A short drive along a winding road takes visitors to Mount Faber peak, home to the Singapore Cable Car station. One of the oldest parks in Singapore, Mount Faber is covered in lush rainforest and stands nearly 100m above ground.
Opened in 1974, the Singapore Cable Car connects Mount Faber on mainland Singapore to the resort island of Sentosa. Formerly named Telok Blangah Hill, it was renamed in honour of Captain Charles Edward Faber, an engineer who built the road and constructed a signal station and flagstaff for ships that sailed into the harbour after the island was discovered by Sir Stamford Raffles.
Besides panoramic views, the hill presents an aerial glimpse into the economic progress of the country which ranks among the top 10 in the world for GDP per capita.
The open-air Dusk Restaurant at the Mount Faber station with its chilled vibes is an ideal starting point. With a mocktail in hand, I gazed at the steady roll-in of the fourth-generation shiny black cable cars while my companion Cynthia went into a photographic frenzy. Around us, service staff were industriously prepping up tables for a busy night ahead. Our hosts informed us that Dusk is popular with office executives nearby chugging up to unwind, small groups escaping the madding crowd in the city and couples cozying up for date nights. What could be more romantic than a sunset hilltop rendezvous? The menu boasts Modern European cuisines, specially curated wines and signature nitro-frosted cocktails.
We then sauntered to the adjacent Arbora Hilltop Garden & Bistro where young children were amusing themselves under the watchful eye of their parents.
Our eyes were immediately drawn to a pair of large brass bells hanging in a leafy arch. These are Poland’s Bells of Happiness, gifted to Singapore by Poland to commemorate the Poland-Singapore diplomatic relationship and the visit of two Polish ships in 1992 and 2019. The bells are believed to bring good fortune and double happiness blessings to their visitors.
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Arbora in Latin stands for a plant-covered enclosure and true to its namesake, it offers majestic views of the leafy surrounds including a wide choice of family favourites from Western to Asian. In the foyer, kids hung around a new ice cream robot “Icealice” dispensing creamy goodness in cups while others browse through the gift shop.
It was time to board our cable car for the 90-minute dinner ride at 6 pm. Four different options await. The Stardust Cabin for couples with a Western menu, the Singapore Flavours Cabin with local favourites for families, the Champagne cabin for special occasions and the Destination-theme Cabin. Giving vent to our wanderlust with borders currently closed, we pre-booked the Destination theme ‘Fly Me to Italy’, a four-course menu of Italian specialities. Our travel aspirations are only limited by our minds!
Flutes of chilled Italian Prosecco were handed to us in the boarding area. Our first two courses were waiting for us as we hopped into our car. The cabin was comfortable as the ride itself. Cool air breezes in through the windows pulled up two-thirds of the way.
On one side, the Port of Singapore Authority ranks as the world’s second-busiest port, bustled below and on the other side, valuable real estate thrived. Peering down at the containers, cranes and shipping vessels, I am reminded of the history lessons on the founding of Singapore. Surely, Sir Stamford Raffles would be proud to witness his legacy today.
Towering sail-shaped condominiums on the other side gleamed nonchalantly against the setting sun while traffic zipped on the highway below. In the horizon, the island playground of Sentosa with its flashy resorts and attractions beckoned. Further away, the islands of Kusu, St John, Lazarus and Sisters making up the Southern Islands, came into sight. It was certainly a stunning backdrop as the sun descended into vivid hues of amber.
The dining experience covers three stops along the Mount Faber line – Mount Faber, Harbourfront and Sentosa. Our car glided smoothly along the 1.72km line at varying heights between 44m and 120m above ground. From one-stop to another, it took 5-6 minutes and the total ride spanned three rounds.
As our car circled back to the Mount Faber station to receive our subsequent courses, we were greeted by an eco-terrain pleasantly awash in the evening glow. Cameras clicked away as we oohed and aahed at the transformation. Changing courses was an art on its own. Servers were given 14 seconds to remove and replace our dishes…..in a moving car! Nothing was spilt in.
Our meal was a delicious tribute to Italy. Cynthia relished her Sicilian pan-seared tuna (antipasti) and her main – the perfectly done cod fillet over spinach and ricotta ravioli – accompanied by a hearty red. For me, it was the vegetarian menu of a delectable roasted asparagus salad and the robust baked fricassee morel mushroom duxelles with a lovely white. Our soups though tasty – her roast pork infused in sauerkraut & bean stew and my minestrone-like broth could have been served piping hot but understandably, the logistics in transfer may have had an effect on the soups. We ended our meal on a sweet note – a Venetian style tiramisu for Cynthia and a refreshing mango sorbet with wild berries for myself – a fitting complement to an incredible landmark. More exciting culinary destination menus are in the pipeline with Japan slated for June.
As day settled into night, the ride morphed into an aerial orchestra of floating twinkling lights on each cable car. Each round provided contrasting visual scenes, each click more surreal than the other. On our last round, the battery-operated speaker lamp died but in the still silence of the cabin, we were able to marvel in awe at both the illuminated landscape and seascape. 90 minutes, 10km and four courses swiftly came to a satisfying finish. Between our chatting, viewing, dining, photo and video taking, we hardly noticed how quickly time passed by.
Note to self – explore Sentosa on the next visit and connect to the three-stop Sentosa line.
For more information on the Cable Car, Mount Faber and Sentosa, visit www.onefabergroup.com
Disclosure: The writer explored the Cable Car with assistance from One Faber Group