Every dish on River Star Restaurant’s menu of fresh, eclectic Chinese fare arrives at tables with a guarantee of no added MSG. The chefs slice various veggies and meats for 28 noodle combos such as satay beef with vermicelli soup, and they oil up woks for 16 fried rice dishes, including seafood fried rice ($8.99). Those in the mood for something different can dig into a baked salmon on a davenport of baked spaghetti ($10.99) or mouth-hug one of 15 sammies, including the shredded pork ($3.25) with condensed milk on Texas toast just back from lassoing a mess of wild cacti. During afternoon tea, Hong Kong–style black tea doused with fresh milk ($1.75 hot; $2.75 cold) soothes throats sore from cheering on the sun to reach the top of the sky.
Cafe Mirage Grill & Lounge combines the elegance of upscale dining with the comfort of a casual café, delighting guests with sleek décor and meals to reflect each dining ideal. A menu of chic cuisine and informal foodstuffs is packed with choices to please varying appetites or argumentative dual heads. Entrées include the Thai striploin 10-ounce steak, which marinates western-raised beef in Thai sesame sauce, lending the cut a multicultural education to pass down to its steamed seasonal vegetables and baked potato or Yukon gold garlic mashed potatoes ($27). No-frills nibblers can get down to business with a shepherd's burger ($13), a handmade, goat-cheese stuffed patty with roasted red peppers and sautéed onions, a toasted bun hard hat, and a tool box of side salad or french fries. Wash down the delightful dishes with a glass of Bellini ($6), a fusion of sparking wine and peach purée, or a non-alcoholic fruitstravaganza ($6), a melding of three separate fruits into a refreshing drink to quench thirsts and vie for a quirky Food Network sitcom.
Despite its international gourmet cuisine and three Wine Spectator awards for Excellence, Marlowe Restaurant and Wine Bar's most winning characteristic might be its complete lack of pretension. If guests don't have a black tie or evening gown, that's no problem. If they're not sure what an Italian Colpetrone is, the wine list will tell them “there are only about 200 acres of this grape in existence.” And if they would rather indulge in some Louisiana-style jambalaya than some wild-mushroom rigatoni, it turns out that both are house specialities. Because Marlowe maintains the delicate balance between casual ambiance and fine dining more effectively than filet mignon served on a tiny barcalounger.
In the kitchen, Chef Andreas Feist and his staff channel the menu's eclectic flavours into both classic and untraditional preparations, from deep-fried lobster-and-shrimp spring rolls with a mango-Thai-chili sauce to slow-roasted Angus striploin with peppercorn sauce. The wine list is designed to complement the menu's diversity, offering labels from across the globe and across the oenological spectrum. Oaky and un-oaked chardonnays from California to Ontario, pinot noirs from Argentina, and shirazes from Australia all breathe beneath the restaurant's high ceilings, mixing in with conversation and music.
And as the wine flows into the evening, the music gains strength. After 10 p.m., guests can cut loose on the dance floor with salsa or club jams, take in a view of the stars on the patio, or simply lounge amid the happenings of a lively supper-club-style atmosphere. Unsurprisingly, Marlowe also offers a stacked-slate room lined for private parties, providing a dynamic setting in which guests can celebrate special events.
Restoran Malaysia's treasure trove of curries and sambal-infused dishes leaves no stone unturned in the spice department. But the menu features a counterbalance to its fiery plates: a long list of juice drinks. These sweet libations range from the Malaysian cooler—orange juice, pineapple juice, and coconut milk—to the durian smoothie, and they effectively offset the intense flavours of Malaysian, Chinese, and Indian entrees. If you prefer your drinks hot, the staff recommends either concealing your own microwave under the table or ordering the teh tarik: black tea blended with condensed and evaporated milks.
As for the food, it's halal with many vegetarian-friendly options, such as garlic green beans or eggplant. The Indonesian fried rice comes topped with an entire fried egg and shrimp chips, and the ekor soup bursts with savoury hints of oxtail and coriander. The homemade roti, a type of Indian bread, is also popular, and it can be paired with curry mutton or stuffed with egg, onions, and chili. There's even a dessert version loaded with banana and covered in condensed milk.
At Fraticelli's Italian Grill & Lounge, imported Italian plum tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, and freshly grated cheeses shape a menu of robustly flavored Italian cuisine. Chefs age Angus-beef steaks for 28 days, marinate them in olive oil and herbs, and then sear the succulent cuts Tuscan-style: over high heat on a wood-fired grill. They prepare pastas in multiple styles that reflect regions across Italy, from Sicilian-style seafood pasta to northern egg noodles ladled with slow-cooked meat sauce. Neapolitan-style pizza crusts stay thin by baking quickly in a stone oven at 750 degrees, which adds crispness while maintaining some of the original flavors of toppings such as roasted pickled eggplant.
Every Thursday and Saturday evening, diners can retreat to the piano lounge for live music. In the main dining room, companions nestle into booths separated by gauzy curtain partitions and electric fields.