April is a quiet time for new openings, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing good entering the Singapore food scene. The Dragon Chamber and Yujin Izakaya are both fun and daring concepts that takes modern Asian cooking to a higher degree, while Shang Social will mark Shangri-La’s first standalone dining establishment. This month also sees the ‘comeback’ of two concepts: Chef Rishi Naleendra’s rebranded Cheek Bistro, and One-Ninety at the Four Seasons, which returns after a massive renovation. Also, cocktails made with alpine herbs, anyone?
New Restaurants in Singapore
Cheek By Jowl may have closed its doors, but Chef Rishi Naleendra isn’t going anywhere just yet. Led by a young kitchen team that he trained himself, Cheek Bistro offers the same modern Australian fare you know and love — only now it’s toned down to the comforting and hearty notes of bistro cooking. Distinctively Cheek creations include the Beef Tartare ($26) with millet, endives, and smoked maple, Spanish Mackerel ($32) with zucchini, and Waffle slathered with Chicken Liver Parfait ($6 per piece). As always, the wine list is an impressive 80 label-strong, with a number of cocktails ready to tantalise.
Cheek Bistro is located at 21 Boon Tat St, Singapore 069620, p. +65 6221 1911. Open Mon-Fri 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm, Sat 6pm – 11pm. Closed Sun.
Guccio represents the surname, hence, the origins that Chef Marco Guccio wants to showcase in his cooking. His style? Homemade, hearty cooking that doesn’t rely on top ingredients. Rather, each of his dishes has one ingredient at the center of the flavour experience, like the poached and pan-seared Sardinian octopus in Polipo ($40) and caramelised Japanese eggplants in his Melanzana ($22). In fact, why not go for Marco’s degustation menu (from $108 for four courses) for a journey across Italy’s various regions? His creations are paired with the best Italian wine labels available, and don’t worry about asking for a recommendation.
Guccio Ristorante is located at 20 Gemmill Ln, Singapore 069256, p. +65 6224 1684. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 11pm, Sat 5.30pm – 11pm. Closed Sun.
The Dragon Chamber
First things first: The Dragon Chamber is not your grandma’s Chinese restaurant, and definitely not a place for political correctness. There are things like braised crocodile foot, mammal innards, and for the adventurous, Crocodile Penis Soup. But not everything here is like that — this partnership between Ebb and Flow Group and Tung Lok Group also has ’normal’ food, from Mala Fries to Cheeseburger Eggrolls and something called Dragon Mountain (lobster fried with fiery Sichuan spices). This is a world reminiscent of Chinatown gambling dens and secret society hangouts, so yes, it’s pretty darn cool.
The Dragon Chamber is located at 2 Circular Rd, Singapore 049358, p. +65 6805 8181. Open 12pm – 2.30pm, 5pm – 12am.
Yujin Izakaya is a fun non-pretentious place to unwind, even if it doesn’t look like your regular izakaya. Walk through the metal mesh doors into a large room dressed in black, with a copper-laden open kitchen to boot. This is where chef-owner Freddie Lee fires up a dynamic assortment of creative small plates: think juicy grilled King Oyster Mushroom ($8) and Iberico Pork Jowl ($15) that’s been slow-cooked to tender perfection. Don’t miss the handmade Tsukune meatballs ($6) with chicken meat and cartilage too. In true izakaya fashion, enjoy your food with highballs, shochu, or a delicious Yuzu Sour ($15).
Yujin Izakaya is located at 56 Zion Rd, Singapore 247781, p. +65 6235 0429. Open Mon-Thu 5pm – 11pm, Fri-Sat 5pm – 12am.
When The Shangri-La Group announced the launch of its first standalone dining establishment, we knew we had to get in on this. Shang Social, which launches at Jewel Changi Airport this month, pays tribute to three distinct Chinese cuisines — Cantonese, Huaiyang, and Sichuan — across three concepts. DINING is a formal dining space where you’ll find a glorious deep-fried Whole Boneless Chicken stuffed with glutinous rice. There’s also BAR, which will pair unique cocktails with Chinese tapas, and MRKT, a contemporary marketplace abuzz with exclusive delicacies and casual dining – think Bamboo Noodles with dark soya sauce and lard!
Shang Social is located at Jewel Changi Airport, 78 Airport Blvd, #01-219 to 222, Singapore 819666, p. +65 6346 0260. Open daily 9am – 11pm.
There was Botanico, Botanist, The Botanic, and now we have BOTANY — confusing much? This fresh concept by Dazzling Café is housed along the scenic Robertson Quay, boasting high ceilings, full-length windows, and pristine marble walls. In other words, it’s the perfect place for whipping out your cameras. With an east-meets-west food programme in mind, tuck into wholesome Asian fare such as Granny’s Chicken Congee and vegetarian Impossible™ Mapo Tofu Rice Bowl, or veer into brunch-ready plates of Uni Truffle Capellini and Laksa Spaghetti from $12.
BOTANY is located at 86 Robertson Quay, #01-03 Singapore 2380245, p. +65 6951 4861. Open Sun-Tue 9am – 10pm, Wed-Sat 9am – 11pm. Closed Mon.
Need a semi-buffet fix? One-Ninety, the Modern Asian brasserie at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore has reopened after a botanical transformation, with lunch starting from just $38. Expressing his love for Provençal cuisine and the kaleidoscope of Asian flavours, Chef Kamarl starts every meal with artisanal sourdough and seaweed butter that’s prepared fresh daily. Then, tuck into the Snapper Bouillabaisse — his take on the traditional Provençal dish with fresh roasted red snapper, clams, tiger prawns and bouchot mussels in a broth of spicy daikon and lemongrass. Seafood lovers can also order the signature Seasonal Seafood Tower, replete with ocean-fresh Maine lobster, king crab, scallops, tuna, and more.
One-Ninety Restaurant is located at 190 Orchard Boulevard, Singapore 248646, p. +65 6831 7250. Open daily 12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm, Sunday Brunch 12pm – 3pm.
Blending French cooking techniques with Japanese cuisine isn’t the easiest thing to do, but Gake handles it pretty well. This is where Chef Angus Chows, an alum of Les Amis, FOC, and Boruto presents contemporary Japaneses signatures like the Charcoal Karaage ($15.80) — crispy chicken dredged in charcoal and Grilled King Mushroom ($12.80), cooked in a Kopa charcoal oven and seasoned with cajun spices and lime. If you have time, opt for the Omakase ($98 for eight courses) that sees everything from succulent beef short ribs to a plump Hiroshima oyster dressed in sesame ponzu.
Gake is located at 36 Carpenter St, p. +65 6781 3603, Singapore 059915. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 12am, Sat 6pm – 12am. Closed Sun.
New Bars in Singapore
The Lounge Bar at JAG
Thought Restaurant JAG’s alpine herb-focused menu was interesting? Wait until you get a taste of the cocktails upstairs at The Lounge Bar. Led by resident alchemist Yong Siang Neo, the bar programme is an extension of Michelin Starred Chef Jérémy Gillon’s own curation 40 indigenous herbs from Savole. Looking for a slightly bitter pour? The Hyssop ($18) utilises the namesake minty herb together with infused rum, bitters, and St Germaine liqueur. Another drink, the Sapin ($18) features a striking pine tree fragrance that’s complemented with vodka, blueberry puree, maraschino syrup and Prune Eau De Vie.
The Lounge Bar at JAG is located at L2, 76 Duxton Rd, Singapore 089535, p. +65 3138 8477. Open Tue-Sat 6pm – 11.30pm. Closed Sun.
Mythz & Myths
Mythz & Myths is the new project of Martin Wong, who you might recognise as the former Head Chef of Tess Bar & Kitchen. This dual-concept restaurant and bar comes rooted in Nordic influences, and in the case of the latter, quite a bit of interesting mythology. Mixing up fascinating stories with Japanese bartending sensibilities, their bartender Darren Lim has a whole repertoire of theatrical cocktails up his sleeves — with sours as his speciality. Try the R.E.D ($22), a concoction of Mount Gay Black Barrel, mulled wine, Lillet Blanc, and lemon juice.
Mythz & Myths is located at #01-00 CMO Building, 50 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058682, p. +65 9733 4377. Open Mon-Fri 12pm – 12am, Sat 5pm – 12am. Closed Sun.
Top Image: The Lounge Bar at JAG