Hotels, hidden gems and rooftop hotspots – our guide to the best tables to book this holiday season.
Best place to avoid large crowds: inItaly
Scene: Shophouse in Tanjong Pagar
Shell out: $64
Seatings: 1 to 30 December, lunch and dinner
Chef Mario Caramella is bringing a true taste of Italian indulgence: a four-course Christmas set menu featuring foie gras with mandarin mustard fruit and sweet-and-sour pumpkin cream, a hearty handmade pork cappelletti in chicken consommé, and your choice of roast turkey or seared Sicilian tuna steak with capsicum peperonata. Dessert is caramelised panettone with Vin Santo sabayon and cactus fruit sorbet with a special selection of Christmas cookies.
Book it: 6423 0918
Most bang for your buck: Mason’s Bar & Bistro
Scene: Artsy Gillman Barracks
Shell out: $40 for lunch, $50 for dinner
Seatings: 1 to 29 December
We’re impressed by the prices here in relation to the quality of the food being served. Christmas lunch is a three-course set meal of lobster bisque with Parmesan crostini, roast turkey breast with Brussels sprouts and pancetta, rosemary truffle mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, followed by mince pies and Christmas pudding. Dinner is also three courses – foie gras and roasted duck salad with walnuts and San Marzano tomatoes, roast turkey breast with red chicory in a red wine reduction, French beans with walnut pesto, plus mince pies and Christmas pudding. If you want one of the breezy tables on the verandah, don’t dawdle – those seats are going fast.
Book it: 6694 2216
Best escape from the City: Halia
Scene: Ginger Garden at the Botanic Gardens
Shell out: $138 with free-flow wine, $98 without alcohol, $38 for kids 12 and under
Seatings: 25 December
Christmas brunch at the Botanic Gardens location is a buffet of over 40 gourmet delights, such as braised beef bourguignon with pearl onions, roast turkey, free-range pork belly, lemongrass spring chicken, potato and mushroom gratin and oyster shooters with pickled ginger. Also in the line-up is Halia’s signature dish, chilli crab spaghettini. Sweet tooths have their pick of ten desserts like honey walnut pie, brandy fruitcake and chestnut Mont Blanc.
Book it: 6287 0711
Best View: ME@OUE
Scene: Rooftop of new CBD building, OUE Bayfront
Shell out: $145
Seatings: 20 to 25 December
Pronounced “me at o u e”, this restaurant’s new alfresco area and vantage point – neither Lantern Bar low nor 1-Altitude high – makes it our top pick for dining in the CBD this Christmas. The cuisine is a mix of Chinese, Japanese and French – though not all in the same dish. In fact, each cuisine has its own chef, and the team of three has banded together to produce a five-course Christmas menu of fresh sashimi, foie gras poëlé with clementine marmalade, steamed cod with fresh beancurd skin and chapon with butternut squash and black truffle. Dessert is a three-dimensional sphere made entirely of chocolate with mandarin and lime gelée, orange sponge biscuit and mandarin sorbet – almost too pretty to eat.
Book it: 6634 4555
Best spot for entertainment: db Moderne
Scene: The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Shell out: $135
Seatings: 25 and 26 December
Daniel Boulud’s namesake restaurant is serving a four-course Christmas dinner with mushroom velouté, roasted John Dory, duo of capon with herb-roasted breast and chestnut truffle braised leg, pommes lyonnaise and a chocolate and pear bûche de Noël. There will be charcuterie, Alaskan king crab legs and grass-fed beef Wellington for brunch on Christmas and Boxing Day, too. For the first time since the Shoppes opened, the MBS skating rink is being transformed into a winter wonderland complete with life-size tin soldiers, a giant toy train, Santa’s sleigh, Christmas trees and a toy theatre. And, adults can have a little entertainment of their own – Christmas dinner and seats for the musical version of Victor Hugo’s Notre Dame de Paris at the MBS Grand Theater.
Book it: 6688 8525
More fabulous ideas…
Hotel Fort Canning
If your family has acquired a taste for spice while living in Singapore, Hotel Fort Canning’s laksa turkey and Thai tom yum turkey are a must. (Traditionalists need not worry – there is regular roasted turkey for you, too.) To kick off its Christmas Celebrations in the Park, the hotel is hosting a Christmas Eve buffet dinner and movie screening ($75) complete with bouncy castle and activity stations for the kids. There is a brunch at The Glass House on Christmas Day ($60), again with a bouncy castle and space on the garden terrace for the little ones to play. Call 6559 6760.
Lime at Parkroyal on Pickering
The new CBD urban garden hotel has the entire Christmas week covered. On the 22nd, 25th and 29th, there’s a Yuletide brunch with char-siew roast turkey, Cajun lamb leg, Maine lobster, Smoky Bay Australian oysters and sweet treats like panettone bread and butter pudding. A festive buffet lunch and dinner from 19 to 23 December features honey-glazed ham and herbed Cajun roast turkey, but you’ll have to book a table for the lavish Christmas Eve lunch and dinner buffet to enjoy live carolling and photo ops with the big guy in red. Call 6809 8899.
The Ritz Carlton, Millenia
It’s fairy tales and storybook endings at The Ritz Carlton, Millenia, where Cinderella pumpkin cinnamon cream log cakes are served topped with dainty chocolate slippers, and whimsical bauble desserts are filled with chocolate fairytale characters. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, plenty is happening in this castle: fairytale afternoon tea (from $48), Champagne brunches (from $188) and dinner buffets (from $98), plus carollers, a live band and cameo appearances by Santa and Santarina. Call 6434 5288.
Brasserie Les Saveurs
Sparkling water-fountain, hand-cut chandeliers, unlimited Billecart Salmon Champagne – this is but a taste of the super-swank that abounds at St. Regis Hotel’s fine dining French restaurant this Christmas. Expect dishes like beef Wellington, roast goose, slow-roasted boar’s leg, Boston lobster tail, freshly shucked oysters and a fabulous array of French desserts. Book for Christmas Eve dinner ($198), Champagne brunch (25 and 26 December, $218) and Christmas Day dinner ($98). Call 6506 6860.
Since the CBD will be deserted around Christmas, it’ll be a breeze to reach Zafferano, a restaurant with a magnificent view of Marina Bay from 43 floors up. The festive menu ($98) is a feast for the senses – foie gras terrine with Sauternes, Balik salmon carpaccio, lasagnetta lobster au gratin with stewed sea scallops, Amarone-braised veal cheek and white meringue with pink grapefruit sorbet. Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day lunch and dinner. Call 6509 1488.
Fleur de Sel
This Tras Street newcomer’s festive lunch (from $38) and dinner (from $88) are available nearly every day in December, but it’s Chef Alexandre Lozachmeur’s six-course Christmas Eve Réveillon de Noël menu ($165) that really puts a skip in our step. Highlights include chestnut velouté with sautéed lardons and poached Boston lobster with black truffle fork-mashed ratte potatoes and bisque jus. Call 6222 6861.
Chef Francesco Mansani is blending the best of Tuscan and traditional fare at this Mohamed Sultan steakhouse. Lunch and dinner guests will be treated to cured meat platters, cherry tomato salad, lobster tortellini, spit-roasted lamb, Wagyu-Holstein roast beef (marble factor of 6+), roast turkey and limoncello-drenched Christmas pudding ($128). 24 and 25 December. Call 6735 6739.