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 yummy bite-sized pieces just for you.
As the Mexican food trend reaches fever point, two new casual taquerias muscle in on the movement. Lower East Side Taqueria answers the East Coast’s hankering for tacos. With doors swung open to the road and Latin American beats in the background, this small diner manages to feel authentic, relaxed and hip all at once. On the menu; elotes and burritos aplenty but it’s their modern Mexican tacos that have got us all fired up. Don’t miss their ridiculously delicious pork belly tacos with sweet corn salsa ($11/$28 for 3). Spice wise, 1 is do-able (and I like it hot!), 2 brings on cartoon style red faces and 3, well let’s just say if you manage three tacos at level 3 in 30 minutes, it’s on the house! If the heats gets to you, holler for a homemade horchata ($5) – a milky lip-smacking drink of grains, nuts, and cinnamon.
Lower East Side Taqueria, 19 East Coast Road, Singapore 428746. Tel: (+65) 6348 1302.
Unless you’re suited and booted in the city, Boat Quay may never have reason to lure you to its shady shores. For those that work nearby though, Hombre Cantina serves up $15 customisable burritos, tacos, rice or salad bowls. It’s got a casual vibe (plastic cutlery and paper plates) and is more Tex-Mex than authentic-mex but we dug the Pacific beer battered dory fillet on soft corn tacos ($15 for 3). If you need a filling lunch make a beeline for the massive burritos crammed with everything from black beans to rice and guacamole. Happy hour is 11:30am ’til 8pm when their special Mezcal margaritas go for $11.
Hombre Cantina, 53 Boat Quay, Singapore 049842. Tel: (+65) 6438 6708.
Behind trendy Spottiswoode is the very local HDB block of Everton Park where a flurry of foodie outfits (from delis to cupcakeries) are opening shop following veteran hipster coffee joint Nylon Coffee Roasters. Barely 3 weeks old is The Provision Shop, an old school styled café-deli where you can pick up salads like smoked salmon, asparagus and apple ($12) or sarnies like the corned beef Reuben ($14) or BLAT ($16) bacon, lettuce, avo and tomato. If you’re in the mood for something unique – take a seat and order up their deliciously sinful Perogis ($5 each), homemade Polish dumplings filled with mashed potatoes, served with sweet bacon and dollops of sour cream – carbo heaven!
The Provision Shop, Blk 3 Everton Park, #01-79, Singapore 080003. Tel: (+65) 6225 9931.
Next, make like a local and swing by Ji Xiang, it’s not new, it’s practically ancient in fact but you’ll want a peek at the dying art of making ang ku kueh – multi-coloured chewy mochi shaped like tortoises and filled with peanut, red bean or even durian. Pick up some of the red ninja cakes for your favourite Chinese auntie and she’ll love you forever (red = symbol of joy and happiness, tortoise = longevity and power).
Ji Xiang, Blk 1 Everton Park, #01-33, Singapore 081001.
Last stop: newcomer Audacious Cakery. Their cupcakes ($3.50/$20 for 6) are topped with egg white laden Italian meringue frosting so they’re wonderfully light (negative calories in fact *wink*). Flavours include local black sesame, alcoholic Irish Cream or the traditional strawberry (firm favourite). They do tarts and mousse cakes too (their Monet was listed in I-S Magazine’s 50 must-try dishes). You’ll only have a 40-minute window to get the mousse cakes home though before they self-combust (code for you having eaten them before they melt – it’s a mama’s perogative right?).
Audacious Cakery, Blk 2 Everton Park, #01-61, Singapore 081002. Tel: (+65) 6223 3047.
Next time the man says “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!” take him to Wolf off trendy Club St. OK, so he won’t be able to eat an actual horse, but he can eat a whole pig for instance – from snout to curly tail. That should fill his belly. Wolf is the first place in Singapore to offer nose-to-tail dining, with dishes like grilled beef hearts ($25) or pigs ear salad ($20). Watch out for a soon-to-come degustation menu offering the entire animal, course-by-course.
Wolf, 18 Gemmill Lane, Singapore 069256. Tel: (+65) 6557 2224.
Get your glam on, grab your girlfriends and head to Kampong Glam’s Cicheti (“chi-keh-tee”). Just open for dinner, and only unofficially at that, this unassuming affordable spot serves, well, cicheti – the Venetian version of tapas, which are traditionally offered at bacari (wine bars) with a glass or three of wine ($12/a glass). Dine on delectable gamberi grassi ($11) — fat, sweet prawns swimming in garlicky smoked butter just screaming to be mopped up with hunks of bread, or bocconcini and fried mozzarella cheese ($11). And don’t forget the scrumptious wood-fired Napoletana pizza (from $17). In fact the desserts are pretty unmissable too – oozing warm salted chocolate cake ($12.5) or wonderfully refreshing herb berry jelly topped with grappa granita ($12.5). Their upstairs bar and al fresco seating is due to open soon – watch this space!
Cicheti, 52 Kandahar Street, Singapore 198901. Tel: (+65) 6292 5012.
How many Italian joints are there in Singers? Still counting? Now how many are Sardinian? Ah, clever huh? That’s the big draw here at three month old Sopra – the only stop to serve Sardinian delights. It’s tempting to explore the island’s delicacies, like the delicious biscotto di pecorino ($22) — fried crisp pecorino cheese pastries drizzled in honey, the (un-soupy) traditional bread soup ($26) or olive lamb stew ($35). Flavours are gutsy, rustic and hearty, though one or two dishes didn’t quite hit the spot. In all, we would go back alone just for the excellent pizza made by Sardinian master chef Luigi who has bagged a few TV pizza chef titles worldwide.
Sopra, 10 Claymore Road, #01-02 Pan Pacific Orchard, Singapore 229540. Tel: (+65) 6737 3253.
Beate (pronounced Bee+art+ah!) is a freelance food and travel writer and full time mama to her fun-loving two year old son. She has a passion for all things foodie and most commonly assumes the position of one ear firmly planted to the ground for the latest bars, cafes and restaurants. When not penning articles, Beate can be found experimenting in the kitchen with exotic local ingredients or roaming Asia for weird and wonderful flavours (with a preference for the latter). Originally from the UK, Beate has been in Singers for 3 1/2 years and is loving being back near the equator after spending her childhood in Uganda and Kenya.
Top image from Cicheti