Take an inspiring social-friendly food trip in Singapore.
Nowadays, food is not just meant to be shared around the table but also shared on social media, where it can be consumed with the eyes and live on as a memory. Take a bite at three places where art makes dining a memorable and shareable experience.
Celebrating the Classics
Reserve a table at National Kitchen by Violet Oon, the celebrity chef’s second restaurant and one of the dining options at the City Hall wing of National Gallery Singapore, the newest art institution in the island city. In an elegant colonial dining room full of mirrors and photo frames, only the tiled floor is an indication of the Peranakan cuisine that it serves, Straits Chinese dishes rooted from Malay and Chinese heritage.
National Kitchen delights with time-honoured recipes. Sample Ayam Buah Keluak, a rich, tangy stew of wonderfully tender chicken in lengkuas (a ginger-like root), turmeric and a nut called buah keluak. The meat of the nut is an acquired taste and a rarity on the Singaporean table, reminiscent of plum but with a starchy texture. Yu Pin Mai Fan–rice noodles with fish and vegetables in a milky broth–is practically comfort food, with not-so-bitter bitter gourd and fish that is fresh, not fishy. Roti Jala is the dessert version of the lacy pancake traditionally served with curry. In Oon’s rendition, it is distinctively springy, with banana mixed into the batter, and served with a banana coconut dip and gula melaka (palm sugar syrup).
Fancy Tea and Fantasy
What is the most relaxing way to spend an afternoon? Arteastiq gives you two options: high tea with a selection of specialty teas and sweet and savoury bites in a light-filled cafe, or a painting session at the adjacent painting studio. The “double teasery” presents a trove of mouthwatering mushroom Vol Au Vent, foie gras-filled Panini Morsi, Smoked Salmon with cream cheese, Viva Duck smoked duck tortilla wrap, Pineapple Upside-down Cake, Matcha Cheesecake, Chocolate Truffles and Macarons.
Anyone who can hold a brush can paint on a canvas with three hours of studio time and unlimited acrylic paint. Lessons are available if you need some coaching to get started, but in this judgement-free space, any subject is fine. Just sit in front of the easel and on with your masterpiece.
Reinventing the Pastry
Opened by two young Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chefs, L’Eclair Patisserie by Sarah Michelle pays homage to the eclair’s French origins but tones down the sweetness of the pastry for the Asian palate. Each variant is not as sweet as it looks, as the eclair base is savoury. Best-sellers rose-flavoured Ispahan, Dark Choc 66%, and Earl Grey join seasonal flavours such as Bak Kwa (pork floss) for Lunar New Year and Peppermint Dark Chocolate for Christmas in the lineup, which changes every day.
Expect quality ingredients and great care in the making of the eclairs, which are baked fresh every day in limited quantities. The patisserie is a quiet and unexpected spot for delicious and delicate treats, a minimalist nook close to Orchard Road with a European touch.