What did we do to deserve not just one, but two new whisky bars opening around the same time? Even if you’re not inclined to drinking, there’s plenty of promising restaurants to check out, from vegan-friendly The Botanic to fine dining establishments Preludio and Restaurant Zén.
New Restaurants in Singapore
From the people behind CHIJMES yakiniku stalwart Renga-Ya comes Kindori, a casual restaurant where Japanese fried chicken is the whole she-bang. Fresh kampong chicken, chosen for its deeply flavourful meat is lovingly massaged with Japanese yoghurt and herbs, and deep-fried to a crisp golden. Whole, half, or a basket of wings: order it as you want it with dips like wasabi cream, metaiko mayo, and magic ikura cream. Starting from $6 for a small basket of Chicken Cartilage, you’ll want to take it all in with Japanese craft beers such as Far Yeast Blanc Yuzu ($16) and Echigo Koshikari Lager ($16).
Kindori is located at #01-11/12 (Rengaya), CHIJMES, 30 Victoria Street, Singapore 187996. Mon-Sat 6pm – 11pm, Sun 5.30pm – 10.30pm.
Thevar is a contemporary grill restaurant that, as you might have guessed, showcases creative interpretations of Indian flavours — particularly from the Malay Peninsula. After all, Chef Manogren Murugan Thevar grew up in Penang. This Keong Saik Road joint features a menu of small and large sharing plates in unexpected combinations: Oyster with rasam vinegar and coriander oil ($5), or Grilled Octopus served with masala lentil and tomato confit ($36).
Thevar is located at 9 Keong Saik Rd, Singapore 089117, p. +65 6904 0838. Open Mon-Sat 5pm – 12am. Closed Sun.
Judging by the name, there’s no surprise that The Botanic finds its inspiration in nature. Or that most of the dishes on its menu are plant-based sharing dishes. Helmed by Executive Chef Shannon Binnie – a protege of celebrity chef-restaurateur Luke Mangan – guests can expect creations influenced by Nyonya, Indonesian Thai, Chinese, and Mediterranean flavours. Think Whole Roasted Fish (market price) with young mango and papaya salad, or Free Range Scotch Eggs ($15) with falafel and tabouli, to be complemented with fruit-based cocktails and revitalising iced teas.
The Botanic is located at 252 North Bridge Rd, #01-22A Raffles City Shopping Centre, Singapore 179103, p. +65 6837 0995. Open daily 12pm – 11pm.
A restaurant where black and white is the theme? Enter Preludio, a modern dining concept that changes every 12 to 18 months in distinct stages or ‘chapters’. Rather than serving up dishes from a certain geographical region, Executive Chef Fernando Arévalo’s ‘Author’s Cuisine’ is proudly experimental and almost audacious. Lunch starts at $68 for four courses and dinner at $168 for six (add $132 for wine pairing). What you get: possibly a Burrata covered in a cloud of yoghurt foam with French white beetroots inside, or Toothfish that’s been brined in a tom yum broth of sorts.
Preludio is located at 182 Cecil St, #03-01/02 Frasers Tower, Singapore 069547, p. +65 6904 5686. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm, Sat 6pm – 10.30pm. Closed Sun.
After The English House by Marco Pierre White comes yet another establishment opened by a celebrity chef. This time it’s Restaurant Zén by Swedish chef-restaurateur
Restaurant Zén is located at 41 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Singapore 089855, e. firstname.lastname@example.org. Open Tue-Sat for one seating each night.
Birdy’s is a neighbourhood kitchen and bar in Upper Thomson, a vicinity that was for the longest time filled with cookie-cutter cafes and eateries. Birdy’s looks set to change that with comprehensive Day and Night menus serving elevated bistro-style creations. Their Duck Confit Hash ($18) comprises pulled duck confit with pimento peppers and poached egg, while a Slow Cooked Pork ($25) is made with 12-hour braised pork belly, kecap manis, and served with duck fat potatoes. More than coffee, you’ll also find impressive booze: orange wines, craft beers, and classic cocktails.
Birdy’s is located at 215F Upper Thomson Rd, Singapore 574349. Open Mon, Wed-Thu 10am – 11pm, Fri 10am – 12am, Sat 8am – 12am, Sun 8am – 4pm.
If you’ve been to any other YOTEL around the world, you’ll be familiar with KOMYUNITI, the beating heart and primary dining destination of every hotel. This spanking new space is where Chef Mark Tai, formerly of the one Michelin-starred Cheek by Jowl, whips up worldly dishes like an Aged Beef Tartare ($14) with brown butter, or a Buttermilk Fried Chicken ($13) crusted with cornmeal and served with succotash – all meant for sharing. To pair, how about some cocktails from the bar? We say go for the KOMpliment ($18), the YOTEL signature sour with butterfly pea flower-infused gin and hibiscus perfume.
Komyuniti is located at YOTEL Singapore, 366 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238904, p. +65 6866 8000. Open Sun-Fri 11am – 11pm, Sat 11am – 12am.
New Bars in Singapore
Remember The Butter Factory? Its founder Eu-Yen Tay is now back with an exciting new ‘cocktail club’ that, thankfully, departs from the same old nightclub experience. With Chief Bartender Sam Wong behind the bar, Eliza sees carefully curated cocktails like the Drum & Sax ($22), a take on an Old Fashioned using Old Tom Gin and ginger liqueur, and The Custom Cut ($22), a tastefully reinvented Highball that incorporates frozen Campari with orange soda. Paired with classic Chinese dishes and live jazz, this is the epitome of old Shanghainese elegance.
Eliza is located at 113 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068582, p. +65 6781 4708. Open Mon-Fri 5pm – 3am, Sat 6pm – 4am. Closed Sun.
The Copper Plate
Ever seen whisky served by the carafe? Run by the group behind Singapore’s Quaich bars with ex-William Grant & Sons brand ambassador Matthew Fergusson-Stewart at the lead, this whisky spot is experimental, collaborative, and downright different. Starting from $50 per carafe and increasing in price depending on your whisky of choice – did we mention they have a very fine selection? – it’s a social way to drink in larger groups. The Copper Plate also plates up some delicious grub, including seafood noodles, grilled prawns, and barbecued Japanese squid.
The Copper Plate is located at Lanson Place, 167 Penang Rd, Singapore 238462, p. +65 6386 5366. Open Mon-Sat 4pm – 12am. Closed Sun.
Here comes Singapore’s newest whisky spot comes in yet another unlikely place: The Esplanade. With a collection of mainly Scottish whiskies (and more on the independent bottlers), The ExciseMan is designed for those more concerned with quality of the spirits rather than age statements or partisan awards. After all, in-house whisky guy and partnerLewis Mitchell has held a Certification in Distilling by the Institute of Brewing & Distilling (GCD), UK since 2015. Bottles exclusive to The ExciseMan include Invergordon 1966 45 year old Clan Denny ($72 per 30ml pour) and Mystery Distillery from Speyside 24/25 year old Douglas Laing ($52 per 30ml pour).
The ExciseMan Whisky Bar is located at #02-27 Esplanade Mall, 8 Raffles Ave, Singapore 039802, p. +65 6963 1192. Open Mon-Sat 3.30pm – 11.30pm. Closed Sun.
Top Image: Eliza