Drum roll please… this could just be one of our favourite spots to open so far in 2014! Enter Una at 1 Rochester (Una = one in Spanish, see what they did there?). Expect the same leafy romantic tranquil setting of its predecessor Roast, but with an altogether lighter feel — not to mention pretty impressive modern Mediterranean nosh thanks to Chef Jean-Philippe Patruno (previously at BOMBA after making quite a name for himself in London’s restaurant scene). Chef Patruno has Italian, French and Spanish roots, which is reflected in their cuisine of tapas, small, and large plates. While it’s a little spendy pricewise, this is a proper date night indulgence. Favourites include beautifully fried Courgette Flowers ($35) stuffed with soft goats cheese drizzled with honey – but be warned, they come as a serving of 3 – see how much your partner loves you! Heavenly Scallops a la Plancha (s$28/l$38) with celeriac mash, veal cheeks and Iberico ham crisp, or firm meaty John Dory (s$45/l$55) with a creamy sauce, aniseed fennel confit plus a crunchy creamy prawn croquette for texture. Sigh! Not to mention desserts (fluffy crispy churros that give Madrid a run for its money) and an interesting Catalunya inspired dish of bitter chocolate, olive oil and salted rosemary soil (s$16/l$20). This place is a keeper!
Una, 1 Rochester Drive, Singapore 139212.
Tel: 6773 0070
If the thought of brussel sprouts conjures up shudder-some memories — remember being force-fed overcooked sprouts by your gran at Christmas? — then think again. Chef Logan Campbell, at barely month old Buttero (meaning: Italian cowboy) is bringing sexy back for these little underrated veggies in his most delicious concoction of homemade gnocchi (probably some of the best we’ve had) in a sweet sauce of sautéed brussel sprouts with honey, lemon and sage ($21). This understated diner has graffiti on the walls, a piano in the corner and vinyl on the bar (bring your best records on a Thursday and if Chef Logan deems it “playable” you’ll bag yourself a free cocktail!). Food is self-proclaimed ‘grub’ of Italian-American influence. Dishes are hearty, like charcoal grilled Dirty Steak ($34), Rotisserie Porchetta ($32) with crackling worth fighting over, and all the pasta is handmade too. Leave room on your saddle for dessert (all $12) – crispy thin Cannoli of whipped lemony ricotta, heady milk chocolate pots and firm favourite, creamy vanilla-bean panna cotta with crushed peanut butter meringue and strawberries. Heavenly!
Buttero, 54 Tras Street, Singapore 078993.
Tel: 6438 7737.
There’s a new spot in Dempsey! And it’s a bit of a hot shot too. Introducing the second Bécasse (the first being a bakery in ION, both by Jones The Grocer). Bécasse brings with it a touch of sophisticated classiness to Dempsey – with its black and white themed interiors, airy ceilings and a conservatory out the back (which you can hire for big bashes). From très-French pain au chocolates and croissants to hearty breakfast options like Sticky Date Pancakes ($13) with banana butterscotch sauce and ice cream to Lemon Baked Ricotta Waffles ($9), and Croque Monsieur ($14). Why bien sûr! For small plates we really liked the King Crab Rilettes ($15) with brioche toast and apple fennel. For a casual lunch the Bécasse Club ($19) – a proper posh sandwich (on delicious crusty white sourdough) with a slab of chicken breast, smoked ham, gruyere, avocado, tomato and egg really hits the spot, or try a midweek dinner from the cold seafood bar with a glass of crisp white. Don’t miss the beautiful counter of handmade pastries and macarons either. We will be back!
Bécasse, #01-21 Block 10 Dempsey Road, Singapore 247700.
Tel: 6479 8119.
We haven’t checked it out as yet but Tree Lizard is another newbie to Dempsey. Weekends see in a lunch crowd from 12pm, while mid week they open from 3pm. The menu is casual European with a range of dishes from all day breakfast ($18.90) to pastas (from $14.90), BBQ ribs ($22.90) or fish and chips ($18.90). Head down for their regular trivia nights or make a pit stop for a chilled supper in a lush al fresco backdrop.
Tree Lizard, #B1-01 Block 25 Dempsey Road, Singapore 249670.
Tel: 6834 3969.
One of our Ed’s checked out Le Comptoir, decked out like a seaside style crêperie with cool blues and aquamarines, on the corner of Circular Road. They do sweet crêpes (using white flour), savoury crêpes (buckwheat flour), sharing platters, and a Brasserie menu for those that are ‘crêped’ out. A firm fave was the savoury Kao San Road ($20) of pan-fried prawns, tomato, garlic, soya sauce, mango chutney and mint or try the Menage à 5 ($16) of Emmental cheese, ham, soft cooked egg, mushroom and tomato. For sweet endings tuck into a sweet sharing platter ($13) consisting of twelve to fourteen crepes of kiwi and raspberry, apple and pear “samosa”, chocolate chip and banana, plus a nutella rolled crepe. Unusually food is served till 2am plus there’s a full bar open until 3am, including French imported Ciders ($6-$8 per glass). Bon appetit!
Le Comptoir, 79 Circular Road, Singapore 049433.
Tel: 6534 7645.
New on Club Street is restaurant-bar :pluck, serving small, medium and sharing dishes crafted by 29-year-old Head Chef Brandon Teo (formerly from über cool Keong Saik Snacks, esteemed Esquina and sky high Jaan!). It’s mostly counter seats looking over an open kitchen – sit near the door for the best access to Chef Teo’s handiwork. Dishes are clever, complex and prettily presented, if a little on the small side – of note is the Curry Roasted Cauliflower, Almonds & Grapes ($14) with cauliflower done three ways, including pickled and tempura fried, and the 18-hour Roasted Pork Neck, Chestnuts and Caramelised Pears ($22). Check out the specials board – if you’re quick, Beef Head to Tail ($34) will still be on the menu — super short ribs with barley and beef cheek on parsnip smash, deelish! Pair food with cocktails designed by Manor’s head bartender Din Hassan. Our only complaint is their policy of no complimentary ice water (only sparkling or still) – why liddat?
:pluck, 90 Club Street, Singapore 069458.
Tel: 6225 8286.