LIME HOUSE Rubbing shoulders with their cool neighbours such as The Cufflink club on Jiak Chuan Road will be this Caribbean restaurant, bar and lounge. As an aside, it seems Jamaicans and Pacific Islanders used the word 'lime' to mean 'hang out' or 'fool around'. Where to eat: Expect flavours of the Caribbean in the food and drink (a first for Singapore). Doors open on 19 June. Watch this space for our review.
BOOK A TABLE | DING DONG | Where to eat: Something is buzzing on Club Street (Ann Siang Road, to be exact) and it is an eatery-cum-bar by the Spa Esprit Group. Neon lights and a kitchen shielded by a glass panel greets you on the first floor, before you ascend the spiral staircase into cosy, dimly-lit nooks and spaces on the second and the third. Ding Dong opened on 27 June 2013. What to eat: The menu, designed by chef Ryan Clift (previously from Tippling Club) features Asian-inspired share plates, and cocktails with Asian flavours. We weren't expecting much from this fusion concept, but this is fusion done well: the Kingfish sashimi with pickled daikon, wasabi and yuzu dressing starter ($21) is done with quality ingredients and perky flavours; main plate of five-spice lamb ribs with sweet green chilli sauce ($22) had tenderly-done lamb ribs and a very pleasant sauce with it; and the sambal fried rice with coriander and crispy shallots ($14) like Mother's fried rice with added crunch. Though marketed as small plates, these were substantial for sharing. The cocktails, for the most part, pull no punches, either.
BULL AND BUTCHER | Where to eat: On 26 June, this contemporary steakhouse outfitted with cowhide upholstery and high tables inspired by butcher blocks joined the slew of dining options at Plaza Singapura. Occupying a prime spot beside the main entrance (it took over the Cafe Cartel space), the restaurant boasts of both an al fresco and an indoor area, the latter done up in dark wood tones. Doesn't look it, but the entire space seats around 100 diners, and even with the close seating, Bull and Butcher feels much more orderly than its previous tenant. What to eat: Australian and US steaks ($26-$75) of various cuts is on the brown placemat menu. They are mostly prepared on a customised charcoal grill tucked behind the counter of the semi-open-plan kitchen. We like the tender braised Australian Wagyu beef cheek served with mashed potatoes ($28) - no knife needed - although the mash came across a little over-salted. The 'Petite Tender' (160g for $28) - a cut not currently on the menu, and available for only the first three months of opening - is nicely charred, though not the most tender cut; we thought the Argentinian beef tenderloin (part of the Mixed Grill, $43) was more tender. In all, a good, hearty meal. This is no place for light eaters. We have a short video clip of our meal at Bull and Butcher here, handy if you're looking for a place around the museums to dine at.
W39 BISTRO & BAKERY | Where to eat: Along the row of stores on West Coast Road, look out for W39's cheery, yellow-striped awning. The cosy eatery opened in May, 2013 and caters to those in the western part of Singapore. This cute and bright-coloured cafe is good for a spot of brunch and to while away the weekends. What to eat: The menu is a mixed bag of breakfast, tapas, mains, coffee, tea and cocktails. Phew! Go for the classic eggs Benedict ($9) and for something local, try the nasi lemak with roasted and spiced chicken leg ($10.50). W39 is a bakery too, and has an assortment of cakes, break and pastries for dine-in or takeaway.
LADY M | Where to eat: The newly renovated gourmet dining zone at Marina Square will feature several new restaurants, and the one that excites us most is the famed New York cake boutique, Lady M. What to eat: Its signature, the mille crepe cake is made with 20 paper-thin crepes layered with pastry cream and a caramelised surface. Celebrity fans of this cake include Martha Stewart and Issey Miyake. We predict queues, very long queues.
THE BLACK SWAN | Where to eat: Housed in the art deco building, The Quadrant on Cecil street, and targeting the Central Business District’s lunch and happy-hour crowd will be a new bistro by the Lo & Behold group. What to eat: No details are out yet, but what we do know is that The Black Swan has grand plans to be a 1920s-themed grand bistro. We will bring you the latest, so check back for more.
INTREPID GASTROBAR | Where to eat: Another drink-and-dine option at the bustling Far East Square, Intrepid Gastro bar has been opene since January, 2013 and is an Aussie-style eatery that serves brunch daily (till 3pm). What to eat: The breakfast pan ($18) should fill you up – it comes with two eggs, a pork sausage, thick-cut bacon, spinach, tomato, grilled mushrooms and toast. Don’t want to play it so safe? Tuck in to the chargrilled kangaroo loin (comes with marsala glazed peaches, rocket leaves and prosciutto, $38).
SERENITY SPANISH BAR & RESTAURANT | Where to eat: The Spanish restaurant at Vivocity opened an outlet at Ngee Ann City, Orchard Road in June, 2013. The decor is opulent and there are more than just tapas on the menu here. What to eat: They serve 24 types of sangria, made with either red or white wine, but we like the original the best (red wine, gin, brandy, and juices, $16). It pairs well with the chochinillo asado (Spanish-style whole roasted suckling pig that is carved table-side, $288 for whole, $158 for half). The meat is marinated with sherry, white wine, vinegar and herbs and roasted for six hours, resulting in flesh so tender that they make a show of it by cutting it up with a plate – yes, you read right, a plate.
BOOK A TABLE | TAMASHII ROBATAYA | Where to eat: Housed in the same North Canal Road building as Sur - Nuevo Latino Cuisine and Ritual Gym is this new robatayaki grill restaurant (they opened in April, 2013) What to eat: Uber fresh ingredients are imported from Japan and grilled table-side and then served on samoji (wooden oars). The menu is vast and exciting and you shouldn't go wrong with the chef's recommendations – the shiromi truffle (thinly sliced, seasonal white fish topped with summer black truffles, $58) and the kashiram donburi (traditional rice bowl topped with grilled pork cheeks, $35). Ask for sake recommendations to pair with your meal.
PARK | Where to eat: PARK can be found in a bit of green at the end of Holland Road. This is an eco-friendly, solar-powered structure fashioned out of an old shipping container that opened in April, 2013. What to eat: The chef recommends the truffle mac and cheese ($11.80), but first, the soup of the day ($9) or the Japanese inspired beef hayashi (hashed beef stew, served with rice, $13.50). It also serves thinly sliced Spam chips ($8.50, to nibble with drinks). Good news for pet owners – your four-legged friends are welcomed at PARK.
DEPARTMENT OF CAFFEINE | Where to eat: What used to be the kitsch-y Broadway Cafe at Duxton Hill is now a cafe / eatery with a very serious sounding name. What to eat: Department of caffeine, or DOC, opened in April 2013, and with a name like that, we went in expecting all coffee (it uses the Five Senses blend from Australia), but it had much more to offer. A little birdie told us the cafe is opened by an ex-Stranger's Reunion barista, so expectations were high. The flat white ($5) was just right, and there is a small selection of tea, along with very tempting food. Its weekends-only menu includes the M&M sliders – a platter of three meatballs sandwiched in caramelised onion muffins dressed with lemon yoghurt, chilli and corriander jam ($13.50). On weekdays, ask for the day's selection of house-made bakes, tea cakes (the chocolate flourless cake is intense, $5.50) and salads. Great for both takeaway and eating in.
LIME | Where to eat: In the recently-opened (January, 2013) Parkroyal on Pickering is Lime (on street level), which offers a Sunday brunch buffet with free-flow Champagne – our favourite kind of buffet. What to eat: Make a beeline for the live stations that are cooking up eggs, pasta and a stellar pan-seared foie gras. The buffet has a vast selection of cold seafood on ice, cheese, cold cuts and even a carving station (queue up for US prime rib, guinea fowl and even rack of lamb). Sink into one of the plush sofas available and feast on. All you can eat of this for $88, or top up to $128 for a free-flow bubbly from Piper Heidsieck.
MEAT PACKING DISTRICT | Where to eat: Not really a restaurant but a burger joint in the coffee shop at the Bestway building in Tanjong Pagar, where musician-turned-burger-flipper, Keith Tan (from the band, Obedient Wives Club), serves up gourmet burgers with handmade meat patties. These guys set up shop in April, 2013. What to eat: Dine in or call in for delivery (CBD office workers, you listening?). Yes, the menu here is all burgers: the bestseller is the Fat Elvis (a beef patty topped with peanut butter, bacon and a banana fried tempura style, encased in a brioche bun, $11). All burgers come with a side of fries, and the 'meat packers' are happy to customise the buns to your taste.
THE GREEN DOOR | Where to eat: Waiting for a table for dinner at Dempsey? While away your time with a drink at this lush garden bar that opened in April, 2013. What to eat: Signature cocktails made with fresh fruit and herbs from their garden, who could resist? Try the Raunchy Redhead (vodka, triple sec, fresh watermelon, lime juice and kaffir lime leaves, $21) or Marilyn Chambers' Tipple (gin, triple sec, fresh grapefruit, apple juice and parsley, $21). There are the usual beer, wines and spirits too. The menu of nibbles includes a sharing platter of smoked duck breast, Italian dried salami, sliced ham, pickles, hummus, and sesame lavosh ($20).
BOOK A TABLE | MOMMA KONG'S | Where to eat: In the heart of Chinatown at Mosque Street is the casual eatery, Momma Kong's - a 'crab shack' serving up crustacean delicacies done Singapore style. They opened doors in January, 2013. What to eat: Start with the fried anchovies ($6) or the spicy top shell (stir fried with shallots, lemon, sesame oil and chilli, $15), but save room for the star of the show – the crabs. What Momma Kong does best is the crab bee hoon soup ($38 per crab with slippery thick rice vermicelli in a milky, flavoursome broth). The Singapore staple, chilli crab ($38 per crab - it's a flat rate) is done a little differently here, as the gravy is drier and not as sweet. Pair with the highly recommended fried mantou (soft buns), though we think it's a little pricey at $1.50 each.
THIRD AND SIXTH | Where to eat: Its name is linked to its address (36 Seah Street) and Third and Sixth was set up because "one day, three good friends decided to totally open a bar", with the promise to serve you "burgers, booze and balls-out music". They opened in April, 2013 and it comes across more as a place to chill than a rock-out venue. What to eat: The menu is exhaustive, with cheeky names for dishes. Try the Nemo's Death Bed (grilled fish with salad in a tortilla wrap, $12) or the TM'n'T (mushroom and sundried tomato aglio olio, $12). Drinks here are beers, spirits, cocktails and shooters. We are tempted (and a little intimidated) by the “party instigators” list, where there is the Dead Nazi (a shot of peppermint liquer with Jagermeister, $8) and the Flatliner (sambuca, tequila and tabasco, $8).
BOOK A TABLE | TOOTS BRASSERIE | Where to eat: Situated within Sultan Hotel in the Kampong Glam precinct, Toots Brasserie is the new French kid on the block in April 2013. Formerly Pasha restaurant, the 40-seater’s kitchen is now helmed by chef Jason Wong (formerly Au Jardin and Au Petit Salut). Rustic dark teak furniture and mosaic-tiled flooring create the ambience and character of a classic French brasserie. What to eat: Their breakfast menu includes freshly-baked croissants, cold cuts and cheese and locally roasted coffee. They also have a dinner set menu based on available seasonal produce. Wong’s signature dish, poelles de cuisses de grenouilles (pan seared frog legs, $18) is served with homemade garlic butter sauce. You’ll likely want to save room for dessert: the gateau au fromage blanc ($14) is a homemade baked cheesecake infused with Madagascan vanilla pods, served with mixed berry compote.
BACCHANALIA | Where to eat: What was once a pop-up brunch series (Bacchanalia Brunch?) is now a proper restaurant tucked away within The Masonic Lodge on Coleman Street. This 150-seater opened in April 2013 and calls itself an ‘alternative gourmet’ restaurant. We are definitely intrigued. What to eat: The menu is split into vegetables, seafood, meats and complemented by a selection of wines and sake. We hear good things about the potato cascia (pictured). We’re not sure what a “cascia” is, but we hope it’s named after a dish from the Italian town of Cascia; it comes with with seaweed and oyster leaves salad and umami emulsion ($17). The decadent foie gras satay ($30) is good too, though we hear the menu might be undergoing some significant changes.
BURNT ENDS | Where to eat: On Teck Lim Road (part of the ‘cool’ Chinatown) a two-door-ed ceramic oven was fired up – on 3 May, with oak and applewood chips, to be exact – to give diners a taste of ‘Aussie meets European’ grills and roasts. The theme of this no-reservations (except for the seven-seater in the back) restaurant is sleekly dark – wooden bar top and heavy duty black marble lampshades fence in the open kitchen. What to eat: The menu changes daily, but we already love the unconventional warm oysters cooked on the grill ($7), lightly smoked, centre-soft quail eggs ($6), fresh sardines and citrus-y green sauce ($16), a whole John Dory with fennel and (more) green sauce that easily feeds four (2.5 kg for $220) and a banana and caramel dessert ($8). Seafood seems to be their forte.
GRUB | Where to eat: Like you needed another reason to do weekend brunches at tranquil Bishan Park; opened on 1 May 2013 by the team from Cookyn Inc. is Grub. They promise food cooked with natural ingredients and free of MSG, additives and preservatives. What to eat: Brunch here can be a breakfast set ($15) of focaccia, scrambled eggs, beef patty, mushrooms and salad. For an additional $2.50 you get a cup of coffee from Liberty Coffee, though if you’d like something a little more ‘gourmet’, try the Tasmanian mussels with chorizo stew ($19) and share a platter of assorted macarons (nine for $15.50).
FOLKS COLLECTIVE | Where to eat: This mostly Thai eatery on Nankin Row opened in late April 2013 and is already pulling people in by their tongues with its vintage-inspired décor and quirky posters. What to eat: Expect all the Thai food staples here – som tam (papaya salad, $5.90), tom yum soup (with or without milk, $8.90) and curries ($8.90). Those who want something a little different can get the Thai inspired Siam Spaghetti, with chicken, beef or pork ($8.90) or the vegetarian samosas ($5.90). The friendly ‘folks’ here are also happy to whip stuff up for you if you ask you nicely. Always ask nicely.
DARUMA RAMEN HOUSE | Where to eat: Yet another ramen spot? Well this one is from Hong Kong and it’s quite the popular noodle house. They opened in February 2013 in Singapore, and if you have not already, give their slurpy bowls at 111 Somerset (behind 313) a try. What to eat: Ramen only. Choose from shoyu (soy sauce base), spicy or tonkotsu (pork bone base) broths and top with slices of pork, chilli threads, soft-boiled eggs, seaweed and more. First timers should go straight for their big bestselling bowl ($18) that comes with tonkotsu broth, barbecued pork, mentaiko (cod roe) and double helpings of pork belly.
OMELIMELO | Where to eat: We do love a ‘hidden find’, and were pleasantly surprised to chance upon Omelimelo at the quiet, residential enclave of Namly Place. Although they opened in November 2012, we only recently became fans of their pop colour décor and charming purple chairs. What to eat: The food is French-meets-European with a lot of sharing platters and hearty eats. Go straight for the Croostease – these are wafer-thin crackers with interesting toppings (think Skinny Pizza, but sturdier, and less salad-like). We like the Croostease with beef slices with feta and sun-dried tomatoes tossed in a Greek dressing ($19), pair this with a side of ‘dirty’ fries (fries tossed in truffle oil and a secret blend of spices – think Nando’s peri-peri fries, but better, $8).
YELLOW SUBMARINES | Where to eat: A new sandwich arrived in town (actually it is in the heartlands) in April 2013, and it can be found at this bright yellow fast-food eatery at Toa Payoh Central. What to eat: Cheesesteaks of course. The classic ($6.90) is a 5-inch sub with spice marinated beef, caramelised onions and melted cheese. Go in for the meal ($9.90) and you also get a drink and the torpedo fries - fries topped with (more) gooe-y, melt-y cheese. They even have dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets for the little ones ($2.80 for four).
TIGERLILY | Where to eat: New at the old barracks of Dempsey is an Asian tapas bar called Tigerlily. Opened in April 2013, these guys do drinks, Oriental-inspired bar bites and have a live band playing six days a week. What to eat: Try Tigerlily’s Pimms cocktail (sounds refreshing, and claims to be deceptively strong) or coax the bartenders into customising a cocktail. For nibbles, try the chicken satay with peanut sauce ($11) or the Bombay chicken mini burgers ($14).
THE VINTAGE ROOM | Where to eat: Just when you thought Duxton Hill couldn't get hipper, The Vintage Room poppe dup in April 2013. This bar occupies the same space as the now closed down, Le Petit Cancale. The vibe here is old school (if the name didn't already give that away) and the space is dotted with vintage, chandeliers, leather chairs and bric-à-brac. What to eat: Choose from their list of 22 (exclusive) Champagnes, 'vintage cocktails' like the Sex on the Runway (vodka, apple liquor and triple sec with a cinnamon sugar garnished rim, $15), or the Jewel (coconut rum, coconut water, rose liquor and Cinzano Bianco, $15). Ladies get free bellinis every Thursday form 6pm to 9pm. We're there.
JEWEL CAFE+BAR | Where to eat: Shenton Way coffee spot, Jewel Coffee opened up a café/bar in the 'soon to be cool' Rangoon Road neighbourhood in March 2013. What to eat: The coffee is still as good and there is a full food menu that includes a unique Shio-koji Octopoke (Hawaiian raw fish salad made of octopus, avocado with subtle flavours of the ginger flower, $12), an oven-baked miso and mirin-marinated Iberico pork shoulder ($34) and an almost guilt-free dessert of pan-seared watermelon steaks served with pineapple sorbet ($9). Their full cocktail bar serves up various tipples, but do try the Estrelle Damn Inedit, a beer with Champagne-like bubbles designed by Ferran Adria ($35 for 750ml).
FRUNATIC | When: March 2013. Where: Newest kid on the block at the eatery heavy Star Vista mall is Frunatic. They call themselves a 'fast fruit' restaurant and the focus here is on raw, fresh eats made with 100 per cent natural living foods. Expect nutrient-dense meals, snacks, juices, essences and guilt-free desserts. What: There are six fruit entrées to choose from. These are basically innovatively-dressed fruit salad medleys that are packed with flavour. We like the sound of the Mediterranean ($8.90), figs and pomegranate seeds dressed with a nutmeg sauce; these can be washed down with a cold-pressed juice ($6.80) or an essence ($3.90) - a concentrated fruit shot like that of beetroot or burdock root.
A FOR ARBITE | When: March 2013. Where: The Serangoon Gardens brunch haunt now has an outlet in the very glam Kampong Glam area. What: You no longer need to trudge up North for their eggs Benedict (poached eggs, black forest ham with yuzu hollandaise, $14.90) or the decadent caramel sea-salt pancakes ($14.90). There is more than brunch on the menu. Small plates, big plates, craft beers and sinful desserts.
FORTNIGHT | Where to eat: Brought to you by the team behind Windowsill Pies (Fortnight opened in March 2012 and occupies the same space as their cafe/eatery, Windowsill in the woods on Horne Road). This is an experimental concept where the menu (and theme) changes every two weeks. What to eat: Past themes have included poultry (think scotch eggs and turkey meatloaf), steak (steak Classique and steak Diane). They are currently focused on salads and spreads, so expect colorful plates of greens, fruit and even a soup-like liquid salad. Mains are priced between $17-$28.
THE SPIFFY DAPPER | Where to eat: Occupying the second floor of a Boat Quay shophouse is a spiffy new bar inspired by the 1920s jazz age. Situated above Indian restaurant, Haldhi Restaurant & Music Lounge, this natty watering holethat opened in March 2013, is spartan in décor, but gives off a cosy vibe. What to eat: The cocktails here are as potent as they come. Try the Gold Digger ($20), their take on a lychee martini or the very exotic Sheik on the Level ($20), Turkish black tea gin with hints of cardamom - this last one comes topped with a Turkish delight candy. Space is limited, so drop by before the crowds get wind of it.
THE MARKET GRILL | Where to eat: Hotelier and restrauteur Loh Lik Peng's (New Majestic Hotel, Pollen and Keong Saik Snacks among others) new project is a trendy, new CBD spot at the Telok Ayer and McCallum street Junction that opened in March 2013. The (small) restaurant seats only 34 and does not take reservations, but is gaining popularity already with the swish office-lunch set for their butchery style meats, grills and burgers. What to eat: The signature here is a cod fish burger ($26), mustard marinated fish, grilled and sandwiched between a parmesan bun. Try also, the lobster sliders ($45) and premium cut steaks ($70-$150). End your meal with the dessert-meets-drink granita martini ($18).
P.L.T | Where to eat: Healthy and nutritious, grab-and-go fare from the folks behind Cedele, can be found at P.L.T. that opened in February 2013.This quick-service eatery can be found smack in the middle of Robinson Road, serving up sandwiches free of trans-fat and preservatives. What to eat: Try the signature P.L.T. ($7.80) with pancetta, ham and peperonata and choose from white olive, wholemeal and multigrain rye breads. P.L.T also does freshly-made soups and salads.
MARIKO'S | Where to eat: The Keong Saik quarter’s cool bars (The Cufflink Club, Esquina, The Library) have a new neighbour. Mariko’s opened in February 2013 and is an izakaya and ramen bar named after a fictional Manga streetwalker. What to eat: The ramen area is tucked away in the back and Mariko’s serves a hearty lunch-time ramen set for $21.08. This includes ramen, rice, salad, pickles,chawanmushi and dessert. Come night-time, kick back with a chilled Asahi, Sapporo or a specially-concocted Japanese-inspired cocktail. They also have an array of Japanese whiskeys.
FOODOLOGY | Where to eat: Is Foodology really simply an upmarket food court, catering to the lunch crowd at Marina Bay Financial Centre? Far from it: spanning 8000 square feet at Tower 3, Foodology (opened in January 2013) houses nine different dining stations, promising gourmet grub at affordable prices. What to eat: There is something here for everyone - pizza, pasta, sandwiches, grills, a salad bar and Asian favourites. We hear good things about their Sakura ebi capellini ($13.80) and the goodies that come out of their Josper grill (try the signature steak sandwich, $22.80). There is also a bar within.