Photo: Latteria Mozzarella Bar
For the adventurous and curious, these are the places putting a local touch on mains and munchies. In favour of celebrating homegrown flavours, here's where and what to eat this month.
1. Twenty Eight Cafe
Italian restaurant and bar 28Wilkie’s brand new sister restaurant is a brunch spot, rolling out acai smoothie bowls and smoked salmon, avocado and poached egg creations. But what really caught our eye were The Indian Churros ($4.90). Less dense and more flaky than the original Spanish fried-dough pastry, the crispy cinnamon sugar-dusted dessert is made with Roti Prata dough and twisted by hand to resemble a knot. It’s the perfect afternoon snack or sweet treat to end a meal on a high note.
While you’re at it, grab a cup of freshly brewed coffee. It’s made using roasted beans from Bali. Take a seat, have a sip and bathe in the sunlit space. The high-ceilings give the illusion of a freer space. Plus, did we mention that there’s wi-fi here?
Address: 28 Wilkie Road, #01-06; Tel: 96282829; Opening hours: 7.30am-5pm on weekdays, 8.30am-6pm on weekends
2. Ding Dong
Photo: Ding Dong
Ding Dong added some new dishes to the menu a couple of months back (don’t worry the signature crackling pork knuckle are still on it). Putting bold and creative spins on traditional cuisines, head chef Miller Mai has elevated the humble kuih pie tee with chilli crab. Minor modifications consist of the traditional turnip filling being substituted with sweet chunks of chilli crab and a touch of sambal being used instead of the usual chilli crab. Spice level: pretty mild.
A must-order is the moreish baby octopus in golden fragrant sauce and curry leaf. While another intriguing spin on a familiar snack is the stuffed you tiao with otah otah and kaffir lime mayonnaise. We appreciated the contrast - crusty on the charcoal fried dough outside but velvety fish cake on the inside, but sort of wish that the otah otah to you tiao ratio were higher. You’re going to want to savour each bite as it crumbles and melts in your mouth.
Address: 115 Amoy Street; Tel: 65570189; Opening hours: 12pm-3pm, 6pm-12am (Mondays to Saturdays)
3. The Guild
Photo: The Guild
Growing up in the States then living in Hong Kong, bak chor mee was one of the first few local dishes executive chef Vinny tried when he arrived in Singapore. Reinventing it with a nod to his Italian roots, he created the BCM Tagliatelle “Bolo” ($22). Served in a bowl is handmade pasta, pork ragu, liver, pickled shiitake, and a scoop of chilli that packs a punch.
Brownie points for supporting local farms - briny oysters are from a farm off Pulau Ubin and fried frog legs are from Jurong Frog Farm.
The meat-heavy dishes can be a bit on the salty side but all the better to pair with craft beer, cocktails and natural wine. The Guild features an impressive drinks menu with 19 craft beer taps. Our picks? Ease into the night with thirst quenchers like the refreshing Another One (starting from $8) or try the tart Cha Chaan Teng Gose (starting from $8). The latter is a sour and salty gose brewed with salted lime, reminiscent of what you get in Hong Kong cha chaan tengs.
Address: 55 Keong Saik Rd, #01-01; Tel: 62241262; Opening hours: 5pm-12am (Wednesdays to Sundays)
4. Latteria Mozzarella Bar
Photo: Latteria Mozzarella bar
The National Day brunch menu will be available from 12pm to 2.30pm on August 9 and 12, as well as a la carte for lunch and dinners from the 7th till the 12th. Diners get to pick three courses from the Italian-Singaporean fusion set menu, so we’ve highlighted our favourites to help you decide.
Among the starters is the chilli crab panzerotti. A curry puff lookalike, the deep fried panzerotti is stuffed with chilli crab for local flavour instead of the usual ham, vegetable and tomato sauce. If it gets a little dry, pile on more chilli crab gravy from the side dish.
For mains, we're torn between the tender "chicken satay" served with plancha risotto in place of ketupat, and the bucatini laksa with mixed seafood pizzante. The thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole that gives the hearty dish substantial yet light quality.
But what we really think you should try is the teh tarik panna cotta with gula melaka. Smooth and creamy, just the way we like it. $48 per person and $78 with free-flow Prosecco ("Terre Gaie”, Pinot Grigio or Merlot-Cabernet Montelvini.)
Address: 40 Duxton Hill; Tel: 68661988; Opening hours: 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm (Sundays to Fridays), 6pm-10.30pm (Saturdays)
5. Mitzo Restaurant and Bar
Photo: Mitzo Restaurant and Bar
Mitzo breaks its Cantonese cuisine routine this month to celebrate Singapore’s hawker fare. Think: “Hainanese” chicken rice and seafood “Hokkien” fried noodles.
Some get an upgrade. The abalone “bak kut teh” for one is an elevated take on a home favourite peppery soup. Plus the iconic chilli crab gets swapped out for chilli lobster and mantou, but retaining that hint of spice and sweetness. The set menu is priced at $78.
Address: Level 4 Grand Park, 270 Orchard Road; Tel: 66038866; Opening hours: 12pm-2.30pm, 6.30pm-1am daily.