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  1. COL Open Kitchen
    Photograph: COL
  2. Café Kitsuné
    Photograph: Café Kitsuné

Best new restaurants in Singapore: December 2022

New restaurants, cafés and menu updates to check out in Singapore for December 2022

Dawson Tan
Written by
Dawson Tan
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In Singapore, hot new restaurants and cafés open on the regular and diners are spoilt for choice when it comes to picking out where to eat. While we all have an opinion of what the best restaurants and best cafes are, these fresh new dining concepts aren't going to eat themselves. Now here's a concise list that perhaps even helps you save – or splurge – a buck or two.

In this list, there is an unstuffy modern British restaurant by a private chef of the Beckhams, a fun casual Italian-Australian restaurant by an ex-Salted & Hung chef, and Singapore's first-ever Japanese ox tongue restaurant.

Save this tab as we refresh this page every month with what's new and noteworthy in Singapore's dining scene.

RECOMMENDED: The 50 best restaurants in Singapore you must try and the 50 best bars in Singapore

Hot new restaurants to dine at in Singapore this December

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Tanjong Pagar

The Australian chef behind the now-defunct Salted & Hung returns to the gastronomic scene with Cenzo on Club Street. Expect food that is both subtly thoughtful and unpretentiously fun, highlighting his Italian roots and his signature modern Australian flair. Pickled mussels ($12) and blue prawns ($25, pictured above) make good starters if you like your seafood. But if you're feeling carnivorous, the thinly sliced veal tongue ($22) is your go-to order. Pasta is handmade fresh and presented as classic Cacio e Pepe ($22) or the bucatini with sweet spanner crab and smoked trout roe ($30) while mains such as Drew’s signature porchetta ($48) are designed to be shared.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • City Hall

The world-famous Café Kitsuné has landed in Singapore with a beautiful joint at Capitol Building. The French-Japanese chain was first opened in Paris by designer label Maison Kitsuné, and has since achieved cult status with 21 cafés in iconic locations around the world. The coffeehouse is known for its robust cuppas and fox-shaped sable cookies – which are among the signatures you'll find in our local joint too. Though the sweet treats are most memorable with four flavours of its famed fox-shaped sable cookies – butter, sesame, chocolate, and matcha ($4 each).

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary Asian
  • Raffles Place

Located in the vibrant stretch of Circular Road, Quay House is inspired by the industrious heritage of Boat Quay where the spice trade was once prominent. The menu boldly explores regional flavours through a repertoire of techniques from open-fire cooking, and fermentation to ageing. Expect familiar dishes such as the smoke-kissed Balinese kampung chicken enhanced with a unique Betutu rub that is made from chillis and Southeast Asian herbs. There is also duck showcased in two ways: confit and smoked. The restaurant also offers executive lunch sets (from $38) that are sure to impress your clients. Head upstairs for an after-meal activity where you can tee off at the mini golf course and solve escape room puzzles by Kulnari Mystery Golf.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Chinatown

Fusing Indian and Japanese cuisines is the works of one of India’s leading Asian cuisine chefs, Vikramjit Roy, who sharpened his knives in some of the most remarkable restaurants in India and Japan – he was also Japanese Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto's protégé. Here, a contemporary menu celebrates the diversity of India’s food cultures. Expect umami-forward flavours with an emphasis on fiery heat executed with both intention and restraint. There is also finessed display of traditional Japanese and Indian pickling techniques dancing hand in hand throughout the meal, providing measured acidity and balance always in each dish. Choose from the nine-course Explore ($248) or the grand 16-course Expedition ($338) menu.

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

In the short span of six months, the popular Café Natsu opens its second outlet on December 5, shortly after debuting in the heritage district of Joo Chiat. This time, they find themselves in the lobby of Clemenceau Citadines Connect Hotel. Bringing over familiar favourites from Joo Chiat, the team presents Western brunch classics tastefully shaped by Japanese sensibilities. Fans can also look forward to the perfect tea-time snack of baked Hokkaido cheese tart ($8) and Kurozato brown sugar pecan tart ($12).

  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Chinatown

Serving up East London in spoonfuls, COL is Keong Saik's latest addition. Ridding the fine-dining pomp, the vibe is cosy yet energetic. Here, chef-owner Colin Buchan encapsulates his favourite neighbourhood restaurants and bars of London – also where he earned his stripes – in an inventive menu that celebrates seasonality. Starters came with lively expressions of aromatic Nduja arancini with smoky muhammara dip (S$18) and hand-dived roasted scallops draped with rich seaweed butter ($46). From the wood-fire grill, marbled cuts are brushed with Wagyu beef fat and masterfully incinerated over binchotan. Other highlights include hand-rolled tagliatelle with Scottish mussels and piquant chilli butter ($34), lardo-laced Iberico pork loin ($48) and the moreish saikyo miso-roasted cauliflower blessed with garlic pangrattato ($24).

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary Asian
  • Bukit Merah

During the day, it is a bakery bistro that sells out its fresh bakes and viennoiserie by afternoon. Come sundown, it switches its guise and turns into an approachable Euro-Asian omakase. Dreamed up by chef Joe Leong, son of celebrity chef couple Sam and Forest Leong, the tasting menus treat our tastebuds to exciting flavours that evoke a sense of place and familiarity (from $88). Joe aims to refresh the menu once every few months but right now, highlights are the cleverly reimagined takes on the Hainanese chicken rice and Thai fishhead steamboat. Desserts also come highly recommended as it comes with subtle influences reflecting his first dessert stint with chef Janice Wong. This is a space to watch.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Tanjong Pagar

Singapore's first-ever ox tongue (gyutan) specialty restaurant is Tras Street's latest resident serving up succulent gyutan in many ways. Watch as Head Chef Yoshiyuki Kuroshima grill up your food over binchotan methodically as the aromas permeate the atmosphere. Here, the value-for-money lunch sets are a nice introduction to ox tongue if it is your first venture. Each nutritious set includes charcoal grilled gyutan, fluffy mugimeshi (a mix of rice and barley), two kinds of Japanese pickles, a refreshing lemon olive oil dressed salad, grated Japanese mountain yam, as well as a choice of oxtail or miso soup.

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  • Restaurants
  • Tanjong Pagar

We all know chef Gaggan Anand. You've probably seen him on Netflix's Chef's Table or attended his culinary residency at Mandala Club. Now, he opened his first restaurant in Singapore: Ms. Maria & Mr. Singh, an Indian-Mexican casual joint melding explosive flavours from both cuisines. There's his famous avant-garde cold curry ($20) – an ironic Hokkaido scallop ceviche ($20) with a spiced Peruvian tiger’s milk marinade. Other dishes that stood out included the Papdi Chaat ($18), surf and turf biryani ($28) or even the stir-fried crab curry. To best complement the food, order interesting cocktails like the Banana Rhubarb Old Fashioned ($22) or the Pineapple Cilantro Sling ($22).

Last month’s best new restaurants

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Orchard

Fishing for your meal. Thumping Harajuku pop from the '80s. Eating out of a traditional okamochi box. These are all part of what makes dining at Kissajin unlike any other Japanese izakaya. Here, you'll enjoy a contemporary omakase course that presents a refreshingly interactive experience that definitely lets your camera feast before you do. Seasonal produce is beautifully presented at pocket-friendly prices during lunch ($68) and dinner ($98). The best part? It won't rip a hole in your pocket.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Raffles Place

New beginnings for one of the best places to dine for Italian cuisine, not to mention the stunning backdrop of the city skyline. Formerly known as just Zafferano, the restaurant presents contemporary takes on soul-comforting South Italian classics by executive chef Andrea De Paola and head chef Daniele La Rocca. For the best hits, opt for the experience menu ($148), a four-course menu that reflects the inspiration by a sense of place in his dishes. The food will absolutely cradle your tastebuds but it is the cooking commotion from the open kitchen that captivates. With an extensive wine list with up to 800 labels, the finest libations are available to pair with your meal. The restaurant remains popular with the business crowd with three-course lunch sets going for only $78.

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Orchard

At élan, a new energetic and fun French restaurant by the Les Amis Group, French cuisine is reimagined with complimentary traces of Asian influences. Expect bewitching domes of foie gras bonbon ($38) and fluffy mangetsu scrambled egg with lightly battered frog legs ($34) to start. Mains are served in generous sharing formats: There’s tilefish ($65) with crispy scales and a 500-day grain-fed Australian M9+ Wagyu flank ($170) perfectly cooked to achieve a nice pink in the middle without much resistance to bite. There is also the aqina “pineapple” chicken ($110) – an Asian-inspired riff off the French classic Poulet Rôti – that is good to share among two if you're keen to explore Hainanese chicken rice done the French way.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Orchard

A quiet little slice of Italy by the name of Dolcetto is Regent Hotel's charming secret. And it is all things but a bore. Fresh off a facelift after making it past a decade, this mercatino is now part all-day dining, part chocolatier, part gelateria, and part retail shop with over 200 Italian food and drink offerings. The vibe is timelessly elegant yet contemporary and feels like you’re prancing around a Federico Fellini film set. Don't sleep on the truffle burrata pizza ($31) and don't leave without checking out the confectionery wonderland. There you'll uncover a dazzling display of freshly made gelato, artisanal pralines, candies and chocolates that are just quite irresistible.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • Sentosa

Think panoramic beachfront views, an alluring azure infinity pool, and fresh vibrant Latin-Mediterranean cuisine. Round up the crew for this Mediterranean and European culinary affair where classics are reimagined with a modern approach. Tuck into a wide range of handmade pasta, mezze to share, fresh seafood and a delicious roasted suckling pig. This all-day dining destination also has a weekend high tea that is affordably priced at just $28 per person. Your joyful midday tête-à-tête with petite sweets and savoury treats awaits you.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Sengkang

Opened by the same people behind Populus café, Apricus Coffee & Food Co. is the new kid on the Jalan Kayu block. Pouring up coffee in the AM in ergonomically designed coffee cups (from $5) while an all-day brunch menu sees clear influences drawn from European and Mediterranean cuisine. Sink your teeth into crispy potato stacks, roasted cauliflower steaks or smooth hummus to start. Mains are significantly heartier where a brown butter pasta base topped with a giant fork-tender slab of Norwegian salmon ($23) reigns as the crowd favourite. Be sure to save space for the buttermilk waffles topped with Kinaki rice soft serve ($20). 

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  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • City Hall

Red House Seafood is no stranger to Singaporean diners. The live seafood expert now opened a stylish new restaurant in Esplanade with stunning views of Marina Bay. Bringing with them their signature preparation of the Singapore Nanyang style, flavours are predominantly influenced by Southern coastal regions of China peppered with Malay, Indian, and Peranakan traditions. The crowd favourites are undoubtedly the tomato-forward chilli Sri Lankan crab with the sweetest claw meat and the creamy sweet custard coated chunks of crunchy Tasmanian rock lobster.

  • Restaurants
  • Singaporean
  • Harbourfront

From online to offline, Renée Tang's success story took three years. Now the former delivery-only dry laksa (from $13) headlines her brand-new brick-and-mortar restaurant in Vivocity. But that won’t be all. The menu also showcases a comprehensive range of local delights that are both a touch of creative and contemporary. Drawing Southeast Asian influences, there are starters such as the fiery larb moo on perilla leaf ($18), and scallop and otah pillows ($18). Elevated mains feature the duck confit Teochew risotto ($26) and the ginger-flower spiked Assam barramundi ($32). What is both comforting and convivial is the sense of nostalgia evoked by the hearty food combined with the old-world interiors.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Harbourfront

This brand-new fine-dining concept by the acclaimed Crystal Jade Group comes with idyllic waterfront views across Sentosa Island. Striking out to pave the way for more approachable fine-dining concepts outside of Orchard for the popular group, the restaurant whips up Cantonese specialties from traditional gems to modern interpretations of classics. And like in most traditional Cantonese restaurants, the live seafood culture still thrives. Hand-caught upon order, the pan-fried threadfin ($58, estimated 600g to 700g) is a must-order. The firm and meaty fish is deeply fried to retain all its highly desired gelatinous moisture then flash simmered in the supreme soy sauce to give it a glistening sheen of savoury goodness.

  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Tanjong Pagar

The lovechild of modern Indian restaurant Revolver and Michelin-starred Hamamoto comes a wildly imaginative Japanese-Indian izakaya like never seen before. Hidden away from prying eyes, Barood is a hedonistic oasis channelling Paris in the 60s. Reimagining tapas with his signature smoke, Saurabh Udinia – executive chef of Revolver – turns up the heat with lavishly bold ingredients and exotic spice. Apart from elevated regional Indian favourites, the menu also boasts a series of treats featuring uni, otoro, lobster and A5 Wagyu neatly presented on handcrafted pottery ware from Khurja, India. This is a spot to take your hot date.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • City Hall

This Muslim-owned Japanese-French bakery in Bain Street has some pretty stellar pastries made by the deft hands of chef Sarifi. She has clocked over 12 years of pastry-making experience with renowned hotels, most recently in Pan Pacific Singapore. Scandinavian minimalist is the theme of the space but what you'll return for is pièce de résistance: pain au suisse ($6). Think shatteringly crisp buttery pastry with chewy insides and a luscious bed of semi-sweet yet milky chocolate chips. The bakehouse is also pretty experimental with surprise drops of bagels, Kouign-Amann, and even the hyped croons through announcements on its social media – so keep your eyes peeled.

Still hungry? Check out these hot spots

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