As the dining scene in Singapore pulsates with new fervour and glittering prospects, it isn’t to anyone’s surprise that our city’s new restaurants have been the talk of the town. From celebrity chef Tetsuya Wakuda’s namesake restaurant, Wakuda at Marina Bay Sands Hotel to the cult-favourite Nobu’s outpost at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore, the biggest names have been trickling in.
It’s a fortunate conundrum to be dealt with: to sieve out the best from a star-studded lot in time for an important dinner just around the corner. And from where we’re standing, our top picks range from Les Amis’ omakase concept at Shaw Centre to Candlenut’s chef-owner Malcolm Lee’s new fine-dining establishment that puts Straits cuisine at the forefront. At InterContinental Singapore, a new Italian bistro introduces a highly-acclaimed chef on our shores. Other notable highs? The revival of Osteria Mozza at the refurbished Hilton Singapore, as celebrity chef Nancy Silverton delighted longtime patrons of the restaurant with her iconic dishes and new creations. Think thoughtfully-crafted salads and one of the best cheese pastas you’ll ever experience.
Ahead of your next vivacious night out with your squad, we spotlight the latest establishments to snag a reservation at right now.
1 / 5
It’s become apparent that whatever chef Tetsuya Wakuda touches is gold. His first restaurant, Tetsuya’s, is an award-winning restaurant in Sydney known for its delicate confit of Tasmanian ocean trout. His second restaurant, Waku Ghin at Marina Bay Sands, is a fancy, dress-to-the-nines type affair that serves up exceedingly delicious food—think a raw botan shrimp sashimi and caviar alongside the world’s best wagyu beef.
Wakuda at Marina Bay Sands Hotel is Tetsuya’s newest baby and touted the more affordable Waku Ghin, which is welcome news to all. The experience is no less luxurious—while the restaurant is more spacious than Waku Ghin, it is impeccably designed and inspired by traditional Japanese architecture. It boasts a rich and varied menu, with an unforgettable selection of appetisers, sashimi, sushi, grilled items, rice bowls and cold soba. Perhaps the main draw card of Wakuda is that the choice and curation of the evening ahead is yours.
And the food doesn’t disappoint—start off with the Big Eye Tuna, an impressive Zuke-marinated loin of tuna on a crisp wasabi mayonnaise toast. Their version of yuba—fresh beancurd skin—from Kyoto is also worth a try. It presents a delightfully cold and intriguing blend of textures, gloriously presented with Hokkaido sea urchin, mountain caviar, dashi gelee and myoga. Reminiscent of Waku Ghin’s version, Wakuda’s Cold Soba is a bed of al dente cold soba tossed with tender botan shrimp in a decadent truffle sauce, topped with a shiny dollop of Oscietra caviar, shaved brown mushrooms and fresh white negi.
The biggest surprise of the evening was dessert. The green tea and azuki bean terrine looked relatively simple, but its texture was surprisingly smooth and creamy, sweetened with white chocolate and served with house-made vanilla ice cream. It had the ideal sweetness level and wasn’t overly cloying. To finish off, Wakuda’s Soft Serve Miso Ice Cream will certainly not disappoint—featuring notes of coconut and savoury white miso, it is an ice cream unlike any other you’ve ever tried.
Wakuda, Marina Bay Sands Hotel, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956
Enquiries: 6688 9992
2 / 5
Proving there is still very much a place for classic Italian cooking within our culinary landscape is Luce, InterContinental Singapore’s new flagship restaurant helmed by chef Davide Giacomelli. A recent transplant to Singapore, Giacomelli may have cut his teeth at the fanciest Michelin-starred establishments across Europe (his CV is littered with names like Le Diane and Le Meurice Alain Ducasse), but his personal food philosophy stems from the authentic Italian fare he grew up eating at his father’s local restaurant in their quaint hometown of Sirmione.
At Luce—which looks and feels very much like a comfortable family restaurant you would visit time and again for a reliably delicious meal—Giacomelli and his team elevate traditional Italian flavours with the freshest of ingredients and expert culinary technique. The menu here is home to all the expected classics, from a smoky Octopus Peperonata to a suitably garlicy Bruschetta toasted to perfection. The real stars, however, are the rice and pasta dishes.
The Acquerello Lobster is a must-order—Carnaroli rice enveloped in an intensely-flavoured lobster stock and topped with succulent Boston lobster, resulting in a picture of briny indulgence. Don’t miss out on the Tagliatelle Coda di Manzo, either. Homemade tagliatelle pasta (served al dente, of course) is entwined with a moreish butter sauce and tender chunks of oxtail. Both plates are immensely hearty and pleasantly overwhelming, so be sure to order one of Luce’s Singapore-inspired cocktails to cut through some of the richness. We recommend the Luce Sling, a potent melange of gin, Dom Benedictine and cherry brandy garnished with fresh fruit that will send you home with a happy buzz.
Luce, 80 Middle Rd, Singapore 188966
Enquiries: 6825 1008
3 / 5
Named after a tree that sprouts from a buah keluak seed, Pangium is the extension of chef Malcolm Lee’s ambition to preserve food steeped in tradition. Following his 1-Michelin Peranakan restaurant Candlenut in Dempsey, Pangium shines on the spotlight on heritage food in what he dubs contemporary Straits cuisine.
Perched on the hills of a newly-constructed premise called The Orangery in Botanic Gardens, the tasting-menu restaurant doesn’t just put forward the best of local fare, but reinterprets the dishes in a modern context just so that diners of today can connect with it. It’s a delicate exploration—from Teochew influences to Eurasian snacks to Malay dishes—that stay true to their original flavours and produce, yet altered with some additional ingredients.
Snacks like mee sua kueh extracted the robust flavours from dried seafood, while elevated with tea tree mushroom, a new discovery of a porchini-like consistency. Another standout fell on the Eurasian snack, pang susi, a sweet potato bun yielding a polo bun crust and filled with Iberico pork cheek and white kampot pepper. Udang nanas lemak arrived in the form of a savoury tumeric dumpling, stuffed with king prawn otah, and deliciously steeped in a sweet coconut broth made with Sarawak pineapple. The meal’s holy grail saw an array of fun-sized plates as a nasi ulam spread—bringing together sides like achar, oxtail buah keluak and durian sambal. Of course, the desserts proved to be outstanding—made à la minute, pillowy ondeh ondeh sought out Japanese pumpkin in place of the typical sweet potato while the kueh bingka was made a tad bit crispier to enhance the best browned sides of a bake.
4 / 5
Celebrated chef Nancy Silverton is bringing one of Singapore’s most-loved restaurants back to the city—Michelin-starred Osteria Mozza. In 2018, a collective sigh went up around the island when the establishment’s first outpost at Marina Bay Sands shuttered, putting an end to the classic Italian pastas and pizzas it was known for. But now, the LA-famous ristorante has returned to a new home in the Hilton Singapore Orchard, set in a farmhouse-inspired woodsy cavern complete with exposed brick, nuts and bolts.
Don’t let the rustic touches fool you, for Osteria’s design oozes glamour (with supple caramel leather running prominently throughout its interiors), as does its food. Silverton’s faithfully American penchant for culinary showmanship shines through from the start to end of each sitting, right from the surprise Prosciutto Wrapped Grissini that is served for grazing on before dishes actually on the menu arrive. Amongst the salads, which are all thoughtfully crafted and fresh, the one to try is Nancy’s Caesar, a deconstructed (or rather, constructed) version which turns the classic on its head by replacing the usual croutons with a crisp crostini, topped with a lush bed of egg, leek, anchovy and of course, romaine.
Follow that up with what is possibly one of the best cheese pastas in town: pillowy parcels of ravioli enclosing a rich yet balanced filling of fonduta, all of which is swathed in a decadent butter sauce. Then comes the crown jewel of dish—a 25 year-old aceto balsamico tradizionale di Modena drizzled on for a welcome hit of sweetness. We suggest coming in a group so you can extend your dinner with a few excellently cooked protein-centric mains, like the tender and flaky Whole Branzino and the hearty Sirloin Tagliate.
It is also worth saving space for dessert. Indulge in the fanfare from the Hot Fudge Sundae Cart, which is exactly what it sounds like—heaping portions of vanilla gelato with a galore of toppings. If you’re in the mood for something quieter, opt for the gently spiced and savoury-sweet Rosemary Olive Oil Cakes, an elegant end to a luscious meal.
Osteria Mozza, 333 Orchard Rd, Level 5, Singapore 238867
Enquiries: 6831 6271
5 / 5
The excitement at the start of an omakase is always palpable. The chef before you is meticulously prepping the top-of-the-line produce; atmospheric music softly plays in the background and every object around is perfectly uniformed. Les Amis Group’s latest Japanese omakase concept is no different, boasting a sleek 10-seater space where you’ll find head chef Issey Araki at the helm.
The ten-course meal gets off to a strong start—sparing no expense in a decadent cold dish of sweet botan ebi and a generous dollop of Murasaki uni, as Kristal caviar tops it off in a creamy sauce made from soybean sheets. The next hot appetiser, narrows in on a stellar black abalone from Yamaguchi, where chef Issey deftly extracts a piquant dashi as a prelude to the dish, before slices of the shellfish is served, steamed and paired with a briny abalone liver sauce. It’s a great example of his philosophy of a chef—to make full use of each key ingredient he chooses to showcase.
A handroll arrives next and it’s a quite the mouthful. It’s a two-bite winner if we had to rename it. Where crisp nori sheets encase a hefty Nodoguro (blackthroat sea perch) lightly grilled over the binchotan. It’s the perfect balance, as smokey juices from the fish are paired with essential pickles, in this case—a pickled winter melon doused in sake and mirin. With every course, one would notice the attention to the produce at hand, tempered with the notion of serving it at its best. Like the tender sirloin steak, plied with just the right amount of fat and plated with a chargrilled eggplant sauce bearing a slight tang—to cut through the richness of the meat. Another underlying aspect that more restaurants could adopt? A good grasp on portion control. Nearing the end, we could still very much enjoy the last savoury course: a hairy crab umami rich dish gleaming with chunks of shredded crab.
Jinhonten, 1 Scotts Rd, #01-11, Singapore 228208
Enquiries: 9635 0973