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In Singapore for business or the F1 or both?

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View of Singapore skyline from the Lantern Bar, Fullerton Bay Hotel

Then follow Chopstix’s guide to Singapore’s CBD and beyond…

The small city state island of Singapore is immaculately clean and lusciously green with gleaming new skyscrapers juxtaposed by colonial era buildings and plenty of glossy shopping malls and restaurants. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find traditional shophouses with shuttered windows and fronted by undercover walk ways in Chinatown and Little India and a melting pot of cuisines in Singapore’s signature hawker centres.

Being practically on the equator The Lion City has two types of weather: hot and wet or hot and wetter. Although the “wet” season is around September to February there is no bad time to visit. Carry an umbrella with you at all times anyway – either to protect from the downpours or the sun.

 

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The Lantern Bar, Fullerton Bay Hotel

If you’re doing business in the CBD you’ll be spoilt for choice for lunch spots after work hang outs in this compact area bordered by the Singapore river and the bay. A perennial favourite is The Lantern Bar, a glamorous pool side terrace on top of the chic Fullerton Bay hotel and overlooking the water.

The art deco-esque Black Swan is great for salads and surf and turf in a sultry but casual while a short hop over the river, Gunther’s in a charming shophouse serves contemporary French fare to the expense account set.

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Odette at the National Gallery Singapore

The city’s Civic District has recently been spruced up with the main gem being the National Gallery, a stunning monolith that’s actually two colonial structures conjoined with some clever modern architecture. Inside holds the largest collection of Southeast Asian art and the F&B outlets are equally impressive including French fine diner, Odette, and National Kitchen by Violet Oons, the doyenne of Singa’s dining scene with her Peranaken cuisine – a hybrid of Chinese and Malay cooking. Smoke & Mirrors on the top floor is a terrace bar that overlooks the Padang, the bay and CBD

Further afield on Orchard Road is Iggy’s. Owner, wine connoisseur and convivial host, Ignatius Chan was at the forefront of bringing fine dining to Singapore. Newer names have come on the scene but Iggy’s still holds its own with a recent refurb and new chef. 

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Iggy’s, Singapore

A short taxi drive away is the glorious Singapore’s Botannic Gardens. This sprawling tropical eden includes lakes, secluded pathways and the famous Orchid enclave. Go early in the morning or late afternoon like the locals do when the heat is less oppressive. 

Uniquely Singaporean are the Hawker Centres – food stalls grouped together in covered settings and complete with health and safety ratings – so essentially street food for softies. The centrally located Lau Pa Sat is the prettiest with its Victorian wrought iron carousel design. If you’re only going to order one thing make it the satays

Stay

The Warehouse Hotel

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Singapore’s most talked about hotel opening of the year is a converted riverside warehouse among the busy eateries of Robertson Quay. The space retains its industrial design flavour with some quirky details thrown in. 

Parkroyal on Pickering

Based on the fringes of both Chinatown and the CBD the hotel has a spectacular, verdant design and includes an infinity pool with city skyline view.

Best Restaurants for Singapore F1

Singapore skyline at Sky on 57, Marina Bay Sands

Singapore skyline at Sky on 57, Marina Bay Sands

In Singapore for the F1? In between watching the Night Race and Kylie here’s Chopstix’s pick of the best restaurants near the race track.

Saint Pierre

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Scallop at Saint Pierre

A long time darling of Singa’s fine dining scene, Saint Pierre has recently moved to a new location in one of the Fullerton heritage buildings overlooking the Marina in the CBD.

Chef Emmanuel Stroobant’s fancy fare sits better in this table clothed, chandeliered setting though the vibe is modern rather than stuffy. Stroobant combines French techniques with tip top Japanese ingredients with wonderful results. The service is top notch too.

Tasting menu only for dinner ( choose between six or ten courses, meat or vegetarian) plus a spectacular French cheese cart and a petit fours trolley.

Around 7pm you’ll catch the jaw dropping sunset reflected in the Marina Bay Sands spectacular across the bay.

1 Fullerton Road

http://www.saintpierre.com.sg

Gunther’s

Gunther Hubrechsen doesn’t get as much glory as the showier chefs in Singapore which is a travesty because his food (mod European) is superb and his eponymous resto makes a refreshing change from all the shopping mall and hotel set ups in the Lion City.

Instead, Gunther’s is based in a converted shop-house on an historic side-street. A tiny but cute belle époque-esqe bar leads to a surprisingly modern dining area.

Star attraction is the vast tray of impressive raw ingredients, including live seafood, shown to each diner at the start of the meal and testament that produce is king here. Signature dish is cold angel hair pasta with caviar.

That the customers are overwhelmingly regulars is proof of Gunther’s appeal.

36 Purvis Street
http://www.gunthers.com.sg

Beetroot Collection at Jaan, Singapore

Beetroot Collection at Jaan, Singapore

Jaan
Restaurants with a knock out view usually don’t bode well on the food front but that’s not the case with Jaan. Although the 70th floor vista of central Singapore will impress even the most spoilt and/or jaded traveller, the cuisine – and the service, also match it.

All tables at this compact restaurant are cleverly set up to enjoy the outlook overlooking the river, marina and beyond to the Straits sea.

The kitchen is in good hands with Kirk Westaway the long time sous promoted to head chef whose notched up a Michelin star. Food-wise we’re talking tasting menu only at dinner. Expect high end French with contemporary twists and trickery that elicit lots of smiles and admiring “aahs”.

First comes a plinth of amuse bouches that looks like a work of art. Then a 55 degree cooked egg is cracked and poured into a dish before you in a cute nod to Singaporean coffee shops way of serving soft boiled eggs.

Level 70, Swissotel The Stamford, 2 Stamford Road
http://www.jaan.com.sg

Shinji by Kanesaka

[UDPATE: Raffles Arcade is now closed for refurbishment until mid 2018 and Shinji has relocated across the street to the Carlton hotel.]

This menu-less, omakase (“I’ll leave the choice up to you”) restaurant has caused quite a stir in Singapore and has been awarded a Michelin star in the city state’s inaugural Michelin Guide. It’s the brainchild of renowned Tokyo chef Shinji Kanesaka, as the name suggests.
In Singapore, a team of Japanese chefs work under the watchful eye of master chef Koichiro Oshino who has been with Shinji for over 20 years.

They work behind a wooden counter carved in a single piece from a 220 year old hinoki or Japanese Cypress tree which is as stunning as the food they prepare.

Only fish and seafood is served but not just sushi and sashimi there’s plenty of grilled dishes too including 5-hour steamed Hokkaido abalone.

Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Road
http://www.shinjibykanesaka.com

[UPDATE: Shinji at Raffles is now closed while Raffles Arcade undergoes refurbishment.]

Marinated shrimp with sea urchin and caviar at Waku Ghin, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Marinated shrimp with sea urchin and caviar at Waku Ghin, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Waku Ghin

Exclusive has become an over used word but it’s a fitting description for Waku Ghin. There are just 25 covers, dotted among four private rooms each with a chef preparing a 10 course tasting menu on a teppanyaki grill.

This is Sydney-based chef Tetsuya Wakuda’s first foray outside of Australia and is an extremely hot ticket in Singapore – especially since it zoomed into the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2012. The restaurant has since earned a Michelin star.

To start is raw seafood, maybe sea urchin and abalone, followed by “salads” such as scallops with daikon and oyster. Standout dish is the marinated shrimp with sea urchin and caviar.

The the real magic begins as your private chef cooks a succession of fish and meat dishes such as crab legs steamed on a salt bed and wagyu beef with grated wasabi. It’s part theatre, part cooking lesson.

All dishes can be expertly paired with wines or saki from biodynamic Sancerre to an Australian chardonnay produced especially for the chef.

Casino level 2, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue
marinabaysands.com

Waku Ghin, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Waku Ghin, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Sky on 57
Local enfant terrible Justin Quek trained with some of the best chefs in France and now mixes Singaporean Chinese flavours with classical French techniques and vice versa.

His impressive menu includes foie gras braised in soy sauce in the same style as Teochew braised duck and xiao long bao filled with foie gras and truffle consomee.

A particular triumph is JQ’s Beef Broth with Braised Tendon, Ribs & Slices of Wagyu. The chef says it’s inspired by Singaporeans eating Beef Noodles at hawker stalls at the end of a night out to avoid a hangover the next day. His version comes with a shot of Jack Daniel’s added.

Level 57, Sands Skypark Tower 1
marinabaysands.com/restaurants/sky-on-57

Goat's cheese ravioli at Osteria Mozza, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Goat’s cheese ravioli at Osteria Mozza, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Osteria Mozza

There’s always a gathering outside Osteria Mozza of those without the foresight to book ahead at this popular Mario Batali outpost.

Inside, the dark wood, white table cloths and sizeable bar transports diners from Marina Bay Sands mall to New York. Batali’s trademark rock soundtrack adds a convivial atmosphere but never detracts from the attentive, friendly service.

Under the helm of executive chef, David Almany, the menu is Italian American boasting half a page of mozzarella and a full page of pasta as well as exemplary antipasti, meat, fish and of course, dolce. There’s also a great selection of Italian wines, thanks to co owner Joe Bastianich.

If you can’t get a seat here, Batali’s other joint next door does the best pizza in Singapore.

Galleria Level 42-46, Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue
marinabaysands.com

Osteria Mozza, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Osteria Mozza, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

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