BIG Splash, the much-loved water park in the 80s, might have dismantled its water slides, but the area has been given a new lease of life.
In place of water-based fun, the renamed park - Playground@Big Splash - now has more food and beverage outlets, along with children-friendly offerings and new recreational facilities.
Open in time to catch the school holiday crowd, so far, eateries like 1TwentySix has made quite a splash with the young, urban crowd with its alfresco gastrobar concept.
Besides that, there are new concepts like Indian Times, managed by the Kinara Group, which is offering fine-dining Indian cuisine, but also with tables that can be transformed into on-site barbeque pits so diners can grill their own kebabs.
Flowing from there, the majority of the eating outlets are more mid-priced with fast-food giants like KFC and Carl's Jr, which is offering its first drive-through in Asia-Pacific. Mingles serves its trademark sausages and New Zealand ice-cream; OldTown White Coffee, a Malaysian chain, opens its first outlet in Singapore, in partnership with actors Jack Neo and Mark Lee. Then for a quick coffee, it's Starbucks.
Being so near the sea, seafood is expected. There's Seafood Man, baking supplies store Phoon Huat & Co's venture into retail with breaded and battered seafood; and 25-year-old Seafood International has gone through an extreme makeover - as the anchor tenant for Playground@Big Splash.
The 18,000-sq ft restaurant still offers diners the novelty of 'shopping' for their own live seafood and having it cooked in the style of their choice. For Japanese, Sushi Tei has opened its second biggest outlet on the island, while The Vista Bistro has a selection of easy-to-eat American fare.
Families with young children, however, will enjoy most of the other facilities like Frisk 'n' Romp, a kid's playclub and LilliPutt, a themed indoor mini golf course. For exercise buffs, which is the main draw of East Coast Park, there's the new Kangoo Jumps concept store and also high-end Trek bicycles for rent.
This article was first published in The Business Times on Mar 8, 2008.