Widely regarded as the city-state’s premier shopping strip, Orchard Road has long been home base for Singapore’s top shopping malls, designer brands and department stores. Back in the 1830s, before it became the first port of call for shoppers looking to score a solid deal or take home some rare buys, it stood as an unnamed rural stretch that was lined with nutmeg plantations, fruit orchards and pepper farms. It was only in 1958 with the opening of Singapore’s very first department store, TANGS, that the area began its transformation into the retail haven it is today, with plenty of hotels, F&B outlets and exciting attractions rising up in the proceeding decades.
Today, you’ll find plenty to do in the larger Orchard area, which stretches from Tanglin Road all the way down to Dhoby Ghaut MRT station. Besides the aforementioned air-conditioned shopping centres – a great way to beat the heat and humidity – where you can spend an entire day shopping until you drop, you can also catch a film at one of the many movie theatres; wander along Emerald Hill and Killiney Road, both of which are filled with charming shop-house architecture from yesteryear; and get your fill of nature at green lungs such as the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the Istana Park.
Decadent desserts at Awfully Chocolate +Cafe
One of Singapore’s most beloved brands, Awfully Chocolate’s first dine-in +Cafe concept at Great World City is an ideal spot to satisfy your sweet tooth. Take your pick from options including pastries, savoury bites, cakes and beverages from their sister Sinpopo Brand. Besides the signature All Chocolate Cake, you’ll find a Sticky Cinnamon Roll, which is sure to tantalise your taste buds with its combination of pillowy bread, fragrant cinnamon and cream cheese. There’s also the Bread & Butter Pudding that features golden egg custard and brown sugar cinnamon-sprinkled bread. It all pairs perfectly with chocolate beverages such as the Fat Chocolate, which comes with a dark chocolate truffle on the side for extra richness.
Sumptuous food at Da Shi Jia Big Prawn Mee
There are few things more comforting than a piping-hot bowl of prawn noodles, made with quality ingredients and chock-full of flavour. That’s exactly what you’ll find at Da Shi Jia Big Prawn Mee. Opened in 2017, this eatery is helmed by second-generation chef Seth Sim and is located in a quaint shop house along Killiney Road. Their Signature Prawn Noodles comes in various sizes (depending on the size and type of the prawns) with a truly outstanding, authentic and aromatic broth. You also have the option of adding additional ingredients, including succulent pork ribs, fishcake and vegetables. Another favourite on the menu is the Wok-Fried Big Prawn White Bee Hoon, which has a rich and robust umami flavour.
A plethora of plants at Singapore Botanic Gardens
Take in some greenery before you embark on your shopping escapades with a stop at this expansive park. Aside from encapsulating 83-hectares of verdant natural wonders, it’s also the only tropical botanical garden to be named a Unesco World Heritage Site. Families with kids can visit the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. It’s the first garden in Asia dedicated to children, and your little ones will be able to gain a greater appreciation for nature while checking out the various attractions. Another highlight is the National Orchid Garden, which is dedicated to Singapore national flower and displays over 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids. Do also drop by the Ginger Garden, where you’ll find a few hundred species of the plant and its relatives.
Healthy and refreshing delights at Fruce
Need a pick-me-up to recharge after some intensive shopping? Head over to Fruce at Wisma Atria, where you’ll find affordable and delicious Singapore-inspired dessert beverages. Established in 2016 (with another recently opened outlet at NEX in Serangoon), this popular home-grown brand specialises in inventive concoctions with a local twist. You’ll find many tropical fruits used throughout their recipes, such as the rich, creamy and refreshing signature Avocado Coconut drink that’s a favourite among customers. Further worth considering are the Coffee Grande Avocado and the Pandan Coconut, and you can also add various house-made toppings (such as Petite Konyaku, Coco Capellini and Mochi Kurano) to your drink.
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Exciting pottery-making activities at Clay Cove
In search of a fun, therapeutic and creative activity? Try your hand at pottery-making classes with Clay Cove. Established in 2002 and located at Delfi Orchard, Clay Cove is a pottery studio that offers a range of classes for both adults and kids. Children of all ages enjoy squishing, squelching, pinching, rolling, poking, stretching and pounding the clay, while adults can embark on a project that allows for self-discovery and rejuvenation from the daily grind. Pottery-making is a wonderful bonding activity for the entire family, so why not come to Clay Cove and discover it for yourself? From an imprint of your experience in Singapore to a personal emblem or motif, it’s here that you can transform it into a pottery artwork to be treasured forever.
Delicious eats at Lawry’s the Prime Rib Singapore
For one of the most decadent dinners in town, head to Lawry’s the Prime Rib Singapore. Located at Mandarin Gallery, the restaurant offers sweeping views of Orchard Road from its sleek and opulent dining area, which exudes an air of sophistication and luxury. The star of the show is undoubtedly the roasted wet-aged USDA Prime Rib of Beef carved with table-side service. Each standing rib roast is made with top-quality beef that is aged for up to 28 days for optimal tenderness, before being slowly roasted over beds of rock salt to ensure that the meat is juicy and flavourful. Don’t miss out on sumptuous side dishes such as traditional Yorkshire pudding; baked Idaho russet potatoes; and the Original Spinning Bowl Salad.
Shop ’til you drop at Design Orchard
Housing a bevy of made-in-Singapore labels under one roof, Design Orchard is your go-to destination for stylish creations by some of the Lion City’s finest designers. The large, light-flooded retail space occupies a prime position at the intersection of Orchard Road and Cairnhill Road and stocks over 60 exciting brands: including functional fashion label Reckless Ericka; Binary Style, which crafts scarves in an array of bright and bold prints; and Artisan of Sense, known for their eco-friendly artisan candles. Besides the main retail floor, which you can spend a good couple of hours perusing, the building also has an incubation workspace for designers and a public outdoor amphitheatre that hosts various events throughout the year.
Indulge in world-class tipples at Manhattan
A perennial entry on the World’s 50 Best Bars List (currently ranked 14th), this New York-style speakeasy at Regent Singapore is your go-to spot for both creative and classic tipples in a swanky setting. The dimly lit space takes the hotel bar experience up several luxurious notches, with plush leather couches, velvet curtains and gold-tinted furnishings. There’s a large central space for those who want to see and be seen, as well as a handful of cosy alcoves if you fancy a little more privacy. The bar just launched a new menu featuring 18 cocktails and six zero-proof beverages, which celebrates iconic Manhattanites who have left an indelible imprint in their chosen fields: from the late, great Anthony Bourdain to fashion designer Vera Wang.
Browse the stacks at library@orchard
Orchard may be home to many great bookstores, but there’s also library@orchard when you want to loan titles rather than purchase them. Situated on the third and fourth floors of Orchard Gateway, the library houses a treasure trove of magazines, novels, anthologies, poetry collections and popular fiction to suit just about any reader. The library places a special focus on reading material related to lifestyle, design and the applied arts, so this is your go-to spot for the latest issues of fashion magazines, interiors books and biographies of noted designers. Due to current safe-distancing measures, you’ll need to book a slot ahead of your visit via their website (each booking allows you to stay for a two-hour period).
Some of these images were shot before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With thanks to our advertisers, Awfully Chocolate +Cafe, Da Shi Jia Big Prawn Mee, Fruce, Clay Cove and Lawry’s the Prime Rib Singapore.