21 on Rajah

The buzz: Well-traveled director of culinary operations Paul Then—who has done stints at hotels all over Asia—heads this on-premise eatery at the Days Hotel. The new joint’s a fancier dining option in the Balestier neighborhood, which is mostly known for hawker fare.

The vibe: Laidback and breezy with a fresh white and blue color scheme, in shades similar to the Greek national flag. There’s a funky mix of design elements (think birdcages and Pop Art statues) too for an overall funky vibe. 

The food: The small plates menu pulls influences from all over the Mediterranean and includes tapas like roasted tomatoes with feta cheese ($11.90) as well as crostini of smoked eel ($13.90). Plus, there are filling mains, from Marseilles seafood bouillabaisse ($38.90 for two) to Moroccan Harira with chicken and saffron paella (from $21.90). Rounding out the menu is a small selection of Asian dishes such as chicken curry with roti prata ($16.90) and Singapore laksa ($18.90). The eatery also offers a two-course set lunch ($18), and four-course set dinner ($48 for two) including appetizers, tapas, mains and dessert, which sounds like a steal.

The drinks: Wash the meal down with fruity cocktails and mocktails. There’s punchy Ginger Brunch Sangria ($12/glass, $52/pitcher) with red wine, berries and ginger ale, and an affordable list of mainly New World wines (from $54/bottle). Teetotalers can choose drinks such as the Mediterranean Sunset on 21 ($10) featuring orange juice, pineapple juice and grenadine.

Why you’ll be back: It’s rare to find exotic flavors around Balestier. Plus it’s pretty affordable.