Whether you’re looking for a good restaurant for a business lunch, a post-work bite, a drink with your colleagues or the perfect date-night destination, Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD) has a lot to offer. Here are four restaurants to try in in the downtown area, including Raffles Place, Chinatown and Marina Bay.
MO Bar at Mandarin Oriental Singapore
Featuring superb views of the Marina Bay district, Mandarin Oriental’s luxe MO Bar is a great spot not just for closing business deals but also for date night and after-work drinks – not to mention afternoon tea (3 to 5pm daily). Priced at $48 per person (or $88 for two), the tea-time menu comes with a choice of coffee or TWG tea (with over a dozen to choose from), and beautifully presented tiers of sweet and savoury snacks. Have your set with a cocktail or mocktail ($65) or a glass of “R” de Ruinart champagne ($68)!
The afternoon tea lineup changes every two months. Currently, MO Bar is celebrating its first anniversary with a special Black and Gold afternoon tea, available until 31 October.
Savoury standouts include wagyu pastrami with Japanese pickle, seaweed rice cracker with smoked and cured hamachi and yuzu, and the Boston lobster roll. In the sweets department, don’t miss the black sesame and vanilla scones. Also, try the decadent chocolate pate sable, made with Pastry Chef Desmond Lee’s Co-Ka-Me 68.5 percent chocolate, and punctuated with caramelised peanuts.
Great for: Business meals, after-work drinks, tea with the girls, date night, you name it!
Cook & Brew
Housed in luxury hotel The Westin Singapore, Cook & Brew’s CBD location and 33rd-floor setting provide for expansive views of the city from a fab vantage point. The spacious gastro-bar offers different seating options for various occasions, including lavish leather couches for cosy gatherings, an alfresco area for breezy evening dates and posh bar counter seats for hotel guests popping by for a pint.
One bold yet delicious starter is the grilled bread ($15). It’s served with a rich spread of whipped buffalo milk ricotta cheese and truffle honey. Make sure you’re stirring the mixture well before slathering it on, or it may be a tad too sweet!
Then, balance out the carbs with something a little less naughty; the roasted broccoli ($14) is a must-try even if you’re not vegetarian. Doused in a sweet, smoky and sticky sauce made of honey Dijon, sriracha, lemon zest, sesame and sweet pickled chilli, the broccoli is whole-roasted to perfection, then topped with freshly grated smoked Applewood cheddar cheese.
Fill your stomach with the beef pot roast ($39), which looks like a meat lover’s dream come true. A hearty combination of fork-tender USDA beef short ribs with goat cheese and mascarpone polenta, this dish is a favourite at the restaurant. An elegant seafood alternative is the roasted Arctic cod ($46) with chard corn, squash, gulf prawns and ancho chillies. There’s also a small selection of sides, including roasted cauliflower ($7) with chilli, caraway and cumin seeds.
Dessert portions are big and great for sharing; get the satisfyingly sinful molten sticky toffee pudding ($15) with Bailey’s ice cream – it’s worth every calorie! Great for: Business lunches and group dinners
– Anthia Chng
The hip Keong Saik locale sees another new addition to its buzzing food scene: Italian dining spot Pasta Bar. The cosy space is dressed in rustic brick walls and warm wood, with chic black accents adding elegance and style.
Here, the star of the show is the pasta, which is all handmade from scratch every day before the restaurant opens for dinner service. Helming the kitchen is Genova-born Chef Alessandro Giustetti, who has cut his teeth in established restaurants including Garibaldi.
Start with a safe classic, the Tagliatelle ($30), which is tossed in 24-hour braised beef ragu and topped with freshly shaved Parmigiano. The ribbon-shaped Reginette ($34) with rabbit ragu, olive and pine nuts is another delicious pick – only if you’re not squeamish with the choice of protein used. Whatever you do, don’t leave without trying the Lagane ($28), a vegetarian-friendly dish combining sheets of eggless pasta with a creamy and flavourful chickpea, garlic and chilli concoction.
Great for: Casual date nights and small group gatherings. The restaurant is small and intimate; sit by the open kitchen-bar area for live cooking action, or reserve one of the cosy tables by the side if you’re with friends.
– Anthia Chng
Artemis Grill & Sky Lounge
With spectacular views across to Marina Bay Sands from its floor-to-ceiling glass windows, Artemis Grill is a stunning space for both day and night dining.
The menu is modern Mediterranean with strong French and Italian references – and you may have trouble deciding what to order. The chicken liver parfait ($22), served with rhubarb jam and brioche, is so good you’ll have to hold yourself back from licking the bowl. The colour of the seared Boston lobster ($35) pops against the vivid green of the minty sweet peas, and tastes just as good; you can also order this as a main ($70).
If you’re a meat lover, try the perfectly cooked and simply served beef striploin ($60) – it’s full of flavour, with the flame-seared outside giving way to a melt-in-your-mouth tender steak. The juicy Iberico Pork Secreto ($40) is perfectly accompanied by an apple-miso puree and pork crackle (which you will fight over with your dinner guest!). But, there are plenty of dishes for vegetarians and pescatarians, too. Make sure you order the delicious crushed potatoes ($12) as a side dish!
The team is exceptionally professional and attentive, without being obtrusive. Requests are carried out with genuine thoughtfulness and in a swift, fuss-free manner.
Great for: Both, business lunches and romantic date nights. Tip: The restaurant is very popular for large corporate gatherings, so check when you book, if this might bother you.
– Kel Flanders
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