Claypots Full Circle might not serve dishes in claypots, but it definitely has come full circle. It's the only international outpost of Claypots Australia, a restaurant group that launched in Melbourne 22 years ago that was first inspired by Singaporean food and flavours. But how does a Singaporean-inspired Australian restaurant distinguish itself once its back on Singapore soil? For one, its extensive range of fresh seafood including Atlantic sardines ($12) deep fried and tossed in sambal and kaffir lime leaves and garlic prawns (market price), extra large prawns bubbling in a hotplate along with copious helpings of olive oil, garlic and sambal oelek – best mopped up with warm and fluffy slices of pide, Turkish bread traditionally prepared in a clay oven. Not to be missed are the Full Circle Port Arlington Mussels ($25), a bowl of small but sweet mussels cooked in garlic, lemongrass and herbs before it's finished off with white wine and butter. And if you find if hard on deciding on one type of seafood, go for it all with the St Kilda shellfish stir-fry (market price), a smorgasbord of flower crab, mussels, clams and prawns, wok-tossed in plenty of coriander and served on a bed of rice.
Homegrown restaurant brand PS. Cafe launches a new contemporary Japanese dining concept, Jypsy. The stylish restaurant is decked out in costal hues and has low-hanging lanterns that cast a dim, romantic glow. The food is equally chic with offerings like Bluefin tuna sashimi ($24) topped with caviar and smoked mackerel sushi rolls ($14) served with truffle ponzu mayonnaise.
Impressive (or gimmicky) plating aside, Chengdu Restaurant turns up the heat with Sichuan dishes prepared by chefs Qing Jun and Jing Xiao, who both spent more than 10 years cooking in top hotels and restaurants in China. Fiery dishes worth ordering include the spicy grilled frog skewers, fresh bullfrogs brushed with Sichuan sauce served atop a straw boat complete with dry ice. Another classic is the Sichuan hotpot that combines green peppers, millet, garlic and fermented black beans to flavour a stock packed with squid and fish head.
This new natural wine bar by The Lo & Behold Group sees chef-owner and Burnt Ends alumnus, Keirin Buck, team up with head sommelier Josée Yeomans to bring ‘fine casual’ to the local bar scene. Bottles from boutique natural producers are paired with elegant yet approachable plates such as vegetable crudités with whipped roe ($22), heritage chicken ($68) and a stellar beef tongue sandwich ($24).
Experience the art of Kyoto-style kaiseki at Yoshi Restaurant. With seasonal Japanese produce imported from Tsukiji market at its heart, meals can revolve around one theme – uni, beef or maguro – prepared with different cooking methods that are never repeated so that guests enjoy different textures and tastes with each course. The eight-course themed menus are priced at $158 for both lunch and dinner but for the full Kyoto omakase experience, chef Yoshiyuki Kashiwabara offers an extensive dinner omakase priced at $328.
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 a hearty and healthy green pea hummus to accompany a side of grilled lamb sausage, yogurt, mint and pistachios or opt for some seafood by having its cured salmon or chilled almond soup served with crab and apple. Vegetarians aren't forgotten either with options like its broccoli and tardivo salad and carrot and quinoa tartare on the menu.
Aside from old favourite like chef Damian D'Silva's sambal buah keluak fried rice ($28) and beef cheek rendang ($36), the rebel chef has launched a range of new dishes on his menu that celebrates local heritage food. Must tries include the prawn sambal with petai ($26), a savoury dish of prawns and smelly beans, sotong masak sambal belado (market price), perfectly cooked slices of squid tossed in punchy sambal and ayam goreng ($24), deep fried chicken that's been marinated with galangal, shallots and dried spices.
Its location within Gardens by the Bay means that Majestic Bay Restaurant is well poised to serve the tourist horde hankering for local delicacies like chilli crab and chicken rice. But that doesn't mean that the restaurant only sticks to the boring old classics – chef-owner Yong Bing Ngen and executive chef Chee Hin Yew have injected a fresh dose of creativity to its seafood menu, offering dishes like crab tossed in white wine sauce and basil leaves ($68) for the chilli shy and Malaysia free-range chicken rice ($32), served in a claypot with a trio of sauces. A tribute to some of Singapore’s favourite classics done with a modern twist, there are also dishes like crispy prawns in peanut satay sauce ($28) and seared Singapore chilli crab meat buns ($5.50/3pcs) on its all-day dim sum menu.
Every hotel needs a dependable grill restaurant and the refreshed Shangri-La, with its refurbished Tower Wing guestrooms and facilities, has finally found one with Origin Grill. The magnificent space evokes the opulence and romance of travelling by train – concrete arches hang from above, handsome leather benches line the airy space and the warm colour scheme gives us a slice of Grand Central in Singapore. The food is meticulously sourced from around the world and expertly prepared by chef Heidi Flanagan who previously ran kitchens across Sydney. With a focus on sustainable and exclusive ingredients, the menu comprises a range of seafood dishes like octopus charred with smoked paprika ($32) and beef including a 300-day grain-fed Rangers Valley Black Market Angus (from $48), from Glen Innes, New South Wales, Australia; an award-winning 500-day Japanese diet-fed Shiro Kin wagyu (from $148) produced Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia, and a snow-aged full-blood wagyu (from $168) from Niigata, Japan.