1. Prim and proper
This one is for those brave enough to book a date in the middle of the day. This means no dimmed lights or loud music to mask the awkward moments that are sure to pop up during the first few encounters. Start off with an afternoon tea at Tea Cosy (#05-10 Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Rd; 6341 9318, www.teacosy.com.sg). The custom-made chairs with traditional English fabrics and glass coffee tables will set a homey space for getting to know each other better. The tea for two set ($29.95) includes canapés with smoked salmon and foie gras, and scones with clotted cream. Wander over to the Botanic Gardens’ Shaw Foundation Symphony Stage (1 Cluny Rd; 6471 7361, www.sbg.org.sg) and jazz things up at one of the free outdoor concerts.
2. Late-night ‘date’
Chances are you’ll regret it in the morning, but the occasional late-night SMS booty call to someone that you don’t have the balls to ring during the day is inevitable – hey, you gotta do what you’ve gotta do. If you’re looking to satisfy other cravings before jumping in the sack, try stopping by Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant (191 Jln Besar; 6294 5292), a 24-hour dim sum joint in Little India (meals $4-$14). And, in case you’re worried about waking ah ma (grandma) and ah kong (grandpa) with the anticipated moans and groans – or just want to plan an easy escape route – consider spending the night at the nearby Hotel 81 (161 Selegie Rd; 6332 8181, www.hotel81.com.sg. Two hours for non-members $30; members $20. Additional hours $10).
3. Culture vulture
It’s been over 15 years since Opera Gallery (#03-05 ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn; 6735 2618, www.operagallery.com) first opened its doors, but it’s the relocation to the ION – and the revamp that came along with this – that has put the free modern art space back in the spotlight. Amble through contemporary exhibits, and share your knowledge regarding the collection of big-name masterpieces, including works by Picasso and Dalí. If all goes well, continue the date into the night at Orgo (The Esplanade, Roof, 1 Esplanade Dr; 6336 9366, www.orgo.sg).This rooftop bar can spice things up with an extensive martini menu – think basil, chilli, mint and rosemary ($13-$18). Nibble on small plates with scallops and camembert cheese ($8-$28) while you discuss upcoming exhibits.
4. Incredible India
So you think you can dance? Try out a whole new set of moves after gaining inspiration at Rex Cinema (2 Mackenzie Rd; 6337 6607). The theatre is housed in a building that has reinvented itself many times over – it has been a skating rink, church and nightclub. After catching one of the South Indian song-and-dance features, follow up with a set of Bollywood dance classes (eight sessions $180) at the YMCA (1 Orchard Rd; 6586 2255, www. ymca.org.sg). Hopefully this will give you some new hip-and-arm moves to use behind closed doors.
5. On the water
You’ve finally found the one you’d like to sail away with into the sunset. Now it’s time to plan a date that can lead to bigger things – but one that will also dive deep into your wallet. Sign up for a basic sailing class at Sea Sports Centre (10 Changi Coast Walk; 6758 3359, www.esrcc.com.sg) and you’ll guarantee yourself two full weekends with that special someone. After making other sailors seasick on what’s hopefully become your love boat, head to No Signboard Seafood (#01-02 East Coast Seafood Centre, 1202 East Coast Parkway; 6448 9959, www.nosignboard seafood.com) and crack into fresh white pepper or chilli crabs (seasonal prices). Beware that shells are likely to go flying and the chance of sauce on the face is high.
6. Feel like a kid again
Warning: those looking to impress a date with their high level of maturity should steer clear. If not, fuel the competitive spirit at Virtualand’s (#B1-02/03/04a Bugis Junction, 200 Victoria St; www.bugisjunction-mall.com.sg) flagship arcade. Use flirty smack talk while attempting to school your date in the latest version of Mario Kart, or rock out together during a jam session on Guitar Freaks (membership card $5-$20). After you’ve worked up a sweat from intense gaming, wander over to Tom’s Palette (#01-25 Shaw Towers, 100 Beach Rd; 62965239, www.tomspalette.com.sg) and cool down with a scoop of one of the exotic flavours, which include salted caramel cheesecake and balsamic vanilla ($2.80-$4.70). Tip: order your scoop on a cone and use your tongue creatively.
7. Sweet sensations
If all goes according to plan, indulging in Estheva Spa’s (#03-25 ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn; 6509 3900, www.estheva.com) two-and-a-half-hour ‘Chocolate and Honey’ couples’ treatment will set the mood for things to come. After being ushered into the VIP room, the pampering begins with a scrub, moves on to a massage and finishes up with a wrap – each step involving melted chocolate, sticky honey and slippery oil. Keep things sweet late into the night when you cuddle up on one of 2am : dessertbar’s (21A Lorong Liput; 62919727, www.2amdessertbar.com) day beds and pair the suggested glass of wine with one of their scrumptious offerings ($13-$17). If all goes well, the combo of sugar and alcohol will lead to a night cap at your place.
8. Green date
If socially, ecologically and romantically correct is how your date likes it, go green. Fill your reusable cooler bag with organic goodies from SuperNature (#01-21/23/27 ParkHouse, 21 Orchard Blvd; 6304 1338, www.supernature.com.sg) for a leisurely walk around Labrador Nature Reserve (Labrador Villa Road; 6339 6833). Traipse to Singapore’s only public-accessible rocky sea cliff and pick a boulder to perch on. Don’t forget the binoculars for an easy way to score brownie points – we hear the striking blue-crowned hanging parrots are both adorable and abundant.
9. Get crafty
When sex gets boring, it’s time to get creative. Make like Patrick Swayze (God rest his soul) and Demi Moore, and book yourselves a single afternoon or night session ($50) at Boon’s Pottery (#B1-02 Tanglin Place, 91Tanglin Rd; 6836 3978). After things get hot behind the wheel, go home, take a bath and pull up the Esse Love Lounge prop ($1,085) that you can pick up at Mr & Mrs Smith: The Couple Store (#01-07 & #02-07 2nd Avenue Junction,733 Bukit Timah Rd; 6466 1969, www.liberator.sg). The chair will help you explore a whole new range of positions – instructions included.
10. Take a ride
Sunday brunch can show your significant other that you’re looking to be more than a one-night stand. Suggest riding your bikes to Bukit Timah Saddle Club and reserve a balcony table at Riders Cafe (51 Fairways Dr; 6466 9819, www.riderscafe.sg) that overlooks the horse stables. If you’ve successfully absorbed your hangover with a stack of pancakes or eggs Benedict ($9-$14), hit the trails at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (177 Hindhede Dr; 6488 5736, www.nparks.gov.sg). If you both emerge unscathed, suggest freshening up with a shower at your place.
11. Double date
It gets awkward, yes, if you’re John Mayer’s ex dating Jennifer Aniston’s ex going on a double date. However, we live in tiny water-locked Singapore, and situations à la Johnnifer can be hard to avoid. Fret not, for uncomfortable double dates can be avoided when you’re busy picking which ofthe 26 tapas dishes ($6-$18) at Que Pasa (7 Emerald Hill Rd; 6235 6626, www.emeraldhillgroup.com) you’d like to order. We’re sure you won’t miss an opportunity to out-drink each other on the superb wine selection either, but curb yourself from resorting to mind games. Risk it instead at The Mind Café (60A Prinsep St; 6334 4426, www.themindcafe.com.sg), where you can continue avoiding awkward moments while trying to solve the mystery in Clue (1 hour of board gaming $6.90 per person).
12. Get down and dirty
Give that vibrator a break and get your date to meet you at Singapore’s sexiest cinema, Yangtze Cineplex (Pearl’s Centre, 100 Eu Tong Sen St; 62237529). With titles like Bloody Bun, Taxi Dancers and The Temptation Between My Legs ($7-$9), you’ll both leave the darkness of the cinema with a whole new perspective on love making. But before you go do that, tuck into some juicy steam or soup dumplings ($3-$8) at the famous Qun Zhong Eating House (21 Neil Rd; 6221 3060).
13. Keep it local
In Singapore, the ‘soulmate’ status is established at the table, while chowing down on a grilled stingray ($12) slathered with red-hot sambal, getting dirty with sticky sweet barbecued chicken wings ($1 each), and slurping up a gigantic glass of sugarcane juice ($2) – order one glass and two straws. Voracious we know, but makan is really what the heart wants, and Chomp Chomp (Serangoon Gardens, 20 Kensington Park Rd) is where the heartland is. The true test, however, is whether your mate can stomach dessert after this big meal. Across the road, frozen yoghurt outlet Frolick (4 Kensington Park Rd;6314 7919, www.frolick.com.sg) has a nostalgic Yakult grape flavour to go with its 20 pick your own toppings ($3.70-$7.30). It’ll be like feeding each other grapes, Singapura-style.
14. Do it by the book
Bibliophiles who’ve poked their noses out of the pages long enough to find each other will enjoy cuddling up on one of The Book Café’s (#01-02 Seng Kee, 20 Martin Rd; 6887 5430) comfy couches. Predict what the next bestseller will be while taking a break for your pick off the all-day breakfast menu ($18-$25). Get in touch with BooksActually (86 Club St; 6222 9195, www.booksactually.com) owners’ Kenny and Karen in advance, and get tipped off about upcoming readings that may tickle your special someone’s fancy.
Additional reporting by Sabrina Lee & Celine Asril