Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? As much as we love the spate of new F&B joints popping up everyday, there’s some respect to be had for a restaurant that’s stood the test of time in tumultuous Singapore, and continued to keep things fresh for its loyal fans. Every month, we scope out some of your best-loved places for the new menus they’re bringing to the table.
Alley on 25
Andaz Singapore’s Alley on 25 has launched a weekend “lazy breakfast” menu whose value simply can’t be beat. For $35, you get unlimited access to a breakfast buffet spread that stretches across the dining establishment’s five vendors, plus one a la carte dish—to leisurely enjoy from 11:30am to 2:30pm. For the buffet, there’s everything from the classic continental eats like cereals, waffles, breads from Tiong Bahru Bakery, and a live egg counter; to Asian dishes like congee, dim sum and vegetarian mee goreng. Naturally, coffees and teas are free-flow. The a la carte menu is definitely a big highlight—you can choose from hearty breakfast classics like Eggs Benedict, smoked salmon bagels, breakfast quesadillas and our top pick: the Steak and Egg prepared with Australian sirloin, and served with fries. Feeling bougie? Top up $35 for free-flow Prosecco, wines, draught beer, and DIY mojitos from the mojito bar.
Almost literally a hole-in-the-wall, one of the best kept secrets of Amoy Street (but only accessible via a tiny slit from Gemmill Lane) has quietly turned three, and it’s celebrating by offering guests a refreshed interior, a new chef at the helm, and a revamped menu that showcases the flair and finesse of modern European cuisine. Seumas Smith, formerly Head Chef at sister restaurant Moosehead, has taken on the role of Group Executive Chef and leads from Maggie Joan’s’ kitchen. Start with the Tomato Gazpacho with Goats Curd & Artichoke ($18), a fragrant, tangy and appetite-opening dish, or the umami-laden Hamachi Crudo ($23) that’s served upon a pool of creamy almond sauce. The highlights are the mains, especially the Barramundi with Mussels, Cavelo Nero & Parsley Nage ($34), thanks to the sublime pairing of the broth with the locally-sourced fish that is made soft and crispy. Those looking for something more hearty need look no further than the Duroc Pork Chop ($42) that has good marbling content, served in pork jus and bowlfuls of homemade pork crackling for a decadent touch.
Ola Cocina del Mar
After a month-long refurbishment (and six years since its opening), the humble Spanish establishment now occupies a bigger space (with two new private dining rooms) at the lobby of Marina Bay Financial Centre, much to the delight of long-time fans of the place. Affable Chef-owner Daniel Chavez has won loyal customers over with his brand of honest cuisine served generous and made-to-order, and we’re glad that’s still there post-refurb. The menu has gotten an update too, with a smaller but more focused offering. Returning guests can rest assured that the signature Suckling Pig ($68) and Wild Market Fish ($43) have not gone anywhere, while changes to the paellas keep things fresh. New is the Paella Valenciana ($35), where flavorful rice is served with marinated organic chicken, rosemary, chorizo and green beans. Or get the Fiduea de Cigalas ($46), a noodle paella topped with good portions of langoustines and crab. Don’t miss out on the tapas items, particularly the Huevos ($24) dish of scrambled eggs with Spanish pork, and the nicely-charred Grilled Octopus tentacle ($28). You’d also want to pair your meal with a choice bottle of Spanish wine, a task resident sommelier Timothy Taw will gladly assist with.
The Somerset@313 staple may be almost a decade old, but Oriole remains one of the best places for a reliable and tasty meal. For their new menu, they’ve released a bunch of brand new dishes, breakfast options, and a few revamped classics. The Espresso Hotcakes ($14) definitely stand out—vanilla pancakes drenched in homemade whipped espresso and sprinkled with berries and orange butter seeds, so every mouthful is an explosion of surprising flavor you won’t get gelat from too easily. New dishes like the Chicken & Waffle ($18) and Spicy Calamari ($16)—an addictive Szechuan-inspired side that can double as a bar snack into the night—make a nice addition to the existing menu of Western and brunch items; but if you’re a fan of the favorites, order up the Ginger Ale Fish & Chips ($22), which somehow tastes even better than its previous beer battered iteration. They’ve got a new Nitro Cold Brew ($7) too that’s as smooth and easy-drinking as an authentic stout; a good alternative to try if you want to break away from your usual order of Death Cream ($10).
The casual-chic Italian restaurant by InterContinental Singapore gets its first menu refresh since its opening in November last year. The new menu bumps up the selection of dinner offerings and light appetizers, plus takes the opportunity to introduce new wellness items like gluten-free pastas and a multigrain pizza—the all-new Publico Seven Cereali ($26) is an impressive cereal pizza using a seven-pelt flour base (apparently a first in Singapore) and littered with fruits and cheese. For pastas, the Ravioli ($27) is a good, creamy choice if you like homemade pasta stuffed with ricotta and spinach, then drenched in butter, almond oil and parmesan; otherwise, get the Conchiglie Bolognese ($29), a hearty, comforting bowl of conchiglie pasta with traditional slow-cooked beef in red wine bolognese ragu. But Publico’s best dishes are still its cheeses—so order the new Bruschetta ($16) topped with a generous handful of ricotta, and the revamped, creamier Burrata ($29) that comes with roasted tomatoes, rocket and eggplant caviar.
Previously only having a dinner menu, MasterChef Asia winner Woo Wai Leong’s first restaurant venture now has a simple Nanyang-style cuisine offering during lunch time (two-course $18; three-course $25; only from Wed-Fri), perfect for those in the CBD to have an elevated, satisfying chomp from hump day onwards. There’s the homemade Shao Bing from dinner that is being reinterpreted for lunch. Easily the star dish, it’s made into a burger here with juicy beef patty, mozzarella cheese and pickled green chilli sandwiched in-between. Other mains (all $14) include the hearty Thunder Tea Rice Porridge and the Pork Rib Rice, both being reinvented versions of the classic. You won’t want to miss out on the starters (all $8) too, especially the sticky-good General Soh’s Fried Chicken. And with the desserts (all $8), again expect the unexpected with items like the nostalgia inducing Yuan Yang Pudding and the Brown Butter Semolina Cake with Sesame Oil Ice Cream.
Tanjong Beach Club
The searing sun these days is one reason to head down to Tanjong Beach Club; their refreshed dining menu is another. The TBC menu has always been pretty extensive for a beachside establishment, and the new coastal-inspired additions make for even greater variety. For starters, you’ve got a decadently milky Artigiani Buffalo Milk Stracciatella ($26) with baby beets, honey and hazelnuts, the light and tart Hokkaido Scallop Ceviche ($28) with Nikkei tigers milk, or a deceptively simple-sounding Tuna Cracker ($23). Served with spiced soy dressing and crispy wanton skins (as the cracker), the peppery yellowfin tuna dish is set to be an easy fave for lazy nibbling by the beach.
Beer Battered Fish & Chips are another safe choice, refreshed with a sublime soft flesh-to-crispy-skin ratio, as is the Spaghetti alle Vongole that comes peppered with fresh clams. If you like exotic international fish, the tender Miso Baked Hamachi Collar ($33) won’t disappoint. Top off the meal with a Tropical Chocolate Popsicle ($16) that reimagines chocolate ice cream in a hard shell paired with passionfruit and oatmeal crumble; not overly sweet and perfect for hot weather. And whether you’re lazing on a sunchair or packing a full main at the inside seating area, cocktails like the Malayan Mai Tai ($21) made with rum and pandan are a refreshing must.
It’s been two years since Korean-Tex-Mex chain Vatos first landed on our shores, stealing hearts and diets with their fusion tacos and salsas, and the 2018 new eats are just as sinfully good. There’s a hearty Kimchi Galbi Grilled Cheese ($16) that marries your bog-standard grilled cheese sandwich with sauteed kimchi, marinated Galbi short rib and freshly baked sourdough; Chicken Mole Enchiladas ($16), a divisive dish for sure thanks to the chocolate chili sauce over the chicken and cheese, but with a savory, spicy aftertaste courtesy of the gochujang; and the outrightly addictive Honey Tequila Chicken Wings ($19). For bigger eaters, get the Ribeye Steak Fajita Platter ($32), which basically lets you DIY your own fajitas with a hotplate of marinated Ribeye, tortillas, and a platter of black beans, Mexican rice, guacamole, and amazing dips and creams. Still, our hats off to the Cheeseburger Spring Rolls ($15), a suspiciously boring spring roll that hides a gastronomic secret; filled with ground Angus beef, American cheese and ketchup, it tastes exactly like McDonald’s in a spring roll—in a good way.
The White Rabbit
Ahhh… it’s always nice to see a homegrown establishment make it to a decade in operation. It’s been 10 years since modern European restaurant White Rabbit first opened in an old church building in the middle of nowhere on Dempsey; before the area became the cool enclave it is today. In celebration, Chef Benjamin Tan in collaboration with the restaurant’s founding head chef, Chef Daniel Sia, have come up with a 10th anniversary course menu available till end-Oct featuring favorites old and new. Go four- or five-course—$88 and $108 respectively—and enjoy classics like the pan-seared foie gras, re-worked popular dishes like the lobster & kombu linguine and the brandt short rib, before indulging in the crepe suzette served with flair tableside, as it should be. Definitely get the wine pairing option too, that actually starts with a G&T made using their own delicious homemade tonic.