Sunday, May 12, 2013

9 Restaurants I'm Dying to Try - May 2013

Sunday, May 12, 2013

[Spanish Tapas] Confession: I haven't been to Esquina. Yes, I know - how could I? It's a sin, really, with the menu designed by Jason Atherton sounding so great - sea urchin and crab bisque, slow-cooked egg with crispy iberico and beef tartare with frozen foie gras. Although what I'm really excited to try is their oysters and vietnamese dressing. Esquina's certainly a more sophisticated, world-wise cousin of Keong Saik Snacks (which I loved). They've also launched three-course lunch sets at $35, and a ten-course dinner tasting menu for $95 now so I'm completely out of excuses not to visit. - No Reservations

Foodbar Dada
[Spanish Tapas] It's the Josper-grill that has got me hooked (operates solely on charcoal and lauded by top chefs worldwide). And the food bar concept, which has developed into a bit of an irrational weakness (that's why you get two of these intimate spanish tapas bars in this post). I just love watching the chefs in action, sipping a mean drink, swinging my legs, and savouring the gourmet plates served to me à la minute. Their menu isn't extensive, but everything sounds great, albeit less inventive than Esquina. I'll be getting that Josper beef ($30), black mediterranean rice ($8), and Josper mini squid with eggs ($18) - Reservations, 67357738

[South American] I've lost count of the number of people who have raved to me about Sur. Everything down from their arepas (corn cakes) with a whole range of fillings such as shredded beef stew and gouda, to a fabulous selection of ceviches (citrus-marinated raw seafood) sounds completely delicious and intriguing. Plus, there's still a range of entradas (starters) and mains to pick, and from what I've heard, you won't want to give the drinks here a miss. I won't be skipping the desserts either, since it's chef Luna's speciality (former Executive Pastry Chef at MBS). Reservations, 62222897

[Singapore Gastrobar] The no-nonsense, daring and wickedly spicy food (lots of offal) playing up our local heritage that Immigrants prides itself for serving completely agrees with me. I'm truly itching to try their squid bombs ($14), chicken gizzards ($14) and seh bak ($18) (pork and offal braised 4 hours in spices and soy sauce). Plus, they serve up a whole array of drinks including draught beer (Asahi). - Reservations, 85117322

[Asian-Mexican Takeout] I've always had a soft spot for tex-mex cuisine and the whole casual chic concept, so Pistola's a natural hit. Besides, they serve up frozen cocktails served from slushie machines - how does anyone say no to that? Truth is, I've tried dropping by a couple times but they were always so busy I 'chickened' out - perhaps I'll give it another shot for their new $15 meal deals? Available at lunch (Mon-Fri, 12-230pm) and happy hour (Mon-Sat, 5-7pm), with a choice of tacos, burrito, quesadilla and rice bowls plus a side or drink (yes you get to choose beer). Sounds like a no-brainer to me. No Reservations

The Disgruntled Chef
[Spanish Tapas] Ladies' night at the Disgruntled Chef is the best thing I've heard in a while - cocktails for just $8++ and complimentary canapés from 830-10pm! I'm working this into my calendar somewhere... The menu is a combination of small bites and shared plates - not quite enticed by everything but I'm pretty keen to try their baked bone marrow ($26) stuffed with braised oxtail.

The Market Grill
[American Grill] This one has got my attention simply because it serves a 500gm char-grilled whole lobster (flown in from Maine and Boston) for $45. The emphasis here is on fresh produce - steaks are never frozen, live lobsters are cooked to order - sounds fabulous. It's a grill house through and through - with steaks ($39-$150), lamb racks ($39) and even ox tongue ($36) on offer. Plus a whole array of burgers to choose from - I'm gunning the burger breakfast with sunny side up, bacon and aged cheddar ($21). - No Reservations

The Halia @ Raffles Hotel
[Asian-European] Halia's new outfit at Raffles Hotel is an incredibly chic space sporting black and white tiled walls and gorgeous plants. It's more relaxed than Halia at the Botanical Gardens, but equally beautiful. The menu is a few notches more interesting than your usual bistro, but it's their set lunch ($25) and brunch specials that are really drawing me in. Would be perfect for a date, wouldn't it? - Reservations, 96391148

Candlenut Kitchen
[Modern Peranakan] I never made it down to Candlenut Kitchen - thankfully they're re-opening next month in their brand new location at Dorsett Hotel, New Bridge Road. In fact, I don't have much experience with Peranakan food at all - it's almost a strange new universe to me - I can't wait to get started. Chef Malcolm Lee's Candlenut Kitchen, which boasts of modern methods to re-create classic Peranakan dishes, sounds like a good place to start. I know I'll be shooting for his crispy pork belly and ayam buah keluak (chicken with buah keluak nuts) when Candlenut Kitchen re-opens.

p.s. I'd love to hear out your recommendations!

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Leave a comment (4)

  1. Skip Sur, Immigrants and Halia.

    Pistola sounds awesome.

    Esquina is the best restaurant I went last year, Foodbar Dada has great food too but not unifying style, which makes it forgettable.

  2. Thanks! I've got Esquina all marked out! Did a take-out from Pistola on Sat - loved the quesadilla, but I'll pass up on the burrito.

  3. I went to esquinas soon after they opened.. Was empty and the chef even came out to chat.. No chance to go back because its always crowded now.

  4. Hopefully going early would work!


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