Coinciding with a lion dance during Chinese New Year is lots of fun. The ‘animals’ cavort all around the gal and leap on, and nearly smother, a young couple trying to check in to the beautiful St Regis Singapore.
The lions are formed of two guys, the one at the rear bent right over as he holds on to the front-guy. It is this one who waves the head and directs movement. ‘Lions’, by the way, are always operated by two people, and their faces are not seen (if this were a dragon dance, there would be more people, and the performers can be seen since the dragon is held upon poles).
And these look like Northern Chinese Lions, which have shaggy hair. The hotel has put out a display of mandarin oranges and oh the lions love these. Somehow the front guy manages to eat, or at least peel, some of the fruit, and he hurls the peel out through his ‘mouth’ at the surrounding crowd. The kids love it, the adults love it, it is all one big smile.
Ah food. This may be the year of the dragon but it is also the year of food at this luxury hotel.
The GM, Ananda Arawwawela, has brought in powerful players, including top cooking honcho Christian Bruhns and the Les Saveurs’ chef Alex Lozachmeur.
They are both French, and they understand food. Look at the gal’s amuse, a present from the kitchen, a one-bite salad niçoise, the whole thing measuring one by one inch. Brilliant.
The French, and the gal, still love their foie gras and somehow not one but two plates followed, with foie gras hot, with apple, and foie gras cold, a terrine with sauternes, braised pig, balsamic dressing on a mound of mesclun salad and three rounds of crustless toasted brioche.
If this were not enough, I went on to cod, oven-baked and marinated, with three bits of baby artichokes on a potato base, and sautéed mushrooms and chicken jus. We sat looking way up to three giant crystal chandeliers – this is a massive room, that soars up, it seems, to infinity.
We looked out through an all-glass wall at fountains that form part of a water display (not as big as Bellagio’s in Las Vegas or Wynn’s in Macau but actually more relevant as you watch it while you dine).
The linens are white, the side plates are clear glass with brown and gold bits embedded in them, the glass of wine – a lovely Ch Lilian Ladouys 2008 St-Estephe Médoc – was a gorgeous ruby.
You can eat and drink here forever, and fabulously. Les Saveurs does actually have two set menus, the four-course Astor, in honour of John Jacob Astor, part of the St Regis DNA, or the six-course Epicurean dinner.
Actually the really sensible and discerning person staying at the luxury hotel that is St Regis Singapore would opt for a Specialty Suite.
Buy the room and you get not only VIP transfers in a Bentley from and to the airport, with use of Changi’s private terminal to beat the crowds, but, at the hotel, 24-hour butler service with tea and coffee, and every day an hour-long treatment of your choice at the Remède Spa.
Oh yes, there is also a complimentary Decanter Wine Cellar tasting, in Riedel glasses, from 5.30 to 6.30 (pm of course) and, from six until eight, you can follow this up with drink-what-you-want in the Astor Bar.
They bring round snacks, little delicacies of the calibre of one-bite hamburgers, similar to Wolfgang Puck‘s at his CUT restaurants, both in London and Los Angeles.
In fact one needs to cavort, in a leonine manner so to speak, to work up energy and an appetite. This hotel makes all the senses work overtime. Yes, but what is it like actually staying here….?