Dario pizza&more – Best Pizza on the Island?
On an unassuming little street corner in West Coast, you’ll find unassuming pizza joint Dario pizza&more firing out some of the most formidable pizzas in Singapore. Dario (previously at Al Forno) gets up with the earlybirds to make up his day’s batch of pizza dough. You can tell the pizzas are made with love: the crusts are crackly, chewy and thin; the tomato sauce is deep flavoured and rich; the toppings are great quality — no fake cheese that goes immediately hard and cold. Take the Bufala ($23): simple yet scrumptious, with tomato sauce, fresh buffalo mozzarella drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and topped with generous amounts of fresh basil. Dario makes a lot in-house, including a mean Parmigiana ($15), Lasagna ($16), desserts of Tiramisu and Pannacotta ($4), and with over 29 pizza flavours to choose from, we think he has all the bases covered. The joint is tiny so you may want to take a leaf from Dario’s book and be an earlybird to bag a seat. Or grab a takeaway pizza or three, that way no one can watch you as you scarf more than your fair share – we know you’ll want to!
Dario pizza&more, 6 Clementi Road, Singapore 129741, Tel: (+65) 9446 0253, www.dario6clementi.com
Plank – Sourdough Pizza on the East Coast
Plank Sourdough Pizza by Dean Brettschneider, who you may know from his many Baker & Cook branches, has brought Singapore its first taste of sourdough pizza out at Siglap. Pizza bases like that of the Caramelised Garlic Créme Fraiche, Zucchini, Sage, Baby Tomatoes, Wild Mushrooms and Parmesan ($21) are made by the same methods as Baker & Cook’s sourdough bread using a slow fermentation process. So no leaving the crusts please – it would be rude not to dip them in the infused olive oil so thoughtfully provided.
Plank Sourdough Pizza, #1 Swan Lake Avenue, Opera Estate, Singapore 455700, Tel (+65) 6448 9288, www.plankpizza.biz
Osteria Art – Swanky CBD Italian
Yes, yes it’s another Italian. But Osteria Art (by Beppe De Vito) does Italian so well – and the CBD location makes it a smart choice for impressive business dinners. The restaurant gleams with made-to-order light fittings, white tablecloths and plush red leather seats. It’s more classy sophistication than rustic osteria. Plus the service is spot-on; if you can, try nabbing the charismatic server ‘Hai’ who frankly should get the “service of the year” award. Unlike the traditional unwieldy Italian menu, everything here fits nicely on one page. That’s not to say there isn’t a varied choice. For antipasti: deliciously creamy Burrata with Grilled Vegetables and 25y Balsamic ($23) or the Bollito Misto Soup with Bone Marrow Crostino ($23). Mains include bacon flecked homemade Pappardelle with Pork Cheek and Red Wine ($26), Beef Sirloin Tagliata ($38) and Veal Ossobuco with Gremolata ($38).
And city slickers listen up! There’s a 3-course Power Lunch for a wallet-friendly $32. Unlike many set lunches, the choices are great value and keep to the high quality ingredients found on the a la carte. Plus it changes weekly, perfect for repeat visits.
Osteria Art, 55 Market Street #01-01, Singapore 048941, Tel: (+65) 68776933, www.osteriaart.com
Vasco – Latin American Cocktails
Hong Kong Street sees a new Latin American cocktail bar, Vasco enter its fold. It’s all very ‘underground’ with maroon walls, dim lighting, black and white photos and leather booths. The food menu is a short selection of South American staples; empanadas, ceviche like Salmon, Ponzu and Avocado ($20), grilled skewers and then some pub grub style mains like a El Cubano Sandwich ($22) of ham, pickle, cheese and pulled pork. It’s the cocktail menu that seems to take centre stage with their South American-only spirits. Try the Hand of God ($21) of Fernet, grilled pineapple, maté and lemon, or the “quick & dirty”, easily knocked back quenchers like the Leblon Cooler ($12) of Cachaça and bitter lemon.
Vasco, 42 Hong Kong St Tel (+65) 87997085, www.vascosingapore.com
Rise & Grind — Casual Diner
We are big fans of NTUC FairPrice Finest for the big weekly food shop (great prices, a big international section) but our closest outlet’s in Bukit Timah Plaza – not the most inspiring mall. So when cute Rise & Grind, located in a ‘pod’ beside the Taxi rank, opened their doors, we were first in line for a pre-shop coffee. Rise & Grind offers brekkies like the much-instagrammed Oceans Thirteen ($17) of smoked salmon, poached eggs, asparagus on brioche toast and also the Shakshouka ($16) of lamb merguez sausage, baked egg in tomato sauce, feta cheese and wholemeal pita. From 12pm onwards they serve mains like Chili Crab Pasta ($16) and burgers like the Asian Invasion ($17) pork patty with pineapple kimchi, cheddar, baby spinach, and sriracha aioli on a brioche bun. If you need a little pick-me-up post shop, Rise & Grind could just be your spot.
Rise & Grind, Bukit Timah Plaza, 1 Jalan Anak Bukit #L1-CA1, Singapore, Tel: (+65) 9154 8550, www.facebook.com/riseandgrindco
G House – Dempsey’s Bit of Everything
Alas, alas Dempsey bids farewell to Becasse. And in its place stands…G House. The black and white décor is largely unchanged, and the menu still holds on to some old dishes, but it now also spans tapas, pastas, grilled meats like Cajun Chicken with Sweet Potato wedges ($18.90), fish dishes, burgers, sandwiches and a whole section for Asian dishes plus breakfasts too! We are always slightly dubious about such global menus. What we did like was the Grilled Spicy Squid with Sambal Jam ($26.90) – tender with just the right amount of spice – while the side dish of Potato Munchkin con Carne ($10.90) was a good comfort food contender. The Little House Of Dreams does their sweet treats like the pretty salted chocolate tart ($8.90).
G House, 10 Dempsey Road #01-21, Dempsey Hill, Singapore, Tel: (+65) 6479 8119, www.ghouse.com.sg
Cocoa Colony – Hot Cocoa, To Go
If you haven’t yet spotted a Cocoa Colony mushrooming up in little nooks around Singapore, keep your eyes peeled! They plan on opening 12 outlets this year alone. But can they really do for hot cocoa what Starbucks did for coffee? Hot cocoa comes in different strengths from mild Cocoa 38 ($6) to richer Cocoa 100 ($12.90) – the numbers just mean 38 and 100 per cent of the full recipe, respectively. We dug the signature chocolate peanut butter ice cream served in a brioche ($6.80): it’s a posher version of the Uncles selling ice cream sandwiches on the street! But other offerings like the “bola’s” ($6.90 for 1/$21 for 3) – huge balls of layered crunchy pastry dipped in lurid coloured chocolate that needs to be smashed open – were a little gimmicky, not to mention unpalatable. Their locations offer only a smattering of seats, so grab your hot chocolate to go.
Cocoa Colony, Various locations: including The Cathay, 2 Handy Road, #01-08, Singapore 229233, www.cocoacolony.com
Club 39 – Tapas Cocktail Bar
New to Duxton Hill is Club 39, the ground floor bar and restaurant of exclusive members’ only Club 39, which spans levels two to four. The bar staff greet you like long lost friends as you walk in, which is part of their overall ethos – to be a home away from home. Cocktails are topnotch; take the Spiced Pear Margarita ($24), an impressively saucy number made from smoked chipotle spiked aged tequila and William pear. For the daring, Inomini Patri ($24) of bourbon, amaretto, sherry, and….blue cheese. Tucked at the back is the small, (too) brightly lit dining area overlooking the kitchen. Favourites include a Grilled Haloumi cheese ($15) with deliciously smokey aubergine puree and vegetable caponata; and the Grilled Octopus ($25) superbly tender inside, its exterior grilled to crunchy perfection. They’re open for breakfast midweek and a hangover brunch on the weekends for the likes of Truffled Eggs, Portobello Mushroom, Potato, Asparagus and Jamon ($22), slugged down with a gazpacho-style Bloody Mary called Grandma’s Remedy ($22).
Club 39, 39 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089617