8 Affordable Date Night Dinner Places (Part 1)

1. Saboten
For the girl who's got a craving for fried food

Got a hankering for fried food?

Then ascend to golden crust haven at Saboten where you'll be greeted by a plethora of gob-smacking choices of the crisp skin variety. My choices would be the loin set (toss the black pig version aside unless you enjoy biting on ends of white fat - its obvious the marbling isn't that spectacular in their care), Fried Shrimp as well as the Hiroshima Oyster Katsu for the win.

But what we're really here for is the free flow rice and cabbage. The former, plump and covetable mainly due to its prestigious upbringing. 100% Uonuma Koshihikari rice, the most expensive rice in all of Japan receives respectable treatment during its cooking process to yield bowlfuls of rice so plainly exquisite, you'll find yourself plowing through the beguiling mountain with so much ease. The cabbage too will be reduced to dust, followed by numerous top-ups along the way, the definitive goma dressing making this simple cool treat irresistible.

Saboten Millenia Walk
9 Raffles Boulevard 039596
Opening Hours: 11 30am - 10pm


2. Xperience
For the go-getter

Wallowing in paperwork? Fret not... stylish gastro-bar, Xperience Restaurant situated right smack in the heart of the CBD region will soothe all ill-feelings stemming from a tumultuous day at work. Besides, what works better than the remedial effects of good food?

Executive Chef Anne-Cecile Degenne has created a blend of Asian and Modern European flavors to tease the palates of the restaurant guests. By categorizing each dish based on texture and flavor profile such as juicy, silky, crunch, saucy and zesty, this gives diners a chance to base their choices to reflect their current moods. How brilliant is that?

The Pan Seared Foie Gras, Beluga Lentil and Hazelnuts ($21) comes highly recommended. The firm grained black lentils standing up to the overindulgence of the perfectly seared slab of foie gras. 

For something a little more substantial, cash in on the Grilled Beef Tenderloin ($36), served on a slurry of asparagus cream with a dainty quenelle of olive tapenade as its sidekick; this dish ain't look like much, but its earthy flavors enhanced by the assertive tang from the tapenade makes for an ingenious combination.

Last but not least, desserts is a sweet sticky affair not to be overlooked. The White chocolate and Yuzu cremeux as well as the Banana and Passionfruit offer up some flavor detonations, so rest assured that there aren't any diminuendos here after the mega tastings. The former appeals to those who love their happy endings, tart, the shards of caramelised white chocolate carrying an enormous payload of toasted brown-buttered like sediments in contrast to the light and airy components on the plate. The latter - a cylindrical vessel made of a brandy snap filled with caramelised bananas, passionfruit cream and accompanied by a dreamy scoop of gula melaka ice cream made my eyes go wide, every time I took a bite. 

Xperience Bar and Restaurant
Sofitel So Singapore
35 Robinson Road
Opening Hours: 6 30am - 10 30pm


3. By the Fire
For a no-frills kind of girl (who knows her food)

A new concept by Immanuel's French Kitchen, the duo with enormous pedigree under their belts have collaborated to set up a no-frills joint in the Alibabar Hawker Bar, that focuses on the nitty gritty of mod Western cuisine. Alexander Chong (from now-defunct Guy Savoy and Keystone previously) and Immanuel Tee (of the well known Immanuel's French Kitchen in Bukit Merah) are the brainchilds behind this humble looking setup; mischievous stares circulate the room when questioned if they have a secret lurking in their closet. An ominous binchotan charcoal grill tucked away in the back imbues their items with a mysterious char that leaves you begging for more.

There's the Scotch Eggs ($6.90), the amalgamation of flavors from the expertly cooked molten yolk core, well seasoned pork mince walls surrounded by a fortress of golden brown crumb leads itself to a disorienting sensation. The tangy purple slaw studded with sweet bursts of raisins helping to alleviate the random hits of salt.

Chase this with the sacrilegious Grilled Pork Jowl ($15.40), the confit pork cheek exhausts all rising expectations, blowing anticipations out of the water with its agonisingly tender and fatty nature. The Japanese curry spice laced potato and pumpkin salad playing down its aggressive attributes with its sweet disposition.

Definitely a place to bring the girl should she be craving some big flavors. However, if she's not one to enjoy sweating it out, this venture may prove a little tricky.

By the Fire
125 East Coast Road
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 3pm - 10 30pm
Sat - Sun: 3pm - 11pm


4. Spizza Mercato
For the Italian aficionado

New to the Capitol Piazza is Spizza Mercato, A new concept by The Senso Group; who are responsible for restaurants such as Senso Ristorante and Bar, Spizza, La Nonna and La Villa, have conceptualised a new branding for their Spizza outlets. This branch exuding a spiffier outlook boosting a retail section which offers gourmet products and kitchenware.

For something a little lighter to kick off the evening, there is the antipasti choice of Burratina ($22), a classic pairing that is drool-worthy and entirely wallet friendly given the fair portions of Italian burratina cheese, parma ham and rucola salad plated.

Others like the Donna Pizza ($23), with its strangely alluring gluten free nature are easy to forget. Still, for those tending to the allergies of your guests, its a good trick to have up your sleeve.

Instead, set your gaze upon the Green Spinach 'Triangoli'($18), a rich porcini and cream sauce was folded in among spinach stuffed parcels of pasta, comforting despite its meatless attributes; it was a shut-up-and-eat dish. You'll be coveting for the next bite long after the last morsel is gone.

To round off the night, indulge in the Lemon Tart ($6.50), a swash buckling sweet individual with a careless cloud of torched meringue overhead. Share this to avoid a dire case of sugar overdose.

Spizza Mercato
Capitol Piazza
13 Stamford Road
Opening Hours: Daily 10 30am - 10 30pm


Stay tuned for Part II of my 8 part Date night Dinner Places soon to be released!

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