From cocktails to craft beer, and whiskies to wine, here are four places to eat and drink at this January.
It’s a new year, and like all new beginnings one has to properly reassess one’s priorities in the coming months. Which – especially for those of us who’ve already checked out these newly refreshed cocktail menus – means asking ourselves where else we should go eat and drink this January.
If you’re in a similarly conundrum, worry not – we look at four places that recently opened up that may just worthy to be put on your to-do list. Whether its Spanish wine and tapas, craft beers with fried chicken, Japanese inspired snacks with whiskies, and Pan-Asian eats with cocktails, this list has you covered.
The Sampan, for cocktails and Asian-inspired eats.
We’re not one to eat and drink at tout-infested tourist trap Boat Quay much, but with The Sampan there’s now good reason too. Despite its snazzy modern trappings, the food at pan-Asian bistro actually pays tribute to the Singapore River’s historical importance.
The menu draws inspiration from all across Southeast Asia, as well as to China, India, and even Japan. Snacks include the likes of Pork & Chicken Choi Bao ($4++), a ketogenic-friendly lettuce wrap of stir-fried mince, or bite-sized crispy Pani Puri ($6++). Then there’s beer-friendly Szechuan Pepper Chicken Spare Ribs ($12++), or some very authentic Shanghai-style Pot Sticker Dumplings ($9++). For bigger eats, the Organic Soba Noodles ($18++) is a soba salad of everything Japanese.
As for drinks, we’re surprised that prices aren’t stratospheric considering its location. The House Pimm’s ($17++ for glass, $80 per carafe) is refreshingly sweet for warm summer days, likewise the fruity but spicy Mango & Chilli Smash ($17++). Try too the Umeshu & Shiso Negroni ($17++), a more delicate and floral take of the classic Italian aperitif.
The Sampan | 63 Boat Quay, Singapore 049851 | 11.30am to 12mn Mondays to Fridays; 5pm to 12mn Saturdays; closed on Sundays | 6732 1698.
The Copper Plate, for whiskies and great finger food.
Tucked at the back of Lanson Place in the quieter part of Orchard Road is The Copper Plate, a casual bar bistro opened last month. It’s opened by the people behind pioneering whisky bar Quaich Bar, so expect to see a similarly well-curated range of independently bottled whiskies here. There’s official Scotch bottlings too, from the likes of Deanston, Tomintoul and Springbank, as well as offerings from India’s Paul John, and Three Ships from South Africa.
But whiskies aside, the cocktails here happen to be excellent too. We like the bite from cayenne in Coppertone ($21++), while the Barrel Aged William Wallace ($22++) is strong and masculine enough to have you crying for freedom. For something refreshing go with Whisky Smash ($19++) or Summer Breeze ($20++), the latter the classic Sea Breeze reinvented with whisky.
The Japanese inspired snacks here are great. We couldn’t stop picking at the Grilled Stingray Fin ($9.20++), the ehire first marinated in sake and whisky before being grilled. Likewise the Gobo-Ten ($11.20++), which sees burdock root turned into addictive fritters.
The Copper Plate | 167 Penang Rd, #01-01 Lanson Place, Singapore 238462 | 4pm to 12mn Mondays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays | 6386 5366
Kindori, for fried chicken and craft beer.
You may not know that Japanese steakhouse Renga-Ya in CHIJMES recently converted their outdoor seating space to create a fried chicken concept called Kindori.
Kindori means “golden chicken” in Japanese. It uses fresh local kampong chicken that’s first marinated in a mixture of yogurt and Japanese herbs and spices, before being battered and fried to a golden crisp. The Full Bird ($29++) for example, offers eight good-sized pieces for a proper meal, while the Chicken Soft Bone ($6++) makes for an excellent beer snack.
More importantly for drinkers, Kindori offers one of the widest range of Japanese craft beers you can find in Singapore (aside from Japanese craft beer bar JiBiru). Wash down your fried chicken with beers from the likes of Hitachino Nest, Far Yeast Brewing Co, YoHo Brewing, or Shiga Kogen. We’re partial to the Hitachino Nest White Ale ($15++) for its refreshing fruitiness, while the Morita Kinshachi Red Miso Lager ($15++) provides a savoury hit.
Kindori | 30 Victoria St, #01-11/12 Chijmes, Singapore 187996 | 6pm to 11pm Mondays to Saturdays; 5.30pm to 11.30pm on Sundays | 6352 1966
Tapas Club, for Spanish wine and tapas.
Appreciation for Spanish-style dining has skyrocketed here in recent years, but few have nailed it like Tapas Club has. Its Orchard Central flagship has gotten so popular to eat and drink at that it recently opened a new outlet in VivoCity. With prices like those of its sibling in town, the outlet in Singapore’s largest mall looks to be a hit too.
Tapas Club, as its name implies, offers very traditional takes on Spanish cuisine. You can’t resist Patatas Bravas ($9.90++), Pimientos Del Padron ($13.90++) or Jamon Iberico ($28++) while nursing your wine, for example. For something more substantial, their Arroz Negro ($26++) of squid ink paella is a lovely taste of the sea. Meat lovers would no doubt enjoy the Grilled Iberico Pork ($24++), which goes with both red and white wine.
Speaking of wine, Tapas Club offers a wide range of Spanish wines – of different regions too – at very affordable prices. Many are by the glass too! We like the Verdejo-based Cuatro Rayas Rueda 2017 ($10++ per glass, $33++ for 500ml) to pair with seafood; otherwise the Aradon 2017 ($11++ per glass, $36++ for 500ml), a Tempranillo from Rioja, is a good choice with red meat.
If you’re fan of bubbles, the Cava that is the Giro Ribot Brut Reserva ($9++ per glass, or $50++) is a must.
Tapas Club (VivoCity) | 1 Harbourfront Walk, #01-98/99 VivoCity, Singapore 098585 | 12nn to 10pm Mondays to Thursdays; 11.30am to 10.30am Fridays to Sundays | 6284 4680