Photo: Asian Market Cafe, Fairmont Singapore
Ramadan in Singapore starts Wednesday 10 July 2013. It is the holy month of fasting for Muslims, and as the sun sets each day, those breaking the fast will sit down with family and friends to a hearty dinner. It’s an important meal, and here are some ideas to help you make the most of the meal if you prefer to eat out.
Seafood and Asian buffet spread
This spiffy restaurant usually serves a generous spread of local and Western favourites and a respectable dessert selection. (Ice Kachang station? Yes, please.) For the Ramadan period, it is offering a special seafood and Asian iftar (breaking of fast) spread. There will be popular favourites such as fresh oysters and sup buntut (oxtail soup) Arrive ahead of time to use the complimentary prayer rooms.
Aquamarine| Address: 4th floor, Marina Mandarin Singapore, 6 Raffles Boulevard | Tel: 68451111 | Opening hours for dinner: Daily 6.30-10pm | Prices: Sun-Thu $81.90 (adult), $40.95 (child); Fri-Sat $93.60 (adult), $46.80 (child) | Available from 30 June to 27 July 2013
CRITIC'S PICKLocal and regional favourites in a buffet
A mod setting with impressive live buffet stations, Asian Market Cafe is a revamped version of the former Plaza Market Cafe. A plethora of mostly regional options are reading for pickings: salmon sashimi, laksa, fresh oysters, roast meats and the undoubted star of the show – the lamb craving station.
Book a table here | Address: 2nd floor, Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Road | Tel: 64316156 | Opening hours for dinner: Sun-Thu 6pm-10pm; Fri-Sat 6pm-10.30pm | Prices: $62++ (adult), $33++ (child, ages 6-12 years) | Available 28 June to 27 July 2013
Western choices in the neighbourhood
It’s business as usual for this cosy 100-seater cafe. There isn’t a special menu for Ramadan, but who needs it when having a meal here would mean rubbing shoulders with local Malay celebrities. The high-profile clientele swears by the creamy and refreshing chicken and orange salad (good for two, $7), squid ink pasta aglio olio and the almighty Badoque steak ($19.50), which was clearly designed for the particularly ravenous.
Badoque | Address: 298 Bedok Lane / Road, Simpang Bedok | Tel: 64466928 | Opening hours: Tue-Sun 3–11pm
Mediterranean cuisine by Spanish guest chef
The variety and atmosphere at this centrally-located halal dining hotspot is incredible on any given day even without any special occasion. Almost always fully booked for corporate and family functions, Carousel has its buffet variety down pat. The Mediterranean fare and yummy desserts make up for the mediocre seafood selection. For the month of Ramadan, Carousel is hosting a Mediterranean food festival cooked by Spanish guest chef, Esmeraldo Oteruelo. There’ll be seafood couscous and magret de canard (the breast of a duck). The usual exhaustive spread will still be available, take a look.
Book a table here | Address: Royal Plaza on Scotts, 25 Scotts Road | Tel: 65897799 | Opening hours for dinner: Daily 6.30pm-9.30pm | Prices: $78++ | Available from 29 June to 27 July 2013
For the health-conscious with a healthy appetite
You can have a hearty meal at Fig & Olive and at a good bargain. The bistro’s menu features a blend of European and Mediterranean offerings that fill you up without choking your arteries. The grande figo grilled seafood (mixed seafood with olive rice, $43.10) can be shared by two, while a party of four can dig into la celebracion fiesta (mixed grill lamb, chicken, seafood and salad, $88.30). Do also try the grilled chicken margribi kebab ($8.90), with tender chicken, greens, onions and margribi (a type of Mediterranean sauce) mixed into a mayo-laced wrap.
Book a table here | Address: Jurong Point 2 Shopping Centre, #B1-62/63, 63 Jurong West Central 3 | Opening hours: Daily 10.30am-10.30pm
For a taste of Sweden’s best
Forget the meatballs. At Fika, you’ve got some of the most value-for-money, authentic Swedish favourites on the island – served within dapper, cosy confines. We like the chilled open sandwich that is toast skagen (toast topped with Swedish freshwater shrimp and smoked salmon in mayo, $22.25) as well as the tongue-twisting tunnbrodsrulle (classic Swedish thin bread roll with mashed potatoes, grilled sausage, fried shallots and homemade bostongurka or Boston pickles, $22.25).Tunnbrodsrulle is known as the "king of street food" in Stockholm, so do give it a go. Not satisfied? The pickled herring platter ($17.55) may just provide that extra filling before you lay your fork to rest. Or you can opt for their Ramadan buffet ($36++), which consists of main, salads, fruits, desserts and a drink. Available only on the 5, 10-12, 17-19 and 25 July.
Book a table here | Address: 257 Beach Road | Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am-11pm; Sat & Sun noon-11pm
Celebrity chefs' Balinese feast
This incredibly good halal restaurant is low-key, almost romantic, and is known for its attentive service. Celebrity Balinese chefs Kaler and Noldy will be whipping up a bountiful spread of over 40 Indonesian dishes. A different menu every day – call them up to check for the menu of the day – you can expect dishes such as chicken porridge, chili crab and satay.
Kintamani Indonesian Restaurant | Address: 3rd floor, Furama Riverfront Singapore, 405 Havelock Road | Tel: 67396463 | Opening hours for dinner: Daily 6pm–11pm | Price: $64.35 | Available 29 June to 28 July 2013
Bingeing on rich food when you’ve not had a drop of water all day from fasting isn’t always a good idea. For a light fuel-up when you break fast, Shin Tokyo Sushi is probably your best bet. Pick from a variety of conveyor belt-sushi (from $2.30 per plate), or try the spicy squid tempura nigiri ($2.30). There is always the option to order a hot bowl of ebi ramen ($10.20)
Shin Tokyo Sushi | Address: #01-22 Far East Plaza, 14 Scott Road | Opening hours: Daily 11.30am–9.30pm
Turkish fare in folksy setting
We like authenticity when it comes to foreign cuisines and Sofra didn’t disappoint. This restaurant has a true-blue Turkish kitchen crew, and once you step into the dining area that features a folksy decor, you can already tell it’s not your typical eatery. The menu is compelling, with dishes such as Sofra yaprak tavuk (chicken meat stuffed with Turkish rice veggies and mushroom, served with mashed potatoes, $19.50) and adana kabap (spiced minced meat cooked over fire, $16.90). If you prefer something fusion, there is the Sofra spaghetti aglio (spaghetti cooked in Turkish spiced sauce, $10.90).
Book a table here | Address: Shaw Towers, #02-42/43/44, 100 Beach Road | Opening hours: Mon-Thu 11.30am-2.30pm,6-9.30pm; Fri 11.30am-2.30pm, 6-10pm; Sat 12-10pm, Sun 12-9.30pm.
Deep-fried goodness in fuss-free cafe
The tables may be plastic-wrapped, but there is something about this hole-in-the-wall cafe that makes it feel like it’s Hari Raya Puasa every time we dine in. Greasy western food is the order of the day: pick the breaded fish bites ($8.90) over the fish and chips ($15.90) and go for the very filling spicy chicken pomodoro ($15.90).
Vintage Delicafe | Address: 66 Bussorah Street | Tel: 62979591 | Opening hours: Tue–Sun 6.30–9.30pm
Deena Shah recommends the best places to go and things to do in Singapore for various platforms, including inSing.com. When she’s not attending concerts, plays and wine dinners, the pop culture nut can be found in bed reading self-help books and admiring her K-pop album collection.
Ken Wong can swiftly take down a spring chicken with a knife and fork, just as he is comfortable with words obliterating the whites on his screen. You can spot this lifestyle magazine editor at the latest izakaya sniffing sake and wolfing down fresh sashimi. Wong also contributes to the World Spa and Travel Magazine, from which he gathers brilliant ideas for retirement.