Taiwanese tapas, Nanyang cuisine, Michelin-star Sichuan, a surprise in the CBD and a damn good reason to go to Sentosa Golf Club. Our Hot New Tables are in…
You know we live for food here at Honeycombers. Have you eaten your way through these recent arrivals on the Singapore food scene yet?
Here’s the big reveal: Ibid is the first restaurant of Wai Leong Woo, who you might remember as the first winner of MasterChef Asia. And let’s talk about that name: Ibid, which means ‘the same source’ isn’t that surprising when you realise that Wai Leong’s style of food is driven by family and memory: he’s been cooking with his mum since he was a kid, so of course there are comforting Chinese flavours here. But there’s also that modern, Western sensibility of any Singaporean under 40 (he studied law in the UK along the way), a sharp technique that goes the extra inch and a knack for surprise.
This East-West approach is being hailed as Nanyang Cuisine. And we want more. Take Wai Leong’s tea egg: there’s the familiarity of orange and rock sugar in the broth, and depth of shiitake alongside a brilliantly wobbly sous vide egg, but it’s all brightened by fennel fronds. The pork collar – brined and grilled over charcoal – is perfection. What seems like a French-style sauce reveals oriental sour and sweet notes, courtesy of Chinese vinegar and red fermented bean burd, purely ‘for funk’. And then there’s his white radish: an Asian ingredient made sinful (you’ll have to try it yourself). He created this dish as a personal challenge, to satisfy his vegetarian sister, and it’s the best incarnation of white radish you’ll ever taste. There’s certainly life after MasterChef.
Restaurant Ibid; 18 North Canal Road, Singapore 048830
Straight up, this is the coolest thing to happen to Sentosa Golf Club. Panamericana’s menu spans Argentina to Mexico, Cuba and back: and from the empanadas with chimichurri to the scorched corn and grilled meat straight from the asada (spot the beasts being cooked over coals as you walk in), this is one fantastic menu. We’re into the decor here too: colonial-chic chairs, black and white tiles to die for and an emerald green bar you want to perch yourself next to… but that killer view of the South China sea seals the deal for us. You’ll need to nurse one of the ‘adult Fantas’ or indulge in the $10 booze and juice (how good is the rum and fresh coconut?) so you enjoy that scene a little longer. This place has Sunday vibes written all over it.
Panamericana, Sentosa Golf Club, 27 Bukit Manis Rd, Singapore 099892
Yellow Pot at Six Senses Duxton
We’ve been doing some thorough research at Yellow Pot, which serves up a sophisticated take on Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine, and across the team it’s unanimous: the roast duck here is ridiculously good. The crispy skin- tender-flesh contrast is spot on. More most-eats? The comforting steamed Kühlbarra barramundi with coriander, ginger and scallion pesto and stir-fried organic grass-fed beef with just a hint of Sichuan to tickle (but not numb) your senses. Oh and make sure you have a nightcap at the bar so you can sip on the mandarin-infused twist on a Tom Collins. Better yet, stay for the night so you can do breakfast here too: that chilli crab omelette is one hot way to kickstart your weekend…
Yellow Pot, Six Senses Duxton, 88 Duxton Rd, Singapore 089540
The Salted Plum
Taiwanese tapas? It’s a thing, thanks to The Salted Plum. What started out as a popup now has a permanent home on Circular Road, with dishes rolling out from $5 a pop. And it’s good. Seriously good. You know things are off to a good start when the first thing you zone in on the menu is “Pork chop. Juicy AF.” What else catches our eye? Braised pig intestines with fresh garlic (yes, we’ll go there), burnt chilli chicken and fries: which turn out to be smashed potato, best enjoyed slathered in nori mayo. The real highlight? The pork belly, which dissolves in your mouth as a fatty little foodgasm. And we’ve just gotta mention the service here. You get genuine smiles and when you walk through the door and friendly, attentive service even at lunchtime, which is crazy o’clock here. Yes this still shocks us in Singapore. The Salted Plum, you’d better be here to stay.
The Salted Plum, 10 Circular Rd, Singapore 049366
We’ll admit it: we tend to be suspicious of multi-concept endeavours as there’s always the threat of spreading the magic way too thin. We’re also a tad skeptical of restaurants in CBD complexes, created for the office crowd. All-day dining destination The Spot, by the folks behind 1885 The Bottle Shop, boasts a cigar room, bottle store, cafe and breakfast bar, The Macallan Boutique and whisky bar – but we’ve completely had our faith restored. Truth be told, we had no idea what to expect food-wise, but now this: executive chef Lee Boon Seng is a real talent. His menu is complex, clever and spiked with Asian influences. The entire table is silenced by a comforting roasted carrot soup with a lemongrass lift; we become mesmerised when luminous coriander broth is poured over pan-fried skate and the beef short rib, so tender you can scoop it with a spoon, proves to be sublime. A unanimous fave? That crispy snapper you see above. It was the curry sauce that clinched it. One of the best dining finds in the CBD, we say.
The Spot, 5 Straits View, Marina One, #01-26/27, 018935
The Butcher’s Wife
For the gluten-free crowd lamenting the loss of Open Door Policy, The Butcher’s Wife (which has sprung up in its place on Yeong Siak street) will make it all better. And yes, you can eat that focaccia: everything on the menu here is gluten-free, and leans towards modern Mediterranean comfort food. You don’t have to be gluten-intolerant to go all in here: they had us at Pappardelle with osso bucco ragu. Intrigued? Check out our full review of The Butcher’s Wife.
The Butcher’s Wife, 19 Yong Siak Street, Yong Siak View, Singapore 168650
Okay, PS.Cafe crew: you know how to conjure up a cool new space. Stop showing off already. Jypsy is the boho Japanese baby that’s taken the place of Chopsuey Cafe on Martin Road, and we like what we see. It’s a casual, contemporary vibe, from the decor down to the menu. Think rainbow sashimi, ace beef tatake and crispy as hell chicken karage, but the produce is serious stuff: fish is air-flown from Japan, and even the wasabi has some serious thought behind it. Best of all? It’s affordable, at around $14 dish. Read our full review of Jypsy and come with friends.
Jypsy; No.38 Martin Road, S 239072
Qi – House of Sichuan
There are people who love Sichuan, who live for that next hit of mouth numbness and flavour saturation, the magic of fatty pork bits, salty-sweet black beans, the firestorm of chillies, and that electric hit of the peppers. There are others who sweat at the sight of Sichuan pepper. Qi is probably not for the latter. The legendary and Michelin-starred Hong Kong restaurant has opened only its second set of doors in Singapore’s Marina Bay Link Mall, and we’re excited. The concept – a modern, elegant spin on big, punchy Sichuan cuisine – is an instant hit. There is much we need to discuss, but space here only for the braised garoupa that comes famously submerged in an oil soup, and which chef Fai creates with a sophisticated balance of broth to oil. It’s magnificent, served in a bowl the size of a lazy Susan, ladled and strained, fabulously moist and brilliantly rich. The numbness has since worn off; the salivation continues.
Qi – House of Sichuan; 8A Marina Boulevard, #02-01 Marina Bay Link Mall, Singapore
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