WATCH out Holland Village, Tanglin Village is gaining ground as the new lifestyle hotspot.
Dempsey Hill, a cluster comprising 14 food and beverage outlets, a spa and an Australian gourmet shop has been opening in stages there.
Even more dining options are on the cards, when the old Civil Service Club, which houses the popular Samy's Curry Restaurant, gets a spruce-up.
The company behind these two developments is Country City Investment, a property investment firm formed last year to handle the two projects.
By the middle of this month, all the outlets in Dempsey Hill will be open. New restaurants and retail outlets will also be opening up at the former Civil Service Club.
Just six years ago, the 40ha area, which used to house British army barracks in the colonial days, was a sleepy place, with a few furniture shops and Samy's Curry Restaurant.
Things started picking up in 2003 when two wine bars, Wine Network and The Wine Company, opened and attracted a following. Then came organic food store L'Organic and the trendy PS Cafe in 2005.
Last year, some former barracks there were used as exhibition space for the Singapore Biennale. Coupled with the opening of alfresco bar Hacienda, and restaurant Oosh, the Village quickly became a new hip spot in town, offering a laid-back place to unwind.
But the area comes alive mainly at night, and Country City is looking to bring more daytime traffic into the area.
Madam Florence Tan, 49, director of the company, says: 'With businesses in the area focusing more on nightlife, we saw the potential for Dempsey Hill to be active throughout the day.'
So early birds can have breakfast at Australian gourmet store Jones The Grocer (see other story), then indulge in a little mid-morning pampering at the 35,000 sq ft Spa Esprit.
Lunch choices include fine Indian dining at Vintage India or Japanese restaurant Rakuichi, with dessert at the Ben & Jerry's cafe. Nightbirds can have a meal and some wine at Angel's Share bar and restaurant, or chill out at Mexican restaurant Margarita's.
There is also Go-Go Bambini, a children's entertainment centre, which features a custom designed playscape.
Parents who take their children there can read the centre's collection of international newspapers or get a manicure at the in-house nail spa.
The 16 tenants in the cluster are housed in the seven buildings that once made up the Central Manpower Base, where scores of young men enlisted in national service between 1972 and 1989.
The land area adds up to 23,838 sq m and Country City's three-year lease is renewable up to 2015.
Madam Tan declines to say how much the company spent on the project, but adds that it is looking into adding more lighting in the parking spaces, which some customers have said are too dimly lit.
The company is in the process of selecting tenants for the former Civil Service Club, which comprises four blocks, with a total site area of about 16,300 sq m. Samy's will remain as a sub-tenant.
Restaurateurs said that the area's attractive location made opening there viable.
Mr Dennis Kwah, 45, director of hotpot restaurant Rain, opening in Dempsey Hill on Tuesday, says: 'The thrill of going into Holland Village is every businessman's dream. But that place is too small and the rental, too high.
'Orchard Road, on the other hand, is much too busy. Dempsey Hill is the perfect median.'
Daytime businesses seem to be thriving too.
Go-Go Bambini, the only shop offering child-oriented services in Dempsey Road, opened on April 23, and had more than 7,000 customers come through its doors in May.
It also organised 94 children's birthday parties last month. Spa Esprit, with three outlets, is opening its fourth and largest spa at Dempsey Hill. Called House, the area's 'gorgeous' views and closeness to nature were definite draws, says Cynthia Chua, 35, its managing director.
The spa occupies three of the seven blocks in Dempsey Hill, and includes a restaurant and a bar.
It is sprawling enough to be a venue for social functions, corporate retreats, dinners and cocktail parties.
Existing businesses say they are unfazed by the competition.
Mr T. Nagarajan, 34, manager of Samy's, says the new businesses have brought in more customers, some of whom are first-timers who happen to be checking out the area.
Over at Oosh, Mr Lee Kin Seng, 29, its marketing manager, says that new businesses in the area can only boost the restaurant's takings, which have been on the 'upward trend' since it opened.
Consumers, however, are looking beyond the hype.
Undergraduate Ow Wei Quan, 25, who has been to Chang Korean Charcoal BBQ Restaurant in the village, says: 'The big-name establishments, free parking and rustic feel of the area are clear draws. But the businesses must deliver on quality and service to win me back.'
He thinks it is worth going back.
However, administrative manager Cheong Lynn, 30, who was last at Dempsey Road's alfresco bars some six months ago, says that food and service standards in the area were only 'average' and that the outlets would have to do better if they wanted to win her back.
What is true, however, is that everyone is anticipating the new developments.
'I'm excited about new businesses opening in Dempsey Road. It'll give me more reasons to frequent the place,' says Mr Andy Ow, 37, regional manager of a distributing firm and regular customer at Oosh.