Dec 4, 2020
DURING CHRISTMAS, WANDERLUSTFUL Singaporeans often seize the opportunity for year-end getaways while expats habitually head homeward. Not so in 2020. For obvious reasons, travel ex-Singapore is vetoed this year, meaning residents of the city-state have no choice but to seek out celebratory options closer to home.
Fortunately, some of the best hotels and F&B operators in town have risen to the challenge, dishing up an array of special festive menus for those stuck in Singapore over the so-called ‘holidays.’ Fair warning, folks: get your reservations in swiftly, because demand for tables is as hot as a tropical yuletide.
For Christmas Eve and Day, the ever-popular Culina at Como Dempsey has dreamed up an inventive take on the festive repast (SG$128 per person), featuring Alaskan king crab, smoked beef croquette, turkey Wellington and Panettone pudding. Culina is also one of Singapore’s finest provedores, making this the ideal spot to pick up whole roast turkeys, glazed hams, freshly shucked oysters and gourmet hampers, should you prefer to spend Christmas gorging at home.
In the lush setting of Gardens by the Bay, impeccable fine-dining establishment Pollen proposes a decadent five-course set menu for Christmas lunch and dinner, plus New Year’s Eve and Day (SG$208 per person including a glass of Louis Roederer Rosé; SG$82 supplement for wine pairing). The gastronomic symphony features such delicacies as duck neck and foie gras sausage with aged duck breast, apple and parsnip, and poached Toretama Japanese egg polenta with black Perigord truffles.
Another option for the culinary sophisticate, on Christmas Eve, Michelin double-starred Saint Pierre restaurant presents a seven-course dinner (SG$380 per person) incorporating Gillardeau oysters, Hokkaido snow crab, Nagasaki seabass and Omi beef. An array of bespoke takeaway can also be ordered from Saint Pierre throughout December, including Armagnac-marinated foie gras terrine (richer than Elon Musk, this stuff), 200-day aged Angus beef rib-eye en-croute with black pepper and thyme jus, and the restaurant’s signature flourless Belgian chocolate cake.
At the iconic Raffles Hotel, fabulous take-home festive packages are available for those desiring delectable domestic dining. Meanwhile, for the more outgoing among you, a degustation meal at flagship restaurant La Dame de Pic promises haute-cuisine reflecting acclaimed chef Anne-Sophie Pic’s French provenance, while embracing savoury influences from southeast Asia—with a nod to the festive occasion, naturally. (Dinner prices per person: Christmas Eve, SG$398; Christmas night and Boxing Day night, SG$318; and New Year’s Eve, SG$598.)
Marina Bay Sands
Looking for a Gallic holiday dining experience that’s just a little less fiscally ooh-la-la? On Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing Day, db bistro is doing a four-course dinner menu (S$98 per person; SG$50 supplement for wine pairing), with oysters, a starter of chestnut and celery soup with black truffles and duck confit, a main of herb-roasted turkey or smoked Scottish salmon, and finishing on a sweet note with chocolate bûche de noël. The restaurant’s New Year’s Eve dinner (SG$120 per person; SG$60 supplement for wine pairing) ups the indulgence levels to onze, with a cavalcade of oysters, caviar, lobster, scallops and truffles.
Fans of Italian food, meanwhile, should proceed directly to the top deck of Marina Bay Sands and settle in at Lavo, where the hearty family-friendly fare and service are as squisito as the view. Through December, the restaurant’s offering a holiday surf-and-turf special (SG$388 for two sharing), boasting a 1.1-kilogram Wagyu ribeye and 1.25-kilogram Maine lobster with lashings of truffle butter, asparagus, and a side of crispy roasted potato (surely the best bit of a classic Christmas dinner).
Swissotel The Stamford
Occupying much the same lofty altitude across the way at Swissotel The Stamford, you’ve the choice of dining at Jaan by Kirk Westaway—inarguably one of the city’s top five restaurants—or the slightly less formal Skai. At Jaan (SG$388 per person Christmas Eve and SG$488 per person New Year’s Eve, both including a glass of Krug Grand Cuvee), exquisitely reinvented English cuisine is order of the day, while Skai’s Christmas brunch (SG$218 per person including free flow of Taittinger, wines and cocktails) involves a lavish spread of steak, turkey, crab, lobster and foie gras.
Over at Capella Resort on the isle of Sentosa—the closest Singaporeans will get to heading overseas for the time being—The Knolls restaurant has a four-course Christmas Day lunch (SG$158 per person) that will leave British traditionalists pleased as punch. Close your eyes and think of England while devouring oven-roasted turkey brimming with pine nut, sage and onion bread stuffing, slathered in cranberry sauce and gravy, accompanied by sautéed chestnuts, and winter vegetables.
Of course, there’s no law saying you must eat the typical roast turkey simply because ’tis the season to be jolly. Should a Cantonese festive feast take your fancy, book a table for a Christmas Day bottomless dim sum brunch (SG$68 per adult; SG$40 per child) at the Mandarin Oriental’s elegant Cherry Garden restaurant.
And, Atlas for the ball-drop!
For a smashing (or perhaps simply smashed) start to 2021, ring in the new year at Atlas Bar—recently dubbed the tippity-top drinking establishment in Asia and No. 4 globally at the 2020 World’s 50 Best Bar awards. If the imposing art deco architecture here somehow fails to take your breath away, the potent handcrafted cocktails (from SG$25) are guaranteed to do the trick. Atlas’s talented mixologists have just introduced a spate of fantastic new tipples, but we reckon a vintage martini made with vermouth from the 1920s (SG$225) is just the ticket to erase 2020 from the memory and bid farewell to this annus horribilis once and for all.