New stalls at ARC 380 have opened since our writeup in Feb 2021! We were back recently to check them out! We have updated the list of stalls worth trying there!
Remember Lavender Food Square? They used to house famous hawker stalls like Kok Kee Wanton Mee, Miow Sin Carrot cake and Albert Street Prawn Mee. The hawker centre, together with the neighbouring Eminent Plaza, were demolished in 2014 and in its place now stands ARC 380. The building has been in operation since 2018, but it was only recently that they refashioned the ground level into a Food Court with outdoor sitting.
At first sight, what is immediately apparent is that this is not your usual Food Court where you can expect Zhap Chye Png (Economic Rice), Chicken Rice, Yong Tau Foo and Fishball noodles. Instead, they have an eclectic mix of food stalls which make it more of a destination site.
I have been to the place three times and having tasted the food from the various stalls, here are the ones I feel are worth making a trip down to try!
July 2022 Video Review
Note that Pang’s Hakka Noodles is no longer operating.
Feb 2021 Video Review
Note that the Thai noodle stall, Thong Thai Meatball is no longer operating.
1. Happy Congee
Opens daily: 9am to 8pm
Happy Congee is the one excuse you need to visit ARC 380. I know the Hong Kong Chef personally and he is an excellent cook. The quality of the food here is as good as any Hong Kong dim sum restaurant at a fraction of the price.
The Zhar Leong (Rice Noodle Roll with Dough Stick $4) is as good as it gets. The Chee Cheong Fun is done the traditional way with cloth and is thin and silky smooth. The real skill is being able to retain the crispiness of the you tiao while the inside is still chewy and bready. This is a dish not commonly found anywhere outside of a Dim Sum restaurant and for $4 it is the place if you are also a fan of this dish! 4.5/5
The stall also does an excellent Hong Kong style congee. The congee is smooth and creamy and they serve the Iconic Hong Kong boat congee which has slices of fish, dried squid, scallops and peanuts! Ultimate comfort food! 4.25/5
2. 鑫鹏拉面刀削面 Xin Peng La Mian Dao Xiao Mian:
Opens daily: 10:00am to 9:30pm, closed: Tuesdays
If you are looking for a quick Xiao Long Bao fix in a nice air con environment without having to pay the extra ++, then this is one place you might like to consider. The Xiao Long Bao here are bigger than the ones you get at the restaurants and the skin is slightly thicker and not as delicate. But they don’t break easily and are filled with a very tasty pork filling and each bao is filled with the requisite spoonful of comforting soup! Not the best of the best, but certainly very good especially at $5.80 for 8pcs. 4.25/5
They also have other Shanghainese noodles and dumplings which you might like to also check out while you are there!
3. Fantastic Dim Sum (new)
Opens daily: 7:30am to 7:30pm
This new dim sum stall has several items that are worth trying. We didn’t expect much at first but were really impressed with their Wu Kok (Yam Meat Puff). They managed to get the crust super crisp and airy which we would never have expected of a food court dim sum stall. 4.5/5. Their Liu Sha Bao (salted yolk charcoal bao) us aksi very good. The salted egg custard has the right balance of sweet and savoury and the “lava” flows out when you tear open the bao. 4.25/5. The Ha Gao (Prawn dumpling) is decent but the skin is a tad soft. 3.5/5 Their Siew Mai is also not the best but they have interesting flavours like Otah and Black Truffle which are interesting enough to sample. The colorful skin is made from natural ingredients like spinach, blue pea flower and dragonfruit and having a basket of it on the table would surely be a topic for conversation. 3.75/5
The average price of a plate of dim sum is about $3:30- $5 which is not bad considering that you get to eat in a nice air-conditioned environment. For a complete dim sum experience, you can purchase porridge and Zha Leong from Happy Congee and Xiao Long Bao and guo tie from Xin Peng La Mian! 4/5
4. Lam’s Garden (new)
11am – 9pm, closed: Monday
We have written about Lam’s Garden when they were at City Gate along Beach Road. They have now relocated to ARC 380 Lavender food court and streamlined their menu to focus on their signature dishes like their twin tower crispy noodles and Salted Egg Fish Skin. The good thing about their move to the food court is that there is now more dining space for their customers and you also get to order stuff from the other stalls! 4/5
5. Korean Food, Robot Chicken Pocha (new)
11:30am to 2:30pm & 5:30pm – 9:30pm, closed: Sundays
Tucked in a corner of the food court is a mini Korean restaurant where you can find an array of Korean dishes like army stew, ginseng soup, Tteobokki and Korean rice bowls. What you can’t miss is the robot arm behind the glass window that does the job of deep-frying the chicken, hence the name of the stall. The chicken is nice and crispy but the Yangnyeom and Honey soy sauce didn’t quite have that knockout punch. It isn’t the best Korean fried chicken we’ve come across, but if you have a craving for fried chicken while the rest of your friends are eating other stuff, then its decent enough to order a plate. 3.5/5
6. Pathum Authentic Thai Cuisine (new)
10:00am – 9:30pm, closed: Tuesdays
The owners of the previous Thai Beef Noodle stall have changed their concept to a stall that sells Thai Cuisine. So, you will be able to find your Mango salad, green curry, steamed fish and Tom Yum soup now at ARC 380. We were only able to try their Tom Yum soup which does have that note of authenticity but just didn’t quite hit the spot for us. 3.5/5 We were told that their Mango Salad and other dishes were well worth trying but we didn’t managed to as we already hit the limit of what our stomachs can handle!
7. Char-Grill Bar
Opens daily: 11:30am to 10:00pm
The boss of Char Grill Bar, Mr Fong Chee Cheong, also happens to run the entire Food Court and is the person responsible for bringing in the eclectic mix of stalls at the place. The official name of this place is actually BGAIN @Lavender Food Court and Mr Fong runs a number of BGAIN Coffeeshops. This is their first venture into this type of Shopping Centre Food Court.
Ironically, Mr Fong, who arrived in Singapore from Ipoh many years ago as a kitchen-hand, used to run the Zhap Chye Png (Economic Rice) stall at the defunct Lavender Food Square and is the only original tenant who is now here at ARC 380.
Fans of Char Grill Western Food will be familiar with the franchise’s “Value for Money” offerings. What I was most impressed with is their brown sauce which they actually make themselves from beef bones and trimmings.
The Triple Smashed Burger and Canadian Poutine are unfortunatey no longer available at Char Grill.
Aside from the stalls I highlighted, here is a list of the other stalls in the Food Court:
8. Thong Thai Meatball (closed)
Having lived in Thailand for two years, I can say that this bowl of Thai style beef noodle soup tastes really authentic. They specially import a herb called “sweet grass” from Thailand specially to make the soup and their meat balls are made fresh in Singapore from a authentic Thai recipe. They are an offshoot from their parent restaurant in Golden Mile. 4.25/5
Other stalls include:
1. Mala Xiang Guo 11:00am – 9:45pm, closed: alternate Wed
2. Indian Food 10:30am – 9:30pm, closed: Sun
3. BGAIN 380 Drinks Stall
Lavender Food Court is back in quite a different form! There are enough good stalls here to make a trip to check out. The three things I would specially go there for are the Zhar Leong, Wu Kok and Xiao Long Bao!
This post was done in partnership with ARC 380 with the proviso that we reserve the right to only promote the stalls that we genuinely like.