France relies on tradition, the United States totes sustainability, Scandinavia embraces terroir, and Singapore embraces full culinary freedom. It’s a melting pot of transplants like André Chiang of Taiwan, Colin Buchan of the United Kingdom, and Michael Callahan of San Francisco. These hard-working chefs and mixologists come to Singapore because they have a vision, and this island gives them a chance to project it for the drinking and dining masses. Whether it’s traditional French cuisine from Chef Gunther Hubrechsen or edible art installations from Pastry Chef Janice Wong, talented chefs have a blank canvas and are channeling their inner artist, philosopher, and even businessman to grow successful, boundary-pushing restaurants.
Much of the freedom comes from Singapore’s small thumbprint. The 26-mile-wide island is rich with attractions, art, and architecture, leaving little room for farms and hatcheries. The expectation of hyper-local—mentioned in our San Francisco travel guide—does not apply here. What matters is high-quality ingredients and knowing how to prepare them. Sometimes that means langoustine from the coast of Scotland in January and organic button mushrooms from Malaysia in March, but it almost always means an ethereal dining experience from pedigreed chefs. And with the competition only minutes away, Singapore’s talent raises the culinary bar every day.
Poised in front a veritable library of liquors, tinctures, and bitters, San Francisco native Mixologist Michael Callahan is pushing Singapore cocktails to never-before-seen heights. By introducing techniques like supercharging Aperol and barrel-aging Negronis to enhance subtle flavors, Callahan is setting standards for the whole island and region. The bar also offers a small food menu that includes items like House-made Pastrami with Lacto-fermented Sauerkraut on Rye and Truffled Macaroni and Cheese. Callahan even works with local ice manufacturers to freeze mineral free, ultra-dense ice for a pure cocktail experience.Recommended:
Pastry Chef Janice Wong’s 2am:dessertbar is a chic, stimulating pastry temple. Dark-stained bars with sloped edges and walls of protruding angular blocks direct your eyes to Wong’s inspired creations, for which she combines science and personal experiences to sate dessert desires. Wong creates textures and flavors that trigger her own nostalgic emotions with desserts like like Sweet and Salty Popcorn, taking her childhood memories and transforming them into sophisticated pastry. This interplay between pastry, technique, and memory is also at the fore in her 14-Nut Biscotti, which diners use to scoop and savor Cheesecake. Offering limited savory options, 2am:dessertbar is meant to focus your attention on Wong’s dessert and wine pairings but can still be a one-stop-shop for a memorable evening out.Recommended:
Having competed on the Singapore National Pastry team in the coveted Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, Lyon, France, Chef Pang Kok Keong now funnels all his ingenuity and competitive spirit into Antoinette’s, where he aims to satisfy both the sweet and the savory cravings of his guests. The palatial design, with scrolled woods and ostentatious décor that extends to the ceilings, make guests, one and all, feel regal. Keong’s award-winning pastries and decadent French inspired savory menu combine to make Antoinette’s twice as delicious as its rivals. Sipping on one of Pang’s extensively sourced teas is a fitting finish to any meal at Antoinette’s.Recommended:
Esquina’s steel bar stools, blue accents, and open kitchen may suggest a casual dining experience, but Jason Atherton’s tapas-inspired cuisine is the culmination of years of fine-dining work. The open kitchen, led by Executive Chef Andrew Walsh, performs as if cooking for a large chef’s table, offering decadent dishes like sea urchin and crab bisque, beef tartare, and jamón Ibérico–foie gras burgers. The menu combines local and European flavors to offer a variety of dishes sure to satisfy even the most prudent eaters.Recommended:
Chef Gunther Hubrechsen began cooking at age 16, climbing the hierarchy in notable L'Arpège before moving to Singapore in 2002. Inspired by the cuisine and surroundings, Hubrechsen opened Gunther in 2007. There he crafts traditional French dishes like Lobster Thermidor with modern interpretations. Chef Gunther's self-proclaimed "from the heart" cuisine offers comforting food in an up-scale atmosphere. Gunther’s pays homage to the revered French fine-dining model that transformed the dining scene across Europe and major western cities like New York.Recommended:
Minimalism is the design aesthetic at Iggy’s, but Chef Akmal Anuar’s food boasts both a sophisticated and abstract derivation. Anuar’s take on traditional Malay Nasi Lemak includes a brilliant white fish mousse layered with coconut-infused Japanese rice, spinach-pandan sabayon, and puffed rice. Sea urchin is plated with luffa, orange, and shiso, and some elements are frozen with liquid nitrogen, an exciting textural and temperature contrast that brings the dish to life. Combine Anuar’s cuisine with the expertise of one of Singapore’s most accomplished sommeliers, Ignatius “Iggy” Chan, and a memorable dining experience is sure to spring to life.Recommended:
Nested near the top of Swissôtel The Stamford, Jaan’s intimate 40-seat dining room, complete with luxurious white linens, overlooks Singapore’s downtown and offers sweeping views of the glowing island skyline. Chef Julien Royer’s sophisticated French cuisine offers bold flavors to match the dramatic panorama and showcases traditional techniques with modern plating. Sweet wild langoustine, delicately wrapped in silky avocado and studded with osetra caviar, rests on a bed of nage gelée brightened with lime. Royer progresses the meal to Bresse pigeon—poached in foie gras fat and roasted in hay with barley, beetroot sorbet, meringue, and jus d’abats.Recommended:
Another ambitious venture by Jason Atherton and headed by Chef Andrew Walsh, Keong Saik Snacks, combines a comfortable dining atmosphere with reinterpreted British comfort food. Complete with a copper wrapped bar overlooking the open kitchen with vibrant red accents, the eatery occupies a mere 400 square feet, creating a diner-style vibe and fun, vibrant atmosphere, where the restaurant experience is as rewarding as the food.Recommended:
The tri-level space of the Haji Lane district’s Maison Ikkoku contains more than initially meets the eye. A contemporary café with an industrial design—complete with latte art and small plates—relax you for browsing the second floor menswear boutique. And just when you thought you were too tired to shop any further, drop into a seat at Maison Ikkoku’s third floor cocktail bar, where Mixologist Ethan Leslie Leong crafts artisan cocktails from meticulously sourced spirits. Leong also offers beverages meant to blur the line between cocktail and dessert, like a Grasshopper variation with fresh milk, green peppermint, and white crème de cacao topped with bruléed meringue and toasted marshmallows.Recommended:
The modern and unusual architecture of Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay is the perfect setting for London transplant Chef Jason Atherton’s Pollen. Contained in a temperature-controlled facility and surrounded by olive trees, herbs, and vegetation, Pollen combines prevailing concepts with European and local flavors. Seasonal tasting menus showcase the chefs’ (Executive Chef Colin Buchan, and Pastry Chef Andrés Lara) depth and understanding of classic technique and the appreciation and application of worldly ingredients.Recommended:
In the heart of Singapore’s Queenstown, Rabbit Stash serves Asian-inflected European classics with an injection of molecular gastronomy. The open dining room and simple design act as a blank canvas for Chef Matthew Mok’s intricate and colorful cuisine. Guests enjoy his vibrant menu in a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere that goes far beyond the rigidness of traditional fine-dining—in both the physical space and culinary boundaries. Dishes like Mok’s Roasted Lamb Rack with Sweet Potato Risotto, Asparagus, Pistachio Soil, and Grapefruit twist familiar flavors in unexpected presentations with particular attention to texture and color.Recommended:
Chef André Chiang has been making waves in Singapore’s culinary scene since opening Restaurant Andre in 2010. His food is both inventive and cutting edge, relying on Chiang’s “Octaphilosophy.” The pillars of this abstract yet earnest and demonstrably successful approach are the following eight words and ideas: unique, pure, texture, memory, salt, south, artisan, terroir. Chiang’s pillars are found inherently in his cooking style. Whether paying homage to Southern France by creating stews spiked with pastis (terroir) or enhancing the flavors of his ingredients using only seawater (salt), his philosophy envelopes the diner and offers unexpected experiences.Recommended:
Ensconced in lush forest, Tippling Club’s glass walls invite a vivid, verdant landscape to serve as the backdrop for Chef Ryan Clift’s cuisine. Born in Wiltshire, United Kingdom, Clift’s introduction to food began as a dishwasher for a Michelin-starred restaurant in his hometown. Today, with over 20 years of experience working for chefs like Marco-Pierre White, Shannon Bennett, and Raymond Capaldi, Clift is blazing his own path, pairing modern food and cocktails in new ways. By combining French technique, Asian influences, and an ever maturing plating style, Clift and his team, including Mixologist Zachary de Git, create dishes like carrot gnocchi—made from carrot flesh poached in carrot juice—and cocktails with liquors infused and redistilled in a rotary evaporator.Recommended:
Nestled in the heart of Marina Bay Sands hotel, Chef Tetsuya Wakuda's Waku Ghin combines a hypersensitive approach to cuisine with award-winning service, a craft bar selection, and high-end sakes rarely seen outside Japan. Diners can sit in an open dining room with a view of the restaurant's expansive wine selection or reserve a private table where personal chefs craft a tasting meal before your eyes. Wakuda, coming to international prominence by way of Sydney, Australia, has crafted an elite team. With the help of Sommelier Paco Galdeano and Pastry Chef Ishi No, the talented group is melding Japanese and French cuisine on custom plate ware that transforms the dining experience into a full-on sensory extravaganza.Recommended:
Reminiscent of ancient Asian palaces, the Sultan Hotel provides a grand haven while visiting Singapore. In the heart of the Kampong Glam, a once bustling shopping and trading district, the local area is rich in cultural history and was once the home of Sultan Hussein Shah. The hotel’s 64 rooms span from quaint singles to august loft suites, and the exquisite detail from décor to dining embellish the regal experience.
With hotel destinations around the world, Swissôtel’s vast hospitality experience accommodates business and leisure travelers alike. One of the tallest buildings in Singapore’s skyline, the hotel offers exquisite views of the island. More than 1,200 rooms offer state-of-the-art technology and are blocks from the heart of Singapore’s downtown, with world-class shopping, entertainment, and the island’s central business district.