Katong Square to be a food haunt when it opens early next year

It will be a foodie's paradise at the new Katong Square when the establishment along East Coast Road opens by the first quarter of 2016.

Spread out over two storeys, there will be more than 20 food and beverage outlets, as well as food-themed businesses, which could include a gourmet grocer or cooking accessories store. It is still in construction phase, though plans for the mall's concept were released today. The mall is next to Marine Parade MRT station, which is slated to open in 2023.

Katong Square is owned by Katong Holdings, made up of three Singapore-based developers and builders: Master Contract Services, Keong Hong Construction and Asia Development.

Those familiar with the area will remember that the new mall sits on the former premises of Katong Village - once home to popular food joints such as Waraku Japanese restaurant, Samy's Curry and Samba Brazilian Steakhouse.

Aside from eateries and cafes, there will also be two hotels above the eateries and cafes. InterContinental Hotels Group will open a 451-room Holiday Inn Express - its third low-frill hotel here under that name. There will also be a 131-room Hotel Indigo, the first local boutique hotel for the global brand.

A highlight of Katong Square is the rejuvenation of the former Joo Chiat Police Station, a two-storey building constructed in the 1920s. It was gazetted for conservation in 1993. Now Hotel Indigo will open a cafe on the ground floor of the station - it will be linked to its lobby - while another restaurant to take up the remaining space. Both hotels are expected to open early next year.

Other features include a lawn, fronting the mall's entrance, to hold food festivals and arts and cultural events. There will also be parking spots for electric scooters & bicycles, as well as 300 car parking spots.

Mr Michel Lu, 46, executive chairman of Revolver Asia, a boutique consultancy which focuses on branding and curating tenancy mix for Katong Square, says to expect new-to-market concepts, and established local brands - though he says they will not be a repeat of what's available at Katong Square's next-door neighbour, 112 Katong.

Well aware that the new food hub is opening in an area already known as a haunt for the best laksa and Peranakan food, Mr Lu says: "One thing is for sure - we can't compete with the guys in the shophouses, which they are already famous for. It's just not the same eating Katong Laksa in a mall.

"What we will offer are brands that haven't been in Katong before, such as those only available in the city, which might be too far for those who stay in this area to drive out for on weekends."

natashaz@sph.com.sg