No more than a decade ago, dining outlets at local hotels were rarely perceived as anything more distinguished than breakfast buffet establishments or cafés, and were simply places where the hotel’s guests would dine at either due to a lack of choices, or more simply, for convenience. Save for these guests, they tended not to appeal to Singaporeans who by and large regarded the food served at these restaurants as generally overpriced and underwhelming.
Fast forward to today, it appears that a lot of hotels have since picked up on the value of providing good dining options within their premises that hard-core foodies would find hard to turn their noses up to.
Fairmont Singapore – Mikuni
Mikuni will be hosting two Tokyo-based guest chefs from 9 to 13 September in An Experience Beyond Japanese Cuisine. Masahiro Kasahara of Sanpiryouron, along with Hisashi Yamashita of Bistro Q, will collaborate with Mikuni’s executive chef Moon Kyung Soo and his team in the presentation of a six-course lunch and eight-course dinner over the five-day event period. In line with Mikuni’s multi-concept dining, which includes teppanyaki, sushi and robatayaki, the two Japanese guest chefs will showcase their respective specialties in the areas of kaiseki and teppanyaki in various courses of the menus.
Mandarin Oriental – Dolce Vita
Chefs Karl and Rudolf Obauer who own Obauer in Werfen, Salzburg, will take over the kitchen at Dolce Vita from 30 October to 2 November, and bring along their unmistakable style of cuisine, which has been described as being ‘marked by concentration on the essential’. The brothers pride themselves on using premium fresh quality ingredients for their restaurant obtain them from local farmers in their direct vicinity. That means salmon and salmon trout from nearby ponds and free-range eggs from a local mountain farmer. Good flavour for Karl and Rudolf Obauer does not only mean using luxurious ingredients. While the brothers often serve truffles and caviar in their restaurant, they also know that the secret of producing delicacies lies in everyday ingredients.
Sofitel So – Xperience Restaurant & Bar
To ensure an ever-changing menu, Xperience selects Michelin-starred chefs from across the spectrum who will each bring their signature dishes and a taste of their home country to Singapore. The entire ambience of the restaurant will transform to reflect the visiting style of cuisine, through lighting, sound and a complementary cocktail list at the bar. First up in September is Quique Dacosta, a self-taught chef who turned a family-run rice and seafood establishment into a three-Michelin-starred restaurant. He is reputed for his ‘avant-garde gastronomic shrine’, one that has seen many highly-valued, and widely-imitated, culinary discoveries such as edible paper. His cuisine has been described as having “a soul that produces an emotional effect on his customers”. Next is Michelin-starred chef Nicolas Isnard of L’Auberge de La Charme in France who will be here from 27 October to 1 November. His cuisine is influenced by Mediterranean and Italian cuisine and combines tradition and innovation, mixing distinctive rustic flavours with provincial produce in the presentation of classic French dishes.
Hotel 1929 – Restaurant Ember
Following the departure of Sebastian Ng who helmed the Restaurant Ember since its opening 12 years ago, Sufian Bin Zain has taken over the reins since May this year. His skills in Asian-European cuisine have been perfected, over the past decade with executive roles in the kitchens of prominent establishments like Iggy’s and Waku Ghin, and stints at restaurants such as Les Amis and The Cliff. He also led the two restaurants to clinch titles in prestigious rankings – such as The World’s Best Restaurants Awards and the Miele Guide – alongside the finest restaurants around the world. Fans of Ng’s signature dishes such as the roasted pork belly and duck breast need not worry though, as these will be kept on the menu. However, Sufian’s new creations – similarly Asian-tinged European dishes such as a scallop carpaccio dressed with rice wine vinegar, daikon and rocket – will be introduced in the run-up to a menu revamp.