Do robots dream of electric sleep? Just one weird question we had when we faced down the robot staff at M Social Singapore. At the hip and colourful M Social Singapore at Robertson Quay, designed by none other than one Philippe Starck, Aura the robot butler is at our door. He, she, it (?) emits a series of beeps, and flashes a message, “Hello, please remove your items.” It’s kinda cute, and we feel compelled to say “Thank you” to the little bot, after taking our bottles of water. But unlike with a human butler, there’s no need to make awkward small talk with the bot-ler, give a tip, apologise for taking too long to open the door, or even, um, be fully dressed. You’d think it’s a perfect place to staycay if you’re an anti-social being, or in an anti-social mood (is it ironic that the hotel is called M Social?), but for the rest of us perfectly sociable creatures, there are plenty of places and chances to socialise and make human contact. In fact, the lifestyle design hotel thrives on “an interplay of friendship, community and new experiences”. Awesome. M Social also has an exciting social calendar, and sometimes has curated exhibitions, talks and workshops with local artists and creatives. But if you’re just here to chill, don’t worry, there’re plenty of opportunities to do that, especially in the cool high-ceilinged Alcove Cosy room. In fact, you may never want to leave your room. In which case, ring Aura. It will bring you everything you need. Beep Beep, you’re welcome!

But if you’re feeling hungry and starved of human contact, check out Beast & Butterflies, the hotel’s popular and very chic restaurant. Even here, there are elements of the high-tech life. iPads which act as ever-changing wallpaper decorate one wall, and when breakfast is served here, the eggs are made by a robot butler. For other meals, the restaurant serves Asian-fusion dishes with bold flavours — our favourite is the Crispy Pork Knuckle (half portion $26, full portion $36). The German-style pork knuckle comes with crispy crackling skin and tender, fall-off-the bone meat. But what really steals the show are the Asian-influenced dips — a spicy Thai nam jim sauce, and a thick Peking-style hoisin sauce. We’ve never had pork knuckle with Asian sauces, but they work surprisingly well together. Not a fan of meat? Go for the comforting Lobster Porridge ($38), cooked in a clear crab broth simmered for eight hours. End the meal with a creamy Yam Brulee ($12), a modern take on the traditional Teochew yam paste dessert that’s topped with a caramelised sugar carapace and served with coconut ice-cream. It’s one of the best meals we’ve had in a while at such an affordable price.

M Social Singapore is at 90 Robertson Quay, Singapore 238259. For reservations, call 6206-1888 or visit www.msocial.com.sg.

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