I plead guilty to being a creature of habit. I like new places, but I tend to be drawn to the places I know. This year, we returned to Sigapore with some ambitious wine and dine plans, but ended up hanging around our old neighborhoods, like 28 Hong Kong Street, Esquina and the New Black. We were very close to returning also to Burnt Ends, regardless of the Singaporean service. We did try out some new places as well. And I am glad we did as many of them were fantastic. Here is a few recommendation from this years tour.
Smoke & Mirrors is a cocktail bar on top of the newly opened national gallery. The scenery is like a postcard; a panoramic view of the Marina Bay Sands, the CBD (Central Business District) and some of Singapores most known skyscrapers. It was not too crowded when we were there, but I suspect tourists will take over in a matter of time (as if I am not a tourist). We tried a few different cocktails, like the Papaya Daiquiri, Rainforest Remedy, the Painting Class (with edible chocolate paint) and Spring Mountains in Red and Ink. They were pretty awesome. The Collection cocktails were all inspired by a piece from the art exhibition and came with a short description of the cocktails muse. We visited Smoke & Mirrors two times during the week. Unfortunately the second time, a Saturday night, the service was really sloppy. We had to threaten to walk out just to get the bill, otherwise they had no interest in collecting their money. I am hoping this is just a one time thing and not a start of a snobby “we are so good that we don’t care if you return”-kind of service. Nevertheless I recommend trying it out. Be sure to reserve to get the below view from your table.
Vatos Urban Tacos is a Korean fast food place/sit down restaurant close to City Hall. It looks like any restaurant, but the tacos are awesome. Fresh flavors, herbs and spices, the tacos are really juicy and delicious. ALmost makes me want to book a trip to Korea, where the chain started from. What I also enjoyed very much was my drink, a margarita with an upside down beer bottle. While I was emptying my Margarita, the bottle refilled my glass with some nice tangerine beer. The experience was so much fun!
Last but definitely not least, we visited Open Farm Community, a new restaurant at the Botanic Gardens. The ambiance is quite hipster with a rugged open space with self-planted gardens all around. I am assuming the restaurant grows quite a lot of its own ingredients right there (or at least they give the impression they do). The food (we tried some pastas) was amazing. Perfectly executed. I would not be surprised if this place appears in the coming Guide de Michelin for Singapore. At least they deserve a Bib Gourmand (if not a star even). As the pastas were so delicious, we also ordered some desserts. The chocolate cake was as all chocolate desserts, a bit boring. But the mango sticky rice was great.
Open Farm Community also did some quite nice wine flights. You could order a tasting set (red or white), four wines, for 20 Singapore dollars. The whites featured some Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, a Pinot Grigio from Italy and a Gruner Veltliner from Austria. The three named wines were accompanied by a surprise wine. We had some fun guessing what it was (a Sauvignon Blanc from Australia). The red flight had a Pinot Noir from New Zealand, Austrian Zweigelt and a Refosco Fruili from Italy. The surprise wine was a Shiraz from Sonoma county. All wines in the flight were good. Some better than the others, but the overall quality was quite high.