We’ve got the lowdown on all the hot new restaurants in Singapore this month!
While the National Gallery keeps ramping up the food scene with the opening of Odette, most recently National Kitchen and a few spots for killer view cocktails Aura, this month sees everything from Joe and the Juice to Lazy Susan, Portico Prime, Bird Bird, Decker Barbecue.
National Kitchen – Top Notch Singaporean
National Kitchen is a stellar Singaporean addition to the dining scene and it could well be one of our favourite dinner spots at The National Gallery. The restaurant is small but beautiful – an emerald bar at one end, the ceilings lined with pretty Peranakan tiling and glitzy chandeliers, dark wooden walls adorned with old black and white photographs that tell the often personal story of Singapore’s culinary heritage. Start with the pickles, specifically the delicious Pineapple Patcheree ($4) while you wait for your house made sodas (of which the Ginger Beer is terrific). Unlike Violet Oon’s on Bukit Timah rd. which is mainly Peranakan, National Kitchen pays homage to the country’s melting pot of Indian, Peranakan, Malay and Singaporean food offerings, so expect a few new dishes here. Of the favourites, don’t miss their Beef Rendang ($22) – a deeply flavoured curry rich with sambal and spices or their Dry Lasksa ($22) where instead of soup, the sauce clings to the rice noodles resembling laksa carbonara. You’ll have to fight your vegetarian dining partner for the Meatless Meatballs Rendang ($15) made of walnuts and mozzarella and slathered with spiced tomato coconut gravy. Even if you’ve left no room for dessert, plough on and at least share a slab of their Grated Tapioca Cake ($9) served with a side of coconut cream. This place is atmospheric, has great service and truly superb food – an all round winner for date night, a girls’ evening out, introducing out-of-towners to upmarket local food or even an informal business dinner.
National Kitchen, National Gallery Singapore, 1 Saint Andrew’s Road, #02-01, Tel: (+65) 9834 9935, www.violetoon.com
Lazy Susan – Fun Asian Pop Up
Take a spin around Asian-centric dishes muddled with global accents at Lazy Susan – a roaming pop up concept by Spa Esprit Group. True to its name, this place offers a revolving experience – with each change of location and chef. For December, Lazy Susan is at House at Dempsey where Chef Han has designed a fun menu that revolves around mainly Asian ingredients and flavours in unusual combinations with surprising Western pairings. Absolutely the must-order dish is the BBQ Jackfruit Bum ($12) a soft bun encompassing braised young jackfruit in BBQ sauce with pistachio studded guacamole to top it all off. Tasting same-same-but different to pulled pork, this unusual vegetarian burger ticks all our boxes on taste, texture, looks and interest. You’ll need to order one each – this ain’t no sharing number! Wing Bean Toast ($12) is a wacky combo of bruschetta style mozzarella on sourdough toast with wing beans and homemade XOXO sauce (which was a little on the salty side for us). The menu is non-stop playfulness with dishes of Luncheon Meat Croquettes ($8) and the wonderfully named Stinky Meets Crispy ($22) of rice flour waffles topped with fried egg and Har Cheong Gai. Sip on fun drinks like Tiffin Punch of Gin, Lychee ad Grapefruit $12/tiffin or unusual hot drinks like the Red Latte ($6) made of caffeine free Rooibos Tea. If you miss Lazy Susan here you can jump on at the next stop: Open Door Policy in January (stay tuned for locations thereafter but they’re set to head on to NYC and London too).
Lazy Susan, Tel: +65) 9777 5447, www.lazysusansg.com
Locations: House at Dempsey (from Thursday-Sunday until Sunday, 27 December), Open Door Policy (Tuesday, 5 January – Sunday, 24 January, 2016)
Portico Prime – New Dempsey Post
Portico Prime takes overs from Prime Society in Dempsey. The space is airy and filled with light, with towering ceilings, a kitchen on display and a smart bar that takes centre stage. Highlights of the modern European menu come both at the beginning and end of the menu in the form of the Heirloom Tomatoes ($24) starter and Deconstructed Blackforest ($17) dessert. The former comes as a collection of heirloom tomatoes, beautifully plated in a range of colours, served at different temperatures with Jamon Serrano, organic quinoa, marinated Hijiki seaweed, and a frozen honey melon dressing. The rest of the menu ranges from the exclusive – Wagyu A4 Ribcap ($58/100grams) from the Tochigi prefecture (for which Portico Prime has exclusive rights to serve in Singapore) – a highly marbled rich meat (around 60-70% fat) that is served medium well, to lighter dishes of fresh locally sourced Pan Seared Pulau Ubin Barramundi ($38). Round your meal off with that Deconstructed Blackforest comprising 70% dark Valrhona chocolate mousse, sour sweet cherry coulis, cool caramel ice cream and edible soil and garden flowers – a dessert superbly done. Their signature menu ($78 for 4 courses, $40 extra for Wagyu) comprises all these dishes or go a la carte. Soon to come: breakfasts and brunch (this is Dempsey after all!).
Portico Prime, 10 Dempsey Road #01-20, Tel: (+65) 6474 7427, www.portico.sg
Bird Bird – Anti-trendy Thai Chicken Eatery
Bird Bird flounces onto the dining scene and sets up on trendy Ann Siang Road as an ‘intentionally tacky, anti-trendy’ Thai Chicken eatery thanks to Artichoke’s Chef Bjorn Shen. Expect Thai Grilled Chicken ($25) with Chilli Jam, king of Som Tums ($35) papaya salad pimped up with crispy chicken skin, crispy fish maw and salted eggs, Umami Corn ($14) and Lamb Ribs ($28) with herbs and roasted rice. If everything sounds too headachingly good (and we hear you!), then you can always plump for the Happiness Meal ($75) and try most things on the menu all in one greedy go. This tongue in cheek Thai Chicken Palace will not be serving matching chopsticks or linen napkins. Instead you’ll get some bog roll and melamine plates and mismatched chopsticks (if they do match you should send them back). At Bird Bird, there’s no, absolutely no reserving tables (unless of course you come with your Thai mafia gang of at least eight untrendy hipsters).
Bird Bird, 18 Ann Siang Road, Singapore, Tel: (+65) 66352536, www.facebook.com/birdbirdsg
Decker Barbecue – Backdoor BBQ
Need meat? Head to Decker Barbecue (behind Boomerang on Robertson Quay) with its casual counterside ordering, wooden tables and strung up coloured lights. Often the meat (like the USA reared brisket) takes up to 16 hours to slow barbecue on the massive smoker behind the counter and once its sold out its game over. Up for grabs: a hefty three meat (600gram) plate, with two sides ($76), which will feed two easily or go a la carte and pick and choose your own platter. You might choose the sought-after Brisket ($16), juicy Pulled Pork ($10) or the Spare Ribs ($9) and from the sides, there is home made Cornbread ($4), trendy greens of Kale Salad ($9), Fries ($7) or Brisket Beans ($9). Wash it all down with craft beers like Little Creatures or Brewerkz beers on tap.
Decker Barbecue, 60 Robertson Quay, 01-17 The Quayside, Singapore, Tel: +65) 6635 8565, www.facebook.com/deckerbarbecue
Aqua Luna – Alexandra Rooftop Bar
A trip to IKEA at peak hour can drive the best of us to drink. Rooftop poolside bar Aqua Luna at Park Hotel Alexandra next door may be the answer if you’re thirsting after a cocktail to take the retail-therapy edge off. Refreshing numbers include Poire Basil ($18) a sprightly mix of Absolut Pear Vodka, fresh lime, pear and grapefruit bitters and the equally invigorating Summer Chill ($18) Tanqueray Gin with Elderflower Liqueur, celery, cucumbers and mint – both served in chilled hipster tins. Bar bites need a little work – Chilli Crab sauce with Corn Chips ($14) doesn’t pack much punch without the addition of fresh crab but the wood fired flat breads like the Spicy Chorizo, Mozzarella and Onion ($18) and Tiger Prawn and Pesto ($24) are pretty good.
Aqua Luna, Level 7, Park Hotel Alexandra, 323 Alexandra Road, Singapore 159972, Tel: (+65) 6828 8888, www.parkhotelgroup.com
Joe and the Juice – Danish Juice House
If you haven’t heard of Joe and the Juice, get ready. This place has been doing for juice what Starbucks did for coffee. And now the mega-chain originally from Denmark, has come to Singapore. Of course they do coffee too (and its 100% organic) plus sandwiches like Avocado, Mozzarella, Tomato ($10.50) or Spicy Tuna ($10.50). But it’s the juices that have people super pumped. Designed for taste and maximum nutritional pow-wow, juices are squeezed on demand to retain all nutritional goodness (after 20 minutes at room temperature, they say juice vitamins start walking so drink up quick!). Post Gym? Try the ReBuild ($9.90/11.90) with rice protein, coconut water, cocoa, banana (potassium and B6) and avocado (folate and vitamins).
Joe and the Juice, 30 Raffles Place, 01-35A Chevron House, #01-35, Tel: (+65) 62212126, www.facebook.com/joeandthejuicesg