Published May 11, 2007


Trendy new-gen dining outfits throw parties


THE bold, the brave and the beautiful - not to mention the merely blase - converged this week on two trendy new-generation dining destinations, each of which had good reason to throw a party.

Free flow: The Graze crowd was a mix of well-dressed society folk, eager industry types and party veterans

Graze at Rochester Park combined its new menu launch and first anniversary with news of its inclusion in Conde Nast Traveler magazine's annual Hot List of exciting new restaurants around the world - is it just us or are more international publications starting to take notice of Singapore's burgeoning restaurant scene?

The magazine cited Graze for providing food and fun in equal measure and there was an abundant flow of both on Tuesday evening - and a flute or two of champagne as well. The invite was to a small social gathering and true enough, 200 or more of restaurant owner and boutique hotel developer Yenn Wong's closest friends were on hand to congratulate her and share in the reflected glory.

The new nosh - which was served in mini-portions as canapes by Aussie chef Matthew Lawdorn - more than passed muster on this occasion.

A long list of items, including grilled beef sticks, salmon and scrambled eggs on toast and crab meat in puff pastry shells were snapped up as fast as the kitchen could produce them, along with the appropriate alcohol to wash it down with.

The crowd was a pleasant mix of well-dressed society folk, eager industry types and party veterans, all well-versed in the fine art of finger-fooding and cocktail conversation.

Topics ranged from the upcoming integrated resorts to shopping sprees in Milan.

Most of the action took place in the sauna-like atmosphere of the restaurant's expansive outdoor courtyard, which made for a lot of soggy designer dresses.

Seen at the scene were party circuit regulars like Tina Tan-Leo, Celina Lin and Sulian Tan-Wijaya, as well as Ajai Zecha, whose Tiffin Club bespoke food delivery service also scored column inches in the Conde Nast Hot List - the only other Singapore establishment to do so.

It must have been a case of deju vu the following night as many of the same faces - plus quite a few more - showed up at the official opening party for Novus, the four-month-old restaurant at the National Museum, which also used the occasion to showcase its summer menu dishes such as wagyu beef with foie gras.

The theme of the party was Through the Looking Glass, and both Alice and the Mad Hatter could be spotted mingling with the 500 or so guests and offering chances to win prizes or consolation drinks.

It was another hot and humid al fresco occasion, but the sweat quotient was lower than at Graze, thanks in part to the live jazz music and an ice sculpture in the courtyard space between Novus and cafe-bar Wa - both establishments are run by the brother and sister team of Yung and Ying Ong.

'It's better than we imagined - we've done the fine-tuning and now is the right time for us to promote and expand the organisation,' said Yung Ong, who graciously deflected all praise to his sister. 'She's the one doing all the hard work,' he said.

See - it's not always easy being one of the beautiful people.