Around the World at Cross Street Exchange 

There’s a lot more to the CBD than just office buildings, and it’s called Cross Street Exchange (CSE)! Back and packed with even more dining and retail offerings, CSE was formerly known as China Square Central. After undergoing major renovations from 2018 through 2019, it now offers lavish dining and cosy eateries, as well as beauty and personal care services all under one roof. 

Singaporeans are big on food and with CSE’s myriad of dining outlets showcasing cuisine from around the world, you’ll be salivating by the time you finish reading this article.

1. BigBrand Satay Boutique (Malaysian)

Big Brand. Big Meals. Image Credit: BigBrand Satay Boutique

Let’s start with something close to home with salty-savoury Melaka Style Hainanese satay, paired with sweet sour pineapple peanut sauce. To get things started, sample BigBrand Satay’s Signature Pork Satay, Truffle Pork Satay, Sichuan Mala Pork Satay or Laksa Pork Satay.

If you want to go all out, drop by on a weekend and indulge in an eat-and-drink all you can Satay Buffet. With over 30 varieties of satay and side dishes, including one stick each (per person) of Wagyu Beef Satay and Grilled Prawns, you will not go home hungry. The buffet costs $150 nett for four persons and children younger than 13 years can even eat and drink for FREE! Health buffs will also be happy to know that most of their ingredients and condiments are organically sourced, and that BigBrand Satay Boutique features an organic salad bar when you dine in! 

Visit BigBrand Satay Boutique at Cross Street Exchange, 181 South Bridge Road (#01-04/K3) from 10am to 10pm daily. 

2. Folks Collective (Thai)

Try their adorable Tiffin Lunch Sets for only $10.90 or $12.90! Image Credit: Folks Collective

If you love Thai food, you’ll love Folks Collective. Its interior is inspired by a Bangkok night market that grew out of an abandoned railway station. Here, you’ll find a full range of traditional Thai favourites plus fusion dishes like Soba Crab Green Curry, Buddha Japchae Bowl and Beef Massaman Curry.

On weekdays, they offer lunch sets served in vintage tiffin containers, with four mains to choose from: Chargrilled Pork Skewers or Tofu Satay, Pineapple Fried Rice with Chicken Floss and Roasted Cashew Nuts, Grilled Lemongrass Chicken or Tofu Satay and Grilled Chicken Breast and Cauliflower Rice. Vegetarians will also be spoilt for choice here, as Folks Collective has close to 40 vegetarian dishes on the menu!  

Visit Folks Collective at Cross Street Exchange, 20 Cross Street (#01-25/26/27) from 11am to 11pm (Monday to Saturday). The restaurant is closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Want to secure seats ahead? Book a table via Frasers Makan Master.

3. Ishiro Fusion Rice Bowl (Japanese)

Ishiro's trick to getting that perfect glaze... Image Credit: Ishiro Fusion Rice Bowl

Ishiro Fusion Rice Bowl prides themselves on using the finest ingredients without the addition of MSG, and a signature sauce that leaves their patrons wanting more. Go gaga over their Curry Katsu Bowl, Unagi Bowl, Grilled Eel Rice or Mentaiko Salmon Rice Bowl

But if there's one thing you have to absolutely try, make sure it’s Ishiro’s specialty — the Aburi Chashu Bowl. This tender pork belly is torched to perfection before being laid on a bed of fragrant Japanese rice. Topped with Ishiro's signature sauce, every bite is a rich and flavourful experience. What's more, each bowl costs $10.90 or less.

Visit Ishiro Fusion Rice Bowl at Cross Street Exchange, 18 Cross Street (#B1-127) from 11.30am to 10pm daily (last order at 9.30pm).

4. Maison Kayser (Artisanal French Bakery)

Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked bread in the morning? Image Credit: Maison Kayser

If you’re looking for a light breakfast or pastries to go with a coffee break, we’ve got just the place for you. Maison Kayser is a contemporary artisanal French bakery founded in France by Chef Eric Kayser. During his travels, Kayser explored different types of breads and created his own interpretation of them — resulting in fusion delights like Turkish Ekmek, Japanese Pain de Mie, Austrian Viennois or the Italian Ciabatta.

At Maison Kayser, bread is baked fresh every morning, the traditional way: placed on linen fabric and into a deck oven. They also serve a range of beautifully decorated pastries and entremets like flavourful tarts and melt-in-your mouth eclairs, as well as bite-sized treats like Madeleines, Pound Cake and Chouquettes.

Visit Maison Kayser at Cross Street Exchange, 18 Cross Street (#01-102) from 10am to 10pm daily.

5. Ta Lu Prawn Noodles (Singaporean)

Prawn Mee, anyone?  

Craving something local? Head over to Ta Lu Prawn Noodles, where you’ll find the Singaporean Chinese cuisine that you know and love. Popular for its Prawn Mee — patrons here love its flavourful soup broth, well-cooked noodles and chili sauce. They also serve fried carrot cake, baos, egg noodles soup and porridge, as well as coffee/tea and toast with kaya butter for your breakfast and coffee runs.

Just a heads up, it can get crowded! So, here’s a pro-tip: Chope a table once you arrive and give your table number to the cashier when you place an order. They will deliver your food to you steaming hot and ready!

Visit Ta Lu Prawn Noodles at Cross Street Exchange, 22 Cross Street (#01-50/53) from 7.30am to 9.30pm (Monday to Saturday) and 8am to 8pm (Sunday).

6. Wang Dae Bak BBQ Restaurant (Korean)

Enjoy an authentic and tasteful meal whilst savouring the chargrilled BBQ smell we’ve come to love. Image Credit: Wang Dae Bak BBQ Restaurant

Modelled after a typical barbecue restaurant in South Korea, Wang Dae Bak Korean BBQ Restaurant, winner of HungryGoWhere's Eat-lections 2015 for Best Korean restaurant — features a rustic interior with robust chimney exhaust. One special feature is that Wang Dae Bak prefers the use of charcoal instead of electric grills, which gives meat a nicer char and a smokiness that elevates its overall flavour.

We’d recommend going for a variety of marinated and non-marinated meat, because each has its own distinct flavour. Specials include the Boneless Prime Rib, Pork Belly and Marinated Shoulder-Loin. Wang Dae Bak also serves a free-flow omelette! Why? Apparently, eggs help to neutralise the spices from the meat. Just ask the staff, and they’ll pour out an egg mixture on the sides of your barbecue plate, for you to cook the egg just the way you like it.

Visit Wang Dae Bak Korean BBQ Restaurant at Cross Street Exchange, 22 Cross Street (#01-59/64) from 11.30am to 2.30pm and 5.30pm to 10.30pm (Monday to Saturday). The restaurant is closed on Sundays. Want to secure seats ahead? Book a table via Frasers Makan Master.

7. Luka (Italian)

Hands down the coolest handmade brick oven we’ve seen. Image Credit: Luka 

Luka is a contemporary Italian Pizza and Wagyu Beef bar, with a smidgen of Japanese influence, spearheaded by owner and Chef Takashi Okuno. Since it opened its first outlet along Tanjong Pagar Road almost three years ago, it’s garnered a steady set of patrons who love its affordable food and wine. Now, soon to open at Cross Street Exchange, we’re sure it’s bound to conquer more hearts in the CBD.

First-timers should acquaint themselves with Luka’s signature dishes, including the Luka Housemade Wagyu Bresaola ($12), 62-Degree Egg with Wagyu & Uni ($10), Plin Agnolotti Ravioli ($18), and Prosciutto e Rucola Burrata Pizza ($23).

Luka will open for business soon at Cross Street Exchange, 20 Cross Street (#01-33A/34/35/36) from 11am to 1am daily.

8. Group Therapy Cafe (Western)

Enjoy a healthy and scrumptious brunch in a casual setting. Image Credit: Group Therapy

Group Therapy is a home-grown café purposefully hidden away on the second storey to allow groups to seek respite in the heart of the CBD. It’s become a popular hangout for brunches, lunches and afternoon coffees! But there’s another reason why people flock to it — the food and drinks menu is massive for a café.

You can choose from pancakes and crepes, pastas and sandwiches/burgers, salads and eggs. For desserts, there’s waffles with ice cream, as well as homemade cakes; and they’ve got a range of drinks from non-alcoholic (coffee, tea, cocoa, juice and soda) to craft beers for when you really need to unwind.

Group Therapy Café soon be open at Cross Street Exchange, 181 South Bridge Road (#01-05 & #K1-04) from 9am to 10pm.

So, there you have it! With its impressive range of restaurants, bistros and cafés featuring an array of international and local food fare, heading down to CSE means you can eat your way around the world without leaving town.

Disclaimer: All prices quoted are subject to service charge and GST, where applicable.