With over 2,500 rooms, you’d expect Marina Bay Sands to have lots of restaurants and, since opening in 2010, the hotel has looked to numerous “celebrity chefs” to maximise appeal.
The most recent addition is Gordon Ramsay, with a new outpost of Bread Street Kitchen, joining everyone from Daniel Boulud to Mario Batali via Wolfgang Puck, David Townsend and Tetsuya Wakuda.
Slightly less well known is David Myers, who opened Adrift in the lobby of Tower 2.
In case the thought of dining in a hotel lobby, especially the aircraft-hanger-like Marina Bay Sands, sounds daunting, or just plain unappealing, then think again.
The design by Wilson Associates creates a lovely intimate feel to the place, with a ceiling a lot lower than the atrium. Mason jars hang over dimly lit tables, complete with with decorative Edison bulbs or plants growing in them.
Entering from the lobby takes you into a space with a completely different vibe, with walls of slanting gold allowing daylight in while allowing you to peer out, but making it difficult for passers-by to look in. There are leather bar stools, antique metal screens and dark timer benches.
The music, although luckily high quality, is on the loud side for a restaurant. The bar area, with comfortable lounge seating, might be a destination in itself, with a long list of signature cocktails for $23 (all prices in Singapore dollars), including the inevitable Singapore Sling, with gin, liquers, pineapple, lemon; and Adrift margarita, with tequila, fresh lime juice, Cointreau.
The more unusual cocktails include Penicillin, with scotch, fresh lemon, ginger, honey and Islay float; and Tuk tuk thief, with aged rum, fresh pineapple, lemon and fernet blanca. There is also an extensive wine list.
The restaurant has a main seating area, a private dining room for 40 (or 50/60 standing) and a chef’s table.
From the bar area, you can look into the open kitchen. Simple bar snacks are best treated as appetizers, so head for the restaurant.
Chef David Myers was the driving force behind restaurants Comme Ca, David Myers Cafe and Hinoki and the Bird, where I dined a month or so ago in Los Angeles and which is supplying the food for Virgin Atlantic’s new LAX lounge (to read a review, click here).
Clearly revelling in the freedom, Myers has set up a new company called GypsyChef and Adrift is soon to be followed by Saltwater in Tokyo.
In this restaurant, he has taken an eclectic look at Asian cuisine with a West Coast, as in Los Angeles, view. From Myers’ point of view, it has allowed him to create hundreds of dishes which over the last few months have been whittled down to less than 50. To view the current menu, click here.
We dined as a group of eight and so had a selection of these dishes, which are under various headings such as Drinking Bites, Toasted and Something to Start (all smaller dishes). Again, all prices are in Singapore dollars:
- Oysters, lime leaf vinegar – $9/piece
- Crispy fried chicken, mustard miso dip – $11
- Beef tar tare, lemon, parmesan – $17
- Young kale, hazelnuts, maitake, true pecorino, shallot vinaigrette – $14
- Basil marinated tuna, spicy avocado – $16
- Grilled corn, dashi butter, furikake – $8
Among the main courses, we tried:
- Brick chicken, mizuna, grilled leek, yuzu jus – $26
- Wild masu salmon, spiced tomatoes, curry – $38
As Myers puts it, this is a menu for “dreamers and explorers”, allowing them to take satisfy the wanderlust of their palates, although I think it’s probably almost as much as satisfying his own varying tastes.
The sharing plates mean you can feel a little Adrift (sorry) with all the different flavours, but it certainly gives you plenty to talk about, with our group listing and then ranking our favourite dishes. Judging proved difficult, since only an emply plate testified to the popularity of the Wild masu salmon, for instance.
The service is excellent, the food delicious and the restaurant an escape from the giant hotel lobby.