Parco Marina Bay: France, food and fashion on the waterfront
When you live in a densely populated city where the national hobby includes shopping, it's a great, almost awesome feeling when you're able to breathe freely and shop leisurely without hordes of hassled shoppers inches from your face.
This is why the new Parco Marina Bay is such joy to waltz through. The S$10 million, 85,000 square feet complex is giving the decade-old Millennia Walk a fresh lease on life. There are over 100 tenants made up of plenty of newcomers to the retail and food scene. Jaded shoppers and weary foodies, time to work up your appetites again.
Level One: For the beauty junkies and Francophiles
Instead of being greeted by the familiar slate of beauty brands, Parco Marina Bay has opted for cult beauty names with a strong emphasis on natural ingredients such as Ahava from Israel, Korres from Greece and Harnn from Thailand. Kiwi brand Living Nature and Australian outfit Perfect Potion offering organic aromatherapy would also please organic beauty buffs.
You can't miss Octa Hotel as well. With 20 outlets in Japan, it's a quaint interpretation of a Parisian hotel -- except it doesn't actually provide lodging of any kind. What it does is to give some respite with its adjoining café serving bistro fare. French-inspired knickknacks, accessories and apparel are also stocked for sale. Perfect for post-croissant browsing.
Level Two: For fashionistas in the making
The second floor is every stylish Alice's wonderland. If you're afraid of being caught dead with the same outfit as somebody else, you'll love the Next NEXT Fashion Incubator where 25 emerging local designers selected for last year's Next NEXT Fashion Designer of the Year competition sell their latest collections.
Fashion labels and boutiques from Korea, Japan and Hong Kong have also set up shop, including a temporary Tokyo Pop-Up Store conceived by Japanese retail maestro Yu Yamada which will be there till May 2, 2010. Among the 33 cutting-edge designers chosen for this project are the artists behind famed brands HIROCOLEDGE and Eding:Post.
Level Three: For the foodies of the world
The food hall on the third floor is aptly called "Itadakimasu" which means "Let's eat" in Japanese. And Japanese food takes center stage with some of Japan’s most popular restaurants making their debut in Singapore. Every self-respecting ramen connoisseur would be familiar with Keisuke Tokyo and Nattsuttei. Both ramen chains are constantly packed with patrons eager for a taste of shrimp broth ramen and pork bone broth ramen respectively, and yes, you can join in the queues for them now.
Pork cutlet fans, make a pit stop at Tonkatsu Shinjuku Saboten. Outlets in Taiwan, Thailand and Korea testify to the deliciously crispy, non-greasy and evenly breaded tonkatsu dished out. Sushi lovers needn't feel left out with Nigatta prefecture's renowned Tomi Zushi's first overseas outlet here.
There’s also Italian family restaurant Tavolo where you can refuel on pastas and meaty mains like Herb Crusted Roasted Rack of Lamb for those who, you know, surprisingly don’t give two hoots about big-named Japanese food.
For more shops and restaurants at the new Parco Marina Bay, click down to www.parco.com.sg.