Yesterday I returned from a wonderful two week holiday in Singapore & Indonesia with two of my best girlfriends. Tessa had moved out to Singapore back in February and this was our first reunion since she took the plunge to move continents. Janey and I arrived on the Saturday, checked in to our hotel (The Fairmont, very nice) and our holiday began.
Now other than the glorious weather, the interesting attractions and the lack of work, for me the greatest thing about holidays is the food. I couldn’t wait to get stuck in to Asian cuisine but surprisingly found our restaurant and dish choices were far more multicultural that we expected. While I expected to be dining out on noodles and rice every day, we actually sampled cuisines from around the world for every meal.
While you may not find yourself heading to Asia anytime soon, I thought i’d share with you my favourite meals from the Sinapore leg of my trip in an attempt to make you book yourself a flight and go experience them for yourself.
We visited House on Dempsey on our first full day in Singapore, which just so happened to be a Sunday. Therefore, Brunch was a must. We arrived around 12ish, a little early for our reservation but they were happy to seat us anyway. We chose to sit outside (the only table to do so – classic Brits) and spent a few minutes browsing the menu and marvelling at the jungle-like view. The menu hosts every brunch favourite you could think of, and then some. Their fries section was one of the first things we noticed – a strange and intriguing variety of fries made and topped with different things. We decided to share a portion of pumpkin fries (move over sweet potato, there’s a new root in town!) topped with hazelnut, paprika and chilli! These were absolutely INCREDIBLE and i’m desperate to try and recreate them at home now. They were thick, hot and sweet. And we convinced ourselves they were healthy too, because pumpkin.
The fries were to share, but there was no way I was going to share my main dish which was fluffy brioche french toast topped with cream and berries and served as a sweet morning masterpiece! On the side I had a watermelon and pineapple based smoothie, and I readily guzzled it all down together.
We absolutely adored our brunch, though word to the wise – don’t sit outside unless you’re covered in mosquito repellant. I was, but Tessa & Janey weren’t… and they were eaten alive! I’d love to go back again… those fries are worth a 13 hour flight!
We didn’t make it to PS Cafe for their famous brunch on the Sunday of our visit to Singapore (we considered it but went to House on Dempsey instead due to the expected no-reservation queue), but we did return to Dempsey Hill for a late (jet-lagged) lunch the next day. You walk in and instantly notice an attractive gin cabinet filled with a variety of wonderful gins, all served at London prices (about £10/$20 each) The day was hot and we fancied something light and cool, so the salads were the obvious choice. I opted for the superfood salad filled with blueberries, quinoa, pumpkin, almonds, spinach and tossed in an orange and rosemary dressing. It was light, sweet and delicious. Filling but not heavy.
To drink we had the most incredible iced pineapple based drink, like a sorbet juice that we could have kept ordering all afternoon. It really cooled us down. It would be lovely with a splash of gin as a refreshing cocktail!
If you don’t want to spend a fortune and fancy some proper Asian cuisine that is loved by the locals, you have to head to a Hawker Centre. We went to the one by Tessa’s office next to Asia Square on three separate occasions and enjoyed Dim Sum for pennies and the local favourite of Laksa (noodle based spicy coconut milk soup) for only £2.50 a bowl. It’s busy but delicious and there are plenty dotted around the city.
We visited the Din Tai Fung (lovingly abbreviated to DTF… insert your own innuendos here) in Marina Bay Sands mall for our dinner on our penultimate night. We had a huge craving for dim sum and because we hadn’t had lunch (we’d just flown in from Indonesia), we didn’t hold back on the ordering… we got a bit carried away and ended up ordering almost 50 dumplings to share between the 3 of us. They arrived, steaming and packed full of a variety of fillings, including crab, prawn, beancurd and yam.
The yam buns in particular were delicious and we ordered a second round of those (eyes probably bigger than our bellies… though by the end, only just!) DTF is very well priced, and the bill came to around $100 (£50) including a few drinks. It’s very casual in here, and a big hit with the locals. Tessa summarised the ambiance as a mixture of Mcdonalds & Nandos.
To satisfy our cravings for sushi we visited Tomo Izakaya at Clarke Quay. There we feasted on hand rolls, bacon wrapped scallops and crab and avocado stuffed maki. This place was recommended to Tessa as the most authentic sushi in Singapore, and it certainly tasted fresh and delicious to us.It too wasn’t too expensive for how much we ordered. What really breaks the bank in Singapore are the drinks.
If there’s anyone you can rely on for good drinking hole recommendations it’s Tessa, and as there isn’t much to do in Singapore other than eat and drink, we visited a fair few bars during our 5 nights in Singapore.
One thing you simply HAVE to do in Singapore is have a Singapore Sling at Raffles. It’s basically the law of tourism. I attempted to do this whilst on my gap year 7 years ago but sadly we couldn’t afford the cost of one cocktail (at the time $17) between the three of us, let alone one each. So this time I returned (to a now affordable but also heavily price inflated menu) and ordered myself the traditional Raffle’s Singapore Sling for an eye watering $32! It was super sweet and served in a personalised sling glass. That’s a tick of the travelling bucket list right there!
Rooftops are popular, and we visited a few. For an amazing view of the marina bay, head to the Fullerton’s Lantern Bar. Cocktails are about $24 (£11) and you can get a great view of the light show… although it’s not worth coordinating your visit for. It’s a pretty pathetic light show to be honest, but the drinks are delicious. We all ordered one of their mojito varieties.
We also took the lift up 925ft (282m) above sea level to 1 Altitude, the world’s highest al fresco bar and viewing gallery. It cost $30 to go up (around £15) but included a free drink. I ordered a lychee martini and sipped it whilst trying hard not to look down!
If you want a view of the city, then naturally the best place to visit is the Marina Bay Sands rooftop bar Ce La Vi next to the infinity pool (the pool is exclusive to hotel guests, the bar isn’t) where all cocktails are $24. The view is stunning, but the accompanying soundtrack from the bar is a bit distracting. As is the questionable dancing from the guests.
Eating & drinking are the best things to do in Singapore. You don’t need more than 3 or 4 days in this city as a tourist as there isn’t loads to do, but if you have a good appetite you can certainly fill your time and bellies with plenty of delicious things…