Sacha & Sons
Hey, girls! Need a quick shot of inspiration for a night out on the town? Here’s our pick of Singapore’s latest restaurants and newest bars, condensed and served up in tasty bite-sized pieces just for you.
My, my the Les Amis Group has been busy! Last month saw the opening of La Taperia (read about it here) and now we get the new Sushi Jin, another sushi joint to add to their ever-growing portfolio of restaurants. Sushi Jin is a little off the beaten track at One Farrer Hotel & Spa near Little India, but you will be rewarded for your efforts in getting there.
Seafood is flown in three times a week from Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, and it is so fresh that it tastes almost sweet, contrastingly beautifully to the lightly vinegared sushi rice. Try the omakase lunch menu at $80 – which could start with the umami flavour-packed Tai Carpaccio (slivers of sea bream with black truffle, kelp and chives). Next arrives an assortment of beautifully cut sashimi, followed by two cooked dishes. Perhaps you’ll get the grilled blue prawn topped with spicy cod roe and homemade aioli (my mouth waters at the thought) and the blowtorched scallop sushi topped with uni – sublime! Then follows a miso soup, and to round things off, a dessert like matcha green tea ice cream with red beans.
For the amount of quality food you get, lunch is a steal. Dinner omakase is $130 – still good value pricing. The main action happens at the counter but there’s also some group seating, plus a tiny private room hidden behind secret sliding doors complete with a sushi counter that seats 5-6. So if you fancy a private chef for a night – grab a handful of foodie friends and hop to it!
Sushi Jin, One Farrer Hotel & Spa, 1 Farrer Park Station Road, Owen Link, #01-11/12, Singapore 217562, (+65) 6443 3378, www.lesamisgroup.com.sg/sushi-jin
The Den takes over Bartini Kitchen (by the same owners) and offers a casual dining spot for desk warriors in search of refuelling. The lunch menu does salads like Watermelon, Feta and Mint ($8), pastas like Truffle, Mac & Cheese ($12) and mains like the pretty decent DEN burger with fries at $14. It’s a good spot for a very chilled low-key team lunch, or head there post-work for a happy hour decompression drink — beers from $6/glass, house wines $8/glass and Magners cider at $8/glass. Soak up your alcohol with exotic pizzas – from the awesome sounding Truffle, Bacon & Mushroom with Garlic Béchamel ($18), to the Seafood with dill and lemon béchamel, prawns, haddock, squid, and cheese. For meatier options, try their 48 Hour Slow-Cooked Pork Belly with Apple Kimchi ($18).
The Den, 26 Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069624, (+65) 6220 0629, www.den.com.sg
Layalina Privée is an import from London working the model of fine dining Lebanese food coupled with entertainment (to come) of belly dancing, burlesque, magicians and singers. It’s tucked up and away out of sight off Mohamed Sultan Road, in the Sultan Link Building. If you’re looking for authentic Lebanese food (no gimmicks, nothing fusion-ified), then this is your place. It’s probably the only place in Singapore (and we have done the rounds) that truly delivers on hummus ($7.25/$12.30, s/l). Their pittas arrive warm and puffy, ready for dipping into the array of good dips like Aubergine Puree ($7.15/$12.30) and Tabbouleh ($8.25/$14.30). Kebbe of minced lamb ($8.95/$15.90) and Falafels ($8.45/$14.90), which often disappoint by being dry, hold their own in flavour and texture. The meat platter ($39.90) with Kofta, lamb cutlets and grilled chicken does well too, even if the veg and rice is a little less inspiring. Don’t shy away from the Lebanese wine Clos St Thomas Les Gourmet ($16/glass), which is dangerously drinkable. We look forward to the belly dancing and magicians, which are promised any day now; without them the décor is a little staid.
Layalina Privée, 63 Mohamed Sultan Road, 03-14 Sultan Link Building, (+65) 6443 3711, www.layalina.sg
Sacha & Sons (by the same people behind brunch spot Wild Honey) bring New York deli-style food to Singers. Located in Mandarin Gallery right next door to the revamped original Wild Honey, Sacha & Sons welcomes you in with a handsome counter displaying homemade sesame bagels, salads and an eye-grabbing dessert of Apricot Noodle Kugel. The menu is as kosher as they come with Matzo Ball soup, Bagels, Lox and Cream Cheese, Pastrami and Corned Beef on Rye, homemade Latkes (fried potato and onion cakes), Chopped Liver and a delicious Smoked Trout Dip. The menu is written on blackboards at the counter where you order yourself before taking a seat.
How did it fare? A mixed bag; the Matzo Ball soup ($12) didn’t rock our world, and the Latkes, while tasty, looked a little sad on the plate when accompanied with Sour Cream and Apple Compote ($10). Though if you order them with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraiche ($16), they come piled high and look much more ta-dah! The Reuben ($18), however, was exceptional. We just wished we had ordered that alone and gone super-duper size ($35). Layers of delicious pastrami (which we hear takes two weeks to smoke), juicy sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and mustard on rye result in a perfectly done sandwich and for that alone we will return.
Sacha & Sons, #03-02 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Road, Singapore 238897, (+65) 6735 6961, www.sacha-deli.com/sg
The Prawn Star has taken over the Duxton Hill shophouse where Broth used to be. The name of the game here is seafood fusion tze char (literally meaning “cook and fry”, i.e. the cheap and cheerful Chinese non-specialist cooking commonly found at a coffee shop). The menu is divided into bites to pick at and main dishes to eat with your bare hands – though you’ll probably need a few of each as mains predominantly arrive minus the carbs and veg. If you can take a kick of heat, order the interesting bar snack of Sriracha Caramel Popcorn ($8); for something a little more substantial there are Banh Mi Fries ($12) topped with BBQ pork, jalapenos, mayo and sauce. Grilled King Prawns in Miso-Kimchi Butter ($26) are finger licking good – this arrives with a few pieces of soft Turkish bread to mop up the sauce. Moreton Bay Bugs in Black Pepper Butter ($26) are an intense hit of black pepper, ginger and garlic, or there’s Stir Fry Spicy Flower Crabs ($32). Plus check the specials board for daily fresh fish, which comes charcoal grilled. They are working on desserts, but for now head to this trendy little spot for your fix of fusion-style seafood.
Prawn Star, 21 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089604, (+65) 6323 3353, www.facebook.com/The-Prawn-Star
Koji Sushi Bar caters to the busy suited and booted professionals who want decent sushi without the eye watering price tag. Grab a donburi bowl like the Salmon and Roe ($17), or a sushi set of five pieces like Sea Bream, Swordfish, Tuna, Sweet Prawn and Salmon for $9 (yes you read it right, $9 – how amazing is that? It even comes with a choice of soup or salad!).
If you’ve got more time on your hands or are here for dinner (last orders at 9pm), order up the Wagyu Sukiyaki ($25), which comes with soup, salad, a side of rice and a raw egg. Cook your Wagyu on the nifty lit gel cooker at the counter, beat your egg with your chopsticks, then you can either coat the beef in raw egg and eat as-is, or, for the less daring, tip the egg in the hot soup to cook. The sauce in this dish is truly slurpworthy. Omakase starts from $68 and is available for dinner only; reserve ahead as Koji is a tiny joint with just a handful of counter seats. To bring in the punters, Koji Sushi Bar is offering a buy-one-get-one on sake and Asahi beer for $5 until they run out of stock – so hurry!
Koji Sushi Bar, 01-42, 3 Pickering St, Singapore 048660, (+65) 6225-6125, firstname.lastname@example.org