Think this island is too small to go on any dating adventures? We've done the brainstorming for you, and have rounded up 52 great playful and adventurous dates for you to go on. Because this is Singapore (and we are HungryGoWhere), we've made sure all of them include access to food and drink – so neither of you will go hungry. Now go forth, date, and love.
Looking for a romantic meal/private dining spot/dining on the beach/recipes to cook for your loved one? Click on...
GO FOR A ROMANTIC MEAL | It may be a cliché, but for a fail-safe date, dinner at a romantic restaurant is the way to go. Cosy, intimate, romantic and exclusive; these restaurants promise a special evening in the company of great food and the one you love. And if you're looking for a deal, we have plenty here, starting from $50++ per person.
FRY UP A HAWKER SNACK FOR YOUR PARTNER | Here’s an interactive, delicious and pocket-friendly date activity – head over to Maxwell Food Centre’sHum Jin Pang stall for some sputtering action: fry up your own, or your partner’s hum jin pang (deep-fried dough with red bean filling, six for $1). It’s an easy way to show off your cooking skills and generosity – no frills, no spills, no clean-up and it’s an easy bill to pick up. If you cross your chopsticks well, this will be a hot date.
DINE IN ALMOST-PRIVATE ON THE FLYER | Ah, the failproof date: the capsules of the Singapore Flyer can be easily transformed into capsules of love. Book out the entire pod for $1,800 nett for guaranteed privacy (well, as much as you can with an in-flight butler), a five-course meal with wine pairing or a bottle of Moet and Chandon champagne, a bouquet of roses, and Flyer Lounge access. The Valentine’s Day 2014 special is still available for 12 and 13 February – a three-course meal ($396.60 per couple, in a shared capsule) on The 'Wheel of Love'. The menus until June include Australian wagyu beef, Pacific creme snapper, and baked chicken as options for the mains, while the Valentine’s special dessert – aptly – are chocolate cheese truffles with peanut butter compote, and heart-shaped macarons.
MAKE PANCAKES FOR EACH OTHER | No, we don’t mean the kind where you haul out the pots and pans, make your own batter and make a big mess in the kitchen – although that could be romantic too. Pancake making is fuss-free at DIY eateries like Slappy Cakes where you pick your preferred flavours of batter ($8 per portion, good for four pancakes) from buttermilk, whole grain, peanut butter, chocolate, and zucchini (yes, zucchini). The batter comes in squeeze bottles for squirting onto the hot griddle so you lovebirds can create whatever shape or design you fancy, and then customise with sweet and savoury fixings ($1.50 to $3 per ramekin-sized portion); fresh berries, chocolate chips, nuts, cheese, or ham. It’s not done yet – finish off your pancakes with toppings ($1.50 to $3 per portion) like maple syrup, jam or whipped cream. Do resist putting whipped cream on each other – this is a family-friendly joint.
HAVE A MEAL IN A (ROSE) GARDEN | Who needs 99 roses when you can have an entire garden with many more varieties? And you’ve got options: dine in the (replicated) cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions at Pollen, the restored 1920s colonial residence of Au Jardin [hurry – last chance before it closes in March], and the balmy but relaxing ginger garden of Halia. While each of the restaurants have their Valentine’s Day dinner menus (six courses for $234 per person; five courses for $538.20 to $655.20 for two; and six courses for $300 nett per couple, without alcohol), the regular occasion meals are equally romantic and superb. Your partner will love the interactive dessert bar at Pollen, and the lush getaway that Au Jardin and Halia provide. For a more affordable Valentine’s Day option, Au Jardin also has a lunch seating at $76 per person.
A DATE AT THE HAWKER CENTRE | Who said a romantic evening means fancy restaurants and collar-tightening bills? Not us. For a dining experience with excellent food and great service (it's self-serve, so the ball is in your own court) look no further than your favourite hawker centre. To help create more of a 'date-like' ambience, bring along your own tablecloth, candlelight and cutlery and even dress up for the occasion. Worried about people staring? Only if you have time to look somewhere other than in your partner’s eyes. Our pick for the most date-friendly hawker centre – Berseh Food Centre. It’s quiet enough at night, with a few stalls still open (the drinks stall, for sure). It’s also close enough to plenty of good restaurants and establishments that putting a mixed meal together will be easy peasy.
BOOK OUT AN ENTIRE RESTAURANT | If sitting neck-to-neck with other diners on a date is too common, then book out an entire dining space just for two. Oxwell & Co, the public house-slash-dining room on Ann Siang Hill, has a quirky-cool 'Study' on the second level that is furnished with upcycled furniture that exudes a Mad Hatter's workshop vibe. Choose from their a la carte menu of excellently-battered fried fish bits with garlic mayonnaise ($18) and a caprese salad with three kinds of tomatoes (heirloom, cherry and regular, $15), or ask the chefs to whip up something special for your special someone. The minimum spend for a dinner that goes from 6pm to midnight is $1,500 to $2,000, depending on the menu requirements. On Valentine's Day only, booking out The Study will set you back $10,000. It may sound extravagant, but this sweet deal comes with a host of throw-ins, like a ten-course tasting menu, free-flow champagne, a pre-dinner pampering session for the couple, a thousand roses, string quartet, limo service, and the best part, one night's stay at the penthouse suite at the ParkRoyal on Pickering.
PRIVATE SKY DINING IN A CABLE CAR | For those who would like to dine in the sky and are looking for a cosier experience, it’s not too late to book a Singapore Cable Car for Valentine’s Day. You won’t get the cabin decorated with flowers ($488++ per couple), but at a more affordable $320++ per couple, this ride with a three-course meal is equally mouth-watering: sesame-crusted ahi tuna, grilled half lobster with crab bisque or a beef filet with foie gras, and chocolate rum cheesecake are on the menu. On this day (and package), you can clink to ‘love’ with glasses of Veuve Cliquot rose champagne. P.S. on regular days, the non-floral cabins can be reserved for $218++ per couple. And, you can't fit a butler in there with you – geddit?
DINE IN HERITAGE SURROUNDINGS | When dining at Raffles Hotel, it isn’t just the tea that is steeped: every pillar in this Grand Dame of Singapore is pervaded with history. A pre-meal activity would be to hunt down the (approximate) spot that Ernest Hemingway put pen to napkin(s); or let your imagination go wild with visualisations of the Indian summers spent in the legendary Palm Court, among the white colonades and at the once-swimming pool. Opened in 1887, this hotel has kept up with many decades of change. Aptly, a meal should be had at The Halia, where dishes that marry the modern and traditional are offered: tuck into chilli crab spaghettini ($26) with spring onion and egg. Hide the menu from your partner and claim credit for this: pair this with the updated Singapore Sling made with Hendrick’s gin ($28; or $54 if you choose to pair the two) – it’s much better tasting than the original. How well thought out is that?
DINE ON A BEACH IN PRIVATE | You could be dining on what might be the Southern-most point in Continental Asia – It’s on a secluded beach spot in Sentosa (Tel: 62791767). For $688++ per couple, you’ll get privacy from 7pm to 11.30pm, free-flow champagne and wine, five courses (poached lobster medallion and oysters; smoked duck; wild forest consomme with morel dumplings; grain-fed tenderloin; and chocolate mousse) and a personal butler. Only on 14 and 15 February 2014.
FEED EACH OTHER DESSERT | As much as we hate to share our chocolate lava cakes, brownies and ice-cream sundaes, we will make an exception when it comes to our special someones. For cutting edge dessert creations by chef Janice Wong, head to the sleek 2am:Dessertbar (book a table here) to feed each other creations like the smoked tofu cheesecake with milk sauce and malt ($16). Another favourite to-share dessert of ours is the Haagen-Dazs fondue – mini ice-cream scoops (vanilla, cookies 'n' cream, strawberry and Belgian chocolate), fresh fruits and patisserie in hot chocolate sauce ($45 feeds two). Perfect foods to be whispering sweet nothings over, don’t you think?
HAVE A MEAL COOKED BY A PRIVATE CHEF | You won’t need to leave the comfortable confines of your lovenest for this date: hire private chefs to set it up deliciously for you. The high-flying stable at My Private Chefs can whip up everything from Teochew and Peranakan to Modernist and European (from $85 to $195 per person; Tel: 81231800). If you like the modern-homely European-Asian food at Table at 7, chef Karl Dobler is for hire. Similarly, if you’ve tasted the platters by guest chef Jeremy Nguee of Preparazzi at Platters Bistro & Bar and would like him to recreate it, you can (Tel: 91254224). If things go well for you, we’re sure the chefs will leave quietly.
COOK A ROMANTIC MEAL AT HOME | The way to a man’s (or woman’s) heart is through their stomachs – we know this from first-hand experience. Slaving away in the kitchen all day may not be your idea of romance, but small efforts do go a long way: a shaving of truffles here and a dollop of cream there makes the perfect meal for the man/woman of your dreams. The perfect Valentine’s meal is, in our humble opinion, home-cooked and with that special someone (bonus points for candlelight dining). Which is why we have recipes, for every kind of appetite, preference and skill.
All-you-can-drink - sorted. Cold coconuts - sorted. Ice bar - bring it on. Yakult - yes please.
SIP ON TEA TOGETHER | The best way to appreciate tea is with great company, and – as tea lovers would say – vice versa. For a zen date that is also an experience, opt for a traditional Chinese tea ceremony at one of these classic teahouses. Tea Chapter offers tea appreciation packages for two: sample up to six varieties of tea and pair them with snacks like tea eggs and cookies ($32.10 to $62 per person). For a top quality brew in more contemporary surrounds, head to the TWG Tea Salon & Boutique, they offer a mind-boggling variety of teas, blends and infusions (over 800). Ask the servers to help, or download their handy app to make your selections. We recommend sampling their Valentine’s special Follow Me tea, which is a blend of green tea, rare ginseng root and royal pineapple ($11 a pot).
GO ON AN ALL-YOU-CAN-DRINK DATE | They say alcohol is a social lubricant, so let your inhibitions down – all of them. Wine BOS has one of the best drink deals in town, and is a worthy choice for a cheap, affordable nightout: for $21 per person (6 to 8pm, daily) drink all you can of the housepour wines (red or white). Need more than just drinks? Head to En Japanese Dining Bar (book a table here) and settle in for the shabu-shabu and a la carte buffet; top up another $41 for two hours of free-flow of beer, wine, cocktails and shochu. Make sure you drink responsibly.
HAVE TEA (OR A COCKTAILS) WHILE CREATING ART | For the artistically inclined, there are a few spots that allow you to paint, sip tea, paint some more and have a cocktail or two. Our top pick for an 'art jam' is Museo at Sentosa Cove. For $38, get a 30cm by 30cm canvas and unlimited use of the studio and acrylic paints to create your own masterpiece. Use the view of your partner posing against the docked yachts as inspiration, and if you need to get the creative juices going a little more, cocktails are available. Tuck into $35 worth of food and drink and the art experience comes free. Think you've got a sentimental masterpiece there? Top up $20 to take your canvas home.
GO FOR A WHISKY TASTING | You love your amber gold; he/she not so much. Clearly this is a matter that needs to be resolved. Don’t just test it out on your standard Chivas, Macallan, or Glenfiddich – sample the really good single malts from whiskey spots as diverse as Taiwan or from the smaller regions tucked away in Scotland. Head to La Maison Du Whisky where there’re over 700 bottles to choose from. They offer tasting flights of three whiskies that cost between $42 to $120 per person. The $42 selection generally includes US whiskey that might have you tasting the Eagle Red 10-year-old and the Elijah Craig. At the other end, the $120 flight is a taster of the Artist Range – think: a Laphroig 15-year-old and a Bunnahabhain 25-year-old. Things will definitely get smoky at some point.
FREE | GO CUPPING | ...Coffee cupping, of course! To go cupping is to observe the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee, and at Common Man Coffee Roasters, you get to indulge in free cupping sessions at 2pm every Wednesday. This hour-long session includes tastings of free cups of coffee of various origins, and plenty of coffee knowledge that will be passed on from coffee experts. Specialty coffee roasters Papa Palheta conducts longer classes like one on alternative brew methods and another on latte art at Chye Seng Huat Hardware (three hours each, $235 per person for both).
GO BEER TASTING | If suds are both you and your partner’s bubbly of choice, sip on microbrewery Brewerkz’ (book a table here) beer sampler of four (125ml each; $14). You can pick four out of any of their beers, so one of you can have heavier chugs like the Oatmeal Stout and the Black Pig, while the other has the Ginger Beer and Black & Blue Berry Mead. Or you can opt for solidarity and have the same. We like the Riverside Point outlet for its location by the water and its rowdiness – you both will likely need to speak up, but conversations can still be kept private here; the Indoor Stadium outlet’s atmosphere, in contrast, is more relaxing. There are pool tables ($2 per game) at both outlets if you’re looking for a follow-up activity, though reservations are not accepted, so be prepared to queue. We’d advise on ordering another sampler while waiting – there are plenty of beers to muse over.
GO ON A BEER FACTORY TOUR, WITH FREE-FLOW | One of Singapore’s few made-in-Singapore craft beers – and the cutest-named, in our opinion – Jungle Beer, holds tours at its brewery every second Saturday of the month from 6.30pm to 11.30pm. For $40 per person, you can get tanked on the free-flow Kiasu Stout, Orchard Road (fruit beer), Singlish Ale, Siloso Beach (lager), Quayside Coolie (porter brew) and Uncle Sam (amber ale). No reservations required, but it’s BYOFood. Looks like it’s picnic time at the brewery!
GO ON A BAR CRAWL | If you went on our HungryGoWhere x Singapore Pub Crawl ‘Crazy Santa Pub Crawl’ in December 2013, you’d know it’s a tonne of fun: three or five booze-led stops in four hours ($20 or $25 per person, respectively), with free shots at each station. If you’re one that has trouble letting your inhibitions go, watch them wear off as the night progresses to the last stop (which is usually a club). Crawls take place every Wednesdays to Saturdays. Must be 18 years and above and be a responsible drinker.
TAKE A WINE TASTING FLIGHT | Our equatorial island is too hot for a vineyard, but wine tastings can be had at one of the many wine bars that dot the island. For a 'wine flight' that promises to transport you to France, head to Café & Bar Gavroche and allow 'wine pilot' Manuel Rodrigues to steer you through a tasting of three to five wines (50ml per glass, $16-$38). From full-bodied reds to off-dry whites and crisp champagnes, there is something for all wine-drinkers. Approachable and affordable, Gavroche’s intimate Parisian-sidewalk setting will put you at ease. Plus most of the wines are from boutique wineries, exclusive to Gavroche in Singapore. If you need to do your homework before the big date, read our cheat sheet to Bordeaux wines.
HAVE A PAIRED CHEESE AND WINE MEAL | While candles and roses usually cut it, you’ll get more original cultured points with cheese: head down to Wine Connection Cheese Bar where you have a selection of over 40 farm cheese available such as cheddar, valencay (unpasteurized goat’s milk cheese), morbier (semi-soft cow’s milk cheese) and truffle brie. The have wine and cheese pairing classes (90 to 120 minutes; $42.80 per person) for you to learn to pair different wines – ranging from Argentinian to French – with their vast amount of cheese from their residential sommelier. After gaining that extra knowledge, head over to The Club at Sands SkyPark for your test – an independent wine cheese chocolate pairing. Only open from 8pm to midnight, this evening-only cheese and chocolate bar offers a romantic, indulgent night with buffet, wine flight – shiraz-cabernet, sauvignon blanc and ruby port – and a surprise ($103 per person) this Valentine’s Day. This takes place on regular days too: it’s $56.20 plus $22.20 for the buffet and three-wine pairing.
CUDDLE UP AT THE ICE BAR AND LET IT SNOW | If your love is too hot for you to handle, cool it down with a trip to the temporary 2 Degree Ice Bar ($32 per person). Set within a 50,280 sq ft cold room by Marina Bay Sands that has a temperature of -15°C, you’ll be sitting among (and on) 450 tonnes of ice while chugging down lager from mugs made out of ice ($15), among other drinks. You’ll find warmth in more than just your partner’s arms here, too – there is a good selection of warm bar bites such as fries ($10), curry fish balls ($12), shrimp paste chicken ($12) and salt and pepper prawns ($15). Once warmed up, smash the ice mugs against the wall and tour the rest of the arena for the daily snow shows (at 11.30am, 4.30pm and 7pm), and over 20 pieces of ice sculptures that can go up to three metres in height. See who spots the Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower first. This exhibition will be in place until 15 May 2014.
From eating sushi off your partner and playing with chocolate, to doing the "surf board" and prawning - we've narrowed our eyes down.
HELP OUT AT A SOUP KITCHEN TOGETHER | Want a surefire way of tugging at your partner’s heartstrings? (Or simply want to do some charity work together?) Volunteer at one of Singapore’s many soup kitchens. To start: Willing Hearts (Tel: 64761098) needs help cooking, prepping, packing and distributing the 3,000 meals they despatch daily to the needy; and the Singapore Buddhist Lodge (email: email@example.com to apply) needs help feeding up to 1,000 people every day, and five to six thousand on the weekends. Let both your nurturing sides shine.
GO ON A PICNIC | What could be more romantic than a picnic in the park? Pack a basket full of goodies and find yourself a shady spot (our top picks are near the Symphony Stage at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, and the Marina Barrage). To take your grassy gathering beyond scarfing down bags of potato chips, here are five stores that will help you get a delicious bundle together with minimal fuss.
DINING WITH THE ANIMAL KINGDOM | We have to say, the food served might not always be great. But the company is, and the memories will be priceless. You can start this animal-studded date early with a 9am buffet-style Western breakfast with orang utans other animals at Ah Meng Restaurant at the Singapore Zoo ($34.20 per person - on top of zoo admission charges). Alternatively, head off to Jurong Bird Park to grab a buffet lunch with the parrots ($20.30 per person - on top of park admission charges), where you get to be up close with these brainy birds and try at a conversation with them. You Tarzan, she Jane, or vice versa. Bookings can be made via their respective websites.
ATTEND A COOKING CLASS TOGETHER | Get those bums off the couch and turn up the heat with some instructional cooking sessions. A cooking class, or two, will definitely add some spice (and skills) to your love life. Pick up recipes – from Persian to South Asian and Singapore street food – at Coriander Leaf’s 3.5-hour cooking classes ($150 per person per class). If you want to demonstrate to your lover you’re one to stick it out for the long term, sign both up for package courses at Palate Sensations. These courses can last from four to eight weeks ($400 to $1,400 per person), and cover the foundations of vegetarian cuisine to "chef-in-training". We say it’s okay if you want to go easy on it – "patissier in training" is good enough. Both venues offer single classes ($120 to $198 per person at Palate Sensations) and that’s perfect if you are looking to toss things up once in a while.
GO FOR A SPA AND FOOD DATE | For a day of pampering, book yourself the Grand Hyatt Singapore’s SpaTea afternoon for two ($454 per couple). The experience includes a 30-minute full body lemon sugar scrub at Damai Spa and Fitness Centre, as well as 60-minute customised massage. After your spa treatment, head over to 10 Scotts (book a table here) for free-flow Perrier-Jouët champagne and high tea that includes a selection of gourmet sandwiches, cheese, cold cuts, scones and decadent desserts served a la minute from their live stations.
DO THE SURF BOARD WITH YOUR PARTNER | Beyonce and Jay-Z have got it right – nothing spells a good workout like working out with your partner. Do the surf board and ride the waves at Wave House Sentosa. This is the perfect half- (or all-)day date: for an hour ($35 to $50 per person), or two ($70 to $80 per person), do the balancing act on the water at one or both of the Double FlowRider and the 10-Foot FlowBarrel. In between, grab some Californian-Asian-inspired bites from Wave House Sentosa Restaurant & Bar: from pizzas ($16.50 to $17.80) to steaks ($26 to $29.50) and served-at-bar-only Belgian waffles ($9.50 to $11). Adrenaline, the beach, and surfin' foods – a mere afternoon here will set you up for a good night’s sleep, in each others' arms.
LEARN HOW TO BAKE TOGETHER | Like baking, a good relationship is all about the heated union of many elements. Cream the eggs and sugar, fold in the flour and sprinkle in some love – the precision may not always be present in the journey, but that takes practice. Get some help along the way; Shermay’s Cooking School offers classes ($88 to $199 per person) to learn how to bake and frost a decadent chocolate fudge cake in six hours or make dainty Kyoto-style cakes in 3.5 hours. Looking for more entry-level classes? Baking demonstrations start at $20 per person (to $55 per person) at Phoon Huat & Co. How’s that to sweeten things up?
EAT, DRINK AND SING | It's time your significant other heard you warble. Don't do it sober or on an empty stomach, not even if you have the voice of Mariah. Have a little food and drink while you unleash your inner Bieber or Riri: at Tang Music Box on Mohammed Sultan Road, they make sure you’re not just gulping back flat Tiger beer while working those lungs out. The Meeting Place area allows patrons to "shop" for their refreshments in a supermarket-style environment where shelves are filled with all sorts of snacks, craft beers, even champagne. What you buy goes towards your spending minimum so this way you’re assured you both get gleefully drunk together. You probably both won't remember a thing in the morning – there’s your excuse to do this all over again.
MAKE POPIAH FOR YOUR PARTNER | Forget peeling prawns for your other half, rolling the perfect popiah for your loved one is so much more romantic. Does she like more egg? A sprinkling of garlic? Does he prefer layering the bang kuang (turnip) on top of lettuce leaves, or pile it at the bottom and risk breakage? Book a spot at Good Chance Popiah Eating House where you can spend the evening getting your hands dirty and making love rolls for the other. Who knows if there might be a ring hidden in the popiah; how’s that for original?
DECORATE (CUP)CAKES TOGETHER | Cupcakes have been the rage for a while. Instead of just baking, take your gifting up a few notches by decorating your own, with your partner. Learn to pipe sweet icing onto little cakes, make photo cupcakes and dip cupcakes in fondant together at Bake It Yourself’s Extreme Cupcakes class ($140 per person), among others (from $75 per person). You get to take your 12 cupcakes home at the end of your class. When you’ve devoured the cupcakes, put your techniques to test with The Icing room’s design-it-yourself cakes (4-inch to 8-inch cakes, $12.20 to $28.80). Don’t be afraid to guide your partner’s hands if the icing goes astray.
GO PRAWNING | Unlike going to the movies, prawning can be done 24 hours a day. At prawn fishing - we felt we should specify - you’re also able to sit and chill, but you can also chat while indulging in the activity. Try Hai Bin U Enterprise at Punggol and Jurong - from $18 per hour (one rod rental; $28 for two hours; $33 for 3 hours) at both, you get to catch as many prawns as you’re able, and use the free-to-use barbecue pits (only for barbecuing prawns; six at Punggol, four at Jurong) to cook them for your meal. Unlike fish, prawns respond better to the bait laid out – so don’t worry too much about awkward long silence… not that there will be plenty.
EAT SUSHI OFF YOUR PARTNER | It’s called nyotaimori (the act of eating sushi off a woman's naked body). Although not commonplace in Japan, this food trend has been featured in movies such as 'Rising Sun' and 'Sex and the City'. Do try this at home for a little fun (and something yum). Good quality sushi and sashimi can be bought from Meidi-Ya at Liang Court or Isetan at Shaw House. Eat off each other, but do skip the wasabi – for obvious reasons.
TEMPER YOUR OWN CHOCOLATES | What could be more romantic than spending a day surrounded by the world’s favourite aphrodisiac? At the Chocolate Atelier, have chef and chocolatier Reto Marzari teach you how to temper chocolates, make ganache and truffles, and other exquisite chocolate based desserts. Prices and class timings vary. If all you want is a lesson in chocolate appreciation, walk into one of these local chocolate ateliers and sample, savour and ask questions.
GO FISHING | Now here’s a relaxing way to spend quality time together: put out a (non-live) bait – or ten – and wait for the lines to catch while the sun dips into or rises from the waters. Most of the good fishing spots are in the East – Changi Beach Park is tranquil, and a glimpse of the sunset can be viewed from Changi Point; National Heritage site Punggol Jetty and beach, on which you can also catch small fish, crabs and shellfish; and popular (and breathtaking) freshwater fishing spot, Little Guilin. Fishing rods can be bought at any good tackle and bait shops, like Born to Fish on Arab Street, for as little as $40 each (5 to 6ft long). Work hard, and be patient if you want to wow (with) your catch of the day.
Breaking fast with furry friends, going to the Singapore countryside, getting on a boat (a boat!) and a different room service experience - dating can be adventurous, too.
BRING YOUR LOVER TO THE CAT CAFE | Is your loved one a lover of cats? You are in luck, Singapore recently welcomed Cat Cafe Neko Na Niwa (a trend that has taken Korea and Japan by storm). On the second floor of a Boat Quay shophouse, this kitty café is where you go to spend time in the stellar company of furry felines. You pay $12 per person, per hour to hang with the cats (they call this "cuddle charge"). You can pet them, groom them, take selfies with them and hope for one to crawl onto your lap. How is this a food date? If you must, order coffee or tea ($2.50 to $4.50) and for nibbles you have cakes, tarts and Ice Cream Cookie & Co. ice-cream sandwiches ($2 to $5.50). Bear in mind, the draw here is the company of the cats; if they decide to befriend you, you get your money’s worth.
HAVE AFTERNOON TEA AND MAKE A PILGRIMAGE ON A CHINESE IMPERIAL BOAT | Make like you’re both in an entirely different world, becoming spectators of modern Singapore: RMG Tours’ Imperial Chinese boat (Tel: 62201661), the Morning Glory, sets sail every day at 10.30am ($29 per person) and 3pm (high tea cruise, $34 per person) from Singapore Cruise Centre. During the 2.5 hour cruise, seafarers get to sip on coffee, tea and dunk in biscuits (Polar Cakes goodies are included if you’re on the high tea cruise) while taking in sights like the Singapore Flyer, Sentosa and glimpses of the Indonesian islands of Batam and Bintan. You won’t be using your sea legs the entire time either – there will be a stopover on Kusu Island where you can both ooh and ahh at terrapins and give offerings for having found love at the ancient Chinese temple.
DINE IN THE DARK | For a dining experience that breaks the ice on those awkward first few dates, book yourself in for an experience at Nox – Dine in the Dark. At this Dans le Noir concept, you’ll be dining in complete darkness so you won’t run into any awkward eye action, and you can still be twiddling (your own, or each other’s) thumbs across the table. The catch: no mobile phones are allowed, so you will have to make noise conversation. The best part: you get to taste your food in a whole new light (or dark). Read our critics’ full review here.
BREAKFAST DATE WITH ELMO (AS YOUR THIRD WHEEL) | Times Square, New York, isn’t the only place you could grab a bite with Elmo – try Sesame Street, New York, Universal Studios Singapore (USS). For $113 per person, you get to sit down to the first meal of your Saturday at 9am at Loui’s NY Pizza Parlour, next to the popular lovable red furry friend, Cookie Monster, and – depending on when they roll out of bed – a handful of other Sesame Street characters. Load up on a buffet spread of cold cuts, cereal, eggs any style, spaghetti, roti prata, assorted pastries and breads from the bakery, and plenty of fuzziness before you embark on the day-long adventure (one day pass to USS is inclusive in the price) of cosying up on rollercoasters and rides. Bring earplugs. Available on Saturdays until 28 February.
DINE ON A YACHT | Tired of dining in restaurants filled-to-the-brim with people? There is a more exclusive (and luxurious) way to celebrate: book a yacht cruise via Yacht Charter (Tel: 66816775). Opt from a 40ft sailing catamaran to a 64ft luxury motor yacht and ask for the private dinner cruise. Set sail to nearby islands and the experience comes with your own captain and crew, a meal suited to your preferences and even a live band (on request). Prices begin at $1,200. Custom price quotations are based on destination and services.
GO TO THE COUNTRYSIDE | You’re guaranteed some quality time with this excursion to Singapore’s countryside: start in the morning with Bollywood Veggies and Poison Ivy Bistro for their variety of vegetables and herbs, and farm-to-table dishes, like Ivy Singh Lim’s nasi lemak and banana bread (note: they are closed until 11 February). Then traipse over to Hay Dairies to view the 800 mixed breed goats before 4pm (must make a booking) and purchase some goat’s milk. In the evening, make a booking at Forrest@Orchidville restaurant for some homely tze char next to possibly the largest collection of orchids in Singapore.
HAVE DINNER AT THE MOVIES | At the Golden Village Gold Class cinemas, you can do a movie and a meal without having to veer far. Check in early with your tickets (you can buy them at the door, though your best bet is to book the tickets online – seats are limited; $29 per person, plus $2.50 total booking fee) to hang around the Gold Class lounge before the start of the flick. Of the three locations, the I12Katong has the most character, with its Peranakan-themed restaurant, VivoCity has the biggest menu, and Gold Class Grand has salmon crostinis. Indulge in a leisurely meal (to be paid separately – not included in the movie ticket), but save the dessert for having during the show… not that you can't order more than just sweet endings to consume in the theatre. It’s unfortunate that there is a table in between the reclining seats that prevents you from getting any cuddling action. That said, you’re in public after all.
GO ON A NEIGHBOURHOOD FOOD TOUR | Why eat at one establishment when you can eat your way through a whole neighbourhood? Opt for an organised food tour like Wok 'n' Stroll’s (Tel: 83383571) Joo Chiat or Tekka Market stroll (two to four hours, $100 to $120 per person). Alternatively, print out our handy guides and sample the best fare at Everton Park, Geylang Serai, Jalan Besar and Little India. Pick your preferred neighbourhood, map out your food trail, put on your walking shoes, lock arms and eat on.
SHARE A COLD COCONUT WHILE ISLAND HOPPING | Escaping the hustle and bustle of the city is a mere bumboat ($2.50, operating from 6am to 8pm daily) away. Head to Pulau Ubin to travel back in time to the Singapore of the 1960s. The quiet island, billed as Singapore’s last kampung, will slow you down and give you the chance to show your date a different side to Singapore living. Rent a bicycle from residents there or indulge in seafood by the jetty at Season Live Seafood. Before you return, look for a stall selling coconut water ($2) and share.
HAVE A JAZZ-Y MEAL TOGETHER | Music is the food of love. And if the music isn’t enough to feed you, real sustenance is not far away at these classic establishments: basement jazzcats’ hangout B28 is conveniently located at the top of Ang Siang Hill, a short walk away from Maxwell Hawker Center, PS Café, Lolla and Screening Room. Sultry Sultan Jazz may not serve food but conveniently, French Toots Brasserie does and that’s just a staircase away. For an all-in-one, Blu Jaz Café is your best bet. Their full menu has everything from bar bites to mains but we like the lamb shawarma ($14.90) and hefty Hunk Burger ($13.90). Check their websites for show timings.
GO TO A POP-UP | Show your date that you’re in the know by taking him/her to one of the many pop-up venues in the city. The latest: food, green thumbs, cook-offs and classes at Nong - by edible gardens (Address: Level 6 carpark, People’s Park Complex, 1 Park Road | Opening hours: Until 31 March, Mon - Fri 4-7pm, Sat & Sun noon-7pm). Bringing even more spontaneity to this is chef Shen Tan of PizzaX (and formerly Wok & Barrel), who will be holding Pizza X III here, bringing the concept of farm-to-table to live on 22 February from 5pm to 11pm. Like at the previous two installments, this will be an all-inclusive experience at $65 per person: free-flow pizzas, spit-roast pig and freshly-harvested greens from the pop-up garden. For an additional $20 per person, pop-up-goers will get access to Sailor Jerry cocktails. Tickets sold out fast previously, so lock down that date now.
GO ON A HAWKER FOOD TOUR | There are plenty of opportunities for you and your partner to play tourist in Singapore. Every Thursday, Betel Box organises a walking food tour for a minimum of eight people through the delicious East (Joo Chiat, Haig Road, Dunman Road, Koon Seng Road and East Coast Road). At $80 per person, you get to feed each other morsels from 20 dishes, from otah-otah to laksa and tissue prata, all with side doses of Singapore trivia. Alternatively, (re)discover Singapore’s hawker food via the three-hour Singapore Food Trail Adventures tours. Run by a group of friends who are passionate about sharing their "gastronomic fetish", this weekdays-only 8pm-start tour takes goers around to mostly hawkers, and peppers the experience with history, Singlish and culture. At around $120 per person, food, non-alcoholic drinks and transport are included. Nothing like good comfort food and culture to get the warm love juices going.
KIDS ASIDE, ORDER ROOM SERVICE | Did you know that the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore has a Couples’ Floor? Located on the 11th floor, this adults-only level is a child-free zone, dedicated to couples who wish for some, ahem, privacy. The experience begins once you step out of the lift – fruit, canapés and sweets are placed by the elevator landing, romantic music and movies are available from the Concierge, and you can ask for a bath butler to set up a candle-lit bath for the both of you (the latter two at additional charges). The rooms (prices vary according to room type, booking period, and availability) are set up to be more romantic – throw pillows, 101 quotes for romantic ideas and massage oils are available in the room. Housekeeping is also delayed until noon to let the lovers lie in. This Valentine’s Day, the hotel is offering a The Lovers’ Cocoon (TLC) package ($590++ for the night of 14 February – still available): this includes accommodation in a deluxe room, breakfast in bed, a half bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne and late check-out at 2pm. Of course, if you’d like to step out of the room for sustenance, One-Ninety Bar by Javier de las Muelas has perfect martinis, and the One-Ninety Wood Fired Steak and Seafood Restaurant has a five-course dinner menu on 14 February ($158++ per person).
FREE | GO ON THE YAKULT FACTORY TOUR | Most of us grew up with this drink, and have nailed down our favourite flavours (ours is the grape flavour, by the way). Imagine taking a trip to the Yakult factory to witness the entire process – from the background of the products to the making and bottling of this much-loved probiotic drink. Free tours have been conducted since 1987; these days they take place Mondays to Fridays from 10am to 11.30am and 2pm to 3.30pm. Take this trip down memory lane, discover a little more about your partner’s childhood, and score some points: at some point in the tour, you each get a complimentary bottle of the original flavour Yakult. Tours are generally conducted twice a day for groups of 25 to 50, and are subject to availability; call 67561033 ext 313/314 to make a reservation.