Singapore's 8 best new restaurants

Singapore's 8 best new restaurants

Close to 700 new eateries opened in Singapore over the last year. We've done the hard work and offer this shortlist of the best
A dish of squid topped with sweet corn and paprika at new Singapore restaurant Burnt Ends. You know you want it.

When the two Integrated Resorts opened in 2010 -- Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa -- Singapore’s then-languid dining scene got a much-needed booster shot.

Almost overnight, the city-state became the city du jour for new openings as Michelin stars-studded chefs, wannabe restaurateurs and imported cooking talents scrambled for space to house their dream restaurants.

The trend continues. Jamie Oliver just opened a 250-seat Italian eatery at Vivo City, his first in Asia. Mario Batali recently announced plans to open Carnevino, his third F&B concept in the city.

Big name chefs aside, the scene  is equally buzzy for indie operators -- new small plate eateries continue to grab the spotlight, unfazed by the incessant stream of French, Italian and Japanese openings.

Not surprisingly, clusters of dining enclaves have popped up and this excitement has spilled over to Club Street, which is enjoying a revival after years of slumber.

Records from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) show that 686 new eateries sprouted in Singapore last year. Staggering growth for a city with less than 3,000 restaurants.

We’ve combed them all and shortlisted just a handful of the best to open in the last year.

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Bar-roque Grill

Bar-roque Grill standouts include the NZ little neck clams served simmering on a hotplate of white wine-infused broth with garlic pork sausages.​Nine years after honing his craft with Daniel Boulud, Stephane Istel – former executive chef of DB Moderne Bistro Singapore -- left to call his own shots at Bar-roque Grill.

His ornately decorated space adorned with a life-size painting of a wine-guzzling cherub at Amara Hotel is the perfect setting to showcase the menu of rustic French fare. 

Think tart-flambee and rotisserie meats -- prepared with a touch of Mediterranean flair.

Bar-roque165 Tanjong Pagar Road​, Singapore; +65 6444 9672

Moosehead Kitchen Bar

Char-grilled asparagus: The garlic-miso broth makes this dish a winner. ​Daniel Ballis, a former bar manager at Four Seasons Singapore, runs the floor in the cramped digs of this minimally-embellished Telok Ayer Street eatery he co-owns with his father.

Spanish arts graduate-turned-chef Manuel Valero Ruiz heads up the open concept kitchen where a charcoal powered indoor oven smokes the Mediterranean small plates to perfection.

Highlights include scrambled eggs with smoked mushrooms and black truffle shavings; and char-grilled asparagus with crispy leek in an intensely savory garlic-miso broth.

Moosehead Kitchen Bar, 110 Telok Ayer Street; +65 6636 8055

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Bacchanalia

Bacchanalia is set in Singapore's historic Masonic Lodge. ​First time restaurateurs Alexander Chew and Raj Datwani struck gold when they landed a roomy space on the ground floor of Masonic Lodge for their debut eatery.

Named Bacchanalia after the boozy pop-up brunch series the duo has been running since 2012, the eatery’s kitchen features a trio of former Fat Duck chefs led by Brazilian Ivan Brehm.

The menu features experimental creations like ‘duck confit’ wrapped in spinach leaf chased down with a cup of corn and cucumber dashi.

BacchanaliaMasonic Club, 23A Coleman Street; +65-6509 1453 

Saint Pierre

The star of the St Pierre show. Yuzu-scented King prawn tartare crowned with creamy sea urchin.After 13 years in a low-key office building in the CBD, Saint Pierre's Emmanuel Stroobant recently moved to Sentosa island. 

His new roost at Quayside Isle serves up Japanese-inflected modern French cuisine in a Nordic-inspired dining room​ with wrap-around floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

The highlight is Stroobant’s 10-course omakase menu, with its delightful yuzu-scented King prawn tartare crowned with a tongue of creamy sea urchin.

Saint Pierre31 Ocean Way, #01-15 Quayside Isle; +65 6438 0887 

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The Naked Finn

Somehow, the plastic walls work. ​Fresh seafood char-grilled simply with olive oil or unsalted butter and served unadorned is the hallmark of this pared-down, plastic sheet-walled restaurant at Gillman Barracks.

Owner-operator Ken Loon goes to great lengths to source the finest crustaceans, mollusks and ground fish for his menu. 

Star dishes include the Indian squids, Atlantic scallops and African lobsters via the a la carte menu.

Alternatively, the “Set for 2” and “Set for 4” bundle the top fin fare with chilled vermicelli and greens for a complete meal.

The Naked Finn41 Malan Road #01-13 Gillman Barracks; +65 6694 0807 

Burnt Ends

There are only 18 seats at small plate restaurant Burnt Ends. And they're usually all filled. ​​A four-ton double cavity brick oven powers the gourmet BBQ fare served in this 18-seat small plates eatery at Teck Lim Road.

The high-profile owners -- including Loh Like Peng and Andre Chiang -- have created an elegant setting of burnt rain tree-wood counters and charcoal-toned hanging lamps to lure guests. 

But even these play second fiddle to the menu of smoky delights by David Pynt, ex sous chef of Asador Etxebarri.

We recommend the smoked quail’s eggs and grilled squid in paprika dusted butter oil.

Burnt Ends20 Teck Lim Road; +65 6224 3933 

 

Ki-sho

Ki-sho's a looker alright. But it's the dishes, like the French Gillardeau oysters bathed in a yuzu-scented jus with briny ikura pearls, that keeps diners coming back.​Set in an atmospheric black-and-white bungalow at Scotts Road, this kaiseki house looks every bit as upscale as a ryotei (upscale Japanese restaurant) in Kyoto.

Helping to achieve this aesthetic are a 10-seat hinoki wood counter and trio of traditionally decorated private rooms that come complete with shoji (rice paper) sliding doors.

But it’s the multicourse tasting menu of East meets West zen plates by former Waku Ghin chef, Kazuhiro Hamamoto, that keeps the Japanese food aficionados packing in. 

Ki-sho29 Scotts Road; +65-6733 5251 

Izy

Izy's eight-course omakase dinner is great way to sample some of the menu highlights. ​​​A Club Street new comer, Izy’s setting of dull-grey concrete walls with an eye-catching 11-meter pop art-meets-vintage mural sets the scene for the lip-smacking Japanese-inspired small plates crafted by chef Kazumasa Yazawa, who cut his teeth at Tetsuya’s and Waku Ghin.

The best way to take it all in is the affordable 8-course omakase dinner, which includes daily-changing specials augmented by fixtures like the decadent wagyu bowl crowned with aromatic summer truffle shavings served alongside a bowl of tuna dashi-accented miso soup.

We suggest ending it all with a night cap of Japanee whiskey at the hidden cache bar. But you didn't hear it from us.

Izy, 27 Club Street; +65 6220 3327

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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 www.bibikgourmand.com.

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