While the main fervour of Chinese New Year seems to have passed, we’re not quite done with the feasting. Well it’s hard to, considering Singapore’s buzzy dining scene—of outstanding concepts, exclusive pop-ups and new restaurants throwing their hats into the ring.
Undoubtedly, our sunny island is an exciting place to be for restaurateurs alike. So much so that international names have travelled to set up home here; the latest being Cote, New York’s famed Korean steakhouse by Simon Kim. Its arrival to Singapore marks its first international outpost, housed at Como Orchard, Expect only the highest quality USDA Prime beef cuts, as the restaurant marries the affable culture of Korean barbecue with the makings of an American steakhouse. Not to mention, sizzling, robust flavours that will complete the experience.
There’s more to uncover in Japanese cuisine, as a favoured Kappo name emerges at Mandarin Oriental. At Zuicho, its seating format allows diners to witness the live preparation of seasonal ingredients as they are meticulously crafted into unique creations by the chefs at the station. From a fried wagyu tenderloin to springy handmade somen noodles with sea urchin and a snow crab hotpot with soy milk, an omakase here is one to discover and indulge all at the same time.
Over at Botanic Gardens, Roia sets a stunning scene for French cuisine. The luscious gardens serve as the perfect backdrop for those who yearn to escape the concrete jungle and opt for a respite in nature. Helmed by chef Priyam Chatterjee, the menu presents a refined, localised approach to French delicacies, while peppered with natural and organic nuances.
Lastly, those partial to artisanal bakes will definitely appreciate Ami—a quaint patisserie that offers an outstanding dining menu. Led by pastries, every course here infuses Japanese influences into skilfully crafted renditions.
Ahead of your next big night out, look to our list of the city’s most exciting new restaurants to dine at.
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Nestled within the grounds of a colonial bungalow lies Ami Patisserie, housed in a quaint Kyoto-styled wooden townhouse. Much to its fanfare, the physical outpost of what started out as an online shop in 2021 brings the intricacies of the patisserie to life—from the piquant smell wafting from the entrance to the visual feast of chef Makoto Arame’s creations in its full glory. Beyond a day-to-day cafe space displaying à la carte sweets, savouries and viennoiseries, Ami’s Chef’s Table Discovery Experience presents pastry-led courses in the space’s eight-seat Tsudoi Dining Room.
It’s a meal that breaks the mould of what one would think of pastries. Rather than an afternoon teatime delight, Arame plays to his strengths in unique creations—imbuing Japanese influences to his European-style pastries. A sweet bite delicately opens the meal; a hazelnut financier that holds its own crisp and caramelised around the edges. Riffing off Japanese’s cult famous egg sandos, you’ll savour the same eggy goodness in the first course—within a beautiful choux pastry, topped with crème fraîche, caviar and sudachi zest to cut through the richness. By the fourth course, you would have worked your way through an aged parmesan tartelette with fresh Amela tomatoes as well as a one-of-a-kind brown butter brioche. The latter holds a crispy yet moist bite, as it’s joined by a generous portion of Hokkaido Bafun uni, lime cream and a touch of fresh wasabi.
Beyond procuring fresh seasonal ingredients, Arame does well to make the most out of his prized haul. By way of eggplants from the Kochi prefecture, he churns an eggplant brûlée sealed with a miso caramel crackling as binchotan-grilled eggplants sit atop as the perfect savoury-sweet accompaniment. A side of chilled soy and miso ice cream serves as the cherry on top. It’s a dish that’s will linger in the back of your mind, even as you segue to the remaining dessert courses. Speaking of which, while each sweet hold a distinct flavour profile for every preference, fans of dark chocolate can look forward to a special treat in store.
Ami Patisserie, 27 Scotts Rd, Singapore 228222
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Korean-American restaurateur Simon Kim believes that spectacular food is important, but it is only one facet of a memorable night out. “A good dining experience is multi-layered; it is also about the service, ambience and wine list,” he says, while dining with us at his first overseas outpost of Cote Korean Steakhouse in Singapore. Located at Como Orchard, Kim’s new baby is moody and seductive in vibe, clad in wood and moss green walls with an excellent playlist featuring top 40 hits, house and hip hop music.
With a Michelin star under his belt in both New York and Miami, Kim is confident about the experience he is bringing to Singapore. “Cote isn’t like any place I know,” says Christina Ong, founder of the COMO Group. “There’s performance, showmanship and seriously good food. Beef is like a religion. You learn about all the cuts and origins. You soak up an atmosphere of cocktails and music, of living life to its maximum.”
After pre-dinner drinks at the Millim Bar, guests are ushered into the Main Dining Hall, or into The Private Dining Room if the occasion calls for it. The optimum way to start your meal is with The Legend of the Seven Jades—a selection of land and sea treasures, served in intricate jade glassware from Moser which Kim jokes is similar to those from “his grandma’s attic”. Paired with crisp tartlet shells, it is reminiscent of a kueh pie tee party but with bluefin tuna, hamachi, and Hokkaido uni, amongst others.
For first-timers, the Butcher’s Feast is a fantastic way to get a sense of what Cote is all about. The hospitality team here is cheerful yet attentive, with an ability to chat up diners yet ensure the beef is perfectly seared. From USDA prime cuts, Australian wagyu, to an A5 selection of premium beef from Japanese prefectures, all the different cuts are dry-aged for a minimum of 45 days in their in-house, dry-ageing room to intensify its natural flavours. It is then seasoned with Cote’s signature salt, a blend of British Maldon salt, Celtic sea salt and Korean thousand-day aged sea salt. The result is spectacular; beef that is charred yet tender and juicy, and is best devoured without any additional seasoning.
“The fat, flavour and savoury elements of red meat are a beautiful canvas for red wine,” Kim sums up. His go-to at the moment is Rhône wine from Jean-Louis Chave. But feel free to ask for pairing recommendations from their extensive wine list of over 600 selections, which includes biodynamic, sustainable, and vintage depth bottles. Rest assured you will leave Cote without the cloying smell of KBBQ either, as each table is fitted with bespoke smokeless charcoal grills.
Cote Korean Steakhouse, Level 3 Como Orchard, 30 Bideford Road, Singapore 229922
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Zuicho, a well-loved one-Michelin starred Japanese restaurant in Hong Kong, arrives in town at the Mandarin Oriental, housed in a private corner behind a pair of Noren curtains. Once you complete a meal at the restaurant, it becomes obvious why it has been a cult-favourite with patrons in its original Hong Kong institution and first outpost in Macau—and how it might add new prospect to the Japanese dining scene in Singapore.
Zuicho Singapore presents a seasonal omakase Kappo menu that changes monthly. Kappo, which means ‘to cut’ and ‘to cook’, necessitates that diners are treated not only to a delicious meal but a true visual feast. The restaurant is helmed by head chef Kenji Takahashi—of Ginza’s Yoshifuku fame—who shines in the open kitchen with his warm personality and culinary artistry.
Watching Takahashi slice into fresh slabs of fish with razor-sharp knife skills, showcase flawless technique on the grill and whip up beautiful dish after dish with impeccable plating instincts is like taking in a grand performance. Standout dishes include two melt-in-your-mouth pieces of A5 wagyu chateaubriand, one smoked naked on the grill and the other enveloped in a thin coating of breadcrumb; an aptly named Special Dish of sushi rice topped with layers of chutoro and caviar; or a gorgeous Takikomi rice folded with delectable chunks of Queen Snow crab, ikura and Japanese pickles. Ask for a second serving of the latter and your bowl will be topped with a nourishing broth, transforming it into a heart-warming dish of ochazuke. Don’t miss out on the sake pairing, either, for Zuicho offers two incredibly refined private label pours which elevate every bite.
Zuicho, 5 Raffles Avenue, Level 3 Mandarin Oriental, Singapore 039797
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The charming E.J.H. Corner House—a UNESCO World Heritage site—has a new occupant in Roia. Headed up by Chef Priyam Chatterjee, who was awarded the French knighthood of Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole, his first venture in Singapore melds both French elegance and Asian influences in a delicate array of dishes.
As light streams in, start off with a glass of champagne as Chatterjee brings forth a delectable amuse bouche, which comprises of the Roia Toast—a light and airy crystal toast made with kudzu flour—as well as a hamachi, yuzu and ikura tart, and a corn mousse kueh pie tee iteration. All three bite-sized morsels are art pieces in itself, and are remarkable in both flavour and texture.
Other favourites include Snowfall in Singapore, which serves up a succulent Hokkaido scallop with finger lime and yoghurt, as well as the CDG>>SIN, an excellent Maison Burgaud Challandais duck that is both sweet and tender, paired with Kinjiso spinach and orange jus. Chatterjee’s ability to cook the duck skin to crisp perfection is not lost on us, for the dish was truly moreish and left us wanting more. Leave space for dessert, as What’s For Breakfast? is a sweet treat that is fashioned after a sunny-side-up egg and crafted from coconut, black rice and mango. It is a refreshing, beloved finale to a meal that presented surprise after surprise, and is deeply satisfying.
Roia, 1 Cluny Road, E.J.H. Corner House, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore 259569