So we made good on our reservation at artichoke, and were even able to get some friends of ours from Dhaka to join us (a lot of people take advantage of the long weekends to travel, and Singapore is a popular destination). The whole experience was a trip. First, let's quote artichoke's Facebook page About section:
MIDDLE EASTERN x DUDE FOOD x RECKLESS COOKING
Rule-breaking dishes - really loud music - chummy service - no pretentious bullshit
Of course, that description is pretty hilariously pretentious, just in a new, hip way. Then again, they weren't lying. The service was pretty chummy. We were greeted upon our arrival by the the manager, who treated us like long lost friends. Awesome. We placed our orders for starters (it was mostly a mezze or tapas kind of place), including the baba ghanoush. The manager came by and let us know that if it wasn't the best we'd ever had, the dinner was free. Unfortunately for our wallets, but fortunately for our palates, we got no free meal.
The rest of dinner was equally great. Good food, good people, no complaints. At least until we were getting ready to go. The manager came by again and started talking to us. And talking to us. And talking to us. We only managed to escape when he was called over to another part of the restaurant. Even then, he still flagged us down and sent us off with little packages of special gummy treats, apparently Czech in origin. Wherever they were from, they were amazing, and we quickly polished them off despite just having shared an awesome baklava sampler for dessert.
Basically, if you're in Singapore and want some Middle Eastern cuisine, you could do far worse.
Part of the reason we were a bit eager to leave dinner was our plan to go to the Singapore Night Safari. Apparently one of Singapore's more famous attractions, it's basically a tram ride through a zoo at night. But it's so much more than that. Because it's at night, many animals are much more active than they would be during the day. Even cooler, most of the enclosures are designed in a way that relies on more "natural" barriers to keep the animals contained: moats, trenches, and similar. So there's no fence or wall in between you and (most of) the animals. There was really no hope for pictures, but we had an awesome time.
The night safari was actually quite a distance from where we were staying and, since we stayed until midnight (when it closed), there was an absolutely massive line of people waiting for cabs. Probably an hour's wait or more. For whatever reason, though, a cabby grabbed us just as we were getting in line and told us the guy who called him never showed so he was available. This sounded super sketchy, but we were in a group of four people and it's Singapore. We decided to risk it, which worked out just fine and probably saved us a whole lot of time. Still not sure why we were singled out. Maybe by looking particularly foreign and therefore likelier to tip? Who knows?