Hot new picks, some old favorites and not a single sketchy seafood spot at the fresh-look Boat Quay.
Astrid Dahl Studio Gallery
Located in one of Boat Quay's refurbished shophouses, Australian artist Astrid Dahl’s studio is quaint yet lively, with mixed media painting classes held every Tuesdays through Thursdays. Perk up your living room with one of Dahl’s colorful and impressionistic landscape works, available for sale from $800.
The fact that this elegant French spot would move to Boat Quay from Bukit Pasoh says a lot about the newfound optimism surrounding the Singapore river. It’s the perfect place to unwind with a glass of good wine and slices of cheese. For a hearty meal, don’t miss their signature Foie Gras Poêlé ($29), pan fried foie gras accompanied with warm blinis and morello cherries, or the Lapin ($39), braised rabbit leg Provencale-style, served with crushed potatoes and broccolini. Très magnifique.
Hole-in-the-wall establishment it may be, but its happy hour is, by far, one of the best in the area. On weekdays, happy hour runs all day (except Fridays, when it ends at 9pm), with standard house pours and bottled beers at $8, draft beers at $6 per glass, Stolichnaya vodka and Clan Gold whiskey at $98 per bottle, and a beer bucket of five bottles at $35. Ladies enjoy free flow of champagne, wines and vodka mixes all night on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
It might not be new, but it still has the best view on the Boat Quay strip from its fifth floor, rooftop spot, as well some of the most authentic Sri Lankan cuisine (think crispy onion-and-chickpea-flour fritters, hearty, mouth-numbing lamb dishes, and cheese-stuffed naan) in Singapore. Make sure you call ahead to reserve seats.
A must if you’re a serious timepiece collector. Owner Shawn Tan opened his shop here 10 years ago and continues to attract a following for his collection of rare vintage wrist and pocket watches dating from the 1900s. Highlights include supremely hard-to-find Rolex and Cartier pieces, and rarer brands like Germany’s A. Lange & Söhne. Prices are $600-25,000.
Bit of a buzz about these folks right now, with their new outlet just opened at Orchard. Here, you can ease into a variety of hot yoga styles, including Hot Yang, Hot Hatha and Hot Flow. Eco-conscious yogis will also appreciate the use of energy-efficient lighting, a filtered water fountain and eco-friendly cleaning products in the studio.
The Juban Stand
If you love Tokyo’s popular tachinomiya, or standing bars, this new watering hole with the same concept is a definite go-to. While not completely chairless (30 bar stools line the walls and outdoor patio), the minimalist, open interior lets people move around and mingle freely in the 1,000 sq. ft. space. Drinks are decidedly Japanese-focused, too, with beers like Asahi ($10 a pint), as well as a range of sake, umeshu, shochu and Japanese Nikka whiskey (from $7 per shot/glass).
Check out our review of new bar Fern & Kiwi.
Mad Dog Bistro & Bar
This recent arrival to Boat Quay features a casual, upbeat vibe and an Italian-fusion menu with signatures like beer battered fish and chips ($21.50) and Mad Dog Smoked Duck ($19.90). Choose from a wide selection of wines to go along with your mains, such as the Chateau Laffitte Laujac 2005 ($95 per bottle) while you’re here.
Nothing But Green
One of the latest organic joints in town, this opened in May. While its outlet at Tanglin Shopping Centre carries only organic retail products, the café here is slowly packing the office crowd in with a small but delectable range of organic food. The affordable set lunch at $12 gets you an appetizer, a main and a drink (choose from a mix of sandwiches or rice dishes), or try the “Spize Up My Life” curry chicken stew ($10.90) for something a little heartier.
This atelier by owner and designer Leslie Chia has been drawing in the likes of Dick Lee ever since 2004 with an exclusive range of custom shirts and jackets (yes, even before the recent preppy look actually took off). Chia customizes each piece based on his own ready-made collection, with suits from $1,500 upwards and shirts $300 upwards.
Ramen Bar Suzuki
While the ambiance at this unassuming, new 30-seater joint is nothing to shout about, the ramen is some of the best we’ve tried. Specialties include tsuke-men with tonkotsu soup ($14.90), which is limited to just 10 servings a day and only available during dinner service. Hakata-style Jet Black Tonkotsu Ramen ($16.20) is another highlight: the addition of squid ink, fried garlic and black miso make this a unique show-stopper.
Toni & Guy Essensuals
For a quickie hair fix, head to the latest Toni & Guy outlet, which opened in February. Style director Clement Lim charges $70 for a stylish rework of your coiffure while a regular cut is just $35. You can also go for the scalp treatments ($65)—popular among stressed-out bankers nearby—or coloring services (from $90).
The organic bakery’s latest outlet is a cozy space with the same diverse range of sandwiches that’s perfect for both takeaway or eating in at one of its 50 seats. All sourdough and soft breads are handmade fresh daily, with creative sandwiches such as the special egg tofu ($8.90), roasted veggies ($7.90), and smoked salmon ($10.90)—a must for the health-conscious.