Heading back to your office for work and wondering what new CBD lunch options there are? We highlight some of the ones we think you’d like.
With safe management measurements slowly easing at workplaces, office workers are gradually being released from their work-from-home routines and allowed to return to their offices. If you’re one of those, chances are you may not be quite so familiar with the new CBD lunch options that may have popped up in the past year – yes, it’s been that long! – that you’ve been cloistered at home.
So if you’re looking to yourself at the start of the work week or celebrating nearer the weekend, here are five potential lunch options in Singapore’s Central Business District for you to consider. They include a couple of updates from our favourite dining establishments, a conscientious burger bar, an innovative take to a French culinary classic, and a Muslim-friendly steakhouse focusing on a particular steak cut.
The burgers are better (for the environment) at CARNE Singapore
One of the latest burger joints to have opened up in town, CARNE Singapore comes with some level of pedigree. Located on Amoy Street, it’s the first overseas outpost of Argentinean burger chain Carne Hamburguesas, the brainchild of Argentine chef Mauro Colagreco of 3 Michelin-starred Mirazur fame.
What makes CARNE different is that it’s a burger bar with a conscience. Its offerings – as much as possible – are made with seasonal, organic, sustainably-sourced, and hyper-local produce, in order to lessen the impact on the environment. Their Classic Burger, for example, uses meat from natural grass-fed cows, organic red onions and tomatoes, and even locally-grown oak lettuce. The bacon in its Complete Burger comes from hormone-free pigs, and the arugula in the Beef and Chimichurri Burger is grown here in Singapore too.
CARNE Singapore is open for breakfast too, so if you’re early to the office and need a bite we highly recommend the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Sandwich – using local eggs, of course – to start your day off on a good note.
And if you love your beer, you may be glad to know they offer Breaking Bread from Crust Brewing, a local brewing outfit that turns surplus bread into beer.
So if you’re into conscientious eating but still want fast food, CARNE Singapore is your best bet.
The Italian connection at Solo Ristorante
Also located on Amoy Street is Solo Ristorante, a contemporary Italian restaurant that established a reputation for innovative twists on Italian classics. While it has been around since 2018, last year it saw a new chef-owner in Simone Fraternali take the reins. Chef Simone, who hails from Italy’s Marche region, draws inspiration from northern Italy for new signature dishes for Solo Ristorante.
With his hometown of Gradara located so close to the coast, seafood takes prominence on his menu. For example, there’s the Branzino. Now in Italy this European sea bass is normally roasted whole and served with a squeeze of lemon, but here it takes the form of a carpaccio that comes with dressed in chopped shallots, pimento, chives, in a light lemon emulsion. And if you love uni, be sure to avail yourself to the Tagliolini. While uni pasta is nothing new, the version here offers a strong taste of the ocean and is additionally decadent with a “smoky” uni sauce that clings well to the tagliolini.
But northern Italy is big on meats too. Chef Simone reflects that love in dishes like his Wagyu Carpaccio topped with 24-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano and Modena balsamic vinegar. Or the Guancia di Manzo of fork-tender beef cheek that’s been braised in wine for 36 hours, which will go swimmingly well with your Brunello or Chianti of choice.
While there’re great Italian eats all around Singapore’s Central Business District, Solo Ristorante offers a well-executed take coupled with warm hospitality perfect for a power lunch or a solo lunchtime outing.
Taste French flair at French Fold
We’ve been fans of casual French bistro Merci Marcel ever since they opened their first outlet at Tiong Bahru, but their latest concept French Fold – an all-day social dining creperie on Telok Ayer Street – may just edge itself as our favourite.
You’re looking at a casual yet tastefully-designed space with a convivial ambience that offers their own unique stamp of savoury French galettes and an assortment of sweet crepes perfect for a catchup session with colleagues, a casual business lunch, or even just solo dining.
There’s a plethora of galette options to choose from. No.1 is the most classic (and simplest) interpretation with just salted butter, pepper, and lemon, while No. 4 is your galette take on breakfast with ham, sunny-side up egg, sautéed mushrooms, and Comté cheese. For crepes, No.14 with its Valrhona chocolate will appeal to those who love chocolate, and if you love fruit No.17 bursts with berry flavours from raspberry jam, fresh berries, and a strawberry basil ice cream.
As can be expected from a Merci Marcel spin-off, French Fold also comes with a range of affordable French wines directly imported for your drinking pleasure to complete the proper French experience. Santé!
Picanhas’ stakes its casual steakhouse claim
Closer to Chinatown, party central Ann Siang Hill saw casual steakhouse Picanhas’ open up along Club Street at the start of the year. As you can probably tell from its name, Picanhas’ puts the spotlight on that celebrated Brazilian steak cut.
The picanha – also known as the rump cap and sirloin cap – is one of the most flavourful cuts of beef. It’s particularly prized for its thick layer of fat, which helps the meat retain its juiciness and tenderness when grilled.
Here Picanhas’ serves the cut in two ways. One is Queen of Steak, 200g grams of flame-grilled meat, where you can add on a multitude of sides (we recommend the fabulously roasted double-cooked Potatoes or the moreish Spinach). The other is as a rice bowl; the Picanha Don sees 100g of beef slices served atop butterfly pea flower infused rice alongside pickled cabbage, caramelised onions, and an onsen egg. Feeling particularly hungry (or baller)? Top either option with foie gras or Hokkaido scallops.
Need to return to the office with sobriety? There are some great mocktail options here – such as the fruity Kyoho Sangria or the fancy bandung-inspired Rose – as well as a couple of alcohol-free wines.
Level up your lunch at LeVeL33
If you work closer to Marina Bay Financial Centre, sky-high urban microbrewery restaurant LeVeL33 has lunch options for that business lunch meeting with a view. Even better, it recently tweaked its culinary focus towards sustainability and conscious dining. Executive Chef ArChan Chan has put together lunch offerings that not only taste good, but aims to make you feel good about yourself as well.
For example, Ah Hua Kelong Seafood Bouillabaisse consists of local mussels, prawns, clams and fish delivered fresh every single day from the local fish farm. Then there’s Local Barramundi from Kuhlbarra, the sustainably farmed fish grilled in a banana leaf with spices and very much like a chunky otak-otak.
We also like that LeVeL33 works with a local “Ugly Vegetable” programme, purchasing fresh local vegetables that are usually discarded for aesthetic reasons for its “Ugly” Vegetable Minestrone, as well as other vegetable-based dishes.
For those with particularly robust appetites, LeVeL33’s executive lunch set lets you avail yourself of its raw bar – complete with a range of appetisers, fruits, and cheeses – which is about the closest you can get to a buffet these days. And if you enjoy your beers (assuming your office allows!), don’t forget it’s also a brewery so this may be your preferred lunch option here in the CBD.