G'day mate! While you chant "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!", get to know a lil' more about Australia Day before throwing another shrimp on the barbie. Australia Day falls on January 26, marking the arrival of the first European settlement in 1788. It has been celebrated by Australians around the world including those who have called Singapore home.
However, this controversial event has not sat well with the indigenous groups from Down Under, dubbing it "Invasion Day" instead. But in recent years, there has been a shift in the ways Australians commemorate the day. Now, it's a celebration of the nation's diversity – and rightly so as Australia is beyond Kylie Minogue, fighting kangaroos and adorable koalas. Here's how to spend the arvo with the Sheilas and Jonnos like you're in Oz. And while you're at it, do your part in helping Australia's bushfire crisis.
Or try these Australian restos
Named for the lovely charred bits that blacken the edges of fired meats, this modern Australian restaurant earned a notch on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list just a year or so into operations, while its lunch and dinner reservations fill up weeks in advance. Still, if you're dedicated enough, you'll find your patience rewarded not only with a daily menu of appetisers, meat and fish that emerge in puffs of smoke from the huge custom-made wood-powered oven, but also with a show of sizzle and sear as the meats are raised or lowered using the elaborate winches over hot, hot heat.
If one Michelin-starred Cheek by Jowl got you dreaming for more after its last service, fret not. Its cheekier sister – Cheek Bistro – has an à la carte-only menu that 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 like the showstopping waffle with chicken liver parfait. Then, choose from a variety of small and large plates as you move on to mains like the burrata with heirloom tomatoes and fermented green chilli. Bring your meal to a close with gorgeously-made desserts and wash it all down with Australian-inspired bottled cocktails.
Modelled after Melbourne’s brunch institution, Pope Joan, The Lokal is staffed by a team headed by Aussie chef Darren Farr, who brings experience from the original Tetsuya in Sydney. Most dishes sport familiar-to-locals ingredients, but with restaurant-level finesse and more forgiving prices. The blackboards detailing the day's specials are always worth considering before you pick from the menu. But if it's eggs you're after, the Pimp Your Breakfast beats any morning-after brunch: you have the freedom to assemble your very own plate.
After a long day, kick back and relax – Aussie style – with wine and tapas at this bistro and bar. Guzzle down pasta and gourmet pizza but not without ordering up its original Australian chicken parmigiana. And if you’re there on the weekend, have brekkie your way by building your own plate.
Australian celebrity chef Scott Webster and chef de cuisine Douglas Tay have designed an innovative à la carte menu inspired by fresh Australian produce, combining Asian influences with Western grilling techniques. Meats like the Byron Bay Berkshire pork rack, Kühlbarra barramundi fillet, Grainge Black Angus New York steak are grilled in a stone hearth and comes with chutneys, pickles and sauces. For an appetising start to your meal, order from a wide array of fresh seafood, including ceviche cured with refreshing citrus juices and vibrant spices.
The formula here is solid and simple: dark leather furnishings with a fresh wood motif, soft lighting to emphasise the view, plus of course top-quality Aussie beef. Among the highlights is the Australia black Angus Wagyu Tomahawk, the USDA prime beef rib-eye – each served with four home-made sauces-and the chain’s signature beef Wellington, which combines an 8-ounce medium-rare filet mignon, Parma ham and foie gras all baked into a puff pastry. Let the meat sweat begin.