Photo: Bao Boy Singapore
Options are aplenty when it comes to dining out in Singapore, and the constant slew of new openings and menus will, no doubt, have you scratching your head. Whether you’re hankering for Japanese, Chinese or Middle Eastern fare, we’ve narrowed down the best spots and dishes to indulge in this September.
1. Bao Boy
It takes moxie to make plain, simple baos the star of your restaurant, but here, these fluffy dough pillows are layered with deftly executed Asian-fusion fare by Andrew Walsh (the man behind Cure and Butcher Boy) to great results. A juicy chunk of fried chicken gets some big, punchy flavours from the cheddar and yuzu kosho in the Fried Chicken & Cheese Bao ($14), as with the Beef Satay Bao ($14), courtesy of the tangy crunch from the pickled carrots and mangoes. Walsh serves only one dessert, for good reason. The cold, creamy peanut butter parfait and strawberry jelly juxtaposed against a fried, warm bun ($8) is an absolute winner.
The neon-lit joint is still predominantly a convivial one so expect a banging beverage menu. Organic wines aside, the original concoctions, such as the coconut gin sour, Coco De Creme ($15) and Pandan Martini ($15) are must-haves.
At 31 Hong Kong Street, Singapore 059670, tel: 6226 1395. Visit www.baoboy.sg
2. El Mero Mero
If you’re craving authentic Mexican food, save the airfare and head to El Mero Mero. The gastronomic institution for the vibrant cuisine may be five years old but continues to impress with a brand new menu reflecting the country’s current culinary trends. Seafood fiends will make easy work of the Atlantic Grilled Octopus ($32) that’s been lovingly charred by the aid of a Josper Grill and paired with a black garlic puree, while taco purists can find a new love in the Gordita ($28), where a Mexican corn shell bursts open to reveal layers of refried beans and heirloom vegetables.
Guests can satisfy their tequila or mezcal cravings from the well-stocked bar, but there’s more fun in digging into the Tequila Pecan Pie ($14) infused with 1800 Anejo Tequila. The finishing touch? A quick grill in the Josper for subtle hint of smoke.
At #01-20, CHIJMES, 30 Victoria Street, Singapore 187996, tel: 9722 8171. Visit elmeromero.sg
Practically everything on the menu here is worth whipping out your camera for and — lucky for us — the modern Japanese plates at KOMA taste as good as they look. Sitting up to 230, the gorgeous interiors is the ideal backdrop for dishes such as the D.I.Y. Spicy Tuna, where a piquant mix of tuna tartare is to be assembled atop crispy rice discs served in a mannequin hand. and the Lemon Yuzu. The latter is a dessert of lemon mousse and yuzu jam stuffed into a chocolate shell resembling a lemon you had just plucked off a tree. Another standout is the Salmon Pillow.
The delicate starter features smoked avocado in a crisp puff pastry and topped with a chunk of salmon sashimi. The cocktails are no less impressive, dazzling imbibers with cachaça-based Dust of Stars ($22).
At #B1-67, Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue, tel: 6688 8690. Visit www.marinabaysands.com/restaurants/koma-singapore.html
4. Bar Cicheti
Angel hair pasta isn’t my usual order, but I’d make an exception for @barcicheti’s Capellini Con Acciughe E Fiori Di Zucca ($35). The combination of anchoives and capers is a dream with many natural wines that @ronaldkamiyama brings in. He has just launched a series of flights for those wanting to check out natural or biodynamic wines and what better time to do so than with their brand new summer menu (of which the pasta is part of).
Do you know your farfalle from gnocchetti? Chef Lim Yew Aun does. This Singaporean chef, despite not having been to Italy, has garnered a legion of fans for his handmade pastas in every shape and size and wants to personally introduce you to them.
The summer menu takes its cues from — needless to say — Italian summers. Farfalle (bowtie-shaped) Caponata ($28) is Lim’s take on a sweet and sour Sicilian vegetable dish with raspberries and ricotta cheese, while the season’s black mussels are tossed into indulgent saffron butter and lemon mix in the Bavettine (ribbon noodle) Con Le Cozze E Zafferano ($34).
And if you’re hankering for a beachside barbecue, the Gamberoni Alla Grigilla (grilled tiger prawns) ($20) is sure to satisfy. Best of all? Sommelier-partner of The Cicheti Group Ronald Kamiyama constantly brings in new stock of natural, organic and biodynamic wines for pairings. The uninitiated will take to his newly launched Flight of Cicheti (of which there are five) ($28 for three glasses, limited time only) where Kamiyama delves into lesser known terroirs, varietals and styles.
At 10 Jiak Chuan Road, Singapore 089264, tel: 6789 9801. Visit www.barcicheti.com
With V-ZUG Global Ambassador Ryan Clift (also Tippling Club) and head chef Lee Jing Peng at the helm, V-Dining’s new all-day offering is set to impress. The prix fixe menu, available for lunch and dinner (starting from $48 for two-courses to $100 for five-courses), features creative but refined dishes. Clift’s expertise shines in the Chicken, where flavours of east and west converge on a swoon-worthy plate of fragrant coconut curry, pumpkin chunks and puffed wild rice.
Lee takes charge of the desserts, dishing out art on a plate through the Apple. Each bite is a delicate balance of the apple’s natural sweet flavour and the lingering aroma of cinnamon and chamomile.
At #03-13, Scotts Square, 6 Scotts Road, Singapore 229209, tel: 6950 4868. Visit www.v-dining.com
6. Tong Xin Ru Yi Traditional Hotpot
At Tong Xin Ru Yi Traditional Hotpot, they take their soup bases seriously. While the Stewed Marinated Beef with Spicy Soup ($48) is a perennial favourite, they’re slowly garnering a new legion of fans with unique offerings of Catfish with Spicy Soup ($48) and Golden Frog Soup ($68).
The latter features plump frogs swimming in a “golden” chicken and pumpkin base that’s brimming with more pumpkin, pineapples and yam among others. Thinly sliced premium meat aside, it is ingredients like the Black-bone Chicken Slice ($20), gracilaria ($6) and Vince Tofu ($8), where jelly-like tofu is meticulously sliced into an eye-catching chrysanthemum shape, that have our attention.
At 6 Lorong Telok, Singapore 049019, tel: 6536 8058. Visit www.facebook.com/hotpotruyi
7. Min Jiang at Goodwood Park Hotel
If the name “A Hearty Vegetable Harvest” hadn’t already tipped you off, Min Jiang at Goodwood Park Hotel’s new menu (till Sept 13, 2019) is a vibrant display of this season’s best vegetables. Don’t expect a plate of greens, however. Master chef Chan Hwan Kee is whetting appetites with dishes, such as the Deep-fried Sliced Lotus Root and Prawns with D24 Durian Mayo Sauce ($36) and, for the meat lovers, Stir-fried Ibérico Pork with Orange and Purple Cauliflower ($36 for small; $68 for large). It’s also the chance to sample the subtle lemony crunch of ice plant with pan-seared wagyu ($78 for small; $138 for large).
The restaurant’s famed Cantonese-style double boiled soups also gets a new addition of Double-boiled Lotus Root Soup with Adzuki Bean and Pork Shoulder Meat ($10).
At Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221, tel: 6737 7411. Visit www.goodwoodparkhotel.com
8. Publico Ristorante
This waterfront dining destination will sort you out — from lunch to after work drinks to right through to the weekend with their new offerings. And you’ll want to bring a group. Executive chef Bettina Arguelles works the woodfire oven hard for the Al Metro ($90), a metre-long pizza with three flavours of your choice. The Griscia ($25, a la carte) with its indulgent combination of mozzarella, pecorino and pork guanciale is a must, especially with its smoky skura crust. Expect to see a whole lot more seafood as well, from a Hokkaido Scallop & Asparagus Fusilli ($35) to a salmon carpaccio that gets an extra oomph of umami from lashes of squid ink ($24). On the weekends, come thirsty.
The Isola Weekends promo include free-flow Zardetto Prosecco, Chateau Beatrice Rosé and Billecart-Salmon Brut Réserve Champagne to name a few (from $75 to $110/person; 1pm-4pm or 4pm-7pm on Saturdays and Sundays) to compliment its colourful Superfood Bowl ($24) or, for chilli heads (and vegans), the Organic Quinoa Arrabiata ($16).
At 1 Nanson Rd, Singapore 238909, tel: 6826 5040. Visit www.publico.sg
9. The Dragon Chamber
Seafood is the name of the game for The Dragon Chamber’s latest menu additions. Welcomed by a chorus of “oohs and ahhs” is the Lobster Pomelo Salad ($60), where freshly steamed lobster chunks are layered atop a pomelo salad and kept cool by an ethereal cloud of dry ice fog. The ever-popular Wagyu Beef Hor Fun also gets a lavish upgrade with lobster and scallops in the Dragon Seafood Hor Fun ($68).
The garlicky seafood sauce here is a surprisingly darling match with the punchy creations over at the bar, particularly the tropical Dragon Punch ($24).
At 2 Circular Road, Singapore 049358, tel: 6805 8181. Visit thedragonchamber.com
10. Fat Belly
Serene Centre is earning itself a reputation as a foodie turf for Western Singapore and one of its prized players is Fat Belly, which recently upgraded its 10-seater space into a whooping 52-seater mecca for off-cut steaks. Familiarise yourself with terms such as tri-tip, flat iron, deckle and onglet — particularly the fatty and tender Stockyard Wagyu Onglet — that’s been slowly charred over a charcoal grill. The menu has also helpfully listed wine pairing recommendations; the rare Mayura Signature Wagyu Tri-tip makes for a classic pairing with the stewed red fruits and vanilla in a glass of M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage Les Meysonniers 2017 ($22/glass; $110/bottle).
And if you find yourself at the crossroads between the different cuts, make good use of its Let’s Meat on Mondays and Tuesdays opening discounts. Two steak orders get a 20 per cent discount, three with 30 per cent and four with 40 per cent.
At #01-04, Serene Centre, 10 Jalan Serene, Singapore 258748, tel: 6314 2247. Visit www.fatbellysg.com
11. The Garden Club
Redefining what it means to eat clean, The Garden Club (previously known as HRVST) doles out a rainbow of healthy yet hearty snacks, mains and desserts. Highlights include its innovative use of plant-based meat Beyond Burger in Garden Ragu Fettuccine ($15) and interesting vegetarian plates, such as the Eggplant Pesto Grill ($12) that features a creamy, herby eggplant garnished with fried capers and confit cherry tomatoes.
It also makes for an ideal spot for after-work drinks with its bar snacks and cocktail offerings. The Wild Herb Karaage ($15) is a crowd pleaser.
At #05-01, OUE Downtown Gallery, 6A Shenton Way, Singapore 068815.
12. The Black Swan
You know head chef Alysia Chan has The Black Swan’s meat-free options down pat when you find yourself yearning for the Charred Sugarloaf Cabbage ($24) as a main. Sometimes known as the pointed cabbage, it has got a much sweeter flavour than the usual varieties, of which Chan complements with smoked scamorza polenta and crispy quinoa.
Chances are you’ll want to order this alongside the restaurant’s steakhouse selection — the dry-aged Vintage Beef Ribeye MBS 3+ ($60/300g) is a must — but grab the Roasted Hokkaido Pork Loin ($60/250g) instead. It’s generously layered on cauliflower puree accentuated with vanilla, and, when savoured together, draws out the inherent sweetness of the brined pork. Tip: Pair the latter with bar supervisor Joanna Lee’s new concoction, the Gin & Yuzu Martini ($21).
At 19 Cecil Street, Singapore 049704, tel: 6438 3757. Visit www.theblackswan.com.sg
13. Fat Prince
This modern Middle Eastern restaurant slings a first-class Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder ($32/100g), courtesy of its custom made earth oven. This ancient manner of cooking allows the lamb shoulder to slow-roast overnight, giving the marinade of of spiced molasses, sumac and chilli time to gradually infuse into the tender flesh.
The kitchen will recommend piling your dining table with Charred Shishito Peppers ($16) and Mushroom Flatbread ($15) with tulum cheese to complement, but it’d be a waste to not give head bartender Shallum Recto’s new “koktails” a try. The transparent Negroni Blanc ($22) with green grape flower-based G’vine Gin and dill-infused Salers bitters is the final touch rounding off the lamb’s strong flavour.
At #01-01, 48 Peck Seah Street, Singapore 079317, tel: 6221 7794. Visit www.fatprincesg.com