Singapore’s culinary musical chairs

Singapore’s culinary musical chairs

Foodie alert, if you're wondering where your favorite chef has gone, you need to read on
The Singapore chef merry-go-round (from left clockwise): Claudio Sandri (Brasserie Wolf), Mario Carmalla (Forlino), Arnaud Taberec (Saint Pierre), Peter Rollinson (Prime Society) and Steve Kaye (Picotin).

Almost a year after the debut of the Integrated Resorts and the string of celebrity chef restaurants, Singapore’s culinary landscape is one big merry-go-round with restaurants opening every week, eateries moving to new and better homes and chefs playing musical kitchens.

Who’s gone where in Singapore’s food scene? We find out here.


Brasserie Les Saveurs

Brasserie Les Saveurs' pan-seared foie gras with plums.The move: Julien Royer, has come full circle. Royer started his cooking career in the Lion City with the slick Brasserie Les Saveurs -- when St. Regis Singapore first opened -- but took off to two-Michelin-starred Greenhouse Restaurant in London for a 12-month kitchen stint before he returned early this year.

What to expect: The menu remains French-accented with produce-driven Royer accentuating set lunch and dinner menus showcasing seasonal produce.

Your set dinner may include an organic tomato salad with burrata and a riot of Rungis market-sourced wild herbs; low temperature-cooked egg yolk in truffle sauce with iberico bellota and French sap mushrooms; or the sublime 36-hour-cooked pork belly with shaved horseradish and rosemary-smoked potatoes.

Rating: 4.5/5

29 Tanglin Road, St Regis Singapore; +65 6506 6888


Forlino's Lip-smacking classic roast quail. The move: Since early 2011, Chef Patron Mario Carmella, has joined Beppe de Vito as co-owner of Forlino.

Formerly the chef de cuisine of Grissini in Hong Kong and executive chef of several five-star hotels in Bali -- Carmella helms Forlino’s kitchen. He has, thankfully, raised the bar on the restaurant’s pan-Italian offerings. It also helps to know that Carmella actively promotes gastronomic excellence of authentic Italian cuisine as founder and President of Gruppo Virtuale Cuochi Italiani.

What to expect: Lip-smacking classic Italian dishes prepared with Carmalla’s deft and refined touch.

Home-made pasta of veal, osso bucco-stuffed ravioli in an aromatic saffron sauce and pumpkin and buffalo ricotta cheese tortelli crowned with black truffle shavings; and well-executed mains such as foie gras ensconced in just-cooked roasted quail with pancetta in a truffle sauce.

Rating: 4/5

#02-06 One Fullerton; +65 68776995

Saint Pierre

Saint Pierre is reworking its menu under chef Arnaud Taberec. The move: New to Asia, chef Arnaud Taberec, recently arrived in Saint Pierre to replace Hong Kong-bound out-going chef, Paul Froggatt. Taberec’s resumé sparkles with strong credentials, having spent 14 years working through the kitchens of Michelin-studded dining institutions in France including Relaise & Châteaux Maison Lameloise and Le Vieux Puits.

What to expect: Edible art that you can eat with not one but three courses of amuse bouche.

From the nine-course spring degustation menu, expect a vibrant burst of colors from the fresh garden vegetables of poached asparagus, heirloom beet and baby carrots served in a flower pot embedded in eggplant puree; and, for mains, a grilled line-caught seabass with a medley of chopped scallops, saffron-poached turnips, ikura and basil in reduced tomato stock.

Rating: 4/5

3 Magazine Road #01-01, Central Mall; +65 6438 0887


Expect simple and inspiring dishes at Picotin such as the salmon gravlax.The move: When former chef de cuisine of Picotin, Kacey Whaitiri Roberts was promoted to general manager, his quietly reliable sous chef, Steve Kaye, moved up to assume the head-of-kitchen position.

Kaye spent the last five years in Emmanuel Stroobant’s group of restaurants and, needless to say, he has picked up quite a few culinary moves from the Chef in Black -- as Stroobant is nicknamed -- to keep the 300-seat Picotin buzzing.

What to expect: Simple and honest bistro fare that manages to be inspiring at the same time.

While retaining some of the classic favorites such as the excellent steak tartare and grilled salmon with zucchini ribbons, fennel and onion compote, Kaye has also introduced a string of lip-smacking new dishes including steak frites, frothy cappuccino of white onion soup and, for pork lovers, the confit of pork belly with savoy cabbage, watercress and apple salad.

Rating: 4/5

100 Turf Club Road; +65 6877 1191

Brasserie Wolf

Brasserie Wolf's Claudio Sandri gives his own spin on French classics such as the boeuf bourguignon.The move: Fresh-faced Swiss national, Claudio Sandri helms the kitchen of five-year-old Brasserie Wolf, after spending a decade working in noted restaurants in England including Nobu and Brasserie Joel.

What to expect: A revamped menu comprising French classics such as duck confit basking on a bed of puy lentils and a chive and chopped onions-studded steak tartare -- arguably one of the finest in town. Befitting the recently updated upscale interior, you will also find foie gras on the menu; pan-seared or prepared as a terrine.

Rating: 3.5/5

80 Mohamed Sultan Road #01-13 The Pier at Robertson; +65 6735 3476

Prime Society

It's not just about the meat at Prime Society under chef Peter Rollinson.The move: Australian chef Peter Rollinson recently landed the top job as Meat Maestro of the Prime Society after more than two years as head chef with the popular Flutes at the Fort.

What to expect: More premium steak cuts from Australia such as the off-menu and rarely-seen wagyu.

Rollinson has shaken-up the non-meat menu with entrees like baby beetroot tartlet and heirloom tomato salad as well as his signature dessert -- the sublime coconut panna cotta with lychee, mango and passion fruit.

In time to come, Prime Society might have a place in the hearts of non-meat eaters.

Rating: 3.5/5

10 Dempsey Road #01-20; +65 6474 7427

Evelyn Chen traded her frequent flyer miles from her jet-setting corporate days for a critic's pen, and has been eating and drinking on the job ever since. She is a former Time Out food critic and current editor of Zagat Guide; her food and travel features have published in Destin Asian, Travel + Leisure SEA and Conde Nast Traveller. For a collection of her gourmet jaunts, visit

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