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Jul 7, 2011 01:14 AM

3 days in Singapore - any upscale must-try restaurants?

I heard there are lots of new and exciting places that opened up in Singapore recently. Any must try upscale restaurants apart from the usual Andre, Iggys, Gunther's, Les Amis?

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  1. My dear, you obviously have not been reading ANYTHING we've been posting on this board. Cut, Mozza, Guy Savoy, Santi, Waku Ghin, Robuchon, Daniel Boulud. Also the rejuvenated Mohd Sultan Road.

    "Andre, Iggys, Gunther's, Les Amis" are so yesterday :D

    2 Replies
      1. re: golfess

        You're excused, my dear ;)
        So where did you end up going eventually?

    1. Definitely Restaurant Joel Robuchon - its interior looked like something out of Monte Carlo. Hey, it's probably intentional - since it's located at Resorts World Sentosa, one of the new casino-resorts in Singapore.

      The other option is Luke Mangan's Salt at ION Orchard.

      20 Replies
      1. re: klyeoh

        Waku Ghin is a big disappointment, below expectation in reference to its reputation.
        Had much better Perankan food in Penang than Candlenut. Nothing to rave about, although the food is tasty and well priced , but?

        Have reservation in Santi for a special evening out, but there is some mixed review out there.
        (will definitely keep the spot in El Cerdo-KL).

        Singapore is great for hawker style food centres, but am in a bind for that special evening out.
        Can anyone comment?

        1. re: towkay

          Phew, THANK YOU, towkay! For a long while, I thought only my husband and I were the only ones who didn't "get" Waku Ghin whilst our fellow Chowhounds gushed about Tetsuya Wakuda's cuisine. Mind you, Tetsuya is a dear man, and not at all snooty despite the legions of foodie fans who chose to worship at the altar of Waku Ghin. Personally, I thought it was grossly over-priced, we felt like we're eating in a rather constricted space (my dear hubby said it was like a deluxe prison cell) and we weren't really into his heavily Japanese-influenced cuisine. We were expecting more French with a light Japanese touch. Or maybe, it's just us, but we're not planning to go back there any time soon.

          1. re: M_Gomez

            what is your take on CUT ( for that special night out for steak) and Jing for fine Chinese dining/ambience( no prison cell-like) with old friends?

            1. re: towkay

              CUT is the best steakhouse in Singapore ever. EVER! There is a whole range of steaks to choose from:- USDA to high-end Wagyu beef, thechoice is yours.
              Jing is a typical high-end, expense account Chinese restaurant which used to be run by Tung Lok Group. But now, Far East Group which owns Fullerton Hotel has taken over managing the restaurant itself. I like the ambience. The food is okay but very expensive. You won't remember what you ate there within a day.

              1. re: M_Gomez

                i second CUT. you don't even need to get the most expensive steaks to get a really good meal out of that place =)

              2. re: towkay

                I should perhaps add my strong view here - do not under any circumstances go to Jing.

                We actually used to like Jing when it first started up and Chef Yong (of Majestic) was hands-on. They had a good beef with foie gras dish and even the ubiquitous spinach with 3 eggs was a cut above in flavour.

                However on a recent visit (the restaurant was empty, which should have been a warning sign, though the al fresco area outside had a number of people just doing drinks), the standard of cooking was shocking. As examples - "Grilled US Kurobuta pork with tender green in minced garlic" ($29) turned out to be 10 small pieces of half burnt pork with 2 lettuce leaves. "Double-boiled winter melon soup with mushroom" ($15 per bowl) was like drinking the water you use to soak dried shiitake mushrooms. I keep meaning to write feedback to the restaurant but haven't gotten round to it till now, so perhaps posting here will also help people to avoid a bad experience. Hopefully this doesn't sound too bitter!

                On a more positive note, for those who feel like having a meal at CUT but at less high-end prices, we've discovered that they also have a lounge menu where for less than $100 you can have an edited selection of a few items from their main menu, steak sandwich etc. On our last visit they were serving the same wagyu as their main menu (not their highest-end cut but decent for the price paid).

              3. re: M_Gomez

                I haven't been to Singapore, but my parents are there at the moment. So I made some research for restaurants for them to visit there and on this list also was Waku Ghin. From my impression about everything I found on the web about it, this is a straight-forward (modern) Japanese cuisine restaurant. So I am wondering why you were expecting it to be French with just a light Japanese touch?

                1. re: NilesCable

                  Mea culpa, my dear. You see, my husband and I have been fans of Tetsuya ever since his first restaurant opened in Rozelle, Sydney. We go to Australia a lot as our children and grandchildren lived there, and we eat out a lot in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

                  We were long-time fans of Tony Bilson who runs numerous Sydney dining icons, andthat's how we first heard about Tetsuya Wakuda - we had read that he worked at Bilson's Kinsella in the late eighties although we hadn't noticed him there when we dined at the restaurant. We tried Tetsuya's and fell in love with it, and we followed him when, years later, he moved to his bigger, better premises in Kent Street (near Chinatown and also Sydney's "Little Spain" around Liverpool Street) now.

                  Tetsuya's cuisine has always- ALWAYS - been French-Japanese fusion, French techniques and ingredients but with little Japanese touches here and there. As an example, see the latest sample menu from his flagship Sydney restaurant:-


                  Tetsuya's pork and duck liver boudin was magnificent, and so was his famous pied de cochon with red wine and mustard. I had those years ago but I can still close my eyes and taste them now.

                  We actually went to Waku Ghin expecting something of the same, without even bothering to check out the menu or his website, because we wanted to be pleasantly surprised, and perhaps reacquainted with cuisine de la Tets.

                  We were sorely disappointed, which is a pity since we are Singaporeans, and I don't like the idea of having to take that 7 hour flight to Sydney just to eat Tetsuya's food again, as compared to taking a 30 minutes' drive from our house here to Marina Bay Sands.

                  Not liking Waku Ghin doesn't mean I don't like Tetsuya Wakuda anymore - I still LOVE him :)

                  1. re: M_Gomez

                    OK, this explains your expectation a lot better and makes it understandable. Thanks for the head up.

                    1. re: NilesCable

                      I actually kinda like Waku Ghin - low value of money for sure, but I thought the uni signature dish, abalone and lobster were good

                      Gunther's was great too, especially the fresh sea food from the trolley (be careful, generally over priced) as well as the young suckling pig (call in advance)

                      Shinji by Kanesaka provides the best sushi in the island IMHO

                      Les Amis and Iggy's were average for me. Never try Andre, but heard plenty of positive reviews about it. The Robuchon should be exactly the same as the one in Macau, Tokyo etc.

                    2. re: M_Gomez

                      M-Gomez - I agree about Waku Ghin, and all as a long term Tets fan I was disappointed. I had understood it was his "Japanese" restaurant so my expectations were set right. It is expensive, and that woud be OK if it delivered, but I to, found the rooms sterile, I thought the service missed the mark (not bad just not empathetic), and whilst the signature dishes are great much of the rest seems to be about expensive ingredients for expensive ingredients sake rather than great cooking technique. And don't getme started on the ludicrous mark-ups on the wine list....!

                      1. re: PhilD

                        interesting... i've not seen a bad review of waku ghin in the mainstream press, nor in the blogs, except for here.

                        although i must say that i give more weight to the views expressed here than elsewhere. haha.

                        1. re: akated

                          I have also been a Tets fan since the Rozelle days but to be honest have found that the French Japanese fare has lost its freshness, more and more in recent years with prices creeping up too. Sure, the chicken in a biskit tasting confit of ocean trout with konbu is still great but has been done to the death elsewhere too. It is replicated in form at Waku Ghin but not as successfully. Even in Sydney, Tets has become too comfortable and lost its edge to places like Quay (also of the small portions "let's go to Chinatown after" ilk) and Bilson's (unfortunately now defunct - let's hope not for long) which are more innovative.

                          Dining room ambience aside, Waku Ghin would be the top restaurant in Sing now if you wish to spend that sort of money, although prices are too high. As Four Seasons mentioned in a previous post, you can get equivalent if not better for less in Tokyo. The botan ebi with uni eclipses the trout confit as the new signature dish. The rest is premium produce cooked simply which is in line with the Japanese philosophy of the place. Desserts are the real letdown.

                          If u go expecting a transplanted Tets from Sydney, you may be disappointed but I enjoyed it for what it is and even preferred it to the current Tets on Kent Street. Just my 2 cents.

                2. re: towkay

                  don't see how you can compare peranakan food in penang to candlenut. isn't the former more influenced by thai cuisine, given penang's proximity to thailand, and the latter less so?

                  i was not impressed by peranakan food in penang when i first had it because i was expecting it to be more "lemak".

                  (this was in reply to Towkay's post right on top. didn't realise there were so many replies after that comment. heh.)

                  1. re: akated

                    Have you tried Rumah Perut in Penang?

                    1. re: towkay

                      i had two peranakan meals when i was in penang 3 years ago. unfortunately i have no idea what the names of the places are =(

                    2. re: akated

                      "i was not impressed by peranakan food in penang when i first had it because i was expecting it to be more "lemak"."
                      Curious. Isn't it supposed to be the case that nyonya food in the north (Penang) is distinct from that in the south (Malacca and Singapore) as you yourself said? Penang nyonya cuisine is more tangy and sour/lighter; while Malacca/Singapore nyonya food is Indonesian-influenced and is sweeter and heavy with the coconut milk. I guess you were expecting Singaporean nyonya food in Penang when you had it at the time?

                      1. re: huiray

                        yes that was what i was expecting at that time, as i wasn't aware that there is a difference; perhaps i would have enjoyed it more if i had had the two meals with the expectation of flavours closer to thai cuisine.

                        1. re: akated

                          Thanks for the clarification.

                          As a sidebar, I remember nyonya food in KL as sort-of somewhere between the two in a general sense. My mother herself cooked a fair number of nyonya dishes too (her mother - my maternal grandmother, whom I never knew - was of nyonya background) and on the occasions we ate out on nyonya food I remember mixtures of sour and lemak dishes and lots of other stuff as well.

                          klyeoh and others, what would be the case nowadays for KL?

                          1. re: huiray

                            I must say that Nyonya food in KL has tilted towards the Penang variety these days, with Northern-Nyonya dishes like "perut ikan", Penang-style "otak-otak", assam prawns, "lor bak", "Curry Kapitan" and "Inche Kabin" dominating the menus in restaurants like "Ah Tuan Ee" in the Curve (One Utama), et al.

                            20 years ago, I remembered that Nyonya food in KL used to be more Malaccan (Southern-Nyonya), and dishes like "Ayam Sioh", "Babi Pongteh", "Ayam Buah Keluak", "Itik Tim", etc. pre-dominated - very similar to Nyonya food in Singapore.