Time was of the essence at the annual gourmet food event Savour, which ended its five-day run at The Promontory at Marina Bay on Sunday and drew more than 17,000 diners.
Visitors over the weekend who paid $10 more to attend the alfresco affair at night did not have to deal with the melting afternoon heat, a common gripe among those who showed up at lunch.
Tickets for the event, which is in its third year, were priced at $45 a person for lunch on weekdays, $55 a person for lunch on weekends and $65 a person for dinner daily. Each ticket came with $30 worth of vouchers to buy food at the event; the gourmet dishes were priced between $6 and $18 each.
Mr Patrick Lau, 59, a retired manufacturing company director, was among the crowd of lunch-time diners last Saturday who were busy mopping their brows as they tucked into culinary delights concocted by 18 international and Singapore-based chefs.
Mr Lau, a first-time visitor to Savour, said: "Hot, hot, hot. The quality of the food is good but it is just too hot outdoors."
Echoing this sentiment, barista Bai Su Yin, 20, who also attended Savour last year when it was held at the F1 Paddock, said: "It would be better if there was more shade."
Most of the dining areas were in the open and although some of the tables came with umbrellas, others did not. The organisers said more umbrellas were added after the first session last Wednesday. Still, a few diners resorted to using their own; umbrella in one hand and fork in the other.
But for Ms Marie Bumanglag, in her 30s, who visited during dinner last Saturday, the experience was an enjoyable one. The IT executive, who attended the event last year, albeit in the afternoon, said: "It is much cooler this time. You get the breeze from the bay and the view is beautiful. I was busy taking pictures earlier."
Indeed, there were as many visitors snapping photos of the bay area, as well as with famous chefs, including Ezio Gritti of the restaurant Solata in Italy and Bali, as of the food.
But those who dithered over the wide-ranging menu, which featured more than 50 items including top Australian chef Mark Best's parmesan gnocchi with apple dashi and bitter melon, lost out on a few popular treats that sold out quickly. Among them was Hong Kong chef Alvin Leung's molecular xiao long bao. Two hundred pieces of his signature dish, which reimagines Chinese soup dumplings as mini spheres with liquified centres, were available at lunch and dinner each, and were devoured by diners within the first two hours of each mealtime.
His stand drew steady but brisk queues, as did those of Singapore-based chefs Emmanuel Stroobant, of the restaurant Saint Pierre, and Claudio Sandri, of the restaurant Spathe Public House.
Chef Sandri, 33, said he was thrilled with the warm response from diners who had by last Saturday afternoon eaten their way through more than 1,300 of his sambal triple cheese truffle melts and 200kg of his signature Cajun and garlic fries. Besides the food stands, the cooking demonstrations, hands- on classes and gourmet market at the event also drew crowds.
Mr Darren Chen, 35, executive director of the organiser Savour Events, said Savour has always been a semi-outdoor event, with more than half the event venue under cover or fully air-conditioned, but "moving it fully indoors has never been considered as there would be a huge loss in ambience".
He added that the event has received positive feedback about the more accessible and attractive venue this year and Savour Events will carry out a review to assess what did and did not work.
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