Whether it’s a birthday, promotion or just catching up with friends, we’ve got 3 restaurants perfect for celebrating!
For a 50th Birthday
Where: Jade Palace Seafood Restaurant, B1-13 Forum The Shopping Mall, tel: 6732-6628, open: 11am to 3pm, 6 to 11pm daily
Why: Well, this is a no brainer: excellent food, no corkage.
To celebrate this milestone birthday, go to Jade Palace, a restaurant that wine aficionados and foodies flock to regularly. The 180-seat restaurant recently underwent renovations and now looks a lot less shabby and is more comfortable.
There are six private rooms which seat eight to 12 people each. Some rooms open up to form a larger private room which seats up to 40.
The wine list is very fine but diners are welcome to bring their own bottles. The servers can be trusted to take good care of your wine.
The deep-fried frog’s legs with crisp slices of old ginger ($48) are excellent – meaty legs, fried expertly, have no trace of grease. Steamed bamboo clams ($13 each) are worth ordering too.
All of these are on the menu.
However, since this is a special birthday, when calling to make a reservation, pre-order some special dishes. Give the restaurant at least two weeks’ notice.
My favourite is Shun Tak Yu Wat Lou Meen ($15 a person), a simple dish of springy noodles topped with strips of raw wolf herring. It is dressed with shallot oil and an umami-loaded soya-based sauce.
For sheer decadence, order roast suckling pig stuffed with glutinous rice ($240). It is festive and perfect for a milestone birthday.
Most Chinese restaurants will give you peach-shaped buns stuffed with lotus paste if you tell them it is a birthday meal. At Jade Palace, pre- order a whole malai gou ($30), a steamed cake with a beautiful dome.
Having made it to the half- century mark, you deserve it.
For a Big Promotion
Where: CUT by Wolfgang Puck, B1-71 Galleria Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, tel: 6688-8517, open: 6 to 10pm (Sunday to Thursday), 6 to 11pm (Friday and Saturday)
Why: Well, Ms or Mr Big Shot, you’ve made it. They’ve given you an office with a view, keys to the executive loo and you are ready to take on the world.
But, first, celebrate at CUT by Wolfgang Puck at Marina Bay Sands. This 138-seat modern American steakhouse has an exciting buzz about it. It is not for stuffed shirts, what with the chic decor and thumping music.
Its staff have the sort of polish you do not often see in Singapore restaurants.
For more privacy, there is a private dining room that can seat 40 people. Private events require a minimum spend of $7,500 on weekdays and $10,000 on weekends.
Even if you cannot gather 39 friends for the celebratory meal – you didn’t get to where you are by being warm and fuzzy, I’m guessing – a meal in the main dining room will not disappoint.
Steaks are grilled over hard wood and charcoal before being finished in a fiendishly hot oven.
Good choices include the 990g porterhouse ($185), which serves two, and the USDA Prime corn-fed Angus ribeye, which weighs 395g, is aged for 21 days and costs $99.
There are countless permutations of mustard and many sauces to go with the steaks. But a true captain of industry will need starters and side dishes too.
Bone Marrow Flan ($28) with mushroom marmalade and parsley salad is a good way to start the meal and, to go with the steak, there can only be Creamed Spinach ($18), with a perfect fried egg on top.
Some guests will be difficult and not want steak. The menu has options for them. The Maine Lobster with black truffle sabayon ($150 for a 1kg lobster, $200 for a 1.5kg one) is an excellent choice.
Wine is great with the meal, of course, but the bar knocks out some of the best cocktails in town. Go on, have a couple. My favourites are Forbidden Kiss ($26), made with Hendrick’s gin, fresh raspberries, rose elixir and lemon juice; and Umami Cocktail ($26), with Hendrick’s gin, shiso leaf, cucumber and umeboshi plums.
For a Big Group
Where: The Boiler Louisiana Seafood & Beer, 01-06, 18 Howard Road, tel: 6635-1285, open: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5 to 10.30pm (Tuesday to Friday), 5 to 10.30pm (Saturday and Sunday), closed for lunch on Saturday and Sunday. For groups of 15 or more, book at least three days in advance.
Why: This 120-seat restaurant is buzzing every night and that energy is great for big groups of diners. It has two tables that can seat groups of 26.
Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty at this restaurant.
It specialises in seafood boils, where mussels ($4.50 for 100g), clams ($4 for 100g), prawns ($7.50 for 100g), Dungeness or Brown crabs (market price) and Boston Lobsters ($75 each) are cooked in bags and then set on the paper- lined tables. Diners dig in with their hands.
The Works, a sauce with three levels of spiciness, is a good catch-all for seafood. But if dining in a big group, there is a chance to sample all the four sauces: The Works, Garlic Butter, Peppa’ Butter and Sauce Of The Month.
I like the Garlic Butter with prawns or clams because most spicy sauces tend to overwhelm the flavour of the seafood. Dungeness Crabs are great with Peppa’ Butter.
Order corn ($1.50) to be cooked with the seafood. And buns ($1.50 for two) or buttered rice ($2) to sop up the sauces. For those who need obligatory fibre, there is coleslaw ($4.90)
Aside from the usual bibs and gloves, the restaurant will also supply little plastic baggies for mobile phones, so the most dedicated Instagrammer can still take photos with sauce-covered fingers.
For great romantic restaurants, click here.
By Tan Hsueh Yun, Food Editor at The Straits Times, August 2, 2015
Photos: courtesy of restaurant Facebook pages