Club Street: Singapore's hottest new dining enclave

Club Street: Singapore's hottest new dining enclave

This Chinatown neighborhood has shaken off its lethargy and is now the place to be

On the fringe of Chinatown, Singapore's once sleepy Club Street -- home to upscale Chinese clubs and associations in the 1800s and 1900s -- is enjoying a revival.

Restaurant operators are jostling for prime real estate in converted shop houses to anchor their presence in this historic area, now one of the hottest dining enclaves in the city. 

“The old world charm of these rows of old Chinese shop houses adds a sense of history and identity to Club Street,” says Toni Rossetti, chef-patron of Noti Restaurant and Bar, who occupies two units of shop house space at Club Street.

“This unique atmosphere cannot be replicated in a modern building.”

In April 2013, the authorities moved to pedestrianize Club Street and the adjoining Ann Siang Road on weekend nights, cementing the neighborhood’s status as the site-du-jour for foodies and revelers.

“Since the commencement of road closure, Club Street has been enjoying a lively and dynamic vibe,” says Rossetti. “We have noticed a 15% increase in weekend business due to an increase in walk-in guests.”

Club Street's dining options are aplenty. To help make things simple we've rounded up the area's top 10 restaurants.

1. Wolf

1. WolfWho knew a plate of beef heart could look so appetizing?
Inspired by St. John’s, London’s nose to tail stalwart by Fergus Henderson, Wolf brings a never-before-seen vibrancy to Club Street via its menu of bizarre animal parts like beef lips, beef heart and pig’s head.

Squeamish diners can fall back on Kurobuta pork chop and ribeye steak.

Wolf, 18 Gemmill Lane; +65 6557 2224

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2. Luke’s Chop House

Chef-patron Travis Masiero has attracted a following of expense-account clientèle since this all-American chop house opened in a quiet corner of Gemmil Lane in mid 2011.

Other than pricey prime steaks, credit card-denting Boston-imported seafood – think lobsters, oysters and clams -- also features heavily on the menu.

Luke’s Chop House, 20 Gemmill Lane; +65 6221 4468

3. O’Batignolles

3. O’BatignollesAfter a few glasses of French wine you'll think you're in Paris.
One of Singapore’s most authentic bar à vin, O'Batignolles is the perfect place to watch the world go by as you sip a carafe of French wine and dine on French cheeses, cold cuts and light meals.

As befits the Parisian experience, expect to inhale lots of second-hand smoke. 

O’Batignolles, 2 Gemmil Lane; +65 6438 3913

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4. Izy

4. IzyIzy is Singapore's hottest izakaya.
Chef Kazumasa Yazawa, who earned his pedigree at Tetsuya’s and Waku Ghin, infuses European sensibilities into the Japanese small plates at this ultra-hip izakaya.

For the perfect meal, we recommend the 8-course omakase (Kyoto toufu with ikura perals and Hokkaido uni in dashi broth).

A nightcap at the Cache Bar is the perfect way to end the evening.

Izy, 27 Club Street; +65 6220 3327

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5. Club Street Social

5. Club Street SocialClub Street Social's lobster panini is a menu star.
A café and sandwich bar by day and drinking hole by night, this New York-inspired joint doles out tasty salads, paninis and crostinis alongside inspiring cocktails that draw a permanently heavy after-hours crowd.

The swarm of patrons – with drinks in tow -- usually spill out onto the narrow five-foot way by dusk.

Club Street Social, 5 Gemmill Lane; +65 6225 5043

6. Noti Restaurant & Bar

6. Noti Restaurant & BarNoti's hearty homemade gnocchi with tiger prawns and pesto Salentino.
After a whirlwind 24-year hotel F&B career, Tony Rossetti retires to the confines of this handsomely decorated trattoria space that he co-owns with his Singapore wife.

His southern Italian fare is unapologetically simple and rustic. Judging by the packed room, Rossetti seems to have struck a chord with the local Italian food aficionados.

Noti Restaurant & Bar, 54 & 56 Club Street; +65 6220 0089

7. Lolla

7. LollaLolla is one of the hottest restaurants to open in Singapore this year.
Barely six months after opening, this Mediterranean-inspired small plates eatery made Zagat’s 2013 hottest new restaurants list.

If you’re lucky enough to snag a seat, we recommend ordering the squid ink pudding crowned with a tongue of sea urchin and the Spanish tortilla with smoked eel -- both of which pair nicely with flute of grower Champagne.

Lolla, 22 Ann Siang Road; +65 6423 1228

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8. Oxwell & Co.

8. Oxwell & Co.Mark Sargeant, Gordon Ramsay’s former right hand man, shows Singapore how British fare should be done.
Gordon Ramsay’s former right hand man, Mark Sargeant, beat the foul-mouthed celebrity chef to staking a claim on the city’s culinary turf at this rustic triple-storey space that serves up British-inspired fare like Yorkshire pudding and prawn cocktail.

Even if you’re not up for a meal here, the groovy ground-floor bar scene is worth checking out.

Oxwell & Co., 5 Ann Siang Road; +65 6438 3984

9. Ding Dong

9. Ding DongDing Dong, proving Singapore's tapas craze is far from dead.
Ryan Clift of Tippling Club fame takes a break from his haute gastronomy roots at his third outpost, a South East Asian-inspired tapas bar that takes up three levels of shop house space.

Guests can sip fantastic cocktails (we love the Fujiyama) and dine on exotic small plates like the Vietnamese Scotch eggs, scallop ceviche wrapped in Chinese cabbage and the one-of-a-kind Malacca chendol.

Ding Dong, 23 Ann Siang Road; +65 6557 0189

10. Truffle Gourmet

10. Truffle GourmetTruffles on tartare? Tastes as sublime as it looks.
Italian eateries are a dime and a dozen in this city state but not many boast a lineage like Truffle Gourmet, a franchisee of Piedmont-based San Maurizio Relais Chateau hotel.

The property produces an eponymous range of truffle-accented gourmet products that enable fans of the prized-fungi to feast on truffled Italian creations year round.

When Alba white truffles are off-season, the truffle caviar that crowns a mound of veal tartare is equally dazzling.

Truffle Gourmet, 49 Club Street; +65 6222 5996

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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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