Amazing interiors, clever menus and creative cocktails: this is how you make Chinese cuisine cool again.
We’re a little spoiled here in Singapore when it comes to great Chinese restaurants – and when chicken rice is one of your five major food groups we can tend to get a bit blasé about this cuisine. Enter the modern Chinese and Asian restaurant, with cool interiors, playful menus and – hello – clever cocktails. Here are some of our faves here in Singapore…
Full of Luck Club
Time to say goodbye to beige-toned, stuffy Chinese restaurants! Full of Luck Club is a modern-meets-classic Cantonese joint with decor that flirts with kitsch, and a whole smorgasbord of your favourite fares made quirky – for the Instagram feeds, of course. Think the quintessential osmanthus jelly made into raindrop cakes, truffle on your beef hor fun, shots in Yakult bottles and the like. We’re particularly fond of its Chef Signature Honey Glazed Char Siew, Crispy Hakka Kurobuta Pork and their Huat Huat Fried Chicken Bao. Full of Luck Club also serves Chinese-inspired cocktails like Fok Lok’s Milk Tea with oolong-infused vodka, and the Green Tea Macchiato with Emperor’s tea-infused gin!
Birds of a Feather
A major part of the evolution Amoy’s evolution into one of the city’s best eat streets, Birds of a Feather keeps us coming back for its beautiful cocktails (served by a gent in a sapphire suit) and spectacular Szechuan for that mouth-numbing kick. Our go-to dishes here are ‘Find the chicken in the chilli’ and Crispy Pork Trotter in a Bag (you’ll need to shake the deep-fried goodies in a paper bag to coat them in spice) – if you can’t handle the heat, consider this fair warning. We know the word fusion sometimes ellicits an eye roll, but don’t ignore the spicy oriental bolognaise – the combo of angel hair with pork ragout with a wobbly sakura egg is a revelation. Bonus points to Birds of a Feather for its cool, cosy interior and that cloud installation. Check out our full review of Birds of a Feather.
Birds Of A Feather, 113 Amoy Street, Singapore 069935, p. 6221 7449. Open daily 10am-11pm.
Xiao Ya Tou
Pickles served in a tin; neon lights and major Asian kitsch factor. We think we’re in love. If you haven’t discovered this brunch-to-dinner gem on Duxton Hill, better plan a reunion meal with your friends, stat. Go for the Kurobuta Chair Siu and the Cock Wings, but the menu here extends beyond Chinese, and chefs here are learly having fun playing with a whole lotta Asian faves. We love it all. You’ll get a kick out of the cocktails here too – first time we’ve had the pleasure of using a swizzle stick with a mah jong piece attached. In a brunching mood? Read our review of the quirky modern Asian brunch at Xiao Ya Tou.
Xiao Ya Tou, 6 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089592. p. 6226 1965. Brunch served 10am-3.30pm on Saturday, all day on Sunday.
Ah, The PS.Cafe group can do no wrong when it comes to creating atmosphere – and we love the colonial vibes, those covetable rattan chairs and all that marble at Chopsuey’s Dempsey home. They serve a mean brunch here (and dim sum for lunch and brunch), but we particularly love Chopsuey after dark. You’ll find us sitting outside by the twinkling lights, with a massive spread of mud crab fried rice, crispy orange beef and ‘numbing’ pork ribs in Chopsuey’s own chilli sauce. If you grew up with or have a real soft spot for Western approaches to Asian flavours, this is the menu for you (case in point: they serve an addictive version on everyone’s Chinese takeaway fave: prawn toasties). We haven’t dined at the Martin Road outpost yet, but it looks equally divine. (And pssst: Chopsuey is now doing delivery!)
Chopsuey, Block 10, Dempsey Road, #01-23, Singapore 247700 and 38 Martin Road, Singapore 239072
Contemporary Cantonese and cocktails. This is Mitzo’s mission statement, and it delivers. It’s all about sharing here, but we’re kinda reluctant to share our toffee-like char siu – it’s that good. The weekend dim sum brunch here even has a kids’ room, so you can mainline your dumplings and go for that free-flow Lanson in peace. Mitzo is well known for its creative menu, and this coming CNY the restaurant is pulling out all the stops. The showpony dish is a Kenpachi King Fish Yu Sheng – and the head chef has created a special garlic, ginger and sesame seed dressing that’s served from a cocktail shaker. OTT? We’re into that.
Mitzo, Level 4 Grand Park Orchard, 270 Orchard Road, Singapore 238857, p. 6603 8855. Open daily 12pm-1am.
Like this story? Here’s more to check out:
The full spread of Chinese restaurants in Singapore
Modern Singaporean restaurants we love
Guide to our very own Chinatown