Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What to do on Valentine's Day in Singapore

I've had a few people ask me for some restaurant recommendations on Valentine's Day evening. Others made quips about where someone could take me (how do you wine and dine a food writer on Valentine's Day?). So, I'm going to tell you what I told them.

My first choice would to not dine at a restaurant on Valentine's Day, especially not at a fine-dining restaurant. The same goes for New Year's Eve. I'm not a fan of forced prix fixe menus that are structured to maximise profit (i.e. mediocre-quality produce uninterestingly prepared – such as seared foie gras with apple compote, steak or seafood pasta, creme brûlée snoozy menus) and a glass of cheap sparkling wine, matched with the increased likelihood of worse-than-usual service because of the holiday crowd slam.

I don't blame the restaurants, and I wouldn't break up with someone who took pains to make reservations at a nice restaurant on Valentine's Day. But I'm a pizza takeout + board games + movie night in kinda Valentine's Day date (okay, I'm admittedly also a sucker for overpriced flower bouquets), and if you're anything like me, then here are some alternatives to fancy restaurant dates next Saturday in Singapore.

I've added a short list of recommended restaurants at the bottom anyway.

Picnic in the park:

Henderson Waves is an especially romantic spot at night.

Put together your own picnic basket, or visit places like Food for Thought, Casa Verde, and Jones the Grocer for picnic hampers already put together for you. Heck, it doesn't just have to be western-styled picnics; put together something local! Lovely spots include Henderson Waves, Botanic Gardens, MacRitchie Reservoir Park, Fort Canning, Marina Barrage, Gardens by the Bay, Kranji Reservoir Park, Labrador Park, the beaches at Sentosa, or even your own living room or balcony.

The Anti-Valentine's Day Party:

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a V-Day hater. But I do love the excuse to find an extra occasion to do something fun like this event. Here's a drink event, particularly for folks who want to meet new people or maybe even find someone worth going out with on a dinner date that's not on Valentine's Day. Hosted by Society W, Anti-Valentine's Day Party

Have small bites and a tipple:

Some of my favorite cocktail bars for both food and drink include: Fairmont's Anti:Dote, Bacchanalia's B-Bar,  CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Potato Head Folk, 28 Hong Kong Street, Tippling Club. If you want a beautiful setting, I recommend Manhattan Bar at Regent, New Asia Bar, WOOBAR or Wet Bar at W Hotel, The Library. If you're a whisky lover, I adore The Auld Alliance (they also permit take-away food from other establishments!).

See a show, a live music performance, or visit special exhibitions at art galleries or museums:

Here are some local singer-songwriters you might want to check out: 53ANathan HartonoThe Sam WillowsJack & Rai.

Cook together:

Cook together at home, or if you want to take classes together, places like ToTT have Valentine's Day cooking or chocolate making classes. (See full list of ToTT's cooking classes here)

Do a random activity together that you don't normally do with one another (it's particularly fun if one or both of you are terrible at it, but maybe that's just me).

Activities like bike riding, wake board or cable ski or flow riding, driving range (Marina Bay Golf Course), floral arrangement class, coffee cupping sessions (Common Man, Chye Seng Huat Hardware, Toby's Estate), ice-skating, paintball, shooting range, or even yoga (Hom Yoga, PURE Yoga).

Indulge in a full day luxury spa treatment:

Hotels such as Capella Auriga Spa, W Hotel Away Spa, and Mandarin Oriental The Spa have particularly wonderful spa experiences. Other recommendations include: So Spa, St. Regis Remede Spa, Banyan Tree at Marina Bay Sands.

If I must recommend Valentine's Day restaurants:

Corner House

Here are my personal picks. Blu Kouzina, Corner House (review here), Luke's Oyster Bar & Chophouse, Catalunya, CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Tong Le Private Dining (review here), Shelter in the Woods, Bistrot Du Sommelier, JAAN (review here).

Most importantly, remember to have fun and don't stress. It's supposed to a fun occasion. 


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