch.
For a taste of Western cuisine, specifically modern European-British fare, head to Jaan by Kirk Westaway, a two Michelin star restaurant (it won its second star in 2021), and the 42nd best restaurant in Asia, located on the 70th floor of Swissôtel The Stamford. Plus, it offers great views of Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer.
Ingredients used here vary depending on the time of year, and as with seasonal ingredients, there isn’t a fixed menu, but there will be a couple of set lunch menus available at any given time, with full vegetarian menus available as well. There’s also an option to add on a wine pairing with each menu, or to add on a bottle or two of wine of your choice if you so fancy—they have an endless list of wines of all kinds, perfect for wine lovers.
Also located on the same floor is SKAI Restaurant, a contemporary European grill restaurant serving up classic smoky flavours with a panoramic view of the city skyline.
SKAI has a selection of lunch sets for diners to choose from, ranging from two or three-course sets to four or five-course ones. There are also a la carte options and a kids menu as well, with vegetarian and vegan options across the menu. But arguably, the best part is that the restaurant has an adjoining bar, so you can expect to be spoilt for choice when it comes time for those post-lunch tipples.
Another scenic option is Artemis Grill & Sky Bar at CapitaGreen. Here, Mediterranean food and flavours are offered in seasonal menus, with a choice of a two or three course set, or a la carte.
There are many vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free, and keto-friendly options on the menu, so there’s bound to be something to suit every diet here. Their Fremantle octopus and Iberico pork is highly raved about by diners, so these would be good dishes to try out.
Mikuni — Fairmont Singapore. Open 12pm to 10pm Monday to Saturday.
NOKA — Funan, #07-38. Open 11am to 2:30pm, and 6pm to 9pm Tuesday to Sunday.
Jaan by Kirk Westaway — Swissôtel The Stamford, Level 70. Open 11:45am to 2:30pm, and 6:30pm to 10:30pm Monday to Saturday.
SKAI Restaurant — Swissôtel The Stamford, Level 70. Open 11:30am to 2:30pm, 3pm to 5pm, and 6pm to 10:30pm daily.
Artemis Grill & Sky Bar — CapitaGreen, Level 40. Open 11:30am to 2:30pm Tuesday to Friday, and 5:30pm to 10pm Tuesday to Saturday.
2. For a taste of what local lunchtimes are like
On a regular work day, we’d most likely opt for something more casual and affordable when heading out for lunch. If you’d like to give your foreign associates a taste of what these daily lunches are like, head to Co Chung at Plaza Singapura.
This humble Vietnamese joint is run by Auntie Chung and her family, and offers traditional Vietnamese fare. For a small space, the menu is pretty extensive, and includes lesser-seen dishes like water fern cakes and Vietnamese flat dumplings alongside the usual pho and banh mi. The food here tastes very homely, and hits the spot on days where you crave something refreshing yet hearty.
Another good, casual option is Sufood, a vegetarian restaurant at Raffles City Shopping Centre. If salads instinctively come to mind, you’ll be pleasantly surprised—Sufood offers a range of creative dishes inspired by Asian flavours, like cream cheese wasabi-tomato pizzas and chickpea rice burgers. Their menu is simple, with four, six, and eight-course options to choose from, as well as a selection of a la carte offerings, and their approach to food is to nourish the body and mind with nutritional, clean ingredients without artificial flavourings or additives, so you can expect to walk away from the meal fully satisfied.
Co Chung — Plaza Singapura, #B2-20. Open 11am to 9pm Monday to Thursday, and 11am to 9:30pm Friday to Sunday.
Sufood — Raffles City Shopping Centre, #02-19. Open 11:30am to 3pm, and 5:30pm to 10pm daily.
3. For a midday breather and fuel in between meetings
Even if you’ve had your morning cuppa, an afternoon coffee and pastry is irresistible, especially if it means that you can head out of the office for a quick break. Introduce your visiting associates to the wonders of local Nanyang-style coffee and toasts at Butter Bean at Funan.
Apart from your regular kopi and teh, this quaint joint offers drinks with a twist, like brûlée teh halia, and gula melaka teh. The same goes for their toasts—they’ve got classic kaya & butter, and butter & sugar combinations, as well as more unique flavours like milo with condensed milk. Top it off with a pair of half boiled eggs and you’ve got yourself a ubiquitous Singaporean afternoon tea.
For Western-style coffee and pastries, head to 6oz Espresso Bar at CapitaGreen. If you’re a coffee connoisseur, you’ll be happy to know that this cafe uses only the finest 100% Arabica beans, but if you’re not a fan of coffee, they’ve also got a selection of teas, juices, sodas, and even kombucha, so you don’t have to feel left out among your coffee-loving associates.
If you have the luxury of time, why not go for a full afternoon tea set at Fairmont Singapore’s Anti:dote? Their high tea menu changes depending on the season, but typically includes a wide selection of sweet and savoury options, with amuse bouche, scones, and a choice of TWG tea or Nespresso coffee. They also offer starters, desserts and sides a la carte from their main menu, so you can still enjoy the fancy ambience without having to indulge in a full afternoon tea set.
Butter Bean — Funan, #01-01. Open 8:30am to 8pm daily.
6oz Espresso Bar — CapitaGreen, #01-04. Open 7am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday.
Anti:dote — Fairmont Singapore, Level 1. Open 12pm to 2pm, and 3pm to 11pm daily.
Bonus: For those who aren’t a fan of long lunchtime meetings
Sometimes, back-to-back meetings can’t be avoided. On days like these, you’ll be thankful for Omnivore, which is located just below 79 Robinson Road. Their salad bowls are a quick and tasty option that will fill your tummy without leaving you with a food coma after. They also come in a range of Western, Asian, and Middle Eastern flavours, with options for both meat-lovers and vegetarians.
If you’d like to give your associates a taste of something more local, then go for Crave’s nasi lemak at Asia Square Tower 2’s Food Garden. All of their meals come with fragrant coconut basmati rice, a fried egg, cucumber slices, anchovies, peanuts, and a dollop of their spicy sambal, but add ons like begedil, fried fish, and chicken wings can be mixed and matched depending on your preference.
Omnivore — 79 Robinson Road, #01-01. Open 10:30am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday.
Crave — Asia Square Tower 2, #02-13. Open 10am to 3pm Monday to Friday.
So is your tummy grumbling yet? Because ours sure are. Either way, we hope this list has inspired you and whetted your appetite. Bon appetite!
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