Would you be willing to shell out a thousand bucks for a meal? For eight individuals who each paid US$1,000 ($1,360) to indulge in the “Ultimate Omakase” at prestigious Japanese restaurant Nobu in Las Vegas in 2016, the money was definitely well-spent. The two-hour degustation — where proceeds of the dinner went to charity — featured surprise plate after surprise plate of top-grade sushi and sashimi prepared by celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsushisa himself.
Wondering if there was a similar experience closer to home, we made phone calls to all the top tables in Singapore. While there aren’t any $1,000 meals for one — which is a relief to know — it’s very easy to chalk up a bill in the thousands should you pair your food with alcohol.
There are, however, various Michelin-starred restaurants where a dinner for two can work up to a four-digit bill. When you’re in the mood for a truly elevated culinary experience, here are three of the most lavish dining destinations in Singapore to pamper yourself at.
41 Bukit Pasoh Rd | Tel: 9236–6368 | www.restaurantzen.com
Touted as Singapore’s most expensive restaurant and a three Michelin-starred recipient in the Michelin Guide Singapore 2021, Zen is a Japanese-inspired modern French-Nordic restaurant founded by Swedish chef Bjorn Frantzén of three-Michelin-starred Frantzén in Stockholm — a name which features prominently on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Opened in 2018, the 24-seater restaurant occupies a three-storey shophouse in Bukit Pasoh, where diners will have to eat their way through every floor as a part of a four-hour immersive dining experience.
On the first floor, you’ll sip aperitifs and enjoy canapes while taking a grand tour of the kitchen, helmed by executive chef Tristin Farmer, and discover the ingredients used for the evening’s meal. The Dining Room on the second floor is where you’ll adjourn for your main courses, and the Living Room on the third storey is the place for petit fours, coffee and tea.
Frantzén describes the tasting menu as “Nordic kaiseki with French perfume”. It features a fixed nine-course line-up of seasonal dishes at $480++ per head, minus alcohol. You can expect plenty of premium ingredients like caviar, uni, lobster, Hokkaido blue mussels, quail, and lots more.
Some Swedish favourites include the Grand Tradition French Toast topped with a generous serving of shaved truffle, and Råraka, a crispy potato roll crowned with Vendace roe, red onion rings and dill.
Jaan by Kirk Westaway
Level 70 Swissotel The Stamford | Tel: 6431–5670 | www.jaan.com.sg/book-a-table/reservation
Listed as one of Asia’s Best Restaurants 2021 and recently awarded two Michelin stars by Michelin Guide Singapore 2021, Jaan by Kirk Westaway showcases the finest in modern British dining in Singapore. Located on the highest floor of Swissôtel The Stamford in Singapore, here is where the opulent interiors and magnificent views from the 70th storey truly elevate your dining experience.
On its menu, you’ll find a variety of four- and five-course lunches and dinners from $118++ and up. What many people don’t know is that the restaurant can also customise a menu to suit your budget. For $1,000, executive chef Kirk Westway can whip up a nine-course degustation menu for two which includes a glass of Krug champagne each.
The stark difference in price is attributed to not only the magnitude of dishes served, but also the freshness and quality of the ingredients, which is why a two-week advance order is required for the kitchen staff to purchase and prepare everything.
For this special menu featuring Jaan’s most celebrated dishes, an indulgent dining journey begins with a decadent medley of savoury snacks: seared foie gras with black winter truffle; tuna belly and pickled amalfi lemon; buckwheat and beluga caviar; and 5J Ham with musk melon.
The meal begins proper with an aromatic black truffle and roasted macadamia soup complemented with aged grain sourdough bread and Devonshire seaweed butter. The main courses that follow include the Irish No 1 Oyster with purple artichoke and kristal caviar; organic English garden vegetables; organic hen’s egg poached and served with alba white truffle and thyme smoked potato; Scottish blue lobster and razor clam in a saffron broth; BBQ cornish wild turbot with Jade Tiger abalone; and Wylarah wagyu fillet on top of a rich mushroom marmalade.
The lavish meal slowly comes to an end with some warm Baron Bigod cheese and a glass of Krug Champagne Granite, followed by Japanese Shirou Houseki strawberry and vanilla ice-cream.
Fun Fact: Chef Westaway was part of the entourage who took a Singaporean couple on a sky-high dining experience on a private jet, as part of their $2 million splurge for charity. Aside from indulging in an 18-course champagne-loaded meal prepared and served by Westway himself (complete with diamond-encrusted chopsticks), the couple also enjoyed a cruise on a luxury yacht, stayed at the Outpost Hotel and Raffles Hotel Singapore, and went home with a two-carat blue diamond ring.
Shinji by Kanesaka
St Regis Singapore | Tel: 6884–8239 | Email: [email protected]
For the finest Edo-styled kaiseki and omakase experience, look no further than Shinji by Kanesaka, founded by two-Michelin-starred chef Shinji Kanesaka, whose first outlet is located in Tokyo’s Ginza district. Constantly ranked in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants as well as the recipient of a one Michelin star by Michelin Singapore Guide 2021, Shinji by Kanesaka is the sushi shokunin’s (artisan) first venture outside Japan, and brings with it the same deep-rooted philosophy in age-old Japanese culinary traditions, artistry, and integrity.
At its St Regis Singapore outlet (it has two branches; the flagship is at Carlton Hotel), the décor models itself after a traditional Japanese teahouse with intricate details like koushido lattice panels, shouji window panes, andon lamps and light wood finishing all round. The subtle scent of hinoki (cypress), sugi (cedar) and karin (red oak) wafts across an ishidatami or cobbled stone pathway leading to two private rooms — Sakura and Icho (Gingko).
Within the main restaurant, head chef Shunsuke Yoshizawa and his team take centrestage at a 300-year-old hinoki sushi counter. Here is where you get to experience the Chef’s Omakase Special ($550++ per person) — a menu entrusted entirely to the chef — which features appetisers, countless servings of top-grade sushi and sashimi, cooked dishes, soup, and Japanese fruit to end off.
Judging from online reviews, diners are happy to report that they would shell out top dollar for a return visit to experience its world-class dishes and genuine omotenashi (hospitality). Supposedly, the tuna is so fresh it melts in the mouth!