I suppose I am just not the Nyonya* kind of girl. Four months in Singapore, and I have already pretty much depleted my interest in the local food. Chicken rice, laksa, bak ku teh, roti pratas (remember to pronounce it the Singaporean way – roTI plaTA (emphasis being on the capital letters)) - all that was very tempting in the first 2 weeks, but two weeks was pretty much how long it lasted. Like Singapore itself, these foods now seem to me lacking a soul. They seem sterile, clinical, generally just lacking some sort of “oomph”. The various chicken rice stalls start tasting the same to me now, and my excitement for roti pratas fast fading as I begin to reminisce the delicious “zhua bing”s (“clench” pancakes) you get in Taiwan instead.
What I do love about dining experiences in Singapore (and Singapore in general), however, is the space. Restaurateurs in Singapore let their imagination run wild with spaces like Rochester Park (think Graze, a posh restaurant operated by the same people behind JIA hotels, and Min Jiang – the latter recently opened an outpost in London’s Royal Garden Hotel on High Street Kensington), the Botanical Gardens (think Halia, a Robinson Crusoe sort of restaurant nestled amidst the ginger and orchid gardens) and the old stables in Bukit Temah (think Mimolette, a restaurant-cum-bar with a colonial setting tucked within the Turf Club), while the latest fascination came from Braise in Sentosa. Housed in an old train station (which has now relocated to just two minutes walking distance away), Braise is the brainchild, in conjunction with a Chinese restaurant in the ground floor, of entrepreneur Dawn Teo. I was bought immediately. The slanted high ceilings reminded me of a Tudor building while the interiors were bright and minimalist. Everything was sleek and clean in keeping with the latest trends in restaurant design, yet Braise managed to distinguish itself by little thoughtful details like a small trench filled with water flowing underneath several tables (which can almost double up as a study with their “desk lamps”), a private beach, attentive staff and of course, good food.
The first thing that came to us was of course, bread, and you can almost decipher the good dining experiences from the bad ones by their breads. If the bread is good, most probably the rest of the food cannot go too wrong either. In this case my theory worked perfectly well and we were very happy with our foie gras, terrine of crab and …some kind of duck – here the only problem was that we were not entirely sure what kind of duck we were eating since the manager Frank was strangely vague in describing it.
All in all, Braise is the perfect place for a quiet dinner or even brunch and dinner parties if you want to listen to waves paddling up the shore, see stars gazing down upon you after a most satisfying meal, or generally, just to get away from the hustle and bustle of it all. Frank will be right there to pick you up at Palawan Beach.
60 Palawan Beach Walk
Level 2 Sentosa
Tel: (65) 6271 1929
*Peranakan and Nyonya are terms used for the descendants of late 18th Century Chinese immigrants to the Nusantara (Indonesian archipelago) region during the Colonial era, especially the British Straits Settlements of Malaya and the Dutch-controlled island of Java and other locations, who have adopted partially or in full Malay customs.