Header images: foie gras and the exterior of Tippling Club
Restaurant André may have closed its doors but Singapore is still a hub of incredible dining and drinking experiences. In the sixth of our "50 Hours in…" series, presented by Diners Club International, we take a tour through some of the highlights.
Singapore has long been known as a street food paradise and cultural melting pot, where one could go from an Indian breakfast of roti prata to a Peranakan lunch of laksa before hitting up Chinese-style bak chor mee (minced pork noodles) for dinner. But today, a trip to the Lion City is incomplete without a reservation at one of the many fine dining restaurants that are helping propel the once sleepy city state onto the radar of globe-trotting food cognoscenti.
Singapore has a reputation as one of the world’s most expensive cities and it’s not uncommon to spend SGD 500 (US$380) for a meal at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants regulars Shinji by Kanesaka or Waku Ghin. Equally, it’s completely possible to eat a lavish spread of hawker fare for less than SGD 5-10 a head. Here are a few favourite options for a 50-hour trip.
10:00 – The Line
Shangri-La Hotel, 22 Orange Grove Rd, Lower Lobby, Tower Wing, 258350
+65 6213 4275
Nasi Lemak at The Line
Large by any standard, this Adam Tihany-designed all-day buffet restaurant with 16 show kitchens in the basement of the Shangri-La Singapore still attracts a crowd, even after a decade in business. Open from 6am daily, its breakfast buffet is worth waking up early for just so that you can be first in line for the generous spread of local and western fare.
There’s nasi lemak (rice perfumed with coconut milk served with condiments) with nyonya chicken rendang (Straits Chinese chicken stew with coconut milk and spices) from the Asian Station; masala dosai (South Indian fermented crepe stuffed with potatoes, fried onions and spices) with vegetable sambar (lentil-based vegetable stew cooked in tamarind broth) from the Indian Station and kaya (pandan and coconut milk-infused jam) toast from the Local Station, all washed down with freshly made teh tarik (pulled hot milk tea). Eggs cooked to order are also available.
13:30 – Brasserie Gavroche
66 Tras St, 079005
+65 6225 8266
Grandpa Henri’s baked pork terrine with duck liver (Pâté en croûte) at Brasserie Gavroche
This brasserie at Tras Street is arguably the city’s most authentic and it has the picture-perfect Parisian setting as proof – from the high-ceilinged dining room to the gilt mirrors that adorn the wall to the antique Café de la Paix wooden bar that French chef-owner, Frederic Colin, procured from Paris. But the devil is truly in the detail and Colin hit a home run with a menu of brasserie classics like paté en croute with foie gras and hand-cut Angus beef tartare with recent additions like the rabbit leg on a bed of tomatoes and red pepper sauce.
20:00 – Tippling Club
38 Tg Pagar Rd, 088461
+65 6475 2217
Kyoho grape at Tippling Club
Fine dining rarely lets it hair down but at this institution of avant-garde dining and drinking by chef-owner Ryan Clift the boundaries are stretched just so to expand the scope of guests’ imagination. To start, a whimsical “Sensorium” cocktail experience allows you pick your choice of drink based on the scent of the droppers-driven “menu”. Then brace yourself to savour the 20 plus-course Gourmand menu, a parade of playful one-bite courses as well as riveting long-time Clift signatures like the hearty Brittany purple garlic broth with razor clams and A4 Toriyama wagyu with Hokkaido burrata, horseradish, Japanese fruit tomato and artichoke. Tippling Club is also a regular on the The World's and Asia's 50 Best Bars lists.
09:00 – Shangri-La
22 Orange Grove Rd, 258350
+65 6737 3644
The Lobby Lounge at Shangri-La
It may be 46 years old but this grand dame of luxury lodging in Singapore looks every bit as modern and glamorous as any of its younger brethren. Set in a leafy 15-acre property on the fringe of the city’s Orchard shopping belt, the flagship Shangri-La offers three distinctly different accommodation types: the Valley Wing caters mostly to diplomats; the Garden Wing serves recreational travellers and the recently refurbished Tower Wing reaches a good mix of business and leisure clientele. Also residing in the Tower Wing is a refreshed grand lobby that retains the same soaring ceiling and voluminous space but now sports a metallic-leaved Tree Canopy art installation by Japanese designer Hirotoshi Sawada.
10:00 – Horizon Club Lounge
Shangri-La Hotel, 22 Orange Grove Rd
Horizon Club Lounge
Accessible only to Golden Circle Diamond members or guests who book the Horizon Club rooms on levels 20 to 23 of the Tower Wing or suites in any of the hotel’s three wings, the Horizon Club Lounge on the 24th floor offers panoramic views of the city to go with a generous spread at breakfast. Think Beurre D’Isigny butter with pastries, cereals with fresh berries and tropical fruits, hot food including local favourites like nasi lemak and Chinese-style congee with condiments. That’s not to mention an array of hot and cold beverages plus Enomatic dispensed wines from 7am to 12 midnight for your drinking pleasure.
13:30 – Ki-Sho
29 Scotts Road, Singapore 228224
+65 6733 5251
Wild caught blue fin o-toro sushi with Hokkaido uni and chef's own marinated organic egg yolk at Ki-Sho
This ryotei set in a double-storey black-and-white colonial bungalow on Scotts Road is where Japanese food aficionados flock for their fill of omakase by Kyoto-born Kazuhiro Hamamoto. There are multiple options at lunch: Rosan, mainly for sushi; Oribe, for a good mix of hot and cold dishes including the donabe (claypot rice) with Kyoto grated radish, tofu and seasonal fish; and Taihaku, for a mix of Rosan and Oribe. If money is no object, order the omakase and you will be treated to, amongst other things, chef’s signature of Hokkaido uni topped with caviar in dashi vinegar jelly, plus a parade of warm, hand-pressed sushi.
20:00 – Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck
290 Orchard Road, Paragon, #05-42/45, 238859
+65 6732 7838
Imperial Treasure's Super Peking duck
There are Peking ducks in Singapore and then there is Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck, which stands out for its relentless focus on roasting the duck the same way it has been done in Beijing for centuries. First dry rubbed with sugar, salt and Chinese spices, then air-dried for 48 hours and slow-roasted with lychee wood in a traditional fire stone oven, this award-winning bird arrives with light and crispy skin wrapped in handmade crepes sandwiched with spring onion and cucumber brushed with a whisper of hoisin sauce. Perfect with a cup of Chinese tea.
12:00 – Level 33
8 Marina Boulevard 33-01, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1, 018981
+65 6834 3133
The view from Level 33
Many tourists scale Marina Bay Sands for a panorama of Singapore’s cityscape but unbeknownst to most, an equally jaw-dropping view awaits at one of the world’s tallest urban microbreweries perched atop the Marina Bay Financial Centre. Soak in the city’s skyscape with a mug of full-bodied 33.1 Blond Lager, the lighter-yet-aromatic 33.15 India Pale Ale or the dark and smoky 33.3 Stout. If you prefer a beer-centric cocktail to toast to an occasion, how about try the Paris Lush (Blond Lager, Champagne, crème de cassis, elderflower syrup and gold dust) or the Blond Mojito (Blond Lager, Havana Club, fresh strawberries, mint)?
All of the restaurants and hotels featured in the series accept payment with Diners Club, and can be found on this map of Singapore.
Now watch the video:
Watch the rest of the series, with 50 Hours in Rome, London, New York, Bangkok and Miami:
Also from Singapore: André Chiang is the winner of the Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award for Asia 2018: