The hot and rainy month of June brings a smattering of new restaurants, from those looking to fill a niche in the market, to others who are established and starting over.
And as we’re anticipating the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2019 to be held in Singapore for the first time later this month, we’ll be seeing celebrity chefs descending on our city and serving up some amazing collaborative meals along the way.
Following chef-owner Sam Aisbett’s departure, owner Datin Karen H’ng has turned the erstwhile modern Australian restaurant to a Japanese-influenced modern French one. The new head chef running the show is chef Takuya Yamashita, who has worked at fine dining restaurant Étude in Paris and Ciel et Sol in Tokyo. He practises La Cuisine Naturelle, or cuisine of the natural body, where the essence of each seasonal ingredient is highlighted and enhanced.
In the five- and eight-course degustation dinner menus ($138 and $168), produce from chef Yamashita’s hometown Nara, such as tea, sake and somen feature; alongside seasonal fish from Kyushu and Southeast Asian ingredients available locally. The dish Ikejime, for instance, comprises steamed Kyushu fish served in lobster stock with Hokkaido scallop and seasonal vegetables.
#01-26/27 CHIJMES, 30 Victoria Street. Tel: 6837 0402. Dinners, Tue-Sat.
It was not too long ago that Singaporean chef Gan Ming Kiat shared his thoughts on turning his private dining popup into a restaurant. Now he is ready to open for business on 25 June. Expect more of his signature Singapore-inspired omakase-style meals ($138 per person) at his new 13-seater.
75 Brighton Crescent. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dinners (7.45pm), Tue-Sat.
Under the direction of 1-Group, who is also behind other restaurants such as Stellar at 1-Altitude and Botanico, the Alkaff Mansion has refreshed its F&B offerings. Two Basque-themed establishments, the new TXA Pintxo Bar, and UNA restaurant, formerly located at One Rochester, reside with Wildseed Café, an offshoot of Wildseed cafe & bar at The Summerhouse, Seletar Aerospace Park.
At TXA Pintxo Bar, pintxos or bar snacks made with various Basque country ingredients accompany Spanish wines, ciders, and signature cocktails. UNA on the second floor serves up hearty plates such as Fidel’s De Calamares or squid ink Spanish noodles paella with crispy calamari ($20), and the well-loved Cochinillo Asado ($42) or Spanish crispy roasted suckling pig. Meanwhile, the al fresco Wildseed Café on the ground floor offers pretty pastries and cakes to enjoy amidst charming greenery.
10 Telok Blangah Green. Tel: 6773 0070. TXA Pintxo Bar: Evenings, Mon-Sat; UNA: Evenings, Wed-Sun; Wildseed Café: Daily.
For a quick and satisfying meal in the CBD, there’s now the option of having Mexican spit-roasted chicken. Started by the Loco Group who brought us other Mexican restaurant and bar concepts such as Super Loco and Lucha Loco, Chico Loco uses antibiotic-free, hormone-free, cage-free and organic-fed produce in their spit-roasted chicken (from $9 for a quarter). The birds are brined for 10 hours, then basted with an inhouse Mexican spice and herb blend and roasted over a naked flame. If you’re not in the mood for chicken, there are alternatives such as spit-roasted dry rubbed lamb shoulder (from $12 for 125g), lamb burrito ($16) or Mexican prawn toast ($13).
102 Amoy Street. Tel: 9738 7828 (WhatsApp). 8am-10pm, Mon-Thur. Mornings, Fri. Evenings, Sat.
This new Peranakan restaurant is Desmond Lim, Chairman, Les Amis Group’s passion project, and his way of paying tribute to his Peranakan heritage and to his grandmother. Chef Chong Jun Xiang’s not Peranakan himself, but receives plenty of feedback from Lim and Lim’s cousin Gloria Teo, who serves as menu consultant. Some of the highlights on the menu include IB’s Nonya poh piah ($32 for four rolls), made with freshly made egg skins and turnip, bamboo shoot, pork belly and fried beancurd; bakwan kepiting soup ($22) featuring hand-rolled balls of crab, prawn, minced pork and bamboo shoots; and apom with three pengats ($14 for six pieces) a rice cakes dessert served with D24 durian, jackfruit and banana cooked in gula melaka and coconut milk.
#03-09/10/11 Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road. Tel: 6235 3218. Lunch and dinners, Tue-Sun.
World’s 50 Best Restaurants Meals
Gourmands are in luck as more than a few top chefs will be in town later this month for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards to be held for the first time in Singapore. Some of the collaborative meals to look forward to include chef Shigeru Koizumi of ESORA and Zaiyu Hasegawa of DEN‘s playful take on modern Japanese dining on 21-23 June (eight-course dinner, $488); a Peruvian odyssey on 22 June in a Straits Clan takeover by Pia Leon, head kitchen chef of Central restaurant and Latin America’s Best Female Chef in 2018 ($150 for Straits Clan members and $220 for guests); and an eight-hands dinner ($888 for a multi course menu) featuring Odette x Mirazur x Alleno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen x Atelier Crenn on 23 June. This meal is particularly special as it’s put together following chef Dominique Crenn’s announcement of her fight against breast cancer. All proceeds from the dinner go to breast cancer awareness organisations.
Over at Marina Bay Sands, the official event venue for the World’s 50 Best Restuarants Awards, look out for a four-hands lunch ($450) on 23 June by chef Tetsuya Wakuda of Waku Ghin and Spanish-American chef José Andrés, who was awarded the World’s 50 Best Restaurants American Express Icon Award 2019. Over at CUT on 23 June, chef de cuisine Brandon Galitz presents a one-night only dinner ($300) with chef-owner Jorge Vallejo of Mexican restaurant Quintonil, while at Spago on 24 June, chef de cuisine Greg Bess prepares a four-hands dinner ($250) with Tim Butler of Eat Me.