As the CEO of a business with operations in Singapore and Malaysia, Alex Chua travels frequently for work. To make his trips more enjoyable, he tries to squeeze in a good meal or two, though, in his personal time, he will travel anywhere for good food. He observes that in Singapore, diners are trend-driven. “Restaurants open to much fanfare but close a year later once the fad dies. Chefs have to constantly innovate to bring back customers.” Service, too, is an issue because a waiter’s job is never considered a career but a pit stop before a “real job”. He says: “We get no training and no commitment and motivation in service, which makes the dining scene in Singapore pale in comparison to the best gourmet cities in the world.”
Alex Chua’s recommendations for:
Nicolas Le Restaurant in Teck Lim Road. Chef Nicolas Joanny is a wizard in the kitchen and, interestingly, I have never had to peruse the menu. He always decides what to serve me.
Terra in Tras Street. Chef Seita Nakahara serves a mean Japanese-influenced Italian degustation course that will leave you hungry for more. His use of the best Japanese ingredients makes this one of my favourite places to go to, for modern Italian food.
Modern Fusion cuisine
Although it has recently closed, my all-time fave is still Wild Rocket by Willin Low. He did not have official training in the culinary arts, but he is a master at understanding the nuances of local flavours. He enhances them with top-notch ingredients to recreate dishes that wow. I hear he is snowboarding every morning to get to work at his new restaurant, Roketto, in Niseko.
The Frenchie Wine Bar in Teck Lim Road. Owner and sommelier Michael is a colourful character who will never turn down a drink with you. It serves an amazing selection of quality wines, none of those organic, super oxidised tipples by newer wine bars. Did I mention it serves very good French fare, too?