OTTOMAN KEBAB & GRILL | Where to eat: While several dining options at the new Bedok Mall are popular chain restaurants (Poulet, Ayam Penyet Ria and Itacho Sushi among others), this Turkish, halal-certified eatery is a refreshing option. They offer affordable plates and Ottoman-style decor and serveware; we especially liked the blown-glass light fixtures. What to eat (See video here): The 40-seat casual eatery serves up the usual Middle Eastern staples like the hummous (chick pea dip with tahini, lime juice and garlic, $6) and a house-made pide flat bread ($2). Hearty mains include the Iskender mutton kebab (minced mutton patties on a bed of deep-fried pide bread croutons slathered with a sauce of sun-dried tomatoes, celery, carrots and shallots, $18.50), served with a dollop of yoghurt. For dessert, the prepared-on-order kunefe ($8.50) is nabulsi goat cheese encased within shredded phyllo pastry, deep fried and then drizzled with sugar syrup and crushed pistachios. We loved the flavours in this dish, but were left hoping for a more cheese to phyllo ratio. Round off your meal with a cup of potent Turkish coffee ($4, black or served with milk); allow the coffee grains to settle and sip.
KRISPY KREME INCOME AT RAFFLES | Where to eat: CBD-ers alert, the famed doughnut chain has opened its second outlet right at the heart of the business district – Income at Raffles. Bigger than the Tangs outlet, this doughnut bakery shop is packed with wooden tables and comfy seats (enough for 25) – bosses you know where to look if your employees are away for far too long. We hear free WiFi and charging points are also available. What to eat: Apart from the usual 16 suspects – the original glazed ($2.60 each), red velvet, cookie crunch, chocolate ice glazed and 12 others ($2.95 each) – Krispy Kreme adds four more monthly flavours to their line-up that have included Choco Mania (caramel meringue, icing chocolate curls, chocolate cookie crunch and double chocolate custard, $2.95) and Jenny Lim (a double chocolate doughnut sprinkled with white chocolate swirls and an Oreo cookie, $2.95).
Image 2 of 32 | Image credits: Krispy Kreme
THE 7TH CYLINDER | Where to eat: First there were bike shops that doubled up as cafes (Wheeler's Yard and Wood Shed), then came The 7th Cylinder, a café that doubles up as a bike shop. We spotted it along Jalan Pisang and disovered that it is a part-motorcycle accessory shop, part-cafe and hipster hangout. Motorbike enthusiasts can browse a wall of helmets, mingle with other bikers and share a cup of coffee with like-minded folk. What to eat: Coffee and cakes form the bulk of the menu. Pair the usual cappuccino or latte ($5 each, made with a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans) with a slice of carrot, chocolate or earl grey loaf cake ($4.90 per slice). For heartier eats, look to the specials menu that changes on a weekly basis. Past specials included the pasta aglio olio with portobello mushrooms ($14.90) and a baked bacon risotto ($14.90). They also sell ice cream sandwiches ($7.90).
Image 3 of 32 | Image credits: Priyanka Chand Agarwal
PORTICO| Where to eat:Hosted on the Patio no more, this outdoorsy, loung-y restaurant on the edge of Gillman Barracks has sprouted back with new lease(s) of life. Now Portico – named after 'porch' in Italian – the 165-seat premises is the new home of chef Leandros Stagogiannis (formerly FiftyThree, St Pierre and The Fat Duck, UK) and his team. The atmosphere is dreamy and communal, of a Greek island vibe. It is completed with family portraits on its blue walls, thriving herb planters (a European lemon tree and rosemary included), a teak swing, a E40,000 custom-made Spirit coffee machine, and a compost area (the latter far removed). What to eat (See video here): Hearty small plates make up the 12-course (120++ per person, only) tasting menu, which is only served at the counter seats. Almost all were hits: our favourites were the Japanese soba noodles with konbu and truffle (also served a la carte, $16), the decadent beef bone marrow with garlic parsley, shallots & lemon juice ($20/$30), foie gras parfait (only on the tasting menu), and the glossy mashed potato creamed with herbs ($5.50). The kitchen team's adventurousness shows on the plates: a strange but wonderful combination of tart aux citron with fried onions and onion ice-cream ($14), coffee grounds is served with the foie gras parfait... They're working on offering a brunch menu soon. Mark our words, this tucked away spot will also be the next big brunch spot.
Image 4 of 32 | Image credits: Portico
STATELAND CAFE | Where to eat: A tiny cafe on Bali Lane, Stateland Cafe is legitimately 'industrial chic'. The owners' families all are from industrial works backgrounds and their touches are everywhere, comprising recycled wood tables, iron grills, wall art and woodwork. We especially like the colourful armchairs at the front table (seats two), but found the tables for four and more a tad cramped. The owners themselves man the counters and rush about to get you your food and drinks. What to eat: We had a deliciously smooth flat white ($4.90) and a comforting plate of waffles topped with scrambled ages and bacon cream sauce ($14.90). The waffles were extremely soft, fluffy and adequately sauce-drenched. There is more on the menu − like brunch-style eggs ($11.90-$17.90) and pasta dishes ($10.90). Next time we will be back to try the much raved about red velvet waffles with chocolate and cream cheese glaze (served with a scoop of ice-cream, $14.90).
Image 5 of 32 | Image credits: Priyanka Chand Agarwal
THREE HANDS COFFEE | Where to eat/drink: A coffee house in the day (9am-5pm) and a wine bar – Taberna Wine Academy – at night (5pm-midnight). The latest addition to Binjai Park, this cosy hideout is the place for your weekly meetings and random catch-ups. What to eat/drink: The coffee, of course. Using a mixture of three beans – Brazil Alta Mogiana, Guatemala Antigua La Flor and Ethiopia Sidamo Suke Quto – they have a good menu of coffee basics, like flat white ($5.50), long black ($4.50), mocha ($5.90) and so on. Get one of their rich, buttery croissants for dipping.
Image 6 of 32 | Image credits: Three Hands Coffee
LOVING HUT | Where to eat: Remember vegan restaurant Loving Hut from Anson Road and Suntec? Those outlets have since closed and a new one opened in a cheery spot along Joo Chiat Road. A bright space with splashes of yellow and plants everywhere, Loving Hut has seating both outdoors and in an air-conditioned space. What to eat: Vegan versions of popular Western-fusion and Asian favourite dishes. Expect dishes like a healthier nasi lemak, where rice is tossed in virgin coconut oil instead of being boiled in coconut milk ($8.90) and a vegan version of the rojak (green apple, pinapple and guava tossed in plum sauce and topped with almond flakes, $8.90). Daily lunch specials are available for $6.90 per dish that include a nine-spiced mee soto (Monday) and a vegetarian roast chicken rice set (Thursday).
Image 7 of 32 | Image credits: Priyanka Chand Agarwal
FANNY | Where to eat: Fanny is a Vietnam-based ice cream producer and distributor that has recently set up shop along the eatery-heavy stretch opposite 112 Katong on East Coast Road. The cosy dessert cafe serves up all-natural ice-creams and ice-cream based desserts. What to eat: The ice-creams are 100 per cent natural and made with real fruit and natural flavourings. We spotted flavours like coconut, soursop, fresh strawberry, orange and passion fruit. Each scoop is priced at $4, and if you opt for the flavour of the month (it’s coconut for April) it’s $3.50. They also use ice-cream to create innovative desserts, ice-cream based drinks and ice-cream cakes.
Image 8 of 32 | Image credits: Priyanka Chand Agarwal
ZOTT'S TRUE ALPS | Where to eat: The Amoy Street shophouse restaurant may not look like much front he outside, but it is also an art gallery inside – everywhere you turn you'll see big paintings, cowbells and sculptures picked (some commissioned) by owner Christian Zott. The water-encased centerpiece of the open kitchen at the back of the shop is a taxidermic three-year-old Hieronymus adorned with butterflies, Zott's first pet. On the second floor is a bar that serves interesting cocktails by the white-mopped in-house bartender. What to eat and drink (See video here): We were expecting to be shocked by the Alpine food, but chef and Austrian native chef Lorenz-Maria Griesser serves his plates so beautifully and humbly. The flavours are approachable, clean, strong yet also delicate. We loved the well-strained bouillabaisse Marseillaise (a real bouillabaisse with the red rockfish, $87) that was served with toasted baguette and rouille sauce; the pillow-like oxtail raviolo in the three-course tellerfleisch (several cuts of beef, boiled in its own juice, $75); and the comforting and light Zott's griessmuss (semolina pudding, served with pear ice-cream, cinnamon sugar and mint basil foam, $16) - a sweet dish inspired by what the owner's grandfather used to make. Close the meal with the perfect-with-dessert Buttermilk (buttermilk, elderberry syrup, plum liqueur, blackcurrant syrup, vodka and cream, $24), handed over, stunning, in a bull's horn. You'll gain an education on Alpine food while dining here, we did.
Image 9 of 32 | Image credits: Celine Asril
LE CAFÉ | Where to eat: Opened by the folks from L’Etoile cafe, Le Cafe is equally tucked away (or maybe even more) than its predecessor. It resides among the MacPherson Road estates and is a bright and cheery change from the area’s industrial buildings, with its poppy furniture that includes sky-blue chairs, red arm chairs and brightly coloured accessories. What to eat/drink: Except for the platter of crispy chicken, fish bites, fries and sausages ($16), the Western cuisine menu is filled with dishes under $15 so it's easy on the wallet. If you’re on a tight budget, opt for the tea set ($4.50) which consists of a curry puff or tuna sandwich and a cup of long black. Order a main course for lunch and enjoy free flow of soup and garlic bread.
Image 10 of 32 | Image credits: Le Cafe
UJONG AT RAFFLES HOTEL | Where to eat: Next to Ah Teng's Bakery, in this iconic dame of a hotel, is Ujong. This 90-seater has taken the place of Empire Café, and, as its name suggests, is tucked in the corner ("ujong" is Malay for "corner") facing Raffles City Shopping Centre. We last saw the chef in charge of this rejuvenated space, Shen Tan, at the Pizza X pop-ups and The Wok and Barrel. It's a sort of homecoming for the chef – her mother used to work in a travel agency in The Raffles Hotel, so the chef used to spend her afternoons on the grounds, sometimes at the pool. What to eat: We're glad Tan's making her comeback, and that she's brought her beloved local-classics-done-even-better fare with. We can't wait to dig into her nasi lemak, bak chor mee pasta, the Indomie-inspired dish of noodles with garlic, onion, kicap manis, chilli, and crisp fire pork belly or chicken, the sambal tumis with fried shallots, Shendol delights (her version of the chendol) and banana crack parfait.
Image 11 of 32 | Image credits: Shen Tan
PERCOLATE| Where to eat: Bedok seems to be where things are at these days. This glass-fronted café with the wooden tabletops opened at the end of March 2014, and is aptly tucked away in Bedok North Avenue 3. That, for non-Easties, is behind Bedok Sports Complex, and a stone's throw from the community library. What to eat and drink: Espresso ($3), long black ($3.50), brewed ($5), white ($4 to $4.50) and iced black ($3.50) and iced white ($4.50) coffees are the headliners here, though there is also cold-pressed juice ($5), and a selection of baked goods like the lemon tart ($4.20), salted caramel cake ($6 per slice) and glossy chocolate cake ($6 per slice). The baked goods are ordered from Cakestand at Katong shopping centre.
Image 12 of 32 | Image credits: Percolate
THE MANOR | Where to eat: A quiet(er) spot on crowded Club Street is The Manor (take the stairs up inside Zui Hong Lou). What used to be in the style of a gentlemen's club has been given a new lease of life as a cocktail room. The interiors, though, still look like a plush gentleman's den with Chesterfield sofas you can sink into and quirky pieces of art in gilded frames. Looking to shake things up further, on 10 April, The Manor will be hosting Bar Shift, a bartending soiree - two invited bartenders will be concocting three cocktails each, from 7pm to 10pm. The first duo to showcase their skills at this soon-to-be-regular event is Harli Gunawan (a Diageo World Class 2012 national champion), and Eugene Chua (of Ah Sam Cold Drinks Stall, and a Diplomatico World Tournament 2013 Singapore winner). Admission is free. What to drink: Veteran cocktail master Din Hassan is the man behind the bar, and he serves up reinvented cocktails like the Campbell's ($20) - his take on the Bloody Mary, made with bell pepper juice instead of the usual tomato, tequila and Domaine De Canton. Also try the Breakfast ($20), served in a cup-on-a-saucer, this vodka-based cocktail has English Breakfast marmalade, grapefruit juice and egg whites. For the true Manor experience, tell Din your preferences and ask for something bespoke.
Image 13 of 32 | Image credits: The Manor
PISCO | Where to eat: The same group that brought us Sabio and 83 has opened up this South American restaurant and bar in the vortex that is Resorts World Sentosa. “Pisco” is “bird” in Quechua, and also the name of the port of a colonial town in Peru. It is also the name of a brandy-like liquor native to Pisco. What to eat/drink: The fusion dishes offered here are inspired by indigenous fare from around the Andes Mountains, with traditional input from Peru, Chile and other countries in the South American continent. We’re excited for the ceviches (raw fish cured in citrus juices, spiced with chilli peppers, $10-$13), particularly the conchas borrachas (sea scallops marinated in pisco, serve dwith passionfruit sauce, $15).Bocadillos (light snacks) like empanadas (minced beef in corn dough parcels, $14) and arepas Venezolanas(Venezuelan corn flatbread sandwiches) filled with red pepper, black beans and spicy guacamole ($13), andbolas de yucca (deep-fried cheese balls with cassava mayonnaise, $14) are also intriguing. Mains come from the parrilla (grill) – slabs ($14-$39) or skewers ($13-$23) of meat. For drinks, the pisco sour (pisco, lime juice, sugar, egg whites and angostura bitters, $15) is a must, though there are at least 20 cocktails to try ($15-$18), and an el mojito grande (a big mojito) that serves six ($60).
Image 14 of 32 | Image credits: Pisco
GRIDDY GOURMET WAFFLES | Where to eat: The food hall at B2 of Westgate, the newest mall in Singapore’s West, is sprawling with dining options. Sandwiched between casual dining restaurants is Griddy Gourmet Waffles. There are more then just the waffle and ice-cream stereotypes served here. What to eat: Althoughwe love our kaya waffles from the neighbourhood bakery as much as the next Singaporean, we took to the gourmet, savoury offerrings at Griddy quite well. Expect dishes like a braised beef short ribs with meat sauce wrapped in a fluffy waffle and served with waffle fries on the side. On offer also, are five different waffle sandwiches. We liked The Griddy Burger ($8.90) a cheeseburger alternative – a light waffle filled to the brim with a handmade beef patty, lettuce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese and sautéed mushrooms. Crisp and adequately salty waffle fries are a nice accompaniment to the strange (but surprisingly comforting) waffle combination.
Image 15 of 32 | Image credits: Debbie Ng
TOLIDO’S ESPRESSO NOOK | Where to eat: We'll admit, Tolido’s is not that new, but we are glad that we finally got around to trying it. This tiny cafe occupies a street-level shop space at the HDB blocks on North Bridge Road; blink and you will miss it. A quick chat with the staff reveals that they have been open for a year, dishing out coffee, brunch and casual bites at affordable prices. What to eat: The menu indicates that the rosti is a must try, and it is: a sinful and incredibly good-value dish with shredded russet potatoes with egg, served with sour cream ($6.50). Crisped edges and soft with bite within, it also comes with sausages ($12.90) or bratwurst ($16.90). Coffee beans are from Yahava Koffeeworks and espresso with milk drinks (cappuccino, flat white and latte) go for $5.50 each.
Image 16 of 32 | Image credits: Priyanka Chand Agarwal
KIN KIN RESTORAN| Where to eat: This restaurant from Kuala Lumpur, famed for their chilli pan mee (dry noodles topped with chilli, dried anchovies, minced pork and half-boiled egg) has set up shop at MacPherson Road. Be warned, the queues are long and wait-times are rumoured to be up to two hours. What to eat: The signature dish, of course: the pan mee ($5) is a ban mian-like bowl of noodles which either comes dry or with soup. The dry noodles seem to be a firm favourite and the many elements come together perfectly. The chilli paste and egg yolk mix together to form a sauce that coat the noodles well. Also recommended is the handmade fish ball soup ($3.50) - five springy fish balls in a light broth with sweet potato leaves.
Image 17 of 32 | Image credits: Kin Kin Restoran (Malaysia)
SANPOUTEI RAMEN | Where to eat: Established in Niigata, Japan, in 1967, the outlet at Holland Avenue is Sanpoutei’s first in Singapore. The specialty here is the shoyu ramen with a broth whose base is a clear soup of vegetables, whole chicken, tonkotsu and two varieties of sardine that have been boiled for six hours. What to eat: The ramen is served in specially-created bowls that are designed to keep food warm for longer periods. Try the Niigata shoyu ramen with full toppings: for $16.80 your bowl of noodles in broth comes topped with five slices of stewed aburi chashu (hand-torched pork slices), tamago, dried seaweed and bamboo shoots. For a non-ramen dish, try the butariki niigata rice mini don (shoyu-flavoured pork and a raw egg yolk on rice, $4).
Image 18 of 32 | Image credits: Sanpoutei Ramen
WAFFLE SLAYER |Where to eat:Strangers’ Reunion has opened up a waffles shop next door, and it’s equally hipster and concrete, though slightly less buzzy (for now). Beyond the weathered wood-framed façade are tables of different vintages and chairs of all shapes that can accommodate up to 30 people in total. What to eat/drink: Strangers’ Reunion food (yes, order across!) and waffles. There are eight sweet waffles, and two savoury waffles, and . The sweet tooth among us are drawn to the red velvet buttermilk waffle with chocolate fudge and vanilla ice-cream ($14.90), and the banana brulee buttermilk waffle with walnuts and vanilla ice cream ($14.90); while the savoury-leaning would spring for the squid ink waffle with maple Dijon bacon, pistachio tuile and vanilla ice cream ($16.90). We’re not quite sure about the Schlong coffee (double ristretto with half long black, $4.90) though.
Image 19 of 32 | Image credits: Waffle Slayer
SOCIAL SQUARE |Where to eat: No, this isn’t some new app, but a restaurant by Ministry of Food. This indoor garden-setting European-Japanese food-and-wine restaurant at Parkway Parade is designed to look natural, with green climbers, fake-turfed walls and light teak wood furniture. What to eat/drink: The MOF usuals are available - tempura moriawase ($11), tori karaage (marinated, deep-fried chicken, small $5.80, large $8), an unagi hotstone rice ($19.80) and matcha imo (soft-serve with green tea sauce, red bean paste and Japanese sweet potatoes, $6.80) – though there is also a Western selection. Among the items are an Angus beef-centred John Dees ribeye (minimum 300g for $54), a spicy salami pizza (regular $14.50, large $17.50), and a smoked salmon eggs benedict ($18.80).
Image 20 of 32 | Image credits: Social Square
THE CEREAL PANTRY | Where to eat: We are huge fans of Cereality ( the cereal bar fast-food chain from the US) and are excited that a similar concept comes to our shores by way of The Cereal Pantry. Find them at Telok Blangah Drive, beside The Marshmallow Tree. What to eat: Like cereal bars in other parts of the world, you start with choosing a single ($2) or double ($3) scoop of your base cereal. Options vary from Fruit Loops to Cheerios and Lucky Charms. Then begin the add-ons dry toppings (granola, sunflower seeds, white chocolate chips and more, $0.95 each), fresh fruit (bananas, strawberries and more, $1.20 each), milk or yogurt (choose from fresh, low-fat, skimmed or chocolate milk and regular yogurt, $1.50 each). Get creative or play it safe.
Image 21 of 32 | Image credits: The Cereal Pantry
THE SECRET MERMAID | Where to eat: We stopped by Shinkansen (the take-away sushi bar at the basement of Ocean Financial Centre for lunch a few weeks ago and discovered The Secret Mermaid, a hidden bar in the back with a library-like wall of spirits – everything from gin and infused vodka to whiskey and tequila. This not-another-secret-cocktail bar's focus is on the small-batch spirits from boutique distilleries brought in by parent company Liberty Spirits. The spirits are, of course, available here exclusively. What to eat/drink: We tried several, from bacon- and chai-flavoured vodka to single-botanical gin. Look for Kevin (the good-looking guy behind the bar and one of HGW's hot F&B professionals), ask for recommendations based on your preferences. Have them in a customised three-spirits (15ml each) tasting flight (prices vary), or, if you'd rather leave the decision-making to Kevin, predetermined tasting flights ($15-$20). Pair the spirits with interesting bar snacks, like the Late Night Breakfast ($9); crack open the soft-boiled egg, mix it with the slow-cooked bacon and golden syrup and scoop up with pieces of toast.
Image 22 of 32 | Image credits: Priyanka Chand Agarwal
C-JADE VIET CAFE IN BUGIS | Where to eat: We love a good bowl of pho, and are excited that the Crystal Jade group has opened up a casual dining eatery serving up Vietnamese fare like pho and summer rolls. The café on level 4 of Bugis+ was previously Crystal Jade’s attempt at a Hong Kong-style cha chan teng, but in December 2013 it was relaunched as the Viet café. What to eat: Put their pho to the test at $8.90 per serving, expect a bowl of rich, lightly-spiced beef broth with cooked bean sprouts, mint leaves, noodles and fine slices of cooked and raw beef. Their version of the summer rolls are (three for $5.90) with shrimp, vermicelli, sliced cucumber and carrots and a sprig of mint. Wash all this down with a cup of hot and potent Vietnamese coffee ($2.90).
Image 23 of 32 | Image credits: C-Jade Viet Cafe
HANARE JAPANESE CAFE AND RESTAURANT | Where to eat: Chef Yamashita Teppei opens up a new, casual, buffet-style eatery just around the corner from his famous Teppei. The 40-seater on the third floor of the shophouses next to Blue Ginger exudes a homely and almost makeshift-restaurant vibe. The food is laid-out buffet style on trays, burners and steamers and you pay at the entrance for your choice of meal. What to eat : Hanare offers two types of meals - a buffet-only set ($19.90 per person) that comes with a sashimi main (when we visited they were serving thick slices of super fresh yellowtail), and a bara chirashi set (raw, diced seafood on rice, $17.90) that comes from the Teppei Kitchen and is accompanied with a small selection of free-flow appetisers. The restaurant decor (and buffet dishes) is reminiscent of what you'll find in a Japanese home. Both sets are worth their reasonable pricetags. While the buffet will fill you up with options like salads, dumplings, chicken karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken), miso soup, curry and rice and more; it is the fresh and filling bara chirashi that is worth coming down for.
Image 24 of 32 | Image credits: Priyanka Chand Agarwal
DIBS | Where to eat: The space that housed the now-defunct, Celina’s Gastrobar is now home to Dibs, a restaurant and bar serving up modern European fare. Add another option to Duxton’s popular haunts (Lucha Loco, Sabio and Latteria Mozzarella Bar), this one is a bit quieter and emits a more casual vibe.What to eat: Interesting bar bites like cockles, smoked chillies and bacon dashi ($8) and meat butter (veal marrow, teriyaki sauce, bonito flakes and parsley, served with baguettes, $15) and mains that have east-meets-west flavours; like crab cakes dressed with bisque, leeks and togarashi ($30). The drink selections include a curated selection of sake ($64-$76 for a bottle) and umeshu with yuzu or strawberry milk (steeped ume fruit, $8 per glass)
Image 25 of 32 | Image credits: Facebook \ Dibs
HOOPLA | Where to eat: Although the first-mover to serve coffee, cakes and brunch at the tucked away Infinite Studios at Media Circle was Revolution Coffee, Hoopla has opened two doors down and occupies a large, light-filled space with ample seating and a menu of the usual crowd favourites. What to eat: Their beans are from Toby’s Estate and you order coffee via size: 3oz ($3), 5oz ($4.50) or 7oz ($5.50) cups of espresso with milk. They serve all-day brunch, mains, sandwiches, quiche and cakes. We like the sound of The Alchemy (smashed avocado, bacon, rocket and a poached egg on toast, $16) and the pancakes with salted caramel, bananas and whipped cream ($17).
Image 26 of 32 | Image credits: Facebook \ Hoopla
KIKU | Where to eat: Occuppying a two-storey shophouse at the Duxton dining enclave is this intimate izakaya that serves Japanese set lunches , innovative sushi and sashimi plates and omakase sets for dinner. What to eat: Play it safe with their bara chirashi lunch set ($38), five kinds of sashimi served over Japanese rice, the raw fish is minced instead of chopped, which makes for easier, more textured mouthfuls. For a more affordable lunch, the yaki udon set ($15) is a filling bowl of udon stir-fried with bacon and onions. All sets come with an appetiser, chicken soup, chawanmushi and stir-fried vegetables.
Image 27 of 32 | Image credits: Facebook \ Kiku
BOOK A TABLE | LABYRINTH | Where to eat: This new degustation-only restaurant at 5 Neil Road offers modern experimental cuisine, expertly put together by ex-banker chef Han Li Guang. The décor is elegant, dark and understated while the vibe is non-intimidating and the service warm and friendly. Dinner is a five ($91.26) or eight ($138) course prix-fixe menu and lunch sets will be introduced at a later stage. What to eat: The menu is peppered with made-from-scratch, deconstructed dishes with familiar flavours and an open concept kitchen with bar stool seats that allow for a view of the preparation. We tried their signature dishes, the beach-inspired deep-fried soft shell crab served with chilli crab ice cream on a bed of mantou sand with crab mousse and caviar. Chef Han advises diners to mix it up and enjoy the contrast of textures, hot and cold. Vegetarian menus and wine pairings are also available.
Image 28 of 32 | Image credits: Facebook \ Labyrinth
MY AWESOME CAFÉ | Where to eat: One the ground level of a Telok Ayer shophouse, at the premises of what once used to be the Chung Hwa Free Clinic is a café that fuses the clinic’s original façade and form, juxtaposed with restored and reclaimed furniture, fittings and fixtures. Primary school desks and fans from the ’70s, three-volt, eco-friendly, hanging bulbs, a TCM cabinet and bric-a-brac just adds to the café’s hipster vibe.What to eat: The open at 7am and bake their breads in-house, the rustiguette (a traditional baguette, used to make their sandwiches, $12-$14) and the buttery croissants (served with ham and cheese, smoked salmon or avocado, $6.50) come highly recommended. Made with vegetables regularly flown in from select vendors in Australia is the My Awesome Salad, a mix of mesclun with smoked salmon, chicken breast, duck rillettes, avocado and tomato ($15, $18 with added brie or goats cheese). The vegetarian version of the same features red pepper, grilled eggplant, a boiled egg, tomato, avocado and brie or goats cheese ($15). Service was lacking and felt rushed when we visited, which we hope is only a teething issue.
Image 29 of 32 | Image credits: Anjali Raguraman
THE PAPA SHOP | Where to drink: Located in the oddest of locations, an office complex in the very industrial Kallang Avenue is a new watering hole, The Papa Shop. Established by Singapore actor Keagan Kang [currently in ‘Code of Law’ (Season two)] and ex-banker Fabio De Souza, it operates as a liquor-kiosk with both a drive-in and pick-up service and also a few seats where you can drink in. What drink: There is cider, craft beers, sake, spirits and win on offer. Their bestsellers though are the ciders and beer ($6.90-$10.50 a bottle), we spotted the Obolon fruit beers from Ukraine and the Well’s Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale.
Image 30 of 32 | Image credits: The Papa Shop
BOOK A TABLE | PIND BALLUCHI BAR & GRILL | Where to eat: What once used to house a Bollywood-themed nightspot (Rupee Room) at Clarke Quay is now a fine dining establishment serving up North-Indian fare with strong Punjabi influences. The 3,000sqf dining space is done up in opulent hues and the menu is peppered with dishes that originate from India’s royal courts. What to eat: Start with a melt-in-the mouth galouti kebab ($24), Tender lamb that has been hand-minced 32 times and infused with 130 different spices including mulaithi (liquorice), makhana (fox nut), khas ki jud (vetiveer roots) and peepli (long pepper). This is served on a honey parantha (flatbread) that holds it all together. Also recommended is the unusual tandoori broccoli (a slightly charred quarter head marinated in and retaining some spiced, yoghurt sauce, $14). Finish with the orangerasmalai (delicate, poached cottage cheese patties filled with orange pulp and served in saffron milk, $12).
Image 31 of 32 | Image credits: Pind Balluchi
STRICTLY PASTRY | Where to eat: Previously an order-only pastry service, Chef Hannah Wong has now set up a brick and mortar confectionery at Joo Chiat road. Largely a take-away bakery, although there is one table and two counter seats for dine-in orders. What to eat: Make a beeline for the Ugly Sue ($7), a not-ugly-at-all combination of a baked meringue and passion fruit mousse, filled with fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Try also the Strawberry Velure (strawberry mouse interlaced with chiffon cake atop feuilletine, $7). They also sell cupcakes and tarts. Enquire at the counter for custom cake orders.