We bring you the exclusive scoop on what’s hot and buzzing in the wine and dine department this month, so you won’t be left behind. From the latest cafe launches to the new restaurants in town – here are 10 new foodie spots to check out in March!
Enjoy kushikatsu at Panko
Located on Arab Street (you can’t miss the neon window sign), Panko is the new must-try kid on the block. The Japanese restaurant specialises in kushikatsu – skewered deep-fried meat, seafood and vegetables. With dim lighting and cool street art on the walls commissioned by local artists, the restaurant itself feels cosy and inviting. It’s a great place to head for lunch (there’s a set menu) or to catch up with friends after work for a casual meal. At Panko, the food is threaded onto bamboo skewers, dusted with flour, dipped in special batter and then coated with, yes, panko (fine Japanese breadcrumbs) and fried until golden brown. Must-tries from the extensive kushikatsu menu include the Japanese oyster, asparagus, wagyu beef and the sweet potato. Then, wash it all down with an ice-cold beer (from $12 or $10 during Happy Hour) or a house cocktail, which are all decently priced at $16.
Visit Kabuke for Jap-inspired grub
True lovers of Japanese cuisine or sake need to check out Kabuke, a new gastrobar located on Telok Ayer Street on the second floor of a heritage shophouse. The kitchen is helmed by chef Rio Neo, while Keiji is the resident sake sommelier. Connoisseurs will no doubt find their selection impressive, but for newbies looking to try the best pairing for their meal, you can opt for the sake flight ($24) which enables you to sample up to three different sake varieties. If you’re in town for lunch, head inside to try the affordable bowls served from 11.30 to 2pm. We recommend the signature miso pork bowl ($16) – ginger-infused miso pork belly topped with pea shoots and shisho vinaigrette. For dinner guests, must-tries include the baby corn dressed in sriracha mayo and topped with pork floss ($10), the crispy Goma Goma chicken wings ($12) and the takoyaki fries ($12) – deliciously moreish shoestring fries topped with diced octopus, ikura (red caviar), ebiko (roe) and melted cheese.
Common Man Stan serves all day brunch
Looking for a cosy hideout with affordable grub and top-notch coffee? Popular brunch spot Common Man Coffee Roasters has opened a second outlet along Stanley Road, Common Man Stan, which offers old favourites and new dishes exclusive to the branch. Decked in light wood, soft rattan and cement panelling, offset by gold accents and marble furnishings, the chic space is date-appropriate yet comfortable enough for a lazy afternoon chit-chat with the girlfriends. Tuck into the gluten-free cacao granola ($16) with Greek yogurt, honey and your choice of milk, or go for the hearty yet healthy halloumi, zucchini and herb fritters ($16); both of which have our stamp of approval. Another must-try is the ponzu chicken with house-made basil pesto brown rice ($20), a satisfying lunch bowl available from 11am onwards. If you prefer something more sinful, try the brioche French toast ($19) with berry compote, maple syrup and vanilla ice-cream, or order a salted maple syrup cheesecake ($12) to round off the meal.
Try charcoal-grilled unagi at Uya
Tucked in a quiet corner of Wheelock Place, newly opened Japanese establishment Uya has made a name for itself, serving up authentic unagi (eel) grilled over charcoal. One unique feature of the restaurant is the glass panelling that lets you see the chefs in action. Apart from the main dining area, which seats around 30 people, there are a couple of private and semi-private rooms that cater to business meetings or special celebrations. There’s a decent selection of Japanese mains on the menu, but we highly recommend the signature Hitsumabushi, which features chopped up eel served with condiments, a dashi broth, soup and pickles. Go for the large option ($45) if you’re feeling extra hungry, but the medium bowl ($35) should feed one person just right. Another must-try is the wagyu rice bowl ($27) with sous vide egg, salad and soup – a fab lunch pick for those working in the area. You won’t find a wide range of desserts here, but the parfait ($12), which comes with green tea ice-cream, green-tea pudding and mochi, is a refreshing way to end the meal.
Andaz Singapore’s snazzy dining concepts
The newly opened Andaz Singapore houses Alley on 25, a dining venue that boasts a bar, lounge and five restaurants; Smoke & Pepper is one of them. The Asian fusion grill serves up a variety of modern dishes cooked on a charcoal grill. During lunchtime, diners can choose from the set menu ($25, including an appetiser, main course and a scoop of ice cream) or a la carte menu. Pair your meal with one of the champagnes, wines, beers or cocktails, or sip on one of the cold pressed juices or soft drinks. For starter, we recommend the shredded green papaya and pumpkin salad ($9), which comes with lime-palm sugar dressing. If you love your burgers, there are a couple on offer, from the spiced fish burger ($17) to the lamb burger ($18). Juicy and tender, the Black Angus beef burger ($18) – served with a side of crisp fries – is another great choice. If you visit at dinnertime, try the whole sea bass ($40). The meat is tender and well-seasoned with a coriander-turmeric rub. Top it with the sambal menthah (sambal in its raw form, consisting of chillies, onions and more) for a tasty mouthful. To end the meal, dig into the smooth mango-sago panna cotta ($14), an Asian-fusion dessert that comes with a scoop of coconut ice-cream and fresh mango.
5 Fraser Street,
Level 25, Andaz Singapore
Crafty tipples at Caffé B’s chic space
Recently relocated to buzzy Club Street is Japanese-Italian resto bar Caffé B, which sits in a three-storey heritage shophouse. The 170-seater space features a sleek bar on the ground floor, a cosy indoor and alfresco dining space on the second floor, and a semi-private area on the third floor for intimate evenings. Helmed by chef Masanao Saito, the Italian-centric food menu incorporates Japanese ingredients and elements. Start with the Sake Cucumber ($22), a light and refreshing cocktail concocted with freshly muddled cucumber, brown sugar, lychee juice and Kiku-Masamune sake. Fresh ginger slices are also thrown in to give this tipple an added warmth and kick of spice. And, if you’re feeling peckish, order some dishes to share; we recommend the espelette octopus salad ($16) as a starter, followed by the heartier Wagyu Al Porto ($38) for beef lovers. Then, head to the ground floor to while away the night away with an Espresso Martini ($25); this coffee cocktail is the perfect pick-me-up as it’s not too sweet and packs a punch.
More new openings…
Buzzy Amoy Street welcomes new kid on the block Kimme, a modern, Asian-inspired bistro-bar opened by the same folks behind one Michelin-starred Meta. The menu features chef Louis Han’s innovative creations like poached prawn with endive, pomelo and coriander ($18).
Started by the team behind Cafe Sarnies, Pickleville is the newest addition to co-working space The Working Capitol in the CBD. The café serves toast and rice bowls with pickled vegetables.
#04-00, 140 Robinson Road
Italian-American restaurant and bar Lavo recently opened at Marina Bay Sands, offering panoramic views of the skyline and signature dishes from the original New York outlet such as penne alla vodka ($41) – a medley of onions, prosciutto, peas and a light cream sauce.
Thailand’s “stretchy cheese toast” kiosk Say Chiizu has made its way to our shores, opening branches at VivoCity (#B2-K16), 313 Somerset (#B3-49), White Sands Shopping Centre (#01-44) and The Clementi Mall (#04- K4). Made with imported Japanese milk, the brand’s famous cheese is then mixed with a blend of cheeses like mozzarella, and formulated without any additives or preservatives.
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