Wednesday, 31 August 2022

5 theatre plays in Singapore to catch in 2022

The vibrant theatre scene in Singapore offers a remarkable variety of productions – from musical plays with historical slants to reimagined classics and unique docu-theatre performances.  Fancy a night out at the theatre? Whether you’re a seasoned theatre buff or a dilettante keen on discovering the stage, these five plays are must-sees in 2022 – and a great introduction to local theatre!

1. The LKY Musical – Singapore Repertory Theatre

The much awaited LKY Musical, watched by over 50,000 in its first run in 2015, returns in September 2022. This historical musical production tells the story of Singapore’s founding father, spanning from his days as a student to Singapore’s hard-fought independence in 1965. The play is directed by acclaimed West End director Steven Dexter (Forbidden City) and stars veteran actors Adrian Pang (as Lee Kuan Yew) and Kit Chan. Adding to the nostalgic appeal of the play is the music of Dick Lee, who is best known for his patriotic National Day songs.

From 7 September 2022

Theatre plays in Singapore LKY Musical
This successful home-grown production returns to theatres in September. Photo credit: Singapore Repertory Theatre

2. Pulau Ujong / Island at the End – Wild Rice

Pulau Ujong / Island at the End is one of the most unique theatre plays you can catch in Singapore this year because of its unconventional docu-play concept. Written by award-winning playwright Alfian Sa’at and directed by Edith Podesta, Pulau Ujong (which refers to one of the oldest recorded names for Singapore) imagines the city state’s distant past, before steel and concrete dominated its lush jungles and winding rivers. The story features an ensemble cast and incorporates interviews with climate scientists, botanists, zoologists, environmental historians and more – each expressing their laments and hopes for the environment and the importance of addressing climate change.

From 15 September 2022

Theatre plays in Singapore Pulau Ujong / Island At The End
Pulau Ujong‘s unique documentary theatre concept features interviews with climate scientists, botanists and historians. Photo credit: Wild Rice

3. End of the Rainbow – Pangdemonium

The tragic tale of Judy Garland’s last performances comes alive on stage in this poignant tribute to the legendary actress and singer. The play depicts her final years, which were marred by misfortune while the former child star explored her desires to both battle her demons and find love and happiness. Directed by Tracie Pang and written by Peter Quilter, End of the Rainbow features a Singaporean cast lead by Mina Kaye, Shane Mardjuki, TJ Taylor and Andrew Marko.

From 7-23 October 2022

Theatre plays in Singapore End of the Rainbow
End of the Rainbow tells the story of Judy Garland’s infamous final performances. Photo credit: Pangdemonium

4. A Singaporean in Paris

Be whisked away to the City of Lights in this popular local musical  comedy starring and directed by iconic Singaporean playwright and actor Hossan Leong. A Singaporean in Paris sees the titular character travelling to Paris to pursue a life-long dream of performing in in a cabaret. Naturally, hijinks ensue and he learns that the city is not quite what he expected. The musical draws from Leong’s clear love for the French culture, a passion that lead to him being conferred Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. Starring alongside him is Gabrielle Rae Sammy, Ethel Yap and Amin Alifin who makes his debut as a singer and actor. The four piece musical ensemble is lead by Elaine W Chan.

From 2-13 November 2022

Theatre plays A Singaporean in Paris
This twice sold-out musical comedy stars iconic Singaporean actor and playwright Hossan Leong. Photo credit: SingTheatre

5. Pinocchio – Wild Rice

Another Wild Rice production worth catching later in 2022 is Pinocchio. This brand new musical adaptation of the classic fairytale features original music by Julian Wong and lyrics by Joel Tan. Pam Oei, best known for her stint as a third of the Dim Sum Dollies, takes the reigns as director while Mae Elliessa, Ebi Shankara and Siti Khalijah Zainal lead the cast as Pinocchio, Gepetto and G-hopper. The First Stage Kids also make their return to the stage after three long years.

From 17 November 2022

Pinocchio is a brand-new original musical directed by Pam Oei and written by Thomas Lim. Photo credit: Wild Rice

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9 unexpected hidden gems to check out in Tanjong Pagar

Produced by SilverKris for Sofitel Singapore City Centre

Tanjong Pagar might be a vibrant business and commercial centre dominated by modern skyscrapers, but don’t be fooled by its glittering, urban image. Beneath the towering structures is an eclectic neighbourhood rife with culture and heritage. With so many shophouses and winding alleys in Tanjong Pagar, there’s plenty of hidden gems nestled in nooks and crannies for a one-of-a-kind experience – if you know where to look. Read on to find some of the best ways to make the most of your time in this charming neighbourhood in Singapore.

1. Admire fascinating architecture

Tanjong Pagar offers plenty of surprises with its mix of urban developments situated next to heritage shophouses. Go for a leisurely walking tour around the neighbourhood and try to spot some amazing architecture. 

Wander past Jinrikisha Station at the junction of Neil and Tanjong Pagar roads, which was originally Singapore’s first public transport depot for rickshaws. Nearby you will spot the former Tiger Balm factory, also known as Eng Aun Tong, which is now home to Shake Shack. The NUS Baba House, a hard-to-miss blue three-storey townhouse showcases Peranakan history, architecture and heritage. Another one to look out for is Dong Ya Building at Keong Saik Road; an iconic red-and-white art deco structure housing Tong Ah Eating House that has since moved a few doors down. 

Don’t forget to check out the tallest building in Singapore, Guoco Tower. This towering vertical city is where you will find the five-star hotel Sofitel Singapore City Centre. The design here is heavily inspired by the geometric structure of a traditional French formal garden.

Wander past Jinrikisha Station, Singapore’s first public transport depot for rickshaws. Photo credit: Adobe Stock; Gaze up at Sofitel Singapore City Centre, which stands at the 105.3m tall


2. Check out spectacular artwork at Sofitel Singapore City Centre

Instead of making a beeline for independent art galleries to get your culture fix, consider wandering into Sofitel Singapore City Centre. The French luxury hotel boasts many visually impressive art pieces that serve as great conversation starters. Once you enter its doors, you’ll be greeted by a 9m-long art installation at its lift lobby, a captivating chandelier comprising 700 hand-blown glass crystals that resemble shimmering leaves. At the concierge desk, you can’t miss the exquisite Bouquet Magnifique art piece created by celebrated Italian painter Arianna Caroli. The vibrant floral canvas adds a dash of nature into the sophisticated space. 

For a full artful experience, sign up for its Discover Tanjong Pagar: Cultural Getaway package. You’d receive an exclusive tote bag featuring the works of local artist William Sim, as well as a postcard set and hand-drawn map by local street artist Yip Yew Chong which will take you on a self-guided adventure exploring nostalgic murals.

Tanjong Pagar hidden gems Sofitel Singapore City Centre
A shimmering chandelier in Sofitel Singapore City Centre’s lift lobby

3. Enjoy French cuisine and refined local delights

Racines, which is French for “roots”, serves up the best of both worlds with its mix of gourmet French classics and timeless Chinese dishes. You are guaranteed freshness, as dishes are made using the finest seasonal local produce and organically grown ingredients, with herbs harvested from its own herb garden. There are plenty of options for varied tastes, with every dish no short of an epicurean experience. Try its Steak Frites, a tender chargrilled black Angus striploin (or you can opt for the more premium Wagyu beef flank) that’s topped with herb butter and served with fries, or go for the melt-in-your-mouth baked Black Cod with grilled leeks, crispy lotus and a bonito butter sauce. If you’re in the mood for Asian fare, the Sambal Seafood is a flavourful dish comprising seafood stir fried with sambal paste and served with turmeric rice and calamansi.

Tanjong Pagar hidden gems Racines Signature Delights
Fine French fare and timeless Chinese dishes await at Racines

4. Have a new outfit made at a bespoke tailor

While there is nothing wrong with shopping off the rack, a made-to-measure outfit that fits you like a tee will ensure you look your best at any special occasion. Some expert tailors that make the cut include Marlo at Club Street; Q Menswear and The Prefecture. Getting a suit from Marlo is quite the experience – it involves a detailed consultation with tailors in a sophisticated wood-accented atelier, multiple fittings and adjustments, before culminating in a finely crafted piece that’s handmade to each individual’s taste and lifestyle. Q Menswear, a charming boutique located on the second floor of a shophouse, is where you can get a customised suit with a modern edge, while The Prefecture, with its beachy vibes, is perfect for those with more adventurous sartorial tastes. Think bold, punchy colours and floral prints, a reflection of its dynamic founder.

Tanjong Pagar hidden gems Q Menswear
Get a sharp suit tailored at Q Menswear

5. Get a dose of culture

The rich tapestry of Tanjong Pagar’s heritage can be traced back to its origin as a fishing village. The Thian Hock Keng Temple for instance, is standing on what used to be the shoreline of Telok Ayer Basin. It was popular with newly arrived immigrants who would visit to offer thanks to Mazu Po (a Taoist goddess and protector of seafarers) for their safe arrival. One of the oldest temples in Singapore, it is an architectural marvel constructed without the use of nails. Comprising stone, tiles and wood, it boasts intricate carvings and sculptures, as well as carefully crafted mosaic elements. 

Nearby is the Al-Abrar Mosque, another historic site and one of Singapore’s oldest mosques. It used to cater to Chulia immigrants who once lived in the area, and has since evolved from a thatched hut to an impressive structure spanning the width of three shophouses, with the front of the building incorporating a five-foot walkway. Other must-visit religious temples include the colourful Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple that dates back to 1920, and the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple that gets its name from a revered religious artefact housed on temple grounds.

Tanjong Pagar hidden gems Thian Hock Keng
Thian Hock Keng Temple is one of Singapore’s oldest, dating back to 1839

6. Browse interesting boutiques

Part of Tanjong Pagar’s old-world charm lies in the traditional 19th century shophouses that line meandering streets. These house hole-in-the-wall joints, old-school stores that have stood the test of time and indie boutiques, all of which offer a mall-free, one of a kind shopping experience you won’t get anywhere else. Bibliophiles will love the quaint bookstore Littered With Books at Duxton Road that is chockful of curated literary picks in a narrow but dreamy two-storey space. Little Match Girl offers unique sustainable women’s fashion in a cosy shop right opposite Amoy Street Food Centre, while Ette Tea at Kreta Ayer Road is where you can get bold hyper-local tea blends (Nasi Lemak, Pandan Chiffon and Ice Kacang tea, anyone?). For a journey back to yesteryear, pop by Ban Choon Medical Store at Telok Ayer, a weathered Chinese medical hall that has been around since the 70s, before making a pit stop at Tong Mern Sern, an antique shop at Craig Road that’s filled with storied vintage curios.

hidden gems boutiques
Shops sustainable women’s fashion at Little Match Girl

7. Treat yourself to a grooming sesh

In need of some pampering after an eventful afternoon? Make an appointment at one of the salons in the area – not only do they offer you a respite from the weather, they also provide an experience that’s more than just a haircut. Take Jermyn Street. Inspired by the famed Jermyn Street in London, this premium barber shop is styled like a gentlemen’s club and ensures you look dapper, while savouring a dram or cup of coffee. Or try Hounds of the Baskervilles, another traditional gentlemen’s barber and shaving parlour with leather seats and an onsite café that offers Australian Proud Mary coffee.

hidden gems Jermyn Street
Get the royal treatment at this gentlemen’s barber

8. Sip on bespoke cocktails at 1864

History buffs will be thrilled to know that the 1864’s name honours a historic moment – the year the Tanjong Pagar Dock Company, or the forerunner of Maritime and Port Authority, was founded. Pay homage to tradition by sipping on signature barrel-aged cocktails that have been aged in-house, such as the Martinez (Four Pillars Shiraz Gin with sweet vermouth, Luxardo maraschino liqueur and grapefruit bitters) and Old Fashioned (Bulleit Rye, granulated sugar and Angostura bitters), or be adventurous and ask the mixologist to surprise you. If you’re in the mood for more – its plush sofa seating and floor-to-ceiling windows certainly make it hard to leave – its Lychee, Vesper and Espresso martinis pack a delightful punch.

hidden gems 1864 cocktail bar
Sip on 1864’s intriguing range of barrel-aged cocktails

9. Kick your feet back and enjoy a night at Sofitel Singapore City Centre

To cap off the experience, book yourself a stay here and sink yourself into its lush Sofitel MyBed – a signature crafted bed designed to lull you to sleep with its ultra-soft surface and sturdy support. Make sure you choose from its extensive pillow menu to ensure a perfect night’s rest. Your room will come with premium bath amenities from L’Occitane and Balmain depending on which room you choose to book, not to mention a Bose entertainment system for an immersive experience. Exercise buffs will get enjoy the 24-hour SoFit gym, or you can choose to dip in its outdoor infinity pool that comes with a spectacular view. In the mood to treat yourself? Upgrade to its club rooms or suites for access to the Virgin Active Fitness Club and Club Millésime, where you get to indulge in complimentary evening cocktails and canapés.

Sofitel Singapore City Centre Swimming Pool
Dip into Sofitel Singapore City Centre’s swimming pool

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Tuesday, 30 August 2022

Grilling it: 8 of the best barbecue restaurants in Singapore

If you’ve got a hankering for meat-centric dining, it’s often upmarket steakhouses that come to mind. But for a more primal dining experience in a casual setting, set your sights on one of these barbecue restaurants in Singapore that have mastered the timeless art of cooking with fire. This list of fantastic BBQ spots covers everything from Texas-style brisket and Brazilian churrasco to hearty vegetables that have been flame-grilled to perfection.

1. Decker Barbecue

Situated at Robertson Quay, the casual, no-frills Decker Barbecue is a crowd favourite for their low- and slow-smoked Texas-style barbecue. High-quality meats are slathered in a secret rub and cooked for up to 16 hours in a custom-built, wood-fired smoker imported from Texas. The result? Tender and succulent offerings – including the likes of pulled pork, spicy lamb sausage, smoked chicken and chopped Wagyu brisket – that’ll make barbecue lovers go weak at the knees. Vegetarians aren’t left out either: options include crispy cauliflower florets dressed in buffalo sauce and sides such as mac and cheese; potato salad; and the must-order cornbread. Finish off your meal with some banana pudding or apple cobbler for the full Southern experience.

60 Robertson Quay, #01-17. Nearest MRT: Fort Canning

The feast platter for two at Decker Barbecue. Photo credit: Decker Barbecue

2. Chang BBQ

The Tanjong Pagar area may be most people’s go-to when they’re craving for some Korean barbecue, but Chang BBQ at Dempsey Hill is a more-than-worthy fine-dining alternative. The spacious, high-ceilinged joint specialises in premium cuts of meat, including wagyu beef and kurobuta pork, which you can choose to have marinated in a delicious Korean sauce. Vegetarians can opt for the grilled vegetable platter (which includes asparagus, mushroom, onion, zucchini and potatoes). Another highlight? As with most Korean restaurants, you’ll also be served an assortment of banchan (appetisers) at the start of your meal.

71 Loewen Road, #01-01. Buses: 7, 75, 77, 105, 106, 123, 174

3. Burnt Ends

Serious barbecue lovers in Singapore should definitely have Burnt Ends on their radar. One of the most acclaimed barbecue restaurants in Singapore, it placed 94th on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021 list. The menu here highlights a range of meats and sides fired up in their custom-made wood-burning oven or on one of their four elevation grills. While the menu changes daily, you can expect a hearty range of dishes: such as dry-aged steak; Jamaican chicken wings; bone marrow bun; and artichoke with Taleggio cheese. Reservations are essential, and we recommend trying to snag a counter seat so that you can watch the chefs in action.

7 Dempsey Road, #01-04. Buses: 7, 75, 77, 105, 106, 123, 174

Burnt Ends’ lobster with tobiko and kombu beurre blanc. Photo credit: Burnt Ends

4. Carnivore

Looking for authentic Brazilian-style barbecue restaurant in Singapore? Head over to Carnivore at CHIJMES, which opened its doors way back in 2012. Take a seat at the picturesque al fresco dining area and sit back and watch as waiters bearing hefty skewers loaded with grilled items carve succulent slivers directly onto your plate. Besides meaty standards such as chicken wrapped in bacon, beef rump, roast pork belly and spicy house-made pork sausage, the restaurant also does a tangy grilled caramelised pineapple and offers a range of side dishes and options for vegetarians. Carnivore operates on an all-you-can-eat basis, so be sure to come hungry and in the mood to feast. In celebration of Brazil’s Independence Day, they will also be offering a special dinner buffet ($79-$89) from 7-8 September 2022.

30 Victoria Street, #01-32 CHIJMES. Nearest MRT: City Hall, Bencoolen

Some of the tasty offerings at Carnivore. Photo credit: Carnivore

5. Magosaburo

For an upmarket Japanese barbecue feast, make your way to Magosaburo at Ngee Ann City. The restaurant specialises in all things Japanese Wagyu beef, including those of the Kobe and Ohmi varieties. While you can select from a range of cooking methods (including sukiyaki and shabu shabu styles), we recommend going for the barbecue option, where diners can cook their meats on a hot grill in the centre of the table. Not a huge beef fan? The extensive menu also features the likes of Hokkaido scallops and kurobuta pork jowl for grilling, plus raw options such as assorted sashimi and the intriguing truffle-flavoured yellowtail carpaccio.

391 Orchard Road, #05-31, Ngee Ann City. Nearest MRT: Orchard

Dine on Japanese barbecue at Magosaburo. Photo credit: Magosaburo

6. Butcher’s Block

Butcher’s Block, located at Raffles Arcade, is a showcase of chef Rémy Lefebvre’s expertise in cooking with fire. Sustainably sourced meats are roasted, stewed or grilled, with the flames imparting delicious flavours and distinct aromas to the food. From the à la carte dinner, choose from barbecue standards such as grilled octopus, pork tomahawk and dry-aged beef, alongside innovative vegetable options like grilled endive with Green Goddess aioli; as well as burnt carrot with a miso vinaigrette. For a taste of the very best that Chef Lefebvre has to offer, opt for the lavish 10-course Tour De Force menu. The regularly updated menu features exquisite plates like the wagyu sukiyaki with smoked egg yolk, barbecued dry-aged duck and Mediterranean seabass with miso brown butter sabayon

1 Beach Road. Nearest MRT: City Hall.

The Butcher’s Block menu includes a range of intriguing vegetarian and seafood dishes. Photo credit: Butcher’s Block

7. Meat Smith

Meat Smith serves up wood-fired barbecue nosh at its two Singapore restaurants located at Telok Ayer and Little India. While the former specialises in Southern American-style fare – think spiced pork ribs with an apple cider glaze, beef brisket and corn bread with smoked butter – the former is the city-state’s first restaurant focusing on modern Indian barbecue. Expect offerings along the lines of stuffed tandoori chicken wings, crab biryani and spice-crusted lamb chops. If you’re here with friends, we recommend the meat platter, which offers a sampling of their barbecue specialties, served with green mango slaw and curried buns.

167-169 Telok Ayer Street. Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer
21 Campbell Lane. Nearest MRT: Jalan Besar

Meat Smith’s Kerala beef short rib, available at its Little India location. Photo credit: Meat Smith

8. Red Eye Smokehouse

Opened in 2015 on Jalan Besar, Red Eye Smokehouse specialises in American-style barbecue classics done “low and slow” – with no corners cut. The best way to try the smokehouse’s offerings are the Meat Sampler platters that feed up to two diners. You’ll get to choose two, three or four meats from their daily smokes section which includes essential barbecue dishes like the Iberico pork belly, smoked chicken, pulled pork and more. You can also top up for premium add-ons like the USDA beef brisket and the St. Louis pork ribs – smoked and barbecued to fork-tender perfection. While most barbecue restaurants in Singapore are best for group dining, Red Eye Smokehouse also offers a single-serving platter for lunch that includes a choice of meats and a half portion side. Red Eye’s high-quality, in-house smoked meat is done in small batches, so come early before they sell out.

1 Cavan Road. Nearest MRT: Lavender

Please check their respective websites for opening hours before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

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Taiwanese import Black Knight delivers a hotpot experience like none other

Produced by SilverKris for Black Knight

Hotpot might just be Singapore’s most beloved style of dining. From affordable eateries to more upscale alternatives, there’s a hotpot joint for every budget and occasion. But just when you thought you’d slurped it all, Taiwanese brand Black Knight Hotpot has rewritten the script with its upscale venue and luxury wine list.

First opened in 2017 at MBS and now located at a sleek space in Millennia Walk, Black Knight is a stylish dining destination, replete with atmospheric lights, comfortable booth seating and floor-to-ceiling wine and sake fridges. What awaits is not a steakhouse or modern gastronomy temple, but rather a soulful Taiwanese-style hotpot restaurant with a long history.

This 50-year-old brand from Taipei is not only steeped in tradition, but also caters to modern diners with a menu of life-giving broths and premium ingredients sourced from around the globe.

Black Knight’s elegant dining room area at Millenia Walk

Soup bases like none other

Soups are critical to all hotpot restaurants, but what sets Black Knight apart is the attention to detail. The soups and broths here are simmered for several hours to coax the richness and depth of flavour from each ingredient.

Using proprietary, long-perfected recipes from Taiwan, each broth base is made fresh every day and holds its own against any double-boiled soup from the finest Cantonese establishments. It’s no surprise that the restaurant invites diners to first sample the luscious elixirs on their own before adding any ingredients to the pot. A prime example is the nourishing Fish Maw Chicken Pot, combining fish maw – known for being rich in collagen – Kampung Chicken, Dried Scallops, Cordyceps and more.

The Fish Maw Chicken Pot at Black Knight must be tried on its own before being paired with premium ingredients

Though such silky soups can stand on their own, they become truly extraordinary when enjoyed with luxurious meats and other carefully sourced ingredients. From live Brown Coral Grouper and freshly minced prawn paste (topped with tobiko), to melt-in-your-mouth Japanese A4/A5 snow wagyu and generously sliced Okinawa pork belly, Black Knight’s premium ingredients, paired with its exquisite soups, are at the heart of the restaurant’s elevated hotpot experience.

For spice lovers, the Spicy Pot may be the ideal base. Unlike traditional Sichuan mala bases that diners in Singapore may be used to, this Taiwanese-style Spicy Pot elevates the soup with a hearty beef broth accentuated with tripe, before combining it with a unique blend of spices and chillies. To balance these bold soup flavours, Black Knight recommends ingredients such as homemade fish and squid ink paste noodles, juicy pork dumplings and toothsome pillows of tofu puffs.

From premium seafood to Japanese beef and pork, the ingredients at Black Knight pair perfectly with the soup bases

Beyond hotpot: Black Knight’s signature dishes and drinks

It’s hard to believe that on top of delivering a superlative hotpot experience, the restaurant also serves up a menu of other, no less delicious signature dishes.

Opt for the Black Truffle Fried Rice, generously topped with a lobe of pan-seared foie gras and dotted with perfectly scrambled eggs, haricot verts and seasonal black truffles. Other standouts include the Fried Frog Legs with Pepper and Salt and moist Fried Pork Meatballs, perfectly crisp on the outside with a meltingly tender inside.

The food menu is one thing, but even the drinks list at Black Knight is something to dive into.  A meal here is made more memorable with the generous list of wines and sake, specially curated to complement the broths and ingredients. The staff is trained to recommend bottles that will pair perfectly with your meal.

Black Knight pairs its premium hotpot experience with high-end wines and sakes

The perfect spot for special occasions

A dining experience at Black Knight can be as simple or as luxurious as you want it to be. The staff are extremely attentive, cooking every piece of fish and meat to bring out the textures of each ingredient. There is also a plethora of sauces to accompany each pot, from the chef’s signature recipes to all-time favourites like fried garlic chips and chilli oil. Pro tip: Don’t leave things to chance – just ask the staff to mix you a signature bowl of dipping sauce for your hotpot.

More than just a spot for a friend gathering, Black Knight is also perfect for hosting memorable family reunions, business meetings and even quick lunches. In addition to the main dining room area, they have five discreet dining rooms that can be transformed for celebrations or for privacy.

These thoughtful features, coupled with an unparalleled gourmet hotpot offering, make Black Knight an experience not to be missed in Singapore’s dining scene.

One of five private dining rooms at Black Knight

Black Knight is located at #02-02/05 at Millennia Walk. For more information or to make a reservation, please visit the official website.

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Monday, 29 August 2022

6 romantic restaurants in Singapore that are perfect for date night

Going on a first date or want to treat the special person in your life with an unforgettable dining experience? Plan the perfect date night by booking a table at one of these fabulously romantic restaurants in Singapore. Whether your partner is into exotic cuisines, enchanting surrounds or even wildly adventurous dining concepts, these six restaurants are sure to set the mood.

1. NOX – Dine in the Dark

If you’re planning an evening with an adventurous gourmand, NOX – Dine in the Dark offers a date night experience like no other. Before dinner begins, you’ll be given a quick briefing on what to expect, followed by cocktails and an amuse bouche that serves as a culinary teaser. You’ll then be lead into the pitch-dark dining area by the restaurant’s visually impaired staff. In addition to creating a rather intimate atmosphere, the darkness also serves to enhance the tastes and textures of your three-course dinner by blocking out distractions. After dinner, you’ll be led into the softly lit lounge area where you’ll be given a form to try and guess what food was served. You’ll then be presented with pictures and descriptions of the food so you can see just how close your guesses are. After that, you can continue the evening with post-dinner cocktails at the bar.

83 Club Street. Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer.

Nox - Dine In The Dark Romantic Restaurants in Singapore
Dinner at Nox is a dining experience that’s a treat for the senses. Photo credit: Nox – Dine in the Dark

2. Firangi Superstar

Firangi Superstar takes a maximalist approach to its cinematic portrayal of India – most apparent in its four themed spaces that invoke different facets of the country’s history. The Elephant Palace is an ideal spot for a date with its cosy booths while the Jungle Lodge will appeal to those with a bit of a wild side (fret not, all the animal trophies are replicas). The Officer’s Lounge is primarily for cocktails and light bites while the Darjeeling Limited-esque Railway Room offers a private space for gatherings. Firangi Superstar’s appeal is more than just skin deep – the menu showcases excellent modern renditions of Indian classics like tandoori lamb, a tamarind fish curry with vaddai fritters and even Bombay-style elotes. With their popularity enduring well into 2022, reservations are definitely recommended.

20 Craig Road. Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar.

Firangi Superstar Romantic Restaurants in Singapore
Firangi Superstar’s bold decor will transport you to India. Photo credit: Firangi Superstar

3. Dolce Vita

Set in an alluring poolside space in Mandarin Oriental, Dolce Vita presents a menu of modern Italian dishes in a refined setting. Here you can brush fingers over easy-to-share-pizzas or tuck into heartier mains like the roasted rack of lamb or slow-braised veal shank. You should also save room for desserts like the specialty tiramisu or, if you need a little caffeine hit, the affogato with vanilla ice cream, almond crumble and freshly brewed espresso. While the space is enchanting in the evenings, you can also plan a Saturday afternoon date and take advantage of their late brunch that runs from 12pm to 3pm.

5 Raffles Avenue, Mandarin Oriental. Nearest MRT: Esplanade.

Dolce Vita Italian
Savour impeccable Italian cuisine in a breezy poolside setting at Dolce Vita. Photo credit: Dolce Vita

4. The Corner House

The Corner House, set in a lovingly restored black and white manor, highlights fine French-Asian cuisine in an enchanting setting. If you’re on a date, opt for seating at the breezy veranda that overlooks the verdant forest and hedgerows beyond. Holding court in the kitchen is executive chef David Thien who was born and raised in Bordeaux. Drawing from his experiences there and in Singapore, he’s put together a selection of unique French-Asian omakase menus that will thrill discerning gourmands. Dishes can also be paired with exclusive and rare wines sourced from Burgundy, Bordeaux En-Primeur and America.

1 Cluny Road, Corner House. Nearest MRT: Botanic Gardens.

Lush green views at the Corner House’s veranda. Photo credit: Corner House

5. Botanico Garden

Looking for romantic restaurants in Singapore in a more natural setting? Nestled amidst the lush environs of Singapore Botanic Gardens, Botanico Garden is a great option for afternoon dates. The restaurant is housed within a 1920s Art Deco-style heritage building and offers seating in both an indoor dining hall and a breezy outdoor terrace bar that’s draped in fairy lights. The lunch and dinner menu offer a range of European dishes with Asian touches, most apparent in mains like the Assam pedas snapper with saffron risotto. If your partner has any dietary restrictions, you’ll be pleased to find that there are several vegan and vegetarian options available. After your meal, keep the date going with a romantic stroll through the Tanglin Gate Gardens or the Palm Valley.

1 Cluny Road. Nearest MRT: Botanic Gardens.

Take a stroll in the gardens after your date at Botanico. Photo credit: Botanico

6. Canchita

Want to impress your date with your knowledge of South American cuisines? Canchita is one of the few restaurants in Singapore that serve Peruvian food – in a wildly romantic setting as well. Set in the well-known dining enclave of Dempsey Hill, it takes full advantage of its enviable setting with full-length windows that open up to lush forest views. Naturally, Peru’s national dish, ceviche, takes centre stage. Keep it simple with the classic ceviche made in the traditional style or try adventurous options like the ceviche canchita which includes marinated fish, grilled octopus and purple corn tortilla chips. Beyond ceviche, you’ll also find tacos, Peruvian-style rice dishes and light bites like plantain crackers with guacamole.

9A-9B Dempsey Road. Buses: 7, 75, 77, 105, 106, 123, 174.

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Friday, 26 August 2022

Best places in Singapore for a unique afternoon high tea experience

Singaporeans love their food, so it’s not unusual to see residents here supping on something at all hours of the day. While breakfast and brunch are pretty much institutions here, afternoon tea – a quintessentially British tradition – is also gaining popularity for its opportunity to offer a sophisticated tête-à-tête among good friends and couples in delightful environs.

Restaurants in Singapore have caught onto the trend and have responded with great aplomb. Chefs here are now adding their own creative flair and interpretation to their offerings, with some even injecting some local flavour into the mix, making high tea here a uniquely Singapore experience.

So if you’re looking at pressing pause and spending quality time with a good cup of tea and some sumptuous tea-time treats, below are some of the best places to go.

1. A heartier afternoon tea for meat lovers at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse Singapore

Afternoon tea often brings to mind an element of daintiness, with most of the offerings being lighter bites. Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, however, offers a generously portioned afternoon tea selection that’s inspired by their regular menu. Here, steakhouse classics are transformed into format-appropriate dishes like the aged beef crostini and the beef and mustard toast. There’s also other options like the katsu chicken sandwich and the shrimp and avocado brioche. Once you’ve made your way through the savouries, you can look forward to American-style sweets like the New York cheesecake, pecan pie and Key lime pie. You’ll also get to choose two teas from a selection that includes intriguing flavours like Mojito Bliss and Rose Lychee Martini.

Wolfgang's Steakhouse Singapore
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse’s afternoon tea selection is perfect for meat lovers. Photo credit: Wolfgang’s Steakhouse Singapore

2. Spring- and summer-inspired tea at The Lobby Lounge (InterContinental Singapore) 

This multi-tiered showcase of season-inspired creations has been put together by The Lobby Lounge‘s Executive Pastry Chef Desmond Lee who was inspired by the blossoms of spring and the refreshing fruits of summer. Standout treats include the berries rhubarb marmalade with berries tea mousse and elderflower coulis; poached white peach with oolong tea infused cream and vanilla genoise; and savoury treats like the asparagus cheddar quiche. The set comes with replenishable scones and unlimited servings of ice cream upon request. It also includes two cups of fine loose-leaf tea or coffee.

InterContinental Singapore’s new Classic Afternoon Tea: Botanical
InterContinental Singapore’s Classic Afternoon Tea is inspired by spring and summer.

3. Tea with a side of glam at ATLAS

For a touch of indulgence in a charming old world setting, ATLAS is your choice. Your afternoon tea set comes in a tiered rose-gold tray accompanied by a selection of fine teas. Each European-style treat is hand-made to order and befitting of the occasion: think lobster crostinis, corn crème fraîche tarts and 5J Iberico Jamon on toast. There is also a medley of delicate sweet treats like its signature madeleines and banana cream pie. You can elevate your experience with a glass of bubbly, if you have something to toast to (or not!). There are also vegetarian and gluten-free options so everyone’s covered.

Atlas Bar Afternoon Tea Set
Enjoy the afternoon at ATLAS Bar. Photo credit: Benjamin Sim, ATLAS

4. High tea with freshly pressed coffee and a view at Skai 

Located on the 70th floor of the iconic Swissôtel The Stamford, Skai serves panoramic views of the city skyline alongside a premium high tea set that showcases Bacha Coffee. Tuck into savouries such a lobster with apple tzatziki and Oscietre caviar; foie gras with raspberry and pistachio; and turkey with a spinach pesto. Follow this up by enjoying sweet treats such as the Okinawa brown sugar macarons and the Earl Grey raspberry cream puff. Another highlight here is the Bacha Coffee selection which comes served in a Parisian press.

SKAI Afternoon Tea with SilverKris
Savour the view while tantalising your tastebuds with SKAI’s afternoon tea set.

5. Heritage-inspired treats at L’Espresso (Goodwood Park Hotel)

If you’re a big fan of Singapore food and flavours, L’Espresso offers the best of both worlds with a repertoire of classic snacks and local-inspired delights. A new retro-style stall has been set up at the outdoor poolside terrace, where you can help yourself to sumptuous hawker delights such as Nonya laksa and moreish curry chicken served in nostalgic rooster-printed tableware and crockery. Also not to be missed are dishes such as crispy carrot cake with XO sauce and fusion sandwiches such as chicken “bak kwa” with cheddar cheese and otak-otak and egg sandwich. Desserts include a rich and creamy chendol panna cotta as well as a roving trolley featuring three types of pastry pops. Pair your food with a bevy of beverages, including classic and unique blend of TWG teas, iced lemon tea and hot chocolate.

L’Espresso Local Favourites Station high tea
The laksa station at L’Espresso.

6. Local flavours at Tea Lounge (Regent)

Rich and bold Singaporean flavours is the theme of choice for the afternoon tea at Tea Lounge. Don’t miss the weekend sessions that are a veritable feast. On top of small munchies such as a mimosa sandwich with Avruga caviar, Hainanese roasted chicken in a sesame bun with ginger aioli, seasonal quiches and scones, you also get a range of locally inspired desserts like the orh nee yam puff, pandan and coconut rice tart or the blue ginger lychee pudding. Your experience comes with a selection of Gryphon Tea or Illy Coffee or you can top up for Prosecco or champagne.

Regent Singapore tea lounge
Assorted desserts at Tea Lounge.

7. French-inspired delights from Tablescape (Grand Park City Hall)

Tablescape‘s tea set is a dainty presentation of fine treats, reminiscent of hors d’oeuvres at a classy restaurant in Paris. The creamy foie gras, nectarine and pistachio tartlet is a nice blend of sweet and savoury, while the buttery sable breton is topped with bresaola, crème fraiche and gherkins for a bit of texture. Move onto the velvet cheese mousse, an airy cloud before indulging in a rich and fragrant almond torte and finishing with a chocolate hazelnut eclair. Regulars will be pleased with the availability of its house-baked scones as well as sesame brioche paired with flavoured house-churned butters. A selection of coffee and Clipper 1872 teas accompany your meal.

Grand Park City Hall_Tablescape Afternoon Tea
Tablescape’s afternoon tea.

8. Treats served in drawers at Anti:dote (Fairmont Singapore)

Anti:dote‘s Insta-worthy tea set has earned itself quite a reputation, thanks to the venue’s innovative way of presenting its pastries and small bites in an elegant chest of drawers. Its theme changes monthly – currently it’s an array of delectable Asian-inflected delights such as crab meat in a green tea brioche; king prawn with pomelo salsa in an edible flower; and A:D’s signature salmon gravlax with cream cheese and trout roe. Sweets include an oolong and matcha opera or an intriguing salted egg and chocolate mooncake. The classic accompaniment of Madagascan vanilla scones is also available, paired with lemon butter curd, Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry marmalade.

Sip tea and be pleased by Anti:dote’s afternoon tea set.

9. An experience inspired by Singaporean flavours at Mo Bar (Mandarin Oriental)

Similar to Skai, Mo Bar‘s unique and limited set pays homage to Singapore’s rich culinary heritage with treats infused with local flavours and ingredients. Think prawn tartlets with a laksa aioli; sambal lobster served in brioche with bitternut crackers; and chicken in phyllo with a rendang spice emulsion for savouries. To satisfy your sweet tooth, enjoy the kaya toast-inspired millefeuille with kaya chantilly cream and pandan sponge cake or the “Milo Dinosaur” mousse. The set comes with rare teas sourced from Asia’s tea-growing regions, and you can also pay a fee to add a cocktail, mocktail or glass of champagne.

MO Bar
Delicious afternoon treats at Mandarin Oriental’s MO Bar.

10. A taste of Singapore at Arteastiq

For a truly Singaporean experience enjoyed in plush, elegant surroundings, the National Treasure set at Arteastiq‘s Mandarin Gallery and Jewel Changi Airport outlets hits the spot. The set offers elevated local favourites that will thrill both young and old, such as kueh pie tee (pastry tart shell) with crab stick; otah fries with green chilli sauce; satay chicken with rice cake and peanut sauce; rainbow kueh lapis (layered cake) with kaya banana pancake with custard wrapped in pandan leaves and gula Melaka (palm sugar) custard with red bean. Munch on them as you sip on two cups of specialty teas of your choice.

Enjoy a laid back afternoon with Arteastiq’s National Treasure High Tea Set.

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.


The post Best places in Singapore for a unique afternoon high tea experience appeared first on SilverKris.

from SilverKris

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

Hidden speakeasy-style restaurants and bars in Singapore to uncover

Although it’s been a good while since the speakeasy trend first found its way to Singapore, there’s still something to be said about the allure of a place that takes some effort to find. Whether it’s the thrill of its hidden nature; its secret status that only those in the know are aware of; or the anticipation that builds as you search furtively for its concealed entrance, speakeasy-style establishments remain a popular mainstay in today’s dining scene. We’ve rounded up a few top-notch hidden restaurants and bars in Singapore that serve up everything from good and greasy American burgers and steaming bowls of ramen to classic cocktails and an extensive range of sake. While it may require a little legwork and detective skills before you slide into a booth or sidle up at the bar counter, the quality nosh at these spots is undoubtedly worth it.

1. Burger Bar

True to its name, Burger Bar serves up classic American burgers from its home base in Telok Ayer. While Google Maps gives its location as Amoy Street, the hidden restaurant is actually located along the narrow Gemmill Lane. Once you’re in the vicinity, keep an eye out for a neon sign of a hefty burger and glass of beer: you can enter through the door on its left. Inside the dimly lit space, the vibe resembles a classic New York dive bar, with plenty of colourful graffiti on the walls (you’re encouraged to leave your mark as well) and booth and low-table seating. Choose from a selection of favourites including the bacon cheeseburger and fried buttermilk chicken burger, and don’t forget to order a side of crispy fries. The bar also boasts a killer selection of imported craft beers from the likes of cult favourites such as Blackout Brewing, Popihn and Fuerst Wiacek.

115 Amoy Street (entrance at the back on Gemmill lane). Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer.

The moody, nondescript entrance to Burger Bar.

2. Proper Slice BYGB

If you prefer another New York favourite, venture past Burger Bar and into the alley on the corner of Gemmil Lane. There you’ll find Proper Slice BYGB, marked only by a maroon awning and an acrylic sign. Peak into the unmarked steel door and you’ll be greeted by the enticing smell of freshly baked pizzas. This hidden pizzeria is helmed by the folks behind Lucali BYGB and serves up proper New York-style pies – large slices with simple ingredients and a delightfully thin crust. The star of the show is undoubtedly the pepperoni slice, but the cream-based spinach and ricotta slice has die-hard fans as well. In addition to pizza, other Italian-American staples are available like the garlic knots, stromboli (essentially a more portable pizza) and a sweet calzone filled with ricotta and hazelnuts.

Proper Slice hidden bars and restaurants in Singapore
One of the few places you can find a “Proper Slice” of New York-style pizza.

3. Live Twice

Live Twice is one of the three Jigger and Pony group establishments along Bukit Pasoh Road, there’s also fellow cocktail bar Gibson and seafood restaurant Humpback. The entrance to Live Twice isn’t visible from the street – it’s tucked into a hidden alcove behind Humpback. You’ll need to look for the glass door located next to the restaurant and make your way down a narrow corridor before arriving at the bar. Inspired by mid-century Japan and specialising in Japanese food and drinks, Live Twice sports low lighting, booth seating, plush lounge chairs and a central table that’s ideal for groups. As for what to order? We recommend the wagyu katsu sando (a lip-smackingly good panko-coated steak sandwich) washed down with the Golden Leaf (Roku gin, high mountain tea and orange riesling) or the Little Crane (Kyru Juuri unaged rye, Muyu Vertiver Gris, Oloroso sherry and pineapple).

18-20 Bukit Pasoh Road. Nearest MRT: Outram Park.

Hidden restaurants and bars in Singapore Live Twice
Live Twice’s cosy interior is perfect for snuggling up with some cocktails.

4. The Other Room

Another hard-to-find Orchard Road watering hole, The Other Room is tucked away behind an unmarked doorway and heavy velvet curtains in the lobby of the Singapore Mariott Tang Plaza Hotel. Once you enter its softly lit and intimate space, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported back to the heyday of speakeasies in the 1920s. The maestro behind the concept is Dario Knox, who wanted to create a welcoming bar where creative takes on spirits – think barrel-ageing, smoking and infusing – take centre stage. In order to sample the bevy of unique libations on offer in their purest form, we recommend going for the tasting flight. From there, you can move on the the cocktails. Our favourite is the Old Fashioned Way, a take on the classic cocktail that features port-casked Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, Ardberg 10, Angostura bitters, chocolate bitters and sugar.

320 Orchard Road, Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel. Nearest MRT: Orchard.

Hidden restaurants and bars in Singapore the other room
Creative takes on classics take centre stage at The Other Room.

5. Roxy

A bar-within-a-bar, Roxy is hidden behind nondescript velvet drapes at the back of Miss Fitz at The Sail along Marina Boulevard. The intimate space is drenched in moody red lighting and offers seats at cosy booths or by the bar. As the piped-in music and the posters plastered on the wall would suggest, Roxy fully leans into its 1970s rock-and-roll theme. More specifically, the bar’s design is meant to resemble the private backrooms where music icons like Bowie and Queen would have held afterparties. The drinks menu is also thematic – try the Smoke on the Water, a spicy concoction of Monkey Shoulder Smokey Monkey, house jalapeño syrup, fresh lemon and soda; or the Mexican-inflected Backstage Pass, a mix of fruit liqueurs, fresh juices and firewater tincture.

6 Marina Boulevard, #01-17, The Sail at Marina Bay (inside Miss Fitz). Nearest MRT: Downtown.

6. The Dragon Chamber

For upmarket modern Chinese food with an atmospheric speakeasy ambience, make your way to the The Dragon Chamber along Circular Road. Instead of the ornate entrance that you may expect from such an establishment, the hidden restaurant is located at the back of a kopitiam (coffee shop). Search for the “beer fridge” at the rear, pull it open, make your way down the narrow corridor and you’ll find yourself in a space that resembles the clandestine hangout of a Chinese secret society. Food-wise, the menu features inventive dishes such as cheeseburger eggrolls (a fusion take on the classic spring rolls), Golden Cloud Dragon Mountain (fried whole lobsters tossed in egg floss) and the silky and decadent wagyu truffle beef hor fun. If you can’t make up your mind which drink to order, the Blossom Soda (blue pea-infused vodka, lychee liquor, fresh lime and soda) is tasty, refreshing and highly Instagrammable.

2 Circular Road. Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay.

the dragon chamber hidden restaurants bars singapore
The Dragon Chamber is an exciting Chinese bar and restaurant hidden along Circular Road.

7. MoboMoga

True sake fiends in Singapore will need no introduction to specialty sake bar MoboMoga, though others may have a bit of a hard time hunting it down. Located at UE Square Residences, you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for the nondescript and narrow arched doorway, which you’ll then have to crouch and squeeze through to enter the bar. Inside, there’s limited counter seating alongside a central bar area, which is typically crammed with Japanese businessmen seeking a smooth serving of sake after a long day of work. Our tip? Simply let the sake expert behind the bar know how you like your tipple, and sit back and accept whatever he recommends (trust us, it’s going to be delicious). Besides an array of high-quality sakes imported from all over Japan, there’s also a decent izakaya-style food menu that features the likes of oden (Japanese one-pot stew), generously stuffed cabbage rolls and crispy chicken karaage.

207 River Valley Road, #01-58, UE Square. Nearest MRT: Fort Canning.

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

The post Hidden speakeasy-style restaurants and bars in Singapore to uncover appeared first on SilverKris.

from SilverKris