How to eat at Michelin-star restaurants for less

The one simple hack to feasting at 15 of the best restaurants in Asia at a fraction of the price.

Odette, Singapore
  • Angeline Tse
  • June 2019

A Michelin-star meal doesn’t have to cost the earth. These restaurants have lunch set menus that are less dear but no less thoughtfully curated than their evening counterparts.

BANGKOK

Paste

Paste, Bangkok
Paste.

NUMBER OF STARS: ONE
LUNCH SET PRICE: SGD $87++
DINNER TASTING MENU PRICE: FROM SGD $134++
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Chef Bongkoch “Bee” Satongun studies hard-to-find royal Thai recipes from as far back as King Rama V’s era, and reinterprets them into beautifully presented dishes. Curries are her signature and the lunch set offers you a chance to try a complex Laos duck curry that uses forgotten cooking methods and the best produce from local growers.

Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin

Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin, Bangkok
Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin.

NUMBER OF STARS: ONE
LUNCH SET PRICE: SGD $80++
DINNER TASTING MENU PRICE: SGD $138++
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: The flavours at the Bangkok outpost of Danish chef Henrik Yde-Andersen’s Michelin-starred Thai restaurant in Copenhagen are traditional Thai but the presentation and cooking techniques are decidedly modern. Think frozen red curry served with gelatinous pearls containing chunks of Maine lobster.

Restaurant Savelberg Thailand

Chef Henk Savelberg of Restaurant Savelberg Thailand, Bangkok
Chef Henk Savelberg of Restaurant Savelberg Thailand.

NUMBER OF STARS: ONE
LUNCH SET PRICE: SGD $69++
DINNER TASTING MENU PRICE: FROM SGD $143++
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Expect traditional French cuisine with a Dutch twist here. Chef-owner Henk Savelberg — who has five Michelin stars under his belt —personally picks the finest ingredients from his home country, the Netherlands. The lunch and dinner menus change depending on the produce available, but both tend to be seafood-heavy.

HONG KONG

The Tasting Room

The Tasting Room, Macau
The Tasting Room.

NUMBER OF STARS: TWO
LUNCH SET PRICE: SGD $156++
DINNER TASTING MENU PRICE: FROM SGD $331++
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: The Tasting Room’s executive chef Fabrice Vulin used to helm the two-starred Caprice in Hong Kong so you know you’re in good hands at this modern French restaurant. While the menu changes seasonally, the dishes are consistently constructed to allow the ingredients to shine.

Duddell’s

Duddell’s, Hong Kong
Duddell’s.

NUMBER OF STARS: ONE
LUNCH SET PRICE: FROM SGD $67++
DINNER TASTING MENU PRICE: SGD $295++
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Duddell’s does not sound like a Cantonese restaurant. It doesn’t look like one too — the contemporary art on the walls and outdoor garden terrace make you feel like you’ve entered a private art collector’s home. The food, however, is unabashedly traditional with classics like steamed rice rolls and har gow.

Beefbar

Beefbar, Hong Kong
Beefbar.

NUMBER OF STARS: ONE
LUNCH SET PRICE: FROM SGD $56++
DINNER TASTING MENU PRICE: SGD $207++
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: A steak bar with outstanding cuts of beef in Hong Kong might not be that much to shout about but where Beefbar beats the competition is in its solid repertoire of sides, starters and desserts. There are no less than five lunch sets to choose from: Opt for Tokyo, which comes with Hokkaido scallop carpaccio in a ponzu dressing, Kagoshima ribeye and lemon and thyme cake.

SINGAPORE

Odette

Odette, Singapore
Odette.
NUMBER OF STARS: TWO
LUNCH SET PRICE: FROM SGD $148++
DINNER TASTING MENU PRICE: SGD $328++
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Odette is named after chef Julien Royer’s grandmother who taught him the one lesson that drives the ethos of this modern French restaurant — amazing food starts with a deep respect for produce. “This is where every ingredient has its place and purpose and is treated with the utmost care to highlight its purest flavours,” chef Royer explains.

Candlenut

Candlenut, Singapore
Candlenut.

NUMBER OF STARS: ONE
LUNCH SET PRICE: SGD $88++
DINNER TASTING MENU PRICE: SGD $128++
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Chef Malcolm Lee’s food is irrefutably Peranakan even if it isn’t exactly traditional. His pineapple and cucumber achar is made from scratch just as his grandmother would, but for lunch, he pairs it with deep-fried Fremantle octopus. Buah keluak, which is usually featured in chicken or pork braised dishes, is used to add an earthy depth to sambal and wok-fried with prawns.

Corner House

Corner House
Corner House.

NUMBER OF STARS: ONE
LUNCH SET PRICE: FROM SGD $78++
DINNER SET PRICE: FROM SGD $208++
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: The walk through the lush greenery of Singapore Botanic Gardens to get to Corner House is your first hint of what to expect. The style of food here is what chef Jason Tan has termed “gastro-botanica” where vegetables are given as much love and attention as proteins. “The difference in price for lunch and dinner is huge, but we still use the same high-quality top-notch ingredients,” chef Tan affirms.

TAIPEI

Taïrroir

Taïrroir, Taipei
Taïrroir.

NUMBER OF STARS: TWO
LUNCH SET PRICE: SGD $82++
DINNER TASTING MENU PRICE: SGD $169++
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Chef Kai Ho draws upon his fine-dining kitchen background — from stints at Guy Savoy and JAAN in Singapore — and the childhood flavours he grew up with to transform the best of Taiwanese produce into artful masterpieces. The lunch and dinner menus at this establishment are vastly different, but the signature dish of the season features in both menus.

Ya Ge

Ya Ge, Taipei
Ya Ge.

NUMBER OF STARS: ONE
LUNCH SET PRICE: FROM SGD $69++
DINNER TASTING MENU PRICE: SGD $200++
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Helming the kitchen of this classic Cantonese restaurant is Chef Tse Man — a legend with 50-plus years of experience in top restaurants including award-winning Fook Lam Moon in Hong Kong. The lunch set featuring refined versions of humble dishes like double-boiled soup, dim sum and fried rice is a confident showcase of his skills.

Kitcho

Kitcho, Taipei
Kitcho.

NUMBER OF STARS: ONE
LUNCH SET PRICE: SGD $154++
DINNER TASTING MENU PRICE: SGD $197++
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: At this intimate 15-seat sushi bar, owner and head chef Kyo Hsu, who spent over 20 years working in top sushi restaurants in Taipei, stays true to the fundamentals of great sushi — the use of only the freshest seasonal ingredients, and the practice of technical precision.
48, Lane 181, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Daan

OSAKA AND KYOTO

Fujiya 1935

Fujiya 1935, Osaka
Fujiya 1935.

NUMBER OF STARS: TWO
LUNCH SET PRICE: SGD $124++
DINNER TASTING MENU PRICE: SGD $205++
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Fujiya 1935 has a rather poetic concept — “a dining experience that evokes tasty memories of the seasons”. It’s not just about seasonal ingredients here though. The Japanese restaurant with a distinct Spanish slant inspired by chef Tetsuya Fujiwara’s stint at L’Esguard in Barcelona also focuses on creating a mindful experience that stimulates all your senses.

Kashiwaya

Kashiwaya, Osaka
Kashiwaya.

NUMBER OF STARS: THREE
LUNCH SET PRICE: SGD $124
DINNER TASTING MENU PRICE: FROM SGD $198
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: In true kaiseki fashion, every dish — whether it’s grilled amadai fish, kombu-cured bream or azuki beans parfait — is meticulously prepared, and an expression of time and place.

Sushi Wakon

Sushi Wakon, Kyoto
Sushi Wakon.

NUMBER OF STARS: ONE
LUNCH SET PRICE: FROM SGD $226++
DINNER TASTING MENU PRICE: FROM SGD $289++
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: The menu at Sushi Wakon is curated by Rei Masuda, protégé of the legendary sushi chef Jiro Ono. Beyond his impeccable creations, the elegant dining room is a stunner — the eight-metre long sushi counter is handcrafted from a single piece of Japanese cypress.