Besides food fads, there is another trend growing in the dining scene here - high-rise restaurants with a view of Marina Bay, such as Sky On 57, ME@OUE, Level 33 and Stellar.
Joining this list is Sear, a steak restaurant which opened last week on the 45th floor of Singapore Land Tower in Raffles Place.
It is part of an F&B and entertainment complex occupying the 45th and 46th floors of the old office tower. Adjoining Sear is a seafood corner called Angie's Oyster Bar, while the rest of the 45th floor is taken up by Empire, a lounge with a well-stocked bar and a DJ spinning in a corner.
There is also a large outdoor area with a stunning view of the bay.
Opening next year on the 46th floor is a Japanese sake and small-plates eatery called Teikoku.
Sear has a large outdoor dining area too, but both times I was there, everyone was happy to be in the expansive air- conditioned dining room - to escape the heat at lunch and the rain during dinner.
You don't get a good view indoors, but it is very comfortable with luxurious leather seats and a generous sense of space with glass walls and a high ceiling.
The menu focuses on steaks cooked in the restaurant's two Pira charcoal ovens, but there is also a seafood section from Angie's. So non-beef eaters have no problem finding something to their liking.
The Seafood Platter (from $68 for two persons), with a selection that includes raw oysters, Maine lobster, jumbo shrimp and diver scallop ceviche, is good for those who like the natural flavours of chilled seafood.
But if you prefer something less plain, get the Lobster Cobb Salad ($32). The combination of lobster meat, crispy bacon, cheese, tomatoes, sliced radish and croutons on a bed of lettuce goes well with the tart ranch dressing.
But even better is the Split Bone Marrow ($28), which is a lot more complicated than the usual plain roasted marrow. Here, it is topped with a persillade comprising parsley, onion, garlic and lemon juice, as well as diced pickled watermelon, sprigs of micro greens and olive oil "caviar".
These toppings not only have varied textures but also help to reduce the heaviness of the marrow.
For steaks, there is a choice of meat from New Zealand, Australia and even Canada, which is rather uncommon here. And for those with bigger budgets, Kobe ribeye from Japan is available too.
Prices range from a reasonable $55 for Wakanui hanger steak (250g) from New Zealand to $6,000 for Kobe ribeye (2kg) with 300g Sturia vintage caviar.
Frankly, I do not see many people ordering that $6,000 dish but the $70 wagyu ribeye from Australia's Jacks Creek (250g) is a pretty good deal.
If you like ribeye, a good idea is to order the Sear Tasting Of Ribeye ($149), which comprises three types of meat: Kobe, Jacks Creek and Wakanui 21 Day Dry-aged New Zealand Hereford. It gives you a good idea of the different qualities of the meats, so you know what to order at your next meal.
My favourite is the Kobe, which is not top grade - the fat marbling is not very even - but still superior in flavour and tenderness to the other two.
This is followed by the 450-day grain-fed Jacks Creek beef, which has good flavour and enough fat to keep it juicy. The Wakanui has the least flavour but those who like their meat lean may prefer it.
For a tasting platter, the portions are pretty big, with each piece of meat weighing at least 100g. If you share them with your dining partner, you will have room to share another main course - perhaps the Canadian Western Countries Cross Angus tenderloin ($66 for 180g).
I usually find tenderloin a boring cut with monotonous texture and flavour, and this is no exception. But the meat is nonetheless seared nicely and tastes more flavourful than the tenderloin you usually get at set meals.
With each steak order, you can choose one sauce from a choice of nine that includes seaweed butter, bordelaise with soft bone marrow and salsa verde. Additional sauces cost $4 each but since I like to eat my steaks without sauce, that makes no difference to me.
Besides, there are flavoured salts and mustards on the table if you want to spice up the beef.
You can also opt for other meats such as the Dorper Lamb Ribs ($42), which are tender and juicy, or a seafood dish such as Grilled Butter Fried Prawn ($65).
There are good side dishes too, including the Homemade Lemon Rosti ($15), which is crisp at the edges, and the delicious sauteed Mushrooms, Rosemary & Thyme ($16).
Desserts here are not very exciting, with typical steakhouse offerings such as Apple Pie ($16) and Cheesecake ($15). The most interesting is the Pira Grilled Pineapple ($13), which takes on a slight burnt, savoury flavour from the charcoal grill.
It comes with salted shredded coconut and coconut sorbet - perfect matches with pineapple and very refreshing after a hearty, meaty meal.
Follow Wong Ah Yoke on Twitter @STahyoke
SundayLife! paid for its meals at the eateries reviewed here.
50 Raffles Place 45-01/02
Open: Noon to 2.30pm (Monday to Friday), 6 to 11pm (Monday to Saturday). Closed on Sunday
Price: Budget from $120 for a la carte. Set lunches are $29 for two courses and $36 for three
Split Bone Marrow ($28)
I like bone marrow but usually find it too heavy. So I really appreciate the topping of chopped vegetables and pickled watermelon here.
This article was first published on Nov 16, 2014.
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