Singapore’s rich dining scene is an extraordinary tapestry of the world’s best cuisines, and the city’s new restaurants are a true testament to that. As the year draws to a close, the culinary scene remains as vibrant—and diverse—as ever, bringing an array of international flavours to our shores.
The openings of Élan and Summerhill cement French cuisine as a steady and beloved presence within our culinary community. The former is the Les Amis Group’s latest dining concept. Drawing on Chef de Cuisine Peter Teo’s years of experience with the French gastronomy powerhouse, the restaurant puts a subtle Asian spin on modern French cooking. The latter, previously a quaint bistro serving up rustic French fare in the heartlands, has reopened its doors in the heart of town.
From Colin Buchan, the executive chef at 1880, comes COL. In a casually elegant space inspired by East London’s swanky eateries, the restaurant introduces a menu of European flavours driven by seasonality and produce.
For something closer to home, look to Seroja, which celebrates the rich culinary traditions of the Malay Archipelago. A tribute to the beauty and harmony of the region, the restaurant’s offerings focus on native herbs and spices to capture the locale’s distinctive character. Meanwhile, Barood is the impressive new brainchild of the creators behind open-fire restaurant Revolver and Michelin-starred Hamamoto. Delivering modern Indian with a touch of Japanese, the restaurant reveals the endlessly creative potential of Asian fusion.
Ahead of your next big night out, look to our list of the city’s most exciting new restaurants to dine at.
1 / 5
Perched on the outer edge of Shaw Centre is Les Amis Group’s newest dining concept—a wholesome French diner bustling with familial liveliness. The restaurant’s name, Élan, reflects its philosophy of creating experiences filled with joie de vivre. This is facilitated by Élan’s warm, woodsy interiors and enthusiastic service from staff—especially the jovial restaurant director Philippe Pau, who liberally steps in to check if guests at every table are satisfied with their meals.
It is difficult not to be, with the restaurant’s unpretentious approach to French cuisine. Dishes are kept thoughtfully light, distinctly devoid of excess cream or richness. Even desserts keep to this rule, with the beautifully-plated Élan’s Chocolate teaming the sweeter flavours of milk chocolate and caramel with a fresh passionfruit jelly. As for appetisers and mains, you won’t go wrong with Sea Breeze, an aromatic mandarin-infused seafood broth brimming with well-cooked seabass and Bouchot mussels, and the generously portioned Aqina “Pineapple” Chicken, roasted till golden brown and served whole on a flavourful bed of jasmine rice pilaf, garnished with pandan leaf. If you didn’t know better, you may just believe that you were tucking into an elevated plate of Hainanese chicken rice.
To begin—or end—on an indulgent note, opt for the restaurant’s curated cheese platters that come in various sizes and configurations, allowing you to choose your favourites from their extensive collection of French farm cheese. Our top pick? The intensely pungent Epoisses Berthaut: a soft cow’s milk cheese enclosed in a vibrant orange rind, packed with creamy flavour.
Élan, Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Road, #01-13, Singapore 228208
Enquiries: 6735 6656
2 / 5
For your next date night out, consider Barood, a mysterious new cocktail bar in the nightlife district of Tanjong Pagar. With several well-loved drinking institutions close by, Barood sets itself apart from the pack through spirit-forward cocktails, an alluring ambience decked out in lavish colonial design, and most of all—delicious fusion food bursting with powerful flavour.
Where Singapore’s best cocktail bars often shine far brighter in their liquid offerings than food, Barood’s tapas and drink menus can easily be held to equal standard. This should come as no surprise, given the new establishment is located one floor above its sister brand, notable modern Indian restaurant Revolver. Expect to dig into dishes like a crisp papdi cracker laden with yuzu-marinated otoro, and Bombay Uni Toast. The latter is elevated through creative use of the prized ingredient, arriving in the form of an airy bread pakora topped with Bafun uni and brightened with an unmissable touch of tamarind.
Traces of Japanese influence aside, one unexpected menu hit lies in the cheekily-named Hot Chicken Balls, which is a simple dish of minced chicken meatballs glazed in a piquant, spicy Manchurian sauce. The perfect cook on the homemade meatballs and finely balanced Indian-Chinese sauce results in a hearty, moreish dish that begs for you to take one bite after another.
If you’re looking for a cocktail pairing, we recommend The Smoking Gun (a curry leaf-spiced Martini made with Barood’s own vermouth blend) or the tangy Ready for Love (a take on the classic Pisco Sour). Still, it’s hard to not like the full range of inventive concoctions on Barood’s menu. Pick one that catches your eye, sink back into the speakeasy’s plush, plum-coloured couches—and you’re golden.
Barood, 56A Tras Street, Singapore 078977
Enquiries: 9622 3410
3 / 5
The newest addition to Keong Saik Road’s happening culinary scene, COL comes inspired by the stylish restaurants that line the streets of London. Helmed by chef-owner Colin Buchan—whose impressive portfolio includes over a decade in Gordon Ramsay’s kitchens, a stint as David and Victoria Beckham’s private chef and an ongoing position as executive chef of 1880—the restaurant is as elegant as it is cosy. An open kitchen fills the space with an energetic buzz, industrial-style lighting lends an eclectic touch while warm candlelight sets the stage for an effortlessly sophisticated meal.
Here, European-accented dishes—driven by seasonality and produce—stand out for their unique medleys of well thought-out flavours. Look forward to roasted scallops remarkably paired with creamy seaweed butter, tangy grapefruit marmalade and shreds of shiso leaf. No doubt one of the most beautiful items on the menu, each scallop is served on a shell that sits atop a bed of tiny pebbles. Meanwhile, the Kristal caviar dish comes accompanied by sansho pepper, velvety taramasalata (a Greek fish roe dip) and crispy corn bread for a burst of both flavour and texture.
Every element on Buchan’s plates add a surprising new layer, culminating in dishes with striking nuance. The Iberico pork loin, cooked to tender perfection, shines. Crushed apples, mustard oil and cider jus deliver just the right amount of tart sweetness to the dish, complementing the flavourful pork wonderfully. Another exceptional showing is the roasted snapper, veiled in an exquisite vin jaune sauce and served with zucchini and grilled onions to balance out the heavier flavours on the plate.
As for dessert, COL has just two items on the menu—both outstanding options that have earned their rightful place. The first, a refreshing citrus curd tart with kaffir lime, arrives topped with mascarpone and an impressive meringue. The second, the Colpop, is the restaurant’s unique take on an ice cream bar—a delightful raspberry rose parfait coated with Opalys white cocoa and drizzled with raspberry ripple, the perfect sweet treat to close the night.
COL, 1 Keong Saik Road, #01-05, Singapore 089109
Enquiries: 9163 6247
4 / 5
Chef Kevin Wong dedicates the ultimate love letter to his heritage through Seroja—the newest restaurant at Duo Galleria paying homage to the Malay Archipelago. Born and raised in Klang, Malaysia, Wong spent the bulk of his career working in kitchens in France and San Francisco, before moving to Singapore where he joined Michelin-starred restaurants Cure and Meta respectively. At Seroja, he finally showcases his personal culinary philosophy by placing the flavours and ingredients that he grew up with at the forefront.
Marked by a statement botanical arrangement planted at the entrance, the restaurant’s stonewashed interior is kept relatively bare. The open kitchen is where you’ll find Loh and his stellar team busying themselves, prepping for the multi-course service. A mighty trio of snacks arrive first: including beef tartare atop a house-made tart shell and king salmon encasing laksa leaves and fish sauce. Then, there’s the indtroduction of laksam—a noodle dish, with a key essence birthed from blended and reduced fish broth. Loh executes this with an umami burst, through watercress foam and a slab of pan-seared flounder as the star protein.
Every plate stems from a memory, accompanied by a thoughtful mention that commemorates tradition. We understand more while pulling apart the addictive bread dish—roti paung, known as pound bread during the British colonisation of Malaya. Think of soft pillowy buns that serve a delectable purpose: to mop up the sauces of its accompanying dish, Hokkaido scallops served over a puree made from lily bulbs, topped with gunpowder podi spice, garlic shoots and sunflower seeds. The bold flavours are then teased with a tamarind glaze as well as a tomato and torch ginger flower sauce for a touch of acidity.
What Seroja does beautifully is translate an untold sliver of history into a meal bridled with tantalising flavours, newfound foods and stellar produce. You also get to conclude the meal with freshly-baked Borneo raw sugar bahulu cakes, as a fitting end to the experience.
Seroja, 7 Fraser Street, #01-30/31/32/33, Singapore 189356
Enquiries: 8522 2926
5 / 5
What used to be a quaint French diner in the heartlands of Clementi has now relocated to a bigger, jazzier premise in Orchard. But upon entrance into the new spacious address of Summerhill, one is struck with a familiar sense of comfort loyal patrons of the original would fondly recognise. Chef-owner Anthony Yeoh aptly puts it: “We still wanted to be a restaurant that serves the neighbourhood, a place for residents to come by.”
The restaurant’s new location in Claymore Connect mall shies away from the bustle of Orchard; hence retaining the same convivial ambience that Summerhill is known for, now graced with full air-conditioning as well as a bar that serves up cocktails. As for the grub, fan-favourites are well reprised here—Duck Fat Fried Potato Pavés lay on a crisp, best dabbled in the house-made aioli, while the Mussels Normandy remain to be a delectable starter of fresh plump Bouchot mussels steeped in a broth of white wine and cream.
On the heartier front, the mains lay down a strong selection of meats that range from Fried Bangalow Pork Chops with violette mustard and lemon to the Wagyu Bavette Steak au Poivre. But our favourites have to come down to Summerhill’s expertise with poultry. Their mainstay of Classic Roast Chicken—stuffed with rosemary, thyme, garlic and butter—renders moist chicken under piquant golden skin. Of course, we can’t forget a perennial favourite: French Fried Chicken, which is now dished out as a weekend special. The magic lies in its buttermilk batter, livened with herb butter and a sweet splash of honey.
Summerhill, 442 Orchard Rd, #02-17 Claymore Connect, Singapore 238879
Enquiries: 8690 5907