Whether you’re after sky-high fine dining or a casual Italian feast, dinner in the gardens or a swanky steakhouse date night, Singapore has tons of dreamy eating options to choose from. Here we put some of the island’s most romantic date-night spots to the test.
The atmosphere: Set in the beautiful two-storey black-and-white colonial house in which British botanist EJH Corner lived from 1929 to 1945, Corner House is tranquil and charming. Our table, on a secluded upstairs terrace with elegant upholstered armchairs and botanical art and décor, put us both at ease. Even the menu, designed to look like a botanist’s leather-bound journal, adds to the atmosphere.
The cuisine: “Gastro-botanica” is how Chef Jason Tan describes the cuisine; he has taken inspiration from botanist EJH Corner’s life to create unique menus that balance beautiful meat and fish with the tastiest vegetables and edible plants, creating gastronomic art on each plate.
The menu: We tried the five-course Menu Gastronomique ($178), which showcases the chef’s signature dishes – and, ever since, I’ve been raving about this incredible menu to anyone who would listen. Among the highlights are the amuse bouche, designed to excite the palate; it’s a trio of tasting dishes, all surprising and wonderful in their own right – a cucumber and yellow mustard seed jelly that bursts with flavour, a white-and-black sesame ball coated in coconut and an oyster-flavoured leaf with yuzu and kumquat. The Carabinero prawn starter, a signature of the restaurant, includes seasonal tomatoes as you’ve never experienced them before – a tomato cloud of soft mousse with pearls of suspended olive oil, tomatoes marinated and poached two ways, soft-as-velvet tomato skin swirl and a heavenly tomato sorbet. Each course is presented on a customised plate with edible botanical garnishes to complete each dish.
Psst…Corner House will feature a special Valentine’s Menu; look out for what Chef Tan has prepared, as it’s bound to be spectacular!
That special something: The food is the real standout here. While the service and atmosphere add to the romance, my husband and I chattered like excited children about each new taste, dissecting each dish to decide what we liked best and which flavours were the most surprising. Plus, the walk back through the Botanic Gardens arm in arm was the icing on this very romantic date night!
After dinner: Be sure to take a post-dinner stroll through the Singapore Botanic Gardens with your sweetie. And, if you’re up for another drink, head to the beautiul Halia, located by the ginger garden. Halia’s special Valentine’s Day cocktails include the Cupid’s Potion ($30) – a blend of Absolut, Chandon Brut, strawberry and raspberry – and A Man’s Tale ($18), made with Grant’s whisky, cherry brandy and Martini sweet vermouth.
– Katie Peace
The atmosphere: Situated on the fourth storey of the Mandarin Oriental Singapore, the ambience is stunning and chic with lovely booths – and you know you’re in a top quality establishment by the discreet way in which restaurant manager Edwin and his staff pander to your every whim.
The cuisine: Succulent steaks, seafood and desserts to die for – it’s a foodie heaven.
The menu: A Morton’s dinner always starts with their freshly baked complimentary onion loaf – this is one thing you must resist trying to finish (it’s hard, I admit), as you won’t have room for anything else. For starters, we chose the baked prime ocean platter for two ($85) – there’s a chilled version too – which consists of sea scallops wrapped in bacon, jumbo lump crab cakes, oysters Rockefeller and shrimp Alexander. This was washed down with a lovely, ice-cold sauvignon blanc, as recommended by our amazing captain, JJ.
The main menu is a steak-lover’s dream. We ordered the six-ounce centre cut filet mignon ($80) in a well-executed medium rare, which was tender and succulent. It was flavourful, juicy, and didn’t have too much fat – a perfect, melt-in-your-mouth steak. For sides, we plumped for mixed sprouts and mushrooms ($22), and sour cream mashed potatoes ($24), which came with an additional chosen sprinkling of crispy bacon bits and butter.
We were glad we made room for their specialty dessert: Morton’s legendary hot chocolate lava cake ($30) – it’s definitely a sharing portion, and comes topped with raspberries and with a side of vanilla ice cream.
For Valentine’s Day, the restaurant is offering a special set menu at $188 per person, including an appetiser, main, side dish and dessert.
After dinner: If you’re not too full for after-dinner drinks, head to Orgo, the open-air rooftop bar at Esplanade Theatres on the Bay. It has great skyline and marina views, and it’s just a couple of minutes’ walk from the Mandarin Oriental Singapore.
– Jacqui Young
5 Raffles Avenue, Level 4 Mandarin Oriental Singapore
6339 3740 | mortons.com/singapore
The atmosphere: Restaurants don’t get much more spectacular than this one, perched in an atrium on the top of ION. The incredible panoramic views hit you straight in the face as you step out of the lift, and the low-lit restaurant lets the twinkling lights of Singapore do the talking. The restaurant is contemporary and classy, and perfect for an evening with that someone special.
The cuisine: High-end, delicious Australian cuisine, focused on fresh ingredients from Down Under such as oysters from Coffin Bay and high-quality cuts of grass-fed beef from Queensland.
The menu: No romantic dinner would be complete without oysters, and the oysters, coconut dressing and nam jim ($37) is the perfect start to your feast; the tangy edge of the nam jim sauce is appeased by the freshness of the coconut, creating a real treat for the palate. Another favourite was the wagyu rump, AACO Queensland, garlic mushrooms and smoky barbecue sauce ($72); this melt-in-the-mouth steak has a deep, smoky flavour that’s set off by a red wine jus.
For Valentine’s Day, the restaurant is offering a sumptuous six-course menu at $398 per couple, with Australian wine-pairing for an additional $58.
That special something: The panoramic views will have you in awe throughout your meal. Get there early to watch the sunset with a glass of bubbles, and then enjoy a stunning dinner crafted by some of Singapore’s best chefs, using top quality Australian ingredients. If you’re a wine lover, be sure to speak to the wonderful sommelier, who will guide you in the right direction.
After dinner: With views this good, why go anywhere else? Stick around after dinner for some more cocktails if you’re not ready to call it a night.
– Natalie Whittell
The atmosphere: You could dine alfresco at the water’s edge, but we prefer the cool upstairs dining rooms with their exposed brickwork, framed pages from La Mode Illustrée, white linen and soft lighting. Formal enough to feel like a special occasion, but not at all stuffy. Ask for our corner table by the window.
The cuisine: Traditional French
The menu: Chef Maxim (from Le Mans, via a stint with Paul Bocuse) starts us off with a generous combination of foie gras terrine and foie gras poelé seared to a turn ($29 each); little details like onion jam spiced with French espelette chilli make it unforgettable. After a perfectly classic cognac-scented lobster bisque ($17), comes Chef’s recommended specialty: whole sea bream from Brittany ($120 for two) baked in a salt crust that he ceremoniously lifts in our presence and serves in tender chunks over wilted baby spinach, tiny sautéed potatoes and sundried tomatoes, all drizzled with olive oil. If it’s your lucky night, he might bake you a golden-domed saffron soufflé (off-menu, $24 for two) like the one we ecstatically wolf down scalding-hot.
That special something: A certain je ne sais quoi – that and the absinthe ritual! Like other aniseed-based rocket fuels, this 53 percent proof Green Fairy starts off clear in the bottom of the glass, turning cloudy as iced water is dripped into it through a lump of sugar balanced on a special spoon. Speaking of lucky nights, couples hoping for some romantic action might be advised to stick to the champagne – tonight there’s a jolly good price of $12 for a coupe of Laurent-Perrier.
After dinner: Grab a drink at rooftop bar Southbridge, which is just a stone’s throw away.
– Verne Maree
The atmosphere: Lewin Terrace is housed in a beautifully restored colonial black-and-white bungalow overlooking the Central Fire Station on Hill Street. In fact, it was the residence of the fire station chief before being transformed into a restaurant. Sit on the relaxing terrace area or in the beautiful, air-conditioned dining room – both have romantic vibes.
The cuisine: Billed as Japanese-French fusion, the menu is dependent on seasonal finds from Japan. Dishes change seasonally, giving you an excuse to visit again and again.
The menu: I couldn’t resist the Hokkaido crab meat cocktail ($32), which was light and fluffy and came with a foie gras medallion. Another big hit was the soup of the day, cream of cauliflower ($14); both starters were paired with a glass of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne ($28).
For mains, we tried the wagyu sirloin hot plate with original sauce ($88): 120 grams of sliced wagyu, which we grilled at the table on our own small hotplate – a few seconds on each side, and it just melted in our mouths. The fish of the day was a beautiful fillet of cod in white sauce, which we washed down with a light, crisp sauvignon blanc.
Lewin Terrace has a special Valentine’s Day promotion in the form of a seasonal ShoMi degustation menu. Priced at $348, the dinner includes the ShoMi menu, plus “Love Sharing Platters” for both the appetiser and dessert courses. There will even be a photo booth wall where couples can have their photos taken by a professional photographer.
That special something: In addition to the fantastic service, the Japanese influence is echoed throughout the venue with impeccably presented food by Chef Keisuke Matsumoto and his team. They have an extensive selection of rare vintage wines and Japanese sakes, too.
After dinner: How about taking a romantic stroll through Fort Canning Park after (or even before) your luxurious Lewin Terrace experience?
– Jacqui Young
The atmosphere: Set over two levels in an Arab Quarter shophouse, Cicheti is a warm and friendly mix of old and new, its massive wood-fire pizza oven a big part of the charm.
The cuisine: Italian, highlighting Venetian and Neapolitan regional cuisine.
The menu: Chef Yew Aun Lim will be adding some Valentine’s Day specials to the menu, based on what’s in season. Some delights he has in mind include an un-Italian entrée of foie gras on toasted bread smeared with Nutella – a rich and surprisingly complementary pairing, a main course of chilled sea urchin with angel-hair pasta, and decadent panna cotta with rhubarb granite for dessert. Or you could dive into the regular à la carte menu. You can’t go wrong with the Cicheti burratina ($29), a stunning salad of soft white cheese, Parma ham and rocket, followed by any of the wood-fired Neapolitan style pizzas – we liked the Diavoli ($23) with salami, basil and chilli oil adding a cheeky zing. Reasonably priced drinks include Peroni bottled beer ($9) and the quaffable house red, Prosecco and pinot gris ($12 per glass, $55 per bottle).
That special something: Close your eyes and pretend you’re in Venice, one of the world’s most romantic cities, or head out to the quaint balcony on the second level – a quiet spot for a stolen kiss, or even a proposal?
After dinner: Walk down the street to craft cocktail haven Maison Ikkoku (20 Kandahar Street) for a tipple or two. Tell the bartender what you like and he’ll whip up something especially for you. It wont be cheap, but hey, it’s date night, right?
– Katie Roberts
Or…stay in with your sweetie
Fancy swapping a posh dinner for a date on the sofa? We don’t blame you. Put the kids to bed, throw on your PJs, fire up the Apple TV and get some takeaway for a relaxing night in. Better yet, order from Foodpanda and get it delivered right to your doorstep. This online food-ordering marketplace has over 500 restaurant partners island-wide, so there are plenty of options to choose from. In fact, Foodpanda recently added numerous new restaurant favourites to the mix – including District, Amber Nectar, Kinara and Tony Roma’s – plus healthy gourmet options like Well Dressed Salad, Sushi Burrito, Sumo Salad and Eight Treasures Vegetarian, among others.
The best part? Ordering in means you don’t have to compromise with your honey; if he wants a brisket sandwich and craft beer from Meat Smith, but you’re in the mood for Motorino pizza, you can both get exactly what you crave – and fast. In fact, Foodpanda recently launched a new and improved delivery service, meaning your food will arrive in just 30 minutes; simply click on the “express delivery” filter on the mobile app or website. Guaranteed date-night success, if you ask us!
This article first appeared in the February issue.