The beautiful CHIJMES complex is located right in the heart of Singapore‘s central business district. Constructed in the 1950s, the building was originally created as a place of worship and education by the French Catholic nuns who ran the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus. In the past decade, extensive renovations have transformed CHIJMES into one of the top food destinations on the island. Featuring a smorgasbord of culinary and dining styles, this foodie hotspot has something for everyone.
Carnivore is the place to go for meat lovers. The restaurant boasts both indoor and al fresco seating, where patrons can enjoy an authentic Churrasco dining experience. A daily buffet service runs from 6pm-11pm, and features an extensive selection of grilled meats on skewers – Brazilian styles of beef, boneless lamb, pork and chicken, all carved directly at diners’ tables. Accompanying dishes from the buffet spread include feijoada, a black bean and pork stew that’s the national dish of Brazil, as well as hot and cold dishes, soups and desserts. Carnivore at CHIJMES is an excellent place to unwind after a long day exploring the Lion City.
At the Berlin Bar, the name goes further than just the city it references. Just like the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989, this vibrant bar and restaurant strives to tear down the walls that separate people. The team thrive on a mantra of welcoming everyone, regardless of race, creed or other beliefs. The menu strives to emulate that same soul-warming inclusivity, with dishes ranging from nostalgia-inducing Bangers & Mash to fusion efforts, like the Kimchi Mushroom Burger. Depending on what kind of evening you’re after, you can slow down the pace at the chilled al fresco tables or step inside where a DJ and live band will get you moving.
Just one of few tenants on the second floor of CHIJMES, Coriander Leaf more than makes up for lack of outdoor dining space with its stunning interior décor. The main restaurant features an open kitchen edged by booths, as well as a smattering of intimate tables. A private dining room with seating for 20 people is also available for corporate events. The menu is best described as contemporary Pan Asian cuisine, helmed by Samia Ahad, whose culinary experience includes working with Michelin-starred chef Wayne Nish. Standout dishes include charcoal-grilled baby lamb chops and Nepalese minced-chicken dumplings (momo), plus there’s also a dozen gluten-free options.
As beautiful as CHIJMES is, IndoChine’s other restaurant on the island snatches the title of most dramatic location: perched atop one of the iconic SuperTrees at Gardens by the Bay. IndoChine makes the somewhat worrisome claim that it’s the only place where diners can enjoy the varied cuisines of Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia – all from the same kitchen. For most foodies, this likely brings to mind the small-town ‘Asian’ restaurants serving a mix of Chinese, Japanese and Korean food that’s as inedible as it is unidentifiable. However, at IndoChine, this is not the case, thankfully. The restaurant has taken these distinct flavours, as well as some from the West, and discovered creative and innovative ways to showcase them beautifully, such as the Vietnamese Coffee Rubbed Juicy Wings and Crispy Lychee Prawn Beignets.
The Wharf Oyster Bar has recently revamped its menu to create a more casual feel – but the food quality has remained top of the line. Like most of the CHIJMES eateries, the oyster bar is located outside, but still feels comfortable even in the afternoon, thanks to several large fans and an immense sunshade. The dozen premium oyster platter is certainly worth the splurge, but be sure to check out their specials for those days you’ve got Champagne tastes on a beer budget. For diners who don’t like the creamy mineral flavours, the menu also contains a smattering of tapas, as well as your standard gastro-bar mains.