I couldn’t help feeling that someone with an eye for design could make so much more of The Boathouse than they have in its current incarnation. Its bones are clearly that of an intriguing historic art deco building in a good location close to The Fullerton Hotel and Marina Bay but, at least to us, there is the sense engendered by the sparse decor and unsuitable lighting that they have done a minimal amount to it to turn it into a restaurant. Perhaps this is because the real revenues earners are both the lunch-time business crowd, when ambiance doesn’t matter as much, and the bar, The Prelude, on the floor above, where the view of Marina Bay supplies the atmosphere. Otherwise, why would they allow the drinkers to traipse through the restaurant to visit the lavatories at the far end of the restaurant?
Even seated next to one of the windows as we were, we were aware of the theatre of human life as we witnessed a steady flow through the restaurant of people less steady on their feet as the evening wore on. If it wasn’t possible to build dedicated facilities for them on the roof, is there not a better way to utilise the space? And while they are about it, could they reconsider the garish led lighting around the bar area in the restaurant that seemed to be there for the convenience of the staff rather than paying customers.
Whilst I am aware this may sound grumpy diner-ish, it perhaps illustrates that it takes more than workman-like cooking to make a good restaurant experience. It is all the more of a pity as one of the waiters understood the g-f concerns and tried to make this an enjoyable experience for us. With his help I chose salmon as a starter. Whilst it was a simple dish the fish was good quality, mildly smoked and very fresh.
The fillet of red snapper that followed was presented swimming in a bouillabaisse style of sauce, which gave an unremarkable impression of competence rather than inspiration.
There was also something about the lemon posset served for dessert that suggested that it might have been a commercially prepared pudding rather than one made from scratch in the kitchens. I hope I am not doing a disservice to the chef in saying this but it simply lacked distinction, having a blandness that I associate with mass produced iced products.
Singapore is good at re-inventing it’s historic buildings. Let’s hope there is a sympathetic upgrading given before long to The Boathouse, at which point we will happily return.
The Boathouse, 3 Fullerton Road, Singapore – Tel: 6538 9038