Mealtimes are, for the most part, social occasions and in the professional sense, an opportunity for deal making that’s sweetened with great food. From those conveniently located in the central business district (CBD) to those in spots that offer a little quiet or colour, here are 10 restaurants to have your next business lunch meeting at.
Having relocated to Hilton Singapore Orchard, the popular Cal-Italian restaurant (formerly at Marina Bay Sands) has been opened for lunch since last September. Available only during lunch is American chef Nancy Silverton’s famed wood-fired pizzas.
Made with an improved recipe comprising two kinds of King Arthur bread flour that’s mixed with spelt and rice flour, the puffy, perfectly charred sourdough pizzas are only available for lunch. Not your average dough, it’s left to ferment for three days before it’s cooked in the restaurant’s custom Wood Stone California almond wood-fired oven.
There are 10 flavours to choose from including classics such as the Burrata with slow roasted tomatoes and Sicilian oregano. Silverton has even created the Pizza Alla Benno, an homage to the uniquely American innovation of the Hawaiian pizza. There are plenty of seating options as well: the Tuscan rustic-styled interiors is generously spaced out for 61 guests, the 59-seater outdoor terrace is surrounded by a herb garden and a private dining room seats 10 (enquire for the minimum spend).
Find out more: Osteria Mozza
A recent entrant to the Duxton Hill area is Nijuuichi, an Edomae omakase restaurant in a quiet corner of the Tanjong Pagar district. Opened by a group of lawyers and traders, the establishment’s assortment of hand-pressed nigiri and cooked dishes are led by chef Marcus Yan. With three decades of experience, he’s trained under the tutelage of shokunin Yoshi Nogawa, who opened Singapore’s first sushi restaurant in 1978.
Fitted with neutral tones of slate and natural wood, the front door opens up to a cosy 10-seater counter where Yan and his sous chef show off their deft knife skills. Service is attentive and non-intrusive; the staff doesn’t interrupt conversation and offers privacy even with space constraints. For more confidential matters, ask for the separate private dining room at the back that seats up to six (for a minimum spend of $500).
The three lunch options include the nigiri-focused Ume set, and two omakase courses — Take and Matsu. The more elaborate menu out of the three, Matsu offers Yan’s Signature Thin-Sliced Carpaccio or usuzukuri, which are three slices of kanpachi each topped with either caviar, uni and mentaiko sprinkled with Yan’s housemade furikake.
A substantial taste of what’s offered for dinner, the efficiently-paced omakase begins with a show of Toyosu Market’s freshest ingredients as they are. Two cuts of shima-aji or striped jack, for example, are dabbed with wasabi (for the leaner piece) and yuzu kosho (for the fatter piece). As the meal progresses, expect punchier flavours as Yan utilises the blow torch, mayonnaise, cured egg yolk and his secret recipe of furikake on delicately hand-pressed nigiri.
Find out more: Nijuuichi
Unassuming local chef Nicholas Tam holds his own at his first solo venture, Willow. Part of the Ebb and Flow Group, the fine dining establishment leaves all pretentiousness at the door and is an unadulterated show of Tam’s prowess gleaned from his years at Esora, Robuchon and Restaurant Zen.
His genre-bending cuisine, informed by his Singaporean heritage, is backed by an equally impressive young team and head pastry chef, Soh Hui Shan. The five-course lunch changes daily, depending on what produce Tam can get his hands on, but showcases the ease at which he uses a range of Japanese and European ingredients and flavours. Mikan-fed sea bream, for example, is paired with rhubarb and umeboshi while foie gras stars in a long pepper ‘bolo bao’ with wild berry gel and aged vinegar.
The best seats in the house are by the 10-seater wood counter where you get full view of the team in action, otherwise lower tables along the opposite wall and a private room (for a minimum spend of $2,300) with capacity for a maximum of 12 guests offer varying degrees of privacy.
Find out more: Willow
Chef-owner Ryan Clift’s flagship is a stalwart in the local fine dining scene, reputed for its use of molecular gastronomy, and true to its ethos of innovation, was the first to introduce prix-fixe menus last February. Translating to ‘fixed price’, the French term is used in fine dining establishments that offer a multi-course meal at a set rate.
After a month-long closure due to the pandemic, the restaurant kicked off its 14th year in the business with the announcement of the new lunch and dinner format in 2022. A decision that was a long time in the making, it allowed Clift to trim the options offered in the menu ensuring better consistency and quality that he was happy with. “The standard has more than excelled and lunches became busier so it was a win-win for all,” he shared.
If you only have two hours to spare for lunch, go for the 10-course menu that refreshes monthly and includes three mains such as ocean trout, Atlantic cod and aged duck. While they’ve stopped catering to individual dietary restrictions, the strictly vegetarian menu developed by Clift and head chef Ayo Adeyemi swaps out protein for salt baked Jerusalem artichoke, stuffed zucchini flower and a tomato risotto. A semi private dining room that seats 12 is available for booking with a minimum spending of $1,800.
Find out more: Tippling Club
A departure from the fine dining establishments headed by renowned chefs, Chez Kai started as a private dining venture by chef Yeo Kai Siang and his wife, Ang Zi Yi, during the lockdown. Having trained in French classic techniques at one Michelin-starred Les Climats in Paris and the recent three Michelin-starred L’Enclume in Cartmel, United Kingdom, he combines his skills with his recipes from his Cantonese heritage, naming it Franco-Chinese cuisine.
Not situated in your typical business lunch area, Chez Kai takes up the ground floor of a shop house along Geylang Road. Designed to evoke the same feeling of intimacy of dining at Yeo’s home in the restaurant’s previous iteration, the cement walls are contrasted with dark wood tables, low hanging lamps, lattice windows and decorated with oil paintings done by Yeo himself. Apart from the main dining room, which seats 18, there are two private rooms that seat up to eight guests each (with a minimum spend $1,200).
The four-course lunch is a recent addition to their offerings and comprises three starters, a main and dessert. Yeo’s signature Sweet Potato Bread makes an appearance in the lunch menu, a popular item due to its chewy texture thanks to sweet potato in its makeup. You’ll also get the Abacus Seed, a gluten-free yam gnocchi made the Hainanese traditional way that’s accompanied with cold-smoked hamachi and a broth made of smoked fish bones.
Find out more: Chez Kai
Earning its one Michelin star soon after it opened, Sommer is a sleek modern European fine dining restaurant helmed by head chef Lewis Barker. Housed at The Sail@Marina Bay, its large glass windows allow plenty of daylight to stream in, illuminating the predominantly grey and wood tones within. As the trend with fine dining establishments in recent years is an absence of tables covered in starched white linen and a cluttered table setting.
The English chef, from Leeds, has earned his chops at molecular gastronomy with Anthony Flinn in Yorkshire, Shannon Bennett at Vue De Monde then Peter Gilmore at Quay in Australia before landing a job at Bacchanalia as sous chef. His own style involves using Japanese produce in dishes inspired by his personal experiences such as the Dry-Aged Irish Duck, his version of roasted duck.
For a quick lunch, go for the Discovery lunch menu with three-courses but with two hours to spare, we highly recommend the Inspiration five-course menu. As one of the two menus available during dinner as well, the Inspiration includes canapes, a soft Parker House Roll, an appetiser, two mains, and a starch course before dessert and petit fours. A private dining room for up to eight is also available but with a minimum spend of $2,500+.
Find out more: Sommer
Like the parable of the prodigal son, Singaporean chef Jereme Leung returned home after opening nine restaurants around the world. To show for it, he opened this restaurant — Yi by Jereme Leung — that has now become a mainstay at Raffles Hotel Singapore for its impeccable Cantonese dim sum and dishes (and not forgetting that almost otherworldly entrance of white flowers and vines).
Comfort is key here with the interior’s earth-toned hues that are easy on the eyes and plush seating with armrests and banquette benches. There are three private dining rooms separated by frosted glass doors, which can seat eight to 10 guests for a minimum spend of $1,200. For lunch, there are two set menus to choose from ranging from nine- to 10-courses comprising appetisers such as Freshly-Made Marble Squid Ink Rice Rolls stuffed with Crispy Rice Cracker & Hokkaido Scallop, dim sum such as Chilli Crab Xiao Long Bao Dumpling, mains, carbs and dessert.
Find out more: Yi by Jereme Leung
An extension of chef-owner Malcolm Lee’s exploration with his heritage from his one Michelin-starred Candlenut at Dempsey, his second restaurant calls Singapore’s UNESCO World Heritage Site home. Situated on a quieter side of the Botanic Gardens at the Gallop Extension, Pangium (the scientific name for buah keluak) is centrally located yet hidden enough to provide respite from the noise.
Contemporary Straits cuisine, a term he’s coined, is an experimental approach to recipes familiar to Lee. As he does at Candlenut, he laboriously prepares Southeast Asian traditional recipes from scratch but presents them in ways that appeal to the modern audience. While he orchestrates from his first restaurant, the kitchen and front of house are run by a young team led by executive sous chef Lai Han Yang who’s worked with him for almost a decade.
Highlights from the seven-course lunch menu. Look forward to dishes such as the bolo bun-lookalike, Pang Susi that’s a sweet potato bun with insides of minced pork cheek seasoned with Kampot pepper from Cambodia, candied winter melon and roasted coriander seed. A private dining room that seats eight is also available for a minimum spend of $2,000+.
Find out more: Pangium
Reviving the entertainment of tableside cooking, this new restaurant at Palais Renaissance specialises in teppanyaki with two open kitchens in the main dining area. With a concerted effort to import seasonal Japanese ingredients, co-founder Chi Pin Han leans into his previous sourcing connections as a chef at Keyaki to procure meat, seafood and vegetables lesser known to Singaporean diners.
The selection of ingredients change every two weeks and range from rarer cuts of Australian wagyu flat iron from Austige cattle, free range cows from Kumamoto prefecture, Australian lobsters and madai (sea bream) from the waters of Akashi, Hyogo. Even the basics of rice and eggs are imported from Ishinomaki and Aichi prefecture respectively.
Proteins serve as the focus of the five lunch options available in the five-course business prix-fixe, and the six-courses in different variations — rogama course, wagyu sukiyaki course, wagyu nanbuzara (slices of meat are served on an Iwate charcoal hot plate) course and the teppanyaki set. Additionally, wagyu dishes are sliced to order to maintain freshness.
Conversations by the teppan grill might get a little heated, literally, but all that cooking masks out any details you’d like to keep private. There’s also a private room at the back that seats a group of 10 with a minimum spend of $600.
Find out more: Ki Teppan & Rogama
Quenching local diners’ thirst for Nordic cuisine, executive chef Steve Lancaster’s modern European fare is shaped by his time in Stockholm at Oaxen Krog by Magnus Ek. Immersed in New Nordic fine dining kitchens, he takes on the Scandinavian philosophy of sustainability, ethicality and, of course, the art of fermentation.
Designed by architect Chan Soo Kian, the main dining area accommodates 18 guests in a sultry room lit with the glow of ambient lighting and spotlights at each table. The exposed kitchen allows for a view of the chefs at work, while a discreet private room seats six (with a minimum spend of $2,000).
There are two options for lunch: four- and seven-courses that change with the seasons with the latter including Lancaster’s Caviar dish, comprising potato espuma, potato puree mixed with a house-fermented potato miso derived from steamed pearl barley koji, puffed Japanese buckwheat, dill powder and a dollop of N25 Schrenckii caviar prepared tableside.
Find out more: Poise