Home » Exclude » Love at First Bite: Our guide to the Top 10 Romantic Restaurants
Exclude Uncategorized

Love at First Bite: Our guide to the Top 10 Romantic Restaurants

Whether you’re looking for sky-high fine dining or casual fusion fare, dinner in the gardens or a date in the dark, Singapore is full of options for a special meal out. Here, we put some of the island’s most romantic dining experiences to the test.

Stellar 1-altitude dessert
Delight your date with this amazing smoking nitrogen dessert

Stellar at 1-Altitude: Sky-high decadence

Feel:

With panoramic views over the iconic skyline of Marina Bay, this venue delivers drama in spades. This is the place to dine if you’re after a grand romantic gesture, an imaginative dining concept and delicious food.

Flavours:

Every dish of the six-course Constellation tasting menu ($120; wine pairing is an additional $98 per person) has an element of surprise or magic. Executive Chef Christopher Millar delivers a refined, progressive, modern Australian menu that is as much about the dining experience as the flavours of the food.

The carabineros prawn with Parmesan cream and egg in smoked oil with a sprinkling of bacon ash (supplement $10) was creamy and delicious, with a striking presentation. Although the vacherin of fromage de chèvre with caramelised black mission figs was tricky to eat delicately, it was worth a little mess. For our adventurous “Trip to the Garden”, we left our table to taste herb cuttings from the hydro-garden, and witness our lemon meringues being poached in smoking nitrogen; this was definitely a conversation starter and felt like watching a magician at play.

The icy-cold, light and tangy meringues were perfect palate cleansers before the poached venison loin – two melt-in-the-mouth medallions, complemented with burnt celeriac and mushroom vinaigrette. Each course was paired nicely with a choice of wines from all over the world – sommelier Andreas has a wealth of knowledge and experience.

A six-course Valentine’s Day dinner menu will be available on 10, 11 and 14 February at $400 per couple, including two glasses of Veuve Clicquot; it’s $480 per couple (inclusive of two glasses of Veuve) for a window seat on 14 February. For something extra-special on the 14th, the Ultimate Stellar Valentine Experience ($688 per couple) not only features a glass each of Dom Perignon on the rooftop at sunset, but also a corsage for the ladies and a romantic trip to the Garden for an edible floral treat.

Favourites:

Breath-taking views and stellar service combine with an exciting, experiential menu to make this a top-notch romantic choice that you and your Valentine won’t soon forget. The finishing touch is a Singapore Flyer-inspired after-dinner mint sculpture, which would be the perfect place to hide a sparkly little gift!

Romance level (1 to 5): 5

Tip:

Grab a sundowner at 1-Altitude Rooftop Gallery & Bar before heading one level down for your Stellar experience.

– Amanda Broad

Level 62, 1 Raffles Place
6438 0410 | 1-altitude.com/stellar

Monti at 1-Pavilion interior
Dine with beautiful views of Marina Bay at Monti at 1-Pavilion

Monti at 1-Pavilion: Modern Italian with Marina View

Feel:

Housed in the iconic glass dome next to The Fullerton Bay Hotel, recently opened Monti is chic and sleek, with luxe bronze and blue hues, and a copper-top bar serving all kinds of signature cocktails. At the DJ booth, resident DJs spin tunes each night until late; but if you’re not into that kind of thing, don’t worry – we ate dinner around 8pm, the music wasn’t too loud and it didn’t feel in any way like a club!

You really can’t beat the unobstructed Marina Bay views, especially if you’re seated on the lower level near the window. Whether you go for a business lunch, a date night or want to impress out-of-town visitors, the classy ambience and prime locale, combined with the restaurant’s superb service, make this place a great pick (and I haven’t even mentioned the food yet…).

Flavours:

New-to-Singapore, Italian Chef Luigi Calcagno, who owns Zibiru in Bali’s Seminyak, is the man responsible for Monti’s delectable, modernItalian sharing dishes. The menu is full of options for meat eaters, seafood lovers and vegetarians alike. Pastas are freshly made: the braised veal osso bucco ravioli with cream of bone marrow, lemon zest and Parmigiano Reggiano ($34), and the gnocchi with artichoke, parsley and mint ($38) are popular choices.

We especially loved the variety of fresh salads available – something you don’t always find here in Singapore. A highlight was the crunchy superfood salad ($24), which included sunflower seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peas, corn, lentils, borlotti beans, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, among other healthy ingredients. We also enjoyed the panzanella salad ($28), with medium-rare seared yellowfin tuna, black figs, vine tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, ciabatta croutons, olives and smoked anchovy.

Psst! For Valentine’s Day, Monti is offering a special five-course menu, which includes oysters and a glass of champagne, a selection of three starters, risotto, a choice of wagyu or lobster, and dessert. Pricing ranges from $400 to $600 per couple, depending on where you sit in the restaurant.

Favourites:

Chef Luigi’s risotto cacio e pepe ($39) is what dreams are made of – it’s a must-order at Monti. Italian carnaroli rice is cooked tableside by Chef Luigi in a giant Parmesan wheel (yes, the cheese melts into the risotto!), and topped with black pepper and shaved black truffles. This alone is worth going for – share it with your sweetie and your date night is made!

Romance level (1 to 5): 5

Tip:

Head upstairs to Monti’s alfresco rooftop area for an after-dinner drink and more picturesque views.

– Amy Greenburg

Fullerton Pavilion, 82 Collyer Quay
6535 0724 | monti.sg

Terra interior
Savour hearty Italian dishes at Terra

Terra: Michelin-starred Tokyo-Italian fare with flair

Feel:

Minimalist Japan meets warm Italian trattoria. Terracotta tiles cover a feature wall, alongside modern furniture with clean lines. Terra is intimate and subtly romantic; smart, yet relaxed.

Flavours:

Japanese-Italian fusion, served omakase-style – that is, “let the chef decide”! Choose from three “levels” of menu based on cost (our lunch menu was $308), and allow Chef Seita to take it from there. Sea urchin isn’t for everyone, but the sea urchin bruschetta gave us the perfect taster, followed by carpaccio of kinmedai (golden eye snapper), the prettiest of our seven courses: clean, fresh and stunningly presented. The plates that followed were simply excellent; scallop gratin, tagliolini with caviar, grilled king crab and kinmedai, and, our personal favourite, chargrilled Iwate wagyu served with a baby jacket potato. A Japanese take on tiramisu rounded off our menu.

Favourites:

The food was utterly magnificent; we could see how Terra earned its Michelin star! The service is sublimely slick yet unpretentious, and, while this is fine dining, it doesn’t have a stuffy feel. The attentive staff ask about any allergies or dislikes at the start, which is a thoughtful touch, and the in-house sommelier will help you choose from the boutique Italian and French labels on the menu. Choose a table for two near the open kitchen for a good view of Seita and his team working their culinary magic. Reservations well ahead of time are an absolute must. Oh, and we quite like the no-child policy, too! This is a serious treat for real food-lovers.

Romance level (1 to 5): 5

Tip:

Not ready to go home? Amble along Tras Street and choose a spot to grab a drink at – there are options aplenty!

– Emi Finch

54 Tras Street
6221 5159 | terraseita.com

JAAN Tomato Collection
Savour the clean flavours of the Tomato Collection at JAAN

JAAN: Pristine produce

Feel:

This sky-high gem is elegantly intimate – a 40-seater pocket on the 70th floor that takes in the Lion City in all its sparkling glory. A dramatic crystal chandelier adorns the entirety of the ceiling, further dramatising the restaurant’s cloudlike state. The rest of the interior is simple and sophisticated. Individual spotlights illuminate crisp linen tables like they are canvases awaiting an artist’s intervention.

Flavours:

The “artist” in this case is JAAN’s talented chef, Kirk Westaway, from Devon in the UK, whose ever-evolving menus of modern French cuisine hold premium produce as their linchpin. Though there are both seasonal and vegetarian courses available, we recommend you surrender yourself to the 10-course surprise menu ($298). Highlights include the theatrical entrance of the 55’ Rosemary Smoked Organic Egg, cooked at 64 degrees Celsius for 55 minutes and served with smoked Ratte potatoes, autumn mushrooms and chorizo Iberico; homecooked eggs reinvented beyond imagination! Then there’s the heirloom tomato cooked sous-vide in tomato consommé, a dish that focuses on a single ingredient but makes it a superstar; stuffed with diced oxheart tomatoes, gherkins and oregano accompanied by a basil sorbet, the Tomato Collection is a delicate amalgamation of clean flavours brought to life by Westaway and his team over the course of three whole days. And to think that those two dishes are only two of ten steps on this multi-sensory journey!

Psst! If you’re celebrating on Valentine’s night, Chef Westaway has a tantalising eight-course meal ($830 per couple) to set the heart aflutter. Paired with a glass of Krug rosé, expect playful creations and aphrodisiacs aplenty, from the Irish rock oyster with cucumber pomelo to guinea fowl with foie gras barley.

Favourites:

It’s the opening and closing notes that really impressed, with the impeccably presented and flavoursome amuse-bouche and complimentary snacks setting the standard. Not just any complimentary snacks, mind you, but Charlotte potato espuma paired with truffle bouillon and Perigord truffle shavings, foie gras macarons, and clotted cream Devon tea biscuits!

Romance level (1 to 5): 5

Tip:

With views this good, why go anywhere else? Linger here as long as you can, or head over to New Asia Bar – also at Swissôtel The Stamford, right above JAAN – for some dancing, and equally awesome views

– Leanda Rathmell

2 Stamford Road, Level 70, Equinox Complex, Swissôtel
6837 3322 | jaan.com.sg

LeVeL33 iberico
Pair a ice cold glass of beer with your meal at LeVeL33

LeVeL33: Lager-lover’s dream

Feel:

Fine dining in a casual but classy establishment. As the world’s highest urban microbrewery, LeVeL33 is a great for a special occasion and offers the kind of beer selection that guys dream about. The outdoor balcony area is great for casual drinks, and the snacks served go wonderfully with the freshly brewed craft beers. The indoor dining room is a more formal setting, yet still very relaxed. Staff are attentive and cheery, and the buzzing vibe makes for a special atmosphere.

Flavours:

Executive Chef Jimi Tegerdine works his magic on modern European classic dishes with a twist.

For starters, we shared the ploughman’s board ($48), featuring a selection of smoked and cured meats, and rillettes with crostini; this was a lovely start to the evening. For mains, we enjoyed the seabass served with a pea puree and wild rice ($38); and a Scottish, grass-fed sirloin ($48.50), perfectly cooked and served with a side of sautéed spinach with beer paneer and grain muesli ($9.50), plus another of fat chips with a blond lager-infused tomato sauce. All of this was washed down with a light-bodied Blond Lager ($17.33 for 500ml) and a Satyr Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($17 per glass).

We could just manage dessert, and opted for the pink peppered chocolate fondant ($16) served with hot mint mascarpone and citrus confit – a lovely mix of flavours.

Psst! On 14 February, Chef Jimi will present a special three-course Valentine’s Day dinner menu priced at $88 per person, or $118 with wine-pairing.

Favourites:

We loved the quality of the food, the impeccable service and, of course, the view – this place really does offer one of the best panoramas in town.

Romance level (1 to 5): 4

Tip:

Don’t miss LeVeL33’s weekday and Saturday Happy Hour from 11.30am to 8pm (yes, over eight hours of craft beer specials!) and Sunday Happy Hour from noon until 8pm

– Jacqui Young

#33-01 Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1, 8 Marina Boulevard
6834 3133 | level33.com.sg

Candlenut Peranakan dishes
Dig into homely Peranakan dishes at Candlenut

Candlenut: Rich and authentic Straits-Chinese flavours

Feel:

Cosy and unpretentious. Once located in Outram Park, Candlenut now nestles on Dempsey Hill, part of the COMO group’s new expansion. Helmed by chef Malcolm Lee, it acquired a Michelin star midway through last year for its traditional yet refined approach to Peranakan food. The ambience around the space is peaceful and relaxed, and as you enter the restaurant this feeling continues, thanks to lofty high ceilings, pretty lighting installations and traditional tiling.

Flavours:

The menu of Peranakan cuisine is divided into small bites, curries, and wok-fried and grilled dishes, so you can choose a bit of whatever takes your fancy. Alternatively, there’s a chef’s “Ahmakase” menu available upon request, from $88.

Favourites:

To start, we ordered the tasty and fragrant homemade kueh pie tee shell with hamachi tartare, pickled shallot and laksa leaf pesto ($20) and the shellfish bisque with prawn and crab tofu pork ball, bamboo shoot and prawn oil ($14); the latter is a must-try for its clear, rich broth. From the mains, the buak keluak fried rice with sunny-side-up egg ($28) is highly recommended for its unusual yet moreish flavour (pleasantly earthy yet slightly bitter), which derives from the seeds of a nut of the Pangium edule (or keluak) tree, native to the mangrove swamps of Southeast Asia. The blue swimmer crab curry with turmeric, galangal and kaffir lime leaf ($28) was delicious too, with a generous portion of crab meat (no de-shelling necessary!). From the range of desserts, the condensed milk sugee cake, milk and honey ice cream ($14) was a simple and sweet option to polish off an excellent meal.

Romance level (1 to 5): 3

Tip:

How about grabbing a pre- or post-meal tipple at The Green Door, just a stone’s throw away? The outdoor garden bar’s whimsical décor – think old gramophones transformed into oversized flower light fixtures and drawers repurposed into shelving and table tops – and its lush garden setting make it a super-charming and romantic spot.

– Susannah Jaffer

17 Dempsey Road
1800 304 2288 | comodempsey.com/candlenut

Verre Modern Bistro & Wine Bar interior
The beautiful dining space of Verre Modern Bistro & Wine Bar

Verre Modern Bistro & Wine Bar: Relaxed, riverside haute cuisine

Feel:

Intimate and welcoming Flavours: Chef Masashi Horiuchi’s menu offers modern French cuisine with an Asian twist. We enjoyed the charcuterie board ($29) with fabulous, house-made duck rillettes, chorizo and Ibérico ham; but the standout appetiser was the moreish Forest Tarte Flambée ($22), a thin tart base topped with cheeses, bacon, mushrooms and caramelised onions, perfect for sharing.

The highlight main was the capellini seafood pasta ($26), perfect al dente capellini spaghetti with plump king prawns, mussels, clams and succulent lobster in a fragrant lobster bisque. The suckling pig ($28) also deserves a mention – slow-roasted, served with pork shoulder confit, mashed potato and rich gravy, and presented beautifully under a glass dome.

For dessert, the light and fresh deconstructed lemon meringue tart ($9) was my favourite, while my chocolate-loving partner demolished the moist and rich lava cake with vanilla ice cream ($16).

Verre has an enormous wine cellar and the staff is extremely knowledgeable about its wines – in fact, the menu itself suggests wine pairings for every dish. We found that each suggested wine (100ml glasses are $12 to $19; 150ml glasses from $15 up) complemented the food to perfection.

Psst! Chef Horiuchi will be presenting a special Valentine’s menu that’s bound to be good! Check with the restaurant for details.

Favourites:

There’s alfresco seating looking out on to the river, but we loved the chic, air-conditioned indoor setting. The food is pretty spectacular for the price, and to be able to eat fine French cuisine in a relaxed and not-at-all-stuffy atmosphere makes this a great romantic dining destination.

Romance level (1 to 5): 4

Tip:

Do end the night with a walk along the river. And, if you’re up for a nightcap in a different setting, pop into La Maison du Whiskey at Robertson Walk, just a five-minute riverside stroll from Verre.

– Katie Peace

8 Rodyk Street, #01-05/06
6509 1917 | verre.com.sg

NOX Dine in the Dark
Dim the lights and dine in style at NOX Dine in the Dark

NOX Dine in the Dark: Multi-sensory experience

Feel:

Located just off Haji Lane, this fine-dining restaurant offers a one-of-a-kind experience that’s perfect for an edgy but romantic date night. The stylish lounge area exudes a classy chill vibe with dim lighting and dark furnishings.

Flavours:

While this modern European restaurant has just one fixed menu ($88 per person) that changes monthly, there’s a special vegetarian menu, too; wine pairing is $30 for two glasses or $40 for three, or you pay $50 for three cocktails.

Food-wise, a variety of ingredients and techniques are used, resulting in a myriad of flavours and textures. Being in complete darkness without modern-day distractions (no phones allowed!) heightened our senses of smell, taste and hearing, making the whole experience even more romantic and pleasurable.

Psst! There’s an exclusive Valentine’s Day dinner menu ($288 per couple) available on 14 February. We won’t spoil the surprise, but be assured that you’ll be in the good hands of Head Chef Desmond Lee. 

Favourites:

Dining in absolute darkness was a surprisingly pleasant experience, thanks to the friendly and professional servers, all of whom are either visually impaired or completely blind. I enjoyed every bit of the dinner, from the start, when our server Erna led us to the pitch-black dining room, right to the very end when we had the opportunity to guess what we’d just eaten.

Romance level (1 to 5): 4

Tip:

We suggest heading over to nearby Blu Jaz Café for some live music and a nightcap!

– Anthia Chng

269 Beach Road
6298 0708 | noxdineinthedark.com

Le Binchotan interior
Enjoy French Fusion dishes at this classy restaurant

Le Binchotan: Fancy French-Japanese fusion

Feel:

Stepping into this hidden gem (literally hidden: it’s not actually on Amoy Street – the entrance is behind, on Gemmill Lane) is like entering a very swish, sleek railway carriage. Think modern, granite-topped bar, lined with smart, high chairs, dim lights, and a sleeper-wood-clad ceiling. Mirrors cover the back wall, giving the illusion of space.

Flavours:

French-Japanese fusion is the order of the day. We tucked into an array of small and large plates from the innovative menu. One standout dish was the foie gras ($21) – it was like nothing we’d tasted before; a boiled French turnip covered in generously thick shavings of foie gras and divinely fresh shiitake mushrooms. It must be tasted to be believed, and was large and rich enough to share. If you’re into truffles, as we are, the risotto “Japanese-style” ($29) was seriously more-ish and substantial, with a “chaser” of tender Angus short rib with leek and nagaimo (yam) puree ($39). Also notable was the smoked chocolate with frozen blueberry and yoghurt ($15) dessert.

Psst! From 10 to 14 February, $199 per couple will get you the “Journey of Love”, a three-course set dinner inclusive of two glasses of rosé plus a take-home gift.

Favourites:

What we loved most about this restaurant was that it was intimate and romantic, yet we didn’t have the sense that we were dining among a whole load of “daters”! There’s a small alcove that can seat a larger party (or a small private function), but it’s very secluded. Each unique dish here creates a talking point, which makes for good conversation – the ingredient of any good date night! Oh, and the Sake My Cucumber ($21) will give you some Dutch courage, should you require it

Romance level (1 to 5): 4

Tip:

After your meal, duck into a nearby bar; Club Street is just around the corner, and Amoy Street is chock-full of options like Employees Only, Bochinche, Sugarhall… the list goes on.

– Emi Finch

115 Amoy Street
6221 6065 | facebook.com/lebinchotan

Corner House interior
Dine at this gorgeous restaurant in a chic black-and-white house

Corner House: Golden gastronomy gone glam

Feel:

Set in the beautiful, two-storey black-and-white colonial house in which British botanist EJH Corner lived from 1929 to 1945, this one-Michelin-starred restaurant is serene and sophisticated. It’s clear that everything – from the botany-influenced décor and chic mix of studded and hounds-tooth upholstered armchairs to beautiful, nature-inspired dishware and leather menus – has been thoughtfully chosen to reflect the restaurant’s blend of inventive gastronomy in a nostalgic heritage setting.

Flavours:

Inspired by travel, seasonality and EJH Corner’s life, Chef Jason Tan uses progressive techniques to create “gastro botanica” cuisine, which balances meat and fish with vegetables, edible plants and other botanical elements; the result is pure art on a plate, with each course presented as a masterpiece. It’s a multi-layered sensory experience, offering surprising textures and unique tastes every step of the way, starting with the amuse-bouche (a pre-starter to excite the palate) all the way through to dessert.

One highlight for us was the carabinero prawn starter, which includes seasonal tomatoes done in different ways – a tomato “cloud” of soft mousse with tobiko-like olive oil pearls, marinated tomatoes, tomato confit with vintage sherry and, my favourite on the plate, refreshing tomato sorbet. Another standout was the Cocoa Pebble “Fôret Noire” dessert – Valrhona dark chocolate “rocks” and meringue “mushrooms” – available as part of the eight-course Discovery Menu ($268) dinner experience. If you’re not up for eight courses, there are three-to five-course options ($58 to $128) for lunch, and four- ($158) and five-course ($178 to $198) dinners to choose from, with additional options for wine-pairing.

Psst! Corner House will feature a special Valentine’s Menu based on seasonal ingredients; look out for what Chef Tan has prepared, as it’s sure to be good!

Favourites:

Every dish is a conversation piece, making this a fun special-occasion spot. We especially loved discussing (and dissecting) the signature oignon doux des Cévennes – Chef Jason’s interpretation of the sweet Cévennes onion enjoyed four ways: a whole onion, baked and hollowed, and filled with puree and confit, a 62-degree Celsius sous-vide egg, sea salt and black truffles; a crispy, filo-onion tart topped with Parmesan cheese; a lightly salted onion chip; and a delicious onion tea inspired by Chef Jason’s love of lattes – caramelised onion confit and cream emulsion in a teacup topped with Earl Grey-infused onion broth.

Though the restaurant’s lovely at night, I’d suggest going for a long lunch, as you’ll get more garden views in the daylight – request a seat on the glass-enclosed verandah! No matter where you sit, though, the experience is definitely one worth savouring.

Romance level (1 to 5): 5

Tip:

A pre or post-meal stroll through the Singapore Botanic Gardens with your sweetie is a must. Just remember to bring the bug spray!

– Amy Greenburg

Singapore Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Road
6469 1000 | cornerhouse.com.sg

 

This is an extract from an article that first appeared in the February 2016 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy for the full article, or Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!

Looking for more great dining spots in Singapore? Head along to our Wine & Dine section.

Comments