Level 2, Swissôtel Merchant Court
20 Merchant Road
+65 6337 2288
Singapore gurgled under the deluge. The storm-drains that straddle the streets like braces keeping a middle-aged paunch in check could no longer contain the water that swirled around the culverts before bursting upward to ruin the leather of my shoes.
Hunched under my umbrella, chin burrowed into my chest in a futile attempt to make myself as small a target as possible from the rain, with trousers a-flapping and shoes a-squelching I made for the relative shelter of the MRT station.
When I emerged at Clarke Quay, night had fallen and, with tropical fickleness, the rain had stopped. As a result, it was cool and mild at the poolside of the Swissôtel Merchant Court, perfect for outdoor dining.
If you claim a table right by the aquamarine swimming pool, with a water feature murmuring in your ear and sundry palm trees swaying gently overhead, the Blue Potato does an admirable job of recreating a balmy resort atmosphere, the illusion marred only by the blinking neon of Singapore’s city lights.
The Blue Potato has a nice line in blue potato crisps (it’ll be a cold day in the colonies before I resort to calling them chips), which were easily as good as any I’ve tried in Singapore. I don’t think they were supposed to be dipped in the delicious garlic butter that came with the bread, but a world where I can’t enjoy crisps smeared with butter is one that I want no part of.
An equally guilty pleasure was the baked Caesar salad ($20), an alchemical concoction of scallops, cheese, lettuce and big, fat prawns, lasciviously smothered in warm dressing.
Continuing the over-indulgence, the cod with mango salsa ($31) and especially the Blue Potato fish and chips ($22) come in gargantuan portions that almost, but not quite, ruled out dessert. Fortunately, the orange crème caramel ($12) was a sweet and sour medley of soft, squishy components and the accompanying lime sorbet and slices of mango slipped down with barely a chew.
One of the plusses of poolside dining is the chance to admire lissome bodies gliding through turquoise waters. Sadly, the bevy of bikini-clad beauties that I had been hoping for, nay expecting, failed to materialise. Instead, the solitary swimmer was a middle-aged German gentleman in a red Speedo. I guess you can’t win them all.