As you’ve probably noticed, Singapore has its fair share of Australian expats which, in turn, means that there are heaps of brilliant places to eat hearty dishes from the Land of Oz. Choosing four favourites isn’t easy, but here’s a good spread of different, yet super Aussie restaurants to try.
For a spot of refined Australian fare, try: Osia
8 Sentosa Gateway, Resorts World Sentosa
What it’s all about: This Australian eatery at Resorts World Sentosa was opened by celebrity-chef-turned-restaurateur, Scott Webster, in 2010 and offers up the best from Down Under with an Asian twist from Douglas Tay, chef de cuisine.
The contemporary interior uses a wash of neutral tones, large panelled windows and heavy wooden counters set around an open kitchen and stone-hearth oven that churns out tasty flatbreads. A private dining room in one corner brings to life the relationship between Osia and Australian winemaker Penfolds, with magnums of its wine adorning the wall.
What to order: Osia’s renowned flatbreads ($11) are accompanied by a fun toothpaste-like tube of savoury paste; the ingredients in the tube change regularly depending on what’s in season – we enjoyed sun-blush tomato paste over truffled kalamata olive and garlic butter flatbread, absolutely delicious. The light and tender fjord trout ($32) has a similar texture to sashimi and is perfectly complemented by a fruity pineapple salsa, an ideal palate-cleansing starter. If you’re indulging, the pasture-fed beef short rib ($66) is a winner in our book. The chestnut mousseline that sits atop finishes it off perfectly while the compressed green apple just takes the edge off the richness.
If you’re a chocoholic, the Valrhona hot chocolate soup ($22) for dessert is sublime, particularly as it’s paired with black-pepper ice cream.
Although Osia’s on the pricier side, it’s really worth every penny for the fantastic quality and innovative dishes.
For a laidback gastrobar experience, go to: Intrepid
40 Pekin Street, #01-01 Far East Square
What it’s all about: The yellow boxing kangaroo out front distinguishes this Aussie joint from the crowd of shophouse bars in this pedestrian-only street. It was opened in January 2013 by foodies Michelle and Rommell who were inspired by Melbourne’s cuisine to offer a menu with multicultural influences and interesting combinations of ingredients. The vibe is low-key with mismatched furniture and low-hung lights, an open kitchen and bar, and friendly, helpful staff. Intrepid is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offers a generous happy hour, a monthly three-course Sunday roast ($30) and brilliant coffee all day. Ask for the Vegemite ice-cream – it’s subtle, savoury and a must-try.
What to order: Variety is dished up on the tasting platter ($28), with five options including tandoori crocodile skewer (you would be forgiven for mistaking it for chicken) and a more-ish lamb meatball. Kangaroo sliders ($12) have a spicy kick courtesy of jalapeno peppers, and are less than two-percent fat. A group of mates can tuck into lip-smacking platters of smoked beer ribs with onion chips ($35) or a 1.2kg aged Aussie Angus rib eye. Wash it down with Australian and NZ craft beers; the draught Great White Kiwi ($16 a pint), Feral Hop Hog India Pale Ale ($14.90) and James Boag’s ($9.80) are great thirst-quenchers. Save room for the rose pavlova ($8); topped with lychee, pomegranate and pistachio, it’s one of the best in town.
For great Australian meat dishes, go to: Barossa
Esplanade Mall #01-11, 8 Raffles Avenue
What it’s all about: A laid-back restaurant and bar serving up Australian-inspired comfort food, from fish and chips to steaks and seafood. In addition to one-for-one weekday lunches from 12pm to 3pm, it also runs an Australian beef buffet on Wednesdays and Sundays ($43.90).
What to order: In addition to perennial favourites such as the Archipelago battered fish and chips ($24) and the popular pan-roasted “Stockyard” Gold Class Angus ribeye ($45), the new 2014 menu (available from this month) includes a bangers platter ($68, serves 3 to 4), where you can choose any three types of sausages from varieties such as garlic pork, beef bockwurst, chicken cheese and spicy lamb, all served with sauerkraut and thinly sliced potatoes, leeks and peas. Barossa has also released a selection of burgers – a must to try is the guacamole chicken ($24), a moist and well-seasoned chicken patty with bacon and guac, but there are also tasty beef, lamb and vegetarian options. Also worth ordering is the beetroot salad ($18) with feta cheese and baby spinach – a perfect light (and healthy) start to the meal.
For a café by day and bistro by night, drop into: Rokeby
15-9 Jalan Riang
What it’s all about: Located in a row of very popular restaurants (and one chocolatier that had people queuing out the door at 8pm!), this cool little suburban café is owned by a young couple who went to university in Perth. After working in marketing and finance, they decided to give up their day jobs to create a bit of Australia in Singapore.
What to order: Start with the calamari ($10.90) – it’s as near to perfection as squid can come. The truffle fries ($8.90) are also a sure bet, and the fish (fish and chips, $16.90) is tasty, but a little greasy for our liking. There’s a selection of burgers, like the Kangasaurus with spicy cranberry ($22.90), and a fabulous veal steak ($44.90) with a choice of herb butter sauce or curry (our vote goes to the curry).
The portions are very generous; it’s easy to fill up on the starters before the mains even arrive. Exercise restraint so you’ve got room for the molten lava cake ($6) and homemade tiramisu with Bailey’s Irish Cream ($6.50).
Rokeby has a steady flow of customers on Saturday nights, and brunches book out completely, so it seems that the restaurant has garnered a good following in the short year it’s been open. It has a nice, buzzy atmosphere, perhaps owing to the broad selection of beverages from Down Under, including Little Creatures Pale Ale and Tooheys.