Fine dining in Singapore? Can


If you’re in Singapore more than a couple days, you may eventually get sick of chicken rice and chilli (or pepper) crab, or durians, and decide it’s time to hit Singapore’s fine dining scene.

Some questions to get you started: Do you have a large trust fund? Great, you’ll be fine. If not, are you a Singaporean instagrammer/blogger/flogger invited to a freebie? Then the prices won’t be an issue – particularly if you’re being paid to promote a restaurant (“OMG! Bae! Amazeballs!). This happens more often than you think, and one reason why I wouldn’t trust Singaporean instagrammers. Don’t believe me? Check out the deluded souls in The Straits Times, and laugh & weep reading about how they believe they aren’t compromised in “reviewing” venues. My friend, Victoria, has also had a good rant about this as well. But I digress…


Singapore has more than its fair share of expensive linen and cutlery. Honestly, it is overrepresented in the San Pellegrino’s Asia’s 50 Best list (I can hear the Singaporeans booing impotently from as far away as Europe where I’m typing this…), but that says a lot about the judging system (and maybe as much about how hard it is to get a table at Raw in Taipei, because that really should be number one). Arguably, giving the top spot to Gaggan in Bangkok says as much about how judges can be swayed with a few fireworks rather than substance…

Back to the topic at hand! The lion city also has a lot of degustation menus. If, like me, you find degustations a tyranny, then you’ll just have to suck it up in most cases, and suck in your belly at the end of the meal. Finding fancy restaurants in Singapore isn’t too hard, but finding a great fine dining restaurant is about as easy finding free range eggs in Fairprice. The scene keeps changing (I hazard to say evolving), but here are a few of my favourites:

Burnt Ends is a Singapore fav. Dave Pynt flies the flag for Australians cooking a great steak and offering a decent wine list. Do. Not. Miss. The. Steak. But order the marron (pictured below) if it’s on the menu, and squeeze in a marshmallow (or three) after dessert. If you’re residing (or trapped) in Singapore, it’s worth following the Burnt Ends instagram account because a couple Sundays a year they hold a party and cook great pizzas in those brilliant ovens.


Cure quickly became a regular for me. After making Esquina a great dining spot, Andrew Walsh has opened a brilliant, modern fine dining space around the corner. This is my pick for the best value fine dining in Singapore – strong fundamentals with a touch of genius (like the baked scallop, salt cod potato and pea puree below). Cure is made even better with the ever-welcoming Tim Dopson managing the floor and guiding you through the wine list. Unless you’re on a date, the small bar at the front is also a good option.


Everyone talks about Sunday brunches, but if you don’t need bottomless champagne and gluttony, try Les Amis for a classy lunch. This will hit most of the fine dining clichés – foie gras, caviar, maybe a soufflé to finish – but it does it with style and taste.



Two other restaurants are worth mentioning: Waku Ghin (pictured below) and the Tippling Club. Both aren’t cheap (especially if you opt for Krug by the glass, oops…) but they’re worth visiting at least once. The Tippling Club brought back memories of Melbourne’s Vue De Monde (remember when it was still great?!). An extra tip for Waku Ghin – there’s a bar attached with some very talented bar tenders and a small food menu. If you’re very nice to them, they might let you order from the restaurant dessert menu… One gripe – leaving Waku Ghin and walking out into the casino is really tacky and depressing, but that goes hand in hand with a venue that directs status-obsessed diners to the “Celebrity Chef” restaurants, rather than – you know – the restaurants with good food.


One more warning: In nearly all cases, wine prices will make you weep if you’ve ever left Singapore. If you’re on a budget, drink like a Mormon or try and sneak a hip flask in. One tip for residents wanting to stock a wine fridge – champagne has less mark up, and you can get a decent bottle of champagne for $40-50, as opposed to a very average bottle of red.

Of course this isn’t all there is to Singapore’s fine dining scene. I never got to some places, while a couple others just didn’t leave a memorable impression (maybe I need a memory spoon to remind me…shudders). There are also some good mid-range alternatives – Maggie Joan’s, Long Chim, Moosehead Kitchen & Bar, etc (thanks to David Thompson and Daniel Ballis for spicing up the city!) – though the dearth of good venues between hawker food and super-expensive is probably one of the biggest drawbacks to the Singapore food scene (cue the desperate retorts – sorry, I can’t hear you above all the hype and hot air, and your sponsored posts!).

You won’t get bang for your buck in Singapore – particularly if you compare prices and experiences to pretty much anywhere else – but order wisely, and go easy on the wine, and you might just enjoy yourself. Just don’t look at the receipt.



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Categories: Food, Singapore, Wine


coffee, food, calculated rambling


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2 Comments on “Fine dining in Singapore? Can”

  1. March 21, 2016 at 7:03 am #

    wow, I think you’ve softened since you left 😉 nice post and all true. Btw – dined at Grossi Florentino in Melbourne, I chose between that and Vue du Monde but the feedback about Vue was all round negative. Grossi was fabulous. Classy and comfortable, fabulous food and a wonderful sommelier. Five+ courses and wine and less than $250 per head!! Everything is such a bargain compared to Singapore!!

    • March 21, 2016 at 10:49 am #

      I think I have softened now I’ve escaped…! Not that Berlin has a massive fine dining scene, but general it’s great for markets. But that’s the next blog… 😉

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