December’s upon us, and with that comes the monsoon season and floods of busy shoppers looking for gifts. It’s all the excuse you need to cosy up at home with a warm blanket, hot cocoa, and a never-ending line-up of movies on Netflix.

There are also obstacles along the way to making the most of your precious me-time: the gatherings, the gift exchanges and catching up before 2018 ends. If there’s one thing that might make it all better, it’s grub — and lots of it.

If you’ve yet to make any reservations, it’s still not too late. Here’s where to hit up, and how to make those festive calories worth it.

Eurasian Christmas Pie by Folklore

Eurasian Christmas Pie

The dish:
Bored of the usual roast turkey, hams and salads for Christmas? Folklore’s Eurasian Christmas menu offers insight to local heritage foods eaten during the holiday. On the list, is the Eurasian Christmas Pie packed with rich savoury flavours. Beneath the crisp, gold-brown puff pastry is a thick stew of chicken, meatballs and pork sausages cooked with an array of aromatic spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and star anise. It’s a large offering that can easily fill up 10-12 hungry diners. If you’re looking for more variety, there are also more manageable dishes for sharing, such as white debal curry and feng, a laborious dish of pig offal and curry that takes three days to prepare.

The place:
Folklore reintroduces dishes forgotten from traditional tables back into modern consciousness. Executive chef Damian D’Silva (also most recently the judge on MasterChef Singapore) continues to prepare these foods with the same time-consuming techniques and processes that make them delicious.

Price: $30++
Folklore, 700 Beach Road, Destination Singapore Beach Road, Level 2, Singapore 199598.

Tris de Bufala by The Mast’

Tris di Bufala

The dish:
The Mast’ boasts a cheese production laboratory, where it makes its cheeses fresh on site. The must-have, naturally, would be its range of mozzarella, burrata and stracciatella churned from milk produced by the osteria’s own buffalo farm in Paestum, Italy. Freshly made everyday, the cheeses take on a creamier and milder taste compared to store-bought ones. Go for the Tris Di Bufala, a platter of burrata and mozzarella as an appetiser with flat schiacciata bread. There’s also a special burrata, as part of the trio, that is mixed with seasonal ingredients or sauces (think truffles, pesto or sun-dried tomatoes).

The place:
The Mast’ is the first Southeast Asian outpost of the original concept in Rome. Located at Frasers Tower, the osteria serves up an all-day dining menu that showcases artisanal pastas and traditional breads alongside its cheeses. Great for a quick lunch in the CBD area, and as a casual wine spot after hours.

Price: $28++

The Mast’ of Mozzarella & Co., 182 Cecil Street, #01-05/08, Frasers Tower, Singapore 069547 

Chicken & mushroom capellini by Halcyon & Crane

Chicken & Mushroom Capellini

The dish:
This is not a pasta dish, as the name would have you thinking. ‘Capellini’ refers to the vermicelli in it. Halcyon & Crane imports the noodles from Chengdu, China for its fragrance and bite. It is prepared with a homely bowl of chicken broth that’s been boiled with black fungus, shiitake, shimeji and bamboo pith mushrooms. A light, yet flavourful, dish to warm up to during rainy days.

The place:
The Paragon’s latest cafe-restaurant sees Sichuan influences in its interpretation of contemporary European dishes. The all-day dining menu is also accompanied by a coffee programme and cocktails which diners can enjoy by the bar. There’s also a takeaway section of salads and juices for those on the go.

Price: $23

Halcyon & Crane, 290 Orchard Rd, #03-09, The Paragon, Singapore 238859

Jasmine Tay
Senior Writer
Jasmine Tay is the dining, culture and jewellery writer. She makes fine silver jewellery and causes mini-explosions in the kitchen when she can't afford fancy dinners. Sometimes she tells people what she thinks about art, and binges on the music of Danzig when they don’t agree.