Simply The Best: Your Guide to Fine Dining in Singapore
Fine Dining in Singapore
Food in Singapore is a major part of the city’s identity and it was only ever a matter of time before their world famous street food culture grew and evolved to incorporate fine dining. Now Singapore houses some of the world’s best restaurants and their fine dining is on the same level as many of the world’s major food capitals, including a number of restaurants in the Michelin guide, and of course the world-famous French restaurant Odette. (But we’ll come to that one later.)
Fine Dining in General
Firstly let’s talk about the difference between ‘going out for dinner’ and ‘fine dining’ because it’s more than just the number of forks on the table and the amount of starch in the waiting staff’s uniforms. True fine dining is eating on a higher level. You’re transported to a world of culinary delights, lifted up on clouds and gently guided from one burst of exquisite flavour to the next until you’re gently brought back down to earth at the end.
The other thing about fine dining is the misconception that expensive dining means fine dining. Sadly, the world is not fair and this is not always the case. There are many examples of expensive restaurants that are good, sure, but they’re just restaurants. No, a true fine dining experience doesn’t happen by accident and can’t be accomplished by a single individual. It’s done by a team bringing together every element.
The moment you walk in you should be greeted warmly and with respect before being guided to your table. You don’t simply read a menu and give an order, you have a conversation about which flavours you’re looking for in your food and which beverages will best complement those flavours best so that every sip and mouthful blend together to create the perfect dining experience. It’s an experience that should stay with you long after you leave, feeling wrapped in a warm bubble of culinary ecstasy.
Fine Dining Etiquette
All that being said, not all the pressure is on the restaurant. There is no point going through the effort of booking a table at a fancy restaurant if you’re not going to do your part. So put in the bit of extra effort to get really dressed up and mirror the extra effort that the restaurant puts in every day. It shows commitment to the experience and you may find you actually enjoy it more. If you really want to go out of your way to ensure smooth sailing you can often arrange payment in advance so that at the end of the meal there isn’t an awkward conversation about who’s paying for what.
Fine Dining in Singapore – The obligatory list
With so much to choose from, it can be hard to spot the difference between fine dining and expensive dining in Singapore but don’t worry we’re here to help, everything is going to be just fine … dining. Here is a list of some of the finest dining restaurants in Singapore, in no particular order:
1. Odette Singapore
It would be remiss not to talk about Odette. Not only is it a 2 hat restaurant on the Michelin guide, but it’s one of the highest rated restaurants in the world. Named after the head chef Julien Royer’s grandmother, Odette serves modern French cuisine guided by what ingredients are seasonal and fresh. Terroir is also no small factor when it comes to which ingredients are picked and how each dish is designed. Everything they do is meticulous and specific and thanks to the restaurant’s namesake Odette, everything they do has that ‘little something’. Listed on multiple lists of restaurants to try before you die, Odette is good enough that it’s worth visiting Singapore just to experience it. You can find Odette inside the National Gallery Singapore.
2. Jaan Singapore
Another unmissable option. Awarded their Michelin star in 2018 and ranked 44th best restaurant in Asia, Jaan brings the best of British culinary innovation to Singapore. The menu evolves and changes with the seasons, ensuring that every dish has only the best ingredients possible and that every visit is filled with the same wonder and excitement of experiencing something beautiful and new. Sitting high above the city on the 70th floor of Swissôtel The Stamford, the view is nothing shy of breathtaking and if you can pull your vision away from it, you’ll also see one of the most exquisite chandeliers in the world there too.
3. Iggy’s Singapore
Named for head chef Ignatius Chan, Iggy’s has been a pioneer of fine dining in Singapore since 2004 and was finally awarded a Michelin star in 2017. It shows off a diverse international menu, much like the diverse international culinary history of Singapore itself. Inside the Hilton Singapore, Iggy’s is an intimate space whose menu showcases the best seasonal products imported from Japan and around the world. They like to push the boundaries of culinary excellence in both their foods and their wines and the results will leave you speechless.
4. Chef’s Table by Chef Stephan
Oh, oh Chef Stephan, oh God yes. Omakase, a meal at the chef’s choosing. You’ll be presented with a list of the day’s finest and freshest ingredients. You can then select which you like, don’t like, or simply don’t feel like that day and how many courses you want prepared. The rest is up to the chef. It’s no wonder it’s been rated one of Singapore’s top restaurants for two years running. All dishes are served by either Head Chef Lorenz Raich or Stephan Zoisl himself, giving it that personal touch, that fine dining excellence that lifts the spirit and feeds the soul. No two dining experiences are the same, no two meals are the same. The only thing that’s constant is the quality, and it’s high!
5. Senso Ristorante & Bar (Closed)
Senso is a multi-award winning Italian restaurant and certainly ticks the boxes of our slightly dream-like high standards. Focusing on the finest of the Italian classics while also not being afraid to weave their own artistry and magic into signature dishes. Decorated with beautiful painting and statues and even housed inside a former convent, it brings Italy to Singapore and infuses it with the magic and majesty of the land to create something beautiful. It is no surprise it’s one of the most awarded restaurants in the city.
Food For Thought
There are many more places like the ones listed above, these are the ones that stand out to us. The point about ‘Simply The Best: Your Guide to Fine Dining in Singapore’ isn’t just to point you at places to go, but to talk about fine dining in general. Of course, these are not places you go to every day nor should they be. That’s the point of fine dining, it’s meant to be special.
There is a popular line that says ‘the customer is always right’ but it’s important to remember that this is not like eating in a family restaurant, the waiting staff are not local kids who just need a job, they are trained professionals who know what they’re doing and talking about. Unless something has gone horribly, horribly wrong, everything you’re presented with is on purpose and towards a specific idea and outcome. You might not like a specific dish but that doesn’t make it bad, it just means you don’t like it and that’s fine, but they’re probably not going to remake it.
Real fine dining is something special, don’t treat it like fast food because it isn’t, treat it like your grandmother’s favourite ornament, precious and potentially fragile. As said before, not all the pressure is on the restaurant, you have to play along too, you have to allow yourself to be lifted by the experience, to feel different and to enjoy it that way. Love it, and it’ll love you back.