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Dining in Singapore


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A really good Chinese place is the Lee Garden Restaurant. Cantonese style, but I haven't been there in years.

You are probably thinking of Lei Garden. The most fancy outlet is at Chijmes near Raffles City. Definitely high end and with good food but not my personal favourite.

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I've had good meals at St Pierre (Central Mall) and Les Saisons (also at Central Mall). Les Amis is one place that comes to mind, but I haven't eaten there for a long time.

Another place that I like eating at is Ember (Keong Siak St).

Like Tonkichi mentioned, Iggy's (The Regent Hotel) and La Petit Village (Liang Court) have earned favourable reviews. These restaurants are owned by Les Amis alumni (Ignatius Chan and Justin Quek).

I haven't eaten at Salt (Jimmy Cheok), but have tried his food when he was the chef at other places. Good value.

My preference these days (like Tonkichi) is to hunt out places for good food, ambience is less important. Some places have great ambience and high prices, but the food doesn't measure up.

For good Cantonese food, I like the Crystal Jade restaurant at Ngee Ann City and Peach Garden (Novena).

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Chinese restaurants in good hotels are all pretty good. In particular, Hua Ting at the Orchard Hotel, Wan Hao at the Marriot Hotel, the restaurant at the Four Seasons (can't recall the name) and the Summer Pavilion in the Ritz-Carlton. If it's lunch, Hai Tien Lo at the Pan Pacific is a good choice as it balances decent food with stunning views of the city (the restaurant is right at the top of the hotel).

I don't think there is really any great Western high-end restaurants in Singapore, other than perhaps Au Jardin Les Amis and L'aigle Dor. The rest of the possibilities all lack something (either in terms of food quality, ambience, or service) to qualify as high-end, even if they are pretty expensive.

Of the lot of mid-level Western restaurants, I do like Ember very much. I enjoyed Broth and Cusine Spontanae too. Da Paolo (especially the outlets at Neil Road and at Cluny Road, where the decor is more elegant) is also pretty decent.

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my list of favourites:

Chinese:

Hua Ting (Orchard Hotel) & Summer Pavilion (the Ritz)- excellent quality and cooking all round. Am especially fond of their dim sum.

Chef Chan (Odean Tower) - he makes the best roast chicken in the world. ´nuff said.

Wah Lok (Carlton Hotel) - very good dim sum.

My Humble House - not humble at all! Very elegant modern Chinese.

French:

Saint Pierre (Robertson Quay) - his treatment of foie gras is sublime.

Les Amis - classic all-rounder

Italian:

Da Paolo (the one at Neil St, though the others while less ´high-end´are similarly good)

Indian:

Rang Mahal (Pan Pacific Hotel)

Sunday Brunch:

Greenhouse (the Ritz) and One-Nonety (Four Seasons Hotel)

Japanese:

Shiro (Greenwood Ave, which is a bit off the beaten track for visitors)

Keyaki (Pan Pacific)

Akashi (Tanglin Shopping Centre) - looks/ambience wise, it´s not great, but the food is really fresh. Go for the ´menu degustacion´- give the chef a budget and he´ll feed you the day´s freshest items. I usually work around S$150.

Personally, I think both Royal China and Mezza9 are both over-rated.

As some of the others have said, there´re lots of very good restaurants in Singapore, and you don´t need to go to a high-end one to eat well.

If you´re keen on seafood and don´t mind a grubby coffeeshop environment, I´d suggest Sin Huat Seafood (Geylang, the red-light district - which incidentally has a host really good local food). The crab beehoon is out of this world, and the prices are comparable to some of the most high-end ones!

Amateur cook, professional foodie!
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If you´re keen on seafood and don´t mind a grubby coffeeshop environment, I´d suggest Sin Huat Seafood (Geylang, the red-light district - which incidentally has a host really good local food). The crab beehoon is out of this world, and the prices are comparable to some of the most high-end ones!

I've been biding my time, waiting for the day I'll be in Singapore again, so I can taste with my own buds the Sin Huat crab beehoon. Have had recurring thoughts about that dish ever since watching a TV show about Anthony Bourdain's visit to Singapore. Bourdain outdid himself with the use of superlatives when describing the food at Sin Huat, and the beehoon in particular.

A restaurant where the cooks walk around in galoshes definitely scores a plus in my book.

Cannot wait.

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  • 5 months later...

I recently made another trip to Singapore for a week, just to eat as much as possible. My food adventures are captured on camera. I'd post them here, but there are far too many pics, so I'll just give you the link.

http://madmanweb.com/gallery/singapore-trip

Madhu Menon

Shiok Far-eastern Cuisine

Indiranagar, Bangalore

http://shiokfood.com

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Correction:

I guess that would make it my favorite food in Singapore.

In all, I wasn't impressed with Singapore dining.

I'm not big on seafood and I hate curry dishes.

Almost all the eateries our hosts shared with us specialized in one or the other.

Pow Sing was good.

I love chicken rice.

They make the best rice I've eaten.

For Bangkok eats, check out my Cheap Eats Bangkok

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  • 4 months later...

Anyone know where a single diner can get a single-diner-sized dish of chili crab or some other yummy crab dish? I'm headed to Singapore for just a few days (late Dec. 30 till Jan. 2 evening) and this time, I really want to try some crab. I'll be on my own, though, so I don't think I can handle the full orders at Sin Huat (?) or other such places.

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  • 3 months later...

Hello, egullet-ers.

I am an avid egullet-er from Vancouver, Canada. And I absolutely love food.

Could anybody point out a few "must haves" while I'm in Singapore. I will be in Singapore for a few months(atleast). What interests me most are dishes that I would not be able to get at home, or authentic dishes.

Any recommendations? Any good websites, with directions? etc.

Thanks,

Authenticity is all that matters.

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Hello, egullet-ers.

I am an avid egullet-er from Vancouver, Canada. And I absolutely love food.

Could anybody point out a few "must haves" while I'm in Singapore. I will be in Singapore for a few months(atleast). What interests me most are dishes that I would not be able to get at home, or authentic dishes.

Any recommendations? Any good websites, with directions? etc.

Thanks,

Hi Thoughtbox,

Whilst in Singapore, you can purchase a food guidebook called Makansutra, and this is where the addresses below are found from. http://www.makansutra.com/index.php

Most of us would have been going to these places for years, and this guide book tells us the address and name! Usually, we just say for example, "Hor fun at Geylang" or "Sweet and sour fish head", and immediately know where to go and which shop.

Here are the venues I take my foreign friends to:

(1) Bak Kut Teh (Pork rib soup)

Blk 347 Jurong East Ave 1

(2) Beef Hor Fun (Rice noodles)

237 Geylang Lorong 9

It blows hot and cold this one, the last time I went there a month ago, it wasn't as good anymore. Quality has gone down a lot in recent years, and its pretty expensive too. But this one is the famous one in Singapore

(3) Fish head curry

Karu's Curry on Upper Bukit Timah road, next to the shell petrol station opposite the Ministry of Defence. The best Indian fish head curry in Singapore IMO

(4) Sweet and Sour fish head, chinese style and Claypot chicken rice

Chinatown hawker complex, 2nd level. This one will be HARD to find. The only directions I can give are. ..............Face the hawker complex from the main side.

There should be a stage of sorts where you should be standing where all the old people sit around. ON your left, to the rear, there should be an automated teller machine from POSB bank.

There should also be a small lane on your front left, with shophouses as well as people selling knick knacks on the street.

Ok, facing the front of the complex, walk to the rear left. There will be a staircase there. It is at the rear left corner of the complex. When you get up, the fish head store and claypot rice is around that area.

All the fish head stores are clustered togather, so ask the store owners where the fish head stores are. Order from the store with a sign that says they are closed on mondays or tuesdays (Can't remember which day).

Do the same for the claypot rice, its the shop at a corner.

The reason I'm going to such great lengths to describe this is coz its IMO, bloody brilliant!

(5) Fried Hokkien Mee

Swee Guan fried hokkien mee, 549 Geylang Road (off Lorong 29), Sing Lian eating House. Opens only from 1630.

The best I've ever eaten.

(6) Nandaman Japanese Restaurant, Shangri La hotel

Go during lunch for the Kaiseki set meal, which will set you back about SGD$40++

I don't eat Japanese food outside of Japan, but this one is amazing. The menu changes with the seasons and is prepared by a real Japanese chef, not some young punk. Its a set meal of small proportions that add up to a full meal.

(7) Soba noodles in Paragon Shopping Centre, Orchard Road, B2

You can't miss this shop, there's a big glass window with a guy making Soba noodles inside. Well, fresh soba.......Japan is far......so this one's a great alternative.

(8) Many more, but can't think of it right now!

Enjoy!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Eating out in Singapore is no different from any major city - you should expect to pay top dollar for good food, ambience and service in multi-starred establishments. But there are also lots of good places where you can have a good meal without burning a hole in your wallet.

I think it's better than that. :smile: The food you get for a small price in singapore is much better than in other cities around the world. Far more excellent than the cheap places around London or so.

Eating an excellent four course dinner consisting of fired fish cakes, shark fin soup, hainan-chicken and rice, and mango pudding last summer in the hawkers around chinatown cost me 5 sg$ which is the price of a small cheap hot dog around here. With the cheapness of good food in S'pore, I think you are better off staying away from fancy places.

For recommendations:

I can recomend an excellent place to eat real Dim Sum in central Chinatown called "Da Dong". It mostly only caters to the local population and serves terrific freshly steamed dim sum and Beijing Yaa. Probably not as good as in Shanghai. But still really great.

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Hello, egullet-ers.

I am an avid egullet-er from Vancouver, Canada. And I absolutely love food.

Could anybody point out a few "must haves" while I'm in Singapore. I will be in Singapore for a few months(atleast). What interests me most are dishes that I would not be able to get at home, or authentic dishes.

Any recommendations? Any good websites, with directions? etc.

Thanks,

hello thoughtbox

welcome to singapore.

I second nicklam's recommendation on the Makansutra food guide. It has a very comprehensive list of all the best local street eats - though true to the singapore foodie spirit, i am not always in agreement with the ratings given :raz:

Some local publications with decent food commentaries include:

The Sunday Times - the last 2-3 pages of the lifestyle section always carries a food section (catering more to the mass-market) and this is a good source of the latest food trends and outlets.

Business Times (weekend edition) - again, this has a regular food section and carries good restaurant reviews. Perhaps because it is a business paper, I find the writing and restaurants reviewed are generally targeted at more of the PMEB crowd.

IS - this is a free weekly lifestyle publication distributed at many restaurants and cafes all over Singapore. It has a food section and its restaurant reviews are generally credible.

There is good food all over the island. Every local will have an opinion on where the best chicken rice, cha kway tiao, satay etc is. Some good hawker centres - meaning they are home to a higher than usual number of good food stalls - include the ones at Old Airport Rd, Maxwell Rd, Chinatown, People's Park, Tiong Bahru, Bedok Interchange, East Coast Lagoon and Ghim Moh. And beware Newton hawker centre - that is a tourist trap.

I have an exceptionally long list of faves both street food and restaurants) which is "serviced" regularly to ensure it is of quality and up to date! :biggrin: I'd be happy to share them - PM me if you like.

Happy eating!

Amateur cook, professional foodie!
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Hi folks,

I'm an occasional visitor to Singapore, but I really liked the Koufu food court at Toa Payoh Interchange (I think) near HDB House - does anyone have any thoughts on that place?

Thoughtbox, you might like to know that the World Gourmet Summit is on in April and will be bringing international guest chefs and winemakers together for three weeks. Among the featured guests this year are Santi Santamaria and Kevin Thornton, so it may be worth checking out if you're there in April.

Julian's Eating - Tales of Food and Drink
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  • 2 months later...

today, i have a craving for Yong Tau Foo.

My favourite Yong Tau Foo place is a small stall at the junction of Balestier Road and Prom Road. I have eaten the lady's yong tau foo for more than 20 years. I live overseas now, but still grab a chance to get some yong tau foo everytime I go back. Unfortunately I think many children do not want to learn the trade of making traditional foods and sauces, finding more financially lucrative jobs elsewhere. This is the greatest tragedy for foodies.

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  • 5 weeks later...

The sad fact about food these days, much of them are mass produced in factories or central kitchens. All processed food, that includes Yong Tau foo.

Most food stalls buy their mass produced yong tau foo and sauces from factories. The nice yong tau foo stalls around, buy their processed fish paste from some factory and create their own fish paste vegetables, the chain stall food court just buy all their processed ingredients,, little preparation needed.

So are singapore favorites such as laksa, chinese carrot cake bases, rice dumplings, dimsum, satay, soya bean curd and soya milk and chilli sauces etc

Yes, most food hawkers no longer start from scratch, they buy all processed food.

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  • 3 months later...
One of my friends, in passing, mentioned something about a lot of new "Bohemian" eating spots sprouting up in the corners of Singapore.

Anybody heard anything interesting lately?

Actually, there's a recent article in the New York Times by the late R.W. Apple Jr. on this topic: NYT Times article

There are quite a lot of interesting restaurants and cafes in Singapore now, in terms of location, decor etc. Examples include the Rochester Park cluster (colonial black and white bungalows housing a tapas bar and several restaurants, including a Da Paolo outpost and a Min Jiang outpost); PS Cafe along Harding Road in the bucolic Dempsey Road area; the Greenwood Avenue restaurant cluster; Il Lido on Sentosa island etc. There's even a small Italian restaurant deep in the Rifle Range Road area (off Bukit Timah).

Happy exploring.

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One of my friends, in passing, mentioned something about a lot of new "Bohemian" eating spots sprouting up in the corners of Singapore.

Anybody heard anything interesting lately?

Actually, there's a recent article in the New York Times by the late R.W. Apple Jr. on this topic: NYT Times article

There are quite a lot of interesting restaurants and cafes in Singapore now, in terms of location, decor etc. Examples include the Rochester Park cluster (colonial black and white bungalows housing a tapas bar and several restaurants, including a Da Paolo outpost and a Min Jiang outpost); PS Cafe along Harding Road in the bucolic Dempsey Road area; the Greenwood Avenue restaurant cluster; Il Lido on Sentosa island etc. There's even a small Italian restaurant deep in the Rifle Range Road area (off Bukit Timah).

Happy exploring.

I've been to El Lido and was impressed by the room. Unfortunately, we were only there for dessert as part of the Masterchef Safari at the WGS, so we didn't get to linger inside for long (they'd set up tables for us on the first tee).

I suspect that next WGS I'm going to have to get out and about beyond just the venue sites. Things are looking interesting.

Edited by Peter Green (log)
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  • 1 month later...

I thought I should post my review of Les Amis here as well, from the "Fine Dining in Malaysia and Singapore" thread.

Les Amis 1 Scotts Road, #02-16 Shaw Centre Singapore

Les Amis has always been a legend of sorts in the region. It has long been regarded as the best French restaurant in Singapore and arguably South-East Asia.

Two of the four founding partners left back in 2003, Executive Chef Justin Quek to try his luck in Taiwan and head sommelier Ignatius Chan to run his little corner of heaven in the former laundry of the Regent Hotel, named Iggy's and recently named in Restaurant Magazine's Top 100 Restaurants in the World.

In recent years, Randy See, head sommelier and Gunther Hubrechsen, formerly sous chef at Paris's L'Arpege, have now steered the good ship to more comfortable waters and media reviews are now as glowing as they have ever been. Under See's guidance, Les Amis now boasts a wine cellar of 1500+ labels and an inventory of well over 10,000 bottles.

On a more personal level, this is the restaurant that re-defined "fine dining" for me. It showed me that fine dining could also be as much about the food as the service and the wine list (an impression that I did not get too strongly when dining in Europe), and that Asians could do it as well as our European brothers.

This was the one big planned splurge during the honeymoon (unlike the Villa Danieli (Sheraton Imperial KL) debacle, which was embarked upon with the spontaneity of a one-night stand and similarly regretted). I had emailed Randy See a couple of months before, telling him in no uncertain terms that I was trusting him and Hubrechsen to come up with a 5-course menu and a couple of matching wines. A challenge if you like, one that I was glad to see that he was up to.

Disclaimer: Before you read on, I will disclose that I am on friendly terms with some of the staff there, so please feel free to read this with a grain of salt. But our relationship developed only after I ate there (and paid my bill in full, thank you) and wrote a favourable review in a Malaysian newspaper a few weeks later. It was as much my enthusiasm for the food and what they were trying to achieve that gave us common ground.

DINNER!

When you enter, you walk into a narrow corridor, with the restaurant to your left and a bar to your right. Randy greets me and apologises for not being able to stay tonight as he is off to a wine-tasting event at Sheraton Towers.

The chairs are as comfortable as ever, and I appreciate the little cushioned stool on the side for the lady's handbag (and my camera).

Seated next to me were a rather vocal group of stockbrokers or bankers, so I'll punctuate the review with illuminating comments from our friends in the financial world. They went as well with the food as the wine matches, so why should I deny you the same pleasure?

Amuse Bouche Tempura cod fillet impaled on a fork and foie gras "creme brulee" with orange glaze

Sometimes, I resent eGulleteers with any modicum of self-control This amuse could also be re-tagged "five mouthfuls of wonder" as it took me five bites and about 10 seconds to work through. My partner, who detests citrus of any sort, consumed the creme brulee with aplomb. And wouldn't you know it, by the time the camera was whipped out, it was all finished.

The very helpful sommelier walked up with a bottle of Krug and whispered "Compliments of Mr Randy See, Krug Vintage 1990." Perhaps it is now time for a little Rumpole - "I caught the hint of wild strawberries again, but this was so beyond the ken of my everyday drinking that all I could do was slink away from the field of battle, muttering 'damned good stuff.'"

Stockbrokers' Quotable Quote (from one member of their party to another) - "You brought your own wines? You arrogant arsehole!"

Freebie - Mushroom Cappuccino

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There was no flash and giggle truffle oil trickery in this soup. Just a nice mushroom flavour with a velvety warmth and well-being that radiated into my body as I sipped. It's also a decent-sized serve, being served in a French cafe au lait cup, as opposed to the raging fashion of a demitasse.

Freebie No 2 - Venus clam with Italian tomatoes

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The last time I dined here in 2005, I tasted a Venus clam for the first time, cut into thick shreds after grilling in the shell with a little butter, thyme and fleur de sel. I was dumbfounded when I discovered that the clams were imported from Australia - I had never seen anything like them on sale anywhere before, fish market or restaurant. This dish has evolved with the addition of the acidic tomato topping, which drew a perfect contrast against the vivid sea-sweetness of the clam. And wouldn't you know it, the Krug provides the perfect dry finish.

Langoustine Carpaccio

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At this point, I was wondering when they would serve a dish on the menu. Lo and behold, here comes the first, and it is one of my favourites. This dish is an evolution of Passard's classic langoustine carpaccio with oscietre caviar creme, but is lifted with chives, Dandaragan extra virgin olive oil and a drizzle of reduced balsamic syrup. The serve is not large, but that's a good reason for that; there's plenty more food to come.

Foie gras a la dragee, apple turnover

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Hubrechsen is clearly an admirer of Passard but he is no slave. He has kept Passard's love of the little things, like dragee, which are essentially candied almonds. The apple turnover is a nice touch from my childhood (I don't recall having one since I turned 12); this version thankfully lacks the copious amounts of whipped cream from an aerosol can that I am accustomed to. A bitter salad and a halo of cherry confit jus rings the plate. I do find a couple of little veins in the foie, however, but they present no genuine obstacle to my enjoyment.

You may have noted that I have been gorging myself on foie gras and decry my nouveau riche obsession with these decadent livers. Please understand that I cannot obtain / purchase / grow / consume any decent foie in Sydney and therefore only have a three-week window to put away my share for the next year and a half.

I would also just pause to add that I am not "riche" by any definition of the word.

Alaskan Crab, girolle mushrooms

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This is a seasonal masterpiece. Roast crab leg (I think it is a red king crab) with the top half of the leg carapace removed for easy eating, and spread with an "Italian chilli" and scattered with grilled girolles. Hubrechsen later explained that the "chilli" was the nduja di Monte Poro, really a pork sausage from Calabria which is stuffed with chilli. The texture is almost spreadable and is definitely not what you expect from a sausage. It adds fire and a slight sourness against the fresh and sweet crab meat.

In a country where chilli crab is arguably the national dish, this simple crab dish, boosted by the best of seasonal ingredients, stands tall and proud.

Stockbrokers' Quotable Quote - "I apologise, gentlemen, we are now moving from the premiers crus to the second-growths."

Cote de boeuf of Australian wagyu

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A hunk of dying cow done medium rare. What set it aside was the little layered wedge of confit seasonal vegetables, amongst which I saw a little carrot, leek, onion, cabbage and God knows what else. I normally don't care for vegetable side dishes but this was excellent.

Like all wagyu, this one lacked the long drawn-out beefy flavour of a good grass-fed, but it makes up for that in tenderness and mouthfeel. This was perhaps the most ordinary of the dishes. It was good, perhaps even very good, but it failed to distinguish itself from the many excellent steaks you could get elsewhere. It was perfectly cooked, though, so don't get me wrong:

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The sommelier recommended a 2000 Vacqueyras from Perrin et fils, after the initially recommended Chateauneuf-du-Pape was corked (pre-empted by the apologetic sommelier who was sorry that sir's choice could not be presented as the wine is not in the best condition...). He called the Vacqueyras "a fruity mouthful with good berry flavour and smooth tannin." I couldn't have said it better myself, and it was a perfect match with my wagyu.

Stockbrokers' Quotable Quote - (on a mobile) "Ha ha, you stupid motherf*cker. I am going to make you my bitch tonight." (I could not entirely rule out that he was not talking to his wife / significant other; at this point, it was clear that the Baron de Rothschild was doing the talking).

Chocolate souffle

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Studded with a few cherries jacked with liqueur, this was fantastic, almost like a Black Forest souffle. The accompaniments were a lemongrass creme anglaise and a vanilla ice cream. We need a close-up:

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I have always loved Hubrechsen's souffles. The last time I was here, when Hubrechsen came out for a chat, I reminisced about a red fruits souffle that I had previously enjoyed, and he jumped up and said "Would you like one? I'll make you one now!" He is clearly proud of his prowess with the airy egg whites, and rightfully so. The lemongrass was hard to detect, and despite the rich chocolate, this was a suitably light finish to a meal that somehow grew from 5 courses to 7 without me looking. I think I did it justice in the end:

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Stockbrokers' Quote: "There is no question that this is the best French restaurant in this country (not from the drunk guy)."

We then retired to the bar for petits fours and coffee:

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An offer of a Bas Armagnac 1963 as digestif was politely declined as I was reaching the end of my shelf life for the day. A canele and macaron, and a caramel thing and chocolatey cupcake which I couldn't identify, but at this stage, it didn't much matter. We said our thanks and goodbyes and asked for the bill.

The final damage was $450 SGD all told, with the wines comped. The tasting menu comes to around $185 SGD a head, with the +++ adding 16% to your bill and a little for the bottomless bottle of Evian.

Hubrechsen's food is very heavily dependent on seasonal ingredients, perhaps more so than any other chef whose food I've eaten. In October, when tuna are at their fattest, toro is dished out with abandon. Morels in May? Not a problem. The experience will obviously vary according to when you eat here; the only thing you will be guaranteed is a showcase of the finest produce at hand.

Service is faultless, waiters explain each dish before serving and wine service here almost justifies the $50 per bottle corkage charged, with pre-emptive tasting and proper decanters being utilised.

Let me get this straight - the meal here was not perfect. The foie had little veins and my partner's cote de boeuf was too tendony. But against the bigger picture, this was indeed a superlative meal.

If money is no object, I strongly recommend that you allow Hubrechsen to choose your food for you; only a couple of the dishes served at our and the stockbrokers' table were on the menu. Take your time to talk to the servers and sommeliers and you will be amply rewarded.

Like I said, feel free to take this review with a grain of salt. I won't use the old cliche of proofs and puddings etc etc, but have a go. These people are well-trained professionals and they will show you a good time whether they know you or not, as I found on my first visit. Go on, I dare you.

I tell you now that there is no restaurant in Sydney, or perhaps Australia, quite like this, that could source the wines and ingredients that these chaps have to play around with. It is quite simply, one of the most important restaurants that Singapore has. It shows the myriad possibilities of haute cuisine, and it caters well to its crowd, whether the well-heeled or the everyday couple looking for something appropriate to celebrate their special night. On its day, it bests even the Michelin three-stars that I've eaten at.

Without question, this was the finest meal I enjoyed on the trip. Against the casual and unrewarding dalliance that was the Villa Danieli, Les Amis is more a meaningful friend for life.

Julian's Eating - Tales of Food and Drink
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