Photo: Earl of Hindh
Sushi Mitsuya, Truffle Gourmet, Earl of Hindh and Dr Cafe Coffee – not only are these four relatively new restaurants steeped in fascinating history and traditions, they also offer superb dining experiences, each pushing the envelope of their respective cuisines. Who better to recommend must-try dishes than the ones who helped establish these restaurants in Singapore? We speak to the owners of the establishments:
Dr Cafe Coffee
Dr Cafe Coffee prides itself on using only the finest 100 per cent Arabica beans sourced from around the world. The first outlet in Singapore was opened in early 2012 (there are now eight outlets islandwide), and it serves up a wide variety of coffee beverages, including CEO, William Tan’s, favourite – Espresso Roast, a medium-bodied blend of Latin American and Indonesian coffees. "It has a caramel-like sweetness with hints of cocoa and nutty attributes," he says. "The aroma on the nose and flavour on the palate immediately transports me to the coffee hills of Brazil, Columbia and Kenya." Besides its comprehensive drinks menu of coffee and other beverages, Dr Cafe Coffee also features nibbles such as gourmet sandwiches, cheesecakes and pastries. "I love the Kaya Cheese Panini. Why? Well, not to brag, but our kaya cheese panini is truly out of this world!" says Tan. “Think traditional kaya – it should be orange in colour – with cheese between an Italian Panini, grilled to perfection. It’s slightly crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and provides an explosion of sweet kaya that’s complemented by the slight saltiness of cheese. It tastes even better when paired with black coffee, without sugar."
Dr Café Coffee | Address: #01-08, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3, 12 Marina Boulevard and various locations | Tel: 66047887 | Opening hours: 10am-10pm
There’s no denying the international appeal of Japanese cuisine. Perhaps it’s due to its impeccable presentation, or its use of fresh seasonal ingredients from different regions of the country. For May Chang, it all started with sushi. "My husband and I absolutely fell in love with Japanese sushi during our visit to Tokyo many years back. The sushi was so delicious, we had it almost every day." When her search for an authentic sushi restaurant in Singapore came up empty, Chang – together with another business partner – was determined to introduce a unique sushi-eating experience to the culinary scene here. And so Sushi Mitsuya was born; launched in February 2013, the sushi restaurant serves up the freshest offerings and provides a bespoke dining experience, minus the exorbitant prices. One of Sushi Mitsuya’s signature creations is grilled uni rice on sugi wood – which, incidentally, is Chang’s favourite dish. "The combination of my favourite Japanese ingredients – sea urchin and salmon roe – and the fragrance of Japanese cedar wood makes every bite a multi-sensory experience!"
Sushi Mitsuya | Address: 60 Tras Street #01-01 | Tel: 64382608 | Opening hours: Mon-Sat noon–3pm, 6-11pm
At Truffle Gourmet, you will be guaranteed three things: a lesson in culinary history, superior-quality ingredients, and a taste of Italy. This gourmet brand was dreamt up by the owners of the luxury five-star hotel Relais San Maurizio in Piedmont, Italy. Launched in October 2013, Truffle Gourmet Singapore marks the restaurant’s first foray into Asia. There are only two other Truffle Gourmet restaurants around the world – Monte Carlo, Monaco and Lugano, Switzerland. Apart from offering dishes infused with the ever-pungent truffle – which is personally imported from the Langhe region of Piedmont – Truffle Gourmet also has an exceptional wine list featuring their own wines from the San Maurizio Estates Vineyards. "My favourite dish has got to be Plin Agnolotti; it’s homemade beef ravioli served with beef reduction sauce is sprinkled with truffle oil and doused in black truffle cream," says owner, Nicola Sandoli. "I love it because it’s prepared using an age-old recipe that harks back to 1619, Relais San Maurizio was established as a monastery."
Truffle Gourmet Singapore | Address: 49 Club Street | Tel: 62225996 | Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-midnight; Sat 5.30pm-midnight.
Earl of Hindh
The use of aromatic spices like cumin and cardamom in Indian cuisine gives the dishes nuances of flavours that you’d be hardpressed to find elsewhere. When it comes to authentic Indian cuisine, spices are but one of the many components. "Indian cuisine encompasses a wide variety of regional cuisines native to India. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate and even occupations, these cuisines vary significantly from one another," explains owner, Ravi Kiran, of the complexities of Indian cuisine. "Not to mention, it is also heavily influenced by religious and cultural choices, traditions, as well as time." At Earl of Hindh, every dish was created to bring you back to the Reign of the British – an era when the maharajas and royalty indulged in some of the most lavish feasts and exotic dishes. Kiran’s personal favourite? The Earl-E-Hindh kakori kebab. "It’s a kebab of finely minced lamb, flavoured with cloves, cinnamon and some secret ingredients, wrapped around a skewer and char-grilled. The delicate kebab practically melts in your mouth – it’s a must-try for everyone."
Earl of Hindh | Address: #01-16 Quay Side Isle, Sentosa Cove | Tel: 66816694 | Opening hours: Tue-Fri 12.30pm-10pm; Sat & Sun 12.30pm–10.30pm