it’s christmas! or rather, it soon will be christmas, as you would have noticed from the decorations being put all about town (somewhat precipitously, some might argue, BUT NOT I) since november. and as befits the end-of-year, our natural inclinations to slow things down invite opportunities for more extended lunches – and this place in holland village accommodates that sort of thing, if you’re so inclined.
located in chip bee gardens, enclave of the expat and yummy-mummy, this restaurant serves up rustico italiano – a direct translation (and language massacre, my apologies) of what I fancy is rustic italian home-cooking. it’s surprisingly good too, considering the lack of reviews and the empty tables we arrived to at lunchtime.
really good northern indian eating at this very nice restaurant in holland village. this place suits its locale – they’ve got nice al fresco dining out on the boardwalk (in case you want to brave the sudden surge of haze we’ve just gotten), and even the interior is beautifully and ethnically decorated (still, I’d rather eat out than in).
it’s refined eating – expected, given the locale and its clientele – all tandoori and creamy curries with properly-blistered naan, and it’s not inexpensive. for a chill meal on the weekend, it’ll do you plenty good.
I’ve just had a pigfest over the weekend – ribs (barbecued and in soup), pork knuckles (broiled and braised) – and it feels like time for some sort of detoxification.
and this place would do me just great right now, except for the fact that it’s just as wallet-detoxifying as it is body-detoxifying. the acai is a superberry made famous years ago by oprah and only now on our shores, supposedly filled with so many nutrients it can make you fly (certainly because your wallet won’t be weighing you down no longer after a serving of this).
this place is what I would term teenage-hobo-expat-ish, which is to say it is high on aesthetics, high on branding and trendiness, and high on prices. the acai comes as a frozen slush under a prettily-arranged smattering of fruit, topped with honey and the like.
and while I may have gripes about the price – this is probably my newest favorite vice. the slush is cold and refreshing on a blistering day, the bare sweetness of the slush makes it feel positively healthful, and that array of fruit on the top sure makes one cheerful.
I like the original holland village outlet, which is a wood-filled space that fills with brilliant sunlight in the day – but you can get it more conveniently at the basement level of the ngee ann city shopping mall.
27 Lorong Liput, Holland Village
tel +65 6463 1957
$$$: the largest size, which is perhaps just a little more than a greedy person might want, goes almost to a pretty twenty dollars
baker and cook is this chain of bakery-cafe that’s been around for ages – my first time finally at one, and I think it’s an easy choice for breakfast or brunch on the weekends, if you’re not into trying too hard. this particular outlet – as would suit the demographic in this locale – is packed with expatriates and their kids, and gets a little manic (service is both harried and difficult to get). but the food is decent, and good for a meal if you can score a seat.
it’s a simple menu of morning goods like scrambled eggs and breakfast meats – bulked up with an array of baked goodies like croissants and bagels (they also bake cakes and breads, if you’re so inclined). it all looks pretty much as-you’d-expect, which is to say it’s appealing in a homey, familiar way – and I expect most of it to be good eating.
my granola was a generous portion served up with a berry compote and greek-ish yogurt, with milk on the side. mashed up and left to sit, it softens into a nice, not-too-sweet bowl of wholesomeness.
the price points are reasonable (though really, this expensive climate means even reasonable is probably too much), and the cafe is casual, comfortable seating. if only it weren’t quite so packed – but then again, that’s the price you pay for good food.
upscale-ish, quiet-ish (crowd, not the music) hotel bar at the top of the swissotel (or the fairmont too, seeing as how they share the same compound). I want to stress the hotel bar part, as it rather explains the customers – not the glamorous, highly made-up sort, these are people who want a drink and a place to sit overlooking the city.
and this place does it well. it’s got an honorary dance floor, loud music and colorful moving lights – and on some nights there are actually quite a decent crowd dancing. but on the most part, it gives me what I want: an incredibly good deal on bubbly, or just a glass of something to glide away the weekend on.
a darker, loungier style than level33 – and I certainly don’t know anything about the food. but if you want a good view and a nice place to escape the crowds (and enough loud music to clear the mind) – this is one of my favorites.
New Asia Bar
Level 71, Swissôtel The Stamford
2 Stamford Road
tel +65 9177 7307
’tis the start of the week, and no better way than with something sweet, eh? the 2am:dessertbar (ah, the days when punctuation oft made its way into titles and store names) has a marked place on the asian san pelligrino award list, and a blurb much lauding the skills of its head chef.
and was it good? I certainly thought it was on par with many of the innovative, deconstructed desserts I’ve had at good (and expensive) full-fledged restaurants (as opposed to this slip of a place serving up only drinks and sweet constructions) – which already puts it at an enviable standard. whether she’s the best pastry chef in asia – that’s certainly subjective. she’s certainly prolific, with a menu that runs long and a couple of cookbooks under her sleeve (one teaching you to make the very type of desserts she serves up), and the desserts are certainly creative – but I suppose I would have expected to be more impressed, given that award.
a couple shots from the fat cat in holland village, a surprisingly multi-talented casual restaurant serving three menus: thai, indian, and western/ italian. my favorite remains the indian – it’s solid, hearty cooking – but we order across the cuisines whenever we come.
full review here. it’s a good one to keep in mind if you’re feeling undecidable – and great for crowds, seeing as
there really ought to be something for someone here (if they can’t find something even here, rethink the relationship).
still very good food at this cafe-restaurant that relocated to the genial confines of holland village. it used to be a little closer to me, though definitely more inconvenient in its previous hideaway in serangoon – but it’s great that standards haven’t dropped, portions haven’t shrunk, and all that terrible jazz you associate with any drastic change in an eatery.
it’s almost a food court, with three distinct stalls operating within a single compound – just quite a lot classier. in its new location, it’s also spacious and rather cozily furnished, and a good choice for those large gatherings of friends where you’re looking for a not-shabby place that won’t break anyone’s budget.
agreeable tex-mexican at this open-air restaurant in holland village. I don’t have much experience with south american or mexican food – and tex-mex is probably the closest I’ve been (since this year).
it was a reticence set off by a traumatic carbplosion of an experience with my first ever burrito: beans and rice and guac and not much meat enveloped in a thick shroud of a tortilla – nothing I cared for a repeat of. so – I came with low expectations, and while I’m pretty darn sure the food here isn’t anything fantastic, it went down easily enough.
decent cupcakes at this tiny shop in holland village. I’m not one for cupcakes, at all – I don’t much appreciate frosting (even if I’m making it myself) – but there’s no denying that they are something cute (and infinitely photogenic).