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Haute Stuff

From breakfast favourites to streetside delicacies, from food court cuisines to premium style dining options, Singapore easily scores as the top gourmet capital of Asia. Kishore Iyengar eats his way through this never-ending adventure

For a city the size of Singapore, the number of culinary choices is amazingly vast and varied. The cosmopolitan and commercial character of this bustling metropolis adds to the myriad charms of eating out of the spreads that constantly keep up the attractions of gourmet thrills.

Kaleidoscopic Culinary Capers
For lunch, food courts are a great option at shopping arcades and promenades like Center Point, Raffles City and Suntec City Centre, where a wide variety of local, Chinese, Indonesian, Korean, Mongolian, Japanese, Malay, Thai and Indian stir-fried and wok-tossed dishes and curries are on offer. For a single lunch, you can run up an affordable S$ 12-22 with a soft drink tossed in. I would strongly recommend avoiding the fast, synthetic micro-heated snacks of Mac Donalds or KFC - the other choices are too tempting!

Lighting It Up
On top the famed Fullerton Singapore overlooking the Marina Bay in splendid brilliance is the exclusive fine dining statement called ‘Lighthouse’, reputed for eclectic European cuisine and some of the rarest and great Museum varieties of fine wines anywhere in the world. Understated class, a discerning and well-heeled clientele of the Who’s Who, ‘cuisine without frontiers’ conducted by Chef Justin Quek, and views of the harbour and beyond holding the exclusive attention of uppercrust guests, makes the Lighthouse one of the most celebrated dining restaurants. Lunch is S$ 75 per person, and dinner is priced at S$ 180 per person. Wines cost extra, list available on request.

The Lighthouse, The Fullerton Singapore, 1 Fullerton Square, Singapore - 049178. Tel: (65) 877-8932/3.

Mezza9 Marvels
At the mezzanine level in the monumental Grand Hyatt Singapore, is ‘Mezza9’, a signature dining destination with nine exhibition kitchens, nine culinary options and perhaps the widest variety of delectable wines. You can pick and choose your grills from the live display tables, sit at any of the nine covers and enjoy watching the ‘flaming action’ while you savour fine spirits in fine fettle! Mezza9 is about the Western Grill and Rotisserie, a Sushi Grill, a Yakitori Grill, the Steam Basket (Chinese seafood), a European Deli, a Gourmet Boutique, the Patisserie, the Wine Cellar and a Cigar/Martini Bar. Meal for two is priced at S$ 150-225, wines extra at S$ 35-115 per glass.

Mezza9, The Grand Hyatt Singapore, 10 Scotts Road, Singapore - 228211. Tel: (65) 738-1234.

Colonial Class
At the Raffles Grill, the experience of fine dining is exquisite and exemplary. The classical signature palate-dressed French cuisine is what makes it the finest of the Raffles’ fine dining outlets. Stately dressed beige facades, palms and vegetation complementing the approach, svelte covers and an uppercrust feel, add to the evening experience. Wines here trace their ancestry to the most exclusive vineyards, the best, finding pride of presence on tables of connoisseurs here. Expensive, but eclectic.

Raffles Grill, Raffles Hotel, 1, Beach Road, Singapore - 189673. Tel: (65) 337-7650.

Horror Hospitality
Tired of the mundane? Try an altogether different ‘nerve shattering’ dining experience in the company of the Devil and some ghoulish creatures! ‘Victims’ are invited to shiver and dine at Igor’s - The Main Event, Singapore’s and Asia’s only theatre dining experience. The spiral stairway to hell is waiting, then the Devil’s Distillery Bar, next the Demon’s Dungeon and finally the Grand Haunted Hall. No menus, no a la carte. Just threatened dishes from which you take your pick. Great entertainment. S$ 75 per Victim who sits near the stage, S$ 60 for the queasy stomached covers food and entertainment. Blood Quenchers and Poisons & Potions cost upward of S$ 35.

Igor’s - The Main Event, #01-02 Aoasis, 50 Stadium Boulevard, Singapore - 397796. Tel: (65) 6440-2725.

8-Sided Excellence
World-class dining with world-class wines in an octagonal setting overlooking the waterfront is what ‘8 On The Bay’ is essentially all about. This huge 8-sided international culinary address has the tallest (eight-metre high) wine tower, a stock of 12,000 wines, grand views of the cityscapes, multicuisine spread, exclusive wine tasting chambers and a great ambience set afire with jazz blues, soft instrumental and heady vocals. Dinner for two is priced at S$ 85-135, drinks excluded.

8 On The Bay, Stadium Waterfront, Singapore - 397796. Tel: 6346-8089

Promenade Platters
Walk up the Boat Quay promenade area bordering the Singapore River right from the bridge, a bright profusion of eating choices await you. Stalls, neatly laid out by the Quay offer cheap snacks and grub, which are hygienic and safe - Indonesian Nasi Goreng and Saus Cacang, Malay Satays, Chinese organ soups and Wontons, Vietnamese spring rolls, Thai coconut curry fish, Indian tandoori greats, and western style grills, with beer on the side, to wash down the piping hot dishes. Alternatively, go down to Boon Tat Street where at Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, the sizzling coal grilled Kebabs are absolutely succulent and inviting. A food court elaborates the other regional fare in plenty, inside the old market. For fish freaks and Chinese seafood fanatics, Newtons Circus is the right place to steam up your appetite right in the open! Care for a stout? Try Molly Malone’s Irish Pub where the Guiness and other brews are the coldest beers in town, or Chairman Mao Pub where dancing is no sin! At Wet and Whistle on Boat Quay, mini-skirted gals urge you to shake a leg at the nightspot, as in Orange, the disc at Mohd Sultan Jalan, where Wicked Women reggae till the wee hours.

Eating out in Singapore is, undoubtedly, the adventure which never ends.