1. Intimate setting
The Music Salon
49 Niven Rd

Fancy a dinner party with a homey setting and maybe some music as entertainment? Ethan Seow’s two-storey Peranakan shophouse just might be the place for you. His cosy space is named The Music Salon, which he set up last year with the aim of creating a space for musicians and music-lovers to meet and mingle.

On some days, Seow and his business partner Elise Shen use the space to conduct music classes – not the one-on-one lessons that most of us are familiar with, but what he calls “story-based music-loving sessions”, which take audiences through the development of music through history.

It was only after a few months of conducting these classes that the pair realised there was a high demand for an intimate setting like theirs, not just among music-lovers but other communities as well. So last October, they started listing the venue on event-booking sites such as Venuerific, and have hosted almost 100 private events since then.

“We originally called it The Music Salon, but it’s slowly evolving into becoming just The Salon,” says Seow, who has been taking private music lessons since he was four years old. “We don’t just cater to music-lovers anymore, we’re very into building communities and bringing people together through great conversation.”

Some of their clients have included intimate birthday parties, wine appreciation dinners, groups of old friends catching up, or even small corporate discussions or meetings. Booking The Music Salon starts at S$600.

The two floors can hold a maximum of 80 people, but most gatherings consist of just 20 people on the ground floor. And of course, since it was originally intended for music-related events, The Music Salon comes equipped with a sound system, and houses a number of musical instruments such as a piano and guitar – all available for rent upon request.

According to Seow, he is also more than happy to help with planning the event if necessary, or even be present on the actual day if his clients need a host.

He says: “We don’t want to just be an event venue. We can help with your decorations, logistics, help you source for musicians for entertainment, set up equipment, even clean up so you can just drop everything and go.”

As for food, while they don’t have an in-house chef at the moment, clients are welcome to use external caterers, or hire their own private chefs as well, he adds. “If anything, we’re at least always there to provide advice and expertise, free of charge. We want to create an experience you will remember.”

2. From farm to table

The Farm at One Farrer
One Farrer Hotel & Spa,
Mezzanine Level 7
Tel 6705-7825

You’ve heard of farm-to-table, but what if that table was right in the middle of the farm? That’s what you can get at One Farrer Hotel & Spa, when you book the private dining space at their 7th floor mezzanine, named The Farm.

This open-air 11,000 square-foot space was launched just last year as an agricultural facility where a variety of vegetables, herbs, and fruits – such as green papayas, kale, bitter gourd, and Thai sweet basil – are grown for use in the hotel’s restaurants and cooking studio, Origins of Food.

Right in the middle of all the greenery are a few tables among the vine-covered trellises, enough for guests to hold a sit-down dinner for up to 12 people, or a reception of up to 40.

The hotel’s chairman, Richard Helfer, explains that having this space to grow crops began as a vision for doing farm-to-table dining, and opening it up to the public for private dining events was just a natural progression.

“Wherever possible, our vegetables, herbs, and spices will come from The Farm, although harvesting schedules and quantities required affect our ability to do so on a regular basis. But we do emphasise the usage of what we grow,” he says.

As for meats, he believes in a market-to-table approach, which is why these are purchased daily from the nearby Tekka Market, as opposed to having them imported from around the world. Guests at The Farm can then have their meats grilled on the barbecue, using the “farm-grown Hawaiian Ti Leaves”.

Although booking the event space doesn’t allow for external catering, Helfer is confident that their hotel kitchens are well-equipped to handle any requests – be it Western, Asian, Middle Eastern, etc – for any kind of home-cooked style cuisine.

The minimum charge for dining at The Farm is S$150 per person, excluding alcohol, and some examples of signature dishes are the Hawaiian salt-encrusted tomahawk, and Ti Leaf-wrapped laksa or sambal paste sea bass.

When asked why he chose to open up The Farm for private dining, instead of using the space for growing more crops, Helfer explains that it’s all part of completing the overall experience. In other words, to allow people to appreciate how the food is grown, while at the same time “savouring the rewards of our efforts”.

Adapted from The Business Times.