As fellow office drones confined within the dreary buildings of the Central Business District area, we understand, all too well, the frustrating decision-making process that accompanies everyday's lunch -- we're not at a lack of choices, that's for sure, but only if you count oily bak chor mee and artery-clogging nasi lemak as lunch options too.
Yes, it's the mother of all "first world" problems, but after months of canvassing the CBD (and one too many overpriced salads), we've found five spots that offer choices both kind on our waistlines and our wallets, and fill our stomachs just so. Happy lunching!
(Photo credit: Munch SaladSmith) Salads at Munch are hand-cut to ensure fresh crisp. There are over 60 different salad flavours to choose from.
There's a good reason why the Munch outlets become packed with hungry lunch-goers so quickly (the Robinson Road outlet in particular, sees long queues that just don't quit until after 2pm) -- Munch might have started on the premise of serving healthy food, but its menu of generous sandwiches and wraps, build-it-yourself salads, hotplates, and even fun stuff like rosti, is the last thing you'd associate with "rabbit food". It's substantial, delicious, and health-conscious grub that you'd gladly give up your char kway teow for.
Must-try: Munch's signature roasted chicken, marinated with a special blend of herbs and spices, and slow-cooked in a water oven for a delectable tenderness.
Munch, 112 Robinson Road, #01-01, +65 6223 5197; Marina Bay Link Mall, #B2-19, +65 6509 9825; The Pinnacle Foodcourt, 1D Cantonment Road, #01-01, +65 9846 6368
The Green Bar
(Photo credit: The Green Bar) Besides gourmet salads, The Green Bar also offers fresh paninis for the non-vegetable eaters.
There aren't many salad options at The Green Bar, but they're crafted so lovingly that you wouldn't mind handing over the decision-making reins to them anyway. Ingredients are imported daily from Australia, and artfully layered for beautiful salads tossed and served in wooden bowls and drizzled with homemade dressings. A new outlet at Millenia Walk also serves scrumptious brunch favourites all weekend like should you want to bring the health eating outside of work hours.
Must-try: The Smoked Duck Surprise, a gorgeous salad of crisp greens, roasted pumpkin, potato chunks, and perfectly-seasoned duck slices, is drizzled with a fragrant truffle oil-infused balsamic vinegrette. Portion sizes seemed to have, unfortunately, decreased in the last half a year or so, but quality of food remains impressive.
The Green Bar, 16 Collyer Quay, #01-16/17 Hitachi Towers, +65 6493 6948; Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard #01-91B, +65 6336 0780
The Rotisserie's chicken is bathed in a secret recipe marinade for 12 hours, massaged with a homemade Aussie spice mix before being roasted.
While roast chicken from lesser places dries out and becomes terribly unappetizing after sitting out for too long, The Rotisserie's signature dish remains succulent and juicy thanks to a gentle roasting process and 12-hour marination. Choose any two salads to go with the chicken (we especially love the Asian Chicken Noodle Salad) but do opt for the deliciously addictive crispy fries occasionally since life is too short to not indulge.
Must-try: The Quarter Chicken with salad or fries makes for an excellent full meal, but The Rotisserie also offers other mains like the Crispy Pork Knuckle, BBQ Pork Ribs, and Beer Battered Fish & Chips.
The Rotisserie, 51 Telok Ayer Street, #01-01 China Square Food Centre, +65 6224 5486; 35 Rochester Drive, Rochester Mall @ Buona Vista, #01-06/07, +65 6570 1448; 12 Marina Boulevard, Marina Bay Link Mall, Tower 3 #02-06, +65 6604 6885; 63 Chulia Street, #01-01 OCBC Centre East, +65 6533 3448
The Salad Shop
(photo credit The Salad Shop) Build absolutely any kind of salad you desire at The Salad Shop -- the power's in your hands.
If there was one place that changed our carnivorous eating habits for good in 2012, it was The Salad Shop. The concept is refreshingly simple -- you get full decision-making rights, and the highly-efficient folks at The Salad Shop will build you anything from an all-veg creation to a full-protein carb-based "salad" should you so desire. It's the go-to place for all salad beginners.
Must-try: If you like having decisions made for you instead, The Salad Shop does offer pre-packed salads and pasta salads for takeaway, in addition wraps, sandwiches, and soups. The Yoghurt with Honey and Granola is also terrific for quelling those midday munchies -- it's our essential mid-afternoon/post-workout snack.
The Salad Shop, 1 Bonham Street #01-20, UOB Plaza 2, +65 6536 3686; 79 Anson Road #01-03, +65 6534 8068
UpperCrust sandwiches are gourmet creations (such as the John Dory Schnitzel sandwich with Kaffir Lime Aioli pictured above) that make up full meals all on their own.
Here's what we love about UpperCrust: not only are the sandwiches meticulously created right in front of you (we've never seen such care going into the placement of vegetables onto a piece of bread), they're also tremendously well-endowed -- a standard egg mayo sandwich could easily last two meals, and it's even conveniently sliced in halves for your convenience. A great deal of effort and love has gone into the conceptualization and making of each sandwich -- from the deliciously creative combinations of ingredients, to the use of house-made organic, diary-free and vegan breads -- and it shows.
Must-try: The John Dory Schnitzel sandwich with a tongue-tingling kaffir lime aioli is a monster-sized creation that will make you wonder how you ever put up with other sub-standard sandwiches (we're looking at you, Subway). Without a doubt, one of the best sandwiches we've ever had.
UpperCrust, OUB Centre, 1 Raffles Place, #B1-02C, +65 6536 3138; 64 Circular Road, #01-01, +65 6221 7022