While Easties eagerly anticipate the re-opening of Century Square, a new dining space has sprung up at Tampines Mall.
Makanista, an upscale food enclave that prides itself on local cuisine with a twist, has been around since early April. Comprising four stalls (each serving dishes from one of Singapore’s four core racial groups), the 130 people seater space takes inspiration from the hipster cafe movement; fusion dishes makes its way into an otherwise traditional menu, while the decor screams industrial chic with an occasional splash of colour from the wall decal and mismatched mosaic tiles.
The eatery is also in the midst of applying for Halal certification, so you can dine from a variety of cuisines with your Malay friends and colleagues – all in air conditioned comfort!
The Yong Tau Foo stand, with its colourful display of ingredients, is the first fixture to greet you a the entrance. Here, inventive renditions of this comforting soup based dish, like Soto, Mee Siam, Satay, and Curry are also available for an added $1. Dry/Soup Yong Tau Foo is priced at $6.50, pretty reasonable for the location and atmosphere. Personally, I enjoyed the soto both the most, with its peppery aftertaste!
The culinary fusion continues at the Chicken Rice Stand, where a feast for chicken rice lovers awaits. The highlight are the combo meals, served on a ceramic rattan dulang which takes inspiration from the traditional Javanese Nasi Ambeng. Who says local food can’t look photogenic?
Available in Single ($8.50), Duo ($16.50) Trio ($23.90), and Quartet ($29.90) portions, each combo meal boasts fragrant rice, house special ramen egg, premium bean sprouts, vegetables in oyster sauce and tau goreng (number of sides correspond to set size), and choice of chicken.
Adventurous palates may delight in the Thai Chicken, which features a tantalising mix of special soy sauce, minced coroner, garlic, ginger, shallots, and palm sugar – or the Mala Chicken, served with a blend of chillis, garlic, black vinegar, oil, and house made sweet sauce.
The mala chicken is tolerably spicy, so no worries for those with tastebud PTSD from previous mala meals (I would prefer if the mala was stronger though – that’s the whole point of mala!)
Classic Hainanese chicken rice is available at $5.50 (+ $0.30 for Thai and Mala chicken).
Who here remembers the time when prata sellers were adding all kinds of crazy toppings to their prata mix? Makanista outdoes itself with East Asian infused creations like Chicken Luncheon and Floss ($8.50) and Okonomiyaki ($7.00), while beloved renditions like Special Tandoori Chicken ($8.50) and Mutton Prata Burger $8.50) are also sold.
Sweet toothed diners will love the Peanut and Jam Prata ($2.80), which features a sinfully indulgent amount of this timeless condiment combo. With this much goodies stuffed inside every hand flipped dough, the Makanista’s pratas can get pretty heavy going even for the hungriest of diners, so it’s a good idea to share.
Last but not least, chomp on some decadent snacks at the Western Stand. The Beef Hamburg and Fries ($10.90) is a staggering combination of beef patty sitting atop a mountain of fries doused in black pepper and truffle cheese sauce.
Korean influences show up in the Spicy Honey Mustard Wings ($7.50 for six pieces). Yummy!
Makanista’s offerings may be priced slightly higher than your average food court. But considering the atmosphere, comfort, and generous portions, I think it’s pretty worth your money, especially with the creativity going on in some of the dishes! If you are hanging around the east side, do check them out.
4 Tampines Central 5, Tampines Mall,
#01-42/43/44, Singapore 529510
Daily: 8Am – 10PM
Words and Images by @chuepachups
***Follow @oo_foodielicious on Facebook and Instagram for more videos, food reviews, travel / lifestyle insights and easy recipe, and @artofgenie on Facebook and Instagram for portrait, architecture and landscape photography!