“An award-winning establishment that blends beautifully into its lush surroundings. Features include a dining pavilion perched on an eco-pond and a drinks island replete with hanging plants. Green canopies and natural ventilation from the waterfront add to the charm, day or night.” That could be from the brochure of one the celebrated spiffy restaurants in the Marina Bay area but it is instead from the website of a food centre. Satay by the Bay is an updated version of the old hawkers’ centre known as the Satay Club. Located in the prime location between Gardens by the Bay and Marina Barrage, the waterfront food centre is where one can indulge in a delightful mix of local street food against the backdrop of lush greenery, serene bay view and the Marina Bay skyline.
The location of Satay by the Bay means that it can offer a unique atmosphere and enviable views of the Marina Bay landscape. The downside is that it is not easy to get to. The nearest MRT station is the Bayfront MRT Station and bus service 400 stops at the Marina Barrage. However, for those who drive, there are ample parking lots right next to the food centre.
Satay by the Bay has a covered area which looks and feels like a typical food centre. It also has an al fresco dining area with wooden decking and quaint low tables and stools. The satay stalls, set up like old push cart stalls, are in the al fresco section.
Notwithstanding its name, Satay by the Bay offers much more than just satay. In fact, a wide variety of Singapore street food can be found there. Fried kway teow, carrot cake, laksa, roti prata, hokkien mee, BBQ chicken wings and nasi bryiani are available. There are also stalls selling pizzas, Thai food, Turkish fare and Mediterranean dishes.
The well-known Boon Tat Street Seafood and Huat Huat Chicken Wings have stalls in Satay by the Bay. There is also Wholly Crab, a stall opened by a popular local TV artiste (not Rui En). Besides the usual drinks stall, there is a bar and bistro where cold beers and pub food are served.
We visited Satay by the Bay recently and ordered a fresh coconut ($4) from the drinks stall and satay from Power Satay ($7 for 10 sticks). We had 5 sticks of beef satay and 5 sticks of chicken satay. The meats were well marinated and nicely grilled with bits of burnt parts. Both the beef and chicken were tender and flavourful. The gravy provided by Power Satay was unusual but tasty. It had a reddish colour and had chunky peanuts in the gravy.
We also tried the kueh pie ti ($4 for 4 pieces) from Huat Huat Chicken Wings stall. It was quite different from the usual nyonya snack that we had before. The thin pastry was crispy and nice but the filling of sliced vegetables and eggs was way too sweet. The filling was drenched with a sauce which was like a cross between rojak sauce and satay sauce. The taste of the sauce was too overwhelming. Next time we will stick to chicken wings if we are ordering from Huat Huat.
Satay by the Bay is obviously a place built up recently with a view to attract tourists yet it is a place locals will appreciate and enjoy also. There you can find a wide variety of local food and the prices are not unreasonable. It may evoke a sense of nostalgia among those of a certain age who remember the old Satay Club at the Esplanade. There is something about Satay by the Bay that makes it special and charming. After-all, there must be very few many places in Singapore where you can enjoy spectacular waterfront views and good old-fashioned satay with breeze blowing in your face.
Overall Rating: 3 TOPs
Satay by the Bay
18 Marina Gardens Drive #01-19
tel: +65 6538 9956
Food Stalls open from 11am to 10pm daily