Singapore’s culinary scene is rich, eclectic, and inventive—a given thanks to the numerous cultural influences inhibited by our city’s diverse population. And with that, comes the upperhand of constant innovation and creative entrepreneurship, giving way to new concepts and establishments month after month. The latest kid on the block for a late night tipple? Cat Bite Club. Tucked away at Duxton Hill behind a café, step into this intimate cavern, helmed by hospitality aficionados Jesse Vida and Gabriel Lowe. A testament to their expertise and inspiration from international ventures, the menu centres on cocktails prepared with agave and rice-based spirits, with distinctive variations of traditional drinks. Alongside convivial bar bites and upbeat music all through the evening to midnight, the bar sets the perfect premise for a fun night out with friends.
Meanwhile, on the Italian cuisine front, Buca Buca is a new opening not to be missed. Boasting an extensive food menu of antipasti, Neo-Neapolitan pizza and more, Buca Buca is intent on “redefining the neighbourhood dining experience”. Their drinks menu of cocktails and wine emphasises the tremendous variety of indigenous grapes from regional Italy, demonstrating the subtle flavour notes of different terroir from across the country.
For something closer to home, turn to Province for your next indulgence. Led by chef-owner Law Jia-Jun, this eight-seater restaurant seeks to highlight the rich diversity of Southeast Asian cultures, by using ingredients only from the region.
Ahead of your next meal out on the town, peruse Singapore’s newest gourmet offerings below.
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Cat Bite Club
Hidden in plain sight behind a café on Duxton Road, the newly opened Cat Bite Club beckons you to indulge in a fresh new menu of drinks with two main categories rooted in terroir: agave and rice spirits.
Founded by longtime business partners and childhood friends Jesse Vida and Gabriel Lowe, Cat Bite Club seeks to embody the spirit of the Cheshire cat that is their logo: playful, energetic and mischievous. The bar takes an unconventional approach to drinks—expect classic drinks like the Espresso Martini and Queens Park Swizzle, but also keep an eye out for the agave and rice variations.
In addition to the unique agave and rice mixes, Vida and Lowe also include historical Asian spirits not often found in bars, such as soju and shochu, in the menu. So, if you’re a soju lover, the Soju Sprint is a must-try mix of Tokki soju, peach, honey, mint, fresh citrus blend, sherry, absinthe and soda. For those leaning towards tropical flavours, try the Pineapple Coffee Fire. Quirkily denoted on the menu with its emoji equivalents, the creamy, fruity tiki cocktail comes served in an Instagram-worthy elephant-shaped ceramic mug.
Drawing inspiration from their upbringing in San Francisco and globe-trotting bartending escapades, Vida and Lowe marry East and West tastes in the food menu as well. If you’re craving a savoury snack to pair with your drink, take a bite of the Chili Chicken Bao, a flavourful and filling treat. Likewise, the Tuna Tostada—a crispy toasted tortilla topped with cubed tuna and a squeeze of lime—is a delicious integration of Mexican and Asian cuisine.
Cat Bite Club, 75 Duxton Rd, Singapore 089534
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There’s a new crop of restaurants shining the spotlight on Southeast Asian flavours—with the likes of Restaurant Born and newly-minted Michelin star Seroja making their mark on our local culinary landscape—and Province sits as one of the few recent entries. Operating as an elusive eight-seater insider secret behind the eatery, 808 Eating House in Joo Chiat, the fine dining restaurant expounds on the abundant cache from Southeast Asia, in the form of a dinner tasting menu crafted by chef-owner Law Jia Jun. Certainly, there are riches to the region, as amplified by the ingredients put forth at Province, and adapted with Japanese culinary influences.
In a menu that rotates every three months, there are snacks that cull from Singapore’s very own Ah Hua Kelong—with a snapper treated with Japanese curing techniques as well as tiger prawns prepared in a delightful tsukune bite, minced and rolled into a ball with onions before grilled in a skewer. And as your meal here progresses, there are a chock-full of foods to discover even in our very own locale. The vegetable course showcases just that, in a ravioli stuffed with a blend of grilled spring onions alongside the pivotal tang-o (garland chrysanthemum) sauce. Topped with fermented carrot and ten different vegetables, the course delivers a smokey bite, transcending the parameters of what a vegetable dish would taste like.
Albeit with the vast glossary of produce and amount of experimentation involved at Province, some courses tend to get lost in the process—especially when pared against scene-stealing plates. For instance, chef Law’s rice course delivers a piquant blend of Thai glutinous and jasmine rice, topped with grilled abalone steeped in a rich abalone liver sauce. Amongst the mix, there are homemade pickled shishitos, grilled shishitos and a fresh laksa leaf relish to bring the dish home. It’s a wonderful, homely bowl to devour, but the second surprise is saving half of the rice portion to join a decadent broth made with fish bones. Possibly, one of the best ‘chazukes’ we’ve ever enjoyed.
As far as desserts go, Chef Law makes good on his promise to highlight overlooked resources from our backyard, like his version of a sticky date pudding, replaced with dried longans. Laced with salted butterscotch, this warm sphere is served with fresh longan fruit, poached longan with white wine and finished with a generous spoonful of longan sherbet.
Province, 153 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427431
Enquiries: 8946 8089
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Elixir Coffee & Wine
Making your way through one of Holland Grove’s newest private residences may prove to be a journey to some, but what Elixir guarantees is an experience well worthy of your time, especially if you’re heading down with the whole crew. Once better known for its artisanal coffee and afternoon bites at Elixir Boutique Roasters, the newly-transformed and relocated space Elixir Coffee & Wine now sees a refreshed menu dreamed up by executive chef Victor Loy. Who masterfully hits that sweet spot; creating a convivial atmosphere via an array of generous sharing dishes, unexpected bursts of flavour and impeccable playlist choices.
If you’re asking us, a late lunch seems like the ideal time to head over, when everyone’s down to spend a couple of hours catching up over some stellar tartines and a few sumptuous pizzas of your choosing. By way of starters, the Stracciatella and Turkish Egg are both solid choices—both bolstered by a delightful sourdough base baked in-house on the daily. Whilst the former seeks out a fine balance between being sour and sweet, the latter’s reimagination of the traditional dish is enlivened by a chilli crunch topping.When at Elixir, do also take your time with its myriad of other appetisers. Think a crunchy, tangy Salad or a joyous bowl of Baby Octopus, deep fried till golden-brown on the outside and paired with a zesty dose of black aioli and lemon.
But the star of the show here just might be Elixir’s refreshing take on the Burrata, a moreish dish teamed exquisitely with chef’s homemade chilli oil dressing and a wealth of pickled cherry tomatoes. On the pizza front, between the meaty powerhouse that is Hot Mama and the creamy, cheesy (and witty) Not-carbonara option, there’s no question that you’ll be left feeling spoiled for choice here. Good thing you’ll have your sidekicks with you then, for the light, nutty Pistachio Cake is not to be missed but best shared, to round the meal off on a bright and jovial note. For the coffee-lovers, it seems your trip might be better concluded with a well-deserved pour—as if to remember Elixir’s roots.
Elixir Coffee & Wine, 24 Holland Grove Road, #01-18 Parksuites, Singapore 278803
Enquiries: 6908 5547
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What was once the popular Milano Pizza and Wine has now grown into Buca Buca, a contemporary take on an authentic Italian neighbourhood dining experience. Nestled amidst the buzzy restaurants that line the streets of Tanjong Pagar, the restaurant immediately stands out for its breezy outdoor terrace that serves as the perfect backdrop to unwind over laid-back cocktails. Step through the doors, and you’ll find a space that exudes a rustic charm. Pastel-tinted furniture complement plush booths, candlelight floods the restaurant with cosy warmth, and quirky details like an ornate painting of a dog in royal dress inject a dose of eclectic fun into the space.
Buca Buca retains the best part of Milano Pizza and Wine—its famed neo-neapolitan sourdough pizzas, created using unique dough techniques by renowned pizza consultant Anthony Falco—while introducing a wide range of delectable pastas, antipasti, mains and desserts to offer a taste of the diversity that Italian cuisine holds. Start with the Garlic and Mozzarella Cheesy Milk Buns, which sees pillowy rolls stuffed with melted cheese and aromatic herbs. The unassuming dish is an easy standout, making for a satisfying start to any meal.
The restaurant’s pasta—handmade and cooked to al dente perfection—is a highlight. We recommend the Linguine Prawn Rosso, which comes tossed with nduja and cherry tomatoes in a savoury seafood bisque. Gochujang spiced prawn completes the dish, lending a creative touch of Asian flavours. On the pizza front, definitely try the Prosciutto Crudo, which comes topped with parma ham, rocket and fior di latte—a classic combination that Buca Buca executes flawlessly.
To end on a sweet note, opt for the Tableside Tiramisu. In true Italian fashion, the dessert is assembled meticulously by your table, allowing the ladyfingers to maintain a slight crunch. Tuck in, and you’ll find that the layers of delicate mascarpone cream, coffee-soaked sponge and cocoa are perfectly balanced—a classic Italian sweet to rightfully sum up a meal.
Buca Buca, 10 Craig Road, Singapore 089670
Enquiries: 8920 4100