We’ve got intel on the hottest new restaurants in town…
This month we check out the gorgeous renovated Alkaff Mansion which houses three different spaces from Basque fine dining at UNA to a pintxos bar and an alfresco family-friendly café. We scope out Dempsey’s new Bincho yakitori, OLA Cocina del Mar’s latest opening at Jewel plus a kid-friendly healthy café at ArtScience Museum and more…
Read more: New Restaurants Open Last Month
The Alkaff Mansion — Una, TXA Pintxo Bar and Wildseed Café
The magnificent Alkaff Mansion, built in 1918 by the prominent Arab Alkaff family, has been restored and is now open. There are three distinct restaurants housed in this building – TXA Pintxo Bar is on the first floor, UNA is the restaurant on the second floor and Wildseed Café is located in the courtyard outside.
TXA Pintxo Bar — Drinks and Basque bar bites
TXA Pintxo Bar is a Basque bar on the first floor of Alkaff Mansion serving drinks and accompanying bar snacks or more accurately “pintxos” (pin-chos). TXA (pronounced ‘cha’) is run by Basque chefs Marta Elvira Segalés and Silvana Pascual Romero, who make up the pintxos as you order them. Think Iberico Crackers with smoked cod roe sauce ($5), Gratinated Crab served in its shell ($14), little bites of bread topped with Roquefort cream, apple jam and walnuts ($4.90) or confit tomato, tuna, and anchovies ($6.90). The Spanish tipples are as important as the nibbles here so expect a variety of cocktails (from $18) ranging from wine cocktails to classics. We recommend racing to the front-row seats at the open bar so you can chinwag with the chefs.
TXA Pintxo Bar, Level 1, The Alkaff Mansion, 10 Telok Blangah Green, Singapore 109178, Tel: (+65) 6773 0070, thealkaffmansion.sg
UNA — Basque cuisine
UNA (formerly at Rochester Park) is back in action after a hiatus. The restaurant has a stately charm with its Tudor architecture of pitched ceilings accentuated with dark ebony-hued timber. Basque-inspired dishes and favourites from the former UNA are on the menu with highlights being the Paella de Marisco ($52 for small) – a classic seafood paella with bomba rice, prawns, clams and mussels. Make like the Basques and order the delicious beefy Txuleta ($180/kg) which arrives as a huge slab of beef crispy grilled on the outside and medium rare and tender within. The locals favour old cows (10 yrs+) for the deep flavour however at UNA, wagyu aged 5 to 8 years is served so you are in for a treat with tender grilled prime rib beef with high-fat marbling, served simply with salt and sweet piquillo emulsion.
UNA, Level 2, The Alkaff Mansion, 10 Telok Blangah Green, Singapore 109178, Tel: (+65) 6773 0070, thealkaffmansion.sg
Wildseed Café — Family-friendly café
Wildseed Café on the ground level of Alkaff Mansion is the second branch of the Wildseed café – the original is over in Seleter alongside The Summerhouse. As well as operating a small florist, the café offers all-day dining of pastries and cakes with a brunch menu on the weekends. Here’s hoping this spot puts on some kid-friendly activities, as this cute courtyard café set amongst the lush greenery is good weekend hang-out material.
Wildseed Level 1, The Alkaff Mansion, 10 Telok Blangah Green, Singapore 109178, Tel: (+65) 6773 0070, thealkaffmansion.sg
Bincho at Min Jiang — Gourmet Yakitori & Uni Shabu Shabu
Dempsey has really upped its game of late! Bincho has joined the newcomers to this hood with the opening of Bincho at Min Jiang. Tucked in the back of Dempsey next to Min Jiang you’ll find this authentic Japanese Yakitori restaurant decked out in copper-hued interiors. Japanese Executive Chef Asai Masashi is at the helm here so you’ll find some of the best yakitori in Singapore here. The quality of meat and the variety of yakitori options makes eating here something quite special (and even though there’s the expected open fire charcoal Bincho-tan, the space is so well ventilated that you don’t even notice the smokiness until you taste it in your food). Yakitori meaty sticks are aplenty but for something more interesting try the Grilled Seasonal Vegetable Platter and Yasai Maki, thinly sliced beef, wrapped around seasonal vegetables like asparagus ($10), then grilled. Another must-try is the Uni Shabu Shabu ($68), with ‘Uni broth’ made from fresh Sea Urchin that arrives bubbling in a hot pot ready to cook seasonal seafood items from oyster to abalone and prawn. Add the rice to the broth afterwards for a luxe Uni Porridge topped with more sashimi-grade sea urchin – gourmet comfort food best washed down with a cocktail like the Yuzu Shiso Martini by head mixologist, Joe Chan.
Bincho at Min Jiang, 7A/B Dempsey Road, Singapore 249684, Tel: (+65) 6972 7328, www.bincho.com.sg
Tonito Latin American Kitchen — Casual Latin Fare
If you’re heading to Jewel or Canopy Park (and really who isn’t?) then Tonito, the little brother restaurant to TONO Cevicheria, makes a good pitstop with the kids. Tonito is a casual Latin American concept by the OLA Kitchen group serving up fast-casual meals from regions ranging from Mexico to Argentina. The menu is pretty wide spanning – from healthy Quinoa Grain Salad with Corn, Cotija Cheese, and Beans ($12) to Chilli Con Carne with chunks of beef ($10), Peruvian grilled skewers and fries, Crispy Fish Tacos ($18) and Beef quesadillas with Chimichurri ($14). Giving the other burger spots at Jewel a run for their money is the whopping Mexican Torta chicken burger ($18) with Avocado and Chipotle Aioli plus there’s a selection of other sandwiches. Safe to say there will be something for the whole fam here and if you have bigger kids (who can manage the high tables) you can grab one of the few tables overlooking that stunning indoor waterfall for the nightly shows.
Tonito Latin American Kitchen, 78 Airport Boulevard, Unit #02-248 Jewel Changi Airport, Tel: (+65) 6904 3975, www.ola.kitchen/tonito
Gram Café & Pancakes — Instaworthy Soufflé Pancakes
Appropriately named Gram Café & Pancakes, this new spot at Vivocity from Osaka, Japan, serves stacks of fluffy Japanese soufflé style pancakes just begging to be boasted about on Instagram. The signature Premium Pancakes ($17.90) are made to order so expect a little wait (and get there early as there are only a set amount made per day). There are savoury items on the menu like Turkey Bacon and Scrambled Egg Pancakes ($18.90), and Chili Beans Pancakes ($18.90) but we think the sweet dishes look like the thing to order. If the Premium Pancakes are sold out try the Rich Tiramisu Pancakes ($15.90).
Gram Café & Pancakes, Vivocity – 1 Harbourfront Walk #02-110, Singapore 098585, www.facebook.com/grampancakes
SweetSpot at ArtScience Museum — Kid-friendly Healthy Café
Marina Bay Sands’ café SweetSpot has an all-new flagship outlet at the lobby of the ArtScience Museum with a kid’s corner complete with games and kids activities. The menu offers healthy dishes like gluten-free chicken and green apple or wild mushroom salad ($14), toasted wraps ($16) plus fresh juices and healthy smoothies like avocado glow. There’s a special kids menu packed with healthy options, as well as treats like cakes and frozen yoghurt soft serve.
SweetSpot at ArtScience Museum, ArtScience Museum lobby, 6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974, www.marinabaysands.com/restaurants/sweetspot.html
Read more: Best Kid-friendly Restaurants in SG
In other foodie news
– Contemporary Australian restaurant Salted & Hung has a new look, with a spanking new cocktail bar and charcuterie counter serving Chef-Owner Drew Nocente’s house-cured meats, and a new menu themed around the philosophy of Minimal Wastage.
– Café-restaurant Curious Palette has an exciting new menu thanks to Consultant Chef Desmond Shen formerly from Magic Square. Dishes are inventive with Asian nuances. Think ‘Fried Cauliflower, Fish Sauce Caramel’ ($11.90) which is battered cauliflower florets dusted with curry powder; ‘Prawn, Mentaiko Belacan Pasta’ ($18.90) with three charcoal-grilled prawns in a heady belacan flecked sauce; ‘Slow Cooked Shortrib, Burnt Soy’ ($29.90) and not-to-be-missed hipster version of kaya, ‘Coffee Butter’ ($9.50) with a sous vide egg and espresso shoyu.
– Chef Pang Kok Keong at Antoinette rolls out new cakes like Bananier ($9) [pictured above] and the die-die must try light as air soufflé pancakes– look out for the Ondeh Ondeh ($16) with pandan-flavoured custard and gula Melaka syrup. It’s not all patisseries and cakes though, seek out the Crispy Pork Belly Confit and the freshly made pastas but leave room for dessert! Antoinette at Mandarin Gallery will be closing end of July but luckily a new Antoinette branch will be opening in August at Milllenia Walk – 9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-28, Singapore 039596.
– JAAN, Singapore’s highest climber on the Asia 50 Best Restaurant lists, changes name to JAAN by Kirk Westaway after Michelin-starred chef Kirk Westaway who brought more British-inspired cuisine to the restaurant with his Reinventing British menu.