The other side of Sim Lim Square
Bras Basah Bugis
In its heyday, Sim Lim Square was the place to go to when you’re on the hunt for good deals for electronic items.
On any given day, the mall was a hive of activity as hordes of shoppers would put their bargaining skills to the test. That is, until several high-profile incidents of errant retailers made the headlines in recent years, and its image took a beating.
While the result is a quieter Sim Lim Square today, the management of the twenty-nine year old retail complex has also been on a mission to clean up the mall’s act.
With the Singapore Tourism Board’s support, it has rolled out initiatives like the STARetailer scheme, which is a nifty accreditation scheme that helps consumers identify reliable retailers who keep their pricing honest. Showing that it means business, the management also actively weeds out errant retailers and tries to inject new blood into its list of tenants.
As Sim Lim Square undergoes its transformation, here are four stores that we think could add the sparkle back to its reputation.
Whatever creativity found lacking in its name, Noodle Cafe more than makes up for it with the novel Thai boat noodle experience it offers.
A simple signboard alerts passers-by to its presence, declaring “Boat Noodles $1.90. Come try now!” And at that price, it doesn't take much convincing. In just five steps, customers can customise their noodles, meat, taste and spice level to their preference.
Big eaters be warned, though, as the tasting portions - roughly equivalent to two mouthfuls’ worth - won’t fill you up. The reason for the petite sizes is more traditional than anything. Originating from Bangkok’s canals, the small bowls helped to avoid spillage for the vendors as they sold them to the customers.
Customers with larger appetites have the choice of a larger serving at $5 a bowl and an array of other side dishes, beverages and desserts, including the popular crispy crackling pork and iced milk tea.
Where: 1 Rochor Canal #01-05 Sim Lim Square, Singapore 188504 (near taxi-stand)
Opening Hours: 12pm – 9pm
Dennis Musical Instruments Co.
It is said that the best things are often found in unexpected places. Dennis Musical Instruments Co., the only music shop in Sim Lim Square is one such gem since its move to the complex two years ago. Founded and fronted by owner Dennis Lim, he has been providing maintenance and servicing of new and second-hand musical instruments to students, amateurs and professionals since 1989.
Specialising in woodwind instruments, the store is Singapore’s sole distributor of Chateau and Supreme - brands which are highly regarded and well reviewed by music professionals. The self-taught musician can play all the instruments, including drums, to the tune of Chinese classics like ‘The Moon Represents My Heart’ by Teresa Teng. While the store’s facade may not look glitzy or shiny, Mr. Lim’s passion and knowledge of the music world is undisputed, a rare find in Singapore today and a testament to the idiom - never judge a book by its cover.
Where: 1 Rochor Canal Road #02-39 Sim Lim Square Singapore 188504
11.30am to 9pm (Please call for appointment)
Zeppelin & Co.
Which comes first? Coffee or music? At Zeppelin & Co., the audio-visual equipment store and cafe tucked in a corner of the second floor, both rank high. Named after the classic English rock band Led Zeppelin, the space is decked with exposed high ceilings, wooden furniture and a minimalistic, cool vibe. Neatly demarcated into two sections, customers are first greeted by the cafe upon entering. Other than stocking local food labels such as cold brew coffee from local brewer Made Cold, tea from Ette Tea, and cakes from local indie patisserie inthebrickyard, it is also the sole distributor in Singapore for Cafflano, the world’s first portable all-in-one coffee maker.
Past the food, audiophiles can also turn to a dedicated space for a selective range of audio equipment from Marshall sound system, high-end Focal headphones and Astell & Kern digital audio players. A must-visit for music-loving coffee addicts.
Where: 1 Rochor Canal Road, Sim Lim Square #02-78 Singapore 188504
Tuesdays to Sundays: 1130am – 8pm
More than just another headphones retail store, Decibel SG is an audio concept store that’s determined for every customer to leave the shop with the right products.
Decibel SG features a dedicated audio-testing space in-store to help customers find the best sound for them. With over 50 brands available, the headphones are neatly categorized by their sound signature types and price point to cater to the store’s discerning customers, from the casual music lover to the more serious audiophile. Together with soft lighting and comfortable sofa seats, customers can sit back and seek the most suitable product unhurried, without the overhanging pressure to make a purchase.
Where: 1 Rochor Canal Road #05-63 Sim Lim Square Singapore 188504
Monday to Saturday, 11am - 8pm. Sunday 11am - 7pm
Look past the bad-boy facade, and you’ll be surprised to find that Sim Lim Square is one of those places with more to offer than meets the eye.
Located at 1 Rochor Canal Rd, Singapore 188504, Sim Lim Square operates daily from 10:30am to 9:00pm. As opening hours may vary, please check with each individual retailer before heading down.
Author: Bras Basah Bugis
27 Mar 2017