Run out of brunch places for the weekend? Gasp! Oh wait, here’s somewhere… Aussie hipster café The Lokal does brekkie, brunch, and lunch (and dinner too from mid August). Chef Darren Farr (one of the founding chefs of Tetsuya’s in Sydney) is one of those “gotta-make-eveything-from-scratch” kind of guys (respect!) so the salmon and mackerel is hot smoked over wood chips every morning, the bacon cured without preservatives in-house and the butter churned by hand (wait, really?!). Battle the queues on a weekend and covet a table for delicious dishes like smashed avocado, pomelo, homemade ricotta and toasted macadamias on sourdough ($18), roasted beef rye sarnie with onions, watercress and mustard crème fraiche ($19), and toasted banana bread topped with caramelised bananas, homemade yogurt and orange zest ($12) for which my two year old pronounced “Yummy Scrummy” and refused to share. I sneaked a bite for research purposes and darn it was good!
The Lokal, 136 Neil Road, Singapore 088865, 6423 9918, www.facebook.com/thelokalsingapore
And here’s another Aussie jazzing things up. This time it’s 19 Chefs’ Hat award-winner Chef Martin Boetz (from none other than Sydney’s Longrain restaurant). Chef Boetz is consulting for new Thai spot Soi 60 on Robertson Quay, which is brought to you by the same people behind Bistecca. There’s alfresco seating overlooking the river or grab a table inside to soak up the sexy blue steel bar feel. If you’re in a group of four and not good at multitasking (i.e. trying to scan the menu, sip your cocktail and reply to your mate’s question) then opt for the sharing menu ($45 per pax). Featuring a feast of four gently paced courses of Spring rolls, Grilled Prawns on Betel Leaves, a deliciously minty BBQ Sirloin Steak Salad, tasty Papaya Salad, the signature Panaeng Beef Rib Curry (“OMG moment” of beautifully cooked meat that falls off the bone), Marinated Baby Back Ribs and our favourite, the impressive Whole Snapper with a lightly sweet, sour sauce (fried in tapioca flour so it’s not greasy, just crispy and light and probably negative calories so you needn’t feel guilty about eating as much of it as you can) plus a dessert. Drinks wise try the Tamarind Sour with bourbon shaken with tamarind, lemon and sugar – heaven.
Soi60, 60 Robertson Quay, #01-04 The Quayside, Singapore 238252, 6635 6675, www.soi60.com.sg
Chef Immanuel Tee is going it alone having left the sadly departed lofty establishment of Keystone restaurant; he has now set up shop on Bukit Merah Lane. When I say shop, I mean coffeeshop. As in a hawker style no frills kopitiam stall. Granted the setting at Immanuel French Kitchen is not the likeliest for fine dining French food, but if you fancy something quirkily different — French cuisine that is cheap as frites — then this is your place. Duck rilette, gherkins and crusty bread for $7.90? Don’t mind if I do! Beef Bourguignon in a rich bacony mushroom red wine sauce with crushed parsley potatoes for $17? Merci beaucoup! Duck leg confit ($14.90), Steak et frites ($18) Incroyable!
Immanuel French Kitchen, #01-04, Block 119, Bukit Merah Lane, Singapore 151119, 9297 3285, www.facebook.com/immanuelfrenchkitchen
And just when you thought another joint couldn’t possibly fit in the jam-packed pedestrianised Ann Siang hot spot enclave, ta-dah, enter Nutmeg & Clove. So named for its roots (its location used to be home to nutmeg and clove plantations a long long time ago) this little bar manages to mix Chinese charm and traditional heritage with a trendy buzzing atmosphere. Hard day at the office? (yes, we mean you mama) Swig this: Barrel Aged Singapura Sling ($20) – a blend of spiced hibiscus-infused Tanqueray Gin, Cherry Heering, Benedictine DOM, Orange Cream Citrate Bitters and their house goji and red date syrup – all aged in an American oak barrel. Bar bites sound rather posh: Chinese Braised Pork Sliders ($16), Truffle Hummus with Sunflower Chips ($9) and Grilled Langoustine ($22).
Nutmeg & Clove, 17 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069697, 6423 9885, www.facebook.com/nutmegandclove
Set to the side of the swish Pan Pacific hotel on Raffles Boulevard, MATCH opens up into a sexy bar and a glittering dark dining room of booth seats, where the beautiful people have already descended. A DJ in the corner spinning out everything from oldie goldies to Ibiza tunes completes the picture. There is an element of fun in the air – every now and then magical bouffants of cocoa dusted green candy floss are delivered to tables with a flourish, while sundaes made for two rage with sparklers. Despite all this – the guys at MATCH (which include the Privé Group) are serious about their savouries. It’s so named as you can match up your choice of meat or seafood with any sauce, an accessory (like Mini Onion Tart or Bone Marrow) plus a side (Sautéed Broccolini or Asparagus). Meats like the US 365-Day Grain-Fed Tenderloin 200g ($42) and Free-Range Lamb Cutlets ($39) get a big thumbs up but you’ll still need to order a separate serving of the good stuff (Mac & Cheese $10 or Parmesan Truffle Fries $8). To start, order this: Pretzel-Crusted Blue Swimmer Crab & Prawn Cakes ($18) – trust me it’s good. And if you like a bit of theatre order the Double Nagano Pork Rack ($80 for 2 people) – it arrives in a massive bell jar of smoke. This is the place to come for cocktails and late night munchies (full menu till 11pm or 12am) after which they serve bar snacks till 2 or 3am of Sliders and New York style pretzels with Beer Cheddar Fondue. News just in… utter the words “MATCH Me Up” when making reservations and get 10% off food (until 30 August).
MATCH, Pan Pacific Singapore, 1/L, 7 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039595, 6337 0800, www.matchdining.sg
Psssst! If you need to dance it all off, there’s soon to open Bang Bang next door – a cheekily named new club featuring DJs from NY, LA, Miami and Vegas. Open Fri & Sat 10pm – late. Tel: (+65) 6733 3280.
Desk lunchers rejoice! If your keyboard is suffering from “sarnie sabotage” (crumbs in the cracks), there is a new joint in town where you can load up on lunch without a slice of bread in sight. The Daily Cut, by the people behind burrito powerhouse, Muchachos in Keong Saik – have come up with a protein heavy concept for healthy eating carnivores — it’s a DIY job of “meat boxes” (though you can go all veggie with tofu). With three sizes: regular – one protein ($12), large – 2 proteins ($15), or beast – 3 proteins ($18) you can choose from chicken thigh, salmon, turkey breast, sirloin steak or tofu, plus a choice of complex carbs (brown rice, sweet potato), a mix of toppings (sous vide egg, mozzarella, avocado and cherry tomato) and a dressing. If your wallet can take the hit you’re gonna want this for lunch every day.
The Daily Cut, 1 Raffles Place, #B1-31 One Raffles Place, Singapore 048616, www.facebook.com/thedailycut.sg
What is it with burgers and lobsters lately? London just can’t get enough of them – and we in Singers are following suit – whether it’s a burger-only joint (Potato Head Folk), a burger and lobster duo or lobsters going plain solo – which is exactly what’s on offer at Pince & Pints. Freshly caught lobsters are flown in from Boston, Maine, and Canada, twice weekly, with three dishes, at only one price $48. There’s Grilled/Steamed Whole Lobster (with salad and fries), Lobster Roll of steamed whole lobster and claw in mayo stuffed in a soft fried hot dog bun with fries, or Chili Lobster with Mantou (in a rich red sauce of roma tomatoes, ginger, lemon grass, garlic, egg, chilli and ketchup). We hear queues are ri-dic-u-lous (2 hours or so), so you may have to wait in line if you’re craving some luxury living at a modest price. Pince & Pints, 32/33 Duxton Road, Singapore 089496, 6225 7558, www.pinceandpints.com