In Singapore, there is an unwritten rule that no cultural centre is complete without at least a clutch of food and beverage outlets. The newly opened National Gallery Singapore, for instance, has at least seven restaurants, cafés and bars, each heaving with a clientele that shows not the slightest interest in the exhibits whether as a pre- or post-prandial diversion.
Cleaving close to the playbook, restaurateur Yuan Oeij has just added an all-day diner to the Asian Civilisations Museum – a mid-19th century neo-classical building that once housed Singapore’s colonial offices and which is now a repository of Asian and Islamic art and antiques.
For the interiors of Privé ACM, Singaporean designer Lim Siew Hui has plundered furnishings and tropes of the region: The entry is framed by concrete breeze blocks, old-world larders are transformed into service stations, marble-topped tables are encircled by classic cane chairs, while customised cement floor tiles evoke a nostalgia that’s entirely in keeping with the location.
The all-purpose menu offers up something for every taste whether Western (eggs Benedict, Wagyu burgers and Oreo mud-pies) or Asian (seafood laksa, masala chicken wrap, and sumac-scented pork chops). Our tip: weather permitting, a table on the terrace overlooking the Singapore River and the skyscrapers of Raffles Place is a real treat.