Mandarin Gallery is a four-level food and retail haven of exotic food and quintessential boutiques. Located along Orchard Road, it is easily accessible by bus and MRT.
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Probably one of the most underrated malls right smack in the heart of town. Located in between Cineleisure and Takashimaya, this is definitely one of the best spots in town. Considering the stores have items that are all priced on the higher side, consumers are usually people with more spending power thus it's quieter compared to its neighbouring malls!
Located in the building are some popular restaurants like Ippudo, Antoinette and WIld Honey. You can see (very) long queues during meal times. Besides the eateries, the mall is practically empty. Other than designer brands like Mulberry, Y-3 and Emporio Armarni (just to name a few), the mall also has Ambush (high end indie apparel brands) and The Denim Store which sells higher end jeans such as Nudie.
Oh tips for the ladies, when you want an appointment with Strip, do call the one here at Mandarin Gallery. Less people so short waiting time. One of my favourite stores here is .woodwould. which stocks stationery and other whimsical knick knacks. Definitely a mall with surprises, worth checking out!
Mandarin Gallery is one of the go-to places in the Orchard area when you get bored by the other shopping malls like 313 and ION. Unlike in the case of ION, one just doesn't tire of Mandarin Gallery. It's definitely way smaller than many malls in Orchard and there probably isn't much to shop around by way of clothes and bags and shoes since just about everything is way over budget (for us poor, ordinary folk), but it's a nice, cosy place that is usually quite empty at most times of the day, which is perfect if you want to avoid crowds.
At some levels, there's a sitting area somewhere along the way, usually at some obscure corner away from most of the shops, where there are comfortable, red couches -- a perfect resting spot for tired shoppers and for beguiling the rest of the day in idle chatter. And perhaps, because of its location, it's also a perfect spot for couples to make out, which explains the rather amusing "no making-out sign" in those areas.
Of course, whenever we're at Mandarin Gallery, we're usually there for the food, be it breakfast, some rather exquisite Japanese fare, or simply a lazy afternoon tea. And it goes without saying too that you shouldn't visit any of the restaurants there on a budget. But whether you have the cash to spare, it's definitely worth the occasional visit and indulgence, whether in food or just ambience. As many have remarked, it's indeed a hidden gem of Orchard and easy to miss despite the huge sign at the entrance. But that's part of the appeal of Mandarin Gallery.
A hidden gem
Mandarin Gallery had always been a place I walked past without giving much thought. At the very most, I would just think, “Hmm, I’ve never been in yet”. There was just something about the place’s exterior that just blends into the background and doesn’t welcome you in. That was until I was told about Wild Honey, a lovely but expensive place for brunch.
Having heard my friend rave about the place, I was insistent on going there for brunch, and was willing to wait half an hour to get in. That also gave me ample time to explore Mandarin Gallery. After walking about, I couldn’t understand why this place was not filled with people. The whole place exudes a very “posh” aura and the shops are also very interesting and one-of-a-kind.
Soon after, Ippudo was opened, and though human traffic may have increased a little, Mandarin Gallery could really use more customers.
Come solely for the food!
Mandarin Gallery is almost an invisble shopping mall because outside of the mall are designer shops like Mont Blanc, Marc Jacobs that you almost couldnt find a entrance to enter. Actually in my opinion, there is nothing much to do there except to eat.
They sell expensive designer stuff, but then again ION offers more variety of designer stuff as compared to Mandarin Gallery. The appeal about Mandarin Gallery is that it houses many of the highly-raved food by critics and bloggers online. Those looking for all day brunch or desserts can choose from Wild Honey, Jones the Grocer, and Anointte etc. Tauted as the best ramen in Singapore, Ippudo is also proudly situated in Mandarin Gallery and draws long queues from diners.
I will come to Mandarin Gallery purely for the food
Never knew it existed until i stepped in.
Somehow it's exterior just didn't appeal to me to want to walk in. Orchard road has many many eye catching malls, and this plain looking, glass-ed mall just seemed, well, plain. It didn't seem like it had anything interesting inside which would capture my eyes.
But i was wrong, for the most times i stepped in, it was because of the food they have in there. I was dying to go to Wild Honey and soon learnt and checked out this mall because i wanted to visit this breakfast restaurant.
While waiting for my turn to enter, i checked out the shops, they were more like boutiques. This mall would be th sort of place where people would come with an intention, instead of just to window shop. I went into an art gallery which was pretty rare to find in other shopping malls and the works just astounded me. The mall was quiet and had little traffic, which makes it a great place to spend a quiet afternoon.
Expensive shopping place
While there has been enough hype about the food options available at Mandarin Gallery, in particular, the Ippudo Ramen, I beg to differ. While I find Ippudo Ramen's standard to be reasonable, I still prefer Marutama Ramen. I need to highlight that Ippudo Ramen is usually very packed and the tables are so closed together that it makes it even hard to sit in comfort.
The cake house, Antoinette, isn't one of my favorite for I find their cakes to be worth much lesser than what you're paying for. I'm someone who doesn't mind paying for a cuppa and good cakes, especially in between a long day of shopping but the cakes at Antoinette just doesn't quite make the mark for me. I would prefer the cakes to be smoother and flavorful but Antoinette cakes just lacked the quality I'm looking for (the only Antoinette is the one near Maxwell). However, having walked past the Antoinette at Mandarin Gallery, I've to give it to their decors, for the doll-house design would definitely appeal to the ladies.
Wild Honey is one place that I've heard of and very tempted to try but yet to do so.
On a side note, shopping at Mandarin Gallery is definitely not for everyone. I've once ventured into this shop called Bread and Butter (if I remember correctly) and a part of normal looking jeans cost $800+! I recalled joking with my gf that I even have to carefully watch where I sit, or even refrain from sitting at all, if I were to buy and wear that pair of jeans.
high-class shopping mall for exquisite shops and a place for a break from the fast pace along Orchard Road
Mandarin Gallery consists of many boutique shops and restaurants. The atmosphere is quiet and peaceful, as there are usually few people walking within the mall. Best part, they have cushioned chairs on each level, for people to rest their tired legs. There is an interesting sign that prohibits people to kiss or sleep on the chairs.
The mall is not a place that I frequent, compared to the other areas in town, for the fact that the prices of the apparels and food are considered the high-range. It is perhaps a place for the fashion conscious, or those who are willing to splurge on branded apparels and good food.
People are able to access to the rooftop of the mall, and overlooking Orchard Road, it is a fascinating sight, and there is a slight breeze at times. Interesting shops that are worth a visit would include Arteastiq, which is a great place for some painting and letting the creative juices flow.
For a break from the hectic pace bustling along Orchard Road, Mandarin Gallery will be a nice place to drop by for a snack at one of its many café outlets.
posh & exquisite shops
Mandarin Gallery houses mainly high end boutiques selling exquisite furniture, jewellery, watches, art pieces, gowns etc. there are also stores providing services for nails, hair and laundry – mainly catering to tourists staying at the hotel above the mall. Mandarin Gallery is usually pretty quiet during both weekends and weekdays, with mainly well-heeled shoppers.
Few of the crowd puller are definitely the well-known authentic Japanese ramen restaurant - Ippudo as well as the all day breakfast cafe – Wild Honey. Expect to see long queues outside these two restaurants, especially for Ippudo! The queue waiting time can as long as 40 minutes on a weekday evening even after making reservations!
Not to forget, one of the highlight of mandarin gallery (at least to me) is the huge teak couch placed around the escalators for shoppers to relax. Warning: It can get so comfy you may even fall asleep! Aside from this, one unique aspect of this mall is its extremely low ceiling between the shops. Also, the corridors between the shops are pretty narrow as well. Definitely not a mall for someone who is Claustrophobia! haha!
Mandarin Gallery is one of those places that just simply has this aura to the whole mall. It gives off a vibe of elegance and sophistication that just makes it so classy. Perhaps it is the top-class brands that it brings in or the glass architecture but it is no doubt that it stands out one of the posh destinations in town.
The mall stocks the best brands around like Marc Jacobs, Y-3, Vertu and houses places with production of fine food such as Ippudo. There is not an instance when there is a piece of Mandarin Gallery that does not fit into the whole theme. A piece of advice would be to go into the place with wallets stocked and ready to spend as it is really very difficult to stare at good food face first and not have some. The mall is usually very quiet and strongly air-conditioned which is a huge plus because of the torturous weather. I personally also like how there are strategic seat locations at each level, with couches for people to sit on because shopping can really be quite an intense and tiring job on the feet.
However, if not for the whole purpose of eating or buying something, it might be a little too costly to simply go shopping in Mandarin Gallery because everything is quite luxurious in my opinion.
Mandarin Gallery is an alternative mall for the discerning patrons. It is host to fashion stores which sell niched and upmarket clothes and restaurants that serve authentic food which is thoughtfully and skilfully prepared. The ambience in the mall is relaxed and quaint with a strong touch of posh, without coming about as being too luxurious.
When I'm at Mandarin Gallery, my go-to places are WoodWould, The Denim Store and A Bathing Ape. For food, it is hard to give a miss to Ippudo (which obviously have been mentioned and given the thumbs-up by other reviewers) and Wild Honey (despite slated for its double standards in its service online, the breakfasts served are still worth trying).
Personally, what is most important about shopping malls has definitely ought to be the toilets which I'm particular about. At mandarin gallery, the toilets are spacious and always clean. Besides, they are comfy cushions just outside the toilets in which one can rest their tired feet or read a book while waiting.