Last Updated: March 31, 2018
Office crowds can rejoice as there’s a new lunch haunt in the CBD area, The Local Box, which serves up affordable local delights. Did I mention that they have Singapore’s first alcoholic bubble tea?
Located at Tanjong Pagar, The Local Box is a cosy restaurant you might have passed unknowingly on your way to work. Started by local foodies Samantha and company, this hidden cafe is here to meet all your lunch needs and more with its convenient and healthy concept.
By operating on a self-service system, The Local Box manages to keep its prices low for the office crowds despite its prime CBD location. The restaurant also follows an express approach that makes it ideal for grabbing a quick lunch bite on the go.
Spiked with delicious booze, Singapore’s first alcoholic bubble tea is FINALLY here. Are you ready? Sorry kids, these innocuous-looking drinks are for adults only!
Let’s start light. Just kidding, the only thing that was light was my head! Brace yourself for Nutella Baileys Milk Tea ($11), which is a black tea-infused mix of chocolate spread and a dash of Baileys.
This drink itself was quite mild, a bit like an alcoholic dessert. What I really did like, however, was the vanilla-like sweetness of the Irish cream that really brightened up the denser chocolate mix. The blend also had a smooth finish that made it really easy to drink. A little too easy perhaps?
If you’re going for something stronger, you might like the newly-added Lychee Gin Tea ($12). It’s quite mellow with a bit of sharpness from the liquor. Layered with lychee fruit tea, the drink was a tad sweet but not overpoweringly.
I was also able to pick up on the piney aroma of the gin, which was quite delightful.
If pirates ever drank bubble tea, the Pineapple Rum Thyme Tea ($12) would be it! With a thyme-infused green tea base, this boozy beverage is uplifted with refreshing pineapple juice and rum that gave it a caramel-like sweetness.
Despite its cloudy appearance, this drink is actually light and perfect on a hot day.
Taro bubble tea may be passe, but Taro Tequila Milk Tea ($12)? Now that’s more like it! This party-in-a-cup was creamy and balanced, while the Tequila added some punchy spice.
I just have to say this — the taro here was sooo good. Don’t let the innocent lilac fool you though. This is a firecracker once it hits you.
While I did get a little Asian flush, I was still hoping for a little more of a challenge. The alcohol really created a more dynamic flavour profile with distinct tastes that went well together. Definitely right for those needing a little pick-me-up to get through the day.
What’s a stiff drink without some food? At The Local Box, they believe that you should be able to get a cheap lunch that is also healthy. With its MSG-free hawker-style food, you can enjoy scrumptious local treats without the usual guilt.
Try their well-reviewed bestseller Pan Grilled Satay Chicken Nasi Lemak ($5.90). While the satay chicken did come out a little charred, it was actually quite fatty and tender.
The rice itself was not too heavy, with light notes of fragrance from the coconut milk.
As a sucker for anything with salted egg, I just had to try the Salted Egg Chicken With Rice ($6.50). While I found the batter a little doughy, the salted egg sauce was really to die for.
Compared to the many other alternatives in Singapore, The Local Box’s version was pleasantly not too jelak or grainy.
Don’t say bojio, the Dry Laksa ($5.90) is a must-try. Think regular laksa sans the hot soup to delay your lunch break. Emanating a fragrant laksa smell, this version stood out with its smooth, creamy texture. There was also an ample amount of chilli that had my lips burning!
I must admit that most of its hawker plates looked quite sub-par initially. Nonetheless, there the well-packed flavours and of course, the value-for-money were definitely the redeeming qualities.
For early risers, the good news is that mornings just became so much better. With an early 7.30am opening, grab The Local Box’s Kaya Butter Toast Set ($4) that is just the thing to fuel up for the day ahead.
You must try the homemade kaya that was sweetened with a bit of yummy gula melaka!
If you’re busy, The Local Box even delivers food directly to your office. Take a pick from the delivery-only Corporate Set ($14.50), which is the version of quick-and-easy ‘bento’ boxes like those in Japan. Choose any main course, fruits, dessert and drink, and get a full and well-balanced meal to keep on hustling.
For those slaving away at the CBD, The Local Box will generously void all delivery costs with a minimum spend of $20. Island-wide delivery requires a minimum of $60 so grab your family and friends together for a good meal brought to your doorstep.
While I appreciated the novelty of trying Singapore’s first alcoholic bubble tea, I must admit that I expected the bubble tea to be boozier. Its mild alcohol content made the drinks just a little less worth their price of around $10 a cup, which are the most expensive items on the menu.
Nonetheless, the flavours of the drinks are undeniably delicious. With a little kick of liquor, be prepared for game-changing bubble tea, unlike anything you’ve tasted before. And hey, with these devious cups of bubble tea, what better way is there to drink on the job without your boss knowing?
Expected Damage: $6 – $20 per pax