Whisk & Paddle
Hey ladies! 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-size pieces just for you.
May May (from ‘mei mei’) is little sister to traditional Peranakan Blue Ginger nearby, though conversely May May is all S.E Asian modern fusion. The space is light minimalism, a theme which carries through to the food with dishes tasting healthy yet packed with flavour. Take the May May Bossam ($12) which uses compressed watermelon instead of pork to add to your lettuce and spicy sauce wrap, and the Cured Mackerel ($15) with avocado, radish and shallots – all very “clean eating”. The Fried Cauliflower ($14) is a winner, too – a simple dish of chat masala cauliflower and tamarind pear that has me googling similar recipes to try at home. We favour the appetizers over the mains, so order up a bunch to share: Confit Potatoes ($14) with bacon and dashi, or Slow-Cooked Squid ($15) while you sip on Japanese craft beer. Be warned, though: the desserts are the business so miss them at your peril! Their Sweet Potato Mousse ($12) is a stunning dish with purple and bright orange sweet potato transformed into mousse, with pecan crumble for texture. Or try the Black Sesame Mochi ($12), which gives way to chestnut cream with tart raspberry jelly on the side to cut the sweetness – sublime.
May May, 65 Tras Street, Singapore 079004, (+65) 6221 4698, www.facebook.com/maymaydining
If you fancy something a little different this weekend, we highly recommend you head to Whisk & Paddle out in Punggol. The café is perched on the reservoir, which has a beautifully scenic cycling path (wish there were more of these in Singers!) – perfect for pedalling practise. Fuel up at Whisk & Paddle’s outdoor seating, where you can admire the view while enjoying their seriously tasty eats. On the menu: waffles – both sweet or savoury with eggs Benedict and ham or salmon ($13) – plus a selection of pastas, burgers, fish dishes and pizzas. For dessert check out their cake counter where the in-house pastry chef whips up creations of passion fruit curd tarts ($6), macaroons, a deliciously light and fluffy cheesecake with berry compote ($6) and other homemade specials. Run by a family, this is a super cute hidden gem that happens to be dog-friendly too – we like it a lot!
Whisk & Paddle, 10 Tebing Lane, #01-01, Singapore 828836, (+65) 6242 4617, www.whiskandpaddle.com.sg
The Wejs (sounds like “Wedges”) is a little café-restaurant hidden behind the offices at Rochester Park run by a Tunisian retired professional-footballer-turned-cook. On the menu we’d go for an authentic Grandma hand-me-down Tunisian recipe like Chakshouka ($15) rather than mainstream stuff like Breaded Chicken ($14). Starters of freshly baked Tunisian bread and tasty Mechouia ($12) – a grilled vegetable and red pepper salad dip topped with boiled eggs, tuna and olives and Hummus ($10) – are probably our top picks from the menu, which also offers Wraps with Chicken, Beef or Spicy Lamb Merguez sausage ($7-10). A little plastic Wendy house keeps little ones entertained, but we wonder if this hidden spot needs to up their game to really score big.
The Wejs, 44 Rochester Park Singapore, 139248 Singapore, (+65) 9144 8452, www.thewejs.com
How well do you know your Korean dining etiquette? Do you use your left or right hand to pour your makgeolli refills*? And what in heaven’s name is makgeolli anyway? Joo Bar, in bustling Bugis, brew their own makgeolli ($7-28 mini/large), which is a sweet-sour milky white 8% rice alcohol. There are a range of flavours – yuzu (Yucha) being a top runner – or sip at them all with the sampler set ($35). Food goes way beyond bar bites and heavily features pork and kimchi, from Joo Bossam ($28) – pork belly with cabbage wrap and kimchi – to Mangalitsa Pork Belly Kimchi Stew ($20). We recommend the Homemade Tofu Chips with Guacamole & Kimchi Salsa ($14) and the delicious Hand-chopped Minced Rib Steak with garlic and soy ($20), as well as the Fried Baby Eel Paper ($14) for pure novelty value, while the Warm Kimchi with Tofu and Spam ($16) gets a love-it-or-leave-it divide depending on your relationship with spam. Joo Bar’s second floor is peppered with little Korean faux-pas and must-dos so if you want the answer to the refill conundrum, that’s where you need to head. Kanpai!
Joo Bar, 5 Tan Quee Lan Street, Singapore 188094, (+65) 8138 1628, www.joo-bar.com
Tiong Bahru, one of our favourite places to mooch, boasts a new spot called Chapter 55. It’s pulling in the punters with their waffles; these bad boys are mammoth, deliciously crisp on the outside, fluffy and light on the inside. Pair them with home made gelati and you’re in dessert heaven. Flavours range from the weird to wonderful: Chocolate Lavender or Champagne Vanilla, or my personal favourite, Coffee-Hazelnut. And then there’s the famous Mao Shan Wang Durian flavour, which even this ang-moh was taken with! With half the restaurant tucking into the waffle-ice cream combo (from $12.50), as well as a good cuppa coffee (beans from 40 Hands), you’d be forgiven for thinking this was all they do. But there you’d be wrong. The chef is from Pasta Brava so pasta he knows, and he knows it well. Mains feature Squid Ink seafood spaghetti ($22), homemade Agnolotti with crab and prawn cream sauce ($25), to pizzas (from $16) and meats like Beef Tenderloin ($30). A very welcome addition to the neighbourhood.
Chapter 55, 55 Tiong Bahru Road, #01-37, Singapore 160055, (+65) 6221 2219, www.facebook.com/chapter55
Up-and-coming Jalan Besar has added another to its fold with The Refinery. The ground floor of this 3-story building is cram-packed with young hipster Singaporeans munching on yakitori and using chopsticks to pick out fat salted-egg onion rings and fries nestled in little brown bags. The floor above houses a cocktail bar manned by ex-Ah Sam Cold Drink Stall bartender Eugene Chua. Now back to those fries – they’re actually poutine ($10) – a finger licking gooey mess of fries topped with onions, gravy and cheddar cheese. We were told the bestseller yakitori sticks were the Shishamo ($8) (described by the waitress as ‘pregnant fish’, and the Chicken Heart ($6), but there’s also “Shiok Bak” ($8) of roasted pork, Chicken Thigh ($6), Wagyu Ribe-Eye ($16) and veggie options like Shishito Peppers ($6). For dessert, we liked the crispy fried green Pandan Mantou with Coconut Gelato ($6). What this place may lack in total Japanese authenticity it makes up for in fun atmosphere.
The Refinery, King George’s Ave, Unit 01-02, Singapore 208561, (+65) 6293 0461, www.therefinery.sg
Rum bar-restaurant Bumbo Rum Club (formerly 83) on Club Street promises “Caribbean-influenced food” but the menu showcases a hodge podge of so-so dishes with everything from Ceviche ($14-16) of Seabass, Salmon and (cooked) Prawn, to Pork Ribs ($28-48) and Nachos ($14). Infused rums with chillis or berries ($18/188 glass/bottle) line the back shelf, or order up cocktails like Bumbo Rum Club Punching Bag ($60) of white, dark and gold rums, orange, pineapple, lemon and ginger ale served in a watermelon. Ladies, check out their Wednesday nights for free mojitos from 9pm, and a (daily) happy hour from 5-9pm offers up giddy prices like $5++ for house spirits to tide you over.
Bumbo Rum Club 83 Club Street, Singapore 069451, (+65) 6690 7563, www.bumborumclub.com