We’ve got the lowdown on all the hot new restaurants in Singapore this month, mama!
Hey, mama! Need a quick shot of inspiration for a night out on the town (no kids, that is)? Here’s our pick of new restaurants in Singapore (and the latest bars!), condensed and served up in tasty bite-size pieces just for you.
National Kitchen – Topnotch Singaporean
National Kitchen from Violent Oon (a national treasure in her own right!) is a stellar Singaporean addition to the dining scene and it could well be one of our favourite dinner spots at The National Gallery. The restaurant is small but beautiful – ceilings lined with pretty Peranakan tiling and glitzy chandeliers, dark wooden walls adorned with old black and white photographs that tell the often personal story of Singapore’s culinary heritage. Start with the pickles, specifically the delicious Pineapple Patcheree ($4) while you wait for your house made sodas (of which the Ginger Beer is terrific). Unlike Violet Oon’s in Bukit Timah, which is mainly Peranakan, National Kitchen pays homage to the country’s melting pot of Indian, Peranakan, Malay and Singaporean food offerings, so expect a few new dishes here. Don’t miss their Beef Rendang ($22) – a deeply flavoured curry rich with sambal and spices, or their Dry Laksa ($22) where instead of soup, the sauce clings to the rice noodles like laksa carbonara. You’ll have to fight your vegetarian dining partner for the Meatless Meatballs Rendang ($15) made of walnuts and mozzarella and slathered with spiced tomato coconut gravy. Even if you’ve left no room for dessert, plough on and at least share a slab of the Grated Tapioca Cake ($9) served with a side of coconut cream. This place is atmospheric, has great service and truly superb food – an all round winner for date night, a girls’ evening out, introducing out-of-towners to upmarket local food or even an informal business dinner.
National Kitchen, National Gallery Singapore, 1 Saint Andrew’s Road, #02-01, Tel: (+65) 9834 9935, www.violetoon.com
Lazy Susan – Fun Asian Pop Up
Take a spin around Asian-centric dishes muddled with global accents at Lazy Susan – a roaming pop up concept by Spa Esprit Group. True to its name, this place offers a revolving experience with each change of location and chef. For December, Lazy Susan is at House at Dempsey, where Chef Han has designed a fun menu incorporating mainly Asian ingredients and flavours in unusual combinations with surprising Western pairings. The must-order dish is the BBQ Jackfruit Bun ($12), a soft bun encompassing braised young jackfruit in BBQ sauce with pistachio-studded guacamole to top it all off. Tasting same-same-but different to pulled pork, this unusual vegetarian burger ticks all our boxes on taste, texture, looks and interest. You’ll need to order one each – this ain’t no sharing number! Wing Bean Toast ($12) is a wacky combo of bruschetta style mozzarella on sourdough toast with wing beans and homemade XOXO sauce (which was a little on the salty side for us). The menu is non-stop playfulness with dishes of Luncheon Meat Croquettes ($8) and the wonderfully named Stinky Meets Crispy ($22) of rice flour waffles topped with fried egg and Har Cheong Gai. Sip on fun drinks like Tiffin Punch of gin, lychee and grapefruit ($12) or unusual hot drinks like the Red Latte ($6) made of caffeine free Rooibos Tea. Next stop is Open Door Policy in January (stay tuned for locations thereafter but they’re set to head on to NYC and London too).
Lazy Susan, Tel: +65) 9777 5447, www.lazysusansg.com
Locations: House at Dempsey (from Thursday-Sunday until Sunday, 27 December); Open Door Policy (Tuesday, 5 January – Sunday, 24 January, 2016)
Portico Prime – New Dempsey Post
Portico Prime takes overs from Prime Society in Dempsey. The space is airy and filled with light, with towering ceilings, a kitchen on display and a smart bar that takes centre stage. Highlights of the modern European menu come both at the beginning and end of the menu in the form of the Heirloom Tomatoes ($24) starter and Deconstructed Black Forest ($17) dessert. The former comes as a collection of heirloom tomatoes, beautifully plated in a range of colours, served at different temperatures with Jamon Serrano, organic quinoa, marinated Hijiki seaweed, and a frozen honey melon dressing. The rest of the menu ranges from the exclusive, like Wagyu A4 Ribcap ($58/100grams) from the Tochigi prefecture (for which Portico Prime has exclusive rights to serve in Singapore), which a highly marbled rich meat (around 60-70% fat), to lighter dishes of fresh locally sourced Pan Seared Pulau Ubin Barramundi ($38). Soon to come: breakfasts and brunch (this is Dempsey after all!).
Portico Prime, 10 Dempsey Road #01-20, Tel: (+65) 6474 7427, www.portico.sg
Bird Bird – Anti-trendy Thai Chicken Eatery
Bird Bird flounces onto the dining scene and sets up on trendy Ann Siang Road as an ‘intentionally tacky, anti-trendy’ Thai Chicken Palace thanks to Artichoke Super Chef Bjorn Shen. Expect Thai Grilled Chicken ($25) with Chilli Jam, king of Som Tums ($35) papaya salad pimped up with crispy chicken skin, crispy fish maw and salted eggs, Umami Corn ($14) and Lamb Ribs ($28) with herbs and roasted rice. If everything sounds too headachingly good (and we hear you!), then you can always plump for the Happiness Meal ($75) and try most things on the menu all in one greedy go. At Bird Bird, there’s no – absolutely no – reserving tables (unless of course you come with your Thai mafia gang of at least 8 untrendy hipsters).
Bird Bird, 18 Ann Siang Road, Singapore, Tel: (+65) 6635 2536, www.facebook.com/birdbirdsg
Decker Barbecue – Backdoor BBQ
Need meat? Head to Decker Barbecue (behind Boomarang on Robertson Quay) with its casual counterside ordering, wooden tables and strung up coloured lights. Often the meat (like the USA-reared brisket) takes up to 16 hours to slow cook on the massive smoker behind the counter; once it’s sold out, it’s game over. Up for grabs: a hefty three meat (600gram) plate, with two sides ($76), which will feed two easily, or go a la carte and pick and choose your own platter. Consider the sought-after Brisket ($16), juicy Pulled Pork ($10) or the Spare Ribs ($9) along with sides like homemade Cornbread ($4), trendy greens of Kale Salad ($9), Fries ($7) or Brisket Beans ($9). Wash it all down with craft beers like Little Creatures or Brewerkz on tap.
Decker Barbecue, 60 Robertson Quay, 01-17 The Quayside, Singapore, Tel: +65) 6635 8565, www.facebook.com/deckerbarbecue
Aqua Luna – Alexandra Rooftop Bar
A trip to IKEA at peak hour can drive the best of us to drink. Rooftop poolside bar Aqua Luna at Park Hotel Alexandra next door may be the answer if you’re thirsting after a cocktail to take the retail-therapy edge off. Refreshing numbers include Poire Basil ($18) a sprightly mix of Absolut Pear Vodka, fresh lime, pear and grapefruit bitters and the equally invigorating Summer Chill ($18) of Tanqueray Gin with Elderflower Liqueur, celery, cucumbers and mint – both served in chilled hipster tins. Bar bites need a little work; Chilli Crab sauce with Corn Chips ($14) doesn’t pack much punch without the addition of fresh crab, but the wood fired flat breads like the Spicy Chorizo, Mozzarella and Onion ($18) and Tiger Prawn and Pesto ($24) are pretty good.
Aqua Luna, Level 7, Park Hotel Alexandra, 323 Alexandra Road, Singapore 159972, Tel: (+65) 6828 8888, www.parkhotelgroup.com
Joe and the Juice – Danish Juice House
If you haven’t heard of Joe and the Juice, get ready. This place has been doing for juice what Starbucks did for coffee. And now the Danish mega-chain has come to Singapore. Of course they do coffee too (and its 100% organic), plus sandwiches like Avocado, Mozzarella, Tomato ($10.50) or Spicy Tuna ($10.50). But it’s the juices that have people super pumped. Designed for taste and maximum nutritional pow-wow, juices are squeezed on demand to retain all nutritional goodness (after 20 minutes at room temperature, they say juice vitamins start walking so drink up quick!). Post Gym? Try the ReBuild ($9.90/11.90) with rice protein, coconut water, cocoa, banana (potassium and B6) and avocado (folate and vitamins).
Joe and the Juice, 30 Raffles Place, 01-35A Chevron House, #01-35, Tel: (+65) 6221 2126, www.joejuice.com