23 Boon Tat Street
T: (+65) 6224 0091
Our absolute favourite restaurant in Singapore. Opened just less than three months ago you already have to book at least a month in advance…even for lunch. It is the brainchild of the Forlino Famiglia and is everything that an Italian restaurant should be. It also has an interesting history. It is the latest restaurant to have chef Osvaldo Forlino at the helm, having very recently left ‘Osvaldo’, his second namesake restaurant in as many years! Having left behind both his surname and first name, he now joins his wife, daughters and niece at one of the most enchanting restaurants in Singapore. Situated on the ground floor of a shophouse near Club Street, the walls are filled with memorabilia and the floors are covered in random carpets. No modern white plates or soul-less glass cavern here. The vibe is cosy and busy. The quality of the food is matched only by the thoroughly accomplished floor staff that are knowledgeable and quick…unless you order the ‘no menu’ option that is…in which case sit back and enjoy the ride – but make sure you are not in a hurry. (The name ‘No Menu’ is slightly confusing, not least because there IS actually a menu. To clarify, besides the regular menu, you can also opt to go off-piste and have the ‘no menu’ tasting option, which means you are entirely in Osvaldo’s very capable hands.)
Don’t leave without trying Osvaldo’s signature sausage dish as an appetiser; the Burratta is hard to beat, and the truffle or squid ink risottos are pretty stunning. The produce is beautifully fresh and unusual ingredients are often used. My Roasted Trevise was delicious and I only just managed to save room for my beetroot gnocchi. Make absolutely sure you have room for dessert though – Mama Patricia’s apple cake is divine, or try Gaia’s Peaches – grown on her farm back at home. Or if you can still fit it in, go for the cheese plate. If you are a foodie and your holy grail is Italian, we defy you not to love this place.
Opening Times: 11.30am–2pm, 6.30pm–10pm Mon-Fri; 6.30pm–10pm Sat. Closed Sun
Marina Bay Sands (#B2-19)
T: (+65) 6688 7020
Had enough of branded bags to last you a lifetime but still want tip top quality and not afraid to pay for it? Then this is for you. Luscious solid colours are jewel like and leather is butter soft. This particular store – like all the others that they categorise as being part of ‘The Shoppes’ at MBS (Charles & Keith etc) – is open super late. Great for some post dinner browsing, which makes Pizzeria Mozza (see below) the perfect venue for a girls-only dinner.
Opening Times: 10am-11pm Sun-Thu; 10am-12 midnight Fri & Sat
Marina Bay Sands (#B1)
T: (+65) 6688 8522
Delicious pizza but be prepared to pay around $27+ for it. Service is not great and be warned that your table invariably won’t be ready for the time you’ve booked it (very annoying) but their creations are both brave and fabulous.
Opening Times: 5pm-11pm Tues-Sun; Fri & Sat from 12pm-2pm for lunch, 5pm-11pm for dinner. Extended opening hours to follow. Closed Mon
Tanglin Shopping Centre 04-17
19 Tanglin Road
T: (+65) 6732 3777
Leslie is a brilliant, no frills dentists. If you are looking for marble corridors and shiny new equipment do not go here. I, on the other hand, am looking for a good, honest, old fashioned dentist who is not going to charge me Paragon prices, who will tell me the truth about what I do and don’t need doing and who will look after me and my teeth.
Opening Times: 9am-4pm Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri; 9am-11.30am Wed; 9am-12pm Sat. Closed Sun
45 Arab Street
T: (+65) 8260 5050
The 1st time you visit this place is quite confusing because these guys own about 4 shops on Arab Street and you are looking for one man: Ebrahim. He is brilliant and their stores are the best places to buy rugs and anything to do with them – not only price-wise (you still need to bargain) but they know their stuff and pride themselves on repeat business. Good place for reasonably priced underlay too.
Ask for: Ebrahim
Opening Times: 10am-9pm daily
Hotel Miramar (#02-22)
401 Havelock Road
T: (+65) 6235 7800
Joann’s mobile: (+65) 9677 4566
Joann is brilliant and gives practical advice regardless of your budget. She is the most reasonably priced upholsterer we have found. And the finish is excellent. Call her to arrange a time for her to come to your home and evaluate what you need and how much it will be. Give her a steer before the appointment so that she can bring all the appropriate samples to show you. She also makes curtains and is happy for you to provide your own fabric if needs be – whether for curtains or upholstering. To give you an idea on price, one Louis VXI armchair – which needed a whopping 12m of fabric to fully upholster (including a large piped cushion) – cost $400 inclusive of fabric. They will collect and return all your furniture, so that you don’t have to move from your chair. Unless of course you want it covered.
Ask for: Joann
Opening Times: 10am-6pm Mon-Fri. Closed Sat & Sun
Ion (level 55 & 56)
2 Orchard Turn
T: (+65) 6592 5118
The latest addition to Aussie Chef Luke Mangan’s Salt Group – this must surely be the most breathtaking of all their global locations. The Sky Bar is situated at one end of this enormous glass space that offers 360 degree views of the city and beyond. Cloud formation names, cloud related quotes and places of note are etched on the glass, and if that isn’t enough, wander up the ramp and use the state of the art telescopes that show what the view would be like day or night while you wait for your starters to arrive.
Luke’s name appears to be embossed on everything, as if you could forget who owns the joint. But I guess when you create a place like this you have every reason to want your name on it. The service was a little overbearing and the meal certainly wasn’t cheap, but it was a serious celebration and the bill fitted…well…the bill.
The food is modern Aussie; a little fusion in places but it works. The Dukkah and olive oil to dip your bread in were divine and set the tone for the meal ahead. Set out as small plates the menu is large but the idea is to choose and share many rather than just get starter and mains per person. It is also a good option if you have vegetarians in your midst – plenty to choose from for everyone. The meats are varied, well hung and of course grilled, and the line caught snapper was spanking fresh and beautifully presented. The curried pumpkin samosa didn’t pack as much punch as we had hoped but the compressed beetroot was delicate and tasty, and the ‘Salt’ signature salad was really very good. In fact we would be happy to go and just have that for a light lunch.
Lunch can be a very bright affair – midday in a glasshouse – I am sure you can imagine. But by night the vista is magical; all twinkly and sparkly…very romantic.
The easiest way to get the the restaurant is to drive – hand your car over to the valet and take the escalator one floor down. Go straight to the fourth floor concierge and get escorted up. Getting there after the shopping mall has closed for the day is a little more complicated: enter the building via ION Walk (this is the passage between ION and Wisma). Take the escalator up to Level 4, and then take the lift from ION Art to Level 55.
Opening Times: 11.30am-3pm & 6pm-10.30pm daily
Sky Bar Opening Times: 6pm-11.30pm Mon-Fri, 6pm-2.30am Sat & Sun
Wine Bar Opening Times: 11.30am-22.30pm daily (but closed between 5pm & 6pm)
EN HAUTE JOAILLERIE
T: (+65) 6887 3377
Looks like a very upmarket patisserie from the outside and looks very, very expensive. But it isn’t and prices are all negotiable. You need to ask for May who is wonderful and really knows her stuff. Her husband is the actual jeweller who creates the designs and will do your alterations and resettings. Great for contemporary bling (there is a huge diamond ring in there for $5,000 that we swear is amazing value – our husbands are less convinced) and also great if you have a ghastly brooch from Aunt Agatha that you want to turn in to something wearable but haven’t found anyone you trust enough to do it. May’s your girl.
Ask for: May
Opening Times: 10am-8.30pm daily
1010 Bukit Merah Lane 1 (#01-105)
T: (+65) 6271 7054
We found this place because it was the nearest garage on AXA’s approved list of workshops…and they are brilliant. Ask for Sharon who is the daughter’s owner. After quite a few bumps and scrapes I now know that it is not always wise to claim on your insurance. In fact, you should only claim if it’s a serious sum of money. Otherwise be warned, because if you’ve claimed more than twice, a lot of insurers won’t touch you and you are deemed uninsurable. They are ways round this (see entry below: Clement who runs Motor Insurance Quotes). One is to get Sharon to fix your car and pay for it yourself. Her prices are reasonable, her chaps can polish out little scrapes in seconds (I am such a good customer that she no longer charges me to do this…not sure what that says about my driving ability) and her costs for spare parts are more than fair.
Ask for : Sharon
Opening Times: 9am-5.30pm Mon-Fri; 9am-2.30pm Sat. Closed Sun
MOTOR INSURANCE QUOTES
T: (+65) 9858 7298
This is a one man band and is run by a guy called Clement who is a lifesaver. I had 3 claims on record in under 2 years and was deemed uninsurable when it came to renewing our car insurance. Clement, besides being able to shop around to find you the best insurance deals out there (similar to Expat Motors – see Links), can also advise you on what the hell to do if you find yourself in this position. We now have insurance and are not paying through the nose for it.
302 Sin Ming Road
T: (+65) 6452 1398
If you are buying a second hand car, it’s worth getting it checked out by someone completely impartial who can tell you whether or not the engine is in working order, what is and isn’t wrong with it, and whether it’s been in any accidents. STA has 3 branches: one near Upper Thomson (listed above), one around Commonwealth (T: (+65) 6476 0988) and one near Ubi (T: (+65) 6261 6178) and are the guys to call for a complete car inspection. They issue a report afterwards too. Costs around $128 including tax. See website for more details and exact locations. Most garages that sell second hand cars have heard of STA and will know where their nearest branch is and will drop off your prospective set of wheels with them for testing.
T: (+65) 90600363A pre and post natal massage wrap genius, Shenko is a delightful and diminutive Indian lady that comes highly recommended…and comes to your house. She will come and look after you for an hour and a half of blissful (if at times painful) massage. Before the birth this precious time is utterly heavenly and left me feeling almost weightless – a true miracle in my particular circumstance! After delivery, most people book her for an entire week of massage and wraps as soon as possible after giving birth, however I found this a little difficult to work into my day…though truly lovely when I managed. If you have had a caesarian you will have to wait a while, but if things went the natural route you should be able to call on her services by day three. I found it terribly uncomfortable and inconvenient to do the wraps – the herbs made my temperature skyrocket and found it impossible to sit down (not great for breastfeeding) but they certainly work if it is a desperate need to reduce water retention and size in a hurry. It takes three hours start to finish if you do massage and wrap (again an amount of time I found impossible to give up with a newborn) but Shenko is very patient when it comes to having to feed a screaming tiny person ten minutes into a massage! Shenko will also come and see you further down the road – a well earned treat for exhausted mothers everywhere! She was recommended to us by women that know at Mother and Child in Tanglin Mall. She does not work evenings or Sundays.