The formality of Equinox makes way for the more casual Skai.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

The formality of Equinox makes way for the more casual Skai.

With the opening of Skai, Swissotel has done away with the formal dining space of Equinox to make room for a more communal and relaxed environment. The move is genius. With a redesign that reflects Japanese simplicity featuring vertical maple wood slats, and which sections the restaurant into various living room-like spaces, guests can settle comfortably on sofas or banquettes while enjoying the peerless views of the bay area from the lofty windows. The menu has been refreshed by former-Equinox, nowSkai chef Paul Hallett to encourage sharing among guests. Dishes are smaller than entree portions and inventive, featuring trendy ingredients and a light Japanese touch.

Diners can find cauliflower steak sprinkled with spiced date, pickled eringi mushroom and cashew nuts. Unagi makes an appearance in saff ron risotto, and there’s crispy rye noodles topped with truffle, wild mushroom and onsen egg. The standout item is the steak tasting platter, which serves 100g pieces of skilfully grilled premium beef from Japan, Australia and the US. Bring friends or business associates – it’s that kind of place. Level 70, Swissotel The Stamford.


Skai chef Paul Hallett’s butchery background comes to the fore in his flavourful steaks.


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The dishes come in varied textures to whet the appetite. Pictured here: crispy rye noodles with onsen egg.
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Lucky are those who grew up among flourishing vegetable gardens. At Jaan, English chef Kirk Westaway digs into his childhood in Devon to create this visual and textural feast of greens and root vegetables, flavoured with black olive powder and anchovy dressing. What makes this dish an English Garden and not an artistically arranged canvas of micro vegetables? A mini watering can, containing a seaweed and herb broth, is provided for diners to add the final touch. Who can resist snapping a photo? Level 70, Swissotel The Stamford.

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The 38-seat contemporary Japanese restaurant Rizu – with a floor-to-ceiling glass frontage and an al fresco terrace which takes full advantage of its location on Duxton Hill – might serve up impressive seafood platters comprising top–notch produce plated with the precision of a kaiseki chef, yet in the very same breath proffer sushi rolls with otherwise sacrilegious combinations featuring the likes of mango and lobster.

As disparate as they seem, the dishes are held together by the common thread of quality produce, and something as simple as a rice bowl (right) becomes a real treat when topped with gently seared conger eel, fresh tongues of uni, and briny bursts of caviar.

The contemporary leanings of the restaurant colour the sake list as well, which Rizu’s owner, Hisamizu Takahashi, uses as a platform to showcase lesserknown, small-batch offerings from the likes of 166-year-old Aramasa Brewery – currently led by eighthgeneration brewer Yusuke Sato. His penchant for experimentation sees the use of a variety of koji typically used in the production of shochu.

The delicious result? A mildly sweet sake that shines with wine-like qualities. 39 Duxton Hill.
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Few will have the inclination to stay in the CBD past office hours but the exception should be made for Nude Grill at Marina One. Head chef Tan Kee Leng has a bit of a sweet palate – the kale salad is tossed with pork relish, the foie gras parfait is blanketed by longan glaze and topped with passionfruit gel, and the baby squid is served with sweet potatoes – but the sugariness can be offset with house specials like the 45-day dry-aged cote de boeuf.

The meat yields with such tantalising readiness that it’s almost enough to make one forget its equally moreish sides of rosti with shaved bonito flakes and 90-day house-made black garlic sauce. Nude Grill’s mission is to deliver good ingredients with hospitality to match. Co-founder Junchen Hong can frequently be found on the premises with a spring in his step, eager to feed his customers. The sense of welcome is as palpable as the toothsome dishes. #01-22 Marina One East Tower, 5 Straits View.