Standing in the middle of Singapore’s CBD, right next to City Hall MRT, the CHIJMES that we know and love today is an enclave of restaurants and bars perfect for date night, a girls’ weekend out, or simply if you’re looking to unwind after work.
What you might not know is that this historic landmark is over 170 years old! Its name comes from the fact that it began life as a Catholic convent in 1852, known as the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ). It underwent a massive S$50 million facelift in 2014 to reveal idyllic courtyards, neoclassical buildings and sprawling green lawns— a perfect backdrop for a day out.
Soak in the rich history at these 10 best restaurants at CHIJMES, ranging from ramen shops to romantic date-night worthy spots.
1. Hakata Ikkousha Ramen (#01-07)
Ramen aficionados, I present to you one of my favourite ramen shops in Singapore: Hakata Ikkousha Ramen.
This is probably one of the most authentic ramen shops in Singapore. Its founder, Mr Kousuke Yoshimura, started Hakata Ikkousha Ramen in 2004 at Hakata, Fukuoka, and its classic tonkotsu ramen is so well-loved that it can now be found in over 11 countries all over the world.
In Singapore, you can only find Hakata Ikkousha Ramen in two places: CHIJMES and Tanjong Pagar.
Come here for the classic Tonkotsu Special (S$18.50), which comes with four pieces of chashu, slippery ramen noodles that are made in-house, and a creamy tonkotsu broth that’s consistently yummy.
Those looking for something bolder or spicier can try its Tonkotsu Black (from S$15) or God Fire (S$15.50), the latter of which comes with customisable spice levels.
Hakata Ikkousha Ramen is also well known for its gyoza birthday promotion, where they give you the same amount of gyozas as your age if it’s your birthday!
2. Señor Taco (#01-19)
For good food and good vibes no matter the day or occasion, check out Señor Taco.
Nestled in the heart of CHIJMES, this spot boasts views of the main chapel as well as plenty of greenery, creating a lovely ambience. While Señor Taco also has air-conditioned dining areas inside, we highly recommend you pick a seat at its alfresco area for the best experience.
Señor Taco serves authentic Mexican food, so you can expect to find classic staples like Baja Fish Tacos (S$17), Cochinita (S$10/S$27) and Carnitas (S$10/S$27) here. For sharing, try its Jalapeno Popper (S$16), which are cheese-stuffed deep-fried jalapenos, or its 1-metre long Taco Fiesta (S$79), which comes with 8 tacos!
Pair your grub with Señor Taco’s daily promotions, which range from 1-for-1 Cocktails on Thursdays to Ladies’ Night on Wednesdays, and even Happy Hour on selected days.
3. Carnivore Brazilian Churrascaria (#01-32)
Carnivore Brazilian Churrascaria presents a one-of-a-kind buffet experience: where roaming passadors (meat servers) bring perfectly grilled offerings on skewers straight from the grill to your table, carving each delectable piece of meat right in front of your eyes.
This authentic Brazilian restaurant has been around since 2005, with previous outlets being at Marina Bay Sands and The Grandstand.
The buffet pricing starts from S$69++ per adult for Sundays to Thursdays and S$79++ per adult for Fridays and Saturdays.
Note that this allows you all-you-can-eat access to any of Carnivore’s churrasco menu, which includes various parts of the beef, lamb, chicken, fish and pork, but its churrasco menu changes from time to time, so be sure to keep an open mind when dining there!
With that much meat on your plate, check out Carnivore’s salad bar, which includes hot and cold salads, appetisers and Brazilian side dishes.
4. Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Restaurant (#01-01/02)
Gyu-Kaku is no stranger to the yakiniku game, with over 600 whopping locations in Japan alone. This tried-and-tested Japanese BBQ restaurant, quietly tucked away at a far corner in CHIJMES, specialises in premium Japanese wagyu that’s cooked over a charcoal grill, presenting a luxe yet no-fuss experience perfect for any occasion.
At Gyu-Kaku, you can choose two ways of eating: either go for the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet, which is available for Japanese Wagyu (S$89.80++ per pax) or Australia Wagyu (S$69.80++ per pax).
Both allow you to pick from more than 70 items, ranging from your standard meat cuts, deep-fried food, cold and grilled appetisers and more. Note that for the meat selection, there are special marinades such as garlic, basil, miso, tare, teriyaki and shio, as well as your typical cuts. The buffet lasts for 90 minutes, so be sure to eat your fill!
Alternatively, Gyu-Kaku also has an à la carte menu which you can order from.
5. Privé (#01-33)
Well-loved Privé is an established brand in Singapore, with outlets sprawled across our little red dot. You’ll find Privé at CHIJMES too— this time, located right next to one of the historic site’s idyllic lawns, making it a great place to chill with a mojito or two, or simply if you’re looking for a casual place for brunch.
A must-try for the green lovers is Tracy’s Favourite Salad (S$20). This loaded bowl comes with a stunning amount of ingredients (25, to be exact), some of which include baby spinach, kale, mesclun, broccoli, purple cabbage, hummus, pomegranate, goji berries and garlic chips.
As with most Privé outlets, there’s your perennial brunch favourites too, such as Eggs Royale (S$19.5) and Ultimate Big Breakfast (S$25), as well as other cafe classics ranging from burgers to pizzas and pasta.
Privé’s Happy Hour happens daily from 4pm to 8pm, so if you’re looking to wind down, this might just be the perfect place to be, as selected cocktails go for S$9.50 per glass while spirits cost S$7.50 per glass.
6. Renga-Ya (#01-11/12)
Renga-Ya specialises in authentic charcoal-grilled yakiniku, so if you’re looking for beautifully marbled wagyu, this is the place to be when you’re at CHIJMES.
All the beef served here is imported directly from Japan, with prime cuts coming from the Oak Leaf Farm in Hokkaido. There, the cattle are raised on natural feed mixed with herbs, resulting in non-GMO slabs of beef that undergo a 40-day aging process.
Take your pick from exquisite wagyu cuts like Thick Tongue (S$32), Wagyu Karubi (S$26) and Wagyu Harami (S$28) for the best yakiniku experience at Renga-Ya.
What I particularly like about Renga-Ya is its versatility. It offers a more wallet-friendly lunch menu that features rice sets such as Chargrill Oyako & Unagi Oyako Don Set (S$19) and Beef Curry Rice Set (S$16), so you won’t have to break the bank when dining here.
7. Whitegrass (#01-26/27)
Housed in the historic CHIJMES is 1-Michelin star Whitegrass, which is helmed by Chef Takuya Yamashita. This elegant restaurant specialises classic French cuisine with a Japanese touch, with menus that are inventive and intriguing. This is certainly a place to head to if you’re looking to celebrate special occasions!
Every dish served at Whitegrass is a work of art, and you’ll be treated to a multi-course meal that utilises the freshest produce there is.
Its Lunch Menu starts at S$128 per person and features unique items like Braised Wagyu with Cranberry and Yama Budo Sauce, while its Dinner Menu starts at S$218 per person. Think slow-braised Omi Wagyu Beef paired with sauce made from reduced beef stock, or Milk-Fed Lamb Pyrenees with Winter Spinach and Jus d’agneau— super exquisite!
As with the nature of a menu that focuses on fresh produce, the items change according to the season and market availability, so it’s best to check its website for the latest menus.
8. The Glasshouse (#01-03)
Looking for an idyllic cafe to rest your feet after shopping, or a peaceful and gorgeous space to catch up with a friend over a cuppa or two? Head to The Glasshouse, a greenhouse-themed cafe in CHIJMES. This Scandinavian-inspired space serves up artisanal toasts and fresh brews, and is often frequented by office workers and students from the schools in the nearby areas.
At The Glasshouse, it’s all about the quintessential brunch experience. Look forward to fan-favourites like the Avocado Dukkah & Over-Easy Egg Tartine (S$18) or the Breakfast Bagel (S$18), or if you’re here for tea break or dessert, remember to check out its Glasshouse Sourdough Waffles (S$14).
Fabulous for sharing are its House-made Hummus Bowl with Toasts (from S$16) and of course, the ever-famous Tater Tots (S$12), which come with add-on sauces and toppings like Parmesan & Truffle Oil (+S$3) and Mentai Mayo & Bonito Flakes (+S$6).
9. Hvala (#01-04/05)
Situated right next to The Glassdoor at CHIJMES is Hvala, a modern teahouse that focuses on Japanese teas. The entire space is designed to look and feel like a Japanese teahouse, and the experience starts from the moment you step into the shop.
Soft natural light and plenty of natural plants make it feel like a combination of a glasshouse and small Japanese garden. There are even art pieces and Japanese teaware displayed around the store, with a miniature zen garden at the back!
At Hvala, it’s all about Japanese tea. In fact, their supplier in Japan is a traditional tea wholesaler, and the Hvala team visits them at least twice a year to ensure its quality.
Go straight for the matcha drinks and you won’t be disappointed. Depending on the way you like your matcha, you can go for the Single Cultivar Matcha (S$14.90), aka just matcha and hot water that you whisk yourself, or opt for matcha with milk such as Matcha Hojicha Latte (S$5.90 for hot, S$7.50 for iced) and Matcha Goma Latte (S$5.90 for hot, S$7.50 for iced).
You might be interested to know that apart from desserts like warabimochi, cakes and gelato, Hvala also sells premium and ceremonial grade matcha drinks here, such as the Yuki (S$5.50 for hot, S$6.50 for iced), which uses premium grade matcha, and the Hana (S$10.90 for hot, S$11.90 for iced), which features top-grade ceremonial matcha.
10. TONKATSU by Ma Maison (#01-09)
The Ma Maison brand has clocked over 40 years in the business now, with outlets in Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand— this is how you know that they’re a tried-and-tested brand that serves the real deal.
Out of all the restaurants that the Ma Maison brand offers, such as Cafe Ma Maison and Ma Maison Restaurant, I personally love TONKATSU by Ma Maison for its high quality deep-fried pork sets.
When you’re at TONKATSU by Ma Maison, especially its CHIJMES outlet, be sure to try its Kurobuta Katsu Set (S$31.80++). Though the price tag is pretty steep, you’re getting high quality black pork loin that has been breaded to absolute perfection. Pair it with a heap of fresh cabbage rice and miso soup for the quintessential tonkatsu experience.
There are also other katsu options like the Rosu Katsu Set (from S$21.80++), Hire Katsu Set (from S$23.80) and even non-pork options like Ebi Set (from S$27.80++). Note that TONKATSU by Ma Maison gives free flow cabbage, rice and soup for each set!
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