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.
Did we just go and have one of the best meals of 2016 with killer views? Did we just uncover the best new Vietnamese in town? Did we just try chocolate infused beer? Oh yes!
Braci – Fine Dining Charcoal Italian with a Killer Views
Braci is not just another Italian restaurant. Not by a long shot. Helmed by restaurateur-chef Beppe De Vito, Braci is tucked away on the top 2 floors of a shophouse on the riverside of Boat Quay. Views here are amazing. There are only 16 coveted seats at this intimate dinner-only restaurant that evokes dining in your best mate’s kitchen (one who just happens to be super-chef with serious equipment and a show kitchen). The chefs are literally 2 feet away, cooking quietly on full show so you can watch them plate the dishes and work the Josper grill. Braci translates to ‘ember’ — much on the Italian-inspired menu is cooked by charcoal.
Go for the 5-course Chef Surprise menu at $100 and you’ll be well taken care of. Food here is superb –from the Foie Gras Semifreddo (a la carte $26) – a slice of foiegras dusted in chocolate with kumquats and a desserty fig vincotto served on a Japanese jewellery box, to the grilled Romanesco (a la carte $24) with a cloud of burrata elevated by pink pickled pesto and bottarga.
Pork Cheek (a la carte $68) – the whole pig’s head is slow-cooked for four hours before a second smoke of the cheek and jowl, rendering the pork meltingly tender. Each dish is an explosion of flavour, of sweet smokiness, of beautiful ingredients, of chef skill. Dessert sees no Tiramisu (you can have that as a cocktail upstairs) so instead you need to order the Pumpkin Pie ($18) this dish will excite even the most jaded dessert lover. There’s no pie base, instead the soft warm pumpkin holds a medley of crackly pumpkin seeds topped with cold frozen yogurt-icecream and a creamy liquorice zabaione – a wonderful play on hot, cold, soft, crunchy, sweet and yogurty-tart. Don’t miss cocktails on the rooftop bar with sweeping views of the river and Singapore’s sparking skyline. Braci is one to watch – you heard it here first!
Braci, 52 Boat Quay, Level 5/6, Singapore 049841, (Above Imakatsu Japanese Restaurant), Tel: (+65) 6866 1933, www.braci.sg
Fat Prince – New Middle Eastern Hipster Brunch & Dinner
The people who brought us Neon Pigeon have opened the glamorous Fat Prince, our new favourite place for brunch. Fat Prince have one of the most interesting brunch menus we’ve seen in a while — an exotic medley of Middle Eastern dishes from the Turkish Pide filled with beef cheek, root vegetables and a runny egg ($24) to an eclectic skillet of salty warm Turkish Cheeses ($17), paired with sweet melon, strawberries and rustic bread. Hands down faves for kids would be the Turkish Fried Dough ($11) – slices of fried donut-like bread with little dishes of chocolate spread, maple halva and cherry jam.
Clotted Cream & Honey ($11) is a winner too: featuring crusty bread with honeycomb, quince puree and a delicious creamy clotted cream, the sourness of which beautifully offsets the sweet honey and jam. The feast continues with Falafel Scotch Eggs ($20) and the wonderful Cyprus Pork Menemen ($22) of scrambled eggs, sausages and smashed crispy potatoes. Dinner sees posh kebabs styled like tacos ($24 for 3) so you can try a variety of different flavours without feeling like the restaurant’s namesake. We can’t wait to check out their sumptuous looking back room restaurant, The Ottoman Room, when it opens next month for kid-free candlelit feasts and mezze carts!
Fat Prince, 48 Peck Seah Street, Singapore 079317, Tel: (+65) 6221 3683, www.fatprincesg.com
Pyxiemoss – Fun Inventive Small Plates
Pyxiemoss is where Chef Tim Ross Watson concocts his kitchen magic. It’s all steely greys and metal, some punk and hard rock might be playing, and there’s a working Harley at the door. The food is modern European small plates, often quirky renditions like inventive “Seaviche” ($8) of sea coconut in lieu of raw seafood. A substitution which swings the idea of ceviche into the vegetarian courts and makes a brilliantly fun dish comprising translucent sea coconut chunks, scallions, red pepper and home made corn discs – one of our favourites on the menu. Another must-order is The Tribbiani ($15) – a pretty dome of whipped duck liver and duck heart offset with a heady date jam and focaccia chips.
With an interest in the ‘waste not want not’ philosophy, dishes star oft-overlooked ingredients, which are cleverly sourced as cast-offs from other restaurants – avocado stones from a Mexican taco joint, lamb heart and neck from a meat restaurant for the dish Mother’s Lamb ($18). In Not Just the Tip ($14) – HA! – everything from the root to tip is used: crispy-fried celery leaves, celery stem and the root being celeriac. This ingredient upcycling also helps keep the costs down and dishes are remarkably friendly on the wallet. Pyxiemoss has a playful, quirky charm from the spirit bottles precariously hanging from the bar, to the live terrapins swimming at the counter (yes really!), to the eclectic way they reserve tables on pages torn out of Enid Blyton’s books. This restaurant doesn’t take itself too seriously, but Chef Watson’s food is seriously good.
Saigon Alley – Possibly Best Vietnamese
We just found our new go-to place for Vietnamese! The unassuming casual Saigon Alley in Novena Gardens (with parking at the back) sits right beside sister bar Nickledime Draft House. The menu is impressively long for a small casual eatery. For starters, Corn Cake Fritters ($8) and Lot Leaf Beef Rolls ($10), the latter being a deliciously tender meaty roll wrapped in lot leaves then baked and served with a sweet chili dip.
Saigon Alley does a number of other beef dishes really well – high on our list is the Northern VietnameseBeef Salad ($12), a spicy fresh salad with slivers of marinated garlic for some kick with plenty of herbs and tender beef. There’s also Beef Pho ($14), or for something a little different try their Hue Style Spicy Beef Noodles ($14), loaded with lemongrass and chili oil alongside noodles and beef. Saigon Alley Banh Mi ($9) is a crackling baguette packed with salami, pork roll, sliced pork belly, and pickled carrots and coriander. Lunch sets include a Vietnamese Roll plus a Banh Mi or Big Bowl (pho/Noodle soup) for $12. Kid Friendly Tip: They do high chairs and there’s a pet shop next door. NB: Closed Sundays.
Saigon Alley, 273 Thomson Rd, 01-06 Novena Gardens, Tel: (+65) 6256 0261, www.facebook.com/saigonalleysg
Mercado Spanish Food Market – CBD Spanish Healthy Bowls
Chef-Owner Jean-Philippe Patruno (of Dehesa) has swung open the doors to Mercado Spanish Food Market on Market Street, bang in the centre of the CBD. Healthy Spanish bowls are on the menu alongside a massive skillet of JP’s signature paella loaded with mini meatballs, sausage, chicken and peas. Following the current foodie trend, choose your DIY bowl ($16.50) by picking from a grain (quinoa to blanched broccoli “rice”), then one protein, one hot veg, two cold veg plus toppings of seeds or nuts. What we like about this joint is the spread of proteins – from a rare roast beef to pulled pork and salmon, although the vegetable sides give meat a good run for its money: we loved the tender yet crunchy grilled carrots, caraway and fennel laced creamy cauliflower, lentils, beetroot salad, pickled cucumbers, pink coleslaw and a mix of Spanish peppers. Hola Bowls ($14.50) are set bowls for those who balk at making too many decisions on their lunch break. If you’re feeling like you need a kick up the backside, grab a shot of their Turmeric Immunity Booster, or they stock tasty fresh juices from Daily Juice. For something a little more pow-wow sneak in a cheeky chilled Sangria $8 per glass or $36 per jug.
Mercado Spanish Food Market, 50 Market Street, #01-23, Singapore 048940, www.facebook.com/mercado.singapore
DW Workshop – Black & White restaurant-retail-workshop
When you stumble upon DW Workshop it’s like walking into someone’s designer home – a black and white building behind Rochester Mall complete with kitchen, dining room and living room with sofas and ‘fireplace’. That’s until you spot the Poursteady coffee machine (robotics-controlled coffee brewing apparatus) at the cute alfresco coffee stand, and the huge communal dining space upstairs that doubles up as workshop area. DW Workshop does a bit of everything: curated retail, connoisseur’s coffee ($9), and in-house workshops for DIY concrete lamps to food: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Weekday lunches see healthy bowls on offer ($19), while on weekends there’s all day brunch: Potato Rosti ($21) with poached eggs, asparagus and vine tomato in béarnaise sauce or Crab Salad Croissant ($24). Their space is perfect for families big and small (we like the alfresco seating upstairs with whirring fans). The dinner menu is designed for sharing and each dish feeds two or more – like Signature Braised Beef Cheek ($42) of beef slow cooked in aged balsamic and topped with dark chocolate shavings, or Whole Grilled Chicken ($38), Duck Confit on Lentils ($42) and Pork Belly on Apple Risotto ($36).
DW Workshop, 41 Rochester Drive, Singapore 138582, Tel: (+65) 6659 0879, www.dwworkshop.com
Katto – Cheap Poke Bowls
Katto, meaning “cut” in Japanese, serves up affordable Poke at Fusionopolis. Katto serves the cheapest serving of Poke we have seen at $7.90, comprising a 250gram serving of base (brown or white Japanese rice cooked in a dashi for extra umami flavour or Asian coleslaw style salad), plus one fish (salmon or tuna in various sauces) and one side. The most popular fish is salmon classic shoyu or creamy goma tuna, but for the spicy garlicky addicts there’s chicken rice salmon (that’s salmon licked with the chili sauce normally accompanying chicken rice). Double up on fish for $12.90 and try some of the tasty sides: our hands down favourite is the miso butter baby corn, but there’s also shitake mushrooms, tomatoes, edamame, pickles and seaweed. For drinks there’s a few ales, cold brew coffee or coconut water.
Katto, 1 Fusionopolis Place, #01-21 Galaxis, Singapore 138522, www.facebook.com/kattosingapore
SPRMRKT Kitchen & Bar – Asian-Influenced European by the River
You may know SPRMRKT from their McCallum Street branch. They have now taken their brand to Robertson Quay with the 2nd and 3rd outlets. SPRMRKT Daily is their new riverside café-cum-supermarket. Upstairs the more upscale restaurant SPRMRKT Kitchen & Bar is decked out with still life art and offers ‘global influenced’ cooking.
Dishes range from European – Spanish Octopus with Asian Twisted Romesco ($65) – to local fusion. Most of the dishes are suited to sharing and mains are on the large side. Hits on the menu include the starter of Smoked Fish Pate ($15), a dip of smoked haddock and creole spices served with grilled bread; the pasta dish of fettuccine with squid ink, tiger prawn, bacon and egg ($24), and Mussels ($23) — a wonderfully generous portion of Australian Blue Lip mussels in a light yet creamy sauce of stock, cream and bacon with Asian rice sticks. For sides get the Brussels Sprouts ($8) charred to smithereens and served with an addictive sambal mayo. While Salted Egg Ribs ($28) were a little on the dry side, dessert is a real highlight. Take the Broken Apple Pie ($15) – a delightful deconstructed dish of warm caramelised apple and bourbon compote with shards of pâte brisée (pie crust) juxtaposed against cold creamy vanilla ice cream.
SPRMRKT Kitchen & Bar, The Singapore Tyler Print Institute, 41 Robertson Quay, S238236, Tel: (+65): 9736 4032, www.sprmrkt.com.sg
Alchemist Beer Lab – Chocolate & Fruit-Infused Beer + Posh Bar Bites
Alchemist Beer Lab is a new snappy looking black-marble countered beer bar at South Beach by the guys behind microbrewery-pub Little Island Brewing Co. On tap: eight towers of Little Island Brewing Co signature beer ($12-15), like Singapore Pale Ale and That Old Black Magic (Gold Medal Winner at the 2016 Asia Beer Awards). The other eight towers feature whizz-pop-bang! mixology flavours that will change weekly and will infuse beers with everything from botanicals to nuts, spices, coffee and even chocolate! Go now for dry Irish stout infused with marshmallow; ale infused with vanilla pods and mint leaves; or grilled pineapple and anise – all exclusive to The Alchemist Beer Lab. Soak up some of the alcohol with modern-European tapas and upscale bar bites from Charcuterie and Cheese Platters ($18-28), to perfectly tender Slow Cooked Pork Cheeks with sweet red cabbage and crispy pigs’ ears ($16); Duck Fat Chips ($12) or the refreshing Ceviche of Goldband Snapper ($16).
Alchemist Beer Lab, #B1-16 South Beach Avenue, 26 Beach Rd. Singapore, 189768, Tel: (+65) 6543 9100, www.facebook.com/AlchemistBeerLab
Butterknife Folk – Pretty French Cakes and Tarts
Butterknife Folk in River Valley is a take-away pastry and cake shop serving pretty French slices, tarts, gelato and desserts. The small shop makes everything themselves on site next to their little studio for children’s cupcake decorating workshops and other demonstrations. From the counter, pretty desserts like the must-try Bohemian Rhapsberry of chocolate raspberry cremeux, chocolate sponge, raspberry coulis ($8) and the incredibly moreish Rhubarb Blueberry Tart ($5) consisting of crumbly short crust base, sweet-tart stewed rhubarb, blueberry jam and finished with a streusel style topping. From Earl Grey cake slices ($5) to almond croissants and different flavoured muffins, plus a selection of home made Gelato ($5 which includes cones and toppings). We can’t think of a better way to cool down on a sunny weekend than grabbing a few scoops of their creamy nutty pale green pistachio and taking a stroll/scoot along the Robertson Quay river.
Butterknife Folk, 238 River Valley Road, Singapore 238296, Tel: (+65) 6734 7855, www.butterknifefolk.com
Hot off the HOB:
- If you’re not British we’ll forgive you for not knowing this already – but Marks & Spencer’s Café just hit our little red dot (Wheelock Place)! Head there for all your favourite M&S chilled goodies: ‘real’ houmous, Victoria sponge, baked potatoes, fish & chips.
- And our favourite Mexican joint Super Loco has opened has opened at Customs House to feed office rats their dose of Elotes and Tacos – plus exciting new dishes like Barbecued Whole Sea bass with Salsa. Full review coming soon!
- Bjorn Shen (chef-owner of Artichoke and Bird Bird) has stepped in to jazz up Loof’s menu – so head there for rooftop Asian-inspired cocktails like the Kaya Lumpur alongside Bjorn’s Asian Dude food: Bak Chor Mee Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
- Kilo PACT Orchard has closed down – if you’re craving some Kilo cuisine then head down to their original spot in Kallang Kilo or checkout their newest concept Camp Kilo Charcoal Club
- Sunset Lane sees 3 new restaurants bringing this neighborhood’s casual eating offerings to a total of 8. The newbies are: seafood Chinese restaurant The Catch Seafood Restaurant & Bar, the Hoho Korean Restaurant and Angels N’ Cowboys for Babyback Rib and Buffalo Wings.