Empress — Singapore, Singapore

Interior view of the bar at Empress featuring a grey marble style bar front with dark counter top, red chairs, a grey vase with a yellow and green plant and a shelving unit behind the bar with multiple bottles of drinks and glasses
(Image credit: TBC)

It’s no surprise that restaurateurs have long coveted the south-west corner of Singapore’s Asian Civilisations Museum – the views of the Singapore River, its graceful curve of fin de siècle shop-houses and the towering skyscrapers of Raffles Place from this spot are unrivalled.

Dinner on the terrace of Empress – one of the latest offerings from increasingly prolific The Privé Group – is therefore de rigueur, though locals will normally have hightailed it into the air-conditioned comfort of the serenely lit interiors by Singapore-based designers Takenouchi Webb. Here, the high-ceilinged space is anchored by a six-meter-long bar trimmed with bronze while gracefully proportioned geometric screens section off parts of the restaurant as needed. But it’s in gathering gloom of the tropical twilight that the Empress really comes into its own as pendant lights encased in bronze and etched glass bath the timber, rattan and leather furniture in a cosy warmth. 

All the better to revel in head chef Ricky Leung’s finessed takes on Cantonese cuisine. The flavours may be classical, but the technique and ingredients are firmly contemporary. Think roasted Spanish grain-fed Duroc pork; or a crispy white bait salad, a tried and true standard anywhere else, but here transformed by a vinaigrette of smashed young ginger and palm sugar.

Interior view of the dining area at Empress featuring a wall with a geometric design, a long dark wood table with tableware, red chairs, black and grey pots with tall green plants, a grey and yellow patterned rug, a tall chrome coloured wine cooler and sphere lighting

(Image credit: TBC)

Alternative view of the dining area at Empress featuring sphere lighting, wooden tables with tableware, dark wood, red and wicker chairs and black partitions with images of a tree with white flowers and birds against a yellow background

(Image credit: TBC)

Alternative view of the dining area at Empress featuring tables with tableware, dark wood, red and wicker chairs, tall green plants, sphere lighting, tall glass doors and dark coloured partitions with a geometric design

(Image credit: TBC)


1 Empress Place


Daven Wu is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*. A former corporate lawyer, he has been covering Singapore and the neighbouring South-East Asian region since 1999, writing extensively about architecture, design, and travel for both the magazine and website. He is also the City Editor for the Phaidon Wallpaper* City Guide to Singapore.