Have a lie in – you’ll need your eyes and legs well-rested, so you can enjoy the burst of creativity and culture during the annual Singapore Art Week (19–27 January), a vibrant extravaganza of exhibitions, creative events and live performances.
Among the highlights is Art Stage Singapore (25–27 January), which has helped to bring Southeast Asia’s buzzing contemporary art scene onto the world stage. Expect to see more art than you’ll be able to process, special presentations of private collections and commissioned projects and installations by deep-pocketed art collectors.
For visitors who won’t be here during these events, swing by SAM at 8Q – part of the Singapore Art Museum. Catch the President’s Young Talents (PYT) 2018 exhibition, a mentoring, commissioning and awards programme for young artists under 35, which will wind up at the end of this month.
With your brain suitably fed, it is time to focus your attention on your palate, so take a short taxi ride to Telok Ayer Arts Club, a new multi-pronged venue that unites food, drink, music and art. The menu here focuses on shared plates of French-Mediterranean cuisine, while the walls are adorned with unfussy framed artwork. The vibe ramps up at night with live performances and DJ sets.
From here, a quick stroll brings you to The Pinnacle@Duxton – seven connected, 50-storey residential towers with two huge sky gardens. The skybridge on the 50th floor is open to the public, though visitors must pay the $6 entry fee with a contactless card, such as the EZ-Link card, to experience the supremely picturesque skyline views.
Spend the late afternoon walking around the Keong Saik and Tanjong Pagar areas before heading to Rizu for dinner. This Zen dining space is the setting for modern Japanese food and an eight- or 11-course omakase menu that might include dishes such as foie gras sautéed with plum sauce or Japanese paella with miso soup.
End the night with a mezcal negroni or White Lady (gin, lemon juice, orgeat and egg white) at music and cocktail venue Cool Cats.
Rev your engines at Tanjong Pagar’s Five Oars Coffee Roasters – the signature breakfast comes with homemade sourdough toast, sweet and tangy rhubarb jam, mixed salad, sausage, juicy portobello mushrooms and free-range eggs.
With your tank full, hop in a cab to the Singapore Motorshow (10–13 January) at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, where 30 automotive brands – the most since the show’s return from a hiatus four years ago – will showcase their latest models. Other lures include local celebrities, a stunt show by Russ Swift and a lucky draw for a Subaru Impreza.
A stone’s throw away, Ramen Nagi is the first local outlet of the well-known Fukuoka-based chain. Choices range from the traditional Butao King bowl to the more avant-garde Green King, which comes with fresh basil, olive oil, traditional tonkotsu broth, grated parmesan and delicious marbled char siu (barbecued pork).
Once you’ve had your fill, gear up for some retail therapy at Haji Lane, which is just a 10-minute walk away. This narrow road, named for the Muslim pilgrims who once stayed here when en route to Mecca, is a haven for independent bars, cafés, restaurants and boutiques. Among the highlights are the handcrafted jewellery at SSFW, the handwoven bags made by the indigenous Wayuu people of Colombia at Kolombiana and handmade leather goods at Crafune.
Once your fuel tank – and perhaps bank balance – is depleted, take a taxi to House of Mu in River Valley. This cosy, semi-industrial boîte with exposed pipes, brick walls and Burmese teak furnishings serves contemporary European food like creamy mushroom soup that’s been frothed to the consistency of a cappuccino and pan-seared scallops with fresh apple. The chef, Tyrell Joon, has quite a pedigree, having previously worked at Singapore luminary Les Amis.
As bedtime beckons, steer yourself over to the Regent Singapore’s new wine bar, Park90. Located on the lobby level and serving afternoon tea by day, it offers Old and New World vintages, limited releases and a large range of Burgundies, and is a comfortable, intimate place to toast the end of a busy day.
Visit Apartment Coffee for your caffeine fix. The ultra-minimalist space in Lavender has the vibe of a Scandinavian home, great coffee and baked treats. Non-coffee drinkers, fret not, as the café also serves tea and hot chocolate.
The nearby Little India delights with a couple of festivals this month. Pongal (14–17 January) is the South Indian harvest celebration, a time when farmers give thanks to Surya, the Hindu god of the sun. Festivities take place on Serangoon Road and include festive bazaars, cooking and henna tattoo demonstrations, and musical processions.
Nearby, in the Jalan Besar area, there are fine places to unwind, including Black Fairy Coffee, Liberty Coffee Bar (whose beans are roasted in Singapore) and The Tiramisu Hero, where the Italian dessert comes in novel flavours such as kaya (coconut jam), Horlicks, strawberry, Milo and lemon lavender.
Alternatively, ride over to Dumpling Darlings on the edge of Chinatown, a simple restaurant with a handful of tables and a long counter that focuses on noodles and dumplings. The latter are available in such varieties as Spicy Sichuan, Veggie Mandu and Fried Pierogi, which is made with smoked bacon, truffle potato, caramelised onion and cheddar cheese.
If today is a Tuesday or a Friday, don’t over order, because your next stop is the new, twice-weekly high tea set at COMO Cuisine. A tower for two is packed with goodies such as spanner crab buns, spiced fruit scones with seasonal jams and mascarpone, calamansi tartlets and a selection of tea and coffee.
All that eating is tiring, so afterwards, hop into a cab to So Spa in Sentosa, where the spa garden with tropical plants features a mud pool filled with Moroccan rhassoul clay.
Post-treatment, get a quick cab back to Marina Bay Sands for modern takes on Cantonese, Sichuanese and Shanghainese cuisines, including a signature smoked duck, at wood-accented newcomer Blossom, located in the hotel lobby. End the night with a drink at the ironically named Fancy – interiors are downright simple and minimal – a bar and restaurant where each cocktail is inspired by a particular flower or spice.
SEE ALSO: 3 days in Singapore: The design edition
This article was originally published in the January 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine