Exclusive Gallery tour, fine-dining treat for ST readers

Ten lucky readers and their guests enjoyed a tour of the National Gallery Singapore and a dinner at Aura with Straits Times food critic Wong Ah Yoke (centre, in white shirt).
Ten lucky readers and their guests enjoyed a tour of the National Gallery Singapore and a dinner at Aura with Straits Times food critic Wong Ah Yoke (centre, in white shirt).ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Preview of National Gallery Singapore before official opening was followed by a three-course meal hosted by Straits Times food critic Wong Ah Yoke

The National Gallery Singapore has two weeks to go before it opens to the public, but 10 Straits Times readers and their partners got an exclusive tour of the museum on Monday.

The 90-minute tour was organised as part of the ST170 campaign - an initiative that The Straits Times is holding to give back to readers in celebration of its 170th birthday year.

The winners, who answered a question at 1845.straitstimes.com, also enjoyed a three-course meal at Italian fine-dining restaurant Aura which was hosted by Straits Times food critic Wong Ah Yoke.

The tour took the group through the different areas of the gallery, such as the Supreme Court and City Hall wings.

At the City Hall wing, they had a sneak peek of the Keppel Centre for Art Education - a dedicated education facility with colourful features to stimulate curiosity and imagination, as well as the City Hall chambers where the late former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and his Cabinet took their Oaths of Allegiance to the State in 1959.

Ms Amalina Razak, 24, a recent graduate and one of the winners, said: "I really enjoyed the tour. It's a privilege to be able to come here before the official opening. I especially enjoyed looking at the areas such as the grand City Hall chambers where Mr Lee was sworn in as our first prime minister."

The tour was led by Ms Thazin Lin, 35, senior manager (media and marketing) at the gallery. She described the group as "very excited and receptive".

"They asked a lot of questions, took many photos and really liked the space inside the gallery," she added.

After the tour, readers enjoyed cocktails at the Sky Lounge before their dinner treat at Aura, worth $260 each.

The menu included rofie (pasta) with crab and Sicilian tomatoes, cod or smoked duck with porcini (mushroom) and beetroot and, for dessert, Bailey's & Hazelnut feuillantine (fine crumbled biscuit).

The restaurant is operated by ilLido Group.

Mr Wong, 54, said: "Even though it was a short dinner of three courses, it was a very pleasant experience. The readers were very polite and friendly, and it was easy to strike up conversations with them and get to know them."

Housewife Yvonne Ho, 50, who attended the event with her daughter Wong Wenyi, 18, said: "The entire experience was great. The gallery exceeded all our expectations and the food and ambience at Aura were wonderful.

"Ah Yoke is a very good host as he explained the courses and was very friendly and approachable."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2015, with the headline 'Exclusive Gallery tour, fine-dining treat for ST readers'. Print Edition | Subscribe