Maybe you can tell… I’m a little obsessed with Gardens by the Bay. So you won’t be surprised when I tell you we recently went there for dinner to celebrate my birthday. Pollen is the restaurant in the lower level of the Flower Dome. Pollen’s Chef Director is Jason Atherton, the Michelin star chef behind Pollen Street Social in London and Esquina here in Singapore. Esquina is one of the best and most creative restaurants in our neighborhood — we love eating there, although seats are scarce these days. Word has spread like fire and people are lining up. So, we were excited to try Pollen and see what it’s about.

The restaurant feels cozy in the lower level, yet along one side it’s open to the glass wall of the flower dome. Going at sunset was ideal — we watched the sky turn dark as the city lights came alive. The seating area is bordered by lush greenery and a cool gabion wall (in shadow, lower left).

Dinner was expertly served by our lovely French server, Marie. I had the grilled fish with roasted beets, potatoes and thyme. Mr. Producer had the Rangers Valley rib-eye accompanied by duck fat chips (big French fries) and green salad on side dishes. Both were very good, although we haven’t seen a minimalist dinner plate like his in a long time — meat on a plate and nothin’ else.

For dessert, we were offered the choice of eating at the table or moving to the dessert bar where you can see everything sweet being prepared. We opted for the dessert bar. That’s the PB&J pictured above — peanut butter and cherry yuzu sorbet. We were offered a little dessert amuse bouche to start — a cup of mousse garnished with freeze-dried raspberries and nuts. Then the dessert attendant sold us on trying a chocolate dessert they had just added to the menu. Unfortunately, we were kind of disappointed. BUT! Marie consulted with us and had them make the dessert we had really wanted to try — the “crispy and burnt lemon meringue with cucumber sorbet”. It’s deconstructed and unusual with a very creative presentation.

Overall, we really enjoyed Pollen and we loved the informed and engaged service provided by Marie. She didn’t have to comp us a second dessert, but she knew it was a special occasion and that doing so would be the icing on my birthday non-cake and we would leave as happy diners. Thanks Marie! We’ll ask for you next time.

Dinner was followed by a night walk through the gardens. The area takes on a whole different space-age aura at night, with lights on and shadows cast.

Best of all, my birthday included an amazing gift at dinner and the destination of my next trip was revealed! More on that very soon. And to my thoughtful husband… thanks for the best birthday gift EVER.

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