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Singapore Questions

ponocat May 11, 2011 03:49 PM

Having read several threads and explored a few other websites too, I have a few questions about some restaurant options and hope for help from someone who's been there recently.

1.) I am interested in a seafood restaurant that is upscale in terms of its food and preparation. I think Palm Beach fits the mark. Any views to confirm or counter?

2.) Shinji Kanesaka at Raffles gets good reviews for Japanese sushi. Does it have anything else, or is it just sushi? Is there a competitor that is much better?

3.) I was inclined to go to Gunther's, but read one review (not on chowhound) that said that tables are close together and that it is loud. Ambiance matters, so I want to know if this is true.

4.) Between Fifty-three and Andre's, which is preferable and why?

BTW, I am going to Waku Ghin and will got to the Hawker places too.

Thanks for any help you can give.

  1. FourSeasons May 12, 2011 12:53 AM

    1. Palm Beach is not upscale. Definitely not Michelin type of place. But if you want local seafood, this is the one I will recommend.
    2. Shinji Kanesaka focus on sushi, and they prepare sashimi and a few cooked seafood if you ordered the more expensive omakase menu. It is the branch of Michelin 2 stars Syshu Kanesaka from Tokyo. yes, definitely the best sushiya in town.
    3. Food in Gunther's is very good, especially if you order the off-menu stuffs that they present to you on a platter right before they take the order. Decor is comfortable, not fancy or elegance though.
    4. I have been to Fifty Three, not the new Andre, so not able to advise on this matter. I like Fifty Three, there is a review on Chowhound before, just type it on the Search function.

    3 Replies
    1. re: FourSeasons
      ponocat Jun 12, 2011 01:03 AM

      I have been in Singapore for the last 4 days and am at the airport now, leaving for Bali. Dining in SG was a great experience and I am grateful for the advice given above and on other threads.

      The 1st night we ate at Waku Ghin, which was very, very good. We sat in the middle room and had the most expensive meal we have ever had, S$1467 (mostly because we had a bottle of wine and 2 glasses of champagne). The signature dish—sea urchin, caviar, and shrimp—was the best sea urchin I have ever eaten. Unfortunately, the shrimp had to come from Canada because of the tsumani, and it wasn't too tasty. When the meal started, we were shown a gorgeous basket of seafood, which wasn't too fair because we were not to have the wonderful-looking abalone. Neither were we to have the beautiful scallops...until I lamented that fact and the chef agreed to put scallops on instead of something else. It turned out to be the best dish of the meal, served seared on top of a succulent flan. The Wagu was also the best I have ever had. The largest downside was the yellowfin tuna, which was too old and to sinewy.

      Andre's was the least favorite. It was creative cuisine, beautifully plated. But there was only one dish that left a strong and positive memory: the foie gras "custard" under a black truffle sauce. The sommelier was great; he took our description of what we wanted and matched it perfectly to a wine we'd never heard of, so it was fun to have something so good and so totally new to us. The meal was a bit marred by the fact that the service was insufficient. Often our water or wine glasses sat empty for way too long, while the 3 wait staff scurried distractingly to fulfill their tasks.

      The greatest meal we ate was at Santi, which was a surprise. We'd booked....more later

      1. re: ponocat
        ponocat Jun 12, 2011 07:36 AM

        Sorry, had to catch a flight. Anyway, as I was saying:
        we'd booked a reservation at Palm Beach, but when we got there the menu looked too poor and the place seemed grubby. We decided to go back over and see if Guy Savoy had a spot for us, even tho it was Sat. Got there and saw the Santi menu and I was in the mood for tapas, so booked a table for an hour later. Went to Guy Savoy's for two regular-sized beers. Mistake there. Was S$45. Silly me.

        When we went into Santi, we were seated in the restaurant portion of the place—a beautiful table with a view of the water beyond. I was disappointed that tapas weren't served except in the bar, but decided not to move. Then the menu came and I was shocked at the prices. We ordered and split everything because it seemed so high. Then came possibly the most delightful meal I have had this year. I could go into it in detail if anyone cares, but the highlights were many. There was a spectacular bread tasting throughout the meal featuring 6 different breads. And we had the most creative, beautiful and exquisite-tasting salad I think I have ever had. It had many fresh ingredients, including stuffed squash blossom and micro greens I couldn't id (and I am pretty good at it). There were other courses that were excellent, too, but the main course was a perfect 10. We had baby pig, cooked sous vide and then lacquered and roasted for 45 minutes to give it a crunchy, divine skin. Never have I tasted better. Seriously, this was a first-class meal from service, to ambiance, to, most importantly, really very, very fine food. Wish I could go back, but I doubt I'll be in SG again.

        For those who might wonder, yes, we did hawker stalls for lunches and they're good. Wish we had such "fast food" in USA.

        Again, thanks to those who guided us to such a grand experience.

        1. re: ponocat
          klyeoh Jun 12, 2011 09:24 AM

          Thanks very much for reporting back! Glad to hear that you enjoyed most your meals in Singapore.

    2. M_Gomez May 11, 2011 06:40 PM

      I can only answer some of your questions :

      1) Palm Beach at One Fullerton is nice. I'm not sure if it meets your definition of "upscale" - it's not exactly 3-Michelin type of decor, but it certainly looks better than any Chinese restaurant I'd ever been to in US, UK, Australia or Europe.

      2) Never been so cannot comment.

      3) It's a small restaurant which occupies 2 traditional Chinese shop-lots which means the overall space is limited, but the spacing between tables is not much different from any other restaurant. I'd come across worse in Paris. It's not noisy, unless you have the misfortune of sitting next to a loud fellow diner.

      4) Andre's would be my choice (he looks cuter than FiftyThree's executive chef as well, but that's another story). He's got more passion and tries so much harder. I hope you get a good table there because some of Andre's seating places are really bad.

      FiftyThree is quite competent but its food can be predictable and boring. I really liked it in the beginning but I now look for something more substantial. FiftyThree has some of the most spacious seating around. Furnishing reminds one of Noma.

      3 Replies
      1. re: M_Gomez
        ponocat May 14, 2011 05:37 PM

        Thanks M_Gomez and FourSeasons for the help. I should have asked about dress code for these places. Jacket required for men?

        1. re: ponocat
          klyeoh May 14, 2011 08:03 PM

          There's no jacket requirement for any restaurant in Singapore. Smart casual is the way to go.

          1. re: klyeoh
            M_Gomez May 15, 2011 05:59 PM

            Sometimes, I do feel that Singaporeans are overly casual, more so than other major cities in SouthEast Asia eg HK, Bangkok, Jakarta - I'd seen diners in Waku Ghin dining in tattered looking t-shirts, faded jeans, bermudas/shorts. Sometimes, I feel Singapore restaurants should implement a dress code, the way even some churches do here. It's very unbecoming of people in a self-styled "cosmopolitan city" to be going into a nice restaurant wearing the clothes they slept in, and I don't think I'm exaggerating at all here.

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