First opened in 1982 at Goodwood Park Hotel, Min Jiang has long been a stalwart of Chinese cuisine in Singapore. And after 12 years at Rochester Park, the brand's second outlet has moved to bigger space on Dempsey Hill decked out in rustic touches made modern like weaved wooden panels, rattan chairs and large drop lanterns that emit a warm glow over the dining room.
Helming the restaurant is chef Goh Chee Kong, who's spent the past 32 years cooking at Min Jiang. He specialises in both Cantonese and Sichuan cuisine, producing beautiful plates of dim sum – the steamed Goldfish prawn dumpling ($4.80) is extremely Instagrammable, as is the pretty deluxe platter ($38) of blue pea truffle vegetable dumpling, steamed crabmeat, prawn and vegetable dumpling, fried glutinous rice golden pumpkin, and scallop dumpling. Other highlights on the menu include the braised sea treasure soup in pomegranate egg white parcel ($48), where Australian abalone, bamboo pith and dried scallops are poached and wrapped in an egg white skin. There's also the legendary wood-fired Beijing Duck ($118/ordering one day in advance is recommended) carved tableside with eight different condiments. The remaining duck is then cooked to your preference and served as a second dish.
Whether you’re a tourist on the hunt for local cuisine or a Singaporean craving for Peranakan comfort food when you touch down, Violet Oon Singapore is sure to hit the spot. Gather around the communal tables at the brands biggest outlet to date and make your own Nyonya Poh Piah ($58). Each platter comes with 12 different toppings including steamed prawns, Chinese sausage and braised bamboo shoots and jimaca, or as it's known here in Singapore, bung kuang. There are six skins you can gussy a roll up to your liking – figuring out how much you can stuff in there without breaking the skin is half the fun. Eating it like a burrito is the other half. Other Jewel exclusives include the Roti Violet Tuna Wala-Wala ($15) – think of it as a roti prata soft taco topped with flaky tuna tossed in spices – and the otak toast ($16), thick, spicy mackerel fish cake served on toast. Violet's signatures like the beef rendang ($23), dry laksa ($24) and ngoh hiang ($14) are also on the menu.
This three-in-one concept pays tribute to three distinctive Chinese cuisines: Cantonese, Huaiyang and Sichuan. Get your dim sum and congee fix at the MRKT (there's also a retail space where you can pick up bottles of local soy sauce or Chinese bai jiu) before sojourning to the BAR for cocktails or its housemade sparkling red tea alongside Chinese tapas.
The DINING portion of the restaurant is decked out on pastel pink banquettes and serves a whole host of dishes, including favourites from its sister restaurant Shang Palace at the Shangri-La Hotel. This includes signatures like the deep-fried whole boneless chicken filled with fried glutinous rice ($78). The chicken's paper-thin skin is shattering crispy and its moist flesh balances out the sweetness of the glutinous rice. For spice-seekers, try the Sichuan chicken ($22) instead. Poached chicken comes doused in chilli oil and peanut sauce – we wish we could order a bowl of dry noodles and toss the two together. Other highlights include the Eight Treasures Tofu Pudding ($18), savoury beancurd that you can customise to your liking and red grouper stewed in pea mash soup with pickled peppers and Chinese cabbage ($78).
Yet another beloved global F&B brand makes its Singapore debut at Jewel Changi Airport. London's Burger & Lobster opens at Canopy Park on Jewel's topmost floor, offering stunning views of the Shiseido Forest Valley and the HSBC Rain Vortex while you dine. Crack into its signature lobster platters ($65) – live lobsters from Nova Scotia, Canada are steamed or grilled and served with a side of fries and garden salad – or grab a bite of its Nabraskan beef burgers ($25) finished with house-made pickles, onions and secret sauce and buttery brioche lobster roll ($40). To mark its first foray into Singapore, the British brand has included sambal-glazed lobster on its menu for those looking for something spicy.
Located within Far East Square, Zui Yu Xuan Teochew Cuisine celebrates traditional Chaozhou cuisine in a historic building. Step through the intricately tiled arched Chinese entrance way and enter the courtyard that was once part of Chui Eng Free School, which was established in 1854. Beyond it lies a restored two-storey heritage building that the restaurant calls home. The main dining room on the first floor modestly fits family-sized tables but it's the private rooms on the second floor you should try to book. Each is equipped with a TV and karaoke suite for you to sing your heart out as you dine. Start your meal with Teochew delicacies such as cold crab ($12/100g) packed with savoury yellow roe, deep-fried ngoh hiang ($13), deep fried prawn balls ($22), homemade puning beancurd ($12), and for the more adventurous, the pig trotter terrine ($13). Before moving on to mains, the crispy sea cucumber in abalone sauce ($24) and gooey-style Teochew oyster omelette ($13) are also a must. And while it seems tempting to fill your stomach with snacks and appetisers, save room for signature mains like the steam pomfret ($10.80/100g) and dessert such as the iconic yam paste with pumpkin and gingko nuts ($5.20).
Previously known for its hearty prawn-base ramen bowls, Jimoto has pivoted away from its Izakaya image and has transformed to an omakase restaurant serving affordable yet refined sushi and hot plates. At its helm is chef Takahiro Sato, who's trained at the likes of Melbourne’s Kakizaki and Hashida Sushi Singapore. He stands quietly behind the sushi counter-cum-open kitchen where he slices strips of fish and moulds morsels of rice before pressing the two together, placing them on the plate in front of you. Omakase options start from $55 (only from 6pm to 7pm) and run up to $128, and include an appetiser, a hot dish from the kitchen and sushi. Some pieces you can expect include horse mackerel, bluefin tuna and yellowtail served on a small bed of shari from Miyagi Prefecture. If that's not enough to fill you up, Jimoto also offers a revolving selection of à la carte dishes like an A4 Miyazaki wagyu ribeye steak ($98).
Three years, one Michelin star and plenty of other accolades later, Cheek by Jowl has run its last service. Thankfully, its replacement doesn't fall too far from what chef Rishi Naleendra initially set out to achieve. We might even like Cheek Bistro more than the original. The update is warmer and more convivial than its predecessor, with a fresh coat of paint, indoor plants and art by the multi-talented chef adorning its walls. Its à la carte-only menu is unfussy and retains some Cheek by Jowl favourites so you can put down your pitchfork and breathe easy.
In true Cheek tradition, start your meal with a series of snacks. You're probably well acquainted with the oyster topped with smoked tomato granita ($6) but the new waffle with chicken liver parfait ($6) is a real showstopper. Sweet, creamy and ingeniously topped with some pickled mustard for a slight tang, these waffles need to come in American IHOP portions. Choose from a variety of small and large plates as you move on to mains. Burrata and heirloom tomatoes ($22) can be found on almost every restaurant menu but Cheek's deployment of fermented green chilli spiced with cumin and flecks of crispy shallots elevate this from the humdrum usual. The same can we said about the beef tartare ($26), which comes topped with crunchy millet and a side of crisp endives to use as an edible spoon as well as the unctuous lamb ribs ($25) that easily slide off the bone.
Can a Singaporean chef – who's never even stepped foot in Italy, we might add – make pasta better than the Italians? At Bar Cicheti on Jiak Chuan Road, the answer is a resounding yes. The concept is the love child of chef Yew Aun Lim, who trained under chef Seita Nakahara at L'Opretta; restaurateur Liling Ong, who also runs Fynn’s and the original Cicheti on Kandahar as well as sommelier Ronald Kamiyama, who runs one of the city's best natural wine programmes here. The mostly handmade pastas are done fresh by Aun and his team at Bar Cicheti's open kitchen. On its spring menu are creations like the bucatini ($30) a thick and hollow noodle soaks up the fragrant saffron broth it's cooked in and finished with spring peas, seared Hokkaido scallops and citron zest. Another winner is Aun's take on classic Italian pesto: spaghetti ($28) is tossed in a blend of jalapenos and basil before it's twirled together with pistachios, pine nuts and ricotta salata. The small plates are not to be missed too. Lingua di Manzo Tonnato ($18) makes an offal eater out of any non-believer. Braised beef tongue is charred and topped with caramalised onions and an aioli of mayo, tuna and anchovies – talk about an explosion of flavour. There's also the ever-popular Salvia Fritta ($8), sage leaves that are battered and fried before being dusted by maldon salt because sometimes, simplicity is all you need. But if it's complexity you're thirsting after then Ronald's collection of wines should do the trick.
The Feather Blade started out as a pop-up steakhouse at Zui Hong Lou along Club Street during the weekends. But due to overwhelming demand and long queues, the pop-up has taken over the space permanently so that you can easily satisfy your steak cravings.
Founder Sheen Jet Leong spent a year working the kitchen and floor of Flat Iron Steak, a popular London eatery, and brings what he loved and learnt from the joint to our shores. Expect 200g of juicy grilled beef priced at an affordable $21, which you can pair with Sichuan peppercorn sauce or classic bearnaise ($2). Save room for sides ($7) – The Feather Blade offers a mushroom medley, truffled cream corn, mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. Sticking to its ethos of serving alternative cuts, it offers weekly specials such as picanha, bavette and chuck-eye steaks as well. Pro-tip: if you're not in the mood for steak, ask your server for the Handshake Burger ($21). The off-menu item is made from ground flat iron steak that are seared on the griddle before it's smothered with bearnaise sauce and served with raw shallots between lightly toasted brioche buns.
One of the OG French restaurants in Singapore, Les Bouchons took over a small shophouse space on Ann Siang back in 2002 and continues to concentrate on one thing and one thing only: steak frites. But its larger outlet over at Robertson Quay, Les Bouchons Rive Gauche has more to offer, especially now that it's open for Sunday brunch to serve the weekend family crowd.
The Bouchons Riviera Brunch à la carte menu adds 30 new dishes to the restaurant's repertoire including the tasty meat-free option, the Gueule de Bois ($24) – plant-based Impossible meatballs served atop toasted sourdough bread and scrambled eggs with a side of sautéed porcini mushrooms and roasted cherry tomatoes. But of course, Les Bouchons is known for its meat and you'll find carnivorous options like the Bouchons Sunday Roast ($32) or other Roast of the Day options available when you visit.
What do kopi o, dark chocolate and fish soup have in common? They're all milk-free – at least at No Milk Fish Soup and Bistro. The concept is split into two floors: the first is a no-frills eatery that focuses on dishing out Teochew-style clear fish soup. Head chef Hoe Gern learnt the recipe from a fish soup hawker who's been cooking the dish at Bedok Market since 1992. What you get is either mackerel or sea bass – boiled or fried – in a flavourful broth that stays true to its pure seafood flavour at an affordable $6.
Up on the second floor, the vibe takes a complete 180. It's split into two areas, one an outdoor rooftop platform that overlooks Singapore's heritage district and a dim indoor bar lit by neon signs. On the menu are a mix of Mexican, Italian and fusion dishes with a local twist. Pasta is made in-house and come tossed in beef rendang sauce ($16.80) or mala bacon and shiitake ($15.80). Was it all down with cocktails priced at a steal from $10-$20.