During the past few weeks, a couple of malls opened in the eastern part of Singapore. One is 112@Katong and the other is Changi City Point (opposite Expo MRT station). I’m already aware of 112; in fact I had even been to its predecessor, Katong Mall, which was a dinky, unexciting, and dreary place. So my husband and I were pretty happy when it was bought over and redeveloped. We had been waiting for its opening for some time and finally it happened a few weeks ago. There’re still some shops (mainly eateries) which are not opened yet, like Din Tai Fung and GV cinemas Etc. But I think all the shops will be opened by Christmas.
112@Katong touts itself to be a premium mall of the east, with the presence of high end food court, Food Republic, and eateries like Din Tai Fung, Da Paolo Gastronomia, and Nolboo Hangari Galbi etc. But there’re no popular boutiques like Mango, Zara, Forever 21, or TopShop. The mall is also rather small to have a departmental store. But it does have children education enrichment providers, like a fencing school and even a ballet and music company. The way I look at it, the mall is good for food and movie. In fact some of the eateries open late, like Toastbox opens till 1.00am from Mon to Thurs, Sun and public holidays and until 3.00am on Fri, Sat and eve of public holidays. Even Din Tai Fung will open late as well.
The quality of eateries at 112 definitely give those at the nearest mall, Parkway Parade, a run for their money. In fact it’s the best mall in the east for the wide good quality food selection. At Food Republic, there’re a number of pretty good stalls. Some of the highly recommended food are the fish ball noodle, rojak, BBQ chicken wings and fried Kway Teow (flat noodle). My father-in-law especially likes the fish ball when we brought him there recently, it’s handmade and springy. Food Republic is the only eatery I’ve tried there since I’ve only been to 112 a couple of times. Those other eateries mentioned above are pretty well established and known for their consistent quality. Instead I’m looking forward to trying the new Paradise Group’s restaurant, Canton Paradise, serving Cantonese cuisine, which has not opened yet. In terms of shopping, Parkway Parade has better shops and even a departmental store, and two supermarkets. But that’s because it’s a bigger mall. 112 does have the Marketplace supermarket (high end Cold Storage), but selection is not as wide as in Cold Storage. Anyway at the end of the day, competition is good for consumers.
The other mall is Changi City Point, which is so new that even the basement carpark is not fully completed yet. In fact I didn’t even know there’s a mall until a couple of days ago I had to be at Expo MRT station, and saw it across the street. I told my husband about it and we decided to check out the place yesterday. It appears that the area is rapidly being developed into a business, shopping and residential hub, with many companies setting up their back offices there, and some even moved their entire operations over. There’re already condominiums in the area, and a hotel is being built next to the mall.
It’s a pretty big mall; my husband thinks it has the feel of a US mall because it has a lot of space. In the website, it states that it incorporates flora and fauna into the environment and it’s family friendly. Indeed there’re mini open gardens with water fountains situated inside the mall, and also a roof top garden. There’s also a water playground for kids which will definitely make them go crazy, and a pay-per-use kiddy play area which parents can take a break while their kids jump and run around till they drop.
Like the US malls, there’re also outlet stores of Crocs, Esprit, Adidas etc, and also for the first time, Payless Shoe Source is here in Singapore. But unlike those in the States, the outlets here don’t offer as many product choices. There is a Cold Storage supermarket in the basement which is pretty big and rather pleasant to shop in. (Not a lot of crowd currently.)
In terms of food offering, the choices are not as appealing as those available at 112. There’re 2 foodcourts, one operated by Koufu, where the food is ok; the other is Bagus, operated by the Kopitiam Group, which provides halal food. To be honest, I find the quality of latter food courts below average, in some cases, even really crappy. I avoid the food there if possible.
Anyway this Changi mall does have a couple of good restaurants like Ootoya, an authentic Japanese restaurant (to cater to nearby Japanese residents), and Tung Lok Signature Chinese Restaurant. We have tried Ootoya at Orchard Central and liked the food, but getting a table was a pain in the ass. We had no problem getting a table at this mall. We also found out this outlet has a gimmicky Japanese order system. Using an electronic pen, you tap on the electronic tag next to the dish you want, indicate the quantity and send the request once done. I noticed we were the only one using this because my husband was curious to try it.
Anyway, the food is still good. I ordered a grilled Saba (Mackerel) set and my husband ordered a steamed scallop with rice and soup. The dishes are very flavorful. We also ordered a boiled spinach appetizer and we thought it would be bland, but turned out it was flavored with miso paste and very tasty.
We discovered a pretty little store called ‘House of Mini’ which sells mini cupcakes and mini doughnuts. The former is really the smallest cupcakes I’ve ever seen and they’re so cute! The bigger ones are also rather pretty. I bought a chocolate cupcake to try. It’s a little too sweet, but quite moist. I’ll get the mini cupcakes for my nieces and mini doughnuts for desserts for the family Christmas dinner.
Anyway looking at these 2 malls, go to 112 for food and movie, and not for shopping. As for the Changi mall, it’s a good place to shop for groceries. In fact my husband said we should go there, while the pleasant experience lasts.
(Footnote: was at 112 today, 17 Dec. Tried Canton Paradise, will review in separate post. Found out that the following eateries open late, till 1am, and even later on weekends and eve of public holidays: Toastbox, Max Brenner chocolate bar, Nando Chicken, TGI Friday, Baci Italian cafe and Din Tai Fung. The only eatery not opened yet is DTF. Also saw a movie at GV, pretty comfortable seats.)
(Update on 29 Dec: we went to 112 at 11.30pm. Only Toastbox opens late. DTF was already closed, in fact it closes at 10pm, and even on weekends it’s 10.30pm. The rest like Nando, Baci and Max Brenner etc, close at 12 midnight or earlier. So the 112 marketing brochure that touts late night eateries is just that, marketing only.)