Following his departure from one-Michelin-starred Iggy’s at the Hilton Singapore, chef Aitor Jeronimo Orive has teamed up with hotel and restaurant group Unlisted Collection to open Basque Kitchen. Inspired by the cuisine of Basque Country, where meats are grilled over hot coals and stews are rustic and hearty – he elevates the homey dishes he grew up eating with techniques he's learnt cooking at some of the top restaurants in the world including Mugaritz and The Fat Duck. Standouts include the oxtail bomba rice, his spin on Japanse gyu don made with Spanish bomba rice and Angus oxtail, topped with a confit of quail egg yolk. It wouldn't be Basque cooking without Txuleta, charcoal-grilled Angus prime rib served black and blue – charred on the outside and rare on the inside. Pair it with an extensive range of Spanish wines, there's everything from heavyweights like Peter Sisseck to small-batch boutique producers plus Spanish gins, pacharáns and Basque ciders to choose from.
Not one just for the tourist hordes, Blossom is a new contemporary Chinese restaurant at the sprawling lobby of the Marina Bay Sands hotel. Helmed by Cantonese chef Fok Kai Yee, who's spent years in the kitchen of Summer Pavilion and chef Jason Lau who's cooked at Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck, the restaurant serves a mix of Chinese cuisines ranging from classic Cantonese and Shanghainese to spicier Sichuan dishes. Dim sum is available during lunch and afternoon tea while the à la carte offerings include more extravagant sharing plates like the roast chicken smoked with 15-year-old pu'er tea leaves and chrysanthemum. Individual plates with a succulent tiger prawn and braised four-head South African abalone are also available for those looking to indulge.
With the plant-based trend picking up in the restaurant scene, The Botanic has done right by switching things. Think vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes like pressed tofu with Sichuan dressing, grilled king brown mushrooms and cashew nuts ($16) and burrata with butternut pumpkin ($15).
But if you love you're meat, don't fuss too much. There are free-range, organic meat and seafood offerings as well. The grilled squid with inked rice ($22) is a standout. Stay for desserts like chendol pavlova ($12) and a fruit-based cocktail selection (prices start from $18) to sweeten up your experience.
Popular award-winning chicken rice from Bangkok, Go-Ang Pratunam finally opens up in Singapore. The brand has been established for over 50 years in Thailand and this is its first overseas outlet. While it's not like our local favourite, you can't deny that it's pretty decent plate of chicken rice ($5.50) – the only difference is the chilli. Instead of the zesty variety we're accustomed to, this one is sticky, sweet and slightly spicy. On top of your usual chicken rice options, you can also expect some zi char dishes like braised pork ($8), steamed fish ($28), omelette ($5.50) and basil chicken ($8).
No stranger to Singapore's fine dining scene, Waku Ghin by acclaimed chef Tetsuya Wakuda serves Japanese cuisine with an Australian twist. Don't expect your typical kaiseki meal here, the ten-course ($450) begins in a private room where you're treated to an exclusive teppanyaki presentation of dishes like Ohmi wagyu with wasabi and citrus soy as well as a seafood bouillabaisse packed with ingredients like Canadian lobster and rockfish from Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Can't quite blow $450 on a meal? Then head to Waku Ghin for lunch on Friday where you can treat yourself to a five-course executive lunch for $180. The lunch menu changes seasonally but features some of Tetsuya's signature dishes, including a morsel of his famed botan shrimp, Oscietra caviar and sea urchin combination over sushi rice or even pasta. After your mains, you're led out to an open seating area where you can savour dessert alongside the glittering vistas of Marina Bay.
There’s something curious about Beppe de Vito’s venture on Market Street. ‘Value for money’ and ‘CBD’ aren’t usually mentioned in the same sentence, but de Vito’s new fine dining restaurant bucks that convention. At Art, he puts out the Italian food he’s known for – you must have heard of ilLido, &SONS and Southbridge – without inducing too much pain if you’re not swiping the company card. Art takes cuisine classics and updates them with modern techniques. It’s not a place to take clients to if, like us, you make blissed-out faces around good food. Appetisers include an expertly balanced plate of raw red prawns topped with foie gras dusted in blood orange powder ($28) as well as tagliolini covered in oscietra caviar, enhanced with clam veloute and lemon garum. As for mains, you can't go wrong with Kagoshima wagyu served with radicchio and black garlic purée ($58). Another triumph is the beautifully plated seabass, eggplant cannolo and leeks ($45) complete with impossibly thin and shiny crispy fish skin. While the à la carte options are well and good, we highly recommend opting for the tasting three-course ($68) or five-course ($98/$148/$198) tasting menus instead. It includes some plates from the main menu alongside other surprises that have us wondering how de Vito gives us so much for so little – and what’s stopping the rest from doing the same?
Cure derives its name from curare, Latin for ‘to take care of’, which it does very well on the dining front. Set menus in different permutations dominate lunch and dinner. Two ($42), three ($55) and five ($79) courses are offered in the day, while Mondays to Thursdays see three- ($95) five- ($120) and seven-course ($150) meals. Fridays and Saturdays are reserved for a special five-course plant-based menu ($120) as well as five ($150) and seven-course ($150) tasting menus. Thankfully, the food isn't as confusing. Meals start with a flurry of snacks including chef-owner Andrew Walsh's take on laksa, served with noodles of squid strips in laksa broth froth. Everything on the menu is refreshed constantly, placing the focus on seasonally available ingredients as well as Walsh's never-ending supply of ideas. The plant-based menu sees the likes of a pumpkin brûlée tart topped with pumpkin seed pesto and aubergine coated in togarashi furikake and served in a comforting earl grey and mushroom broth. But if it's meat you're searching for, you won't be disappointed with the foie gras custard beautifully balanced with plums and sorrel as well as the beef short rib pastrami plated with red cabbage purée and kohlrabi. It's clever and creative without being pretentious. You can also choose to complete your meal with a selection of natural and sustainable wines from boutique producers. Offerings include Claus Preisinger Kalkundkiesel 2016 from Burgenland, Austria and G.D Vajra Clare JC La
Go gluten-free at The Butcher's Wife, a casual bistro that takes intolerances seriously. Instead of just a couple of gluten-free options on the menu, the restaurant takes steps to ascertain that not even a trace of gluten appears in its dishes – while offering a whole variety of options that are sure to hit the spot. Start your meal with tapioca and mozzarella bread with miso charcoal butter ($9), a take on the Brazillian pão de queijo that's crisp, dense and immensely satisfying. Another favourite are the crispy pig's ears ($16), a DIY baby gem lettuce wrap with piquillo peppers, pickled kohlrabi and sriracha mayo to balance out the deep fried pigs ears. Vegetarians aren't forgotten either, with options like the pumpkin gnocchi ($23) with Brussels sprouts, sage butter and a generous shaving of parmesan cheese but if it's meat you fancy, look no further than the chestnuts pappardelle ($29), silky slivers of pasta coated in a ossobucco ragu that's been braised for eight hours – so satisfying, you'll completely forget that you're in a gluten-free spot.
Think of Maggie Joan's as a hipper-than-thou secret dining club hiding behind a rusty door marked by an unlit signboard along Gemmill Lane. The restaurant is the sibling of Moosehead Kitchen and Bar and father-and-son team Glen and Daniel Ballis have decided to move head chef Seumas Smith over to take over Maggie Joan's open kitchen. The long, dark and cavernous dining room makes this restaurant a sexy spot for a date – only because the seductive dishes match the drapes. The seasonally driven plates are refined yet hearty best exemplified by the likes of burrata paired with peas and preserved lemon ($21) and roasted carrots paired with ricotta, apricot and rosemary ($10). Mains are more than substantial, with options such as thick cuts of pan-seared barramundi ($34) cooked with sustainably farmed mussels and nage as well as spiced lamb with salmorejo, black garlic and salsa verde. Seafood is Maggie Joan’s strong suit. Thick, robust slices of marinated yellowtail ($23) is arranged in a row among artfully tousled carrot shavings, pickled shallot rings and a mildly salted cod emulsion. A thick fillet of mellow bass ($28) sits in pesto soup with vanilla and balsamic-steeped tomatoes. And although not immediately recommended by the servers, the chunk of tender lamb shoulder ($29) is another good bet – that said, we still miss the base note of smoke that Moosehead has perfected. Even if we're not in the mood for a full meal, we can see ourselves popping in for a drink
Part art gallery, part restaurant, part bar and part after-work party space, Telok Ayer Arts Club makes for the most interesting addition to the CBD. Brought to you by the same people behind SPRMRKT, expect good vibes on the dance floor, French-Mediterranean cuisine from the kitchen, Asian-inspired drinks and a revolving series of art exhibitions at this space that refuses to be pigeonholed. Leading the kitchen is chef Bertram Leong, formerly a sous chef at SPRMRKT STPI, who whips up a mean menu of French-Mediterranean dishes with hints of Asian-inspired flavours. Start with small plates of diced tomatoes and tofu marinated with a housemade miso and topped with parmesan cheese ($14), slow-cooked octopus and shrimp coated in traditional Chinese Shacha BBQ sauce ($18), and crispy pork and chicken dumplings ($11). Move on to main dishes such as the slightly charred cauliflower steak paired with bechamel sauce made from melted scamorza cheese ($19), the locally-bred spatchcock smothered in herbs and spices inspired by the Portuguese-style Carne Assada ($28), and the seafood fettuccine modelled after the traditional French bouillabaisse ($25). Wrap up your meal with the baked chocolate pudding which comes with salted jaggery, coconut crumble and French vanilla ice cream ($10). If you're feeling adventurous, try the Arts Club specials which rotate every month.