penang street, funan digitaLife mall

decent penangish, asian dishes at this (relatively) new cafe in the funan mall – great flavors and colours, but let down by the terrible rice. I’ve recently been into all these spice-y, exotic asian flavors, all potent examples of what long stewing and high heat can bring to food – and I really liked this place.

it is therefore (as some terribly formal people like to say in conversation) regretful that I can’t give it more than a cautiously pleasant review – I don’t take rice, so the bad quality makes no difference to me – to all you typically-asian rice-eaters though, that bowl of bad stuff will keep you from returning (and if you have a dad like mine, it’ll keep you from coming at all).

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new asia bar, swissotel

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
Singapore
tel +65 9177 7307
$$: 20-ish

level33, marina bay financial centre

nice, chill place to hang out with a glass of wine – and have a dessert (or two). this local microbrewery is pretty top-of-its-class, with a view up on its place on the thirty-third floor (the name’s a no-brainer, really), with a good selection of food and drinks, a good mix of standing and sit-down space – and it feels pretty cozy, even with the throngs of people that come here post-work.

I’ve recently taken to a glass of muscato a week (hey, it’s sort of like wine, which is sort of good for you, right?) – and this place serves up a sweet, honeyed glass of loveliness. it’s smooth and mellow, and quite a nice glass to start with – and of course you could go for one of their beers, brewed not a couple steps from you.

but I’d like to talk about their desserts too (a proper meal here is still a pending to-do) – and in particular, this interpretation of a sticky date pudding with triangular block of cake topped with a fig compote and goat’s cheese caramel. it’s a subtly sweet cake that plays up to the sharp savoriness of the goat’s cheese (which isn’t something I usually eat, but this was properly moderated), and the soft vanilla ice cream on the side.

very pretty, very modern, and a well-portioned plate of enough sweet to sate without cloying.

I’ve also tried their fondant previously, and it’s pretty good too – but I’m working my way up to the assiette, which is a two-person platter of dessert. I could really do with one right now.

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patisserie g, millenia walk

great little cakes at this popular cakery in millenia walk – so popular, in fact, that they’ve now expanded twice their original size. and for good reason, I think – if the cakes I had were anything to go by, they know their desserts.

and it’s almost friday, people – here’s to giving the weekend a head start!

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2am: dessertbar, holland village

’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.

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le restaurant and asian tapas bar, suntec city

it is friday night (soon)! and I hope you have a nice one planned, because it’s the start of the work year after that lovely long break, and we all know these few weeks are the lazy lull before the storm.

if you don’t have one planned, well – maybe you could pop over here for a drink or two. just maybe not stay for the whole night though – it feels like the sort of place you come for a quick mandatory post-work drink for which you don’t want to linger.

not that the place isn’t somewhat pretty or the food bad – just that it’s rather pricey, and seems gepgraphically mislocated. let’s discuss.

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soul food mahanakorn, bangkok

I’m getting a leg up on this last bangkok post – I’m literally buried under the weight of all the food I’ve been having in singapore but haven’t shared! I’ve also saved (one of the) best for last – this popular hideaway of a trendy restaurant in thonglor that’s been gaining traction in blogs and fashionable magazines.

it’s seemingly contrary that this abettor of thai cuisine was set up by an american – but the food is great, the cocktails extensive and decent, and the vibe rather yuppie-ish – but in a very laid-back and non-annoying manner. it’s filled almost entirely by expatriates and tourists (as we were), but it didn’t detract from our enjoyment at all – let’s not argue about authenticity and all that bejazz in the face of such lovely dining, eh?

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the lawn salad & grill, tanjong pagar


just a quick reminder that I’m doing a london vegfest giveaway here!

great salads – and – more at this new branch in the central business district – a grown-up version of their first at the biopolis building. I’ve written about this place before – they do a mean grill atop fresh salads, in huge portions both gastronomically and conscience-satiating – but where the first branch was laid back (university-type is likely the best description), this is its shinier sister – sparkling in nordic white and wood and a beautiful felt-lined platform.

it’s great returning to a place to find standards have been kept up amidst expansion, portions are just as fantastic – and finding appealing additions to the menu: dessert and coffee for the hipsters.

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burnt ends, chinatown


surprisingly – and I mean that in the best way – good modern offerings at this new(ish) restaurant in the bustling enclave that is keong saik road. I used modern because I am lax to use fusion – which often has negative connotation – this place serves up what I think is a very contemporary style of food: it straddles both eastern and weatern flavors perfectly well, and meshes elements and techniques to a cohesive and (if done right) enjoyable result.

n.b. if you know a less rambling way to descibe that manner of cooking, I’d be well-pleased to hear it.

competitively priced, enjoyable food with some standouts, a lovely restaurant and kitchen theatrics on show, this is my thursday recommendation for friday (or any day) date night.

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communal, clarke quay

decently good modern-americana at this slip of a restaurant in the central business district. this place has slight hipster aspirations – but so schmexy-cool with its dark speakeasy atmosphere that it’s easily forgiven; plus the food was pretty good.

smallish-but-not-terribly-so portions, decent flavors, and a good atmosphere – it’s contemporary portlandish american eating, enjoyable in its own way.

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