Downstairs, Suntec City: A void deck to lepak, feast, and reminisce your yesteryears

As an 80s kid, childhood memories often revolve around void decks. Be it to gather after school for gossip sessions or to catch a glimpse of that particular ‘crush’ we have been eyeing, this area under an HDB is often considered a sacred place—a not-so-secret hideout. 

Picture of downstairs storefront

That’s probably the reason for my excitement when I stepped foot into Downstairs, a void deck-themed cafe to which I was “kidnapped” to try by a fellow colleague. “Wanna go downstairs to eat?”, were his exact words, and before I knew it, we were on in a Grabcar heading towards Suntec City

Interior picture of downstairs

Situated along Suntec City’s fountain court, just beside Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, Downstairs stood out with its vibrant white and blue tones. Specially designed to look like the void decks where light recreational activities were held and group lunches were consumed, Downstairs invoked an intense sense of nostalgia the very moment I stepped in. 

Rows of aluminium letterboxes and orange ordering kiosks mimicking traditional phone booths aside, the eatery also has a set of classic void deck-styled concrete stools and circular table—a sight I’m sure many of us will find familiar (think, @jontannn’s #lepakdownstairs photography series).

What I tried

A bowl of downstairs wanton mee

My feast of perennial neighbourhood favourites kick-started with Downstairs Wanton Mee (S$6.50)—the holy grail of Singaporean-ness. Don’t belittle the lightly sauced noodles as they were, in fact, rather mouth-wateringly savoury, given the loving treatment of soy and sweet sauce. 

Surprisingly, I found myself devouring almost the entire dish without the need for sliced green chilli, and that, to me, proved how flavourful the noodles were even when just eaten alone.

Close up of a slice of char siew

Yet, the gems in my plate of Downstairs Wanton Mee were the plump, juicy slices of char siew. Seasoned in the eatery’s secret mix of sweet sauce, the indulgent slices of char siew were marbled and charred perfectly. Every bite consisted of a mix of fat and lean meat—a beautiful ratio, in my opinion. 

A plate of chicken chop hor fun from downstairs

Downstair’s Chicken Chop Hor Fun (S$6.80) came with a liberal amount of flat rice noodles laying the foundation to hefty slices of fried chicken chop. Enrobed in the umami bronzed golden brown sauce, each strand of noodle was delightfully smooth while retaining its slight chewiness. 

Close up of chicken chop

The chicken chop might have a texturally pleasing play of contrast between the moist inside and crisp outside, but I felt a little crestfallen due to its lack of seasoning. A pinch more salt would probably do it justice given its toothsome texture.

Thank God for the addition of pork lard as these chunks of crispy golden nuggets made up for the lack of flavour with its deep, meaty fragrance and a one-of-a-kind mouthfeel. Even if counting calories is part of your new year’s resolution, take my advice and ditch any on-going diet plans just for this meal. Trust me, the pork lard and hor fun combination just makes the extra calories oh-so-worth-it!

A bowl of lu rou fan with lava egg from downstairs

Lu Rou Fan With Lava Egg (S$6) comes highly recommended as one of Downstairs popular menu items. “Lu Rou Fan, really?” was my first reaction as I didn’t expect to find a Taiwanese-inspired dish at a nostalgic void deck-themed cafe. 

But my scepticism was tossed out of the window the moment I laid my eyes on the bowl. “Now, this looks promising,” I thought to myself. 

Close up of lu rou fan

Resting gloriously on the bed of rice were pieces of pork braised until they were barely keeping it together. In contrast to the brown mess of porky goodness was a heap full of salted preserved vegetables and two molten glistening lava eggs. 

At first mouthful, the rice was comfortingly bland, but after giving the bowl an even mix, like all the best carbohydrates, this bowl of Lu Rou Fan With Lava Egg revealed itself to be compelling. It was so frustratingly addictive that I ended up fighting with my colleague for that very last bite. 

downstairs luncheon meat egg toast

Heading Downstairs just to have a quick bite for breakfast or tea time snack? Then opt for the eatery’s all-day toast buns. Served burger-style, feel free to choose between their sweet Kaya Butter Toast Bun (S$2.40), Peanut Butter Toast Bun (S$2.40), or savoury Luncheon Meat With Egg Toast Bun (S$3.90).

Although the Luncheon Meat With Egg Toast Bun was nothing to scream about, at least it made for a decent and filling snack considering its size and price point. With a toasted burger bun, runny sunny side up egg and a decent slice of pan-fried luncheon meat, I certainly have no complaints. 

Final thoughts

A table full of downstairs dishes

I’ve always been a sceptic when it comes to themed-restaurants, but Downstairs proved itself to be different. The eatery might first capture your heart with its photo-worthy spots and innovative interior, but it will ultimately be their food that calls for returned trips. 

If you are around the area, why not grab a few kakis and lepak Downstairs over some wanton mee and coffee? I’m pretty sure this place will stir some fond childhood memories, worthy of re-living as an adult. 

Expected Damage: S$2.40 – S$10 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5


3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City, #B1-132, Singapore 038983

Our Rating 4/5


3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City, #B1-132, Singapore 038983

Operating Hours: 8.30am - 9pm (Mon to Fri), 9am - 9pm (Sat & Sun)

Operating Hours: 8.30am - 9pm (Mon to Fri), 9am - 9pm (Sat & Sun)
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