As we settle comfortably into the new year, the dining scene in Singapore remains as exciting as it’s always been. With great fervour, our city’s new restaurants bring a vibrant array of flavours both new and familiar to our plates.
Middle Eastern cuisine is reimagined at Aniba, where renowned Israeli chef Meir Adoni draws inspiration from the stops in his culinary journey to harmoniously weave in influences from both the East and West. Vegetables and fresh catches from the sea take centre stage in the menu, served against the backdrop of the restaurant’s gorgeous, cavernous dining room.
For flavours closer to home, Yue Bai presents contemporary Chinese cuisine built on the foundation of shi liao gastronomy—or dietary therapy, a branch of traditional Chinese medicine that examines how food relates to wellness. Here, you’ll find elegant renditions of Chinese heritage dishes that comfort and nourish. Echoing its culinary ethos, the restaurant’s interiors are reminiscent of a traditional Chinese teahouse, creating a serene and tranquil space where one can enjoy a quiet moment of respite to savour a meal.
Meanwhile, Indian cuisine shines at Ahara, the newest addition to the bustling Chinatown dining enclave. A celebration of India’s rich and diverse heritage, culture and traditions, chef-owner Vikramjit Roy creates a luxurious menu that honours the country’s culinary legacy.
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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Sure, getting to the private lift of Aniba might pose a minor challenge to your maiden experience, but as you ascend up the floors, the cavernous entrance is merely a stylish precursor to the restaurant’s design prowess. Flanked by iridescent metallic tiles and abled by hanging low-lights, your view of Aniba gets better and better as you come into full view—to take your seat in the main dining room.
Helmed by renowned Israeli chef Meir Adoni and in collaboration with The Foragers, the group who brought the fanfare of Israeli’s cult favourite pita, Miznon, to Singapore, Aniba takes an elevated, finer and kosher approach to Middle Eastern cuisine. In a menu that centres vegetables and fresh catches from the sea, the flavours come bearing heady flints, tapping on spices while tart nuances come to play—with yuzu making a recurring appearance. With the focal point on seafood, the restaurant makes good on its promise on the freshest catch—from bluefin tartare to hamachi. The latter, mixed with yogurt-yuzu foam and curry leaves, piled atop a crisp sphere.
It won’t take long to notice the elaborate accents applied to each dish, which at times do detract from the star ingredient. But in the case of the Eggplant Carpaccio, the plate shines through thinly-sliced roasted vegetables, plated with chopped pistachios, fresh herbs and tahini. Its garnish of dried roses also falls in line with a sweet-smelling floral scent as you enjoy this dish. As far as seafood stews go, the Jaffa Shoreline serves up a rich creamy bouillabaisse of fresh grouper and a side of couscous. But if we had to dream up another way? Call for the Milk Bread—pillowy and indulgent—to mop up any excess broth.
Aniba, 6 Battery Road, Bonham St, #05-03 Private lift from Riverfront Entrance, Singapore 049909
Enquiries: 9668 8036
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An ambitious new addition to the crop of modern Indian restaurants in Singapore sits on 20 Teck Lim Road (if that address sounds familiar—it was once home to Michelin-starred Burnt Ends, which has since moved to Dempsey Hill). Open the door to Ahara and you’ll be greeted by dusky mood lighting and statement art sourced by the owners on their travels to India. Both the decor and the menu—designed by acclaimed Indian chef Vikramjit Roy—promise a tour around the country, built upon extensive research done on trips to several Indian cities.
From the early few dishes in the nine or 16-course menus, the approach to the cuisine seems firmly modernistic—boasting familiar Indian recipes spiked with foreign flair. A plump Kumamoto oyster arrives swimming in refreshing sol kadhi, a nostalgic digestive drink made with kokum (a plant in the mangosteen family) and coconut milk.
Ahara’s Bombay Toastie—a well-spiced sandwich popular in India as a street food—is elevated with imperial caviar and pepper-cured salmon, but retains its original spirit through a homemade spice mix, plenty of seasoning and a zesty fresh mint and coriander chutney. The bread course is dense and satiating, especially when paired with its moreish accompaniments, goat meat pate and korma gravy.
If you miss the stretched feeling in your stomach after a truly satisfying Indian feast, wait till the final savoury course arrives. Aptly titled The Grandeur, this course comes out in components—which add up to about nine in total—and takes up the entire table. The centrepiece is an intensely-spiced Goat Shank Nihari, served with three varieties of carbs: homestyle jeera aloo, roasted onion pulao and an irresistibly pillowy butter chicken kulchette. On the side you’ll find an assortment of pickles alongside two startlingly delicious vegetarian dishes—an aromatic plate of green peas, and a rich and creamy dal makhni that will have you scraping the bottom of the bowl with your spoon.
Ahara, 20 Teck Lim Rd, Singapore 088391
Enquiries: 9726 9720
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Le Matin Patisserie
Step into Le Matin’s elegant new space and you’ll be greeted by row upon row of tempting pastries in the patisserie’s display counter. New creations like the Roasted Hay and Pecan Tart and Sake Lees and Macadamia Choux Bun sit side-by-side with familiar favourites such as the Kouign Amann and Pistachio and Rose Escargot.
After gaining an eager following from its pop-up stores in Paragon and Raeburn Park, the popular bakery’s permanent new home welcomes both loyal customers and new diners to savour its delectable bakes in the heart of town. Founded by chef Mohamed Al-Matin—whose impressive portfolio includes the role of head pastry chef at Restaurant Andre and a two-year stint as pastry sous chef at Noma—the cafe introduces a range of delightful French bistro fare to accompany its famed pastries.
Look forward to buttery croissants baked to flakey golden brown perfection and loaded with savoury fillings. The Fried Chicken Croissant is an easy standout—as is the Black Truffle Scrambled Eggs Croissant. Brunch offerings are far from the only additions to the menu, with a medley of new desserts to end your meal on a sweet note. Try the La Gaufres Beurre Noisette, crisp brown butter waffles with amazake soft serve on the side. In an effort to reduce food wastage, the waffles are made from unused croissant bits, creating a dessert that is both delicious and sustainable.
Le Matin Patisserie, 2 Orchard Turn, B2-49 Ion Orchard, Singapore 238801
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Stepping into Yue Bai is like entering an oasis of calm bathed in a palette of taupe and cream, grounded by pale oak panelling. The interior design will strike you as somewhat contemporary, but do not be fooled—Yue Bai may set its food on a modern stage, but at the restaurant’s core is a deep love for Chinese tradition.
Singaporean co-owner and head chef Lee Hongwei’s culinary ethos comes inspired by traditional Chinese medicine. In particular, Lee’s menu is steeped in Chinese dietary therapy. You may be familiar with the concept of foods being “heaty” or “cooling”, which stems from the guiding principles passed down for generations by practitioners of the ancient art. Each dish at Yue Bai is built solidly around these tenets—even to a TCM layman, the nourishing quality of the restaurant’s cuisine is immediately evident.
In a platter of four appetisers, the Australian Lamb Jelly stands out. Set in a jelly made from chicken stock, the traditional Teochew dish’s viscous texture may not be for everyone, but for diners who enjoy organs meats and tendons, it’ll feel like elevated comfort food. Lee pairs his lamb (known to be “heaty”) with passionfruit-infused pickled pumpkin. Per Chinese dietary therapy principles, the pumpkin balances out the lamb by promoting blood circulation and clearing out internal dampness. But beyond its purported medicinal properties, it is the perfect accompaniment to the dish—tangy, fresh and with a welcome pop of brightness.
A double-boiled Silkie chicken soup boasts great depth of flavour, having been brewed in a superior chicken stock with chicken feet and infused with jasmine flower, wolfberries and dried longan. Aromatic and complex with a hint of sweetness, the dish succeeds in its intention to calm and nourish the body through great finesse and celebrated tradition. With a sweeter touch, a dessert of creamy bean curd and hashima topped with a soothing herbal Pi Pa Gao syrup achieves the same nurturing effect. Take a look at Yue Bai’s extensive menu (you can order through tasting sets or pick from a medley of ala carte dishes), and this is a trait you will recognise throughout.
Yue Bai, 33 Duxton Rd, Singapore 089497
Enquiries: 9721 8055