Playing a vital part in the fast-evolving hospitality scene here, Tanjong Beach Club co-owner Christian Tan knows just where to dine, drink and unwind.
Originally from Perth, Christian Tan moved to Singapore eight years ago. Being half Malaysian-Chinese (his father is Peranakan), he says he’s always wanted to spend more time in Asia to explore his Asian roots. “When my brother Julian and I, with our JV partners The Lo & Behold Group, won the tender for the Tanjong Beach Club space, it was the instant trigger for me to move to Singapore. I packed my bags within two weeks and relocated. Singapore has been very welcoming and I have never looked back.”
The 44-year-old runs some of the island’s hippest spots such as Tanjong Beach Club on Sentosa, and the Mexican restaurant and bar Lucha Loco and Super Loco, with fellow director Ajay Parag.
Where do you go to entertain clients?
It really depends on the clients and what they would enjoy best. I like to go for dinner at Super Loco (60 Robertson Quay), since we have some amazing new dishes there and I love to sit by the promenade. It’s the perfect set up for a casual and comfortable dinner. Lucha Loco (15 Duxton Hill) is the ideal spot for an after-dinner cocktail, a shot of tequila or mescal in the beer garden. If it’s a Sunday, then Tanjong Beach Club (120 Tanjong Beach Walk, Sentosa Island) is a must – the vibe one gets is definitely very satisfying.
Potato Head Folk (36 Keong Saik Road) blows me away. I love sitting at Studio 1939’s cosy lounge bar on the third floor with friends, armed with one of mixologist Dre Masso’s amazing cocktails. I’m also a big fan of The Lo & Behold venues like The Black Swan and The White Rabbit.
Where do you go for local food or seafood?
Without a doubt, Naked Finn (39 Malan Road) at Gillian Barracks. Owner Ken Loon is so passionate about the high quality fresh seafood ingredients which are cooked to perfection. Their new Maine lobster roll is a winner.
Do you like hawker fare?
I love chicken rice and it has to be from Wee Nam Kee Hainanese ChickenRice Restaurant (101 Thomson Road) – I can eat three servings in one sitting! Sometimes, I take a sneaky detour enroute to Tanjong Beach Club, for chicken biryani at the Seah Im food centre opposite VivoCity. You can’t miss it, it’s very popular.
My Tuesday night ritual is to buy seafood hor fun (noodles) at the ColBar Eating House (9A Whitchurch Rd). It may not the best, but it’s very tasty!
What’s your favourite grub after a night out?
My all-time favourite is the wanton noodles at the Guang Zhou Wanton Noodles (Tanglin Halt Market). But pretty soon we’ll be selling late-night tacos at Lucha Loco. I’m pretty sure that will be my final pit stop then.
Where do you shop?
I love Brunello Cucinelli’s handmade shirts from Italy (#01-17 Paragon) and also have some key casual pieces from Ermenegildo Zegna (#02-07A Ion Orchard). I live in my DL 1961 jeans and have many colours; they’re made in NYC but can be purchased from my favourite multilabel store, Inhabit (#02-16 Mandarin Gallery).
I wear Superga sneakers and Tod’s every day. Everyone is talking about the new shoe store The Blind Cobbler (98 Club Street) – I’m planning a visit there soon.
Are there certain enclaves that you particularly like?
The Duxton area has some cool cafes, restaurants and cocktail bars that are popping up in the old colonial shophouses. I like the way these hip venues are mixed amongst some of the old KTV bars. It gives the place a lot of character.
What’s your favourite place for romance?
A no brainer! Tanjong Beach Club on a weekday. Sunset cocktails and a seafood platter on the restaurant terrace. Head down to a day bed for a bottle of rosé, post dinner.
Where do you go to get away from it all?
I like to head to the Botanic Gardens for a walk or run on Monday evenings, then have dinner at Casa Verde. Other spots are the MacRitchie Reservoir. I also love running from my apartment in Portsdown to the Henderson Wave Bridge, which connects the hills of Mount Faber Park, Telok Blangah Hill Park and Kent Ridge Park.
What’s your most valuable Singapore secret?
If you wanted to do something different, head to Bollywood Veggies. It’s a rustic organic farm and restaurant in Kranji (www.bollywoodveggies.com).
And if you have kids, the Kranji Reservoir has loads of animal farms close by that are visitor friendly and very educational.
Some people say Singapore is boring…What do you reckon?
I actually disagree. You just need to be a little more pro-active here, ask around, do your research and you will find plenty of enjoyable places to go to. Singapore’s nightlife, festivals, cocktails, cafes and dining scene are going through a fantastic transformation right now. And things are only going to get better.