Foodies, add these new restaurants to your must-try list!
This month we check out some great new restaurants that you’ll want to know about! From a super kid-friendly cafe in Dempsey (complete with safari glamping tent, African rugs and power breakfast jars), to a wine bistro with $6 wines, a neighbourhood pizza spot, a rose rooftop bar, a vegan food truck, a wine and tapas bar and so much more, it’s all happening this December!
TBB Safari – Safari inspired cafe in Dempsey
Wow, this spot. It has my heart! This safari-style glamping tent is pitched up over where the Open Farm cafe used to be (next door to Open Farm Community which remains unchanged). This is where you’ll find Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari (open from 8am, hurray!). The canvas tent (with windows to keep a little light) is laid with rugs and camping style deck chairs, and open to the elements so it feels like the tropical garden has come in (don’t worry, there’s aircon with special eco-blowers to keep it cool but not freezing!). There are chickens and bunnies and the play area and sand pit remain alluringly close by. On the menu in addition to the usual famous TBB croissants there are signature drinks exclusive to this branch (TBB’s fifth!). There’s a rainbow of lattes (turmeric, blue pea and beetroot), as well as power breakfast jars. Many of the dishes use edible plants and flowers (like turmeric roots and rojak flowers to pack antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties into your meal), all sourced from the 3,000 square foot connecting garden. If I’m MIA – you know where to find me!
TBB Safari, 130E Minden Road, Singapore 248819, www.tiongbahrubakery.com
Din Tai Fung — Opens in London!
Ok so this isn’t in Singapore but it’s pretty relevant and exciting! Award-winning Taiwanese restaurant, Din Tai Fung launches its inaugural London flagship restaurant in the UK early December 2018 in Covent Garden. Plans are already underway to open its second UK restaurant in London’s Centre Point in 2019.
The Wine & Gourmet Friends — Asian Tapas Wine Bistro
There’s a sweet story behind new wine bistro The Wine & Gourmet Friends. It’s set up by a group of friends – restaurateurs, wine experts and chef – who came together to start this business founded on the belief that good friendships flourish over good food and wine. Cheers to that, we say! Well priced wine is a big draw here from $6 per glass! Hello! Call the gang quick! But actually, it is the people at the heart of The Wine & Gourmet Friends that will make the lasting impression. If William Seah is around to talk you through the wines and give you tasting notes – it really is a highlight! The kitchen is helmed by Chef Wilson Ang who cooks up Asian and Western dishes such as the deliciously crispy fried Pork & Seafood Bites (Hei Zou) $12, Foie Gras Lotus Leaf Rice ($18), and Roast Pork Belly ($24) with house-made Achar (one of the owner’s grandma’s recipes). More Western mains include the Lamb Trio featuring grilled lamb kofta, lamb rendang and a rosemary grilled lamb rack on quinoa ($30). Definitely try the free-range Rosedale Ruby Pure Australian Beef Ribeye ($12/100g) and the Black Pepper Crab Noodle with soft-shelled crab is another moreish Asian dish. For dessert try the “Goreng Pisang” – a beautifully plated dessert showcasing bananas prepared three-ways: there’s banana cake, cleverly made shatteringly thin banana leather and of course fried banana with a generous scoop of heavenly choc ice cream. Decor is pretty minimalist; an open kitchen and some TV screens highlighting specials with the extremely affordable wine cellar as a back drop.
The Wine & Gourmet Friends, 48 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089859, Tel: (+65) 6224 1982, www.facebook.com/TWGFriends
The Botanic— Plant-based, Vegan and Meats
Just launched The Botanic (previously Salt Tapas & Bar) beside Fairmont, boasts spanking new decor – colonial inspired with lovely light fittings, hanging plants and wicker chairs making for a bright and airy lunch spot. The new menu draws on Asian flavours and Mediterranean inspirations and showcases plant-based dishes with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free plates alongside free-range, organic meat and seafood dishes. Group Executive Chef Shannon Binnie is vegan so that always bodes well with the menu’s new focus. Our verdict? It’s food for thought to go green! The Botanic’s vegetarian rendition of the Scotch Egg ($15) uses an organic free-range egg encased in a falafel instead of traditional pork sausage, on a creamy sauce of tabouli, cucumber and yoghurt. Another stand out dish is the vegan Kale Salad ($16) with seeds, grains, raisins, nuts, capers and pomegranate. The meaty offerings fare just as well: Harissa Spiced Spatchcock ($29) sees lemony grilled chicken on a plate-lickingly good labneh, smokey eggplant and verde sauce. Desserts are worth that extra fitness session for: Chendol Pavlova ($12), filled with Coconut, Jackfruit Granita, Mango and Salted Gula Melaka is a hit as is the modern take on Baklava ($14) with strawberries, Organic Leatherwood Honey and frozen yoghurt.
The Botanic, 252 North Bridge Road, Raffles City Shopping Centre, #01-22A, Singapore 179103, Tel: (65) 6837 0995, www.thebotanic.com.sg
LINO — Italian Pizza at Binjai Park
Binjai Park welcomes a new Italian, LINO under the Les Amis group (occupying the space previously by Pepperoni Pizzeria). LINO offers classic Italian wood-fired pizzas (proofed for 48-hours) and house-made pastas like handmade Pork and Veal Tortellini ($24++), alongside sharing plates. Order the Burrata with slow roasted cherry tomatoes, passata and basil ($28++) — the crispy pizza base is smeared with passata sauce and finished with a neat round burrata sitting atop the dish – simply delicious! Asparagus with braised leek, scallion, garlic, goat’s cheese and pancetta ($28++) is another good choice, alongside lighter dishes of Hamachi Crudo ($21++), Grilled octopus with hummus ($22++) and Zucchini Noodles with basil pesto, cherry tomato and pine nuts ($24++). Tiramisu always beckons alluringly but try the Sfera Di Cioccolato ($16++) and you’ll be rewarded with a dark chocolate brownie mousse served with orange segments and toasted almonds. Water here is $2/pax for free-flow, filtered, still or sparkling (no tap water offered). There’s a kids’ menu and al fresco seating as well as a smart indoor setting where you can watch the chefs firing up the pizzas in the corner. LINO is a cosy neighbourhood pizzeria to add to your weekend must-try list.
LINO, 7 Binjai Park, Singapore 589821, Tel: (+65) 64637800, www.linorestaurant.com
Pandora’s Garden –– Rosé Wine Bar
Calling all rosé wine aficionados! Pandora’s Garden over on the rooftop of Ann Siang House serves a menu of Rose Wines in a rainbow of different pinks. The husband and wife team behind this rosé bar, Jamie and Jasmine Gripton, also own Brightside on Duxton Hill. They’ve put together 35 different selections of rosé wines that include Whispering Angel’s L’Esclans Garrus ($535/bottle), which was named “The Greatest Rosé ever” by James Suckling, one of the world’s most influential wine critics. If you’ve got cash to flash there’s the ultra-rare rosé Champagne Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé at $1,888, but for us mere mortals, kick back with a glass of entry-level rosé from as low as $12 per glass or $41 per bottle. On the bar bites menu, there are good ole British nibbles like British Pork Pie ($15) served cold with English mustard and Bryanston pickle or the Ploughman’s Platter ($30) good for up to 3 with Honey glazed thick cut ham, mature English cheddar, pork pie and homemade pate with artisanal bread.
Pandora’s Garden, 28 Ann Siang Road, Ann Siang House, Singapore 069708, www.facebook.com/pandorasgardensg
Hello Baby — Vegan Food Truck
HRVST, Singapore’s first vegan restaurant and bar, has opened its brother brand, Hello Baby, a more modest set up given it’s a vegan street grub kiosk, within Chinatown. Look out for Singaporean classics, reinterpreted vegan-style. Chilli crab is given a vegan makeover with chilli sauce, enoki mushrooms and served in mantao sliders ($10). Young Jack Cubano ($10) sees young jackfruit cooked in top secret housemade hoisin sauce and served with spring onions and sliced cucumber for that extra finish. Or there’s the vegan Beets & “Egg” Burger ($10) which is onion-free, garlic free and egg-free consisting of a frittata patty, tomato-basil ketchup, Kroodi cheddar “cheese” and beetroot chips. For dessert; vegan waffles ($8), coconut ice cream ($5), and the sourdough nut butter and sliced banana sandwich ($8) served hot straight from the panini press!
Hello Baby, 10 Trengganu Street, Singapore 058464, www.facebook.com/hllo.bb
Nyonya Nyonya – New Homey Peranakan
Nyonya Nyonya is a family run restaurant with decades of history and recipes that they have perfected through generations. Food is unpretentious — just good solid Peranakan classics steeped in history, as you’ll find in every cosy Peranakan home. The pricing reflects this and is kept reasonable, as it’s meant to be a place where families gather for a meal without having to break the bank. Our Peranakan food-loving Sassy Mama team member tried the cuisine and her favourites include the Ayam Buah Keluak ($16) and the Scallop Lemak ($28) — a dish based on the restaurateur’s childhood favourite dish of fish cake lemak cooked in rempah of turmeric, lemongrass, onions and topped with coconut milk and laksa leaf. Ngoh Hiang ($10) is another real hit: crispy on the outside and succulent inside. But the one dish that was stand out? Long Beans Sambal ($12): crunchy green long beans stirred in a rich sambal. For dessert, definitely go for the Durian Chendol ($6.50).
Nyonya Nyonya, 12 Maju Avenu (Serangoon Gardens Estate), Singapore 556690, Tel : (+65) 282 4021
Niku Kin (肉金) – Yakiniku Affordable Hokkaido Wagyu
Niku Kin (肉金), is a newly opened Hokkaido Wagyu Yakiniku Restaurant along Craig Road owned by two Japanese Chefs from Hokkaido, Chef Tsubo and Chef Rafael Andres Bueno Mendoza. Yakinuku, for the uninitiated, involves grilling your own meats at your table. Niku Kin offers top-grade premium Hokkaido Wagyu meats, imported fresh (never frozen) from Farm Chiyoda Biei Cho rearing top grade Black Wagyu cows. There are 32 cuts, from rib to rump, with different levels of marbling, fat content and umami intensity. Best news is that dishes are affordable — between $15 (80grams) for the brisket cut to $43 (80grams) for the premium Tenderloin cut. Other dishes include Wagyu Tartare ($14.90), Wagyu Sushi set ($17 for 5 slices), and their winning Wagyu Katsu Hamburg at $12.90. Set menus are priced at $48, $128 and $338 for groups of more than five.
Niku Kin (肉金), 53 Craig Road, Singapore 089691, Tel: +65 9817 0591, www.facebook.com/nikukinwagyu
Preludio –– Bold new contemporary restaurant
The Mast — Mozzarella Deli and Bar
The Mast consists of a cheese production laboratory, delicatessen, osteria and bar and this is the first Southeast Asian outpost (which launched in Rome in 2015). Highlights from the menu are the selection of fresh cheeses – such as mozzarella, burrata and stracciatella – hand-stretched and shaped on-site with high-quality buffalo milk from the osteria’s very own buffalo farm in Valle dei Templi in Paestum. Puglia-born Executive Chef Cataldo Chiloiro puts an authentic touch to all the dishes from breakfast to dinner. Sfogliatella, a crisp layered pastry stuffed with fresh ricotta; Mozzarella e Prosciutto comprising buffalo mozzarella, 24 months aged Parma ham and tomato confit; as well as Salmone Scozzese E Zucchine Pinse, comprising of Buffalo Mozzarella, Smoked Salmon, Zucchini.
The Mast, 182 Cecil Street, #01-05/08 Frasers Tower, Singapore 069547, www.themast.com.sg
Fat Chap — New Asian casual
Fat Chap offers casual Asian dining at Suntec City. The restaurant bustles with the sounds of a typical Asian street market with a live charcoal grill station where whole fish and meat skewers are cooked. Dishes range from Crispy Pig’s Ear ($12) and Asian Buffalo Drumlets ($14), to Fat Chap’s signature Oxtail Soup ($20), Assam Pedas with Golden Snapper ($19) charcoal-grilled Balinese Pork Ribs ($28/45), or Grilled Whole Fish ($53).
Fat Chap, 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Mall East Wing, #01-643(next to Promenade Exit C) Singapore 038983, www.fatchap.sg
Lead Image credit: Lino Restaurant