the Ninth – Jun’s Trendy New Opening


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the Ninth
22 Charlotte Street
London, W1T 2NB
Tel. 020 3019 0880

Food type: French/ Mediterranean

Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road

Website: the Ninth

A quick break from our gastronomic tour overseas to bring you one of the openings in London that I am most excited about. I generally do not like to visit restaurants within the first 6 months of their opening. Many new restaurants undergo significant teething problems whether it be the execution of food from the kitchen or the service lacking polish. In some cases, a restaurant may not even last that long! (e.g. the ill-fated and universally panned Le Chabanais) For me, it is a bit of an acid test to see if a restaurant is good enough. When I go out to dine, I am not fussed about being the first blogger to review a restaurant. I simply want to have a good meal and given that I do not live in London anymore, every time I am in London, I want to make sure that this is the case. After all, there are plenty of places to dine well in London.



However, I have decided to break my own set of rules to dine at the Ninth – a restaurant which has only been open for just over a week and one where you can still smell the fresh coat of paint. In fact, if you google the restaurant’s website, you can still see the old name of ‘Andrea’s Greek Restaurant’ associated with it! There is however nothing Greek about chef Jun Tanaka’s cooking. Jun is a chef whom I have been a huge fan of when I was living in London and he was cooking at Pearl. I have also bumped into him a couple of times when he was doing some filming at Borough Market for the programme ‘Market Kitchen’. Jun certainly has the cooking pedigree having cooked in some of London’s biggest kitchens (the Square and Gavroche to name but a few)

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Staying in Singapore – Mandarin Oriental, Singapore


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For the duration of our stay in Singapore, we opted to stay at the Mandarin Oriental due to its convenient location. Marina Bay Sands is only 15 minutes walk away (not that we ever considered walking there in the humid Singapore heat) as well as close enough to the Armenian Church where my sister would be getting married. As we booked our trip a fair while in advance, we managed to take advantage of one of the many excellent deals that Mandarin Oriental had on offer.  Booking a Club Room for the duration of our stay, we were provided free one way limousine transfer from the airport to the hotel, complimentary suit pressing (very useful indeed to ensure my suit was in tip-top shape for the wedding), late check-out as well as a spa credit which we did not manage to make use of.



Check-in was very smooth and upon arrival we were greeted by name by one of the hostesses who took us up to our room where the check-in was performed. Being able to skip queueing up at the front desk to check in is a huge benefit because the hotel is very large and very popular with tourists.

Our room was facing the marina with stunning views of Clark Quay and the surrounding financial district on one side and the iconic ‘banana boat’ towers of Marina Bay Sands on the other. Speaking of Marina Bay Sands, I have stayed at the hotel on a previous visit to Singapore and absolutely hate it because of how crowded the hotel is. Even though the Mandarin Oriental is a very big hotel in its own right, there is an air of peace and calm the minute you step in.

The views are even more stunning at night!


Our Room

Our room itself was fairly spacious although I am not a big fan of the design of the toilet with a see through glass panel. Blinds are provided for a bit of privacy and it allows you to have excellent views of the marina when you having a soak in the bath. Service on the club floor was amazing with the staff remembering our names after our first visit there. During the evenings, we were able to indulge in a cheeky drink before going out for dinner.


Singapore Style Wanton Noodles

Club access also meant that we had daily champagne breakfast on the club floor. There is an a la carte menu to choose from consisting of both European and Asian breakfast items as well as a small buffet selection consisting of cold meats and cheeses.


Coke Float by the Pool

We managed to sneak down to the hotel pool during our trip. The swimming pool was of a decent size with plenty of deck chairs and cabanas surrounding it. It is worth mentioning the service by the staff around the pool who were nothing short of amazing – setting up the deck chairs and periodically bringing us refreshments. On one occasion, I had left my mobile phone at the pool area and went up to our room. When I came back, they had my phone on charge! It is little touches like that which makes this hotel special.


Birthday Cake

On our last night in Singapore, I was surprised with a little birthday cake from the hotel. My birthday would not be until the following day when I would have already checked out but they were sweet enough to send me a delicious chocolate cake and a birthday card.

This was an excellent stay here in Singapore and solidifies Mandarin Oriental’s reputation as a world class hotel. From the moment you enter and until you leave, you are met with their signature fragrance and hospitality. However, as good as our stay was here, it would be completely outdone by our stay at their flagship hotel in Hong Kong.

Tippling Club, Singapore – Hip Dining


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Tippling Club
38 Tanjong Pagar Road
Singapore 088461
Tel. +65 6475 2217

Food type: Modern Eclectic

Website: Tippling Club

When I asked my sister (who lives in Singapore) what would be the ONE restaurant that I must visit, she replied ‘Tippling Club’ without hesitation. Now, my sister is very well travelled herself as a foodie and for her to name Tippling Club above the other heavy hitters in Singapore like André, Jaan and Waku Ghin (all of which are on the World’s 50 Best list) made me sit up and take notice. It was pretty much a no-brainer really and so I asked my sister to help secure us a booking.


Open Kitchen

If you are not familiar with the area, it is worth pointing out that the restaurant does not have any signs to indicate you are at the right place. In fact, our taxi driver completely missed the restaurant driving down Tanjong Pagar road. Even when we did get to no. 38, there was very little indication that we had found the restaurant. Thankfully, as we entered, walking past a hip and trendy bar, one of the waiters greeting us confirmed that this was indeed Tippling Club.  Continue reading

Restaurant André, Singapore – Pleasant Lunching


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Restaurant André
41 Bukit Pasoh Rd
Singapore 089855
Tel. +65 6534 8880

Food type: Modern French

Website: Restaurant André

If there was one meal that had been more hyped up than any other for this trip, it would be André. My sister who lives in Singapore has had more difficulty getting a table here than any other restaurant in the Republic. That is the effect of being listed in the World’s 50 Best list  (as Singapore’s only entry in the top 50) as well as Asia’s 50 Best. No matter what your views are on the merits of the 50 Best list, you can guarantee that booking will be a complete pain in the backside. Just look at Ledbury – in the past, you could pretty much show up on the day and there would be plenty of tables available but since being listed on the 50 Best list, you have to book 2 months in advance barring any last minute cancellations.


Restaurant Entrance

As such, I was pretty surprised that I managed to snag a table for Friday lunch despite booking ‘only’ 3 weeks in advance. I am normally pretty organised with restaurant bookings especially when planning around my trips – I booked most of my tables for Hong Kong nearly 6 months in advance – but the decision to dine at André was made rather complicated by my parents who were not sure what their plans were going to be when they were in Singapore. Long story short, I shot an e-mail to the restaurant explaining that I was only in Singapore for a short period of time and could only do Friday lunch and was as surprised as the next person that they wrote back the next day stating that they had a table available and requesting a deposit to secure my booking. Continue reading

Shinji by Kanesaka, Singapore – Sinful Sushi


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Shinji by Kanesaka
Raffles Hotel
#02-20 1 Beach Road
Singapore 189673
+65 6338 6131

Food type: Japanese – Sushi

Website: Shinji by Kanesaka

For our first proper meal in Singapore (because a cheeky burger doesn’t really count…) we were due to meet up with my parents and my sister for dinner at Shinji by Kanesaka (henceforth shortened to Shinji) at the iconic Raffles hotel. As my sister was going to get married in a couple of days time, she did not want to dine at a place where the food would leave her bloated and sluggish. Sushi seemed the best option and having heard great things of Shinji, I nudged her towards dining here.


Restaurant Entrance

My sister was having her wedding rehearsal earlier during the day while we were busy fighting off our jet lag at the hotel pool. The thing with wedding rehearsals is that it takes forever (not that I would know since I have never gotten married) and at 7:15pm she sent me a message to say that they had only just finished playing pretend weddings and they were running late. Our table was for 7:30pm and I was worried that our reservations would be cancelled or we would be greeted by a very angry sushi chef wielding an extremely sharp knife. Thankfully, after a quick phone call, they were fine with pushing our reservations back to 8:30pm allowing my sister and parents time to freshen up and get ready for dinner.

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