In this month’s edition of Hot New Tables: Saint Ma, Aura, Clinton St. Baking Company, Hashida Garo and more
Hear ye, food crusaders! The haze might continue to kill our lungs, but it’ll never kill our appetites. We round up another assortment of restaurants this November – alfresco Brazilian barbecues, Euro-Asian garden dining and Italian delicacies with a kickass view. Beat the haze with this November food craze.
The IndoChine Group never misses the mark when it comes to fusion-fuelled Indo-Chinese cuisine. Nestled within Suntec City’s newly revamped Sky Garden, this well-ventilated greenery-hugged habitat (a lack of air-conditioning doesn’t dampen the tranquil vibes) serves Euro-Asian fare with Thai, Vietnamese and Cambodian influences. Meant to encourage communal dining (sharing is caring!), Head chef Chatchai Jitrumpheung caters to ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ palates with rice paper hand-rolled with summer fruits and swimmer crab meat ($17) and rice paper hand-rolled with betel leaves and seared sea bass ($16) respectively – both an unorthodox, playful take on the healthy Vietnamese staple. For more mish-mashed delights, the Norwegian salmon tartare ($16) is another recommendation for the ravenous – think herb-sprinkled melt-in-mouth salmon chunks contrasting against crunchy roasted rice powder. The Vietnamese Luc Lac ($28) also hits the spot with its hotplate-served Australia grass-fed beef; its garlicky flavours given a tangy treatment with a sour-sweet dip. And honestly, does it get better than creamy, caramelised Vietnamese coffee crème brulee ($12)? No it doesn’t, friends. It doesn’t.
Saint Ma, 3 Temasek Boulevard, #03-300/301 Suntec City Sky Garden, Singapore 038983, p. 6332 0322. Open Mon-Sat 12pm-10.30pm.
Carne & Caipirinha
What do cowboys, charcoal and churrascarias have in common? Make your way to the Wild West of SG (we kid; Clementi’s Sunset Way ain’t that far off), and you’ll find a meat-mongering 74-seater resto that will sum up that answer with one word: Brazil. Carne & Caipirinha’s kitchen honcho is Chef Noelio Scheibel, a Gaucho (that’s a Brazilian cowboy) who hails from Rio Grande do Sul, and he’s applying his 36 years of churrasco grilling experience to this al-fresco hangout. For just $49.90, you can wolf down a buffet without ever leaving your seat, as staff will personally tend to your meaty cravings via a traditional Rodízio (rotation) style of service.
Imported directly from Brazil, the charcoal-roasted beef is this spread’s star attraction. The beef rump cap (picanha) is sinfully lardy with a buttery consistency, and the beef hump (cupim) is a rare cut from humped Brazilian cattle – its extensive marbling providing a dual-layered mouthful of crackliness and fattiness. The chicken hearts are chewy convo-starters that will satiate any offal-loving daredevil, and the grilled pineapple retains all its acidic juices despite being crispy on the outside. Fish and lamb legs are also served, as are pork ribs and belly (the latter a bit on the overcooked side for us). But frankly, its exquisite beef cuts are enough to convert us into return visitors to Carne & Caipirinha – an authentic, exotic slice of Brazil.
Carne & Caipirinha, Clementi Street 12, Blk 106 #01-50 Sunset Way, Singapore 120106, p. 6464 0478. Open Mon-Sat 5.30pm-11pm, Sundays 5-11pm.
This restaurant’s name embodies two things – a pristine ambience that captures the art of chic Italian cuisine, and the Italian phonetic portrayal of “Ora”, meaning “in the present” in English. True enough, Aura’s elegant arrival in the food scene coincides with the gradual reopening of The National Gallery; a new chapter for both food and the arts. Located on the fifth floor, the 90-seater is furnished with Uragano wicker chairs and lighting sculptures commissioned from local artist Mona Choo (#supportlocal always!).
That said, there were masterpieces to be found in the dishes as well. The scallops crudo with truffle and smoked quail eggs ($25) won our affections early; the scallop’s sweet softness matching the lightly-salted ooziness of the eggs. No Italian restaurant gets cred without decent pasta. Rest assured, Aura won a gazillion brownie points from us with its tagliolini with scampi and avruga caviar ($38) – a savoury, umami-tinged tum-filler with a pasta texture in between angel hair and linguine. An eye-opener in the presentation department was the black cod baked in cartoccio ($35) – a traditional Italian method of cooking fish in a bag, locking in moisture without causing sogginess. Another trump card that Aura has in its hand is the Aura Sky Lounge, one level up. There, we dug into saccharine treats like Amedei chocolate and banana cake ($18) and Bailey’s and hazelnut feuillantine ($15) while taking in a top-notch view of The Padang and the SG skyline. Possibly our new fave locale to kick back and relish an Old Fashioned ($16).
Aura, 1 St. Andrews Road, #05-03 and #06-02 National Gallery Singapore, Singapore 178957, p. 6866 1977. Open daily 12pm-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm.
Clinton St. Baking Company & Restaurant
Direct from Manhattan’s Lower East Side to Purvis Street, Clinton St. Baking Company & Restaurant is the city’s latest dining hot spot to hit the scene – and barely one month in, it’s already causing a buzz thanks to its famously fluffier-than-fluff pancakes. Word of warning though: paired with a luscious homemade maple butter sauce, these little clouds of heaven will make you forget your name – and your diet – for a brief yet intense moment. We kid you not. If you find the strength to tear yourself away from the pancakes, go forth and try other standout dishes on Clinton Street’s all-day breakfast menu, like the Southern breakfast (a comforting combo of eggs, sugar-cured bacon, cheese grits, and fried green tomatoes) and the South-Western-influenced Spanish Scramble.
Clinton St. Baking Company & Restaurant, 31 Purvis Street, Singapore 188608, p. 6684 4845. Open daily 8am-6pm.
Those who know and love Hashida Sushi restaurant in Singapore probably don’t expect master chef-owner Kenjiro ‘Hatch’ Hashida to make desserts the focus of his second venture, but that’s exactly what he did for Hashida Garo. And like any good confectionery shop/café/restaurant in Japan, sweets are exquisite, oh-so pretty, and sometimes, innovative. Best of all, nothing costs more than $20. On the menu are a mix of traditional Japanese desserts, French sweets, and even local-inspired creations like the rare kuzukiri (cold clear kuzu noodles served with sugar syrup and seasonal fruits), mizu majyu (jelly-type dumpling filled with sweet white bean paste swimming in green mint syrup), and chocolate yokan (a rich, jellied dessert made with red bean paste, valrhona chocolate and a dash of sea salt).
But Hashida Garo isn’t just a place for some brilliant post-prandial treats. The multi-concept restaurant is conceptualised to be a dining establishment for all those in-between meals – brunch, afternoon tea, and pre-dinner or supper small plates pair with sake. If you’re there for the booze, order the collagen-rich chawanmushi, the comforting paiten oden, the delicious potato salad, and the fish noodles to line your stomach before knocking back uber-smooth rice wines.
Hashida Garo, 333A Orchard Road, #04-16 Mandarin Gallery, Singapore 238897, p. 6235 2283. Open Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm.
Tras Street’s newest fine dining establishment showcases a unique take on Tokyo-Italian cuisine. Helmed by Italian-trained Japanese Chef Seita Nakahara, Terra offers diners classic Italian dishes made with handpicked Japanese ingredients. One of the earlier courses on his degustation menu was the scallop gratin with red pepper sauce. Served in a miniature Dutch oven, it was hearty, comforting fare that married the delicate taste of scallops with a richly flavoured red pepper sauce. Also, make sure to try the spaghetti with uni and bottarga (cured in house for three weeks). The dish is a veritable balancing act of flavours, the pungent bottarga contrasting, but not overpowering the delicate taste of uni. These delicacies come sprinkled on a pile of spaghetti served al-dente and made from scratch while a dash of Yuzu serves to keep things fresh. Though certainly a fine dining establishment, Terra’s vibe is warm and earthy and aims to present diners with a homely, inviting experience.
Terra, 54 Tras Street, Singapore 078993. p. 6221 5159. Open Mon-Fri 12pm-2pm, Mon-Sat 6.30pm-10pm. Closed on Sunday.
A portmanteau of the words “masi” (delicious) and “jim” (stew), Masizzim is prepped to set fire to your tastebuds with its beef, pork and chicken stews. Ordering is simple: choose a meat, pick a level of spiciness from one to four, then choose between Korean udon and glass noodles. Scared of a little spice? Opt for the soy-based broth instead, which has a delicate sweetness thanks to the addition of pineapples and Korean pear. End your meal on a sweet note with some of its homemade Sikhye – a sweet, cooling concoction made from rice and malted barley. Reasonable prices and the laid-back industrial-chic decor make Masizzim a great place to catch up with friends after work.
Masizzim, #B3-02, 313 Somerset. p. 6509 5808. Open Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm.