We’ve got intel on the hottest new restaurants in town…
This month, vegetarian and vegan restaurants reign with two new openings plus a slew of celebrity restaurants beckon from Raffles Hotel. Then there’s a Chinese fusion tapas restaurant housed in what once was an opium den; a glam 1930’s Shanghainese restaurant with live music; a killer bakery-café selling sourdough post toasts; and soft serve gets serious with two new spots, one from LA, the other from the Philippines!
Starter Lab — Sourdough Bakery–Café
Bali-based bakery Starter Lab has opened its first overseas branch on Havelock Road here in Singapore. This bakery-café is a collab between owner Min Siah and consultant baker Emerson Manibo, who has some impressive street cred having worked at NYC’s three Michelin-starred Per Se, Tartine Bakery and Della Fattoria. The big draw at Starter Lab is the naturally-leavened, San-Franciscan style sourdough bread sold by the 1.2kg loaf or half loaf. The bread has been slow fermented and has the most unbelievable crust and depth of flavour. We love how you can sit up close to the action on a barstool and watch the bakers at work crafting the pastries or kneading the dough behind a glass-enclosed baking lab. Get a take-away umami Miso Baguette ($6) or Rosemary, Lemon and Sea Salt sourdough ($16), or sit in the clean-cut café and munch on Posh Toasts. We recommend the creamy Honeyed Mascarpone ($14), a perfect composition of crunchy seeded toast and soft fluffy creamy mascarpone drizzled with sustainably sourced honey, bee pollen, crushed walnuts and a sprinkle of black sea salt, or the more substantial Starter Lab 3 Cheese sandwich ($19) served with a crunchy house-made pickle. We will definitely be back!
Starter Lab Singapore, 721 Havelock Road, Singapore 169645, www.facebook.com/starterlab.sg
mìmì — Chinese-fusion tapas
Step off the pavement of the Clarke Quay fountains into the multi-concept space The Riverhouse by 1-Group (as in 1-Altitude and Stellar amongst many F&B spots), and you’ll find yourself in what once was the headquarters of the notorious Ghee Hok Society. Now the space consists of Yang (a club on the ground floor), Ying (for live music), and on the top floor the restaurant mìmì 秘密. mìmì translates to ‘secret’ in Mandarin, and offers Chinese tapas and sharing plates by Chef Sam Chong and Executive Culinary Director Chef Daniel Koh. Dishes span Sichuan, Shanghainese, Cantonese and Mongolian cuisines. Highlights from the menu include the Saucy Crab & Egg Affair ($18), a dish of red spicy chilli crab and white soupy egg whites presented in one dish, ying and yang style, and served with fried mantous. Don’t miss the Snout About Stout ($18) of saucy pork ribs with Guinness espuma, and the Black Gold Chicken ($18) of deliciously umami oven-baked chicken with black garlic served on puffed rice slickened with chicken jus.
mìmì, 3A River Valley Road, Level 2, The Riverhouse, Clarke Quay, Singapore 179020, Tel:(+65) 6261 1189, www.mimirestaurant.sg
Chalerm Thai – Fiery Thai Flavours @ Capitol Kempinski
Adding to an already diverse slate of offerings that ranges from a Michelin-Starred Chef (15 Stamford), to German comfort food (Frieda), to a 50s diner (Capitol Milk Bar), Capitol Kempinski has just introduced Chalerm Thai, which promises “comfort flavours and traditional recipes.” Named for an iconic theatre in Bangkok (therefore linking it to Capitol Theatre right around the corner), Chalerm Thai is helmed by Singaporean Chef Roy Ng, who has over a decade of experience training in Thailand and cooking at Singapore’s top Thai restaurants – he even received a prestigious “Thai Select” award from the Royal Thai Embassy. Reasonably priced and legitimately spicy, some of our fave dishes include the Deep-friend crispy morning glory with chili sauce dip ($8), crunchy and flavourful and not at all greasy; rich seafood Tom Yum Goong filled with succulent prawns ($15); and stir-fried Soft Shell Crab with Yellow Curry ($20), which has quite a nice kick. Classics like Pineapple Rice ($15) and Pad Thai ($14) are also reliably tasty. For dessert, be sure to save room for the not-too-sweet but oh-so-comforting Bua Loy (warm yam dumplings in coconut milk, $8). Why not satisfy your sweet tooth and get a superfoods fix all in one go?
Chalerm Thai, Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski, 13 Stamford Road, Singapore 178906, Tel: (+65) 6715 6875, www.kempinski.com
La Dame De Pic — Celebrity French Anne-Sophie Pic
One of the world’s top female chefs with a total of seven Michelin stars, French Anne-Sophie Pic has opened her first restaurant in Asia, La Dame de Pic, at Raffles Singapore. Anne-Sophie Pic’s signature Berlingots – the famous pasta parcels found in all of her restaurants – will feature a local nuance with the herb Chou Cao added to the French cheese fondue filling. This dish can be found in the 5-course dinner menu starting at $198 per person.
La Dame De Pic, Grand Lobby, Raffles Singapore, 1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673, Tel: (+65) 6337 1886, www.ladamedepic.com.sg
BBR by Alain Ducasse — Mediterranean from Michelin Master Alain Ducasse
BBR by Alain Ducasse also reopens at Raffles with a South Western Mediterranean focus. Think tapas bar snacks of salted cod fritters, Galician-style octopus and Carabineros shrimp and shellfish stew.
BBR by Alain Ducasse, Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Road. Tel:(+65) 6337 1886, www.bbr-byalainducasse.com.sg
藝 yì by Jereme Leung — Cantonese classics from Chef Jereme Leung
Celebrity MasterChef Jereme Leung returns to Singapore to open 藝 yì by Jereme Leung at Raffles Singapore. The menu features Cantonese classics like Braised Beef Cheeks, Tendon & Ox Tail with Sorghum Grains, to adaptations of China’s ancient delicacies as seen in the dish Brined Duck Breast, Beed Tripe & Ox Tongue dressed with Sichuan Chilli.
藝 yì by Jereme Leung, Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Rd, Singapore 189673, Tel: (+65) 6337 1886, www.raffles.com/singapore/dining/yi
Grand Shanghai — Shanghainese cuisine
Grand Shanghai is back after a refurb. As well as a new look (art-deco-inspired interiors with 1930s memorabilia) there’s a new menu and unique dining concept inspired by the “Old Shanghai” of the 1930s. New chef Jacky Tang cooks up Shanghainese specialities and dim sum. The dish “Light and Shadow”Crispy Duck ($28, pictured in the main image of this article) is an inventive take on duck where thin shavings of crispy duck with hints of wasabi are hung on a tree of spun sugar to pick off with your chopsticks. Steamed Silver Cod ($30) allows the freshness of the white fish to shine through, while the Grand Shanghai Crispy Smoked Duck with Steamed Buns ($32) is a crowd pleaser. We would go back just for the Fried String Beans with Minced Pork ($24), a classic dish elevated by Sakura Shrimps that add a pop of pink colour to the dish, and the theatrically served Lobster Bisque with assorted seafood and rice ($18) that arrives at the table bubbling furiously. A stage is set up for dinner when traditional Chinese music and jazz will be playing.
Grand Shanghai,390 Havelock Road, Level 1 King’s Centre, Singapore 169662, Tel: (+65) 6836 6866, www.grandshanghai.com.sg
The Garden Club — Healthy flexitarian dishes
Gone is HRVST and in its place is a similar concept, The Garden Club but now alongside vegetarian and vegan dishes, there are options for those who eat meat, too. It’s a lot more interesting than just salads here. At lunch there are protein bowls (from $10) and plant-based bowls (from $9) at the buffet counter – just choose your base from tabbouleh to buckwheat noodles, a protein from barramundi to beef, vegetables (do not miss the caramelized Brussel sprouts!) and sauce and toppings. In a rush? Order a set bowl like the vegan Green Crack ($9.50) or the Heart Rancher ($12) with braised beef. Mains available at dinner and lunch include the vegetarian Garden Ragu Fettucine ($15) with a pretty convincing Beyond Meat ragu or the umami Caulifower Roast ($10) made moreish with garlic miso sauce. There’s a breezy rooftop setting with a bar, live acoustic music and enticing Happy Hour promos, too.
The Garden Club, 6A Shenton Way, OUE Downtown Gallery #05-01, Singapore 068815, www.thegardenclub.sg
Little Damage — Los Angeles soft serve
Iconic soft-serve brand from downtown Los Angeles, Little Damage, has opened two branches in Singapore (their first overseas outlets). The first Little Damage opened up in Wheelock Place earlier this year and the second has just opened in Haji Lane. Think charcoal soft-serve in matching black cones, perfectly made for Instagram selfies. Flavours will rotate; the current slate includes Unicorn Tears (blue of course), White Chocolate, Vegan Choc P&B Banana (made with nut milk), and Coffee Caramel, while the Haji Lane branch has Strawberries and Cream. Plus there’s a range of toppings to get creative with, everything from rainbow sprinkles to crunchy chocolate pearls.
Little Damage, 2 Haji Lane, Singapore 189195, www.sg.littledamage.com
Elemen Classic — Vegetarian
Elemen Classic, newly opened in the revamped Great World City, is a welcome addition to the vegetarian scene in Singapore. The interiors are lovely — touches of gold and green elevate the decor, and the wall of greenery softens the space. The focus here is on modern interpretations of meatless dishes, but you won’t find any mock meat on the menu. Instead look out for superfoods such as wild rice, burdock root, maca and black Chinese wolfberries while peach gum is used as a substitute in the vegetarian version of Birds Nest Soup, ‘Double-Boiled Cordyceps Flower with Peach Gum in Superior Soup’ ($10.80). The highlight is undoubtedly the Truffle Broth Ramen ($14.80); a creamy broth is achieved by boiling arrowroot, turnip, mountain yam and tangerine peel for three hours, and the soup is finished with handmade dumplings of shitake mushroom, tofu and chestnut, springy ramen noodles, and a delightfully soft boiled egg, as well as slices of shaved truffle. Other favourites were the Kale Tofu with Wild Rice ($15.80), with housemade tofu; and the Truffle Breadsticks with Blueberry Yoghurt Sauce ($3.80). For dessert, try the Purple Rice Porridge with Coconut Ice Cream ($8.80) or go with the Creme Brulee ($6.80), Chocolate Lava Cake ($9.80) or the Red Velvet Peanut Butter Cake ($6.80). The set menu is priced at an extremely reasonable $28.80 for six courses, or $32.80 for 8 courses.
Elemen Classic, Great World City, #01-22, 1 Kim Seng Promenade, Singapore 237994, Tel: (+65) 6235 6613, www.elemen.com.sg
Read more: New Restaurants in August 2019
Maxi Mango — Mango soft serve fresh from the Philippines
Trending mango soft serve Maxi Mango has just hit our shores from the Philippines at Capitol Piazza. In just 10 months an astounding 43 outlets opened in the Philippines – and yes, people queued like crazy. Maxi Mango’s soft-serve desserts (priced from $4.90 onwards) are made with real, fresh mangoes from the Philippines topped with your choice of crushed graham crackers, Philippine cheese topping (keso), purple yam (ube), or fragrant fresh coconut.
Maxi Mango, #B2-29, Capitol Piazza, 13 Stamford Road, Singapore 178905, www.maximango.com.sg
In other foodie news
- Tablescape introduces new Executive Chef Armando Aristarco, who injects some contemporary flair to the restaurant’s classical European fine dining menu. Expect a raw beef starter, served Japanese tataki style instead of the typical European tartare. A rich risotto dish with pan-fried foie gras is also accompanied by slices of Chinese-style smoked duck. Start and end with bread and dessert trolleys respectively (bread trolley comes with homemade butter!). Both contain sumptuous selections to spoil the dinner.
- The English House, by Marco Pierre White has launched a new weekend English breakfast menu featuring unusual dishes like Omelette Arnold Bennett ($25) with smokey haddock. This is the spot to come for crumpets — they make their own mini crumpets served on their own or as part of their Traditional Full English Breakfast ($25). All breakfast dishes come with tea or coffee, croissants and free flow sourdough toast with Tiptree jams. Kids’ breakfast is $10 and ranges from Scrambled Eggs & Bacon to Crumpets with Peanut Butter and Banana.
- Artemis Grill & Sky Bar has created a new vegan menu (with gluten-free options) alongside the main lunch and dinner menus. Dishes include chilled carrot soup with avocado, beetroot tartare and tabbouleh salad, roasted cauliflower, barley risotto, and chickpea fries.
- Antoinette has opened a new branch at Millenia Walk, following the closure of Mandarin Gallery. Look forward to traditional European breads and viennoiserie, as well as Japanese-style water roux breads, new croissants such as the Gula Melaka Twist ($3.5) and all-day dining.