One On The Bund | Review

This chic waterfront restaurant is what sprung up after the old Clifford Pier was resold as a dining destination. But One On The Bund is the kind of place that just doesn’t live up to expectations, despite its best efforts.

Arriving one weekend for an early dinner, we were led into the restaurant and instantly almost froze from the air‑conditioning turned way up high. The place is impossibly huge—with super‑high ceilings, arching, elaborate boudoir‑like frames decorating the dining area, acres of unfilled floor space, huge glittering chandeliers and random museum artifacts—and reminded us just of a museum. And we felt like artifacts; so cold and impersonal was the vibe in this agonizingly empty place.

We sat outside, hoping to be cheered by the waterfront view. Indeed, it was less cold and the view was nice, but we were further annoyed by the heavy chairs, the clunky menus written in Chinese ink with zero pictures, high prices, the easily‑tipped‑over teacups; and the inexperience of the pacing wait staff.

We started our meal with the braised crunchy pig ear appetizer, which was nothing special. The signature dish—the One On The Bund crispy lamb rib—eight pieces of orangey meat on a huge platter—was crispy, but absolutely reeking of a strong lamb smell. We hoped the stir‑fried prawns with salty egg yolk and crab roe would be better; but alas, it was another complete letdown: The prawns were dumped on a huge china plate shockingly devoid of presentation (no garnishings)—with the plate’s hugeness emphasizing the paltry portion. We also could not taste the crab roe at all.

In despair, we ordered a 70 percent truffle for dessert and, finally, found something we liked. The trio of Chinese performers playing the flute, pi pa and zither cheered us up considerably at the end of our meal, but considering the premium prices here, we expected better. 

Have you tried the Peking Duck? It’s one of I-S Magazine’s 50 things to eat in Singapore before you die (2010).