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Singapore - White Rabbit at Harding Road

k
klyeoh Aug 1, 2008 02:29 AM

Much has been said about White Rabbit, the bright, pretty restaurant in Harding Road named after the quirky punctuality-challenged rabbit in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”.

I went there with high expectations, expecting the unexpected – after all, any restaurant which conjures up visions of Carroll’s fantastical imagination has to be exciting & different, no? Alas, I was just a little bit disappointed. The food was good, but not anything which one cannot conjure up at home oneself – with the exception of the White Rabbit Blackforest Cake – a deconstructed dessert which looked anything but a cake: a cylindrical chocolate mousse/parfait resting on a bed of delicious choc cookie crumbs, served with whipped choc & vanilla creme & brandied cherries. THAT was what one expected in a place like the White Rabbit. Its brandied cherries are the best in Singapore!

Here’s the current set lunch menu (2 course for S$30+++):

Starter
- Soup of the Day
- Roast vegetable salad (eggplant, zucchini, peppers topped with arugula & light anchovy dressing
- Salad of Salmon Confit (slow-cooked salmon with baby salad leaves, new potatoes & a honey-mustard dressing)
- Summer salad (watermelon served with cherry tomato confit & Parma ham)
- Poached Egg & Asparagus (slow-cooked egg served with steamed asparagus & orange Maltaise sauce)

Main
- Verjuice Pot-Roasted Chicken (served with mash & baby carrots)
- US Choice Ribeye (pan-roasted & served with escargot butter & a celeriac puree)
- Pan-Roasted Mullet (served off the bone with braised fennel & tomato-herb fondue)
- Fish and Chips (served with aioli)
- Braised Lamb Shank (hearty stew with tomato saffron jus & arugula)
- Herb Risotto (served with grilled King Oyster mushrooms)

In the a la carte menu, the much-talked-about White Rabbit Mac and Cheese (S$28) was quite bland, and so was the Slightly Spiced Prawn Bisque topped with aromatic coconut-and-laksa-leaf soufflé(S$16). Two other soup choices were the Mushroom Cappucinno (S$14) and Chicken Consomme with foie gras tortellini (S$15).

Oysters, served either au naturel, au gratin or Rockefeller were fresh (S$8 a piece/minimum order of two pieces). So were most of the fresh salads offered on the menu: Smoked Chicken Waldorf (S$15), Warm Spinach with poached egg & bacon (S$17), Salad Printemps which consisted of fresh Mesclun with mangoes, asparagus & black truffle (S$18), the Duck Confit Salad with crisp green apple, mesclun & hazelnut dressing (S$19) and the Dressed Crab with tomatoes & avocado (S$24). All were very tasty - one can’t go wrong here.

Mains were quite traditional & a bit ho-hum:
Chicken a la King served with pasta (S$28); Sole Meuniere with baby potatoes & arugula (S$29); Poached Salmon with cauliflower couscous (S$29); Braised Sea Bass (S$32); Oxtail Stew (S$34); Roast Yorkshire Pork served with braised cabbage & Pommery sauce (S$36); Roast Rack of Lamb served with Gratin Dauphinois (S$38); Grilled 150-day-old Ribeye served with veggies/fries & choice of Black Pepper, Bordelaise or Bernaise sauce (S$39); Tournedos Rossini (S$45); Live Maine Lobster Thermidor (S$58); and lastly Cote de Boeuf (serves 2, S$168). The steak comes with a choice of two sides.

Dessert choices continued along the traditional line of offering: Banana Split served with 3-flavors of ice cream a la Neapolitan (S$12); Crème Caramel (S$12); Strawberries Romanoff (S$14), Mars Bar Souffle (S$16) which was disappointingly boring; Baked Alaska (S$16) which was awful – more like a stale meringue than the traditional sweet we all so loved; and a Cheese selection (S$18). Not forgetting, of course, the Blackforest “cake”.

I just wished the staff uniforms could have been more unique – say, updated tunics of monks’ robes (in keeping with the chapel-like décor) or else charming English outfits which echoed Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland.

 
 
 
 
  1. c
    comiendosiempre Aug 1, 2008 07:12 PM

    Klyeoh,
    The photos of White Rabbit look beautiful. Yet, your review isn't the rave I had hoped for. And, the food seems a bit too international for us in Spore. So, do you have any recommendations for the Holland Village area? Or, perhaps in Rochester Park?

    We leave next week and have your (and everyone's) prior postings printed out for our food tour. Thanks.

    3 Replies
    1. re: comiendosiempre
      k
      klyeoh Aug 1, 2008 09:58 PM

      Both Holland Village & Rochester Park are popular with the expatriate community because of their myriad choices of international dining - which is probably not exactly what you're looking for if you're seeking local Singaporean tastes.

      But if you do still want to check out Holland Village, be aware that there are actually 2 separate dining precincts there (albeit within a short walking distance): the first one is the Lorong Mambong/Lorong Liput stretch where you can find quite good Arabic food at Al-Qasr (its older rival Al Hamra is a few doors away, but not as good), a localised Mexican joint Cha-Cha-Cha, and a collection of pretty average but popular Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, Italian & British eateries, plus a coffee joint, an ice-cream parlour & a trio of bakeries. There are two Crystal Jade restaurants there which is worth checking out: a Shanghainese one which offers good la mian & xiao long bao; and a Cantonese seafood one which serves up very good HK-style stir-fries & dim sum.

      The other dining precinct is 10-minutes walk away, across Holland Road, at Jalan Merah Saga. I liked the restaurants here much better - Original Sin which serves up the best Mediterranean-style vegetarian food; Michelangelo, which has been one of the main stalwarts for Italian food in Singapore; Bistro Petit Salut, which serves marvellous French bistro fare; Da Paolo, with its delicious pastas & risottos; etc.

      Rochester Park has some fancy restaurants worth checking out, e.g. One Rochester; Min Jiang Sichuanese; North Border Tex-Mex Grill; another Da Paolo branch; and my personal favorite, Graze (which serves fusion/continental cuisine). But then again, there's nothing really Singaporean here.

      There's an interesting 6-table restaurant called Xi Yan (38A Craig Road, Tel: 6220-3546, Dinner starts at 7.30pm. Closed on Mondays) which can be quite a memorable dining experience - if you are lucky enough to snare a table (the place used to have a 3-month waiting list when it first opened back in 2005, but should be easier to get in these days). Recent write-up in TimeOut Singapore:

      http://www.timeout.com/sg/en/restaura...

      Hope you enjoy your Singapore trip, let us know if you have any specific queries.

      1. re: comiendosiempre
        d
        dolceus Aug 7, 2008 02:41 AM

        If you're looking to dine in the Rochester area, you have to try Cassis, a new french restaurant set in and around an old black and white.

        There's really nothing you could order that would disappoint, as all their dishes are extremely well executed. The pigeon salad and pan seared foie gras are divine as starters, and for mains the duo of scallops, duck and tenderloin are all good choices.

        Save room for dessert and try their papaya souffle or giant raspberry macaron before the petit fours arrive :)

        1. re: dolceus
          FourSeasons Aug 7, 2008 04:05 AM

          How do you compare Cassis to the established French restaurants like Le Amis, Gunthers, Iggies? And how about compared to the new one like Nicolas?

      2. c
        comiendosiempre Aug 2, 2008 09:52 AM

        Klyeoh,
        Thank you, that is terrific information. I looked at the restaurants you mention in Holland Village, Original Sin and Da Paolo. They look great, just what we are looking for for lunch. There is also a Da Paolo pizza, is that good? Is it also in Holland Village.

        And, as I was looking at these spots I saw reference to a new Thai spot called Kha. Its only a few months old and is located in HortPark. Have you been? And, where is HortPark? The place looks beautiful and, if its Thai, we are looking for that. Ironically, the executive chef, David Hamilton, cooked at Trisara and Silk in Phuket. We have been to both and thought both were excellent. In fact, we had one of our best meals anywhere at Trisara, it was outstanding. Black pepper soft shell crab that was memorable and an outstanding red curry pork. Kha's website is:

        http://www.kha.sg/index.php

        One more follow up question, Graze also looks very good. Is the food equal to the venue or it is a bit more style over substance? Thanks again.

        And, yet one more: I see discussions of crab bee hoon. Is that a dish unique to Spore? As good as chili or black pepper crab?

        3 Replies
        1. re: comiendosiempre
          k
          klyeoh Aug 3, 2008 06:34 PM

          Jalan Merah Saga has become a battling ground of sorts for the Michelangelo Group's stable of restaurants (Original Sin, Michelangelo, Sistina Pizzeria) and the rival Da Paolo Group (Da Paolo Gastronomia, Pizzeria, etc). Both are very good - you'll find good pizzas at both Da Paolo's & Sistina Pizzeria.

          Kha at the HortPark is along Alexandra Road, only about 10 minutes' taxi ride south from Holland Village. I've dined there a few times & must say that their rendition of Thai food reminded me of David Thompson's Sailor's Thai (and the old Darley St Thai) in Sydney and his 1-Michelin star Nahm in London. It's pretty authentic & very good, but with the ingredients upgraded (with higher prices to match), e.g. use of lobster instead of prawns.

          It's nicer to lunch at Kha as the HortPark is basically a large horticulture park run by the Singapore National Parks Department, surrounded by greenery & tropical rainforest.

          I'm not sure what you'll think of Graze, I had Sunday brunches there a couple of times - the food was passable. The few times I dined there in the evening, I found some of the dishes to be too outlandish for my taste: e.g. a beef salad that was so spicy, I thought I was in a Thai restaurant! But it's a nice place for drinks, and has a great ambience.

          Crab bee hoon is worth checking out - it's popular amongst the locals, & the Geylang outlets you'd have read from the threads are the best in town. But, of course, the Chilli Crab is Singapore's unofficial National Dish.

          1. re: comiendosiempre
            FourSeasons Aug 5, 2008 01:01 AM

            Hi com :

            Crab been hoon is a dish invented by the chef/owner of Sin Huat in Geylang area. There are others who try to copy his recipe without too much success. It is definitely not as well known as chilli or black pepper crab; there are plenty of restaurants that cook these 2 dishes that almost resemble a commodity now. I don't think I will recommend you to try crab bee hoon in Sin Huat. Based on your writing, I think you prefer restaurants with comfortable and relax ambiance; Sin Huat, on the other hand, is the exact opposite: hole in the wall, arrogant attitude, terrible service, inconvenient location, and quite dirty for Singapore standard. And worse, it is expensive with all those features. It just attracts some die hard fans (like me, for example) that just go for the food and tolerate those negatives since its chef tend to invent his own dishes with natural fresh seafood that is not available elsewhere. Famous dishes include Gong Gong (a type of whelk) with chilli sauce, frog leg with chicken essence, squid with garlic flavor and the crab been hoon. I don't even think Sin Huat is that famous here in town as many people not willing to pay that type of prices in such atmosphere.

            Since klyeoh refers to Dempsey Hill and you took an interest in chilli crab, one notable place that has been getting good review in that area is Long Beach Seafood at Dempsey. I personally have not been there but a few reliable friends strongly recommended.

            1. re: FourSeasons
              Peech Aug 5, 2008 08:30 PM

              Despite having been there only once, I am a big fan of the crab bee hoon at Sin Huat. Yes, it is a hole in the wall, where the owner and staff are a little arrogant and there is no service. But hey, you're in a stall in Singapore! And the owner's business is highly touted in Makansutra and Anthony Bourdain came to eat...so I expect a little atttude.

              Food was good in general but the crab bee hoon really stood out. Price was definitely expensive but worth a visit.

          2. c
            comiendosiempre Aug 4, 2008 09:20 PM

            Thank you again.

            It sounds like Kha is for lunch then, as is Da Paolo pizza. If Graze isn't very good on the food front, maybe we can stop by for a drink, walk around, and then flee for a good restaurant back in town. Thanks again.

            2 Replies
            1. re: comiendosiempre
              k
              klyeoh Aug 4, 2008 10:41 PM

              The main attraction of Graze (as with the other 5 or 6 restaurants at Rochester Park) is that it's located in a re-furbished British-colonial bungalow, surrounded by lawn & greenery. It offers a respite from the hustle-and-bustle of city life in Singapore (3rd-densest country in the world). But other similar spots have sprung up after Rochester Park - the current hotspot is Dempsey Hill (both the White Rabbit & Au Petit Salut are located on the fringes of this dining hub).

              I find Dempsey Hill's dining outlets a bit over-priced. There's a beautiful Mexican place, Margarita's, which serves very authentic, I'd say, Tex-Mex food (sour cream everywhere). They used to make great tamales off-the-menu last year, but have discontinued that as business soared. They also now charge for salsa & nachos (previously gratis).

              I wasn't too impressed with the other eateries at Demspey Hill: Prime Society (steakhouse) serves pretty average fare despite having impressive high-ceilings & beautiful murals; Vintage India is horribly over-priced & has snooty service (there're loads of better Indian spots in Singapore); La Forketta Italian charges an outrageous US20+++ for a simple pizza Margherita (which is an indication of the prices you'll have to pay there); Rakuichi Japanese food seemed to be targeted at Chinese-speaking clientele (everyone only speaks Mandarin in there); Barracks serves simple fusion food; whilst Jones the Grocer's only good for simple lunch/brunch.

              There's one place there which you may want to check out though - The Tippling Club, which I heard has started operations very recently. It's headed by Ryan Clift, formerly head chef of Melbourne's Vue de Monde (voted best restaurant in Melbourne Age's 2007 Good Food Guide). He's also cooked at Marco Pierre White's Mirabelle, London.

              1. re: comiendosiempre
                FourSeasons Aug 5, 2008 01:20 AM

                Hi com:

                since you come from NYC, I will not recommend you to try the pizza here unless you are homesick and really need to have some comfort food. If you want to stroll around Holland Village, I think it is better to try the Crystal Jade chains that were recommended by klyeoh; both places offer northern and southern style Chinese noodle that are better than what is available in Manhattan.

              2. c
                comiendosiempre Aug 5, 2008 05:41 AM

                Thank you for those ideas.

                I see that Crystal Jade has many locations. Is there one in particular you like for dinner, or lunch? There is one in Holland Village but, is that one only for dessert?

                The Tippling Club looks very interesting. The website, however, doesn't show much. Do you know is it only a set or tasting menu?

                Also, I ask about the crab bee hoon because I think some local foodies may take us to Ya Kwang, an informal spot which is known for that dish - I believe. Have you ever been? They also recommend Chinatown Food Center for a good hawker center. Yet, I think we would prefer more Malaysian options for our hawker center, or maybe Glutton's Bay.

                Thanks again.

                3 Replies
                1. re: comiendosiempre
                  FourSeasons Aug 5, 2008 06:35 AM

                  Yes, Crystal Jade is huge pan-Asia Chinese restaurant group with presence from Singapopre to Shanghai. Not only it has many location in Singapore, but it has more formal Cantonese and Shanghainese restaurants as well. The two that klyeoh mentioned in Holland Village are the more informal chains, one specializing on northern Chinese noodle and comfor dishes and the other on southern Chinese noodle/congee/rice and comfort dishes. I usually go for lunch at the branches in Ngee Ann City since I don't frequent Holland Village.

                  As to Ya Kwang, the chef/owner there invented the dish called Crab Tang Hoon (hope this does not confuse you with the terms: Tang Hoon is local term for glass noodle, and Been Hoon is rice vermicelli). Ya Kwang and Sin Huat are very close to each other, about 2-3 minutes walking distance. The boss of Ya Kwang (I believe his name is Jason) is much more friendly and the price here very resonable. I actually personally prefer the Crab Tang Hoon at Ya Kwang more than the Crab Bee Hoon at Sin Huat, but I still find Ya Kwang to be much more a one dish stall and still not able to develop other varieties to match up well with this dish. And the dishes tend to be more greasy as well. The other signature dishes there are Lobster noodle, Oyster Omelette and Penang Char Kway Teo, I am actually very surprised your local foodie friend will bring you here; it is not really a place for western tourists.

                  Chinatown Food Center, I believe, is known as Hong Lim Food Center. I think it is a good place to go there for you to look at what hawker centres are like in Singapore before it turned affluent. It is much more messy than other centres but offer very good local dishes.

                  1. re: FourSeasons
                    Peech Sep 30, 2008 11:52 AM

                    I visited Ya Kwang for the crab tang hoon. The crab was good, the price was cheap, and the tang hoon was OK, although it needed time to soak up the sauce. The Penang Char Kway Teo was hands down the best value.

                    blogpost: http://chi-he-wan-le.blogspot.com/200...

                  2. re: comiendosiempre
                    k
                    klyeoh Aug 5, 2008 08:32 PM

                    Sorry, comiendosiempre, I just called the Spa Esprit Group (which operates Barracks, Camp & the Tippling Club) just now, and the receptionist who answered said that the Tippling Club will only be opened in 2 weeks' time. If you're coming to Singapore so soon, maybe it's not a good idea to include this in your itinerary.

                    BTW, Four Seasons, I believe there's a Chinatown Food Centre (which is separate from the Hong Lim Food Centre). It's located at Smith Street - I've been to the old one whence they were serving out contraband meats like stir-fried snakes & lizards. But the food centre was closed for upgrading in 2005/2006 thereabouts & the hawkers were operating temporarily at a site beside Outram Park MRT station.

                    But they've sinced moved back to the refurbished Chinatown Food Centre early this year. I haven't gone back there yet (like comiendosiempre, I prefer Malaysian hawker food to Singapore ones).

                  3. c
                    comiendosiempre Aug 6, 2008 05:10 AM

                    Thanks on the Tippling Club. On the chinatown food center, my understanding is that it now just moved into a new redone spot. Photos look nice. And, while I thank you for the compliment, I'm not sure I was differentiating between Malaysian and Sporean food centers. Is there one that combines the two? Or, Gluttons Bay will give us a good selection of both?

                    Also, do you know if we can just get pizza at La Strada? Or, for that De Paolo pizza is likely the best? Thanks again.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: comiendosiempre
                      k
                      klyeoh Aug 6, 2008 06:05 PM

                      Actually, Malaysian & Singaporean hawker foods are pretty similar. It's just that Malaysian hawkers tend to stick to more laborious cooking methods, e.g. using charcoal-fired cookers, etc. They also use pork lard (for more taste) in their stir-fries like fried koay teow, fried carrot cake, etc. The Malaysians also use fresh ingredients, e.g. coconut milk, pandan leaves, seafoods whilst in Singapore, oftentimes our hawkers take the convenient route by using canned coconut milk, bottled pandan essence, frozen seafood, etc. Both Singapore/Malaysian hawker foods consist of Chinese, Malay & Indian food options. You can check out this well-known Makansutra website for more reviews:

                      http://www.makansutra.com/

                      If you like to try Malay satay, Lau Pa Sat food centre in the evenings turn into a veritable haven for such fare.

                      Yes, you can get good pizzas at La Strada - in fact, some friends from Melbourne thought they had some of the best pizzas in Singapore at La Strada. But my favorite dish at La Strada is a crabmeat linguine dish which is positively ambrosial.

                      1. re: klyeoh
                        FourSeasons Aug 7, 2008 12:11 AM

                        I will second the pizza at La Strada, probably the best pizza in Singapore. The pasta klyeoh recommend is delicious as well. But i find La Strada to be rather inconsistent; I have visited there 3 times, the first time was excellent but that expectation was never met again in the subsequent two visits.

                      2. re: comiendosiempre
                        d
                        dolceus Aug 7, 2008 02:24 AM

                        Hello All,
                        I’ve no intention to be cruel but I’d give the Tippling Club a miss if I were you. I’m a foodwriter who recently did a tasting there and while it was (on a whole) interesting, some of the dishes were downright strange, even for me. Also, the portions were tiny for what they are planning on charging. If you're into molecular gastronomy, you'd do much better at Iggy's.

                      3. c
                        comiendosiempre Aug 6, 2008 08:00 PM

                        Wow, lau pa sat market looks great! In an old Victorian Structure? That sounds perfect for us. And, based on your descriptions, Malaysian sounds more up our alley.

                        One more question if you will indulge me. I've read the other great discussion on best Indian in Spore but ---- if you had to chose one upscale spot, which would that be?
                        Rang Mahal?
                        Song of India?
                        Vansh?

                        Is there a huge price difference between Vansh, for example, and Rang Mahal? The latter looks strikingly beautiful but I still have issues about eating in a hotel. Also, does Vansh have some view, or the like? And, we do want something we can't really find back here in NYC. Thanks again.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: comiendosiempre
                          k
                          klyeoh Aug 6, 2008 08:27 PM

                          Personally, I liked Song of India. The prices at both places are pretty much the same (i.e. astronomical). Rang Mahal's Executive Chef, Manish Law, is widely acknowledged as the second-best Indian chef in Singapore ... after Song of India's Milind Sovani.

                          Rang Mahal doesn't have any windows (hence views) to speak of, unfortunately, despite its location at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Singapore which is perched near the pictureque Marina Bay area. For a view there, try Hai Tien Lo Chinese restaurant atop the same hotel.

                          Vansh has some nice views, it's located on the seafront overlooking Tanjung Rhu bay area. But it's more casual in setting, compared to Song of India or Rang Mahal. Vansh's tandoori turkey & other fusion-Indian dishes are fabulous though.

                          In fact, you can read more about these restaurants in:

                          http://www.hungrygowhere.com/singapore/

                          Their reviewers often outdo us CHs.

                          1. re: klyeoh
                            FourSeasons Aug 7, 2008 12:16 AM

                            Hi klyeoh:

                            How do you compare Yantra at Tanglin Mall to Song of India and Rang Mahal? I had lunch twice at Song of India and once, buffet style, at Rang Mahal. Not impressed at all, especially the buffet at Rang Mahal, so I was quite surprised how highly these two were rated in Chowhound. I thought I always had better meals at Tandoor, and this time at Yantra, but would like to know your view as I know you dine at Indian restaurants more often than I do.

                            1. re: FourSeasons
                              k
                              klyeoh Aug 7, 2008 01:14 AM

                              Hi Four Seasons

                              Off-hand, I'd say Song of India serves the best tandooris in town, followed by Yantra, Rang Mahal and then Tandoor. Did you find Yantra's curries a bit too heavy & salty?

                              Since the late-80s/early90s & for a long time afterwards, Rang Mahal (then located at the Oberoi Group's Imperial Hotel) & Tandoor were my two favourite Indian restaurants. There was also the legendary Omar Khayyam at St Gregory's place, run by Ujagar Singh, which was absolutely fabulous & probably serves the best Moghul food in town in the 1980s - but it closed down in 1992/93 thereabouts.

                              I've only dined at Yantra twice and was quite satisfied with the food there on both occasions. Its "Copper Chimney of India" connection (maitre'd & some of the chefs were from the famous group) ensured high standards from the beginning. As it was very new, I found the food very authentically Indian, i.e. saltier than what Singaporeans are used to, and is probably not as spicy as the versions you'd get at Tandoor and Song of India (which had been "localized" to cater to Singaporeans' love for chillis). Whilst all the above restaurants are basically Northern Indian restaurants, most Singaporean-Chinese are more familiar with the more fiery Southern Indian cuisine as, historically, majority of Singaporean-Indians are Tamils, Malayalees & Keralans - when they dine at an Indian restaurant, they expect fire-engine red-hot cuisine!

                              I liked Song of India & Rang Mahal because, somehow, they seem to be able to recreate the same kind of ambience & feeling I had when I dined in top fine-dining restaurants in Delhi or Mumbai.

                              I do recommend that you try & dine at the Song of India or Rang Mahal again soon. Hopefully, you'd get a better experience the next time. As for me, I'd usually conclude whether a restaurant's good or bad after at least 3 visits. P.S. - this is off-topic, but have you tried Forlino's at One Fullerton - it's 2 weeks old but is certainly poised to be the best Italian restaurant in Singapore. Run by the 3-generation Forlino family - the grandma bakes the breads & makes the desserts!

                              1. re: klyeoh
                                FourSeasons Aug 7, 2008 04:03 AM

                                No, I have not been to Forlino's. Just amazed you have so much resources to keep trying new restaurants and I am obviously grateful for all the tips (Nicolas, Inakaya, Yantra...) that I have been getting from you. I will definitely try it within the next 2 weeks.

                                Dolceus' above recommendation of Cassis at Rochester sounds interesting too. I guess these two will occupy my next two weekends.

                        2. c
                          comiendosiempre Aug 7, 2008 05:25 AM

                          Ayah! There are too many choices.

                          Based on your description I think Song of India sound like the best option. We obviously have tandoor spots in NYC but none are so amazing. If Rang has no view, but is just a beautiful room (with great food), maybe we are better off where we can feel like we are more in the city - like at Song or Vansh. We will combine that with a stop at Apolo Banana leaf and thus try to get the feeling for both very casual and very upscale Indian. Thank you.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: comiendosiempre
                            pcypert Jan 19, 2010 07:37 PM

                            I prefer SOI for lunch as the set is fairly priced for the quality and you can get all you can eat on the curry :)

                            http://accidentalepicurean.com/2009/0...

                            I've also tried the brunch (odd to have an Indian place doing free flow Budweiser) but haven't written it up yet. Don't go to the brunch if you don't like lamb :D

                          2. girobike Oct 3, 2008 06:48 AM

                            Great to see so many Singaporeans here contributing on our favorite hobby - eating!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: girobike
                              c
                              comiendosiempre Oct 25, 2008 12:33 PM

                              Back in August this board was incredibly helpful in answering my questions on where to eat in SIN. We are now long back, and after a very busy time, I wanted to take the opportunity and give some feedback on our dining. Every piece of advice I got on this board was helpful. The food we had in SIN was, by and large, excellent. The people could not have been nicer and our family had a great time. We plan on returning. I know some people say SIN is small, boring, worth only passing through but that isn't what we found. It is a perfect destination for a few days and we did not get to see or do all that we wanted. As for food:

                              We went for dim sum to Crystal Jade. Now, there are many Crystal Jades in the city, we found out but, on a rainy afternoon, we found the closest one was in Ngee Ann City mall. And, we had hoped to visit that branch because the Straits Times had written that it had the best soup dumplings in the city. So, after finally winding our way through that very big mall, we found ourselves downstairs and seated at Crystal Jade. However, as I went to wash my hands before ordering, I saw that there was another Crystal Jade right outside the restaurant, and about 100 feet to the right. I went into that one and asked "which one has the better soup dumplings?" Eventually someone who spoke English came over and explained that while the branch the rest of my family was now sitting down at, and about to order, was the one that specialized in soup dumplings (good!), the one I was standing in was the one that had more dim sum, while the other had more noodle dishes (I guess that one was Shanghainese). Now, the problem was we wanted soup dumplings -- and dim sum. What to do? I called over the family and we all stood in this second branch trying to decide which one to eat at, as every table around us was packed and the dumplings were flying out of the kitchen. Right then a very nice manager came over, a woman, who said "no problem, don't worry. you can eat here, order your dim sum, and I will bring over the soup dumplings from our other branch"). Yes! So, that is what we did. We paid for two orders of soup dumplings as they hit the table, and then ordered dim sum from the menu. It was excellent. I must say, better than any dim sum we have had in NYC, and we live in the city, we go for dim sum in Chinatown often. The flavors were cleaner and the variety greater. The soup dumplings were the best we ever had. We also had dim sum one day at the Four Seasons where we were staying. That too was excellent. The dim sum were like little works of art. Some had faces, some were made to look like little fish, etc. Really great. The dishes we had were very good too, but not as good as the dim sum. If we had to choose, and wanted an informal spot for dumplings, we head back to Crystal Jade in a minute.

                              We also were in search of Indian food, and found it. We had lunch one day at Apolo Banana Leaf, on Racetrack Road, I believe. It was great, and a lot of fun. As indicated, they lay out a banana leaf as your dish and then ladle food onto that. We ordered too much food but all of it was great. We got the fish head curry and, while it is a bit sour, and spicy, we liked it a lot. There was much more meat on the fish than I would have thought. The chicken dishes were excellent, way spicier than the same dish if ordered in NYC, even in Little India. Spicing was very good, as was the rice and -- the lime drink. Everyone seemed to have one so we got one too. Very refreshing. The mango lassis were also excellent. Highly recommended. A simple place but worth the detour.

                              We had dinner one night at Song of India too. We were hard pressed to decide on where to go for "an upscale" Indian meal but SOI seemed to get great reviews. It is in a very pretty villa, off of Orchard Road a bit. Great service. Pretty Room. And --- expenisve! I knew that going in but, still, the prices were higher than I would have thought. In any event, they have some tasting menu options an we went for that. It was a good choice. We had quite a number of small dishes, with great rice and excellent bread and the price very reasonable. We had also seen (again in the Straits Times) that SOI had been awarded "best tandoori chicken" in SIN. So, we had to get that too. That was for our kids, who eat a lot of tandoori chicken. We tried it also and, in truth, it was the best tandoori anything we have ever had, anywhere. Just outstanding, and very well presented. Of note, the wine list at SOI is very expensive, and certainly over priced, even for SIN standards. Nevertheless, we had a great meal there. We were told by the waiter that all the food at SOI, "even the salt" is imported from India. Maybe that made the difference but, SOI was the best Indian food we have ever had.

                              For Thai we headed to Yhingthai Palace, on Purvis Street. Again, we had an excellent meal. Welcoming staff, large menu and great food. I believe it had won the Straits Times award for best shredded papaya salad (we didn't just go by the Straits Times reviews but, in truth, all their suggestions were often echoed here on the board) and it was excellent. Great red duck curry, spring rolls and pineapple fried rice. My son was at that point not feeling well (likely too much food over the past few weeks) and when we told the waiter this he said, "don't worry." He spoke with the chef and they prepared a very mellow, not spicy, clear chicken soup. It was just great. Ditto their lemongrass tea, at least I believe that is what it was. It was a bit sweet and also excellent. Great mango and sticky rice for dessert. This spot too is recommended.

                              One evening we met up with some SIN foodie folks I had spoke to on the internet (boy, Singaporeans are very friendly!) and we went to Ya Kwang for crab with noodles and other similar dishes. Ya Kwang is very simple, and good. We spoke with the owner/chef, Jason, and he made us whatever we wanted. Very good chili crab also. Our favorite was clams on a bed of noodles. Excellent.

                              We also went to Jumbo Seafood at Clarke Quay, mostly for chili crab. We sat outside, the area was crowded and our meal was excellent. For the tourist, Clarke Quay is definitely worth wandering around in the evening. The chili crab was well done, the sauce great and those little buns you order with it are addictive. They also had an excellent green veggie with garlic sauce and a great Indonesian noodle dish, which the kids ate. Service was a bit confused at Jumbo but we would certainly head there again.

                              We also spent time in Bali before SIN and had surprisingly good food there. Better than expected. I will post that in a separate report. In short, SIN is a food lover's paradise, the people are very outgoing and everyone has an opinion on where and what to eat. We look forward to returning.

                              1. re: comiendosiempre
                                r
                                revets2 Nov 11, 2008 04:12 PM

                                com...

                                please do post on Bali. we're going in a couple of weeks and would love to know what you liked...and didn't!

                            2. pcypert Jan 19, 2010 07:49 PM

                              I've only done the brunch so far at White Rabbit and it was VERY hit and miss. Not a great value in my book if you're not careful. Many at our table left underwhelmed at best or vowing to not return...YMMV

                              http://accidentalepicurean.com/2009/0...

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