From Birds of a Feather
Western dishes get a Sichuan twist at Birds of a Feather. Don’t let the name of the dish ruffle your feathers, the Spicy Oriental Bolognaise isn’t too fiery – the subtle kick from the pork ragout spiked with tongue-numbing Sichuan peppers and chilli is easily manageable, even if you have a low spice tolerance.
From Kyuu by Shunsui
Fans of Kappo Shunsui – where a meal runs from $250 a head – will be happy to know that its sister concept Kyuu by Shunsui offers a more affordable 10-course omakase dinner. That gets you a host of sashimi and robatayaki items including grilled king crab and Kagoshima A4 wagyu.
Casual restaurants housed in shopping centres don’t have a reputation for serving the best food but Masizzim has surprised us this year with its heartwarming spicy seafood and beef stew. A pot is loaded with squid, mussels, prawns and beef ribs to form a robust stock that’s full of flavour.
It’s impossible to choose a favourite dish, so we’ll go for the entire dim sum experience at Jade. It’s is all made fresh on site by chef Leong Chee Yeng and his team – even during the weekend buffet. Signatures include a golden osmanthus flower char siew bun, scallop dumplings and siew mai but go ahead and order the whole menu. We won’t judge.
$39 for a weekend dim sum brunch buffet.
From Flying Monkey
Simmered overnight in a creamy peanut and cashew sauce, this lamb shank curry has fall-off-the-bone tender meat and a rich gravy that’s full of gusto. Wrap it up in a slice of varqi paratha, a sweet flatbread that tones down the punchy curry and gamey meat. It also goes great with a side of garlic naan fresh from the tandoor.
From Ding Dong
This contemporary Southeast Asian restaurant by The Spa Esprit group is all things cheeky and fun. The skin on Ding Dong’s crispy pork trotter shatters once you bite into it and the tender flesh is enough to feed three. The spiced vinegar it’s served with also helps add a piquant acidity to cut through the fattiness of the dish.
From Summer Pavilion
There’s something about double-boiled soups that’s extremely soul satisfying. And chef Cheung Siu Kong’s double-boiled sea whelk soup is a luxurious upgrade to the comforting dish. It comes brimming with sea whelks, fish maw and chicken, and is served in a whole coconut for a touch of sweetness.
From Sawadee Thai
For refined Thai food that won’t leave your tongue on fire, say hello to Sawadee Thai. This mild red curry is smooth and oh-so-balanced due to the smoky savouriness of the roast duck and the sweetness from those lychees and pineapples.
If the perpetual long queues weren’t enough of an indication, we’re here to reinforce the fact that the grilled unagi rice bowls at Man Man are worth the wait. The hitsumabushi can be enjoyed in three different ways: plain, sprinkled with spring onions, seaweed and fresh wasabi, or with dashi poured over the remaining rice chazuke-style.
Cantonese dishes get a modern twist at Mitzo so don’t be surprised to find roast duck covered in black truffle on the menu. The unctuous bird is done in typical Cantonese fashion and is covered in a black truffle shavings and sauce. And while we’re as jaded as the next person when it coes to truffle being thrown on dishes unnecessarily, we’ll make an exception here.
$38 for half a duck.
“This restaurant used to be called Mellben Seafood at Toa Payoh but now it’s called Kelly Jie Seafood. The zi char dishes are still great! Everything is really flavourful but I always order the crab beehoon – white rice vermicelli noodles cooked in seafood stock and crabs. The soup is thick and rich, and the chefs are always very generous with the fresh seafood.”
#01-11/15, Blk 211 Toa Payoh Lorong 8, Toa Payoh.