Le Restaurant & Bar @ Suntec City

Sundays are the best days for Dim Sum! We wanted to do a dim sum brunch, but at somewhere new. Somewhere we wouldn’t go/ haven’t already been to with our families. Which rules out all the hotel Chinese restaurants.

We ended up at Paradise Group’s new Asian tapas concept restaurant, Le Restaurant & Bar. It is located at the now dead Suntec City – can we take a moment to ponder the decline of that place? If you haven’t been there recently, well you’re not alone, 4 million other people have not been there recently either.

The entrance of the restaurant does not look very restaurant-like. It’s near some clothing shops and random gift shops, so you might walk past never thinking that it’s a restaurant. So they hung up a million posters with their signature dishes and happy hour discounts outside.

Other than that, the décor is quite posh and opulent on the inside. You walk through the bar area to get to the large and spacious dining room. Definitely not your usual cluttered traditional chinese restaurant. The furniture is all dark wood and velvet. There is a huge Buddha statue made of glass as centerpiece.

Service was amazing! We were given hot towels the second we were seated, followed by the menus, and tea. They have a special in-house blend that is black glutinous rice and pu-er. Which is just a rice-y version of pu-er.

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We ordered the following:

Cordyceps flower jumbo dumpling soup – The soup was bland, and the jumbo dumpling was kind of gross! It reminded me of the jumbo dumplings you get from chinese food delivery in America.

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Wagyu siew mai and foie gras skewers – I didn’t like this very much because there’s so much meat going on. But my dining companion loved it. There was so much foie gras that I felt like I was going to be sick.

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Har gao with golden sago – prawns were fresh, but golden sago is such a gimmick. Sago is tasteless and so is gold powder/dust/flakes.

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The Dirty Duck is their signature dish at Le Restaurant. It is called Dirty for its unglam appearance. It is served just like Peking duck. Wrapped with the usual onions and dipped in the sweet sauce. However this duck is fried instead. Much like duck confit, or Bali’s bebek guling. The wrap is no ordinary wrap either – it is green in colour because it’s made with scallion. We loved this dish! Will definitely return just for this.

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We spent $100 for 2 I think.

Address
#02-314, Suntec City Mall, 3 Temasek Boulevard

Infinite Bar List 4

The Green Door

We stumbled upon this new bar at Dempsey that took over the old Hacienda. It is backed by the Prive group, and I guess that’s where the money for their beautiful décor came from. They have the whole ‘secret garden’ concept going on, which is stunning especially with all the lights at night, but it can get quite warm in our climate to be sitting outdoors. As such, I wouldn’t dress up specially for The Green Door. I would only go again if I were having dinner two doors down. They acknowledge that too, as they call themselves the place to go to for “pre- or post-dinner dinner drinks”.20130521-085535.jpg

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Great thing about this place is that there is no service charge or GST! Unheard of for a bar. Also, they use fresh fruit instead of puree for their drinks. My friend’s passion fruit drink had all the pulp in it, which was cool for a while but the passion fruit seeds got annoying soon after, and the three of us agreed that we were just drinking fruit juice and very little alcohol. We understand that they use a measured shot for all their drinks, but even when we requested, they were unwilling to add more alcohol to suit our preferences. Quite inflexible yes?

Therefore this place did not meet our standards.

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The Green Door
13A Dempsey Road, Singapore, Singapore 249674
6476 2922

The Horse’s Mouth
[No photos were taken during this visit]

Walk down a secret flight of stairs from Uma Uma Ramen at Forum and you will find this high end Japanese bar. There are only 4 tables and a bar counter and it is spacious, quiet and private. Spotted a few people opening vintage Japanese whiskies, a good choice because even though they have a two page cocktail menu, those were disappointing. We ordered three very different drinks, yet they all came in the same tall glass with zero effort for presentation. They also used a lot of ice, which watered down the drinks very quickly. I made a special request for a whisky sour with a twist and the bartender was a bit dumbstruck for a while. This is unlike many other bartenders I’ve met at other places, who enthusiastically dish out ideas to spice things up. I would come here again to try the bar snacks, which I’ve heard are great, and include ramen!! But otherwise this isn’t really my scene, yet.

The Horse’s Mouth
583 Orchard Road, Singapore, Singapore 238884
6235 1088

Check back our previously reviewed bars:
Infinite Bar List 3
Infinite Bar List 2
Infinite Bar List 1

Market Grill @ Telok Ayer Street

After eating at burger & lobster in London last year, GT and I got kinda obsessed. He likes his lobsters fresh and whole, while I like mine shelled and stuffed in a bun. The £20 pricing in London is hard to beat for a whole lobster. At the cajun kings (serangoon) it is close to $100. At other places, the vibe just isn’t modern, casual and cool enough.

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So when The Market Grill opened along Telok Ayer Road earlier this year, we couldn’t be more excited. The lobsters are only $45, and are served in the same style as Burger & Lobster, if I took a picture you wouldn’t tell the difference. The meat is fresh and juicy and I love the mayo that complemented the dish so well, giving it a sweet taste.

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Besides the lobsters they have quite a wide range of food like burgers, steaks, fish, lamb, starters, and other dishes. I think the steak was just o-kay because GT didn’t really rave about it.

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The starters are good though, we ordered a mushroom salad, it was delicious. And bone marrow – quite interesting to eat over toast.

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The trio of potatoes you see below were sides that came with our mains. The mash potatoes are SO good.

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I must say though, that I hate restaurants that do not take reservations. Market Grill is a really small place, with only 2 tables that seat 4. My party of 4 arrived at 7 and those 2 tables were already occupied. We decided to wait, because four people sitting side by side at the bar is kind of retarded. Alas, at 8 we were still waiting. And behind us were two more parties of 4. And this was a random Wednesday night.

So try not to go in groups bigger than 2.

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(Abot $60 per person)
208 Telok Ayer Street
6221 3323

Tanuki Raw Martini Bar

Fresh oysters are a common interest between GT and me. When we tried some of the best oysters ever from London’s Borough Market at £8 per six pieces, we agreed that paying any more would be excessive. The sad truth is, fresh oysters are never affordable. In Singapore, where there is no lack of oyster & champagne bars, even the most normal places sell at an average of $5 per piece. Which could amount to quite a fortune if you love your crustaceans as much as we do.

Well, those are all problems of the past now. Never again will we have to worry about the hefty bill guilt tripping us into eating less than we want to. I never thought it was possible, but yes, I have found cheap oysters. Is this a secret I want to share? No. But no one reads this blog anyway, right…

The place in question is Tanuki, located at Orchard Central. It is brought to you by the folks from Standing Sushi Bar, but a more modern contemporary jap cuisine arm. This place is fast becoming one of my favourite places in town for the very irresistible happy hour, which happens daily from 5-8pm. Get this, during this period, you get $10 cocktails and $1 oysters. Yup, fresh oysters flown in from Japan at $1 each. Too good to be true but I’ve tried and tested it and pinched myself twice. Definitely not dreaming.

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Plus, Tanuki is quite the celebrity hotspot too. During our visit, we spotted DJ weelikeme (Adrian Wee) and a contestant from that TV show Eye For A Guy. A little birdie also told me that model-cum-host Livv Lo frequents this place too. Not surprisingly, because Tanuki is modern, chic, serves good food and offers excellent service. Check out their very cute mascot below ‘letting it all hang out’ on the cover of the happy hour menu below. At their smoking corner, this same mascot is seen coolly puffing out smoke too.

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Food wise, definitely no complaints. Our dreams basically came true in that little restaurant. We ordered a dozen of Japanese oysters and they provided us with the usual lemon, red wine vinegar and tobasco sauce as dressing. They have many interesting concoctions on their sushi menu, so we tried a ‘Caveman’ which is beef sashimi with other stuff. It was great. Check out their set lunches too, which go at a reasonable $12-15 for a don, soup and drink.

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As for the cocktails, which is my favourite thing to talk about, I give them props. GT and I decided to go for classic favourites that evening. I picked an ‘old-fashioned’ and he went for a ‘manhattan’. They even asked GT whether he liked his ‘manhattan’ dry, perfect or sweet. I found that very thoughtful. We were both very impressed by his chosen dry ‘manhattan’ when it arrived. They filled the martini glass almost to the brim, and it was smooth with a kick. I made a wrong choice with the ‘old-fashioned’, as I realized that I do not like having bitters in my drink. Alas, I still felt a slight buzz when I finished my drink. $10 for quality cocktails, I think you know where to find me after work/school now.

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This brings the question, how do they make money? Definitely from the drinks that they make you buy, because you can only get $1 oysters with the purchase of a cocktail. Cheap as the cocktail might be, they are still making money from charging you 10 bucks. And also oysters will not fill you up, you always end up ordering more than you set out to. That’s the thing with jap food, it’s so appetizing.

I’ll be back.

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Tanuki Raw
Orchard Central £02-03
66365949

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Steph & Ging’s Infinite Bar List 3

Today my friend asked me why I’m posting so many pictures of myself up here. Am I mistaking this for Instagram? I realized I should stick to what this blog was made for. So I’m going to do one of those classic infinite bar lists right now.

The Library
47 Keong Saik Road

You must have heard of The Library by now, it is the bar that requires a password for entry. Some people complain that it is gimmicky and exclusive. But it’s just a very simple marketing strategy at the end of the day. Their password is always posted as a status on their Facebook page. So essentially they just want you to check back constantly for updates. There was one week when the password was about the newest dish on the menu at Keong Saik Snacks. Now we all know about that don’t we? Their scheme worked.

I’m also not dissing on their password gimmick because I’m head over heels in love with this place. I’ve learnt that the best seat at a bar is always at the bar counter where you watch the bartenders in action. These bartenders are serious about their drinks and really know what they are doing. Organized, orderly and in the zone. They are generous with the alcohol, use high quality ingredients and are really detailed about the presentation. It was impressive.

There was one drink I ordered that came with a banana note (currency used in WW2 in Singapore) laminated and used as a coaster. Of course, their most distinctive and signature drink is the rubber ducky drink that comes in a mini bath tub with a floating rubber ducky inside, meant to be shared among four. It’s gin based, and I usually don’t drink anything besides whisky so this was a change. But wow it was so good. If you can’t take ginger though, you might want to tell the bartender to tone the spice down by a notch.

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The decor at this place was private, dim and classy. But the funny thing is they manage all of that WHILE being young and quirky too. That’s one reason why I’m taking more to this place than 28 HKS, another top choice.

I need and want to go back again. And given that there are so many bars in Singapore, a repeat visit to any one shows how good it is!

Cufflink Club
6 Jiak Chuan Road

This is just a few steps away from The Library, but worlds apart in terms of standards. I suspect that the rejects from The Library usually end up at Cufflink Club out of convenience and resignation. The bar is pretty open, you can just walk in and plop down on a seat and no waiter would notice you. When I ordered, it tasted diluted and watered down. I paid waaaay too much for what I got.

The Walking Dead
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View the Infinite Bar List 1 here, and part 2 here.