Newsletters  | Mobile

Asia Made Easy

BANGKOK The two-year-old Bed Supperclub (26 Sukhumvit Soi11; 66-2/651-3537) has been joined by a trio of new late-night joints luring energetic crowds. The very grown-up Distil (1055 Silom Rd.;66-2/624-9554), high on the 64th floor of the State Tower, has black wooden floors, chocolate- and coffee-toned leathers, and two circular bars: at one, cocktails are mixed; at the other, a chef shucks oysters that are flown in daily. Face (29 Sukhumvit Soi 38; 66-2/713-6048) is housed in wooden pavilions and filled with opium beds and Buddhist stone reliefs. Over at the Metropolitan hotel, Met Bar (275 S. Sathorn Rd.) has moody red lighting and one of Asia's more creative cocktail lists. But admission is for members and hotel guests only.

KUALA LUMPUR The city now has a nightlife landmark to match the Petronas Towers: architect Zaini Zainul's white, pod-shaped Zouk (113 Jalan Ampang; 60-3/2171-1997). Inside, the fashionable crowd flits among the private lounge Velvet Underground, the Wine Bar, with its Arabic mosaics, and the dance hall.

SINGAPORE Thanks to relaxed government laws passed this year, going all night is the theme in Singapore. Actors, designers, and brokers flock to Whitebait & Kale (1 Orchard Blvd., Camden Center; 65/6333-8697) for Brazilian beats, espresso martinis, and an outdoor patio that sits under the eaves of a Richard Meier-designed building.

Must-See Museums
Surrounded by serene gardens, Tokyo National Museum (13-9 Ueno Park, Taito-ku; 81-3/3822-1111; www.tnm.go.jp/en) has one of the most comprehensive collections of Asian art and artifacts in the hemisphere. The Honkan gallery, home to its Japanese works, reopens September 1. • Taiwan's National Palace Museum (221 Chih-shan Rd., Taipei; 886-2/2881-2021; www.npm.gov.tw) holds some 650,000 pieces of Chinese art, including Jadeite Cabbage with Insects, the famous Qing-era sculpture, and an incomparable collection of paintings. An exhibition of seldom-viewed Song dynasty works is being shown through December. • At the National Museum Bangkok (4 Na Phra That Rd.; 66-2/224-1333; www.thailandmuseum.com), carvings, fabrics, and other Thai crafts have been elevated to fine art. Rooms are filled with silks, jeweled pagodas, even an extravagant ivory chair, designed to fit atop an elephant. • Singapore's Asian Civilisations Museum (39 Armenian St.; 65/6332-7798; www.nhb.gov.sg) draws its inspiration from the Chinese, Malay, Indian, and European influences that form the backbone of modern Singapore.


TOKYO Sens & Saveurs (35 Marunouchi Bldg., 2-4-1 Marunouchi; 81-3/ 5220-2701; dinner for two $55) may be the most dynamic foreign-born restaurant in Tokyo. Identical-twin chefs Jacques and Laurent Pourcel, from Le Jardin des Sens in Montpellier, France, adapt their Mediterranean cuisine to Asian palates in dishes such as spider crab and avocado cornets with sesame-honey caramel. The brothers have taken their winning formula to Bang-kok, to the lounge and bistro D'Sens (Rama IV Rd.; 66-2/236-9999; dinner for two $45) atop the landmark Dusit Thani Hotel.

SEOUL Thanks to the arrival of Mr. Chow (91-6 Nonhuyn-dong, Kangnam-gu; 82-2/517-2100; dinner for two $120), Seoul's luminaries can now have the same no-menu, high-style gambol as their cousins in Los Angeles, London, and New York. Straightforward Mandarin dishes are presented in a spacious room with enormous flower arrangements.

HONG KONG The high-wattage social circuit makes haste each evening to Restaurant Isola (IFC Mall, Levels 3 and 4; 852/2383-8765; dinner for two $120) in the soaring, Cesar Pelli-designed IFC building. The duplex space is awash in white fabrics, has views over the harbor, and isgrand enough to afford some privacy. A trattoria-style menu and a blockbuster Italian wine list compete for attention with the guests, who linger way past normal bedtimes to drink Manhattansin the loftlike bar. • Aqua (1 Peking Rd., 29th and 30th floors, Kowloon; 852/3427-2288; dinner for two $90) unfurls three experiences in one amid a 9,000-square-foot penthouse with unobstructed views across Victoria Harbour. The lounge, Aqua Spirit, slings lychee Bellinis to a post-work crowd; a lipstick-red-lit and rail-thin sushi bar, Aqua Tokyo, turns out creative sashimi and izakaya (Japanese tapas); northern Italian roasts and handmade pasta are the focus of Aqua Roma, whose catwalk and velvet-lined banquettes make the night all about people-watching.

SAIGON La Niçoise (42 Ngo Duc Ke, District 1; 84-8/822-8613; dinner for two $10) has just three tables, which are colonized by French expats reading L'Express between bites of nostalgia in the form of authentic steak frites and salade lyonnaise. • Pocket-sized Pho 24 (5 Nguyen Thiep St., District 1; 84-8/822-6278; dinner for two $6) takes the country's beloved beef or chicken noodle soup (pho), with its cinnamon-and-anise-scented broth, to new heights. Bowls are served in a colonial-style room, with wrought-iron detailing and paper lanterns.

BANGKOK A former chef de cuisine of Rockpool, in Sydney, Amanda Gale enlivens fresh seafood with sunny southern Mediterranean flavors and occasional flourishes of Moorish spice at Cy'an (27 S. Sathorn Rd.; 66-2/625-3333; dinner for two $110), inside Christina Ong's Metropolitan Hotel. • Vegetarianism is embraced at the industrial-chic (but mom-and-pop sweet) Tamarind Café (27 Sukhumvit Soi; 66-2/663-7421; dinner for two $25), where self-taught chef Sylvie Bruzeau updates regional staples like Vietnamese summer rolls and Thai green-papaya salad.

SINGAPORE A local husband-and-wife team presides over the toughest table in town: Ember (50 Keong Saik St.; 65/6347-1928; dinner for two $50), in Hotel 1929. Sebastian Ng delivers mod Oz flavors in inventive dishes such as the Chilean sea bass (marinated for 12 hours) with ginger and soy broth.• Ding Tai Fung (Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd.; 65/6836-8336; dinner for two $20), a haven of blond wood in the over-the-top Paragon Shopping Center, has been inundated with demands for its handmade noodles and Taiwanese soup dumplings (the crab and pork are best).

BALI The 10-table Axiom (18A Jalan Raya Seminyak; 62-361/738-820; dinner for two $45) is an urbane boîte with high ceilings, polished cement floors, and a stylish crowd of Europeans and Asians. Dishes such as poached salmon with caramelized fennel and stewed palm-sugar custard change with the seasons.

T+L Tip
Getting There For Less Eat breakfast in Kuala Lumpur and have dinner in Bangkok—a flight between the two is just $70 on AirAsia.


Sign Up

Connect With Travel + Leisure
  • Travel+Leisure
  • Tablet
  • Available devices

Already a subscriber?
Get FREE ACCESS to the digital edition