Sure, Boomarang’s got brunch, sports screenings and a riverside location, but there are plenty of other places around town to get your Australian food fix. Here, we round up some of Singapore’s best Aussie-influenced tables to try.
Go for: Aussie celebrity chef Scott Webster’s culinary makeover of what used to be Osia Bar & Restaurant, now focusing on Australian air-flown meat prepared in a stone hearth oven grill.
The vibe: Contemporary utilitarian décor with super-efficient service. The new menu is presented in small, big, sharing and side plates, apparently to suit families and groups of casino visitors.
The food: Highlights for us were the small plate of polenta-rolled foie gras ($30) with banana textures, and a satisfying sharing plate of mud crab cakes ($26) with celeriac remoulade; the chargrilled Fremantle octopus ($22) was interesting, too. For mains came the tasty Byron Bay Berkshire pork rack (300g for $42) and the Mayura Station Matsusaka full-blood wagyu rib-eye (MS 9, $180 for 200g), perfectly undercooked and served with the sauce of one’s choice – ideal, perhaps, for a high-roller who’s just hit pay dirt. We tried several good side plates, too: rocket with pine nuts and olive oil ($8), zucchini with bush tomato ketchup ($12), and kipfler potatoes with caramelised onion and chorizo ($14).
Desserts don’t come more ambrosial than the macadamia soufflé ($32), served with sour-cream ice cream. There’s a nice selection of judiciously priced wines by the glass, too, starting from about $18; Moët & Chandon champagne is $26 per glass and $120 for a bottle.
The signature: Mayura Station Matsusaka full blood wagyu rib-eye.
The standout: Macadamia soufflé. It’s probably big enough to share, but I could have greedily polished off the lot.
– Verne Maree
Go for: The cosy, laidback atmosphere. Enjoy a pint or two of Archipelago craft beer, a glass of wine or a cocktail while tucking into one of the many meat dishes.
The vibe: Intimate and relaxed. Go on a Tuesday or Thursday to enjoy live tunes by The Lost Box.
The food: We decided to try the “Aussie stars” on the menu, opting for the Barossa fish and chips ($24) and the Barossa Kurobuta grain-fed pork rack ($28), and, for dessert, the molten chocolate flourless cake ($12) and the crème brûlée ($10).
The signature: The Rib Eye Tasting Platter, comprised of Tajima 100 percent wagyu 500-day grain-fed ribeye (MS 6/7,120g), Grainge Australian Angus 150-day grain-fed rib-eye (150g) and Thomas Food Australian Angus 120-day grain-fed rib-eye (150g), is a meat feast that can easily be shared between two. Done to a perfect medium, the steaks were juicy and tender, and came with four sauces (bourbon, Bearnaise, blue cheese cream and four peppercorn) as well as a choice of sea salt in four variations (truffle-infused, Szechuan peppercorn, rosemary and thyme, and Maldon flakes).
The standout: We relished the Rib Eye Tasting Platter. A meal in itself, it’s a great way to have a little bit of everything. You can add different flavours to your steak with a drizzle of a different sauce for each bite – plus a pinch of sea salt.
– Smita DeSouza
Go for: A trip down tourist lane to line the stomach with seafood before heading out to one of the many nightclubs and bars in this party zone.
The vibe: Classic, unpretentious quayside joint, with seating for up to 100 outside and more inside. The restaurant sits near the Clarke Quay bungee-ball, which makes for a little free entertainment during supper!
The food: There is so much to choose from here; the menu is pretty long, verging on overwhelming. When the helpful hostess explained that they receive up to two shipments of fresh seafood each week from Australia, any concerns about freshness (alarm bells can sometimes ring in a large place with a menu of such magnitude) were quickly put to bed.
To start, we shared one of my favourites, oysters Kilpatrick ($9 each) – grilled with bacon and a splash of Worcester sauce (for some, it’s the ultimate faux pas to grill oysters, but to each to their own!). Sadly, the mussels and clams in white wine sauce ($16 for a single portion, $26 for a double) looked a little tired and overcooked, so we didn’t end up tasting them. However, our hostess was quick to offer a replacement. In the end, the service was excellent. Being Brits, we couldn’t leave without road-testing the snapper fish and chips ($22), which both looked and tasted fresh and hearty.
The signature: The Make Merry Chilled Seafood Platter ($128) is an impressive centrepiece of four grilled oysters, six steamed butter prawns, mussels and clams, grilled tarragon octopus, and soft-shell crab with chilli crab sauce and fried mantou.
The standout: The whole lobster mornay ($72) – a massive and delicious, fresh-tasting beast of a lobster, presented in its mighty shell, covered with béchamel gratin and Gruyere cheese. It’s seriously meaty and substantial, and hands-down the best of what we tried. Psst… there are pizza and steak options here, too, if seafood’s not your thing.
– Emily Finch
Go for: A business lunch or dinner; or a casual catch-up with friends.
The food: Chef Rishi Naleendra’s creativity shines through in every dish – and it’s clear that high quality produce is the inspiration behind his thoroughly modern-Australian style. Whether you opt for the tasting menu (five courses, $88) or à la carte (it’s a sharing concept), don’t miss the divine roast pumpkin with spiced cashew nut, kale and a homemade chutney ($22), ocean trout with cucumber, yuzu and buttermilk ($22), and the barramundi ($32), served unusually with charred scallion, turnip and burnt lemon. For me, every mouthful was an exploration of flavour and texture combinations that surprised and delighted. Chef’s experience as a pastry chef is on full display in the two dessert options: coconut semifreddo ($15) with laksa leaf ice cream, pomelo and green chilli, and black olive cake ($15) with strawberry, yoghurt and white chocolate. Again, these are unusual combinations but the result is amazing.
The signature: Chef won’t be drawn on his signature dish, but says a couple of the very popular ones (like the duck confit) remain when he changes the menu every so often. He has an impressive culinary pedigree, having worked previously at the legendary Tetsuya’s in Sydney and more recently at Singapore’s Maca. It’s lucky for us that his incredible talent came to the attention of restaurateur Loh Lik Peng (of Pollen and Burnt Ends), and he now has his own space at Cheek by Jowl, professionally managed by his wife Manuela Toniolo.
The standout: Duck confit ($36) with five-spice caramel sauce, gorgeous cucumber salad and a quirky serving of waffles on the side.
– Katie Roberts
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