Singapore’s obsession with wining and dining continues into 2016; with new establishments popping up at foodie enclaves like Ann Siang, Dempsey, and National Gallery, this month’s bumper edition of Just Opened brings you 15 new restaurants and bars in Singapore to check out in the first month of 2016.
Happy New Year!
Having popped up at the likes of Kranji Countryside Farmers’ Market and Savour, you might be familiar with Bjorn Shen’s Thai-inspired Bird Bird. Specialising in, well, birds – think gai yang and fried chicken – and other Thai delights, this new 40-seater eatery is so unapologetically tacky that it’s good. From providing markers for you to graffiti the toilets (along the lines of #ilikebigbirdsandicannotlie) to the neon pink lighting, Bird Bird takes fun dining to the next level. Try the Umami Corn and the Nugget Talay (seafood nuggets), as well as Bjorn’s signature Chicken Skin Sundae for dessert.
Bird Bird is located at 18 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069698.
Spearheading the emergence of new restaurants at National Gallery – and probably the most anticipated – is Odette, a collaboration between the talented Chef Julien Royer (formerly of JAAN) and the Lo & Behold Group. Named after Chef Royer’s grandmother, the essence of Odette is modern French food guided by seasonal and artisanal produce. Diners can expect four to six course menus for lunch and six to eight course menus for dinner. At the time of writing, the restaurant is fully booked for dinner till February 2016, so we highly recommend reservations at this gorgeous 32-seater fine dining restaurant.
Odette is located at #01-04, 1 St Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957. Tel: +65 6385 0498
Smoke and mirrors might be a metaphor for deception, but we’re glad to say this rooftop bar at National Gallery Singapore is anything but. Formerly of Tippling Club, Yugnes Susela heads the bar team at Smoke & Mirrors, and his cocktail menu is influenced by Asian flavours and artwork in the gallery. Premium beers on taps and wines by the glass complete the alcohol selection. The bar nibbles, while not outstanding, are adequate with options like Crispy Fish Skin ($10) and Homemade Crispy Roasted Pork Belly ($16).
Smoke & Mirrors is located at #06-01 National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrews Road, Singapore 178957. Tel: +65 6384 5595
Yet another venture by the Park Hotel Group, Yàn is an affluent Chinese restaurant that is located directly underneath its sister enterprise Smoke & Mirrors. Born in Hong Kong with 20 years of experience in the kitchen, Head Chef Chan Kung Lai flaunts his expertise of Chinese culinary techniques by assembling a wide variety of traditional Cantonese food, and diners can expect textbook dishes such as the signature Peking Duck ($40/half, $80/whole) and Crispy Roast Suckling Pig ($124/half, $248/whole). Besides the a la carte menu, set menus and a dim sum menu are also available.
Yàn is located at #05-02, National Gallery Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957. Tel: +65 63845585
There seems to be a new wave of all-American diners in Singapore lately, but none are quite as underground as Decker Barbecue. Hidden in a nondescript hallway off Robertson Quay, Decker Barbecue is a joint partnership between Min Chan of Club Street Social and the American-born Elliot Decker. Scattered across the premises are rustic picnic tables with humble paper sheets, while a blazing open-kitchen churns out a medley of comfort food favourites such as Tender Pulled Pork ($9/100g), Beef Brisket ($16/100g), and Mac & Cheese ($9).
Decker Barbecue is located at #01-17, 60 Robertson Quay, Singapore 238252. Tel: +65 6635 8565
Situated on the 40th floor of CapitaGreen, Artemis is a luxurious rooftop restaurant and bar that prides itself on quality and sustainability. All the meats are strictly grass-fed and hormone-free, and they supposedly offer the largest selection of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes in Singapore! Flavours at Artemis Grill lean heavily on those from the Mediterranean – think coastal Spain, Southern France, Italy, and Greece.
Artemis is located at CapitaGreen #40-01, 138 Market Street, Singapore 048946. Tel: +65 6635 8677
It’s as if every new restaurant that opens at Keong Saik Road is immediately expected to be successful, perhaps due to the brilliant establishments already in the area. To its advantage though, Meta’s culinary team is led by a proven talent in Chef Sun Kim, an alumnus of Tetsuya’s in Sydney and Waku Ghin (Singapore). Expect tasting menus (five courses at $88++ and eight courses at $128++) that feature Asian influenced European mash-ups like Wagyu Tartare with Korean Pear Kimchi. Vegetarians can also (finally) indulge in Chef Sun’s five-course dedicated vegetarian menu.
Meta is located at 9 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089117. Tel: +65 6513 0898
You know Portico’s flagship in the Alexandra neighbourhood; well, this popular restaurant has spread its wings by opening a second restaurant in Dempsey Hill. Housed in a former army barrack, this industrial chic restaurant promises to dazzle by giving fresh ingredients elaborate twists to create complex and unexpected flavours. In addition, diners can look forward to special produce such as wagyu beef from Japan’s Tochigi prefecture, an import that is exclusive to Portico Prime.
Portico Prime is located at 10 Dempsey Road, #01-20, Singapore 247700. Tel: +65 6474 7427
Local businesses rarely, if ever, surround themselves with patriotism. However, if one establishment can get away with the flag-waving rhetorics, it has to be the National Kitchen by Violet Oon. With an admirable end goal of obtaining global recognition for Singaporean cuisine, Violet Oon’s latest pet project is aptly located in the National Gallery Singapore, with both indoor and outdoor seating available to diners. In addition to serving their famed Peranakan dishes, this true-blue Singaporean restaurant will also whip up a mouth-watering list of Indian, Hainanese, and Eurasian cuisine.
National Kitchen by Violet Oon is located at Level 2, National Gallery Singapore
1 St Andrews Road, Singapore 178957. Tel: +65 9834 9935
Deftly combining the flavours of Australian and Vietnamese cuisine, Fat Saigon Boy is a nifty new Ann Siang eatery that whips up flavourful rice and noodle dishes. On top of the quintessential Pho, diners can look forward meatier dishes such as the Chargrilled Lemongrass Pork and Vietnamese-style Chicken – all going at a wallet-friendly $13 each. Wash it all down with bottles of Australian beer for the best of both worlds.
Fat Saigon Boy is located at 14 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069694. Tel: +65 6221 6784
Previously a dimly lit watering hole for its Roberson Quay residents, Verre Modern Bistro & Wine Bar has undergone a snazzy revamp on the food and interior decorative fronts. With an emphasis on pairing fine French cuisine with an extensive (and not-too-expensive) list of contemporary and traditional wines, the culinary highlight by Chef Masashi of Shelter in the Woods include the Tarte Flambée Forest ($22), the Wagyu Beef Filet ($62), and the Lamb Chop with Moroccan Couscous & Mint Sauce ($46).
Verre Modern Bistro & Wine Bar is located at 8 Rodyk Street, Singapore 238216. Tel: +65 6509 1917
With a whimsical approach to cooking, Kite is the latest purveyor of fusion food in Singapore. For instance, their ‘small bowls’ menu features a range of progressive dishes with heavy Asian influences, such the pairing of lap cheong (Chinese sausage) oil with some (thin Japanese wheat flour noodles). Head Chef Dannel Krishnan also pays tribute to his Eurasian roots with a textbook Sugee Cake, whilst Bar Manager Samuel Sim shakes up locally-inspired cocktails such as the Who Moved My Kueh; with pandan vodka, cointreau, passion fruit, fresh lime and egg white.
Kite is located at 53 Craig Road, Singapore 089691. Tel: +65 9729 7988
Cushy furniture pieces, graffiti-plastered walls, and the vibe of an American diner makes Laugh a worthwhile bar that complements the one-of-a-kind South Beach Hotel. Tipplers can help themselves to an array of premium spirits and house-made cocktails such as the signature Laugh Laugh ($18); an intoxicating blend of vodka, butterscotch syrup, lime juice and fresh raspberries.
Laugh is located at 30 Beach Road, Singapore 189763. Tel: +65 6818 1888
Popular brunch spot Spruce Phoenix Park is veering away from its American food origins (brunch is still served on weekends and public holidays, 9am-3.45pm) towards fuss-free Italian cuisine. Helming the Spruce Ristorante kitchen is Chef Mauro Scotto, former Chef-Owner of one Michelin-starred Ristorante Rocca Bruna in Italy, who will be dishing out classic Italian delights made with fresh ingredients. Try the supremely tender Polpette al Pomodoro (pork meatballs served with Parmesan in tomato sauce, $14) and the Tonno alle Erbe (pan-seared yellowfin tuna with broccoli flan, $28).
Spruce Ristorante is located at 320 Tanglin Road, Singapore 247980. Tel: +65 6836 5528
Singapore’s Korean craze is just about to get hotter with Vatos Urban Tacos at South Beach Quarter. Opened by three Korean-Americans in 2011, Vatos Urban Tacos specialises in mixing traditional Korean ingredients with Mexican street tacos. As with any other South Korean fixation, the popularity of this fast food chain swept across Seoul at a dizzying rate, culminating in legions of fans from places like Gangnam to Yongsan. We wouldn’t be surprised if the exact same thing happened in Singapore.
Vatos Urban Tacos is located at 36 Beach Rd, Singapore 189677. Tel: +65 63856010 or +65 63856970
Top Image: Tortino di datteri e Ginger at Spruce Ristorante