I always get asked about festive dining options.
But this Chinese New Year, there seems to be a difference. When it comes to business lunches, everyone wants a restaurant that is presentable but cheap - cannot lose face but cannot spend money either.
Like a true friend, I did my research.
Here are reputable places that are suitably grand in decor, provide good service and offer a menu that will not empty your expense account.
Going into Sentosa should already put your guests in a good mood.
1. A meal at Forest (Equarius Hotel, Resorts World Sentosa. Tel: 6577-6688) should push the feel-good factor up. From Feb 2 to March 5, there are two Chinese New Year menus priced at $68 and $88 per person.
The popular Salmon Fruity Vegetable Yu Sheng (with a yuzu lime sauce) is included in the set lunch.
Other dishes include double boiled ginseng Sakura chicken soup, tiger prawns with salted egg yolk and wasabi mayonnaise.
2. If there is no need for a Chinese restaurant setting, the Chinese New Year spread at Seasonal Tastes (The Westin Singapore, Tel: 6922-6968) should be interesting.
It will be served from Feb 19 to March 5 at $52 for lunch and $72 for dinner.
Guests get a serving of the mini Buddha Jumps Over The Wall, a deconstructed Peking duck and nian gao.
Then there is the usual spread of seafood. And if you have a reservation for six and more, they will throw in a yusheng.
The hotel is smack in the Central Business District, which makes getting there and back easier for business meals.
3. From Feb 5 to March 5 at Min Jiang at One-North (5, Rochester Drive, Tel: 6774-0122), there is a $788 (table of 10) eight-course menu.
A Prosperity Yusheng is included with the set menu, alongside dishes such as sauteed scallops in XO sauce and braised pig trotters.
If you have eaten only at the Goodwood Park Hotel branch, do check this outlet out.
It's housed in a two-storey black-and-white colonial bungalow and is perfect for a relaxed meal.
4. Prima Tower (201 Keppel Road, Tel: 6272- 8822) is offering the six-course Golden Harvest Fortune Pot Menu at $768 for 10.
The highlight is the pen cai with its layers of abalone, roast pork, prawns and other premium ingredients.
Other set menus include the nine-course House of Prosperity menu ($668 for 10) and the seven-course Spring Blossom menu ($488 for six). This is available from Feb 6 to March 5.
5. I was surprised that Golden Peony (Conrad Centennial Singapore, Tel: 6432-7482) has an $80 per person Chinese New Year menu.
It is available for only a few dates, though - from Feb 19 to 22, Feb 28 and March 1, so you should book your table early.
This six-course meal starts with the Fortune "Yu Sheng" (with salmon and crispy white bait) and includes a double-boiled broth with abalone and baked king prawns.
6. At the other end of the budget spectrum, if money is not a problem, a stop at Man Fu Yuan (InterContinental Singapore, Tel: 6825-1008) is recommended.
Till March 5, the festive set menu starts from $108 per person (table of 10) upwards.
The $2,088 table for 10 is one to try because it comes with the delicious and luxurious double-boiled Buddha Jumps Over The Wall.
There is a relatively cheaper version ($688 for five) that comes with just this dish, a serving of yusheng and wok-fried glutinous rice.
This article was first published on January 28, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.