Dress Code

Over our 11 years of eating our way through our city’s restaurants, we’ve noticed a trend in diners. Particular restaurants seem to draw a particular type of clientele, who are not defined by age or race, but rather, by something more intangible. We spent some time checking them out and discovered there are five types of Singapore diner. So what type are you?
Glamour Puss
Someone who likes to be seen at the latest hot spots, to drop the names of the most fabulous restaurants, and who personally knows the owners everywhere. These are people who have already been to the choicest and most chic new restaurants before you’ve even read about them, and will like to brag about how they thought “the foie gras at so-and-so weren’t as good as the oysters at such-and-such.”
What gets them in: Any place that’s hip, new and happening is a magnet for the glamour puss. Typically these are the restaurants with the coolest interiors, slickest look, most awesome views and, of course, are filled with the most beautiful people.
Oh, and anywhere where there’s a dress code and bookings are essential may also very well make it into the list. They go to all those places we’ve all heard about: Some of us may have been to a few, but very few of us have been to them all.
Most probably seen at: Il Lido, Graze, PS Cafe.
Power Suit
Like the Glamour Puss, the Power Suit has usually been to most of the hottest restaurants in town, just often with a larger budget. Bankers, traders and business people are some of the best dining experts in town and know all the best restaurant menus like the back of their hands. But unlike the transient and uncommitted Glamour Puss, they entertain so much that they’ve been around, and know a really good meal when they see it, rather than being enticed by the beautiful surrounds.
What gets them in: Any place that’s decent enough to entertain clients, has a strong wine list and serves really top notch cuisine that will impress. As well as checking out the new players, Power Suits usually like to go where the food is consistently and reliably notable. Having spot-on service usually helps too.
Most probably seen at: Saint Pierre, La Strada.
Old School
A.k.a. Food Snobs. These are people who don’t care about what the place looks like, what the service is like, or where the restaurant is located; they will go anywhere for good food. They know which hawker stall in which centre sells the best this or that, they refuse to eat at anywhere that’s not on their list of the best of the best and they will wait for hours for their food, always somewhat smugly imparting their culinary critique on the meal at the end.
What gets them in: One thing and one thing only: Truly amazing food. If it’s not the best you’ve ever had, they won’t be there. And be very careful about recommending something to a Food Snob. If it’s substandard, they’ll tear it apart. In fact, expect any meal with them to be accompanied by a constant stream of commentary. For example, “The nasi lemak is OK lah, but needs more coconut and there’s too much ikan bilis.” And the more out of the way, inaccessible and unheard of, the better. Old School foodies don’t care about what’s hot or not, so fashion doesn’t effect them (in fact, they think they get a bit of kudos if the restaurant is an unknown), and they tend to have their faves that they return to again and again.
Most probably seen at: Ristorante Da Valentino, Jason’s Penang Cuisine and many others that they won’t tell you about.
Penny Pinchers
OK, so tight wads are funny about money in all parts of their lives, but we do think they’re particularly annoying when it comes to restauranting. They might be hard to spot at first (you may even go though a whole meal before you realize you’re dining with one) but they consistently spoil any dinner out by making a fuss over the cheque. We know we’re not all made of money, but these are the kinds of people who’ll quarrel over splitting the bill evenly because they ordered vegetarian food rather than meat, who are always quick to point out they should pay less because they didn’t order a dessert, and who just make an overall dining experience with them damn unpleasant.
What gets them in: Anything that’s value for money. The cheaper the better. They particularly favor buffets (they’re the ones with their plates piled high with seafood) and hawker centres and their first response to an invitation out is to ask “how much?”. Avoid like the plague.
Most probably seen at: NUS Canteens, any ulu neighborhood hawker centre.
Food Philistine
These people don’t read I-S Magazine for the dining section, don’t know spaghetti from noodles and think that defrosting something from 7-Eleven is an adequate meal. These are people who are not foodies. They think the best burgers come from a fast food chain, they don’t question the presence of sausage in a pizza crust and they place no importance in a meal whatsoever. Whether they eat potato crisps or truffles for dinner, it makes no difference to them.
What gets them in: Usually they dine wherever is most convenient. Anywhere that doesn’t have a queue and isn’t too expensive will do, lah. While these unfussy eaters might be easy to please, for the true foodie, eating with them is frustratingly disappointing. They never get excited over their meal and they never go into ecstasies about the dessert, which all makes for a rather unsatisfying restaurant experience.
Most probably seen at: 7-Eleven, Cheers, the stall with the shortest queue at the hawker centre.