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.
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.
2. 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.
Prized white truffles from Alba in the Piedmont region of Italy reign supreme in this seasonal menu that will be available until December 2020. The house-made tagliolini pasta is an earthy, aromatic dish served with a luscious butter sauce and topped with lashings of Alba white truffle. Or you could opt to add white truffles to any of Zafferano’s dishes – we recommend the Sanchoku Wagyu beef striploin served with black garlic purée and mushrooms; or the creamy risotto in saffron sauce with ramsons and roasted bone marrow – at S$15++ per gram.
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.
5. Vienna – The Grand Lobby
Located in the grand dame of hotels, Raffles Singapore, this elegant tearoom is offering an afternoon tea set that is inspired by the lustrous Austrian city. From Vienna sandwiches to lobster crostini and Sachertorte, the menu here will make you feel like you travelled straight to the imperial capital with this selection of treats. Available until 16 December 2020, you can pair it with Mariage Frères premium tea or the Raffles custom-blended coffee. A curated menu of handcrafted cocktails is available, too, for an additional fee.
6. Peru – OLA Cocina Del Mar
For a limited time only, you get to travel to the South American country and indulge in four Peruvian dishes that feature healthful Peruvian ingredients such as chia seeds, sweet potato, tricolor quinoa seeds, camu camu berry powder, and dried Inca golden berries. Specially crafted by OLA’s chef-owner Daniel Chavez and head chef Tamara Chavez, the special menu is available only from 23 November to 18 December 2020. You might find the Arroz Chaufa particularly comforting – it’s a twist on the Chinese fried rice dish that was first introduced by Chinese immigrants to Peru. OLA’s fragrant version comprises red and white quinoa grains, which are stir-fried with calamari, octopus, pork and peanuts and served with tartar sauce. The Ceviche Inka is also a standout, with the classic raw fish served with passion fruit tiger’s milk, criolla, purple sweet potato and chia seeds.
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.