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Food Hotel: Fullerton, Singapore

Fullerton Singapore
1, Fullerton Square, 049178
+65 6733 8388
Cuisine: International
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Singapore is hot once more with a buoyant cultural scene no-one would have expected. But it’s the food at the Fullerton Hotel that sent Andrew Copestake into raptures.
The Fullerton, Singapore, has always been synonymous with business. Even before its current incarnation as a glorious 400-room, luxury, five-star hotel, with all the trimmings and sweeping Doric columns worthy of a Parthenon, it was, in turns, the General Post Office, Chamber of Commerce and, most latterly, the offices of the Inland Revenue.
But as the last, in particular, might suggest, ‘business,’ unless you are Sir Alan Sugar, is unlikely to set the pulses racing. It is certainly true that beyond its extravagant, monumental exterior, a gem of noble 1920s colonial architecture, the Fullerton, a hotel since January 2001, opts for refined opulence over the cutting-edge. It knows not to upset the besuited sensibilities of its CEO clientele; but it also knows that they too like to let their hair down once-in-a-while.
And nowhere is the opportunity to turn business into pleasure more easily accomplished than in the arena of the dining room. Or to be more exact, in one of the Fullerton’s five gourmet areas. Top of the list in altitude terms (and perhaps a reflection of the trajectory of business hierarchy) is The Lighthouse, an elegant Italian eaterie that allows you access to the building’s exclusive rooftop with views across Marina Bay to the Singapore Flyer and the tilting constructions of the US$6billion Las Vegas Sands casino project, due to open before the end of this year.
But for all its magnificent views, its impeccably starched linen table-cloths and its flavoursome wine list, there is something a tad clinical about the 50-seater Lighthouse, an atmosphere at odds with its cosy size, a feeling of being cut-off from the ‘true’ fun down below. In pure business terms you have to speculate; can life at the top really feel this lonely?
Better by far to descend a few floors to the syrupy heat of street level where the options become far more egalitarian. Firstly there is the Post Bar where the Fullerton’s immaculately restored deco design is most replete and where its signature lychee martini has forged an enviable reputation across Johor Bahru as far as Kuala Lumpur and back across the Straits all the way to Jakarta. Then there is the fanciful glass and bamboo atrium Courtyard where an even more fanciful chocolate buffet is served up on Fridays and Saturdays. There is also Jade, whose elegant design is spot-on for those who like their Chinese cuisine with a fine-dining spin. And finally, there is the Town Restaurant.
Its humdrum name cannot belie the buffet delights that lie beyond come Sunday brunch. If you can bag a table on the terrace, by the banks of the Singapore River, then you have pride of place in this Lion city. Unless, of course, you are humidity-averse; in which case indoors buzzes louder than a chainsaw in a silent jungle.
In the democracy of the internet some wag somewhere has even dubbed it one of the Seven Best Brunches In The World. I’m not sure how you can come to that conclusion unless you have eaten a lot of food in a lot of different places. But, whether it is the seventh best or the 700th, one thing is true; the Sunday Brunch at the Fullerton offers a lot of choice, and a lot of food. It is the culinary equivalent of Kon-Tiki, that board game popular in the 1970s in which you traversed the globe in a plastic raft following Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s epic crossing of the Pacific. Only this time you have a china plate, a suckling pig and a chocolate fountain as your tools.
Where you choose to start your journey is up to you. There is sushi from Japan; curries in every hue from every part of India; an Italian smorgasbord worthy of the finest delis of Bologna; stinky French cheeses and soothing Miso soups. There is grilled fish and fried fish; local Singapore chilli crab, Nasi Goreng from Indonesia and Malaysian Nonya. There is even roast beef with all the trimmings and Yorkshire Puddings the size of saucers.
It all comes with as much champagne as you want; or at least as much as you can drink before you can’t stand up. And more importantly, it is so much more fun than The Lighthouse one wonders why anyone would aspire to join the Board of Directors up above. Down here, the workers are having the time of their lives.



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1 January 2010
By: Andrew Copestake
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