If your New Year’s resolutions involve losing weight and drinking less, don’t read this.
The new year always come with surprises, and one of the more unpleasant ones for us has been stepping on the weighing scale and finding a number there that’s larger than the last time we weighed in before the festive feasting. But hey, that figure seem to corroborate with the explosive growth of Singapore’s F&B scene in recent months as well, so maybe that’s a good thing?
Indeed it’s almost shocking to count the number of new dining and drinking options opening up across Singapore recently, as well as new offerings from some of the older stalwarts around. So here we’ve expanded our waistlines and taxed our livers over the past month to bring you this list of fifteen different eating and drinking experiences you may want to add to your “must-visit” checklist.
1. Adrift by David Myers – where modern Asian cuisine and cocktails collide.
Adrift by David Myers in Marina Bay Sands Hotel may be somewhat isolated from the key F&B cluster over at The Shoppes, but the classy izakaya-inspired restaurant by the celebrated gypsy chef puts out some of the more innovative Asian eats this part of town that’s complemented by a rocking cocktail list and a more-than-decent wine menu. Resident executive chef Wayne Brown and sous chef Kamarl John’s mashes up Japanese ingredients, Southeast Asian spices and modern Western culinary techniques for some amazing results, such as the most delicious raw sliced fish salad of Ocean Trout ($18++) that comes dressed in a smoked ponzu, ginger and sesame oil marinade, or the Binchotan Salmon ($28++) that’s grilled over Japanese charcoal and served with cucumber salsa and citrusy sudachi.
A number of the cocktails at Adrift are pretty much Singapore-inspired and absolutely worth trying; there’s the glorified Mimosa that’s the Champagne Tarik ($23++) spiked with single origin rum, passion fruit, and a Singapore breakfast tea syrup, or the Lepak Local ($23++), which combines chili padi-infused Botanist gin, palm sugar syrup that’s infused with burnt lemongrass, calamansi, and pineapple juice for very local flavours. If you’re not quite so inclined towards cocktails, the easy-drinking Pike & Joyce Rapide Pinot Noir ($22++ for a glass, $110 per bottle) with its fruity bouquet and soft tannins is good for pairing with almost anything on the menu.
Adrift by David Myers is located at 10 Bayfront Avenue, Hotel Lobby Tower 2, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018956. Open 7am to 2am every day.
2. Atlas Bar – for that classy Champagne-soaked business lunch.
We’re all most familiar with award-winning grand lobby bar Atlas for its massive gin collection and a stable of talented bartenders that’s the envy of the F&B trade, but if you only ever go there for cocktails you’re missing much of the full Atlas experience. Chef Daniele Sperindio, who used to helm the kitchens at Spa Esprit Group’s Open Door Policy and Open Farm Community, comes into his own here at Atlas with gastronomic offerings that should belong to a Michelin-starred restaurant.
But we so do recommend its seasonal executive menu during lunchtime, which offers a choice of two or three courses at $38++ and $48++ respectively. Dishes change according to season, and we’ve yet to be let down at this point after a number of visits. Even better, top up $24++ for two glasses of wine, or $30++ for three; for fans of bubbly the Atlas Champagne Collection is recognised as one of the largest of its kind in the whole of Asia.
Atlas is located at Parkview Square, 600 North Bridge Road, Singapore 188778. Open 10am to 1am Mondays to Thursdays; 10am to 2am on Fridays, 3pm to 2am on Saturdays, closed on Sundays.
3. Bistecca Tuscan Steakhouse – an Italian experience so true it’s amore.
One of our favourite steak places, Bistecca Tuscan Steakhouse moved to a spanking new location right next door on Mohamed Sultan Road after five wildly successful years at the previous one. It’s also revamped its menu to go along with its stunning, modern contemporary look, but we’re relieved that our favourite Fiorentina ($188++) is still on the menu. The bistecca here may not hail from the traditional chianina or maremmana breeds of cattle, but the F1 karoge washu bred wagyu & tajima bloodline used is perfectly seared and thick cut in the classic Tuscan manner; it’s also perfectly capable of feeding 2-3 hungry persons.
And while wou can’t have a proper Tuscan florentine steak without some wine from Toscana, Bistecca antes up with a wine list that’s a impressive tribute to the different winemaking regions of Italy. You’ll see the likes of the Sangiovese-led Marchese Antinori Tignanello 2012 ($540++ per bottle) and Merlot-based Super Tuscan Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Le Volte ($275++ per bottle) from Toscana, stretching northwards to Friuli with the Ribolla Nera-based Bressan Mastri Vinai Schioppettino ($235++ per bottle) or the Lis Neris Fiore di Campo ($110++ per bottle) – a winery we most decidedly love – or southwards all the way to Sicily, such as the lovely rose that is the Valenti Rosto Poesia 2015 ($120++ per bottle) or the orange wine with COS Pithos Rami 2011 ($79++) made with Grecanico and Insolia.
If you’re not a fan of wine – you barbarian, you – there’s an impressive cocktail list too. There are Italian favourites such as the Negroni ($22++) or the Aperol Spritz ($22++), otherwise you can opt for a gin and tonic made with the Italian gin from grappa maker Poli, the Marconi 46 ($22++).
Bistecca Tuscan Steakhouse is located at 26 Mohamed Sultan Rd, Singapore 238970. Open for lunch Tuedays to Sundays from 12pm to 2.30pm, and daily for dinner from 6pm to 10.30pm.
4. Caffe B – half Japanese, half Italian, and 100% chill.
Recently relocated from Marina Bay Sands to a two-storey shophouse in the Club Street nightlife enclave is Japanese-Italian restaurant Caffe B. The first floor is a convivial bar space that has its own separate bar snack menu which you should totally partake from; the Farmer’s Egg ($8++) – an egg topped with uni, lemon jam, shio konbu and clam juice – makes a delicious bar snack and the perfect start to any meal, as is the Churros with Truffle Mayo ($13++), a savoury take of the Spanish pastry dessert with Parmesan cheese.
Then you head upstairs proper for dinner in a more formal setting; make sure you opt for the Risotto Singapore ($16++), a risotto dish inspired by chilli crab but reinvented with lobster meat and scallops that’s delicious even if it tastes nothing like Singapore’s national dish. Cocktails here, like the Yuzu Mojito ($22++) are a little on the sweet side. We’d recommend instead the wine – the Il Pollenza Porpora Merlot Montepulciano 2011 ($14++ per glass, $60++ for a bottle) actually hails from the a vineyard in the Marche winemaking region of Italy owned by Caffe B’s Japanese owners.
Caffe B is located at 64 Club St, Singapore 069438. Open 12pm to 2am every day.
5. Sluviche – a fresh taste of Peru.
Located on the second floor of a shophouse along Keong Saik Road – blink and you may miss the entrance – is Sluviche, a concept that combines the Peruvian seafood favourite that’s the ceviche, with alcholic slushies. Ceviche of course is that dish made from raw fish marinated in spices and cured in either lemon or lime juice, and when you combine that with an alcoholic slushie also made with copious amounts of lime juice it’s a gastronomic treatment for scurvy.
For those who love a spicy kick the ikura-topped Scallop ($25++) will deliver, while those who aren’t inclined towards spice could opt for the Tuna ($23++) with its avocado and sesame seeds. Wash all the cured fish down with either slushies that are the Pisco Punch ($15++) or the Pisco Sour ($15++) – pisco, of course, is a grape brandy made in Peru – but there’s wine or sake as well if you don’t want to set off your gastric reflux.
Sluviche is located at 17A Keong Saik Road. Open 12pm to 2.30pm and 6pm to 10.30pm Tuesdays to Thursdays, 12pm to 2.30pm and 6pm to 1am on Fridays, closed on Sundays and Mondays.
6. Merci Marcel – a casual neigbourhood French bistro for that lazy afternoon catchup with friends.
Recently opened in Tiong Bahru is French bistro and wine bar Merci Marcel, a chic yet casual space that’s built around a menu offering classic French fare with some modern tweaks, and a French wine list affordable enough for everyday drinking. We definitely recommend you go for the Marinated Crab Rillette ($18++), a refreshing seafood take on the duck rillette, and build your own Cheese Platter ($24++ to $36++).
Our full review of Merci Marcel here.
You’ll easily pass time here over a bottle (or two) of wine. The Château Riotor Côtes de Provence AOC 2016 ($58++ per bottle) will go swimmingly well with the crab rillette, otherwise the Maison Duval Leroy Champagne AOC Brut Reserve ($18++ per glass, $88 per bottle) is good to pair with anything. In fact while Merci Marcel doesn’t really shout about wine and cheese pairings, you really could go wild here – whether it’s Muscadet with a Lingot Cendre from the central Pyrennees, a Sancerre with Crottin de Pays of Loire, or a Condrieu with a Brillat Savarin from Burgundy, Merci Marcel has got you covered.
Merci Marcel is located at #01-68, 56 Eng Hoon Street, Singapore 160056. Open 8am to 11.30pm Tuesdays to Fridays; 8am to 11.30pm on Saturdays; 8am to 10pm on Sundays.
7. Bar Square – for that casual hotel lobby bar tipple.
Newly opened hotel Andaz Singapore houses an entire floor of dining options on its 25th floor, and snuggled in the corner of that gaggle of small restaurants that’s collectively called Alley on 25 – is the hotel’s tiny lobby bar that is Bar Square. Usually we don’t highlight the ubiquitous and generic hotel lobby bar – the one at Warehouse Hotel being one of the few exceptions – but Bar Square actually has a beer specially made for them by Singapore microbrewery Red Dot Brewhouse called the Andaz Pale Ale ($8++ per bottle). It’s quite a delicious drop too, a malty yet citrusy brew that will all hit the right spots especially on a warm day.
There’s a range of decent cocktails here too, and with Bar Square shaking and stirring up the drinks that will go to the individual restaurants in Alley on 25 the cocktails are also themed accordingly. The Lau Pa Loma ($16++) made for Asian BBQ joint Smoke & Pepper combines mezcal, habanero bitters, grapefruit juice and lime for a spicy, punchy and citrusy tipple, while the Gong Xi ($16++) for hot plate diner Plancha’lah! is a refreshingly fruity yet balanced drink.
If you don’t intend to dine at its sister eateries, we recommend you snack on the Baba Ganoush ($14++), which is one of the best renditions of the Middle Eastern dip – here you eat it with sourdough toast – we’ve ever had.
Bar Square is located on the 25th floor of Andaz Singapore at 5 Fraser Street, Singapore 189354. Open daily 5pm to 10pm.
8. Kimoto Gastro Bar – to tickle that Japanese izakaya craving.
Tucked away in a small corner on the first floor of mixed residential and commercial development that is The Sail at Marina Bay is the tiny Japanese izakaya of Kimoto Gastro Bar. It’s cramped but homely and unpretentious; more importantly the gastrobar – which is owned by the people behind sake distributor Inter Rice Asia – offers a pretty decent range of sakes that should tickle the fancy of enthusiasts of the rice-based alcoholic beverage. Expect affordable sakes like the aromatic and fruity Senkin Modern Kame no O ($88++ per 750ml bottle) from Tochigi Prefecture, to more premium ones like the elegant Manotsuru Maho Junmai Daiginjo ($250 per 750ml bottle). Happy hour prices tooare a godsend for office workers in that area: it’s one-for-one draft beer, 50% off for a bottle of wine, and 30% off for a bottle of sake from 5pm to 8pm.
As for food, almost everything on the menu is built perfectly as bar bites. Pick anything from its yakitori selection – we like the Buta Bara ($6.50++ for 2 pieces), or Negima ($3.50++ per piece) – or the scrumptious Crispy Fried Squid ($15++).
Kimoto Gastro Bar is located at 6 Marina Boulevard #01-15 The Sail @ Marina Bay, Singapore 018985. Open 11.30am to 3pm and 6pm to 10pm on Mondays to Fridays.
9. Kabuke – because cheese and sake pairings can be a thing.
The Amoy Street and Telok Ayer Street stretch is ultra-competitive when it comes to dining and drinking establishments, and even more so for Japanese izakayas. But relative newcomer Kabuke, opened in October last year, seemed to have a carved a niche for itself by offering a seemingly bizarre food pairing with its range of sakes – cheese.
Yes, you heard it right the first time round. The cosy and intimate gastrobar does offer some familiar izakaya staples – their signature Kabuke Beef Bowls of Gyudon ($15++), Wagyu Suki Bowl ($18++) and Wagyu Bowl ($28++) offering different grades of beef are particularly popular during lunchtime – but it’s the cheese-sake pairing of the Kabuke Cheese Platter ($25), curated in partnership with The Cheese Artisans, that rbings sake drinking to a wholly different level. If that sounds too funky for you, you can design your own sake flight instead and skip the cheese.
Kabuke is located at Level 2, 200A Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068638. Open 11.30am to 2pm on Mondays to Fridays for lunch; 5pm to 11pm on Mondays to Thursdays, and 5pm to 12am on Fridays and Saturdays, for dinner.
10. L’Aperitif – for that lazy, boozy staycation weekend.
Located on the outskirts of the perpetually busy
tourist trap shopping district of Orchard Road is Novotel Singapore on Stevens, a newly-opened property on Stevens Road adjoining AccorHotel Group sister hotel Mercur on Stevens that’s on a far quieter, calmer stretch great for a staycation. And if you’re too lazy to head to town to check out the nightlife, simply head downstairs to lobby bar L’Aperitif to avail yourself to a range of alcoholic beverages such as wines, beers, and even a decent list of cocktails.
L’Aperitif is located at 28 Stevens Road, #01-01, Singapore 257878.
11. Ziggy’s – for that luxe karaoke session.
Nothing in this world can be said to be certain in life except death, taxes, and bad singing and terrible drinks at karaoke lounges. Upmarket Robertson Quay karaoke lounge Ziggy’s can’t do much about the first two, but it’s adamant about providing some of the best tipples you’ll find in a joint with karaoke systems.
We kid you not – you’re looking at 10 spacious and swanky private rooms with a drinks menu that ranges from heady barrel-aged cocktails and sakes, to Champagnes and a wine list that actually differentiates the Bourgognes from those of Bordeaux. Karaoke lounge lizards will be thrilled that Ziggy’s packed with a state-of-the-art on-demand song system and rooms that even come with a wardrobe of fun costumes and props in case you want to dress up while belting out David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust with a glass of KRUG in hand. You’d be pleasantly surprised by the Japanese-inspired eats here as well.
[Photo credit: Jessica Chan]
Ziggy’s is located at 11 Unity Street, #01-27 Robertson Walk, Singapore 237995. Open Mondays to Sundays from 5pm to 3am.
12. Ginett Restaurant & Wine Bar – if you’re looking for a wine-soaked weekend brunch.
Smack in the middle of Singapore’s art and heritage district of Bencoolen is chic boutique hotel Hotel G. Those who love their burgers would no doubt have heard that Hotel G houses the Singapore outpost of funky Los Angeles-based burger chain 25 Degrees, but those who love and know their wines might want to make sister outlet Ginett Restaurant & Bar, a pit stop while checking out the various sights in the area.
Why? Because Ginett offers some of the most affordable French wines this part of town with a wine list that covers most French winemaking regions. So whether you like your comfort Bordeaux such as the Château Haut Mondain Grande Réserve or Pessac Léognan’s Les Demoiselles Larrivet Haut Brion, to the Muscadet of Château de la Thébaudière from Sévre in the Loire Valley or a Burgundy with the Château de Citeaux Puligny Montrachet, they have you covered.
Also check out their $42++ weekend brunch that not only offers a wide spread and unlimited servings of starters, mains and desserts to choose from, but with an additional $32++, comes with free flow of Bloody Mary, Mimosa and Muscadet for a boozy afternoon.
Ginett Restaurant is located at Hotel G Singapore, 200 Middle Road, Singapore 188980. Open 7am to 11.30pm every day.
13. La Pepa – because small is the new big.
There’s a relatively new Spanish eatery along the Club Street stretch – in an enclave that’s already rather chockful of them – is tiny La Pepa, which serves up a well-curated Iberian-focused food and drinks menu that punches way above its weight class. Considering that Spain is the No.3 producer of wine in the world, the 35 wines and 10 sherries on offer here may seem a pittance, but it’s still remarkably manages to showcase a number the different winemaking regions of Spain. Looking for a hearty Rioja red? There’s the Hacienda Lopez de Haro Tempranillo 2015 ($16++ per glass, $75++ per bottle) . Prefer a fresh crisp white from Ria Baixas? Go for the Albarino-based Paco y Lola No.12 2015 ($100++ per bottle).
Our full review of La Pepa here.
You can’t go wrong with the food here either; we’re big fans of the croquetas with both the Jamon Croquetas ($12++) and the Mushroom Croquetas ($8++) highly addictive, while the Arroz Negro ($30++), or squid ink paella, is your ultimate comfort food.
La Pepa is located at 10 Gemmill Lane, Singapore 069251. Open 12pm to late Mondays to Fridays; 6.30pm to late on Saturdays.
14. Lime House – for some proper Caribbean limin’.
There’s only one right proper place in Singapore to go for Caribbean food, and that is Lime House along Jiak Chuan Road in the Keong Saik nightlife stretch. While we haven’t quite found johnny cakes on the menu yet, it’s where you can find a combination of rather authentic Caribbean staples along with some more modern takes on island cuisine in its revamped menu. Go for the Jerk Chicken which comes in a lovely balance of spices, and if you’re adventurous, the Tribajam Curry Goat which sees tender goat braised in one of the tastiest curries we’ve had yet.
Cocktails at Lime House aren’t complicated – for fancier drinks head up to Bago upstairs. Instead the Mohito and the Signature Daiquiri here are both full-flavoured and punchy to match the spicy, hearty cuisine one expects of Caribbean flavours.
Lime House is located at 2 Jiak Chuan Road Singapore 089260. Open 5pm to 11pm from Tuesdays to Saturdays.
15. Wakanui Grill Dining – a New Zealand experience that’s (almost) 100% pure.
Recently opened in the new residential and commercial property of Marina One is Wakanui Grill Dining Singapore, the Singapore franchise of the New Zealand-themed grill house opened in Tokyo by ANZCO Foods in Tokyo. As one can expect, there’s lamb and beef on the menu, being two of the key exports out of New Zealand – the Wakanui Spring Lamb ($42++ for half rack, $82++ for a full one) isn’t gamey like most of its ilk and is a must-order, and likewise the incredibly juicy Ocean Beef Ribeye Cut ($79++ for 350g, $109++ for 500g).
To wash all that New Zealand meat down, you’ll need some New Zealand wine of course. From the iconic Sauvignon Blanc of Marlborough to the rising star that is the Pinot Noir from Central Otago, Wakanui has you covered. The Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc ($14++ for a glass, $68++ per bottle) is an affordable if safe pick, but a white that truly pairs well with the hearty meats on offer here is the well-rounded and robust Craggy Range Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay ($14++ per glass, $68++ for a bottle) from Hawke’s Bay. We’re particularly fans too of the Burn Cottage Moonlight Race Pinot Noir ($18++ per glass, $88++ for a bottle); which is spectacular paired with the lamb.
Perhaps it’s too much to ask for to see a Wakanui with a wine list that’s 100% from Aotearoa, but until New Zealand makes stupendous sparkling wines to rival those of Champagne or bombastic Cabernets that can compete with those from Napa Valley we suppose that’s not going to happen any time soon.
Wakanui Grill Dining Singapore is located at 5 Straits View, Marina One, The Heart #04-02, Singapore 018935. Open 11.30am to 3pm and 5.30pm to 11pm on Mondays to Fridays, and 5.30pm to 11pm on Saturdays.