In an blink of an eye, we are coming to the end of 2017. It is another exciting year with many new restaurants opening in the little red dot. Like previous years, I will be putting together a list of my best eats for 2017. For this year, I decided to split the annual round up to a restaurant list and a separate hawker list. The listing is based on my dining experience and the fact that it is near to the MRT stations.
Chef Kang's Kitchen
The newly awarded one Michelin Star restaurant in the Michelin Guide Singapore 2017. Chef Kang's Kitchen is a private kitchen with only 4 tables. It is very hard to get a reservation with a waiting list of up to 2 months. Many people has commented that its not worth eating at Chef Kang's kitchen because it is very expensive for zichar food. I agree with the pricing but we need to recognise this is a private kitchen. Chef Kang cooks every dish himself. In fact he has given refinement to the dishes.
Chen's Mapo Tofu
If you find it too expensive to dine at Michelin 2-Star restaurant Shisen Hanten by Chef Chen Kentaro at Mandarin Orchard, you will be glad to know that he has opened an offshoot called Chen's Mapo Tofu offering casual dining priced dishes at OUE Downtown Gallery. His signature dish is the Mapo Tofu and you can try his recipe at Chen's Mapo Tofu at an affordable price of less than $10. The Mapo Don at $8.80 comes in a huge plate of rice topped with the signature mapo tofu or you can have the it a la carte at $6.
All these years I have not been a big fan of tapas or small plate concept because I find the portion not only small but overpriced. However with Five Ten entering the dining scene, this has broken the mould with a new concept inspired by Taiwanese street food, putting customers' pockets first without scrimping on quality. What is more attractive is the pricing. Every item on the menu is priced at $5 or $10.
I am so happy to hear about the opening of Folklore at Destination Singapore Beach Road because the brainchild behind it is non other than Chef Damien D'Silva. Having tried his food when he was at Timbre+ and getting to know about his culinary philosophy, I am excite to know that I once again have the opportunity to find Singapore heritage dishes at his new restaurant - Folklore, which is like a losing art in Singapore. These are dishes that are hardly available on the menu nowadays. Dining at folklore is not just about enjoying good food prepared from scratch but also about preserving and propagating Singapore culinary heritage.
Lotus Kitchen at Chinatown Point is a new vegetarian restaurant, which is the spinoff from the famous Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant at Quality Hotel. Diners can find new creations as well as some of the best selling mainstays from predecessor. I am very impress with the vegetarian dishes at Lotus Kitchen. Especially on the creativity behind the dishes. It definitely changes my perspective on vegetarian cuisine. Vegetarian food is not just about deep fried flour items and greens. After trying the food here, I felt that their vegetarian dishes can convert even a carnivore.
I have been a fan of Chef Ivan Brehm's food was when he was at Bacchanalia, Coleman Street back in 2013. I was really impressed by his cooking and philosophy of using Asian ingredients to reinvent classic dishes. Not to forget he led The Kitchen at Bacchanalia to 1 Michelin Star in 2016. Moving forward, Chef Ivan has ventured out on his own and opened Nouri at Amoy Street. Nouri by Chef Ivan Brehm is definitely an exciting new restaurant to look out for. The new restaurant may not be there yet for the Michelin Guide Singapore 2017 but I think it was the potential to get a star in the next edition in 2018.
The ART (Assumption Restaurant for Training)
The ART (Assumption Restaurant for Training) is not your usual restaurant. Located inside Assumption Pathway School at Cashew Road, the restaurant provides the training ground for the students to put their F&B knowledge and skills into practice. The ART has recently extended its operating hours on Fridays (during school term) to include dinner. Set dinner will be served for dinner except on the last Friday of each month, where it is replaced with Porridge Buffet. For a mere $12, there is an eclectic selection of traditional condiments and dishes to go with either the normal porridge or porridge with sweet potatoes. Besides the array of unlimited traditional condiments and dishes to go with the porridge, very table will have a plate of Braised Duck and Steamed Seafood that will be served once. The restaurant may not be run by celebrity chefs but the students have put their heart into it. The food here is actually quite delicious and value for money. By the way, do be patient with their service as the place is run by students that are still learning the trade to gain practical experience experience from what they have learnt in classes.
The first ever Peruvian Cevicheria, Tono Cevicheria has landed on our shore at Duo Galleria. The restaurant is the brainchild of Peruvian Chef Daniel Chavez, co-owner and chef of OLA Cocina del Mar at MBFC. The kitchen at Tono Cevicheria is headed by Executive Chef Mario Malvaez with a dynamic team of Lima-trained Latin American chefs. If you are new to Peruvian cuisine, you have to check out their beautiful food with rich and robust flavours.
Venue by Sebastian
When one door shuts, the other door opens. With the closing of Restaurant Ember, Chef-Owner Sebastian Ng has opened his latest concept - VENUE by Sebastian at the new OUE Downtown Gallery. With former Head Chef of Artichoke joining his culinary team, the restaurant offers a menu featuring modern European culinary techniques and quality ingredients, imbued with a refreshing touch of Asian flavours. This is my first time trying Chef Sebastian's food. I have not been to Ember hence I could not compare the difference. Others have told me that his food is light but flavourful, I kind of agree from the vegetable dishes I tried. However I thought he is better in meats, as I enjoyed them more than the greens.
Wakanui Grill Dining
WAKANUI Grill Dining located on the level 4 of the new Marina One complex. The restaurant is situated in a stunning glass structure on the fourth floor of the West Tower offering New Zealand Ocean Beef and Wakanui Spring Lamb which are grilled over Japan-sourced Binchotan charcoal. It also offers New Zealand seafood, such as Ora King salmon, New Zealand-sourced sashimi-quality fresh fish and green lip mussels, and other seasonal produce and dairy products imported from New Zealand. WAKANUI Grill Dining is a culinary experience enjoyed in a quiet oasis, where the views of the lush central gardens of Marina One provide a welcome respite from the bustle of city life. Pricing maybe a bit on the steep side but the dry-aged beef and lamb here are top quality and well executed.