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 Singapore’s latest restaurants and newest bars, condensed and served up in tasty bite-size pieces just for you. Check out this month’s serving, from a Friends-themed cafe to sinful grilled cheese and saintly poke bowls.
Fynn’s – Tropical Wholesome Restaurant
Fynn’s is a small tropical hideaway within the South Beach complex (close to the Esplanade MRT exit). The décor is a mixture of whites, pale wood and rattan, all very luxe tropical. Everything on the menu is made in-house – which gives this wholesome spot a big thumbs up from us. The menu spans everything from vegan dishes to Charred Lamb and Pumpkin Mash ($25) to Smoked Duck Rigatoni ($19) so there is something for everyone. Weekdays see a market table offering – a choice of one base, two sides and a meat in addition to the à la carte menu. Favourites from the weekday menu include the clean eats Grilled Chicken Bowl with fried wild rice, edamame, snow peas, egg and pickled vegetables ($19.50) and the Caramelized Pork Belly Baguette reminiscent of a Vietnamese sandwich with carrot, pickles and an tasty coconut slaw ($18). For dessert don’t miss the Apple Tart Tartan ($12.50)– tender slivers of apple on a thin crisp pastry arrives hot with a cold scoop of vanilla ice cream – a delicious dish to accompany coffees sourced from Common Man Roasters. Weekends (Saturdays only for now) see a different brunch menu that veers away from the standard. If you’re with the family, grab an alfresco table where there is a large wooden deck for little ones to potter (or maybe do some illegal scooting).
Fynn’s, 26 Beach Road, #B1-21 South Beach Avenue, Singapore 189768, Tel: (+65) 6384 1878, www.fynnsrestaurant.com
PIM PAM by FOC – Affordable Catalan Tapas & Brunch
Pim Pam by FOC (of Hong Kong Street and more recently Sentosa) has opened up on Orchard Road finally and we can happily report that the wait has been well worth it. The décor by Barcelona designers is light and airy. Four towering statue heads representing the founders govern the space (a theme which runs throught the FOC brand). The Catalan comfort food and tapas are exquisite. Try brunchy Migas ($8), an eggporn dish of runny deep fried eggs with chorizo, potato foam and breadcrumbs to classic paellas. The latter are a taste and visual treat – cooked over a large cast-iron pan, “paella a la llauna” ($22), has its rice spread thinly across the skillet for a delicious crispy finish. The paella rice is rich with the flavours of umami chicken onion broth, a hint of sweet tomato and is topped with pork chops and grilled scallops. Salads are a far cry from boring leafy bowls: take the Stracciatella ($16), of blanched zucchini ribbons, stracciatella mousse, confit tomato and homemade basil pesto and the Roasted Leek ($12) with butter soy, rocket and anchovies. Crunchy light yet chewy churros ($4) – which, by the way, have less calories than a croissant – can be eaten the traditional way, for breakfast with a cup of four bean blend NZ allpress coffee. Or for dessert, accompanied by a rich, chocolatey, yet not overly sweet sauce. Pim Pam opens at 8am – so early risers, joggers, foodies or anyone with a small early-riser child in tow – put this spot on your list now!
PIM PAM by FOC, 442 Orchard Road, #01-29 Claymore Connect, Singapore 098943
Pololi – Hawaiian Poké by way of Hong Kong
Pololi – meaning ‘hungry’ in Hawaiian – graces our little red dot from Hong Kong where it has three poké branches. It’s a little shack off Telok Ayer street offering raw Pacific line-caught tuna and farmed Norwegian salmon – cut into large cubes and tossed in Polynesian and Asian sauces. There are 6 flavour varieties on offer at the counter which revolve daily, from a Thai lemongrass Tuna to Yuzu and Pine Nut Salmon, Sambal and Mayo-based chilli. Choose your base of rice (red, brown, or white) or leafy salad and whether you’re going for the Keiki (150 grams fish) at $15.99 or the Kama’aina (180g) at $17.99. While poké is on many a corner in the area, Pololi offer an unlikely snack you may not get elsewhere – Spam ($3.49) consisting of a wedge of spam sandwiched with teriyaki sauce and rice then wrapped with seaweed. For drinks, grab a Passion and Orange slushi (with or without a sneaky shot of rum) and pretty bottles of Hawaiian Kona Brew Co beer.
Pololi, 51 Telok Ayer Street, #01-06A China Square Food Center, Tel: (+65) 6909 0589, www.pololikai.com
Alter Ego – Clean Eats and Naughty ‘Cheats’
This spot on the external ground floor of Esplanade is where to go for healthy clean eat dishes by day and unhealthy (think cheesy-melty-fried-awesomeness) by night. It is the Alter Ego to sister outlet A Poke Theory, which serves up healthy poke. Alter Ego shows the owners’ darker side with the addition of their ‘dirty’ eats. It’s these new offerings that will have you salivating for more. Much of the dirty menu is designed to go with their impressive selection of craft beers and cider like the Fat Yak Pale Ale ($10) or the Brothers Toffee Apple (500ml at $14). Bar snacks include Crispy Spice Dusted Fish Skin or Chicken Skin ($8), Buffalo Wings ($14) and then there’s the cheese-loaded saucy dishes – that food of hangover dreams. Loaded Taters ($13) of crispy taters smothered in jalapeno cheese sauce, maple bacon and sour cream are an umami bomb of crispy, fluffy, sweet, spicy and creamy. Pizza Fries ($14) are another loaded dish this time with smoky pepperoni and bacon ketchup and mounds of cheese sauce to achieve maximum cheeseporn pull. The grilled Cheese ($11) is an unabashed fried white bread sandwich – browned and crispy on the edges with a gooey Taleggio/Gruyere centre (with the addition of braised beef short ribs +$3 if you’re feeling particular ballsy), served with a side of smoky tomato soup dip. If you stand firmly in the clean eats side choose from pre-set poké bowls from The Original Poke Shaker ($16) of shoyo salmon on sushi rice with lime avocado and alafalfa sprouts to the Vegan Green Goddess ($13) of avocado on brown rice. But really, if you manage to be good here you really are a saint. For the rest of us, this is cheesy-fried heaven.
Alter Ego, Esplanade Mall, #01-13D, 8 Raffles Avenue, Singapore, Tel: (+65) 6327 9301, www.alterego.sg
Monti – Upmarket Italian, Stunning Views
The elegantly designed Monti stands proudly where Catalunya used to reign and calls the commanding Marina Bay views its own. Italian chef Luigi Calcagno is at the helm (you may recognize him from Zibiru in Seminyak, Bali — which he co-owns). Food wise expect upmarket traditional Italian fare like the homemade Veal Osso Buco Ravioli ($34) and the theatrical Risotto ($39) of black pepper and truffle finished off at your table by the chef by blowtorching Bacardi 151 in a parmesan round, then adding the risotto and scraping down the cheese sides to finish. Highlights on the menu include the Baby Squid ($16), which comes swimming in cherry tomato broth spiked with salty fresh capers and olives, as well as a Carpaccio of Smoked Swordfish ($18) where the simplicity of the dish lets the ingredients shine through. Sharing mains include the impressive Baked Turbot topped with discs of potatoes ($140 for 2), and Monkfish Fillet wrapped in pancetta ($52). For dessert, if you fancy something flamboyant go for the Baileys Affogato ($16) – we wont spoil the surprise. Otherwise the Rosemary and Coffee Panna Cotta ($18) is a tasty yet unusual take on the much-loved dessert. For late night drinks – you won’t be kicked out till close to 4am Fridays and Saturdays as the party vibe that this spot was once known for lives on with DJs spinning the decks Weds- Saturday till the early hours.
Monti, 82 Collyer Quay, Fullerton Pavilion, Tel: (+65) 6535 0724, www.monti.sg
Hot Buns & Thunder Balls – Asian Burgers
Boutique Hotel Vagabond – decked out in red, a nod to its seedy red light past – has a new restaurant, Hot Buns & Thunder Balls serving Asian-inspired burgers. The restaurant’s name derives from the burgers, cheekily named ‘buns’ and for dessert, ‘thunder balls’ aka rice dumplings (of which there are two, of course). The hotel, designed by Jacques Garcia, is a sight to behold with its roar of red décor, bold art and imposing golden statues. Hot Buns & Thunder Balls is restricted to the narrow area beside the bar (the light filled central area clad in framed art is reserved for Starwood members). The burger menu ranges from the Chilli Crack Burger ($24), an otak patty made from crab and slathered in a very Singapore inspired balacan sauce, to an Indian Chicken Tikka ($18) Burger to the more Western offering of Pretty Woman ($24) – Wagyu, Gruyere, onions and a cornichon. In keeping with the naughty nuances, you may also request your burger naked (without the bun). The burgers may need some vavavoom to keep up stiff burger competition and a new chef Aaron Tan is setting up as we ‘speak’, so do hold your breath. Desserts are the highlight – rice dumplings ($10) with unusual fillings in lieu of the standard black sesame sees bright red ‘thunder balls’ oozing raspberry sauce or green pandan balls spilling white chocolate lava, served with a scoop of ice cream.
Hot Buns & Thunder Balls, Hotel Vagabond, 39 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207630, Tel: (+65) 6291 6677, www.facebook.com/hotelvagabond
Central Perk Singapore – Friends-themed Café
Gather the crew, come midweek (when it will likely not be so busy) and grab the couch for some coffee, Friends-style. Central Perk is the only cafe outside of the United States that has been granted the intellectual property rights to the iconic TV show by Warner Brothers. They have gone the whole hog from recreating Monica’s kitchen at the ‘reception’ to the director’s chairs set up for the main seating. Plus of course the main draw, the filming set, complete with the orange couch. However if you want to reserve a spot on the famous couch you’ll need to have membership (requests are ‘vetted’ and the cost is a staggering $1000). Sitting ‘on set’ for an afternoon coffee feels eerily like you’re on the big screen which is projected in the middle of the café and playing Friends reruns. The menu takes you on the full Friends tour from Phoebe’s “I Can’t Eat Meat” steak ($69) to Monica’s “Too Much Garlic” Aglio Olio ($28) with king prawns and the Ahh Unagi ($36). Slightly incongruous to the café’s casual American vibe where servers wear branded Friends T-shirts, is the aim at fine dining food. The Unagi comes smoked with al dente vegetables prettily arrange over a thin smear of mash alongside two breaded fried oysters while desserts of Mrs Braverman’s Cheesecake ($16) and the very heavy fudgy Chocolate Mudcake ($16) are artfully decorated with berries. Reflecting this more upmarket aim at food, prices are on the steep side. If your wallet is as thin as Joey’s, you could skip food and just sip on a lone cappuccino ($8). There are six different blends of coffee spanning all 6 of the different characters with varying body, acidity and degree of roast.
Central Perk, 01-01 Central Mall, 1 Magazine Road Singapore 05956, Tel: (+65) 9025 2524, www.facebook.com/centralperksingapore
Tai Cheong Bakery – HK Egg Tarts in HV
If you have been queuing at the Takashimaya food kiosk for these egg tarts all year – you’ll be eggcited (sorry couldn’t resist) to know that you can now find the ‘legendary’ HK egg pastries ($1.90) in Holland Village at their first dine-in concept, Tai Cheong Bakery. Just look for that long queue and you’ll find yourself at the front of the bakery. Order up a cup of Hong Kong Milk Tea, Three Coloured Silky Eggs with Rice ($9.90) and the HV exclusive Durian & Cheese Tart ($3.60) – little buttery crusty tarts filled with the rather quirky mix of premium D24 durian pulp and cream cheese. If you’re here to stuff your face with Egg Tarts, be warned, they’ve put a limit on the number of egg tarts you can chow down on in one sitting (two in fact).
Tai Cheong Bakery, 31 Lorong Liput, Singapore 277742, www.facebook.com/pages/Tai-Cheong-Bakery
Hot off the Hob:
- Wah Kee Prawn Noodles goes from Hawker Stall to Esplanade Mall – get the same prawn noodles for only a fraction extra (roughly $1 more) but in a restaurant setting – just expect the same long queues.
- COMO Cuisine opens in January 2017 while Dec 2016 sees Osaka’s oldest premium tempura restaurant, Ippoh, opening its new casual dining concept, Ippoh Tempura Bar by Ginza Ippoh at COMO Dempsey.
- Ottoman Room opens behind Fat Prince offering unusual modern MiddleEastern style banqueting with mezze freeflow trolleys (think Hummus, Oysters, Saffron Mussels, Salmon Kibbeh) alongside orders of wood fired grilled apple stuffed lamb shoulder and seared market fish for a minimum set price.
- Kilo Lounge has finally reopened! They closed temporarily at Kallang and after a few pop parties they’ve found a new place to call home on Tanjong Pagar Road offering they same cool beats and DJ parties.
- Bloodthirsty diners can get up close and personal with live eels at Man Man Unagi on 1 Keong Saik Road. Japanese imported eels are killed, skewered and grilled on the spot for donburi (from $18.60) to Hitsumabushi ($26.80).