Got a hot date this weekend but not sure where to go? Thankfully, there’s no shortage of new dining spots to check out in Singapore.
Whether you’re into Japanese or Italian cuisine, in the mood to pig out or on a clean-eating diet, here are four relatively new eateries that have our stamp of approval.
15 Stamford by Alvin Leung
Alvin Leung is the chef behind the three Michelin-starred Bo Innovation in Hong Kong, a restaurant known for its daring, deconstructed take on Chinese cuisine. So when news broke that the culinary rebel was going to open a new restaurant in Singapore, foodies expected a similarly bold concept—a molecular gastronomy version of local favourites, perhaps? Well, almost.
15 Stamford by Alvin Leung
Nestled in the stately The Capitol Kempinski Hotel at City Hall, the 162-seat restaurant pays tribute to Chef Alvin’s favourite dishes from around the region. While the DNA of the original dishes have been preserved, each has been tweaked—some ever so slightly, some more drastically. An example of the latter is the Chargrilled “Bak Kut Teh” Pork Chop, $38, a broth-less take on the local favourite that features a tender char-grilled pork chop marinated with herbs and spices served alongside slices of angelica syrup-infused watermelon. Meanwhile, the Singapore Laksa, $32, looks pretty much like your usual bowl of laksa, but there’s a lot more going on than you might think. For one, the quail eggs have a light Jasmine Tea flavour, while the Tiger Prawns have been prepared tempura-style. It’s easily one of the best bowls of laksa we’ve ever had, and is a must-try if you’re there. This is definitely the kind of place you’ll want to go to for an atas date.
15 Stamford by Alvin Leung is at 15 Stamford Rd.
From its interior to the menu, this new restaurant facing Raffles Hotel is as green as it gets. The interior—awash with sunlight, earthy tones and plants—has a cosy greenhouse vibe, and is the perfect setting for a weekend brunch date. In terms of food, The Botanic offers an array of plant-based dishes, with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free plates receiving equal footing alongside free-range, organic meat and seafood offerings.
We recommend starting with the Scotch Egg, $15, a vegetarian rendition of the classic dish that features an organic free-range egg encased in a falafel (instead of the usual pork sausage) and served with tabouli, cucumber and yoghurt. Then go for the Harissa Spiced Spatchcock, $29, butterflied free-range chicken served with yoghurt cheese, smoked eggplant and garlic chives. For the perfect end to your meal, get the Chendol Pavlova, $12, which combines an eggless meringue made from chickpeas and coconut cream, jackfruit granita, mango and salted gula melaka.
The Botanic is at #01-22A Raffles City Shopping Centre.
The Mast’ is a new Italian eatery in the CBD that takes cheese really seriously. I mean, it’s literally the only restaurant in Singapore that produces its own cheese on the premises! Best of all, its cheese-making lab has clear glass walls, so you and your bae can see the masters at work, transforming fresh buffalo milk curds into mozzarella, burrata and stracciatella, all hand-stretched right before your eyes.
Naturally, cheese-based dishes take centrestage at The Mast’. If it’s your first time here, we recommend getting the Tris Di Bufala, $28++. Comprising a platter of burrata, mozzarella and flavoured burrata served on traditional schiacciata bread, it lets you sample the different flavour and texture profiles of the restaurant’s buffalo milk cheeses. The cheeses are served at about 15°C for optimum freshness and flavour, and are as good as it gets. Another highlight is the Crostini E Fungi, $16, which features a generous serving of delicate stracciatella sandwiched between sliced portobello mushrooms and grilled artisanal bread. End your meal with sweet treats like tiramisu, $12, and white chocolate soufflé, $14, or the divine crema limoncello, $10.
The Mast’ is at #01-05/08 Frasers Tower.
“Omakase” literally means “I will leave it to you”, so you’re essentially letting the chef take you on a carefully planned culinary journey. Given this, omakase meals aren’t cheap. But at $140++ for an 18-course menu, we think the experience at Sushi Chiharu is well worth the money, especially for a special occasion like V-Day. Helmed by Chef Nakahara Saya and Issei Taba, the restaurant specialises in Edomae sushi, which harkens back to a time before refrigerators and fresh seafood was preserved using techniques like boiling, or curing with salt, vinegar or soy sauce. Both chefs are under 30 and are graduates of Insyokujin College, a prestigious culinary academy in Japan.
The 18-course meal comprises three appetisers, two seasonal sashimi, a seasonal dish, 10 pieces of nigiri sushi, soup and dessert. So yes, you’ll definitely walk out with a satisfied stomach. Dishes that we liked during our tasting session includes the Ayu—a wild sweetfish with roe—the Bafun Uni, and the Zuke Maguro, a soy sauce-marinated tuna nigiri. The restaurant seats just 12 people, so you’ll definitely get cosy with your date.
Chiharu is at 45A Cuppage Rd.
Additional text: Sophie Hong