Hot New Chefs; Cantina Mexicana Opens; SANTI’s 8-Course

Toasting a Victory
It’s been pretty full-on in the office, what with the I-S Restaurant Guide 2011 (available for free download until Apr 8) and hunting down posh nosh deals for you keeping me busy munching away. In between the gluttony, I somehow managed to find time to go for my annual medical exam (my doc’s been hounding me for months). On the day that I got my clean bill of health (cholesterol levels normal, phew), I promptly decided that drinks were in order. I paid Raveen Misra of Néktar (31 Scotts Rd., 6836-9185) a visit, who also had cause for celebration. The champ of the second round challenge for Diageo Reserve’s 2011 World Class bartender of the year Singapore was kind enough to shake up his winning drink, Ketel Kurrie, for me. Aside from Ketel One vodka, this tangy cocktail has air-dried curry leaves, pink grapefruit juice, a dash of Benedictine Dom and dressed with Balinese saffron. If you’d like to try some, do pop by and say hello. Congrats again Raveen!
Hot New Chefs
If you haven’t gotten round to checking out Brasserie WOLF (#01-13 The Pier @ Robertson, 80 Mohamed Sultan Rd., 6835-7818), here’s a good excuse. The French establishment welcomes head chef Claudio Sandri, who has had stints at Nobu and Brasserie Joel. He’s introducing items such as Bouillabaisse ($36), boeuf bourguignon ($29), fresh artichoke heart with slices of smoked salmon and smoked salmon mousse ($18) and homemade foie gras terrine with rhubarb compote ($21). Another fresh face to our local dining scene is ex-Top Chef Eli Kirshtein (season six), who will be here for the first two weeks of this month. As guest chef at Krish (9 Rochester Park, 6779-4644), he’ll be serving up threeand five-course dinners ($80/$150) with offerings such as marinated scallops with kohlrabi, green apple and celery, lamb shoulder with Luxardo cherries and mustard seeds and caramelized white chocolate with anise broth. I’m looking forward to trying some of his “New American” grub (though don’t ask me what that means). Catch him if you can.
Fresh on the Scene
Just two weeks old is Cantina Mexicana (72 Dunlop St., 6396-4723), which is serving up a unique brand of Indian-Mexican fusion fare such as chicken tikka enchiladas ($9). Another newbie is Coffee Stars by Dao (#01-37/41 Wisma Atria Shopping Centre, 435 Orchard Rd., 6733-3881), a popular chain hailing from Thailand that’s purportedly known for their authentic Thai cuisine and Western desserts. Expect dishes such as som-tum guava with dried shrimp ($9.80), kaw soi curry with chicken and egg noodles ($11.80) and Thai laksa with crab meat ($12.80). I’ll reserve judgment till after I’ve chowed down there.
This Little Piggy
If you’re a lover of all things porcine, you’re absolutely going to love this nugget. From Apr 2-9, SANTI (#02-03, Casino Level 2, Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Ave., 6688-8501) will be presenting a specially crafted eight-course dinner menu ($285) featuring Joselito Ibérico ham from Salamanca, Spain. Fans of the bubbly can also choose to enjoy each course with Louis Roederer Champagne ($360 with Champagne pairing), including the premium Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2002.
Wine Enthusiasts Unite
It’s events like Burghound in Asia: Unrivalled Passion for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that give me faith in our wine scene. Organized by Hermitage Wines and The Wandering Palate, this three day event from Apr 8-10 combines food and wine meals along with wine master classes ($98-$650). For more details about the events and to grab your tickets, log on to