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Oxley Rise, Singapore: Guide to living, eating and shopping in this Orchard neighbourhood

 

Name: Laura Stevenson         

From: Boston, US      

Occupation: Pilates/Xtend Barre instructor, entrepreneur and bride-to-be

 

Which street do you live on?

Oxley Rise.

 

Exact words you tell a taxi driver to get home?

Uncle, don’t try going the long way, we are not tourists. We’re off of Clemenceau, off of River Valley.

 

What’s the name of your neighbourhood?

Orchard or River Valley… I still don’t really know. 

 

Closest MRT station?

We’re directly between Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut.

 

How long have you lived here?

Five months.

 

Why here?

My fiancé is too lazy to walk more than five minutes to work, and this was the nicest, closest condo to his office at MacDonald House. And more importantly, it had the nicest pool, gym and outdoor space. It’s set back enough to feel as though you are out of the city, though I do love walking up to the front entrance on Oxley Rise – you can see the CBD through all the greenery.

 

When you walk out of your place, the first thing you see is: 

 Istana Park.

 

The closest store to your front door is: 

7-Eleven. Surprised?

 

Your neighbours are great, but you wouldn’t mind a little less:

Shyness! I promise, we don’t bite! 

 

The unofficial uniform of your street is:

Sunshine shields aka umbrellas. 

 

When you’re in need of a dose of culture, you:

Go to Little India on a Sunday.

 

If you’re missing home, you:

FaceTime with our yellow lab, Zoe, who is currently living with my fiancé’s parents on the beaches of southern New England. She has a tough life!

 

A mandatory stop for out-of-town guests is:

Orchard Towers. Why? There’s a great Thai place on the 4th floor! But really, you need to see the “Four Floors” to believe it.

 

You’d swap houses in a second with:

Someone living in one of the shophouses on Devonshire Street. Not just because my favourite nail salon, Juup, is there but because, coming from Beacon Hill in Boston, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the US, I miss the character and charm of our old place. The shophouses give that feeling. It would also be nice to have some sort of backyard with a garden. My fiancé and I are still very new to the whole modern, big-condo scene.  

 

A common myth about your neighbourhood is:

That the only place to eat is in a shopping mall. Just a quick walk and you are on Killiney Road, where there are a ton of great restaurants. And just a bit further up you are at Robertson Quay and River Valley with even more options. You just have to be willing to take the extra few steps in your Louboutins.

 

If you’re ever woken up at night, it’s almost always due to:

A completely random monsoon thunderstorm.

 

The Superlatives:

Your hands-down favourite neighbourhood joints are:

Wine Connection at Robertson Walk – it feels like home and it’s always a good place to have a nice glass of wine. They also have great tapas and cheese boards. KPO is great for people-watching as well as “to be seen”, of course. Epicurious at Robertson Quay has an awesome brunch on a Sunday; their fresh juices are worth every dollar. We like to pick up fresh bread and pastries from Marché at 313 Somerset; it’s nothing like Bread Talk – I still don’t understand the fascination with those sorts of bakeries. 

 

You won’t find better local food than at: 

Jing Hua Restaurant on Neil Road. You will most likely share a table with locals. The first time we went, a lovely young couple offered us a taste of their dish when they overheard us contemplating whether to order it or not! We ended up having an awesome family-style dinner. But this is not the place to go for a romantic night out. 


We love a good bargain. The best deals in your neighbourhood are:

After 10pm, when Marché does “Buy one, get one free”.


The guiltiest pleasure in your area is:

Baja Fresh. Sometimes you need a little taste of home.

 

One thing you’d never change is:

The closet space in our condo; it’s shockingly generous.


But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing go is:

Mosquito fogging while I am lying by the pool. It may be noon, but not everyone is scared of the sun!

 

The city gives you $5 million to soup up your street. You use it to:

Install recycling bins and give away reusable shopping bags and water bottles. I believe one of the reasons many people here don’t bother recycling is because it’s a lot of work. Recycling needs to be easy and available without requiring people to go out of their way.

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