From celebrity chefs to a Hong Kong import, 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.
Spago – MBS Californian cuisine
Chef Wolfgang Puck (of CUT fame) is back. This time he brings his ultra-famous Hollywood brand Spago to Marina Bay Sands, giving us a taste of Californian cuisine in fine dining digs decked out with a terrace lounge and al fresco bar overlooking the MBS infinity pool and super skyline. What exactly is Californian cuisine, you may ask? Check back shortly to find out!
Spago, Level 57, Marina Bay Sands Hotel Tower 2, Tel: (+65) 6688 9955, www.marinabaysands.com/spago
The Butchers Club Burger – Delicious Dry Aged Beef Burgers
The Butchers Club Burger from Hong Kong has hit Singapore’s shores (Clarke Quay to be precise), and there’s a tidal wave of excitement as their burgers are bitten into. These guys take meat pretty seriously: beef is sourced from one farm in Australia and then dry-aged in a temperature and humidity-controlled contraption in-house. The menu is pretty tight; keep it ‘simple’ with The Burger ($20) – bacon, cheese, tomato, pickle and omg-that-special sauce! If you have a taste for the exotic then we highly recommend Wu Tang Style ($25): salty-sour-soft kimchi contrasting with the sweetness and crunch of slabs of sweet potato tempura, some spice from the sriracha, and then you get to the burger patty, smoky flavoured with a medium rare centre. Really, this is da bomb! Veggies and pesca-what’s-its are catered for, too with a Chickpea Patty Haloumi Burger ($23) and the Barramundi Fillet Burger ($24). No shoestring fries but instead, they do fat duck-fat chips ($8). Stay tuned for soon-to-come private dining and butcher’s shop.
The Butchers Club Burger, 3A River Valley Road #01-01B, Tel: (+65) 6837 0675, www.thebutchers.club/burger-singapore
Gibson – Cocktail Bar
In a shophouse on Bukit Pasoh Road, upstairs from Humpback, is new cocktail bar Gibson. Founders of Sugarhall and Jigger & Pony own both aforementioned joints (alongside the secret-not-so-secret whisky bar Flagship next door) – so between them, they know a fair bit about shaking up a good tipple. Their cocktail list is broken down into categories: Finding Comfort — for flavours you’ll know and love like the Gibson ($24) of Hendrick’s Gin, Monkey 47 Gin, Dolin Vermouth De Chambery served with a pickled onion and smoked quail’s egg; Forging Friendship (unusual ingredients to get you talking like the Crimson Bullet ($24) of Don Julio Blanco Tequila, Mezcal, Kümmel, beetroot and lime); and Sharing Happiness (show-off celebratory cocktails like Lazy Morning Fizz ($23) which stars Black Cow Vodka, milk, fizzy chinotto and lemon!). Bar bites here don’t go down the greasy alcohol-mopping route, but instead think clean, fresh, simple raw seafood like double tier Seafood Plateaus and Tuna Tartare, to unusual combos like Sea Urchin Crudo with Burrata.
Gibson, 2nd Floor, 20 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore, Tel; (+65) 9114 8385, www.gibsonbar.sg
Aura –Italian & Rooftop Bar at National Gallery
For now the only light on in the National Gallery comes, fittingly, from aptly named Aura, the latest venture from Beppe De Vito (who also owns &Sons and Osteria Art). The rest of the National Gallery is set to open end November, along with other restaurants and bars, but for now swanky Aura holds the torch. Food is sophisticated Italian — tender Grilled Octopus with Crispy Egg and Corn mash ($25), homemade pastas (Tonnarelli with Sea Urchins at $48 being a frontrunner), Wholewheat Stracci with Duck & Foie Gras ($32) and mains of Beef Sirloin Tagliata with Bone Marrow Salad ($45) or the Iberico Pork Chop Milanese ($38). We like that there are set menus, too: 3 courses ($32) for lunch or 4 courses for dinner ($68).
For showstopper views, head to Aura’s rooftop Sky Lounge and Bar, an indoor lounge and cocktail bar decked out with modern art sculptures, which gives way to an alfresco bar area. The view here is a conversation stopper – sweeping panoramas of Singapore’s stunning skyline from the flyer across to MBS and the financial centre with the lush green carpet of the Padang at your feet. Reserve this spot for work drinks and events and you’ll get a couple of approving slaps on the back for sure.
Aura & Aura Sky Lounge, 05-03 & 06-02 National Gallery, 1 St Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957, Tel: (+65) 6866 1977, www.aura.sg
Roots Kitchen & Bar – Cheap and Cheerful
Little India, home to curry houses and backpacker hostels alike. It’s also home to Roots Kitchen & Bar, a casual bistro with exposed brick walls, free Wi-Fi and upbeat music. In keeping with the neighbourhood, prices on their European menu are reasonably low. We were impressed with the starter of two thickly cut slices of Vodka Cured Salmon with Pickled Cucumber ($12). The mains are super value and their quality not indicative of the more casual atmosphere: delicate Seared Seabass atop an interesting and well conceived combo of prawn, calamari, celery and asparagus ($22), or the London Broil ($20) of flank steak with potato puree and roots. Desserts are on the sweet side but there’s an interesting selection, from Banana-Baileys Bread pudding ($10) to Citron & Passion ($12) of marshmallow cookie ice cream sandwiches drizzled with lemon curd and passion fruit.
Roots Kitchen & Bar, 30 Dickson Road, Singapore, Tel: (+65) 6291 5679, www.rootskitchen.bar
The Disgruntled Chef – Ann Siang Hill
The Disgruntled Chef (sister to the original Dempsey branch) has opened its doors within boutique hotel The Club on Ann Siang Hill. It’s a looker for sure with its low lit grey colour scheme, black marble bar, floor-to-ceiling wine library and dark wooden tables and booths. Service is smart. It’s all set up for that impressive business dinner or formal date. And yet the food, while beautifully presented, didn’t always quite hit the high notes. On the menu are favourites from the Dempsey branch and some new (and often quirky) dishes to boot: an unusual combination of Grilled Eel & Foie Gras Roulade with Rhubarb Compote ($26), Roasted Miso Cod ($38), White Asparagus Confit with Crispy Prosciutto, Egg Yolk & White Truffle Oil $21 (this dish – especially compared to some of the other dishes we tried – was a winner with a good pairing of ingredients and interesting variety of textures), Burnt Leek with Bone Marrow ($21), and to finish, bewildering yet artful offerings like Roquefort Ice Cream Popsicles covered in Chocolate ($14).
The Disgruntled Chef, 28 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069708, Tel: (+65) 6808 2184, www.disgruntledchef.com
Zaku – Happy Hour & Yakitori
The Capitol Galleria mall has opened its doors and with it, a few new restaurants and bars, amongst them Zaku. Although this bar is decked out in wooden tones and there’s a few booth-style seats, there’s still no escaping the fact that you are very much drinking in a brightly lit mall. The draw here is their eye-grabbing happy hour deal from 3pm – 8pm with draft beers (Kirin, Archipelago Belgian Wit/Summer Ale) at $5, House Pour Spirits at $7 and Umeshu at $6. Bar bites are largely grilled (yakitori: Kurobuta pork belly $4 to Seared Saba $15) or fried (overly sweet Crispy Baby Squid $8 and Tempura Fish & Chips $12).
Zaku, 15 Stamford Road Capitol Galleria #01-84 Singapore 178906. Tel: (+65) 6384 7955, www.zaku.sg