Monday, August 13, 2007

Zing for your supper

12 Aug 2007, ST

When your stomach growls in the dead of night but you hunger for something fancier than prata, where can you go?

By Trisha Suresh

CLUBBERS looking for a bite after hitting the clubs might head for the nearest hawker centre or prata joint for a late night meal. But for those with more upmarket tastes, the pickings can be slim, especially after midnight.

Some hotel restaurants which used to operate around the clock now close by midnight.

One of them is the Grand Hyatt's StraitsKitchen, which did so at the end of 2004. The number of customers past midnight just didn't justify round-the-clock operations, the hotel said.

Its public relations manager, Ms Patricia Yong, said the hotel might reconsider, if there is a demand.

In its place are other restaurants which open till the wee hours.

The Martini Firm in Mohamed Sultan Road launched its Spiceology range of gourmet food two weeks ago. It is served from 7pm to 3am Sundays to Fridays, and to 4am on Saturdays and the eve of public holidays.

Forget prata, though. Think lobsters, scallops and beef ribs, all steamed and dipped in the bar's signature sauces, like Tokyo Honey Nut Teriyaki Glaze and Spicy San Francisco Lychee Coconut Barbecue Sauce, made fresh every night.

'We were trying to find our niche in the market and found that it was hard to find healthy bar food late into the night,' says bar owner Mychael Dean, 39.

Undergraduate Sashi Rajendram, 22, who visited the Martini Firm recently, ordered chicken with the lychee coconut barbecue sauce and liked it. He says: 'There aren't many places I can go to for such food at such an ungodly hour.'

For those who still want Singapore favourites but in upmarket surroundings, there are some good choices.

Station Kitchen at St James Power Station is a popular haunt for party-goers who throng the club and entertainment complex at Sentosa Gateway.

'The pull at Station Kitchen is that we serve three cuisines under one roof. It is not fusion or rojak, and we offer good food and service in a nice setting,' says Mr Jeremy Goh, 33, senior vice-president of the restaurant.

The restaurant serves Indian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine in a 200-seater restaurant and operates from 6pm to 1am on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, to 3.30am on Wednesdays and to 6am from Fridays to Sundays.

Canadian expatriate Bryan Watts, 29, a marketing executive, has supper at Station Kitchen regularly after having a few drinks at the various nightspots a few doors down.

He says: 'I like the ambience and I love the food. It is a good change from the hawker centres everyone flocks to after clubbing. Plus, it's convenient as it's located next to so many late-night joints.'

Closer to town, there is the 35-year-old Chatterbox at the Meritus Mandarin Hotel, a classic five-star hangout for anyone craving chicken rice and laksa any time of the day and night.

When the restaurant first opened, Orchard Road was filled with bars and entertainment joints. Today, the restaurant continues to be busy till about 3am.

Ms Cindy Lim, assistant marketing communications manager for the hotel, says: 'From 1am to 3am, when some people get weary of the bar scene and want to hang out at a more 'civilised' joint, they come to Chatterbox.'

Then there's Nirai Kanai, an Okinawan restaurant in Tanglin Shopping Centre. It serves a range of Okinawan fare and is popular with Japanese expatriates and Singaporeans.

Also busy late at night is the Royal Plaza on Scotts' Carousel restaurant, which serves a supper buffet until 3am on Fridays, Saturdays and the eve of public holidays.

The hotel's director of food and beverage, Mr Sean Boyle, says: 'The supper crowd is definitely a niche market, and is a growing one. Singaporeans have a love for food no matter what the hour.'


Where to go for that midnight feast

THESE late-night food joints will charm your taste buds with upmarket supper fare.


25 Scotts Road, Royal Plaza on Scotts

Opening hours: 11pm to 3am (for supper) on Fridays, Saturdays and the eve of public holidays

Must try: Dim sum spread, satay and braised duck in soya sauce.

Prices: $19.50++ for adults and $10++ for children.


333 Orchard Road, Meritus Mandarin Hotel

Opening hours: 24 hours

Must try: Chicken rice ($20.50, below), lobster laksa ($29) and chicken curry ($20). (These prices apply from Fridays to Sundays.)


15 Mohamed Sultan Road

Opening hours: 7pm to 3am Sundays to Fridays, and 7pm to 4am on Saturdays and the eve of public holidays

Must try: Hawaiian Mahi Mahi fish in spicy San Francisco lychee coconut barbecue sauce ($16) and lobster in Tokyo honey nut teriyaki glaze ($28).


3 Sentosa Gateway

Opening hours: 6pm to 1am on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6pm to 3.30am on Wednesdays and 6pm to 6am from Fridays to Sundays

Must try: Wagyu beef ($45), Oriental wonton chilli and vinegar ($8.50), and paper prata ($4.50).


19 Tanglin Road, 04-05 Tanglin
Shopping Centre

Opening hours: 6pm to midnight Sundays to Thursdays, 6pm to 2am on Fridays and Saturdays

Must try: Stewed pork belly ($11) and peanut beancurd ($7.80).

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