With over 600 labels and 3000 bottles of wine on offer in its leather-bound tome of a menu, Ma Cuisine has cemented itself as a gastro wine bar for the serious connoisseurs. That's not to say that only the stuffy Bordeaux sipping elite are welcomed here – the restaurant's young owners Anthony Charmetant and Mathieu Escoffier want to share their passion for wine with beginners and experts alike, all within a casual setting that also serves homey French food. Let them take you on a journey of discovery, sampling wines such as a La Vie On Y Est Domaine Gramenon 2016 ($98) from Rhone, a Chardonnay Champ Perrier Domaine Tessier 2014 ($88) from Bourgogne and a Pinot Noir Domaine Duroche 2014 ($118) from Gevrey Chambertin. The wines are the focus here, but Escoffier, who used to cook in the kitchen of Saint Pierre, recommends traditional dishes like homemade terrine ($27) and lamb shoulder with root vegetables (market price) to complete the experience.
Set to be one of the most exciting F&B openings of the year, Caffe Fernet officially ushers in its first guest on March 7. The Italian restaurant and bar is the Jigger & Pony Group's largest and most ambitious venture yet – it's a 130 seater that puts equal emphasis both food and drinks. Expect Italian dishes with lighter and brighter flavour profile with nuances of a cosmopolitan touch, rather than quaint ‘grandmas’s kitchen’ fare.
Lower East Side 45 (LES45) is literally taking Mexican food to new heights. The contemporary Mexican restaurant is perched on the 45th floor of the Singapore Land Tower in the heart of Raffles Place, nestled between its sister concepts Angie's and Sear. Come for a quick set lunch or indulge in a tipple or two once the sun sets. There's a range of tequilas as well as a limed Corona for people who don't want to get too crazy to pair with dishes such as the LES Guacamole, chicken tinga tostadas and tempura hake tacos.
Chef Keisuke continues to take Singapore’s ramen scene by storm with the unveiling of his latest ramen concept – Kamo Soba Keisuke. Located in a cosy shophouse in Holland Village, the brightly-lit restaurant offers several unique renditions of ramen, all of which champion his latest muse – the premium Irish hybrid duck. Every bowl of ramen is served with slices of thoughtfully prepared duck – grilled, marinated, then steamed at precisely 65 degrees Celsius so the meat retains its juiciness with just the right amount of melt-in-the-mouth fat. Opt for the clear soup hybrid duck broth ramen (from $14.90) for something light or the rich soup (from $14.90) if you’re looking for something more robust. Not a fan of ramen? Go for the Kamo Ju ($29.90) – signature duck atop premium Japanese rice, served bento-style.
Enter through the back alley and be intrigued by the (extremely instagrammable) LED-lit laundry line hanging overhead – Alittle Tashi's playful way of paying tribute to the neighbourhood in which it resides. Comfortably tucked away in Jalan Besar, this laid-back 60-seater restaurant plates up a spread of mod-Asian dishes. To start off, choose from starters like deep-fried brussels sprouts ($12) coated in charred miso or oozy baked mozzarella sticks ($10) with furikake – strongly reminiscent of traditional Chinese malt candy. Dig into hearty servings of beef short ribs ($38) and chargrilled squid ($20) as you experiment with Alittle Tashi's bold lineup of homemade sauces, which include everything from tangy Asian chimichurri to skhug – a spicy Middle Eastern sauce made from coriander, cumin and garlic. Let loose, eat with your hands and get messy.
Xin Divine blends oriental flavour with European culinary techniques to serve progressive Chinese dishes like Sichuan tortellini ($18) and Poulet de Bresse ($35), a drunken chicken and foie gras roulade. The restaurant occupies the second and third floor of the three-storey shophouse unit while the ground floor is home to the Divine Bar, a casual lunch spot by day and cocktail bar by night.
Named after the white charcoal used to smoke its French-Japanese tapas, Le Binchotan is a chic eatery dishing out small plates, large plates, and skewered items licked by the grill. Don't be fooled by the large mirror at the back of the restaurant, the space is small and only seats 38. Having bought over the business, chef-owner Jeremmy Chiam has also overhauled the menu, introducing new dishes such as foie gras in warm dashi served with daikon and nashi pear, and edible charcoal – short ribs paired with garlic yoghurt.
Nestled deep within Kuvo's 9,153-square-feet expanse lies Elixir Bar. Head Mixologist Vladyslav Buzko holds the fort behind a lit marble bar counter, concocting potions with curiosities like 'drooling of ants' and 'sun juice'. We make googly eyes as he pours us The Love Potion ($24), a citrusy vodka-based drink topped with an oyster shell filled with Aperol and peach jelly. Chow down on Asian-inspired bar snacks while you're at it. There's a scallop and prawn radish cake with X.O. sauce ($14), char siew rolls ($8) and deep-fried honshimeiji mushrooms ($8) that will constantly have you reaching for more.
The Summerhouse dishes out ‘farms’-to-table creations, serving food carefully and personally sourced from Singaporean and Malaysian producers, garnished with herbs freshly plucked from the garden within the premises. If you're looking to splash out then book one of three air-conditioned domes strategically placed in the garden. They fit up to six guests – there's a minimum spend of $300 – and are themed in different styles. We can't think of a more romantic place to pop the question.