Taking the whole family out for a weekend lunch can sometimes work like a dream, but let’s face it: it can equally turn into chaos, even in the most kid-friendly restaurants in Singapore. We’ve all been there. What you need, when you’ve got some little wild ones on your hands, and you’d like to actually eat your lunch, are distractions. Plenty of them. Even better, find a way to let the children to burn off some energy and they just might sit at the table like little angels. We can dream. Enter Ola Beach Club, which popped up on Siloso beach late last year and is in full swing. It’s your new reason to bring the whole gang over to Sentosa for one of those famous days of fun.
You know it bodes well when your kid declares ‘Oooooh, surfboards!’ as you stroll up to your lunch joint. Ola gives a nod to Chief Enjoyment Officer Christina Tran’s Hawaiian roots (Ola means ‘life’ in Hawaiian) and it’s decked out in beautiful island style – very easygoing, very cool; no coconut bras here.
The club was designed to be a hangout that families could really enjoy too, and we more than appreciate the sentiment. For the baby set, there are changing tables, a nursing room and coming soon, there’ll be a playpen for the tiny ones. But moving on to those distractions we talked about earlier…
Let’s start with the pool, with all the inflatables your kids could possibly want to catapault themselves at (you know you want to float on that pizza slice too). You’ll spot the parents with serious kid-wrangling strategies dining poolside to maximise their chances of finishing a cocktail before ‘meltdown o’clock’. Nice move, nice move. Need a bit more action? There’s a bouncy castle and water slide in one ($15 gets you endless playtime); and for the even more adventurous, water sports. Take the kids on a banana boat ride, or let Dad have his moment of glory flying Singapore’s first and only water-propelled Jet Pack over Siloso beach. Seriously.
If your family is more of a sit-back-with-the-sand-between-your-toes type, kick off your shoes and head for a table facing the lagoon. There are even tiny tables and chairs for the kiddos. Our tip? BYO sand toys.
And the food? Ola’s spread is Hawaiian-inspired, created by Executive Chef Liinson Heng (we should mention his previous stints include time with Michelin man Joel Robuchon). The kids’ menu is compact. Ola’s signature Huli Huli chicken – teriyaki chicken on pumpkin puree, with a sliver of ridiculously good Hawaiian-style ham, is a surprise entry. Get your little people to give it a try – it’s fantastic. There is also, of course, the universal favourite of a mini burger and fries. As for the grown-ups? If you haven’t tried Hawaiian fare before, try the Loco Moco – a comfort food that consists of a beef pattie on rice. Doubtful? So was I, and now I’m a believer. Ola’s version has a sesame-and-seaweed spiked rice, juicy Wagyu and is topped with a panko-crusted egg that oozes yolk when you slice into it. Food coma material.
On the Sunday we feasted here, it was all about the families chilling out by the pool, stretching out by the shore or sprawling out on daybeds. Feel free to bring the family dog – fur babies are welcome here too. Bring the kids over to the bar and they can dangle from a wooden swing while they wait for one last watermelon juice (and you wait for a Tiki cocktail). Then quietly congratulate yourself for having found a new awesome addition to your Sunday lunch repertoire. Even more quietly, make a note to self that the Sunset Bar upstairs looks mighty fine for your next date night, sans kids.
Ola Beach Club, 46 Siloso Beach Walk, Sentosa, Singapore 099005; www.olabeachclub.com