Singapore in London: Restaurants, Tiger Beer and the Search for a Singapore Sling

Author John Malathronas writes about Singapore for our World in London challenge.  John Malathronas is a freelance travel writer and photographer. He’s been travelling to Singapore and following its fortunes for more than 20 years. He is the author of travelogue Singapore Swing and co-author of the Michelin Green Guide to Singapore:

“The first point of call for those who want a Singaporean experience in London is a pilgrimage to Westminster Abbey.  There, in the north choir aisle, you can find a seated marble statue of Sir Stamford Raffles who founded the colony in 1819.

“Although a legendary figure in Singapore itself , Raffles incurred the displeasure of his employers, the East India Company, and died in London in relative penury at the age of 44. You can also visit his actual grave in the church of St Mary’s in Hendon, where a carving on the stone floor identifies the burial spot.

“Singapore has a well-earned reputation as  a gourmand’s paradise and its citizens are fanatical about food.  There seems to be surprisingly little argument among its London expat community about where to sample the best Singaporean dishes in the capital. The Bugis Street Brasserie at the Millennium Hotel in Gloucester Road  is rightly said to serve the best Singapore food outside Asia: try the Taste of Singapore Set Menu for a quick introduction.

“At the cheaper end of the spectrum, The Hare and Tortoise in Russell Square is also a restaurant with an extensive Singaporean menu. Its distinctive Char Kway Teow (a rice noodle dish with Chinese sausage) is a particular favourite of London-based Singaporeans.

“The best accompaniment for the light, spicy Oriental mix that is Singaporean food is, of course, Tiger Beer which is brewed in the city-state but found everywhere in London.

“As for a cocktail you could try its most famous alcoholic export: the strikingly pink and flavoursome Singapore Sling. Alas, it requires dedication to find a Sling in London nowadays. I have asked for it in bars from Shoreditch to Soho and have received concoctions that range from a passable imitation of a Sling to a mojito in disguise.

“So I end with a plea: if anyone knows of a London bar that serves a good Singapore Sling, please let me know.”

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  1. nic says:

    Hi John, i’m not offering a location for a sling, but i read this fab article recently on the sling! http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/01/AR2011020103892.html

  2. John Malathronas says:

    Hi Nic, interesting article. I’m sure the cocktail tastes great with Kirsch, but the Singapore Sling followed in the tradition of the colonial ‘pink gins’, so colour matters in my book. Also (German) Kirsch never made it to SE Asia, whereas red cherry brandy like De Kuyper or Bols was certainly present in the Dutch East Indies..

  3. Johnny says:

    Hi John,
    You should try the Sanderson Hotel just north of oxford st. The cocktails are the best in the world and it’s still pretty good for celeb spotting. It’s a little pricey but still fabulous. :-)

  4. Phil says:

    I visited the Hare & Tortoise in Russell Square after reading this, and yes the food was very good. Long queues though.

  5. michelle caoili says:

    there is a singaporean restaurant in Holland Park too…
    http://www.singaporechinese.co.uk/About_Us.html

  6. Teddy says:

    I did try the Char Kway Teow in the Hare and Tortoise on Russell Square. It’s one of the better ones out there. The Bugis Street Brasserie serves god Hainanese chicken rice.

  7. Hannah says:

    Today and tomorrow you can get a taste of cuisine from Singapore at the pop-up Singapore Takeout on London’s South Bank

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