MSAB 9

SINGAPORE GUN CLUB

National Shooting Centre

990 Old Choa Chu Kang Road

Singapore 699814

T: (+65) 6466 1575 / 6466 3124

Super fun, ulu place to go to on a weekend with some friends to shoot the hell out of as many clay pigeons as you can…and all before you’ve even eaten lunch (go early or it gets too hot).  Guns are over and under shotguns vs side by sides and the clays are quite low (ie harder to shoot than if they were high flying), so you can really separate the men from the boys.  They also offer handgun shooting and other types of target practice but it requires a whole lot more training.  With clays, first timers to the club get a 10-15 minute safety briefing and then you are good to go.  Essentials to bring: water bottle, mozzy repellent, suncream, NRIC or FIN card, $65 in cash, per person.  If you are a lame ass spectator (guilty as charged) then you obviously don’t need to pay.  Lastly, it is worth calling them ahead of time to book a slot.  You can just turn up but it can get busy, especially on weekends.

Opening Times: 10am-5.30pm daily

OSCAR’S

Conrad Centennial SingaporeConrad Hotel Centennial Singapore - Oscar's

2 Temasek Boulevard

Singapore 038982

T: (+65) 6432 7481

Our new favourite place for Sunday brunch buffets but this particular variety is only available on the last Sunday of the month. Not only incredible value, but the food is faultless.  Admittedly there is not as much choice as you’d expect when eating your body weight at the usual buffet spreads laid on by the big hotels (Fullerton, Shang, St Regis etc) but here at the Conrad, for the good value sum of $98 ++ if you are not drinking and, here’s the scoop, a mere $108++ if you are, they have all the essentials.  By that we mean fresh Boston lobsters, pan fried foie gras cooked to order, sushi and sashimi, 5 different types of oysters, a very good cheeseboard and perfectly delicious puddings.  There are also pasta options and all the usual ‘fillers’ but we don’t tend to focus too hard on them (good for children though, who eat for free if they are under 4).

They are rather keen on hiding their lobsters away so you have to identify the lobster chap early on, smile and ask for more when and if the bowl they are displayed in does not seem to be replenished.  He has plenty in the under counter fridge and can produce them (begrudgingly) on demand.  

The pricing for the alcoholic version on the buffet depends on what alcohol you are going for.  The $108 includes free flow Chandon which is admittedly fizz rather than champagne BUT it is produced by Moet & Chandon and is damn good.  In fact, we’d take it over some of the cheaper brands of champagne any day and have grown out of our rather childish ‘real champagne only’ snobbery.  If only champagne proper will do (they serve Verve or Moet) then it will cost $158++.  BTW: Pay by UOB and you get to feed 4 for  the price of 3 (applies to the non-alcoholic brunch only) .  Or alternatively, HSBC & Citi Bank cards give you 15% off regardless of what you variety of brunch you plump for (literally). Children under 4 eat for free.

Opening Times: This buffet only happens on the last Sunday of every month from 12pm-3pm

TORI-TAMA

Robertson Walk (01-01/02)

11 Unity Street

Singapore 237995

T: (+65) 6836 5680

Where: Right next to Wine Connection on Robertson Walk – go there for a  pre dinner drink

Wear: No one really cares. Not shorts, not flip flops.  Full of Japanese businessmen most of the time, so geisha gear might get your bill paid but you will stick out like a sore thumb

Why: Carb free eating that even carb cravers will enjoy

Who: Friends

A very good budget yakitori joint that’s not half bad.  Their veggies are beautifully seasoned, their chicken skin is addictive and perfectly cooked and they wagyu beef, melt in the mouth deliciousness.  They also do great deals on bottles of saki and you can usually get 2 for 1.  What you don’t drink they ask you to take home.  We’ve never managed not to finish ours, but if you do, the bottles are fun to keep and make good salad dressing containers that will fit in the fridge as well as look nice on the table.

BTW: If you are a real, die hard yakitori fan and not afraid of splurging, try Akanoya Robatayaki and/or Torisho Taka by Aoki (more info available on both of these under Spoil Me Dinners category).  Both are at least twice, if not three times the price of Tori-Tama but worth it if you are going for a really special dinner. Either that, or someone else is paying.  This is a good, everyday alternative.

Opening Times: 6pm-11pm Mon-Sat.  Closed Sun

TEO

T: (+65) 9692 6515

Teo is a real find. He has a horicultural diploma and so really knows his plants and has done the job of landscape garden for around 15 years.  More importantly than that, he knows what you should place where.  I insisted on a climbing scented jasmine for a shady spot in the garden and was politely, but firmly, told, “No mama, that will not do there. It will die and you will be sad.  You can have x, y or z.”  Love it. I have no idea what tropical plants need and want in the way of light and shade, but he does, and he will work to any budget.  He will also maintain your garden once or twice a month for a very reasonable price (ie cut grass, remove coconuts from palm trees, prune and fertilize plants as needed.  We are paying $80 a month for bi weekly visits).  He also, very sweetly and for no additional charge, planted all our potted plants in to the ground (the earth here is sun baked and really very hard, so this is quite tricky to do yourself, even if you want to).  You have to remember to pin him down on a specific watering schedule as he is not that forthcoming about how to keep  everything alive on a day to day basis.  One HUGE caveat is that Teo is quite unreliable in terms of his timings. He doesn’t always come when he says he will. It’s worth a reminder call to him a day or so before your scheduled appointment is due.  If you can’t stand this, then he is not for you.  On the other hand, he is a garden genius who, in addition to designing your garden, will get you far cheaper prices on your plants than you would pay at Far East Flora.  

LE BISTROT DU SOMMELIER

46 Princep Street

#01-01 Prinsep Place

Singapore 188675

T: (+65) 6333 1982

Looking for proper French food without Les Amis/Au Petit Salut pricing? Then this is for you.  While prices are still by no means what we would describe as being phenomenal value – to be fair, a lot of the produce is flown in from France –  they are not tooo bad either…and the food is delicious.  Try their seasonal specials (white asparagus in June is to die for).  Portions are on the large side so it’s quite possible to share a few plates if going with girlfriends.  Rustic and charming, your waitress is the part owner and is not only French, but beautiful and thin to boot (note to self, must read book ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat’).  Great for both low key mid week sups or weekend blow-out.

Opening Times: 6pm-11pm Mon-Sat.  Closed Sun

VIOLET OON

T: (+65) 9668 5621

http://www.violetoon.com

Violet is the doyenne of local cuisine and is perhaps best  described as the Pru Leith of Singapore.  An official food ambassador for Singapore, she runs very well known and well respected cooking classes, which have been going since 1981.  Splendid in her violet coloured chef’s whites, her key classes include Nonya Delights, Singapore Street Food and Baking Sensations.  A very natural and intuitive cook, she dishes out practical advice, from which suppliers she likes and trusts, to how to tell if your beef is cooked through without anyone being able to see you have ‘cheated’.  A must do if you are a foodie living here in S’pore.  Prices vary according to which class you want to do, but they are around $100 for 3 hours.   Classes are taught with demos from her and zero hands-on experience for participants, which I have to say I much prefer, as when I have my hand up a chicken’s bottom, or whatever it is that you are trying to emulate, you invariably miss the next part of what you are meant to be doing next.

As well as running courses and representing Singapore food abroad, Violet is branching out to run, in her words, ‘beyond eating classes’, although the concept is officially called Gourmet Circle.  These classes will teach you all you need to know about ordering, eating and appreciating different cuisines, e.g. how to order Chinese food correctly (did you know that every dish has meaning and sentiment behind it? There is a huge significance to ordering a whole fish for instance), how to eat halal food, how to eat correctly using your hands (there is a real technique to this btw – it’s all about moving your thumb).  We’re enrolling in the Chinese course just so we can feel wildly knowledgeable next time we frequent Min Jiang with a big group.  Gourmet Circle classes will be a group of around 10-15 pax.  You can even organise your own if you have the right number of people.  For more info email: violet@violetoon.com

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