From a swanky new rooftop grill house and modern Chinese restaurant to a casual French bistro and a comforting Italian eatery, we look at seven different recently opened restaurants that have sprung up Singapore’s dining scene.
VUE Singapore, Singapore’s next iconic rooftop bar and grill.
One of the most highly-anticipated recent restaurant openings this year has been VUE Singapore, which takes the space vacated by the defunct ME@OUE restaurant atop OUE Bayfront at Collyer Quay and sets itself up as Singapore’s latest rooftop bar and grill house offering a fabulous view Singapore’s city skyline.
Unlike ME@OUE’s unique but bizarre triple open-kitchen concept offering three different cuisines, VUE is totally focused on a tightly-curated menu built around binchotan-grilled specialties. The Emperor “Kokuou” A4 Black Wagyu from Kumamoto – choose between tenderloin, sirloin, and ribeye – is a must-order; it’s first dry-aged in the restaurant’s dry-ager (one of the first things to greet you when you step into the restaurant) before being grilled to perfection.
Oh yes, you can (and should) avail yourself of its range of tipples – including a refreshing range of spritz cocktails developed in collaboration with Kamil Foltan, co-owner of cocktail bar IB HQ Singapore – at its rooftop bar, which should set you in the right mood before you’re ushered indoors for dinner.
We reckon VUE Singapore is perfect for that romantic occasion, or for a business lunch – especially if you have a fat expense account – when it opens for lunch early next year.
VUE Singapore | OUE Bayfront, 50 Collyer Quay, Level 19, Singapore 049321 | 6pm to 10.45pm Mondays to Fridays; closed Saturdays and Sundays | 8879 0923
Merci Marcel (Orchard), a pitstop for wine along Orchard Road.
The third outlet of French bistro chain Merci Marcel is probably its most ambitious; located on the first floor of luxury mall Palais Renaissance – and complete with an open air verandah – along Orchard Road, it transplants the same casual vibes of its siblings onto Singapore’s premiere shopping stretch. Indeed it makes the perfect pitstop to put down your bags and fuel up in preparation for the rest of your festive shopping.
More importantly for oenophiles Merci Marcel Orchard continues to offer the French-inspired grub and affordable French wines that made its Tiong Bahru outlet such a hit. If you enjoyed its signature Ravioles de Royans from the first outlet, the Orchard Road location has its own version of the signature French dumpling pasta; the Ravioles de Royans, Palais sees a twist with chunk of foie gras tossed through and then topped with a frothy foie gras emulsion.
We’d tell you to wash that all that with a crisp white wine – we’d highly recommend the Domaine Francoise Le Saint Pouilly Fume 2017, the refreshing acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire will help cut through the richness of the cheese and liver – but we’re sure you don’t need reminding.
This outlet of Merci Marcel also has a retail element to it, so you don’t have to stop shopping even as you indulge in some wine.
Merci Marcel (Orchard Road) | 390 Orchard Road, 01-03/04 Palais Renaissance, Singapore 238871 | 8am to 12mn daily | 6735 2608
La Scala Ristorante, a taste of Italian summer in the tropics.
Capitol Singapore has seen a massive makeover in recent months, with a number of F&B concepts moving out and new ones replacing them at the arcade. La Scala Ristorante is one of the latest concepts introduced by Capitol Kempenski (one that opened up earlier was German eatery Frieda); the trattoria offers a spread of familiar Italian eats – running the gamut from pastas and pizzas to an eclectic range of mains – that’s more classic and comforting than setting any standard for innovation.
We’re big fans of the Burratina & Pomodorini – the creamy cheese and sweet tomato combination still one of the best culinary ideas ever exported by Italy – which is spectacularly fresh and soul-satisfying. While we’re While the pastas and pizzas are decent, it’s the Traditional Lasagna that will impress. The classic Italian meat ragout sandwiched between layers of cheese and sheet pasta will hit the spot in every way. We like that the dishes at La Scala showcase a far lighter touch than most of its ilk – the lasagna sounds a lot richer than it actually tastes – so you won’t need to be dragged away in food coma.
La Scala Ristorante may not offer one of the widest selections of Italian wines like many other Italian restaurants, but what it has is most affordable; wines by the glass start from a mere $8++, a steal for a hotel mall concept.
If you’re looking for a spot for Italian with the family anytime during the week, La Scala Ristorante could be an option.
La Scala Ristorante | 13 Stamford Road, #01-86 Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski, Singapore 178905 | 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6pm to 10.30pm daily | 6715 6877
El Teatro Tapas, showcases performance Spanish culinary art.
Another one of the recently opened restaurants in Capitol Singapore is El Teatro Tapas, yet another concept by Capitol Kempinski. Named for Capitol Theatre, this tapas restaurant offers a range of authentic Spanish dishes that – surprisingly, for what you’d expect to be a generic mall eatery – pay tribute to the different regional cuisines of Spain.
For example you can start off your meal with a Gazpacho, the classic Andaluz tomato-based cold soup that will refresh your palate and appetite. Follow that up with the Tabla De Quesos Espanoles, a cheeseboard which comes with a range of Spanish cheese – such as the Manchego – along with other bits and bobs to graze on. And of course, you can’t forget the Castile favourite that is Conchinillo, or roasted suckling pig.
While most Spanish restaurants carry one or two paellas on their menus, El Teatro Tapas offers a whopping five different varieties to choose from. The chicken-based Paella de Pollo is always a safe option, but for the more adventurous the Paella de Arroz Negro – the squid-ink infused rice dish a Catalan and Valencian tradition – provides lovely unctuous umami notes that gourmands will surely love.
And like its siblings Frieda and La Scala Ristorante, El Teatro Tapas also offers a tightly-curated range of wines that won’t break the bank with most bottles in the S$70-80 range.
El Teatro will be a good place to grab a bite before catching a show at Capitol Theatre.
El Teatro Tapas | 13 Stamford Road, #01-83 Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski, Singapore 178905 | 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6pm to 10.30pm daily | 6715 6879
Mimi at The Riverhouse, a gastronomic Chinese party.
What used to be swanky Chinese restaurant and party venue VLV at Clarke Quay has been reinvented as, umm, party central The Riverhouse, complete with its swanky Chinese restaurant Mimi on the second floor. But while VLV offered a more traditional approach to Cantonese food, Mimi attempts to reinvent the Chinese dining experience by offering dishes in a more modern, tapas-like manner.
Here Chef Sam Chong borrows flavours from across the whole of China – he gets his inspiration from Cantonese, Sichuanese and Shanghainese cuisine, and even taps Mongolian influences – for his dishes. For those who love their Sichuan spice the Crispy Beef Jerky (灯影牛肉) is an absolute must-order, and is best washed down with a cold pint of beer. The well-made Trufflin’ Dumplings (松露黑毛猪锅贴) is a veritable showcase of technique earned over decades of experience, and without having the truffle overwhelm the senses. Other dishes worth ordering are Snout About Stout (黑啤排骨) – inspired by the Malaysian zi-char favourite Guinness pork ribs – as well as the Oh My Cod (秘制酱蒸鳕鱼), possibly one of the best fish dishes we’ve had in a long while.
Mimi also offers a range of cocktails – with Chinese influences, of course – that you can have with your meal. Otherwise once you’re done with dinner, on the right nights there are parties happening at dance club Yang downstairs, or you can chill out at outdoor bar and lounge Yin over some beers.
Mimi at The Riverhouse | 3A River Valley Road, #01-02 Clarke Quay, Level 2, Singapore 179020 | 12pm to 2pm and 6pm to 10.30pm on Mondays to Fridays; 6pm to 10.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays | 6261 1189
Burger & Lobster (Raffles Hotel Arcade), for that special surf and turf experience.
When Mayfair, London’s surf and turf specialist Burger & Lobster opened its first Singapore outpost at Jewel Changi Airport it saw snaking queues waiting to try its signature lobster rolls, Atlantic lobsters and prime beef burgers. Its latest (and greatest) outlet has just opened at Raffles Hotel Arcade, where it combines a large indoor space – where Seah Street Deli used to stand a while back – as well as an outdoor bar area for its bar concept Bar MF, previously occupied by Halia.
The food and drinks menu here is also a lot more extensive than the one at Jewel Changi Airport, and certainly a massive departure from its simple ethos when it first started out in London that many years ago. Those who really enjoy their seafood need to order the Fresh Seafood Platter, a literal bounty of ocean goodness, as well as the well-grilled Marinated Octopus.
Burger & Lobster at Raffles Hotel Arcade has its own specialty, the Laksa Lobster, which sees a massive lobster drowned in laksa gravy and rice noodles like a high SES version of the hawker favourite. We think though that if you struck the lottery you’re better off with the Uni, Lobster & Caviar Roll instead; this excuse of putting three very expensive ingredients into one bun actually does work.
As for drinks, we’re pleased to report there’s a healthy option of good cocktails here, such as the simple and refreshing MF Gin & Tonic, or the very tasty BBQ Whiskey Sour. Non-drinkers may instead opt for the beers made in collaboration with local craft beer brands Daryl’s Urban Ales and That Singapore Beer Project specially to pair with the eats here. Indeed for those looking for a tipple around the hotel environs you’re better off drinking at Burger & Lobster than being hit with the tourist prices over at Raffles Long Bar and Writers Bar.
Burger & Lobster (Raffles Hotel Arcade) | 328 North Bridge Roadd, Singapore 188719 | 11am to 11pm Sundays to Wednesdays; 11am to 12mn Thursdays to Saturdays | 6971 6127
Kai Duck, a younger, modern look at Peking duck.
One of our favourite Chinese restaurants, Kai Garden, has launched its newest concept at Ngee Ann City. Unlike the flagship outlet at Marina Square, Kai Duck offers a modern take on dishes inspired by the eponymous Peking duck but obviously targeted at the millennial consumer.
So yes while you can still order an entire roasted duck to be flayed in front of you, Kai Duck has a few signature dishes that’s more
Instagram-friendly and amenable to younger tastes. You’re looking at the likes of Sliced Peking Duck with Crackers, which sees slivers of duck skin sitting atop a rather lovely crispy cracker, or the Peking Duck Salad Hand Roll, the crispy spring roll wrapper enveloping shredded duck and vegetables – all of which are made for easier eating. The Pan-fried Carrot Cake here comes as an entire flattened cake and drizzled with chilli sauce, looking like a cross between Swiss rosti and Japanese okonomiyaki (yet tasting like neither).
The more traditional among us may instead opt for Poached Patin Fish Soup with Chinese Wine, which will impress both young and old. What sounds bizarre on paper but absolutely stunning in flavour was the vegan-friendly Signature Fried Rice with Black Truffle Mushroom and Beetroot, complete with redolent wok-hei.
Kai Duck may just have bridged different generations with its unique approach to Chinese food, so bring the family both young and old to this for this gastronomic affair.
Kai Duck | 391 Orchard Road, #05-10/11 Ngee Ann City, Singapore 238872 | 11.30am to 4.30pm and 5pm to 10.30pm Mondays to Fridays; 10am to 4.30pm and 5pm to 10.30pm Saturdays and Sundays | 6235 5419