Singapore might just be a tiny little dot on the map, but let it not be said that the city-state is lacking in the food department. In fact, thanks to Singapore being a cultural melting pot, its diverse and vibrant food scene has emerged as one of the world’s most exciting.
Waves of new restaurant openings occur frequently, and at the same time, restaurants and bars who have been stalwarts in the scene are working hard to bring new and global flavours to diners, so foodies don’t miss out on epicurean adventures while travelling remains restricted.
Here are some innovative new options that will jazz up your dining experience.
1. Argentina – Fire
The “fire-in-the-sky” tagline being used to promote newly opened Fire can be credited to the restaurant’s 218m-high location in the ION Orchard penthouse, as well as to the variety of Argentine wood-fired cooking techniques found in its kitchen. In order to assure authenticity on the menu, leaders in Singapore’s F&B scene 1-GROUP, put together a development team made up of two Argentina-based chefs and representatives from the local embassy. While acclaimed chefs Soledad Nardelli and Patricia Romas were meant to fly over from Buenos Aires, travel limitations meant that the development of the menu had to take place mostly over Zoom.
Luckily, they were able to successfully pass on recipes and skills digitally. The Provoleta, a popular cheese dish commonly served at Argentinian barbecues, is fired on a cast-iron skillet and cooked with capers, sage and shallots. A modern approach is taken to the mollejas, veal sweet breads, served here both breaded and grilled, along with avocado and pine nuts. In honour of Argentina’s tradition of communal dining, multiple sharing sets, including the “Plato De Asado” are available. Serving five, the set comes with a mix of meats, including grain fed beef, slow-cooked sherry- and orange-marinated Iberico pork ribs, lamb saddle on the bone and house-made chorizo sausages. For a sweet finish, the creamy dulce de leche flavours fill the Flan “Adriana” – an ode to the Argentine ambassador’s wife – which is framed with miniature meringues (a dessert made from whipped egg whites and sugar) and fresh berries.
2. Peru – Flnt
Proudly boasting themselves as Singapore’s only Nikkei-influenced sumiyaki bar and grill, Flnt can be found alongside Fire, in a luxurious rooftop space that offers panoramic views of the city. Nikkei cuisine, a Japanese-Peruvian fusion movement made popular by Nobu Matsuhisa, began in the late 19th century when Japanese immigrants from Okinawa began moving to the South American country.
Small dishes, such as the house ceviche – served with lime, yuzu, tomatoes, roasted hazelnuts and avocado – or the mini tacos served with foie gras, flying fish roe and kaffir lime, pair up perfectly with the signature cocktails. The Nuevo Casa, a mix of pisco, yuzu sake and cherry blossom syrup is creatively served in a sake carafe with dried ice. One dish not to miss is the Inka Sushi bowl, where a bowl of sushi rice is topped with thin strips of grilled Wagyu steak served alongside pieces of fresh sea urchin sashimi.
The new menu at Regent Singapore’s Manhattan celebrates six iconic Manhattanites who have made their mark in the arenas of music, film, fashion, the culinary world and politics, such as the late celebrated chef Anthony Bourdain, actor Robert Downey Jr, rock band The Ramones and designer Vera Wang. Comprising 18 new cocktails and six zero-proof beverages, they spotlight the intimate journeys of each of these luminaries.
After Hours, for example, is a cheeky interpretation of Bourdain’s love for truffle focaccia loaded with oozy cheese. To create this, a buttered Never Never Triple Juniper Gin is mixed with Cocchi Americano and Salers Gentiane, and finished with a fried cheddar crisp. Golden Hour – a creamy, floral beverage with rockmelon osmanthus syrup, Belvedere Smogory Forest Vodka, lavender bitters, bitter orange and elderflower tonic – is a perfect representation of Vera Wang, who is known for her intricate bridal gowns.
4. Singapore – Strait Place 1819
A new concept by the folks behind d’Good Café, the recently opened Strait Place 1819 at VivoCity celebrates Singapore’s gastronomic culture and highlights some favourites – but with a modern interpretation. Still, you can be sure the flavours will not stray too far from your hawker favourites. Owner Mike Chin says while they strive to be innovative in their dishes – whether it is in their use of alternative, premium ingredients or in the plating – they are mindful of retaining the essence and taste of the original dish.
Case in point is the beloved bak chor mee (minced meat noodles), which has been given a luxurious refresh here with the addition of scallops, caviar, prawns, poached egg and the use of capellini pasta; while the classic hor fun is elevated with juicy rib eye, thick slabs of toman fish and poached egg. The humble but tasty hokkien mee is topped with soft shell crab, lobster and squids. Complete the meal with a reimagined Singapore Chendol dessert – soft azuki beans and chewy pandan jelly rest on a warm pancake in a skillet, topped with vanilla bean ice cream, crunchy coconut sable and finished with palm sugar syrup – and make sure you say yes to the option of D24 durian flesh (for an additional $3). Fun fact: Almost every rice, pasta and pancake dish here has the addition of Alchemy Fibre, a powder blend of plant-based ingredients that lowers the release of glucose and does not change the dish’s taste.
The atmospheric speakeasy, currently ranked 30th on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list, is offering a new dinner service from Tuesdays to Saturdays. Available from 5pm to 7pm, the “Proper Dinner” menus go beyond basic bar snacks and are recreated with recipes by leading chefs from the United States. First up is a menu with James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein, who is offering Southern Comfort-style cuisine from bar-grill Sweet Liberty in Miami. Tuck into a hearty Michy’s Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and a feta watermelon salad, or a sumptuous steak with au poivre (Hollandaise sauce available on request) and green beans almondine. Wash it down with a selection of cocktails – such as the Brown Derby with Michter’s US*1 Small Batch Bourbon, grapefruit and honey – that is meant to accompany your dish.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.
This story was first published on 31 October 2020.