BEN’S COOKIES | Where to eat: We cannot stop raving about these cookies. We have been fans since we first tried them at their Covent Garden store in London and were glad to see them set up shop at Wisma Atria’s basement. The takeaway-only outlet is at the passageway that connects Wisma Atria to Ngee Ann City. What to eat: There are several flavours, but hot favourites (these sell out fast) are the milk chocolate chunk, the double chocolate chunk and the triple chocolate chunk. No petite chocolate chips here, each cookie has huge chunks of actual chocolate that melt in your mouth. At $2.95 each they are pricey, but you get a rich disc of chewy cookie with firm edges and soft, cakey insides. We look forward to sampling more flavours: coconut, peanut butter chocolate and white chocolate cranberry.
WHISK | Where to eat: Sky high rents in hipster-haven Tiong Bahru caused the previous tenant in this space (Jin Tian Eating House) to close shop earlier this year. Whisk cafe has moved in, with an owner-pastry chef who trained at Dominique Ansel's bakery in New York. What to eat: They are still in soft launch mode, but don’t let that stop you from dropping in to try their macarons ($2.50 each) or grab a cuppa. They serve coffee using a blend from Stranger's Reunion. There are other baked goods on offer like a lemon tart ($5), carrot cake ($7) and a New York-style cheesecake ($7). Here is another one to add to your Tiong Bahru cafe-hop list.
ARTERIAL | Where to eat: Table 24 on Temple Street closed down (they were barely open for a year) and in its place is a cafe called Arterial that retains the same look and design as its predecessor. The walls are still decorated with a mural of bowls, and the wooden tabletops with mismatched chairs remain. What to eat: The menu however features more run-of-the-mill cafe fare. Expect the usual cappuccino, flat white ($5) and mocha ($6). For food, they serve simple pasta dishes like a mushroom ($14.80) or seafood ($16.80) agli olio and sandwiches like the Egg Cetera with mushroom, tomato, rocket leaves and beetroot ($11).
COMNAM BROKEN RICE BOWL | Where to eat: First they made pho accessible, via several Nam Nam noodle bar outlets across Singapore’s malls, now the Les Amis group sets their sights on another Vietnamese street eat, com tam (pronounced "cuhm tahm", a bowl of broken rice grains with assorted toppings). The first and only outlet is in Raffles City’s basement, and sits right beside NamNam noodle bar. It's quick, casual and affordable. What to eat: Opt for a bowl of broken steamed rice (this has the texture of cous cous) or kimchi brown rice to be topped with wet and dry ingredients like chicken meatballs, pickled vegetables, fried egg and cucumber ($9.90 as a lunch set with soup and Vietnamese coffee). The many elements work together to provide a filling, value meal. Other toppings include five-spice stewed beef with pickles and a fried egg ($9.90) and crisp soft shell crab, crisp squid with dill and steamed egg, pork and fungus, pickles and seaweed tolls ($13.90). Like NamNam, the food is free of MSG and there is no additional service charge.
D’BELL | Where to eat: A stone’s throw away from Clarke Quay station and (or) a couple of blocks up ahead of Bitters & Love is a restaurant that serves North Indian food with a touch of 'posh-ness'. Dimly lit, the two-storey establishment resembles a high society club, with velvet couches and beautiful light fixtures. What to eat: With chef Satish (who has 14 years of experience at various hotel restaurants) helming the kitchen, the menu is a myriad of spices and flavours. We loved the masala lamb shank ($26) for its savoury touch when paired with the sweet kashmiri naan (oven-baked flat bread filled with candied fruits and nuts, $8). And also the palak panir ($14), a bowl of creamy, smooth spinach puree with cubes of cottage cheese. Go for the 11 tandoori items, from jumbo king prawns ($26), chicken tikka (marinated chicken cutlets, $16) to fish nazakat (charcoal-flamed butter fish cubes, $22).
ISSHO IZAKAYA | Where to eat: Sandwiched in between Shokudo and Basil at Kallang Wave mall is Umi Sushi's newest venture, an izakaya (Japanese drinking establishment which also serves food to accompany the drinks). Its interior – from the tables to the chairs and decorations on the wall – resembles exactly what you would find in similar restaurants in Japan. What to eat: It is evident in its menu that chef Takayuki Fukushima is experienced in both Japanese and French cuisine. Expect to find chicken liver pate ($7.80) and creme brulee ($7.50) among Japanese dishes such as potato korokke (deep-fried potato cakes, $6), yakitori (grilled meat on sticks, $6.20-$7) and buta kakuni (braised pork belly, $12.50). Or fusion items such as the foie gras wagyu roll ($35). Wash it all down with some sake from their extensive range ($19 per bottle onwards) and Japanese whiskies ($14 per glass onwards).
AJI-ICHI | Where to eat: The man behind the affordable Western cuisine chain Astons has opened a new Japanese restaurant Aji-ichi – located on the second level of Kallang Wave mall at Singapore Sports Hub. What to eat: It’s hard not to love the beef yakiniku ishinabe ($11.90), for its well-seasoned beef slices and Niigata rice. Sweet with hints of charred flavour, this is how we like our beef donburi (rice bowl). Or opt for the pork shabu ramen ($10.90), which is rich in flavour but a little greasy. If you have room for more, go for the nabemono Iberico pork shabu shabu (Japanese hot pot, $39.90 for three pax, $55.90 for five pax) for its tender meat.
BODACIOUS BAR & BISTRO | Where to eat: At lab-coat-friendly Biopolis in Buona Vista, across the road from Long Black Cafe, is this glass-fronted high-ceilinged eatery. Distressed floors, stools for seats, various odd-shaped wooden tabletops, orb lampshades and a feature wall with lit-up fonts that double up as the establishment’s signage make up the vibe. What to eat: Comfort food, all day: stuffed French toast (brioche soaked in egg, stuffed with cinnamon apples, pan-fried, $13.80), salmon eggs Benedict ($16.80), beef enchiladas (minced beef in corn tortillas, with melted cheese, salsa and enchilada sauce, $14.80), and Spanish Fritters (churros bites, $8.80).
K KI | Where to eat: The cakes-and-knick-knacks shop reopened on 21 August, and is now at SOTA. The wider space (the former location at Ann Siang Hill was really compact) showcases its minimalist, Swedish-inspired design better: light-wood furniture, soft light, white-tiled floors, and a cove constructed to mimic the frame of a house to display the new K ki Home range. The shop’s first homeware range includes ceramic plates that have illustrations of popular K ki cakes. What to eat and drink: Cakes which are made a little French and a little Japanese: the Nao ($9), for example, is a raspberry mousse with a pistachio mousse centre and raspberry jam bottom; the Onigiri ($9) is a basil milk chocolate triangular cake with bitter orange puree; while Antoinette ($8.80) is a teardrop-shaped white chocolate mousse with mango. On the drinks menu – four types of coffees ($4.80), five warm and four cold Lupicia teas ($4.80) and Fiji water ($2.80).
SUPER LOCO | Where to eat: Duxton Hill's trendy Mexican restaurant and bar, Lucha Loco, now has a larger outlet at The Quayside at Robertson Quay. Occuppying the spot that once housed Stacked, the experimental dim sum restaurant, Super Loco is rather open-plan with seats spilling onto The Quayside’s al fresco areas – good for people-watching. What to eat: They have a bigger food menu than its sister outlet, and the old favourites remain. Our favourites from Lucha Loco’s menu, such as the elotes ($8, grilled corn-on-the-cob with mayonnaise, chilli and cotija cheese) and the mango and wild snapper ceviche (raw seafood or fish cured in citrus juices, $21), make an appearance here as well. New things to try are the taquitos; mini corn tacos served with either pulled pork ($13) or sweet barbecued plantain ($11). For dessert, order a portion of the churros. These are cinnamon sugar-dusted pastries and come served with a chocolate, orange and mezcal sauce. Super Loco is open for dinner only (5pm onwards) from Wednesday to Sunday.
JBM COFFEE WORKS | Where to eat: Occuppying a prime spot at level three of the refurbished One Raffles Place mall, JBM may easily be dismissed as "just another mall restaurant". While it is foremost a cafe, and there are good coffee and coffee-based drinks to be had (its parent company are importers of premium coffee from Jamaica), we were pleasantly surprised at the posh plates and refined French-Italian fare being served at this eatery that opened in mid-July. What to eat: Using a 2m-tall Probat roaster that sits in the centre of the cafe to roast beans in-house, JBM serves Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee as part of its coffee creations, such as in the smooth piccolo latte ($6) and the indulgent salted saramel latte (the caramel is made in JBM’s on-site kitchen and is not overpoweringly sweet, $6). Food-wise, the recipes of chef Chamara Fonseka (formerly with Au Petit Salut and Covelli) feature made-from-scratch ingredients that impress. Worthy orders are the well-marinated pan-seared frog legs with buttered lettuce, with a side of mushroom ravioli in veal jus ($24). There is also the big bowl of mussels in a saffron cream sauce ($14, served with sliced baguette) and the sassy cassoulet ($32, pictured), a French-style stew of seafood (squid, clams, prawn and crayfish) in a white bean and crabmeat stew.
BOOK A TABLE | THE BOILER LOUISIANA SEAFOOD & BEER | Where to eat: Communal dining over Louisiana-style seafood has many takers in Singapore, and it’s no surprise that restaurants serving this style of cuisine have been cropping up. The Boiler at Howard Road is the newest to join the fray. What to eat: Seafood is the specialty here. Opt for whole live dungeness or brown crabs, lobster, prawns, mussels or clams, and have them boiled and coated in one of three sauces: the works (a blend of seven spices infused with garlic butter), plain garlic butter or pepper butter. For a little taste of everything, opt for the Boiler’s Bombdiggity Bag ($149), which is a bag full of all of the above-mentioned seafood, sausages and corn, served with bread buns. The bag comfortably feeds four persons. The Boiler also serves something called a "lobsicle", this is a whole lobster, batter-fried and served on a stick (half a tail for $15.90, full tail for $28.90).
BOOK A TABLE | SET | Where to eat: A new kid on the block, Set is creating waves at PoMo near Selegie Road with its affordable lunch and dinner menu – Irodori and Jiu Mao Jiu ought to keep an eye on them. What to eat: It has a very reasonably-priced lunch (five-course, $28.80++) and dinner (six-course, $38.80++) menu. Food is a fusion between Asian and western cuisines, so expect creations such as mushroom veloute (soup traditionally thickened with egg yolks, butter and cream) with peanut butter, and miso soup with sake. For mains, meat-lovers ought to go for the roasted baby back pork ribs showered with Chinese barbecue sauce, or the beef tenderloin, pan-seared with a slight crisp at the side.
THE KLATCH | Where to eat: We all love a cafe that is a bit hidden. The Klatch is exactly that. It is in the heart of the city, but still tucked away in the recesses of Prinsep Place on level two of a shophouse. When HungryGoWhere first visited, it was barely two weeks old. What to eat: Still in soft-launch mode, the cafe serves coffee with beans from Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee. You can try these via the usual flat white ($5.50), cappuccino ($5) or espresso ($4.20). While a larger food menu is being developed, for now you may try the waffles served with a scoop of ice-cream ($6), or the homemade carrot cake ($4 per slice). Go now before the crowds discover this one.
HEE KEE DESSERTS | Where to eat: Going beyond bubble tea, the people from Sharetea have decided to venture into Cantonese-style desserts. Mimicking the interiors of the traditional cafes in Hong Kong, this cosy 40-seat space is located in Jurong Point mall. What to eat: There is an extensive menu of sweet and savoury items. Go for the popular mango with pomelo ($4.50) and the bowl of D24 durian puree topped with sago ($5.80). Fans of coconut would love the refreshing, and indulgent, bird’s nest in coconut milk ($9.80) or the whole coconut stuffed with coconut ice-cream and sprinkled with peanut crush (comes with a cup of coconut juice, $8.80).
BABETTE – RESTAURANT & BAR | Where to eat: This Japanese-French restaurant is Darren Wee of 98.7FM's second - his first being Chillax Massage Cafe at Serangoon Gardens. We think the detail-oriented towkay ("boss" in Hokkien; also happens to be his Instagram moniker) has got it right with this casual outfit on upcomer Tyrwhitt Road. The 64-seater is the breakfast/brunch restaurant for the patrons at Parc Sovereign Hotel, but unlike most hotel restaurants, it also gets plenty of regular walk-ins.When you're here, keep your ears open for the music – the chill mix took Wee six months to curate. What to eat: Our favourite dishes so far - the roasted avocado with aburi salmon and diced tomatoes, a sort of warm guacamole starter ($12); thin slices of bacon dipped in tempura batter that fries up into a light and crisp crust, served with yuzu mayonnaise ($10); matcha lava cake ($12) that tastes like cake with a more subtle condensed milk centre; and the duck confit donburi ($28) served with homemade pickles. With the exception of items like mayonnaise and ketchup, most components in this restaurant are made in-house - the complimentary miso soup (with the donburi) is one of the homemade items.
IMMANUEL FRENCH KITCHEN | Where to eat: Salut. This French greeting ("hello") also happens to be the name of Bukit Merah’s (hipster) coffee shop. It has stalls selling not-your-usual hawker fare, such as German pork knuckle, craft beers, and hashtag-popular ramen burgers. Occupying the space that used to be De Burg; chef-owner Immanuel Tee is serving up affordable French cuisine with hints of Japanese influence. What to eat: For starters go for the made-in-house duck rillette ($8.60) and chicken liver pate ($7.90) served with bread and microgreens. Moving on to the entrees, we like the pan-seared foie gras ($16.50) for its mild and subtle hints of saltiness from the dashi (Japanese cooking stock) broth and black miso, creating the perfect balance between the creaminess from the foie gras. Sitting directly in front of the stall, we could smell the fragrant aroma of the French duck leg confit ($15.90). Well-seasoned with his secret blend of herbs, the duck leg is served with mashed potato, braised cabbage and au jus (French for ‘its own juice’).
TWO WINGS | Where to eat: One of the newer stalls at Salut, the novel kopitiam (local coffee shop) at Bukit Merah that houses several non-traditional hawker stalls, is Two Wings. Though they have been open since May this year, we only recently sunk our teeth into their succulent, fried chicken wings. What to eat: If it is your first time, go for the wings. These guys are no novices when it comes to frying them up. Owner Jeremy Loh learned the tricks of the trade from his granduncle who used to sell fried chicken wings at a coffee shop in Toa Payoh. All premium ingredients are used to marinate, batter and fry the wings. The good-sized wings are made with chicken imported from Brazil and are only fried upon order, so expect a five- to seven-minute wait. Give them your phone number and they will send you a text message when your order is up. The wings are served with a ginger-laced chilli sauce, similar to the kind served with chicken rice. The combination works extremely well. A serving of four large wings is priced at $8.50.
OLD HEN COFFEE BAR | What to eat: Add another spot to the Rangoon Road cafe-hop list, Old Hen Coffee Bar rubs shoulders with Jewel Cafe, Wood Shed and Liberty Coffee (among others in the near vicinity) and serves specialty coffee, cakes and light bites in a predictably industrial chic setting. When you visit, grab a stool by the window ledge, which is great for people-watching while sipping a cuppa. What to eat/drink: They serve their espresso-based drinks with beans from Oriole Coffee Roasters. An espresso is $3 and an espresso with milk is $4.50 (148ml). Do try their refreshing bottled cold brew ($6.50) - they serve their's white with the addition of milk and a dash of cream. The food menu is still being tested, but expect a display of cakes (sourced from Kreme Couture and Room for Dessert) and light bites like a smoked salmon sandwhich ($6.50).
FIX | Where to eat: This one is in an unlikely location: the folk behind popular Bishan Park cafe, Grub, have set up a cafe and eatery at the HometeamNS-JOM Clubhouse. It sits beside the club's 1.4m-long pool and is decorated with quirky furniture made with paint buckets, stained wood panels and metal pipes. What to eat: Desserts likethe twice-baked Sourcream Cheesecake ($7) made with both cream cheese and sour cream. They serve also a Butterscotch Arabica Choux ($6) with coffee-steeped chantilly and sticky vanilla caramel within. The naan-wiches are a unique offering on their savouries menu: Indian-style fluffy naan (Indian flatbreads) have fillings like chicken tikka ($10) and beef and kimchi ($10) sandwiched within. The club is open to public and HomeTeamNS members get discounts at the cafe.
MATCH RESTAURANT & LOUNGE | Where to eat: The people behind Massive Collective (Mink, Royal Room, Fenix Room) – together with the Prive Group and New York restaurant consultant Joshua Schwartz – have reworked the old Royal Room into an equally dimly-lit supper club-style space. This revamp has a showcase bar, plush banquette seating and a private dining room for 12. Located next to the newly-opened Bang Bang nightclub, this will be a spot for late night diners. What to eat: Going along the lines of a steakhouse, meats (Iberico pork collar, free-range lamb cutlets, wagyu rib-eye) are its main draw. Choose to have them charcoal-grilled or pan-roasted, with your personal sides and sauces. The 365-day grain fed tenderloin ($42) with brandy peppercorn sauce and blue cheese garlic butter was done perfectly medium rare, with the flavour of the charcoal-grilled meat holding its own against the fairly intense blue cheese butter. The duck fat potatoes ($10) are not to be missed; served diced – we personally would have preferred larger chunks, beautifully salted with just the right sprinkle of rosemary. The mac & cheese ($10) in a mini cast iron Dutch oven was another winner: the super creamy pasta drunk with sauce, and just the right amount of cheesy, crusty goodness. Do save space for dessert, or at the very least the pre-dessert surprise of a cloud of cotton candy. If you can stomach more sugar, the Pizookie ($10), a freshly-baked, oversized chocolate chip cookie served warm in a pan along with a scoop of ice cream and semi-sweet chocolate sauce, hits the spot. The full menu is served till midnight on Wednesdays to Sundays, and late night bites till 3am on Wednesdays to Saturdays.
THE COMPANY OF CATS | Where to eat: This is the fifth cat cafe on our tiny island, and we are holding our breath for more. Just a minute's walk away from Chinatown MRT, be greeted by the meows of the adorable kitties even before stepping in. Modelled after a living room, you can curl up with a book among the eight cats. All the cats in the shophouse are from adoption centers, hand-picked for their friendly personalities. What to eat: Not the cats of course. You can nosh on human food such as toasted bak kwa (barbequed pork) and cheese sandwiches ($6.50), fudgy brownies ($5) and mini lava cakes ($3.50). There is a charge of $14 (gets you a complimentary can of soft drink) for the first hour and $5 for every subsequent half hour. Call to make a reservation, as these cats are popular, we mean, famous.
TESS BAR & KITCHEN | Where to eat and drink: Housed in a conservation shophouse next to Naumi Hotel, this laidback watering hole boasts a full food menu, and a bar of mixologists headed up by ex-Bitters & Love bartender Steve Leong. What to eat and drink: Seeing as our main motivation was to go down and re-try Leong’s award-winning bak kut teh-inspired Tanqueray No.10 cocktail ($21) – it’s not on the menu – we were very lucky that he had it in stock. Tasting exactly like a bowl of bak kut teh (just an alcohol sort), the delicious combination of pork, garlic and pepper was balanced out with a sweetness of Tanqueray No.10 gin. Leong’s bespoke concoction ($21) of Gentleman Jack bourbon, chocolate bitters and port wine was an exercise in flavors: with a subtle oak and citrus nose, the intense bourbon was given a richer depth of chocolate which made this a smooth, almost dessert-like tipple. With a menu that spits into small plates, charcuterie, medium plates and even vegan, there’s grub for every sort of drinker. The special of the day was simple: juicy beef sliders ($2 each) that proved to be an agreeable way to soak up the booze. The pork belly ($10) was crisp on the outside and inside, and tasted even better when dipped into what resembled a spiced kecap manis (Indonesian sweet sauce). Tender and full of flavor was the Tess wagyu cubes and bone marrow ($26), which would have been the perfect ending, if not for bread, which could have been toasted for longer. The saving grace was the luscious fatness of the marrow.
JOYDEN SEAFOOD RESTAURANT | Where to eat: Having been around for ten years, the former West Coast Seafood has decided to revamp itself – changing its name and readjusting the menu. Located at the West Coast Recreation Centre (where the first Jack's Place branch opened), right beside the covered car park, this family-run business is determined to make its mark as the seafood place to go to in the West area. What to eat: Continue to go for their classics such as the crispy cereal prawn ($22/$34/$46) and the soon hock (fish, $8.50 per 100g) deep fried in soy sauce and scallions. Do give their new creations a try; we liked their gooey mess of crab cooked with vermicelli. The vermicelli soaks up the flavours of the crab, ginger and spring onion creating a light and homely taste. Also try their signature creamy crab: steamed with pumpkin puree, milk and curry leaves, we tasted hints of chilli padi and black pepper. Crabs are priced at $5.90 per 100g, where you can get the chef to cook it in six different ways (salted egg crab, chilli crab, black pepper crab and steamed crab with egg white and Chinese wine). Those with a hearty appetite should check out their dim sum menu for sweet, baked goodies.
BOOK A TABLE HERE | SOI 60 | Where to eat: New at The Quayside is Soi 60, a modern-Thai restaurant and bar, with a menu conceptualised by Martin Boetz (well known chef, formerly of Sydney’s Longrain restaurant). The Robertson Quay area has long been lacking in an eatery serving Thai cuisine, and Soi 60 with its contemporary menu of share plates, bar bites and Thai-inspired cocktails, fills the gap. What to eat: The menu is split up into small and large plates, sides and dessert and there is even a sharing menu of their bestsellers at $48 per person – they encourage diners to share so dishes are brought out as and when they are ready. Familiar dishes like a papaya salad ($11) and a Green chicken curry with tender, whole chicken leg and thigh ($36) are on the menu. As are some novel preparations like a young vegetables salad tosed in sesame dressing ($18) and an appetiser of peppery betel leave with crabmeat and coconut (three pieces for $13). Ask for the 'off menu' specials, we tried a tempura fried kang kong with thai chilli sauce, a moreish plate that pairs very well with beer and Soi 60's uncomplicated cocktails. They have an impressive drinks list; from cocktails like the royal julep with kaffir lime and gula melaka ($16) to wines, beer on tap and spirits.
CORNER HOUSE | Where to eat: Taking up the space at Botanic Gardens that previously house Au Jardin by Les Amis is Corner House. Named after botanist E J H Corner who was Assistant Director of the Botanic Gardens till 1945, the restaurant set in a black and white bungalow serves cusine termed as 'gastro-botanica'. The chef and co-owner is Jason Tan, who was previously with Sky on 57. What to eat: The Corner House experience can be had via set menus (a three-course lunch, $44.46; five-course lunch, $102.96; four-course dinner at $114.66; eight-course Discovery menu for $290.16) that feature dishes which focus on seasonal and fresh produce. Expect dishes like carabinero prawns (Mediterranean red shrimp) served with seasonal tomatoes, and chicken cooked two ways (sous vide and pan-seared) served with a sauce made with foie gras.
BOOK A TABLE HERE | 26 TAPAS BAR & RESTAURANT| Where to eat: This unassuming tapas bar at Kandahar Street is quite the hidden gem. Though it rubs shoulders with popular eateries like Cicheti and Maison Ikkoku, we recommend you book yourself a table here. Go to 26 for a more intimate dining experience amidst its dimly-lit confines and for an affordable menu of quality eats. What to eat: The slow roasted crispy pork belly is served with chilli salsa and sits on top of sautéed mushrooms and onions. For $9.90 this is an ample portion of crisp and succulent pork belly, evenly sliced for ease of sharing. Tapping into Singaporean's love for the familiar, the 28TB chicken wings are marinated in prawn paste and then fried crisp and served with a spicy chilli sambal that is the chef's grandma's recipe. To fill up further they serve pizzas and pasta dishes with options that include a spaghetti aglio olio style with crispy soft shell crab ($14.90). On tap are three kinds of beer ($12-$14 per pint), with other options including wine, spirits and specialty shooters like a cotton candy or pop rocks shot ($18 for six).
TEN-ICHI | Where to eat: Joining the likes of other Japanese eateries at Shokutsu 10 (a cluster of Japanese eateries at Nex) is is a self-service udon restaurant, where you proceed from one station to another in cafeteria style. What to eat: Go for the udon (made in-house), that's thick, chewy and smooth. Dip your udon into four different cold saucse and two kinds of hot soup. We liked the Yuzu Wasabi Udon ($6.50) – a bowl of cold mild wasabi sauce which compliments the udon perfectly, without being overwhelmingly rich. Another item worth trying is the natually flavoured matcha udon – you can have it with cold dipping sauce ($6) or in beef soup ($8.50). Complete your udon meal with your choice of tempura; opt for the jumbo shrimp ($3), golden mushroom ($1.20) or the creative, eggplant tempura with minced meat ($1.80).
BOOK A TABLE | BREEZE | Where to eat: Located atop Ann Siang Hill on the rooftop of The Scarlet boutique hotel, Breeze is no new haunt but recently went through major renovations and had a revamp of its drinks and food menu. What to eat: The biggest change comes courtesy of new chef hire Vincent Teng of Skyve fame. His bar snacks menu offers a range of modern Asian dishes with strong Japanese influences, each a thoughtful, careful creation. The charcoal-grilled kurobuta pork belly skewers ($12) for instance, are glazed with Marmite sauce as opposed to the usual teriyaki sauces, a twist inspired by Teng’s childhood love for this vegetable and yeast spread. This attention to detail extends to many other items, such as the use of crispy homemade buns for mini wagyu beef burgers ($12) or the use of real crab meat in the refreshingly tasty momotaro tomato salad ($14). While savouring the new menu, do try Breeze’s reasonably priced (for the neighbourhood) signature cocktails. The gin-based, raspberry-flavoured Graciously Scarlet ($18) and meringue-topped Foam Party ($22) seem to be crowd favourites but be sure to order the mixologist’s rendition of the lychee martini, Entice Me ($20). While still sweet, this cocktail is strong and bold.
CHABUTON | Where to eat: A new addition to 313@Somerset, this ramen outlet is opened by the chef Yasuji Morizumi – the owner of the first ramen restaurant to appear in the famed Michelin Guide. This is the chain's first outlet in Singapore. What to eat: We went in with high hopes and tried the best seller: tonkotsu ramen (regular $8.30, large $11.90), a bowl of rich pork bone soup topped with char siew and Japanese leek, unfortunately it lacked in flavour. We did like the shoyu ramen (regular $8.30, large $11.90), the bowl of noodles is generously topped with beansprouts and slices of char siew and drenched in a delicate broth. They serve an affordable lunch set for $12.30 where you get a smaller-than-usual bowl of ramen with a choice of side dish, hot green tea and Hokkaido ice-cream.
PINCE & PINTS | Where to eat: Love lobsters? Head straight to Pince & Pints. This new eatery at the Duxton dining enclave is Frederick Yap’s (former co-owner of Love Bonito) first foray into the food and beverage scene. What to eat: There are only lobsters on the menu (for now) and these are done four ways – straight up; a whole live lobster grilled and served on parchment paper or steamed in salted water and olive oil. Both versions are served with a decadent herbed butter sauce, mesculun salad and shoestring fries. You can also choose to have your lobster done chilli crab style and served with mantou buns or served like a lobster roll in a pan-fried, top-split hot dog bun. These are sourced from a traditional Chinatown bakery. We liked best the whole grilled lobster — plump, fresh, with a hint of char, it is best when doused in the accompanying butter sauce. (all dishes are priced at $48 and use up a whole lobster flown in twice weekly from Boston, Maine or Canada). Take a look at a video of what we ate at Pince & Pints.
BAR NAKED | Where to drink: Yet another watering hole on Club Street? At the risk of sounding clichéd – this one is a bit different. It sits beside Pistola and opposite Gem Bar, upon hearing the name you may expect a cheeky-themed bar, but what they really mean when they say ‘naked’ is bare. The spartan space is designed to be a blank canvas for events, pop-ups and themed parties. They will invite different brands to take over the space and provide consumers with varied drinking and dining experiences. What to drink: William Grant & Sons (the guys behind Monkey Shoulder, Hendricks and Reyka) have taken over their second level space for a whole year. On offer are cocktails made with their signature spirits. We tried and liked the Something Like a Lassie (whisky with lime, sugar and ginger beer, $28). Look to their Facebook page for upcoming events.
WHALE & CLOUD | Where to eat: With no website, Facebook page and contact number, one has to rely on information from past patrons regarding this 'secret' café. Although we have heard that the entrance of this 12-seater space is at the back of a shop house along Niven Road. Before you start making plans to visit this weekend-only eatery, do check out their Instagram for their (irregular) opening hours. What to eat: Run by two ladies (one is a baker and the other a barista), expect a limited visual menu of coffee and baked goods, look to the central table where a display of bakes are available for your pickings. Do try their coffee, they source their beans from Japan and USA. There are no prices cor the coffees, pay as much as you like - per the now-closed Papa Palheta way. The baked goods are priced at $4-$6 for a slice of cake, enquire with the staff when you visit.
BOOK A TABLE HERE | IRODORI JAPANESE RESTAURANT | Where to eat: We like their outlet at by the Singapore River for their excellent waterfront view, and were pleased to hear that they have now opened one 'in town' at POMO, Selegie Road. What to eat: The Japanese buffet of course. Where a wide spread of Japanese dishes – from sashimi and sushi to yakitori (grilled skewered meat) await. Read here for full details of their offerrings.
OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE | Where to eat: The 'Outback' is now on Orchard Road. The second outlet of this Aussie-inspired American chain is at Orchard Gateway's Level 4 (their flagship is at Millenia Walk). What to eat: The 21 day, dry-aged steaks are the main draw here — opt for cuts like the Outback Special ($27.90 for 6oz, $29.90 for 8oz, $31.90 for 10oz), the thick-cut New York Strip ($36.90 for 10oz), or a marbled Ribeye ($37.90 for 10oz). The steaks come with two sides and options include mashed or baked potatoes, rice pilaf, corn on the cob, and the new sweet baked potato with honey butter and cinnamon sugar. Try also the Typhoon Burger ($19.90) a 200g ground patty topped with onion rings, cheese, lettuce, tomates and served with fries. Room for more? We recommend the tilpia ($27.90), stacked with crab stuffings and crab meat, and drizzled with lemon butter Chablis sauce.
SHIMA (RE-OPENED) | Where to eat: The teppanyaki and shabu shabu stalwart at Goodwood Park hotel has recently re-opened after a month of renovations. Expect a more spacious restaurant with interiours that have been given a luxurious makeover. The chef's deft teppanyaki skills however, remain as good as before. What to eat: You cannot go wrong with the teppanyaki sets. We opted for the the deluxe which comes with the option of one teppan-cooked main ($90-$200, depending on your choice of main dish). You begin with an appetiser of both sashimi and tempura, then move on to five different teppanyaki items (inclusive of your chosen main), a side of garlic rice, miso soup and a plate of seasonal fruits for dessert. We sampled some delicious fresh king prawns which were drizzled with a house made, light and creamy sauce. For the main, we chose the Australian Wagyu beef ($160) this was tender with excellent marbling. We left stuffed.
ALBA 1836 WINEBAR AND RESTAURANT | Where to eat: New fine dining Italian restaurant at the top of Duxton Hill helmed by chef Alessandro Frau of Acqua in Phuket. What to eat: Out to impress, ALBA 1836 is one of the more stylish restaurants to set in Singapore of late. Forget hipster industrial fixtures, these tables have white tablecloths and entire restaurant “screams” elegant Italian style with artful lighting and conversation-starter fixtures. We had the set lunch ($35, inclusive of coffee and dessert) and were not disappointed. The creamy buffalo mozzarella starter was on point and paired with fresh and balsamic-infused tomatoes. Our main of tuna arrived with a perfect pink middle and was well paired with the bed of lightly smoked mashed eggplant. Rounding up lunch was a simple, extra creamy panna cotta served with berries. We’ll be back to try their full menu (and extensive wine list) with our eye on the Mediterranean seabass with artichokes done two ways, served with an olives and Sicilian capers sauce ($40).
SUNDAY FOLKS | Where to eat: Folks from the West take note, Creamier, the popular ice-cream and waffles store has opened its sister outlet at Chip Bee Gardens. You'll find less elbow-jostling, and you won't need to consume your waffles at the neighbourhood playground. What to eat: Zoom straight in to the hot favourites: the earl grey lavender and seasalt gula melaka ice-cream ($2.50 to $3 per scoop). Also known for their Belgian waffles (link to waffles story) ($8), pair it with a scoop of your choice(s) of soft serve ($10.50 onwards) and you are good to go. What’s new is the cake counter, where we overheard young hipsters raving about the mixed berries cake ($7.90) and the matcha cake ($7.90).