It’s someone’s birthday. Someone special. So of course you can’t do a half-hearted at (God forbid) char chan teng or just order a cake, can you. You need to do something different.
So what do you do? Here’s my three-steps fail-proof guide to choose an appropriate restaurant for a birthday dinner:
Step 1: Get a globe. Give it a good twirl, close your eyes, and jab with your finger.
Step 2: Look at the country, go to OpenRice.com to search for a corresponding restaurant (i.e. if you jabbed at Mongolia, you go for Mongolian food, see?)
Step 3: Call up the restaurant, make a reservation and start saving
Inevitably an exotic meal will cost you an arm and a leg, though I have to say that perhaps Balalaika Russian Restaurant is one of the few exceptions.
The Ice Bar
A visit to Balalaika would be incomplete without visiting the Ice Bar (the inverted Absolute Vodka prop wasn’t a photoshop mistake, mind you). The small bar without seats, which can comfortably fit about 6 – 7 standing adults, was famous for the subterranean chill of almost zero degrees Celcius, probably all to make it a Russian experience (side note: do you know the Russians have one of the most severe winters in the world?). Prior entering the chilled room you get to choose a huge fur coat, a fur cap and a pair of furry ear muffs.