Singapore in the swing
Bouncing between Indonesia and Singapore last August, I found myself, fortunately, booked for a night at Raffles, which underwent a complete facelift in 2019. Butcher’s Block is a newcomer to its fairly famous range of dining venues; and while it may not have the history or the chops of the Long Bar or the Tiffin Room, that’s what impressed me the most. The room is sexy and pretty, with a pronounced leaning towards clubbish; dark blue lacquered walls and ceiling, backlit canteen shelves, the indispensable open kitchen with a wood fire that hums with saucers and line cooks, lots of brass and copper detailing.
Head chef Jordan Keao was born in Hawaii, and he brings the state’s farming and hunting traditions to a menu that alternates macho (but never simplistic), choice cuts and potato paradigms with clever treats – grilled corn with black bean jam, grilled kale with lemon chilli with burrata, and an Australian riff on lamb tacos (with salad leaves replacing the tortillas) that instantly made the list of “Plates I’d Fly For”. It’s eminently party-friendly – great playlists, neat editing wine list with lots of magnums and jeroboams, and some long large group tables. butchersblock.com.sg; raffles.comfrom $1,000
Edinburgh’s New Townhouse Party
Sharan Pasricha and Eiesha Bharti Pasricha found a golden formula when they revamped Gleneagles in Scotland a few years ago; modeled broadly along the lines of a country house hotel, but brimming with sophistication – interiors, Food and drinkand a serve that would play just as well in Paris as it does here just outside Dundee – it was a winner more or less from day one.
Their new Edinburgh hotel, Gleneagles Townhouse, reverses the formula: grand country style in an urban center. The Spence, its all-day restaurant and bar, practically begs you to live a little from the moment you’re seated: pull up some oysters (Argyle Rock, of course), accept that Charles Heidsieck refill (or a negroni sbagliatoor a G&T hibiscus) and point out the dessert cart (as we love one).
The buzz is all day, live piano music stays well on the bright side of elegance, and the soaring dome above and extravagant garlands of velvet and silk all around you sanction any festive inclinations. gleneagles.com/townhousefrom £495
Cheval Blanc Paris raises the roof
It is true that it is not French. But the Langosteria outpost that sits atop La Samaritaine — home to Cheval Blanc Paris, part of LVMH Hotel Management — has everything to recommend it. Since opening his original restaurant in Milan in 2007, Enrico Buonocore has wowed diners with exuberant yet refined interpretations of the Italian seafood canon (life-changing spaghetti with bottarga, raw prawns and lemon ).
All that virtuosity is on display in the open kitchen here, where the outgoing Italian chefs seem to be having as much fun as the diners (which is a lot, judging by the decibel levels). The room – low ceilings, wood-panelled walls, a long, long travertine bar for sexy one-on-ones – is contemporary perfection; and the views of Paris from its walls of windows are some of the best one can have. langosteria.com; whitehorse.comfrom €1,750
Upcoming Aces in Sydney’s Surry Hills
Summer is coming to Sydney (if La Niña ever decides to pack it, of course); so is the festive season. That means it’s time for outdoor revelry, in which the Sydneysiders stakes pretty much wipe the floor with the competition. Opened just in time to accommodate Emerald City’s most discerning class of revelers, Kiln, 18 stories up in the sky from the Ace Hotel, which itself debuted earlier this year. Chef Mitch Orr has spent time at Lyle’s in London and Osteria Francescana in Modena, and is well versed in a robata and sous vide poacher, seafood from Korea and tomatoes from Vesuvius.
Thus Asia and Southern Europe are dynamically mixed in the food and cocktail menus: combine your tuna tartare, radish and turnip kimchi with a tomato & ricotta tartlet, after a highball with Japanese berries (whiskey, bitters, lemon, shiso and soda). Interiors, by Melbourne powerhouse Fiona Lynch Office, use materials salvaged from the hotel’s construction, Tasmanian pine and locally quarried stone – they’re warm and inviting, and a nice compliment to the hotel’s outlook. horizon all around. kilnsydney.com; acehotel.com/sydneyfrom $290
A new Dante classic in Beverly Hills
And finally, one to mark for the Spring 2023 celebrations: a legendary New York institution is heading west to settle at Maybourne Beverly Hills, Claridge’s fabulous West Coast little sister. Dante NYC (a MacDougal Street mainstay for every generation of downtown scenes since, well, Prohibition) subtly reinvented itself in 2015 and has become one of Manhattan’s favorite contemporary watering holes, with classic cocktails, modern Mediterranean cuisine and a lively scene.
Dante Beverly Hills will take up residence by the Maybourne’s rooftop pool, serving up his many elaborations on negroni (bianco, chocolate, hit – yes, really, hit, and don’t hit it until you try it) as well as pizzas, bird roasts and more than a wood oven in the kitchen. It’s almost impossible to imagine it being anything other than an absolute smash hit. www.maybournebeverlyhills.comfrom $895