Whether you’ve kept a close watch on the local food scene or not, you’ll definitely have come across the influx of international F&B brands arriving on our shores in 2019. Major burger chains like Shake Shack and Five Guys have both arrived, bringing us their juicy burger patties encased in fluffy buns (fingers crossed for In-N-Out next); there are your reopenings of old favourites like the refurbished The Alkaff Mansion offering three new much-welcomed concepts; and then you have celeb chef openings like Damian D’Silva’s fresh new venture Kin, following his departure from Folklore.
Below, we revisit the restaurants that have made headlines in Singapore for good reason. And looking back, they definitely did not disappoint.
Home to an Italian restaurant before it shuttered in 2016, The Alkaff Mansion is now a refreshed (and restored) bungalow that offers multiple concepts, under new management by food and lifestyle collective 1-Group. In June 2019, it opened to the public with three concepts—Txa Pintxo Bar (a new Basque pincho concept), Una (Spanish restaurant formerly at One Rochester) and Wildseed Cafe (the same pet-friendly cafe concept from Summerhouse). Host a wedding here or just come for the tapas. You’ll have a great time either way.
Receiving much attention for opening an outlet at none other than Jewel Changi Airport earlier this year is London-hailing seafood and burger joint Burger & Lobster. And they brought with them their signature Original Roll, a lobster roll featuring generous chunks of fresh lobster; as well as the Original Lobster, a delicacy that’s best paired with a lemon and garlic butter sauce. They have since opened a second outlet in Singapore, at the newly-refurbished Raffles Hotel no less.
From the man behind the now-defunct Cheek by Jowl (which subsequently morphed into the Cheek Bistro we continue to know and love) comes Cloudstreet, a produce-driven restaurant on Amoy Street. Here, the affable Rishi Naleendra delivers delectable surprises, with a tasting menu of $168 for 5-course and $198 for 7-course dinner. The much-raved bread course is truly deserving of its accolade.
We’ve got no lack of fast food options, but when an all-American chain like Five Guys arrives, people take notice. At Singapore’s first-ever Five Guys, be prepared for a casual American burger experience that has been missing from the scene. Here, snack on free peanuts while you queue, then bite into some of the juiciest beef patties in town, layered with your choice of toppings, and packed between two homemade buns.
Since his departure from Folklore, famed chef and Masterchef Singapore judge Damian D’Silva has opened Kin, discreetly located at members-only club Straits Clan. The food here is a showcase of delicious heritage fare. This must-try spot doesn’t take many walk-ins, so be sure to get a reservation for guaranteed goodness.
Opened by nightlife juggernaut Tao Group who most famously brought us Marquee, Koma is a standout for being a concept birthed here in Singapore first, instead of being an import. This Kyoto-inspired Japanese restaurant has some seriously delightful nosh, and strong drinks.
Unlike New Ubin Seafood’s other outposts in Singapore, New Ubin Village is remarkable for being an industrial canteen that houses its very own tze char stall, a New Ubin Test Kitchen incubator specialising in food for deliveries, plus an upcoming dry-aged meats concept. Found across the road from Tampines’ Ikea, people flock to this heartland spot to satisfy their cravings for tasty local offerings.
This New York heavyweight really shook things up when they first entered Jewel, as they caused long, snaking queues that didn’t quit (until recently). Bringing their fan-favourite ‘Shroom Burger and hearty, gourmet (albeit pricey) signatures, Shake Shack also gave us some local treats, like a pandan-flavoured milkshake. Get ready for their second outlet, coming soon to Tanjong Pagar.