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You’ve got the ring, you’ve prepared the lines; you just need to find the perfect restaurant for that romantic dinner during which to pop the question. We’ve got seven options to please (almost) every type of woman. Now, go put that ring on her finger. You can thank us later.
For the philanthropist
There’s something dangerous and exhilarating about darkness. Without sight, all other senses are heightened. Food tastes twice as good, nuances in flavour become more apparent, and with all light-emitting gadgets (i.e. mobile phones) forbidden, the conversation has to be more interesting. When you slip the ring on her finger and pop the question in darkness, you can be sure all her attention will be on you, and the surprise, true.
Nox is the only restaurant in Singapore where guests, served by visually-impaired staff, dine in complete darkness. The concept is meant to allow those blessed with full sight a chance to experience life in darkness, and hence experience empathy for the visually-impaired. While the menu here may merely pass muster with a snobby gourmand, one must keep in mind that this is not a restaurant one goes to for a purely gastronomical experience. Have a go at guessing what you are tasting in the darkness, then see how accurate you are after the meal, when the menu is revealed. Post-meal, round off the experience at the (fully lit) bar with customised cocktails to celebrate your new engagement.
Nox – Dine in the Dark
269 Beach Road
Tel: +65 6298 0708
For the foodie
If the way to her heart is through her stomach, then you can’t go wrong with Shoukouwa. Opened only early last year, this sushi restaurant already has two Michelin stars to its name – and they received this accolade just four months into their operations. Looking at the “pedigree" of the establishment, the stars may come as no surprise. Shoukouwa is the brainchild of the founder of Hong Kong’s three-Michelin-starred Sushi Shikon, and the Emmanuel Stroobant group, which is probably best known for French restaurant Saint Pierre.
The restaurant serves sushi in the edomae tradition, which, as its name implies, dates back to the Edo era. Because the culinary style was developed in a time when there was no refrigeration, freshness had to be key. Keeping faithful to tradition, Shoukouwa flies in seafood from Tsukiji Market daily. Servings are generous – the simplest omakase dinner is the Miyabi meal, which counts 20 courses. After the silky slivers of flounder, sweet cushions of uni, and fatty slices of otoro, a diamond ring revealed when the lid is taken off a dainty plate should make the perfect pre-dessert palate cleanser.
1 Fullerton Road
Tel: +65 6423 9939
For the city girl
There are many urbanites who find fast-paced city life tiresome, but there are just as many who revel in all that a metropolis has to offer. If your lady is the latter, then she’ll appreciate a restaurant that not only serves a good meal, but also comes with a view to boot. While restaurants with a million-dollar view are a dime a dozen in Singapore, Equinox is undoubtedly the familiar favourite.
Since the restaurant is part of Swissotel, Modern European cuisine is given the five-star hotel treatment – which means an extensive menu that have diners spoilt for choice. Go for one of chef Paul Hallett’s signature dishes, such as the Iberico Pork Loin and Belly, or the Roasted Black Cod. Then, get down on one knee with the city lights as your backdrop. It will make for a picture-perfect moment.
Swissotel The Stamford
2 Stamford Road
Tel: +6837 3322
4. Royal Albatross
For the movie buff
Hitching a ride in the Batmobile is overrated when you can enjoy a sunset sail on the “Bat Yacht" instead. The Royal Albatross comes with serious Hollywood credentials – not only did it make its debut on the silver screen in 2008’s The Dark Knight as Bruce Wayne’s private yacht, but its sails and rigging were designed by none other than Jim Barry, the same man behind all the ships that appeared in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Now owned by a British permanent resident of Singapore, the yacht has been converted into a luxury vessel after a multi-million dollar refitting, and plies the waters off the coast of Sentosa every Friday to Sunday for sunset sails. The menu changes often, but usually comprises freshly grilled food complete with all the trimmings – and by that we mean lots of bubbly, and a serenade by a saxophonist. For a truly romantic experience, go all-out with an overnight private charter.
8 Sentosa Gateway
5. The White Rabbit
For the spiritually-inclined
This is a restaurant in a beautifully restored chapel dating back to the 1930s – if it doesn’t scream “marry me please", we don’t know what does. Dining here is designed to be a whimsical, otherworldly experience; the restaurant has an Alice in Wonderland theme and makes clever use of the surrounding greenery to simulate going down the rabbit hole. “We do believe in magic", is the declaration one sees first on the restaurant’s website. If this magic works, you’ll enter the rabbit hole as a boyfriend, and exit as a fiance.
At helm is head chef Benjamin Tan, who has created a menu of modern European favourites incorporated with Asian influences. Take, for example, the beef carpaccio starter, which uses wagyu meat, and the Truffle Pasta, which is accompanied by a beautifully wobbly onsen egg. The tea selection is also surprisingly extensive and includes the revered Silver Needle tea from China, and Japanese hojicha.
The White Rabbit
39C Harding Road
Tel: +65 6473 9965
6. Brasserie Les Saveurs
For the true romantic
There’s a little girl in every woman who still believes she is a princess looking for her prince charming, and nothing screams fairytale romance quite like good old-fashioned French cuisine. With its elaborate crystal chandeliers, lush carpets, and button tufted upholstery, Brasserie Les Saveurs is probably as close to a fairytale setting as one can get in Singapore.
Chef de cuisine Thomas Cruise (it’s easy to think of him as the Tom Cruise of the culinary world) hails from Canada and has worked under celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Expect perfectly executed French food plated like art. All the classic favourites one would expect can be found on the menu – there’s duck confit, foie gras, beef bourguignon, and creme brulee, to name a few. If a public proposal isn’t your thing, opt for one of the private dining areas, where you can pop the question in an alcove framed by burgundy drapes.
Brasserie Les Saveurs
The St. Regis Singapore
29 Tanglin Road
Tel: +65 6506 6860
For the true blue Singaporean
It’s hard to tear a local girl away from homegrown food; it’s equally hard to convince a modern-day Romeo that the hawker centre is the perfect setting for the romantic proposal he’s orchestrating. Sacrifice neither her palate nor your artistic sensibilities at Labyrinth, where local cuisine is elevated to fine dining.
Don’t be fooled by the “bak chor mee" or the “chilli crab" on the menu. These are not simply overpriced hawker fare served in fancy surroundings. The former has saffron-infused sliced squid masquerading as noodles, Hokkaido scallops pretending to be fish cakes, and anchovies mixed with olive powder as minced pork. Like in real bak chor mee, it’s the sauce – a drizzle of black Chinese vinegar paired with a dash of dried shrimp sambal – that completes the dish. The latter boldly pairs deep fried soft shell crab with an unexpected chilli crab ice cream. For dessert, try the “kaya butter toast", which is actually kristal de chine caviar paired with kaya. Caviar for dessert? We are sold.
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
8 Raffles Ave
Tel: +65 6223 4098