Exit plans for that awkward dinner date

By Celine Asril, Sylvia Toh Paik Choo
8 November 2012 12:33 PM Updated 10 Feb 2014

Exit plans for that awkward dinner date

Richard Gere was turfed out of a restaurant after a diner complained the actor had openly flirted with his (said diner’s) wife.

While most of the situation seems to be speculation and a case of ‘he said, he said’, we didn’t find any paparazzi photos of Gere getting kicked to the curb.

"General rule of thumb: never, ever, choose to date-dine in the boondocks."

That must mean one thing: Gere had a good escape plan.

While most of us commoners won’t need to worry about dodging the paparazzi, what makes a good escape plan when it comes to failed/awkward dinner dates?

In Singapore, it’s all in the location.

Getting thrown out is just the tip of this hydroponically-grown iceberg lettuce. Short of stabbing yourself with the butter knife to extricate yourself from the humdrum, spark-less conversation via 995 (at least finish the meal) what escape options are there? We round the venues up and find it really boils down to location and transport options.

General rule of thumb: never, ever, choose to date-dine in the boondocks. If even the taxis and trains won’t go there, what makes you think you can make a swift exit?

Here are some spots for a fast, less awkward getaway:


Al fresco seats at &Made

1. Restaurants next to a taxi stand

…or with a constant flux of cabs. Que Pasa on Emerald Hill is a safe bet – small plates to share, or small enough not to; busy enough to people watch together, but also loud enough to pretend you can’t hear each other. More importantly, there is no shortage of cabs at the front for you to bid a quick, non-kissy goodbye and before jumping away with that sigh of relief. Phew.

Sitting al fresco at &Made by Bruno Menard also lets you keep an eye on the taxi queue for purposeful timing. ION Orchard is an anomaly – the view from Salt Grill and Sky Bar may impress, but the taxi queue nearly always impossible. Avoid.


One of the exits at Lau Pa Sat | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

2. Restaurants along the streaming throngs

Step out of Oriole Cafe & Bar next to [email protected] and you’re able to bid goodbye and immediately join the foot traffic.

When they reopen, Lau Pa Sat Festival Market will be another spot with the option to duck into the bustle – exits, and food, aplenty. Watch out though, taxis are always on call around 10pm in the Central Business District for finance-types who knock off late. You’ll have problems calling one too.

For equally good ‘street food’ in a more formal setting, take it to Club Street/Ann Siang Hill: Beaujolais and Le Carillon de L’Angelus are ideal venues – calm enough to have a proper conversation (give him/her a fair chance), yet busy enough you can have your friends breeze by for you to join them, or them, you. We’ve found 83 to be a good place to “lose” people.


3. A bus, a train, a car – all of the above

This is for the kiasu kias (Chinese dialect for ‘kids’) – when one form of transportation is not enough for you, back it up with two more. Holland Village’s Pho Hoa Noodle Soup, or Cha Cha Cha Mexican Restaurant & Bar – down the road are both nice, non-commital options. After which, you can go the MRT way, he/she can go the bus route. Skip Michelangelo’s – it may be a fine Italian, but you’ll have to walk out together from Jalan Merah Saga to hail a cab, and the wait could take a while.

Alternatively, head to Bugis where in every direction there will be one of the three transportation options (tip: hail the cab from Hotel Intercontinental’s taxi stand during peak hours). There is something for every budget in these parts – from the personal, kaiseki feasts at Chikyuyotei at Hotel Intercontinental; to the homely Italian offerings at Garibaldi Italian Restaurant & Bar or chicken rice at Yet Con Restaurant and the accessible Poulét (Address: Level 4, Bugis+, 201 Victoria Street | Tel: 65099411 | Opening hours: Daily 10am-10pm) at the strikingly-designed Bugis+.


The Library is located on the left of Keong Saik Snacks 
| Photo: Keong Saik Snacks Facebook

4. Restaurants with activity

When it’s time to bid adieu, you can graciously leave it up to the other party to make the decision. If you’ve just had a meal at Jason Atherton's Pollen ask your date if he/she is staying to explore the Flower Dome; you excuse yourself – politely of course – to whichever options he/she does not pick.

Similarly, Keong Saik Snacksis good for its secret (oops!) bar located behind façade of The Library next door (password to be obtained at Keong Saik Snacks).


So there you go. Next time you’re out on a first or awkward date, you’ll know how to make your exit.

We've left driving out of this equation; while your date may not be going the same way, Singapore is small enough for that excuse to come across as petty and ungracious. If you wanted to be ungracious from the get-go, you wouldn’t need an exit plan – leaving without informing your date in the middle of the meal would be your default. Watch it though, ill manners do make their rounds; like it or not, the dating scene is too small in Singapore for you to render yourself un-date-worthy.

Till then, good eats, and good luck.

Celine Asril is guilty of taking pictures before tucking in to all her meals; it’s a (good) hazard of the job – this editor of HungryGoWhere never sits down to two of the same meals in a week.
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