In this month's edition of Hot New Tables: Artemis Grill, Kakure, Odette, Fu Lin Bar and Kitchen and more.
Good heavens! Have we already come to the end of 2015?! If there’s at least one thing that this speedy year has shown us, it’s that Singapore’s resto scene is showing no signs of slowing down. Wrapping up our last month, we keep the momentum going by putting the spotlight on these trendy new eats. From omakase sake bars to tapas spots serving yong tau foo, to a Mediterranean grill with a divine 40-storey view – make sure you save some space for these food haunts.
Now we’ve had our share of dining experiences that majestically overlook the SG skyline, but the transcendent perspective from Artemis (40 stories up high!) might just take the cake. Its al fresco bar is one swish hangout where you can take in the stratospheric air with a custom cocktail in hand – try the Toffee or not Toffee (Artemis ‘all spice’ rum, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, toffee apple and ginger bitters) for a kick. That said, Artemis’ Mediterranean food selection is just as sensational as its panoramic view. The gambero rosso marries the explosive sweetness of the flash-blanched prawns with the tanginess of gazpacho, and the Alaskan king crab salad serves fresh (not flaky) chunks of meat that tease with contrasting textures of crunchy grilled pimento peppers and buttery avocado. We recommend the feta- and ricotta-stuffed beetroot tortellini for dates, for the garnet hue makes it look like red roses on a plate. And from the grill, we’d go with the Scottish Loch Fyne salmon that shocks with a consistency as smooth as tartare, or the iberico pork presa if you like a spicy wallop – chew together with the saccharine Sicilian tomatoes to neutralise the heat! And whatever you do, please try the fluffy, cloud-like apricot and lavender soufflé for dessert – you won’t regret it.
Artemis Grill, 138 Market Street, Lvl 40 CapitaGreen, Singapore 048946, p. 6635 8677; Open for Mon-Fri, 11.30am-3pm for lunch; Mon-Sat 6pm-10.30pm for dinner.
Did you know? In Japanese, “kakure” can refer to the art of concealing oneself – which is pretty apt considering the clandestine quality of this sake-omakase gem. Helmed by the head honchos behind Ki-sho – from which it’s nestled just one floor above – Kakure’s traditional Meiji- and Taisho-era décor will leave you feeling hidden away from the doldrums of reality. What’s real, however, is Kakure’s attention to quality ingredients in its omakase menu (begins from $88). Savour the yuzu-marinated chewiness of tsubugai (Japanese sea snails), and the melty fattiness of the cured kurobuta kunsei from Kagoshima will, likewise, melt your mind. Try the broth-based tai tan for a light Kyoto take on oden, and the simmered saba misoni brings together a harmony of sweetness and umami with its rich miso sauce. But for the full-on treat (and if you’ve got more bucks to spend), you need to pair Kakure’s artisanal dishes with its extensive array of sakes to unlock a new palette of flavours. Just ask any of Kakure’s sake sommeliers – they include some of the first Singaporeans to be certified in Japan – and they’ll help you choose your tip-top tipple.
Kakure, 29 Scotts Road, Lvl 2 Chateau TCC, Singapore 228224, p. 6733 5251; Open Mon-Sat 6.30pm-1am.
Fu Lin Bar & Kitchen
We hear what you’re thinking, “Isn’t Fu Lin that 20-year-old yong tau foo joint with the tantalising ngo hiang and succulent meat paste wrapped in beancurd skin?”. Bingo! As it turns out, this local food relic has just had a major facelift, turning into a hip tapas bar where patrons can munch on teriyaki-glazed slow-cooked pork feet, truffle potato cubes, and – our personal fave – a sinful *this-must-be-heaven* crab risotto served with spanner crab, salted egg cream, tobiko and leeks. The kitchen even whips up an Inka Menu, serving perfectly-charred fresh squid that brings an izakaya to mind, and meat mains like the juicy iberico steak and the grain-fed US beef (fatty marbling ftw!) served with alfalfa sprouts, onion jam and red wine jus. And in case you were wondering, yes, you can still munch on Fu Lin’s signature yong tau foo – the thick, mildly-sweet gravy trumps all – lest you’re feeling nostalgic.
Fu Lin Bar & Kitchen, 127 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068596, p. 6423 0311; Open Mon-Sat 10am-3pm, 5pm-12am.
As if Haji Lane couldn’t get any hipper, say Bonjourno to this newfangled Italian dining concept! Take a break from your hipster shopping needs (hey, we’re guilty of it too), and let your appetite adjourn to this brainchild of Chef Domenico Cicconi. From growing up in his momma’s kitchen to helming his own, Chef Domenico now brings his dream to fruition by serving traditional Italian fare for all to relish. Mouth-watering must-trys include the maltagliati bolognesi – hand-crafted pasta tossed in Bolognese sauce simmered for three hours, and the penne alia vodka – fit for smoked salmon addicts who don’t mind a boozy twist. And whenever you can’t decide between a pizza or a sandwich, have the best of both worlds! At Ciao, you can go pazzo (that’s Italian for crazy) for a pizzawich, where you can choose between ingredients like parma ham, buffalo mozzarella and pork meat sausage.
Ciao, 8 Haji Lane, #01-01, Singapore 189201, p. 6296 9688; Open Tue-Sun, 5pm-1am.
Hello again, Julien Royer. Five months after leaving Jaan at Swissotel The Stamford, the French chef is back in the kitchen at his own fine-dining restaurant with The Lo & Behold Group, where he puts out honest and seasonal modern French food using the finest artisanal produce he can find. A tribute to Royer’s grandmother (awww), Odette offers four- and six-course menus for lunch, six- or eight-course tasting menus at dinner as well as vegetarian menus, with luxurious-sounding dishes like North Highlands beef tartare, Hokkaido saba, and Tomakomai Arctic surf clam that we’re expecting to blow our minds when we visit very soon.
Odette, #01-04 National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957, p. 6385 0498; Open Mon-Sat 12pm-2pm; 7pm-9:30pm.
Red Eye Smokehouse
They say good things take time, and Red Eye Smokehouse sure knows not to skimp on that. The restaurant, which has recently found home within the hip Jalan Besar neighbourhood in Singapore, spends up to 12 hours smoking their meats, and the result you have on your rustic table is worth making return visits for. On our recent tasting call, there were the US Angus beef brisket, beef short rib, pork jowl, pork belly, smoked duck and locally sourced chicken wings. Here, you order your meats like how you would at a butcher: by weight; and your carnivorous, unornamented meal comes complete with some pretty awesome Southern-style sides like mash, burnt-end beans, and honeyed sweet potatoes ($8 per portion). Read our full review here.
Red Eye Smokehouse, 1 Cavan Road, Singapore 209842, p. 6291 0218; Open Wed-Fri 5pm-10.30pm; Sat 12pm-10.30pm; Sun 12pm-9pm.
Dying for dim sum? Well you’re in for a treat at Avenue Joffre! This Chinese fine dining establishment is captained by Master Chef Ge Xiane, who was, in 1983, voted best dim sum chef in China. To cater to local tastes, she’s created her own version of the classic xiao long bao that swaps out regular broth for a spicy, amped up version that’ll take you by surprise. If the humble XLB isn’t enough to sate your appetite, go for the more substantial pan-fried pork dumpling filled with piping-hot soup. Instead of the thin xiao long bao skin, it’s wrapped in a bun that’s closer to a regular steamed bao. Not to mention, this potential go-to spot for Chinese reunion dinners also cooks up a stellar Hong Kong-style barbecued pork rice.
Avenue Joffre, #02-137, 26 Sentosa Gateway, Resort World Sentosa, Singapore 098138, p. 6570 3213; Open Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10.30pm.
Gyuu+ Yakiniku Grill
Nestled in Emporium Shokuhin, you’ll find a veritable meat-lovers paradise. At the entrance of the restaurant, you’ll come face-to-face with slabs of meat in its specially designed aging room, showcasing fully what treats await you. But this yakiniku style restaurant doesn’t just specialise in rare cuts and dry-aged beef; it also offers a range of lobsters, crabs and prawns, fresh from the emporium’s live tanks. The star of the show here is, without a doubt, the 28-day aged USDA bone-in steak sirloin ($68). The aging process concentrates the flavours and lets the beef naturally break down, leaving you with a tender, intensely flavoured steak. Another cut worth trying is the buttery A5 ‘Miyazaki’ Zabuton ($38) that is richly flavoured and practically melts in your mouth. If you’re not big on beef, however, try the decadent, umami-laden grilled hamachi fillet in shoyu butter ($12).
Gyuu+ Yakiniku Grill at Emporium Shokuhin, #01-18, 6 Raffles Blvd, Singapore 039594, p. 6224 3433; Open daily 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-10pm.
Ash & Elm
This 150-seater at InterContinental Singapore is a breath of fresh air that upholds the tradition of European cuisine. The glow and warmth of natural daylight is welcomed by its skylight canopy, festooned with pendant light chandeliers that can cater to a romantic night-out. And in the same vein as its flora-friendly name, Ash & Elm has adorned its interior with natural materials like exotic marble and aged oak timbre – almost like you’re dining within a tree. Food-wise, we recommend the Ash & Elm Platter ($24 for small/$42 for large): a charcuterie showcase of house-cured beef pastrami, hot smoked pork loin, cold-roasted beef, air-dried pork belly, and even pressé de foie gras with smoked duck. Sizzling from Ash & Elm’s Charcoal Grill Kitchen (beefing up meat offerings with caramelisation-inducing Manuka woodchips from New Zealand) are beef tasting selections ($108) and meat tasting selections ($95) – all meant for sharing. And making good use of the Wood-Fired Oven is the cheese-crusted Boston lobster thermidor ($78) – another decadent must-try at Ash & Elm.
Ash & Elm, 80 Middle Road, Lvl 1 InterContinental Singapore, Singapore 188966, p. 6825 1008; Open for a la carte lunch (daily) 12pm-3pm, semi-buffet lunch (Mon-Fri) 12pm-2pm, and a la carte dinner (daily) 6pm-10.30pm.