Are you more concerned with where to sit down for your next meal than stopping off at every guidebook must-see? The hungry gourmands at Mr & Mrs Smith have selected three lip-smacking locations where food looms large on the agenda – Melbourne, Singapore and Penang. If food features highly on your trips, book into one of these three hotels, where the edible adventures begin the minute you step over the threshold …
Best for award-winning cuisine in a chic boho setting and Aussie fare on the beach: The Prince, Melbourne
Style High drama design, art deco grace
Setting Cosmopolitan St Kilda
Located in oh-so-hip St Kilda, where rollerblading along the esplanade and riding the white knuckles at Luna Park are among the exhilarating draws, The Prince is also situated in the middle of Melbourne’s most happening shopping spots, with upscale fashion boutiques aplenty to max out the credit card. One of the city’s most coveted tables, Circa (shown below) offers seasonal plates brimming with Asian influence – try the buckwheat dumplings with heirloom pumpkin, roasted chestnut and brown butter or the suckling pig with honey-caramelised daikon and mustard greens. The two-hat restaurant is presided over by Ashly Hicks and Lyndon Tyers, who favour sustainable and organic produce wherever possible, and dishes are served in small, medium or large portions to accommodate your appetite.
Those looking for more authentically Aussie fare can try the Stokehouse on St Kilda beach, where local snapper and crispy battered rock flathead fillets await. Late-night nibblers can check out The Prince’s other waist-widening outpost, Mexican Acland St Cantina (shown in the post’s top photo) – signature sandwiches include a red-mole-braised beef short rib quesadilla – which is open until 2am.
Best for those who adore fine dining and hawker markets in equal measure: Capella Singapore
Style Clash of the centuries
Setting Southern Sentosa Island
Set over 30 acres of grounds where peacocks roam under ancient trees, Capella Singapore – created by hotshot architects Foster + Partners and located on laid-back Sentosa Island – is steps away from a beach and also houses the award-winning Auriga spa, where signature treatments are themed around the lunar cycle. And then there’s the food: you won’t want to miss chic Chinese fine-dining restaurant, Cassia (shown below), which serves up fusion dishes such as barbecued boneless duckling with sliced mango and lemon sauce. Prefer to arrange a bespoke foodie experience without putting your best threads on? Wine-matched gourmet dinners by the pool, in your room or even on the beach are all possible!
Don’t forget Singapore’s mouthwatering hawker centres are also on your doorstep – drop in on Maxwell Road Hawker Centre in Chinatown and head for the Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice stall (Anthony Bourdain said the rice was good enough to eat on its own). Alternatively, reserve a table at nearby Italian restaurant Il Lido at Sentosa Golf Club for dishes including wagyu beef carpaccio and banana brûlée with salted caramel.
Best for fabulous fusion dishes, street corner satays and mastering the art of Malay cuisine: Hotel Penaga, Penang
Style High fashion heritage
Setting Curious Georgetown
If you thought Penang was all crumbling shop houses and faded colonial grandeur, Hotel Penaga will challenge your preconceptions with its Corbusier furniture and dashing day spa (Georgetown’s finest!), where silver mirrors and Starck Ghost chairs are coolly juxtaposed against ornate brass wash basins. Poolside restaurant the Cinnamon (shown above) serves up smart fusion dishes to make your taste buds sing, such as char siu lamb, oxtail fried rice and chermoula-crusted snapper. If the menu sounds right up your street but you’re having a lazy day, don’t fret: the restaurant menu can be delivered to your room 24 hours. Over in the Penaga Spa (shown below) – which is inspired by the healing qualities of the indigenous plants of the Malay peninsula – even the treatments sound good enough to eat: savour the ‘sensual vanilla coconut wrap’ or lie back in a fruity bath.
Beyond this chic heritage boutique, you can eat alongside the locals at one of Penang’s many hawker centres, such as nearby Lorong Selamat or New Lane for spot-on satays, laksas and mee gorengs. Wannabe chefs can pick herbs, then master authentic nasi lemak and Assam laksa at Tropical Spice Garden, a former Malaysian rubber plantation that’s a 30-minute drive away.
To experience boutique chic with a side-order of culinary adventure with Smith, visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 800 905 326