If our boozy feature has got you thinking about all things beer-related, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a new watering hole in Joo Chiat. Thanks to East of Avalon’s George Kirton, The Cider Pit (382 Joo Chiat Rd., no phone number yet) has reopened in a new spot, after a bit of a false start. Beer lovers (us included obviously) will have yet another cause for celebration in just under a month’s time. JiBiru Japanese Craft Beer Bar (#01-04, 313@Somerset, 313 Orchard Rd., no phone number yet) will become the first bar on our island dedicated to Japanese craft brews when it opens on Mar 11. In the meantime, you might want to start reading up on beers from Ishikawa, Fujizakura and Kiuchi in preparation, or just conduct your research by drinking up when they throw open their doors.
The first installment of 2011’s Asian Masters has finally come to a close. I thoroughly enjoyed Saigon Chic, held at The Gallery (Mezzanine Level, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 10 Scotts Rd., 6738-1234), during which chef Chung Manh Cuong served up a scrumptious parade of Vietnamese dishes such as chicken and beef pho, grilled oysters with spring onions, crushed roasted peanuts and a dash of lime juice and lobster curry with aubergines and okra. I couldn’t stop sipping on the refreshing sugarcane martinis, which were just exquisite. Another highlight was Handcrafted Cocktails by master mixologist Tomoyuki Kitazoe of Orgo (Roof terrace, 4/F Esplanade––Theatres on The Bay, 1 Esplanade Dr., 6336-9366), accompanied by an eight-course degustation menu. Chicken lemongrass skewers in a Thai-style green curry with Mango Makkori (Korean makkori rice wine flavored with Thai mangos and topped with pink peppercorns) made an appearance, as did Wagyu beef accompanied by marinated wakame seaweed, paired with my cocktail choice of the evening, Plum Flower (Japanese Umeshu accented with pink pomegranate and a salty ume). If you missed it, keep your fingers crossed for the next one happening at the end of the year.
Culinary Rock Stars
Barely after the dust has settled from the whirlwind of visiting chefs for Asian Masters, we’re being hit by seven culinary heavyweights at Marina Bay Sands (10 Bayfront Ave., 6688-8868) who arrived in Singapore on Feb 16. Who needs a V-day prezzie when you have a most welcome surprise in the form of celeb chefs Daniel Boulud (db Bistro Moderne), Guy Savoy (Guy Savoy), Justin Quek (Sky on 57), Mario Batali (Osteria & Pizzeria Mozza), Santi Santamaria (Santi), Tetsuya Wakuda (Waku Ghin) and Wolfgang Puck (CUT)? That’s a serious effort on the part of MBS to be the talk of the town. Not to mention the ArtScience Museum opening on Feb 17 (no coincidence, I’m sure). If you’d like to catch these men heating up the kitchen while they’re in town, hop to it and make those reservations now—their schedules vary but all will be around for at least part of this week. I speak for myself and my overly-vocal tummy when I say it’s going to be a very, very hard week on my system. I can hardly wait.
No Rest for the Wicked
Speaking of chefs, Takumi Tokyo welcomes executive chef Shigeru Shiraishi to its stable. Formerly of NY’s Bamboo restaurant, this specialist in the craft of sushi-making will be expanding the current teppan and robata offerings to include a new sushi concept, which coincides with Takumi Tokyo’s name change to Takumi Restaurant (2/F Marina at Keppel Bay, 2 Keppel Bay Vista, 6271-7414). I’ll let you know what the verdict is after I’ve had a chance to sample chef Shiraishi’s creations. They’re also one of 80 participating restaurants, and counting, for the upcoming Singapore Restaurant Week. It rolls around Mar 21-27, so you can look forward to fab food from establishments such as Garibaldi Italian Restaurant & Bar, Absinthe, Table 66, Wild Rocket, Senso Ristorante & Bar, Private Affairs, Forlino and Oso Ristorante, starting at $25 for a three-course set lunch or $35 for dinner. It’s a pretty good deal, considering the fact that most of these places would usually cost a bunch more. Log on to www.restaurantweek.sg for more details, but online bookings only start on Feb 23. Fastest fingers wins.