Singapore’s hardest working chef, Ryan Clift, has moved his ultra-chic bar-cum-fine-diner into 3 shophouses in the heart of Chinatown. With the move, he has also reprogrammed his offers. While the old space offered 42 seats around a “C” shaped counter, the new Tippling Club has separated the drinking area from the dining. The bar, located at the restaurant’s entrance, seats 32 people while the dining room seats just 22. Gone also is the all-counter seat dining configuration for diners. You now have a choice to sit at proper tables or at one of eight bar seats that face the pass (i.e. the area from which food is inspected before being sent out into the dining room) and the main kitchen.
Coincidence is a funny thing. The day I walked into the Shinola flagship store in Detroit, Michigan, I was informed by the very cool sales guy helping me that that very night, they were opening a shop-in-shop, their first international outpost in fact, in Singapore. My thoughts raced from, “How cool!” to “What? And I came all the way here?” to “The prices better be better here in Detroit” to “How come neither I nor anyone I know knows about the Singapore store?”, and finally, “So, what product is only available here?”
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of whipping up a real feast. The occasion was the birthdays and wedding anniversary of my brother and his wife, which all fall on the very same day in November. Because of our current work and child schedules, Su-Lyn and I don’t find the time to entertain as often or as dramatically as we used to. But for this dinner, I decided to go all out.
Singapore is currently enjoying quite the culinary renaissance. It feels like there are new restaurants and cafes opening weekly. And to be honest, I can’t even keep up with all these new places. Unfortunately, judging from my dining-out experiences over the past year, far too many newbies prize style over substance, i.e. while many of these new eateries look great and attract a growing pride of local hipsters, the reality is that their food is often both mediocre and very expensive. One restaurant that opened this past year, however, whose culinary program has continued to impress me is Bacchanalia, located (oddly enough) in the city’s Masonic Hall.
When I had told my wife S that I was taking her to Tokyo to celebrate our wedding anniversary, she pretty much left the planning to me. The only requests she made were a stop by her favorite designer’s boutique in Omotesando and a visit to Baishinka, the gorgeous new tea room opened by the folks behind Higashiya (which we’ve established in an earlier article that she’s quite obsessed with). Of course, I was happy to accommodate her requests.
Earlier this month, thanks to some amazingly cheap deals on Scoot, I was able to whisk my wife S up to Tokyo for a three day eating trip to celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary. We had only three nights in town, which meant (to me at least) making sure each dinner was truly something special. On the first two nights, we visited familiar favorites (including, of course, Sushi Sho). For the last night in town, I wanted to take S somewhere neither of us had been. And after a bit of research, decided the restaurant I most wanted to try — and that I thought she’d really enjoy — was DEN, in Jimbocho. And boy am I glad I did.
Finally, after months of waiting, IZY is open. This chic, ultra-urban modern izakaya opened its doors (to the public) for the first time last night. Yours truly, along with his always gorgeous and almost always hungry wife, and four friends, were among the first to check out Club Street’s newest (dare I say hottest?) arrival.
There are few things as relaxing and pleasurable than taking a bath–Japanese style–in natural hot spring water. For those of you who have yet to experience the joys of the onsen (the Japanese term for hot springs and baths using their waters), you have no idea what you are missing. I, myself, didn’t until a few years ago. For most of my life, I’ve been a shower person. I truly didn’t see the point of and never appreciated baths. But then, for a consultancy gig I had undertaken for a hotel collections company, I spent two and half weeks visiting some of Japan’s most beautiful and unique boutique hotels and inns, several of which boasted onsens among their main selling points.
Christmas is coming up fast. And while some of you may have already completed all your holiday shopping, I’m sure there are many more who are still seeking out the perfect gifts for your loved ones. The below list are some of my favourite things–gifts that I’ve purchased for family and friends, or gifts that I’ve been fantasizing about receiving myself. In the spirit of the twelve days of Christmas, I’ve kept to 12 gifts, one for each day. I hope some of the below inspire you. Happy Holidays!
When you stay in a traditional ryokan in Japan, it’s almost always assumed that you’ll be having dinner on property. In many cases, the price of your dinner is automatically included as part of your room rate. And you simply don’t have the option of bowing out of the meal. At HOSHINOYA Kyoto, however, because the resort is both more modern and flexible in its packages and because it caters to guests that often stay for multiple days, guests can choose whether or not they wish to dine on premises. In my opinion though, if one stays at this gorgeous property, it would be a travesty not to have dinner in HOSHINOYA’s restaurant and to taste the truly exceptional cuisine of Chef Ichiro Kubota.