As we’re in a thick of a restaurant boom in Singapore, there’s truly no shortage of places for a special night out. Bacchanalia is one of those treats.
It’s hard to tell that this brightly lit, wood-dominant restaurant on HongKong Street bears any relation (beyond its name) to the restaurant-lounge-bar at its original Freemason House location. The Fat Duck’s ex-development chef, Ivan Brehm, still calls the shots, and the food still bears the same New Nordic sensibilities as it places locally sourced ingredients in stylish flourishes on the plates.
This space is in favour of setting a stage for the food of Brehm, his second, Mark Ebbels, and their team. This is the astute, long-awaited decision craved by those who’ve put up with the incongruence of its former setting: dark and heavy with velvet, fat armchairs and regal pomp.
The restaurant-only shophouse breaks down the wall between kitchen and dining room. On entry, diners are plonked right in the centre of a busy open kitchen pass and a side service counter before they’re shown to a table deeper in the unit – or, if you’re lucky (and have booked well ahead), a chef’s table right up close to the action. If you’ve eaten at Bacchanalia, you’ll be happy to learn that cutting-edge techniques and intriguing dish dissertations are very much in the kitchen team’s wheelhouse, and is now served up here in five- ($125) and seven-course ($165) doses. Alternatively, come for a three-course lunch ($45).
Bacchanalia excels in paying vegetables their due respect. The restaurant continues to work with Hatiku Farm in Cameron Highlands to grow fresh greens that would traditionally have journeyed from far-off European patches.
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