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Feb 5, 2013 09:29 PM

Singapore - Top 10 Fine Dining restos (your opinions)

Hi experts

Looking for recs or ops on the best Fine Dining restos in Singapore. Want to pick one for a special occasion. Criteria are a generally nice atmosphere, table service and flavourful food.

I've already been to Joel Robuchon (the one in Sentosa), Guy Savoy and the one at the top of Skypark (i saw some bad reviews of that place here, and agree; but then I actually went in the first month of their opening), forgot the name (not kudeta). Have also tried Boulud's burger grill place. Looking for others. Any kind of cuisine OK

Help me! hehe. Thanks

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  1. In no particular order (not counting what you have listed, except to say I agree with your assessment of Sky on 57):

    Les Amis
    Waku Ghin
    Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine (brilliant food, but maybe reassess slightly your expectations for fine dining-level service).
    Pamplemousse (maybe a bit too casual?)
    Au Jardin
    Cherry Garden at Mandarin Oriental
    Bedrock Bar + Grill (says the wife)

    1. Not strictly fine dining (since I baulk at paying S$500 a pop for a meal in my own backyard), but my choice include:
      1. CUT by Wolfgang Puck
      2. Pollen by Jason Atherton
      3. Gunther's
      4. Catalunya
      5. Canteen by Bruno Menard
      6. L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
      7. Les Amis
      8. Garibaldi
      9. Taste Paradise @ ION Orchard
      10. Salt Grill by Luke Mangan.

      3 Replies
      1. re: klyeoh

        Interesting!! Total 20 recommendations, ONLY 2 OVERLAP!!!

        1. re: Charles Yu

          Much depends on our personal taste, Charles. But also due to the fact that I had *not* been to Waku Ghin and Bedrock, so can't place them on my list.

          I loved Tetsuya Wakuda's food, but he's come a long way since his Rozelle days - smallish restaurant in an edgy neighborhood. We went there in the early-90s after a Singaporean friend told us about the amazing things Tetsuya was doing, and how friendly he was - even personally escorting and sending his customers off out on the sidewalk outside his restaurant. Tetsuya's French-Japanese fusion was almost as novel as Jean-Georges Vongerichten's French-Thai fusion cuisine at the time.

          Then, onto his plush Kent St restaurant in 2000 - a step up in terms of ambience and prices, but still pretty affordable.

          But Waku Ghin in Singapore was at another level altogether. In a country of S$4 lunches, to pay S$400 for a meal at Waku Ghin is quite a bit of stretch for me.

          1. re: klyeoh


            I should also add in fairness that I did not rank CUT because I have only ever visited once in the company of someone very well-known to the house. My experience there would have been in my Top 10 for sure, but would a random customer enjoy the same treatment? I'm not sure.

            I left out Atelier as the OP mentioned that she had already been to JR.

            I haven't been to Canteen or Pollen - I was more inclined to spend my dosh at Waku Ghin rather than Pollen, which isn't exactly cheap either ;)

            Salt Grill is very good and OP will not be disappointed, but having been a few times to the original Salt in Sydney, it's the same formula (salmon, feta and ginger; Luke's dukkah mix; liquorice parfait, etc.) trotted out for a new audience 12 years later and personally, I find it hard to get excited about it.

      2. Thanks for all the recs. Well, I have discovered that I am fancier than I thought, based on the lists provided. I have actually already eaten at Les Amis, Au Jardin, Garibaldi and Gunthers. And speaking of French restaurants, there's that one at the Fullerton, which I know has been around for a very long time. However, I think they may have recently closed.

        I'm reading this list against blogs and reviews, and so far I'm leaning towards Catalunya or Salt Grill. It's not going to be a steak night so we'll save Cut for another time. And Waku Ghin - I think we just are never going to eat there ever - maybe one day if we have a business situation or something. I definitely want to explore Chui Huay Lim, Pamplemousse another time, and Andre and Pollen will probably be reserved for the next fancy situation.

        BTW - seguing into something else, are any of these restaurants on anyone's list for upcoming v-day? We are going against the grain and have decided to slather ourselves and our fingers with chilli crab sauce on the 14th.

        6 Replies
        1. re: timpani_mimi

          If you do opt for Catalunya, make sure you book well in advance, and ask for a window-side seat. The views are simply spectacular.

          Fantastic choice with the Valentine's Day chilli crabs! Save the fancy dining for the 15th when normal service resumes and you won't have to put up with young couples all around making lovey-dovey eyes at each other ;) I'm taking exactly the same route, albeit not in Singapore.

          1. re: Julian Teoh

            I've actually now decided on Pollen for the special occasion thing.

            Questions to all:

            The view at night: worth it? I had discounted this place initially because so many people cited the garden view as one of the pluses, and we are going for dinner.

            Tipping - Well this is a thread on its own. 15% ? Thoughts?

            1. re: timpani_mimi

              You won't see much from Pollen whilst dining, but a walk through the conservatory before/after the dinner is nice.

              Service charge is already included in the bill in Singapore, and it's not a practice to tip extra (though I'm sure the wait-staff won't mind).

              1. re: klyeoh

                Around 5% too much, I'd say, even if the service is very competent. I feel an exception is merited when they give you favourable treatment beyond the call of duty, in which case feel free to tip as much as you feel your treatment merits.

                I think a key thing to remember is that the tips / service charge in Singaporean restaurants rarely, if ever, make their way to the employees. Les Amis is one of the few I know where the entire 10% compulsory charge and all tips are distributed amongst the staff, so that makes me more willing to tip extra when I eat there. I recall a newspaper interview when quite a few owners said they didn't distribute any of the service charge to staff because of some cockamamie excuse like using it to pay for uniforms, staff training or something similarly lame.

                1. re: Julian Teoh

                  But I think the *biggest* challenge facing restaurateurs, in fact *any* small- and medium-sized business in Singapore is the fast-rising rents: landlords can hike rentals by 50-100% even during recessionary times. That can drive anyone out of business. The Singapore govt is pretty ineffective in dealing with this.

                  1. re: klyeoh

                    Oh, I totally agree, but owners shouldn't be allowed to subsidise their rental bills with a service-based levy ;)

        2. My top ten are:
          1. Les Amis (Claymore Hill)
          2. Au Jardin Les Amis
          3. Morton's
          4. Raffles Grill
          5. Gordon Grill
          6. CUT (Wolfgang Puck)
          7. Joel Robuchon
          8. Osia
          9. Guy Savoy
          10. Jaan

          2 Replies
          1. re: M_Gomez

            Any thoughts on Restaurant Andre or The Tippling Club? Where would they fall in the pecking order?

            1. re: DougOLis

              I can't comment on the Tippling Club, but Restaurant Andre is a truly world-class offering. If you like a fanatic approach to top quality produce (whether traditional luxury or otherwise), serious technique and a fun, very personal approach to food, you can't do any better.

              Dinner is expensive at $288++, but worth it, and I would recommend that you push out the boat for that instead of doing the cheaper lunch.