Image: Sum Yi Tai
01-04 National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew's Road, tel: 6385-0498, open: noon to 2pm, 7 to 9.30pm (Monday to Saturday), closed on Sunday and public holiday
The most eagerly awaited restaurant opening this year must be chef Julien Royer's Odette. The Frenchman, who left Jaan to open his own eatery, had built a reputation for teasing out the most amazing flavours from produce sourced from around the world.
Odette, which is co-owned with the Lo & Behold Group, boasts the same high standards - though I have misgivings about Royer repeating too many dishes from Jaan in his new menu. The modern French restaurant is also the most beautiful restaurant to open this year, with its classy palette of soothing pastels that puts the customer at ease.
Sands SkyPark, Level 57 Tower 2, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, tel: 6688-9955, open: noon to 2pm, 6 to 10pm (weekday), 6 to 11pm (weekend)
Despite having been around since the 1980s and putting his name on supermarket frozen food, American chef Wolfgang Puck proves he is still on top of the game with his latest Spago, which opened in Singapore in October. The East-West restaurant, an offshoot of his Los Angeles flagship, boasts fusion dishes that are well thought-out, including a pan-seared Alaskan halibut "laksa" that has all the flavour and aroma of a good spice paste without looking out of place in a Western restaurant.
Just the sides alone are worth going back for, especially the pommes aligot, mashed potato blended with different types of cheese that tastes light and wonderful.
3. The Dining Club, Sum Yi Tai
25 Boon Tat Street, tel: 6221-3665, open: 11.30am to 2.30pm (Monday to Friday), 6 to 10.30pm (Monday to Saturday), closed on Sunday
This cosy boudoir-like restaurant is a great example of how Chinese food can be made trendy without losing its roots. The cooking is good, old Cantonese, but some recipes are updated with the chef's own touches. For example, the sweet and sour pork is fried with lychees instead of pineapple cubes.
Retro Cantopop by singers such as Leslie Cheung transports me back to the halcyon days of the 1980s when Hong Kong music was at its peak. Sinking into the comfortable settee, I am a happy man.
1. Meatliquor Singapore
99 Duxton Road, tel: 6221- 5343, open: 5pm to midnight (Monday to Wednesday), 5pm to 2am (Thursday and Friday), 5pm to 3am (Saturday)
A luscious photo of its signature Dead Hippie burger got me anticipating the opening of MEATliquor, a Singapore outpost of the hip London joint. But my experience there turned out to be my worst this year.
The eatery does not seat customers until everyone has arrived, which was fine by me. But, instructed to wait at the bar, I was left standing there for almost 10 minutes before someone asked me if I wanted a drink. And the eatery was less than half-filled then.
The food was not worth the fuss too. The beef patties in the burger had little flavour. I could not taste sambal in the sambal chicken wings, which were dry.
A version of this story was originally published in The Straits Times on December 27, 2015. For more stories like this, head to www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle.