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Best Singapore restaurants and bars for wine lovers

This vibrant city-island-nation can be something of a sensory overload, with the humid climate, multiple languages spoken and a plethora of gastronomic options. Resident Ch’ng Poh Tiong is the ideal local guide

Coronavirus: Be sure to check the latest travel restrictions and refund policies before booking any trips abroad.  


Singapore makes a great base for exploring the rest of southeast Asia.

Our award-winning airport – served by international and budget airlines – will readily patch you on to other exotic destinations in the likes of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Whilst buying wine can be expensive here, there are good places to imbibe. Prices in some restaurants can be attractive for European visitors and a wine shop out in the airport will make you want to inaugurate and end your Singapore visit there by popping some Champagne: you won’t believe the prices.

You can eat 24/7 in Singapore. Our street food is tasty and great value for money. There is nothing junk about it – on the contrary, it is almost always freshly cooked to order.

One of the most popular and ubiquitous foods in the wee hours is found in Indian Muslim shops that sell curries, fried noodles, and the ultrapopular roti prata, a light, fluffy flatbread also known as roti canai. But it’s worth noting that most of these stores don’t allow alcohol.


Best Singapore restaurants and bars

8 by Bottles & Bottles

Industry veteran Koh Chin Liang’s Bottles & Bottles has nine shops in top locations. Two are at the airport: one in the Jewel complex, and the newest at Terminal 3. Not only a retail outlet, you can also opt to drink your wine purchased in the shop, at the very same price. A long table seats 25.

  • Address: Changi Airport Terminal 3, #B2-51A Singapore 819663
  • Opening hours: 10am-10pm Monday-Sunday

Jade Palace Seafood Restaurant

Founded in 1998, and offering Yue, better known as Cantonese cuisine, Jade Palace boasts one of the world’s most reasonably priced wine lists. It is also one of only two restaurants in the world displaying paintings by Singapore’s ‘national treasure’ Tan Swie Hian – the other is at Château Cordeillan-Bages in Pauillac, a work commissioned by Jean-Michel Cazes.

  • Address: 583 Orchard Road, B1-13, Forum the Shopping Mall, Singapore 238884
  • Opening hours: Lunch 11.00am-2.30pm (last order 2pm). Dinner 6.00pm-10.00pm (last order 9pm) Monday-Sunday

Madame Fan

Brainchild of Alan Yau (Hakkasan and Wagamama), Madame Fan features modern Cantonese fare, an eye-catching bar and plush private rooms. Located directly across from Raffles, in a building that housed the British military’s Britannia Club in the 1950s, a live band and chanteuse entertain on Thursday, Friday and Sunday nights.

  • Address: 32 Beach Road, Singapore 189764
  • Opening hours: Lunch 12noon-2.30pm Monday-Friday. Dinner 6pm-10pm Monday-Sunday. Brunch 11am-3.30pm Saturday-Sunday

Whiskey Library

Claiming to have 1,000 whiskies, The Whiskey Library is on the ground floor of The Vagabond Club, a boutique Marriott hotel in a part of old Singapore not far from Little India, the Desker Road red light district, and Jalan Besar which has many small and very good eateries and bars that stay open until the small hours. The furnishings, complete with velvet curtains and gold ironwork decorations, are reminiscent of Empire style. Serves lunch, and offers live jazz on Thursday night.

  • Address: 39 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207630
  • Opening hours: Daily until 2am

No Menu

Known for its delicious home-made pasta, apple tart and outstanding olive oil, No Menu is family-owned and managed, in the kitchen and front of house. This is the only place in Singapore where you can drink the wines of Walter Massa; the vigneron is a long-time friend of restaurateur/chef Osvaldo Forlino, who arrived in 2002 from Giarolo in Piedmont. Both are champions of Timorasso, the ancient white Piedmontese grape variety which Massa revived and ferments in stainless steel tanks using wild yeasts.

  • Address: 23 Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069621
  • Opening hours: Lunch 11am-3pm (last order 2pm) Monday-Friday. Dinner 6pm-11pm (last order 9.15pm) Monday-Saturday. Closed Sunday
Fishpool bar

Fish Pool. Credit: www.marriott.com

Fish Pool

A Champagne and oyster bar found in the same building as Madame Fan. At time of publication, it is only open for private events, and the ‘mermaids’ will most likely not be performing. Once normal times return, however, enjoying Champagne Louis Roederer while watching a pair of mischievous mermaids frolic is what every Singapore visitor deserves.

  • Address: 32 Beach Road, Singapore 189764

Imperial Treasure Shanghai

My favourite Chinese restaurant in Singapore offers dishes from Huaiyang and Shanghainese, Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine of a very high order. The wine list is reasonable, although BYO is also permitted with a corkage charge. The restaurant is inside a popular shopping mall along bustling Orchard Road.

  • Address: Takashimaya S.C., #04-22, 391 Orchard Road
  • Opening hours: Lunch 11.30am-3pm Monday-Friday, 11am-3pm Saturday, 10.30am-3pm Sunday. Dinner 6pm-11pm Monday-Sunday

Sin Hoi Sai

This Singaporean zi zar – literally ‘stir fry’ – is behind a bus stop on Tiong Bahru Road, with tables along an open walkway. You can opt to dine under the stars or in an air-conditioned room they acquired several years ago. The pepper crab here is possibly Singapore’s best; chilli crab is good too, and prawn paste deep-fried chicken is equally delicious when it’s not too dry. BYO is free of charge. Note that other restaurants with identical English spelling in their names are not branches.

Islamic

Looking forward to its centenary in 1921, Islamic has the best fish dum biryani you can forage on our island in the sun. Founder Abdul Rahiman was head chef to the Alsagoff family, wealthy Arab spice traders and landowners. The third generation is in charge. Fans of their biryani include presidents, prime ministers and royalty of the region. This commoner has grown up on their fish biryani. No alcohol allowed, so I take home and secretly relish it with the forbidden fruit juice.

  • Address: 745 North Bridge Road, #01-01, Singapore 198713
  • Opening hours: 10am-10pm Monday-Sunday

Ah Orh Seafood

Ah Orh is on the ground floor of a block of HDB or Housing Development Board flats. More than 80% of Singaporeans and residents live in this type of state-built housing. The restaurant bears the nickname of its late founder Goh Liang Chit, who came from China’s Guangdong province – ‘Orh’ means ‘black’ or ‘dark’ in the Teochew/Chaozhou dialect, referring to his unusually deep complexion for a Chinese person. Must-haves include cold Sri Lankan crab and steamed pomfret. BYO with no corkage.

  • Address: 115 Jalan Bukit Merah

Originally published in the December 2020 issue of Decanter.


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