As the end of the year approaches, we begin the ritual of gathering over feasts and recounting the past 11 months. For some of us, memories are made over the dining table: fine-dining menus, an introduction to cuisines beyond our borders and lots of drinks.
Looking back, there’s much to celebrate in Singapore’s gastronomic scene. Each month presents a parade of restaurants, some good and some even better. Big names from abroad come to set up shop here, and local talents continue to evolve in meaningful ways.
While we celebrate the new, renowned restaurants are calling it quits; as one Michelin-starred Whitegrass will soon do too. Local hawkers are back in the spotlight again, not because of a pending bid for hawker culture to get UNESCO Cultural Heritage status, but that it has become increasingly unsustainable as their profit lines get leaner each day.
But, this is a season of hope, and that thankfully is what we will get. Next year, World’s 50 Best Restaurants will cast its international eye on Singapore. Heritage heroes are still holding the fort. From the ashes of failed restaurants come new concepts. Cheers, to the silver linings.
Last seen heading the kitchen at the now-shuttered Audace in Wanderlust Hotel, chef Jeremy Gillon has now moved on to greener pastures. Gillon has launched a new fine-dining French restaurant at the space once occupied by the short-lived Restaurant Ards. Here, Gillon carries over his use of indigenous herbs picked from the mountains of Savoie, France.
Restaurant JAG, 76 Duxton Rd, Singapore 089535, +65 3138 8477
Taking over Salt Tapas & Bar is The Botanic, a plant-based dining concept that also keeping sustainable practices in mind. The glasshouse-themed space has on its menu vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options alongside its meat and seafood offerings, peppered with Asian influences. In keeping with the sustainability theme, the restaurant also has an affordable list of organic and biodynamic wines.
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Meathsmith @ Makansutra Gluttons Bay
Meat Smith has two restaurants and a bar under its name. Now, it is expanding to a wholly different concept at Makansutra. The hawker stall is armed with its own barbeque pit, and diners here will be able to try the restaurant’s signature smoked meats with rice. Takes on local favourites such as hokkien mee and oyster omelettes are a must-try here.
Makansutra Gluttons Bay, 8 Raffles Ave, 15 Esplanade Singapore, 039802
Cook & Tras Social Library
The much-anticipated opening of Six Senses Maxwell will also see the launch of Cook and Tras Social Library. The space is home to a collection of books curated by the UK-based Ultimate Library. It also doubles as an all-day restaurant and bar which will serve breakfast and small plates together with a bespoke cocktail programme.
Cook & Tras Social Library, 2 Cook St, Six Senses Maxwell, Singapore 078857, +65 6914 1400
The Les Amis Group has opened a contemporary Italian restaurant in the heart of Binjai Park. Along with handmade pasta and pizzas fresh out of a wood-fired oven, LINO has a selection of small plates that are great for sharing together with its Italian wines. If the weather’s willing, go for al fresco tables which makes for a comfortable, Instagram-worthy spot for brunch.
LINO, 7 Binjai Park, Singapore 589821, +65 6463 7800
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It’s all hush-hush business with this restaurant pop-up. Located at a backdoor of Duxton Plain Park is an intimate space for 30 guests. The menu rotates every 20 days and is kept simple, but usually centers around modern European cuisine. This time, it is setting the scene along ‘the sandy beaches of Holland,’ with free flow imperial blue mussels, Belgium fries and drinks. P.S. directions will be provided upon booking.
Hush20, 14 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Duxton Park Entrance, Singapore 089828, +65 8127 2728