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Food

Saint Ma (IndoChine): Singapore Restaurant Review

Last Updated: November 18, 2015

Written by Cassidy Duvall

A culinary tour of Indo-China, nestled in a Sky Garden.

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If you’ve been over to Suntec City lately you may have noticed something new is-a-cookin’ up in the sky. What is it exactly? Well, I will tell you. It’s Suntec City’s newest venture, the Sky Garden. The Sky Garden is a beautiful, sprawling outdoor multi-restaurant destination home to a well curated variety of local and international eateries. 

The Sky Garden is conveniently located not inside, but directly atop the mall and overlooks the renowned Fountain of Wealth. The Sky Garden itself is comprised of manicured gardens that aim to provide a lush, roof-top oasis in the heart of the city. The water features, bamboo and array of equatorial shrubs beautifully furnish an otherwise concrete jungle.

There are a large selection of individual restaurants to choose from, but today we headed over to Saint Ma, a new offering from the well known Indochine group, to sample their cuisine. 

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The interior of Saint Ma is over the top opulent with a dramatic mix of baroque-style couches, textiles and chandeliers and a long centerpiece table. While the entirety of the restaurant is set outdoors, there is an adequate amount of fans and air cons set up to keep patrons cool in the unforgiving Singapore heat.

Three sides of the space are open to the air, while the forth wall is covered in greenery and flat screen TVs, which add to Saint Ma’s already trendy vibe.

Now, onto the eats…

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The culinary team at Saint Ma works with a strong “nutraceutical” theme in mind – a foodie buzz word meant to refer to nutritional and pharmaceutical properties. At Saint Ma they aim to create clean, healthy versions of the well known, classic IndoChinese dishes.

The Rice Paper Handrolls with Summer Fruits & Crab Meat ($17) are a wonderful example of Saint Ma’s fresh, clean mantra. These traditional Vietnamese rice paper rolls are made with sliced mangos, grapes, spinach and moist shredded swimmer crab.

They are served with a mango ginger dipping sauce for good measure. This is a simple, straightforward dish – one I recommend starting off your meal with.

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Next we sampled the Seabass, Rice Paper and Betel Leaf Rolls ($16). The seabass is pan seared and tossed with a mix of Asian spices and wrapped in betel leaves and rice paper. These little guys pack a ton of flavor and have a strong salt and lemon grass taste.

The dipping sauce includes a generous amount of fermented rice giving the rolls an even saltier flavor. The table was unanimous in agreeing this dish would pair wonderfully with a pint or two.

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The Norwegian Salmon Tartare ($16) is infused with Asian herbs, roasted rice powder and a mix of spices. I’ve never seen salmon used in a larb before, so this dish was a nice twist. The fish itself was the overwhelming flavor, but the kaffir lime leaf, onion, coriander and sprinkles of fermented rice salt gave it a distinct Thai taste of salt and sour.

The rice crackers gave the dish a necessary crunch, otherwise it would have been a bit too soft for my liking. The fermented rice also created a slight grainy texture, in a nice way. This dish would be great for a light, healthy lunch on a hot day.

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Saint Ma’s famous House Salad ($20) recipe has been offered on the IndoChine menu since it opened back in 1997. The salad is comprised of shredded chicken, fresh watercress, turnips, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, hard boiled egg and fried shallots.

The salad is topped with a Luang Prabang (a providence is Northern Laos) dressing that was so good there is no way it’s good for you. While I usually power through salads for the sake of trying to be skinny, this was a stand out dish for me – one I would certainly order again.

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Great for sharing is the Khmer-Style Tamarind Seafood Trio ($34). This dish is served on a long platter and comes with a moderate size portion of pan-fried seabass fillet, four scallops and some monster prawns, all topped with a tamarind caramel sauce.

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The pan-fried seabass fillet was rather bland in terms of flavor, but had a nice fresh texture. The tamarind sauce, which is used on the entirely of the plate, provides the most flavor to this bite.  

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The scallops were a touch chewy and rubbery and overall a little anaemic for my taste. I personally also prefer a bit more of a sear on the outside. These gave a taste and flavor of having been cooked for too long over a low heat as opposed to quickly on a higher temp.

The sweet sauce, didn’t translate as well to the scallops as I tend to prefer something a little lighter and fresher.

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Another ‘day one dish’, the Vietnamese Luc Lac, Garlic and Pepper Australian Beef ($28) has been on the menu since inception. The beef is sautéed with herbs, spices and melted butter and served on a hotplate with a sour-sweet dip poured over the top.

The meat was a little tough and cooked too well done for the liking, but the overall flavor profile of herbs, spices and onions had me enjoying this dish. It would be nice for sharing and filling up on over dinner. The side sauce, with the fermented rice bits, provided a nice salty touch and really brought out all the flavors of the meat and vegetables.   

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The Poached Lemongrass Tiger Prawns ($33) was overall my favorite dish of the afternoon. The poached tiger prawns were massive in size and soaking in Saint Ma’s special lemongrass and chili sauce.

The dish appears as if it is going to pack a big punch of spice, but it turned out to be on the sweeter side of things. This is something I would ensure to order for the table next time. 

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We ended our meal with the Coffee Creme Brûlée and Ice-cream ($12). Saint Ma successfully puts a clear Vietnamese twist on this classic French dessert. The crème brûlée had a strong Vietnamese coffee flavor. It is served with fruit coulis and coffee ice-cream, topped with coffee and strawberry syrups. A great way to cool down at the end of a hot meal. 

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 Saint Ma is a wonderful food oasis nestled within the confines of the Sky Garden. As I’m not a huge fan of eating inside of malls (actually, I really don’t like it), I particularly enjoyed the breezy, outdoor atmosphere. You would never think you were sitting in the heart of Suntec City. 

While it’s a nice reprieve from city life during the day, the space is especially alluring at night. The decor and atmosphere are built around being an afterwork and evening hot spot to enjoy dinner. Saint Ma is also directly accessible from the Suntec Singapore Convention Centre & Exhibition Centre, making it a nice option for patrons before or after an event.  

With fresh food, a cool, unique atmosphere and nice service, I would return to Saint Ma at Suntec City’s Sky Garden.

Expected Damage: $30.00 – $60.00 per / pax

Saint Ma (IndoChine Group): 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Sky Garden, #03-300/301, Singapore 038983 | Tel: 6332 0323 | Website 

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