Marina Bay Sands is never short on extravagance, an allure that has attracted a global audience when it comes to luxury travel and experiences. This is why some of the world’s most acclaimed chefs have set their sights on the iconic resort that has, over the past few years, set the standard for some of the best dining experiences in this part of the globe. It was the week leading up to the recent Singapore Grand Prix weekend when FirstClasse paid a visit to Marina Bay Sands. The atmosphere was buzzing as the city-state geared up for the first GP weekend after a two-year hiatus. It’s no surprise why some of the resort’s celebrity chefs were in town to present special tasting menus for guests attending Singapore’s busiest sporting event.
One of the celebrated names on-site during our visit was none other than Chef Daniel Boulud who presented a special five-course set menu featuring Chef Jean-François Bruel at db Bistro & Oyster Bar. Boulud says the vibrant dining scene in Singapore is a huge attraction for bringing the db Bistro & Oyster Bar concept from New York to Marina Bay Sands. Coming from one of New York’s gastronomy royalty, this speaks volumes for Singapore’s thriving dining scene.
The casual dining spot located at The Shoppes features a 24-seat oyster bar, which was crowded by lunch-hour diners during our visit. We had the privilege of sampling the special menu which presented a curated selection of fresh seafood dishes, Boulud’s speciality.
I particularly enjoyed the Hokkaido scallop with osciétra caviar and broccoli chutney, a dish that beautifully enhances the freshness of the seafood and the flavours of the vegetables. Meanwhile, the Dover sole served with charred leeks and chanterelle mushrooms is another dish that highlights Boulud’s refined skills in combining ingredients.
Another chef in town for the special occasion is Chef Tetsuya Wakuda. Recently opened in April this year in collaboration with restaurateur John Kunkel (of 50 Eggs Hospitality Group), WAKUDA Singapore is already a much-raved new addition to the strong roster of restaurants at Marina Bay Sands.
Located in the hotel lobby, WAKUDA is beautifully furnished with a mix of modern and traditional interior elements. A large motif of a Japanese maple tree adorns the dining area, a symbol of abundant harvest that translates to the menu. An impressive cellar with over hundreds of different varieties of wine and rare saké will delight any drink connoisseur.
These days, Chef Wakuda says his inspiration comes from observing the simplicity of Italian cuisine and its use of simple ingredients. For someone renowned for his unique take on Japanese cuisine, Chef Wakuda is known to add modern touches to his creations while still respecting the traditions of Japanese cooking.
The Canadian lobster marinated in citrus and vinegar with sea asparagus and shellfish vinaigrette showcases Chef Wakuda’s unique touch. While the grilled Hokkaido A5 Lake Sarowa Wagyu with smoked eggplants and the cold soba noodles served with a generous sprinkling of black truffle display hints of Italian influence.
WAKUDA is not the only Japanese establishment at Marina Bay Sands that deserves praise. For a less formal affair, KOMA is a treat for sushi lovers with its contemporary take on Japanese cuisine with an Izakaya atmosphere.
The interiors here are fodder for your Instagram feed. An arched entrance, reminiscent of Japanese sanctuaries, is the first thing you’ll see as you walk in. Meanwhile, a massive 2.5-metre bell hovers over the bar area.
Located at The Shoppes, the lunch crowd here is a lively bunch of shoppers, tourists and business folk, while bar hoppers flock to the bar area at night for a variety of cocktails and saké prepared by the talented mixologists. Expect the usual classics, from fresh sashimi to robatayaki to unique plates of sushi. The bonsai-inspired dessert, made of chocolate and sponge cake will definitely leave you impressed with the creativity and detail that has been placed into each dish.
While global cuisine is a huge attraction for diners at Marina Bay Sands, Southeast Asian cuisine is naturally a highlight at the resort and is given great consideration at RISE. Located in the resort’s lobby, the all-day dining spot serves up classics from around the region.
From steaming hot bowls of Vietnamese Phở to Peranakan dishes such as fish curry and Malaysian-inspired nasi kerabu, RISE offers highlighted local dishes and from neighbouring countries. What’s interesting about RISE is its commitment to sustainability, using herbs grown from the resort’s on-site herb garden and its commitment to working closely with local producers to support local farmers and growers.
A rather recent addition to the Marina Bay Sands dining scene is the two-storey Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen & Bar. Similar to the famed dining spot in London, the menu here (helmed by Chef Alaistair Clayton, who previously served illustrious stints in acclaimed restaurants in London and Dubai) is British European with hearty classic English dishes such as fish and chips and the signature beef Wellington.
But it’s not all about the mains here, the starters of burrata, heritage beetroot, black olives, pine nuts and dill prove that they succeed in its lighter dishes too. Overlooking the Marina Bay waterfront, this is as much a good spot for lunch as it is for a big dinner with friends.
Diners that flock to Marina Bay Sands are not just here merely for the great food. It’s also about being seen and there’s nowhere better to be spotted in Singapore than at the trendy SkyPark located on Level 57. With breathtaking skyline views of the city and the luxe rooftop infinity pool, LAVO is one spot you’d need to visit for a wholesome and hearty American-Italian meal with a view.
Considering the list of A-listers that have dined here (Bella Hadid, David Beckham and Mariah Carey just to name a few), this is telling of the great food and great atmosphere this restaurant offers. Expect fresh pasta dishes such as linguine and fresh clams and chicken parmigiano and towering layered chocolate lava cakes for dessert.
Another spot to be seen on the 57th floor is SPAGO, Wolfgang Puck’s second establishment in Marina Bay Sands after the success of the wildly popular steakhouse, CUT. The menu here is globally influenced combined with Puck’s unmistakable signature elements. Tastefully furnished in a colonial bungalow-style decor, the dining area offers a grand view of the bay on one side and a view of the infinity pool on the other.
The agnolotti with porcini mushrooms and smoked Brisbane valley quail served with pomegranate pesto are clearly a big hit here. For dessert, the traditional kaiserschmarrn came out steaming hot and served with fresh strawberries and ice cream.
If you yearn for some fast food, there’s the wildly popular Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beers. This is a spot that even the locals rave about. But bear in mind that this is Marina Bay Sands and fast food here is taken up a notch. Black Tap, which recently celebrated its fourth anniversary, held a shindig at The Shoppes outlet where owner and hospitality maverick Chris Barish was present.
With an array of New York-style juicy burgers such as the award-winning Greg Norman Burger with its generous portion of premium wagyu beef, naughty milkshakes and 20 varieties of craft beer, this is a spot you would not want to miss. They’ve recently introduced Korean-style chicken wings, which have been a huge hit.
If anything, the roster of gastronomic experiences to be enjoyed at the resort speaks of evolving tastes of those who are looking for extravagant dining experiences with a great mix of refinement, quality and excitement. We think Marina Bay Sands is a good place to start if you’re looking for that lavish spread.
Pictures courtesy of: Marina Bay Sands