21 Lewin Terrace
For a romantic tête-à-tête, you can’t beat the location of this black-and-white bungalow in Fort Canning Park. I’m with a girlfriend, so the romance is more about the historical setting, at the foot of what Malay inhabitants of pre-colonial Singapore used to call Bukit Larangan, or Forbidden Hill.
Overlooking the Central Fire Station in Hill Street, it was once the residence of a series of Superintendents of the Fire Brigade. Most recently, it housed fine-dining Flutes at the Fort, now relocated to the National Museum.
Lewin Terrace is billed as Japanese-French fusion cuisine. Despite the authentic restoration and refurbishment of the colonial architectural treasure it’s in, the ethos feels very Japanese, from the warm and exquisitely courteous service to the precision engineering of the food.
Chef Ryoichi Kano presides over what I imagine to be an army of minions engaged in such eclectic culinary pursuits as handcrafting transparent “crystal potato” chips that look like discs of spun sugar, charcoaling lemon zest, and making edible sand. (Different from making sand edible, no doubt.)
After a couple of original and well-mixed cocktails, general manager and chief sommelier Daisuke Kawai (ex-Les Amis) offers wine pairing from a list of more than 100 labels, half of them French, the others a mix from the old and new worlds.
By far the tastiest elements of our eight-course set menu ($180 per head) are the rich and creamy foie gras terrine with pickled white radish and a tropical fruit sauce; and Wagyu sirloin toubanyaki, served rare so you can cook it to your personal idea of perfection on a portable table-grill. Servings are on the light side, so hold onto your basket of warm bread.
For now, two set lunch menus ($38 and $70) and two dinner menus ($120 and $180) are available, but an à la carte menu is in the offing.
Must-try Dish: Foie gras terrine