CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT: En­ter through the shop­house doors at Esora; the pineap­ple tepache and ver­mouth jelly Roar­ing City cock­tail at The MO Bar; dra­matic drap­ery from Stolen; The Moon book­shop cel­e­brates the printed page; the re­gal ex­te­rior of The Capit

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia - - THE BEST OF 2018 - – DAVEN WU


Hid­den along a row of pe­riod shop­houses on Mo­hamed Sul­tan Road, Esora is a med­i­ta­tive culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ence. Tak­ing his cue from Ja­panese kappo cook­ing, head chef Shigeru Koizumi calmly chan­nels his ob­ses­sion with mi­cro-sea­sonal in­gre­di­ents such as white maitake mush­rooms, conger eel, aged akazu vine­gar and Hokkaido corn. The dishes are as beau­ti­fully aus­tere as the in­te­ri­ors de­signed by lo­cal stu­dio Take­nouchi Webb with blonde tim­ber, washi pa­per, and dif­fused light. restau­ran­te­; din­ner menu S$188.

The MO Bar

With the open­ing of the soigné MO Bar, the Man­darin Ori­en­tal has fi­nally closed the gap in its oth­er­wise for­mi­da­ble re­sumé. Lined with thick ta­pes­tries and tes­sel­lated metal pan­els in­spired by Poly­ne­sian tat­toos, the bar is at its best at night when the sky­scrapers along Ma­rina Bay are lit up like the Fourth of July. The top-notch drinks menu fea­tures 14 lethal mixes laced with imag­i­na­tive blends like black-ink co­rian­der soju, In­done­sian pan­dan rum, fer­mented man­gos­teen and car­bon­ated Scotch tea. man­dari­nori­en­; drinks from S$24.

STAY The Capi­tol Kempin­ski Ho­tel

Three years af­ter it was meant to open as a Patina ho­tel, the Kempin­ski now head­lines the Richard Meier–de­signed Capi­tol. One of de­signer Jaya Ibrahim's last projects, the 157-room ho­tel strad­dles two grand her­itage piles—the Capi­tol, built in 1933, and Stam­ford House from 1903— which ex­plains the eclec­tic mix of Art Deco and colo­nial grandeur in the pub­lic spa­ces. Framed by a green wall, the bi­jou rooftop salt­wa­ter pool is eas­ily one of the pret­ti­est in town. kempin­; dou­bles from S$568.

Six Senses Dux­ton

For the de­but of its first ur­ban ho­tel, the Six Senses group could not have picked a more charm­ing spot: a beau­ti­fully re­stored row of late 19th­cen­tury shop­houses in a leafy stretch of Chi­na­town. Inside the 49-room prop­erty, in­te­rior de­signer Anouska Hem­pel has in­dulged her pen­chant for dra­matic stage-sets to cre­ate in­ti­mate nooks charged with im­pe­rial yel­low, vi­brant reds and lac­quered blacks. A Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Medicine prac­ti­tioner is also on hand to tem­per jet lag.; dou­bles from S$390.

SHOP Stolen

In 2007, Elyn Wong turned her back on a high­fly­ing ca­reer in ad­ver­tis­ing for a sec­ond wind as a fash­ion de­signer. In that short time, she has built a loyal fol­low­ing for her trade­mark back­less num­bers and flat­ter­ing sculp­tural cuts. This pop­u­lar­ity ac­counts for the pro­ces­sion of stylish mavens who stream through the lobby of Straits Clan, a mem­bers' club in Chi­na­town, and up to her pop-up stu­dio and ate­lier for a pri­vate con­sul­ta­tion or a nose through her tightly edited col­lec­tion. stolen­

The Moon

In an age where me­dia pun­dits reg­u­larly pre­dict the demise of print, The Moon de­fi­antly cel­e­brates the joy of the phys­i­cal book. Set in a three­story Chi­na­town shop­house, this hippy-chic indie book­store fea­tures an eclec­tic haul of ob­scure but in­ter­est­ing ti­tles, the cu­ra­tion in­clud­ing an ad­mirable sweep of eth­nic and women writ­ers. A café stocked with cakes and nib­bles on ground level, and a top-floor read­ing room strewn with lowslung so­fas com­plete this bib­lio­phile's dream hang­out. the­

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