November is already starting on a good note with exciting restaurant launches and with that, new cuisines and concepts. Local cuisine is back on the forefront again as Peranakan culinary doyenne Violet Oon opens her latest brasserie concept at ION Orchard. Fine-dining is still going strong in Singapore. Two more have mushroomed up – Preludio, introducing author’s cuisine; and a brand new Bacchanalia.
Equally exciting are how existing restaurants continuously revamp menus and culinary directions to stay on the radar in this ever-dynamic culinary scene. The one-Michelin-star Alma by Juan Amador introduces a new modern European menu driven by Asian flavours and Yàn looks to the heydays of Hong Kong in its latest offerings. Telok Ayer Arts Club attempts a sharper focus on its offerings and identity from the previous popular McCallum Street cafe, SPRMRKT. Here’s what to eat at these places.
The dish: Yàn’s latest Nostalgia Reccomendations menu pays homage to the culinary renaissance of Hong Kong in the 1970s and 1980s. During this period of prosperity, chefs elevated flavours of home by weaving in technique and including premium ingredients to satisfy diners with a taste for luxury.
Thus, while items on this menu seem nothing out of the ordinary, it is the arduous effort made by executive chef Lai Chi Sum that makes an immense difference in flavour. The Braised Assorted Deluxe Seafood, from this menu, is similar to pencai albeit served in individual claypots. But instead of cooking everything together and calling it a day, Lai prepares each seafood component individually. Dried six-head abalone is steamed for three hours, and braised for another five in stock, chicken, roast pork and Jinhua ham. Fish lips are cooked separately in stock, and mushroom braised with ginger and scallion. All these are tossed into a mini-claypot and cooked again with abalone sauce. The result is a richly-umami dish, best enjoyed with some rice — and to think that so much effort goes into making it, a starter to kickstart an indulgent feast.
The place: Yàn, or feast, is located in National Gallery Singapore. Executive chef Lai Chi Sum prepares classic Cantonese cuisine with refined technique and heart. Also on this new menu, is braised crab with white pepper and glass noodles and steamed kampong chicken cooked with Chinese ham.
Price: $28++ per serving, the Nostalgia Recommendations menu is available lunch and dinner till 30th November, 2018.
Yàn, National Gallery Singapore, #05-02, 1 St Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957, +65 6384 5585
- The dish: The French Mediterranean menu, peppered with Asian influences is a flexible all-day dining option for the CBD crowd. As such, diners can expect grain and salad bowls with unimpressive options like the Mediterranean Couscous (hummus, feta cheese, cucumber and avocado) and Nicoise Salad. Highlights are instead found in the small and large plates.
Here, we have the Locally-bred Spatchcock: traditional French-style roast chicken brined and seasoned with honey, paprika and herbs. Thanks to the brine, the bird comes with crispy skin and juicy flesh, served with red wine sauce and smoky bacon strips sautéed with vegetables. If there’s time to spare, try the Tomato & Tofu, a refreshing salad boosted by shiitake pesto and miso.
The place: Telok Ayer Arts Club attempts to draw stronger connections between art and music with food and drink than the former SPRMRKT McCallum. It is branded as a contemporary take on a community centre for CBD folks: a space to find creative respite from work and the urban life.
- Telok Ayer Arts Club, 2 McCallum Street, Singapore 069043, +65 6221 0712
The dish: It has been three years since Alma by Juan Amador opened its doors at Goodwood Park Hotel, and with that a new menu. Executive chef Haikal Johari, who helms the one-Michelin-star restaurant, introduces more pronounced Asian and Japanese influences into his modern European cuisine here.
This is best seen in Iberico Pork Jowl, which is first glazed with miso, sous-vide and grilled over binchotan. The dish is served with balls of sweet apple, Jerusalem artichoke puree and fragrant ulam raja leaves. A smoky dish best paired with a glass of red wine from the restaurant’s massive cellar of American wine labels.
The place: Alma by Juan Amador is a modern European restaurant at Goodwood Park Hotel. The restaurant, under the leadership of Haikal Johari, has clinched one-Michelin-star for three years straight.
Price: $158++ (Part of a six-course menu)
Alma by Juan Amador, Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221, +65 6735 9937