Dreaming of eating your way around southeast Asia’s ultimate foodie hotspots? Boutique-hotel experts Mr & Mrs Smith have the low-down on where to dine…
Metropolitan by Como, Bangkok
Refined and minimal, sparse but not bare, the Metropolitan by Como, Bangkok hotel is an exclusive boutique with a sophisticated Thai restaurant and dimly lit bar. This is a sleek and contemporary base for soaking in the city’s sights and nightlife. Soft flower motifs, a peaceful outdoor pool and serene spa all encourage relaxation in this bustling capital city. With a voyeur’s view of the poolside and a gourmet’s grasp of rare, regional Thai cuisine, the hotel’s sleek ground-floor restaurant Nahm, headed up by esteemed Australian chef David Thompson, tops every visiting epicure’s to-do list, with treats such as jungle curry with pla chorn (a freshwater fish). Crisp, white eatery, Glow, beside the spa, presents a lighter selection of healthy organic snacks and smoothies for breakfast and all-day dining.
Smith extra: A martini each, and daily breakfast; guests booking a suite or staying three nights or more also get lunch for two and upgrades to 90-minute massages when booking a 60-minute treatment.
One of our favourite buildings in Singers, Raffles Singapore has more than a few claims to fame: writers and film stars have snored here; a wild tiger was shot here; the Singapore Sling was first mixed here, and guests still come in droves. Rather than resting on its laurels, Raffles has added some modern lures, including an excellent spa and six restaurants. Start the day with chillied scrambled eggs at Tiffin Room, and come back for lunch – the curries draw a loyal crowd. Alternatively, eat athletically at the European buffet in the Bar & Billiards Room (also home to seafood dinners Thursday through til Sunday, and a Sunday champagne brunch), or have a casual lunch at Empire Café (part coffee house; part kopitiam) or Ah Teng’s Bakery (great for dim sum and delicate pastries). For dinner, choose from Long Bar Steakhouse or sit amid the swaying palms on Raffles Courtyard and watch the sunset.
Smith extra: A Singapore Sling each, plus fresh fruit and chocolates; guests staying for four nights or more in a Palm Court Suite (or higher-tier room) also get one dinner for two
The Waterhouse At South Bund, Shanghai
In the achingly cool response to Shanghai’s shiny spires, The Waterhouse at South Bund hotel has transformed a ramshackle 1930s factory overlooking the Huangpu River into a gritty-glam den of high design. Sleek architecture, trendy dining, and envelope-pushing decor contrast with the rugged industrial building and historic dockyard setting of this ambitious auberge. The Waterhouse’s rustic, 60-seat dining room has serious culinary cred. Table No. 1 is the first independent restaurant by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton after leaving Gordon Ramsay’s Maze in London. Former Maze executive chef Scott Melvin helms the kitchen, turning out mod-Euro crowd-pleasers designed to share. Be sure to book ahead.
Smith extra: A bottle of wine
Bon Ton Restaurant & Resort, Malaysia
Once a coconut plantation, Bon Ton Restaurant & Resort is now a hotel in the form of an authentically and luxuriously revived Malay village on a lotus-strewn lagoon. Stilt-perched wooden houses – most over 100 years old – were transported to this lush Langkawi location and meticulously restored. Bon Ton, home to one of the area’s top restaurants, makes this a destination for discerning epicures too. The renowned restaurant, Nam, blends Eastern and Western cuisine with a dose of spice to create an imaginative and inventive gourmet menu. Plump for Nyonya, the signature platter, which features nine Malay and Chinese dishes served on banana leaf.
Smith extra: A lime margarita each
137 Pillars House, Chiang Mai
137 Pillars House boutique hotel in Chiang Mai is a nostalgic blend of historic Thai architecture and sleek modern design, with delicious dining, a super-pretty spa and dramatic pool. Set in the arty Wat Gate district, it was once home to Louis Leonowens, son of schoolteacher Anna (of Anna and the King movie fame). Now this 1889 beauty is all yours, with seductive rooms scattered among day-bed-dotted gardens. From breakfast cooked to order to international dishes and seven-course Thai menus, dining is an impressive affair here, drawing on organic produce from the hotel’s market garden. The Dining Room is your go-to destination for all meals, a glamorous, grown-up affair set in a classic wooden house, shaded by shutters and surrounded by a veranda. Budding gourmets can pick up tips at the Kitchen cooking school, where visiting chefs often host meals or give culinary demos.
Smith extra: A 30-minute head-and-shoulder massage each
Mr & Mrs Smith gets you the best rates, guaranteed, as well as a little something extra on arrival at every hotel. To book, call toll free at 800 905 326 or visit mrandmrssmith.com.