As the month comes to an end, there comes a slew of developments in the local food scene, some exciting and others lamentable.
We start the week with the opening of Zen, the sister restaurant to the three-Michelin-star Restaurant Fratzen in Stockholm. The Singapore outpost takes over the Bukit Pasoh shophouse that was once home to Restaurant Andre. At $450 a pop, diners can expect a degustation menu that takes them through all three levels of the building.
Then, there’s sad news: Whitegrass will be closing its doors next month. The modern Australian restaurant, which had scored a Michelin star this year and a spot on the Asia’s 50 Best list, would have been in operation for three years. Not to fret: chef-owner Sam Aisbett promises a new project in a smaller setting sometime next year.
Still, there’s little to gain crying over spilt milk. An array of great eats awaits. This week, we take a closer look at the refreshed and expanded menus on our radar.
Hainainese pork chop by Violet Oon Singapore
Violet Oon has opened her first retail and all-day dining concept at ION Orchard. In this brasserie-setting, Oon introduces Hainan-Birtish classics alongside her better-known local dishes. Diners can find here a small history of colonial Singapore and the subtle amalgamations of cultures in food. The Hainainese pork chop, for instance, is a take on the Western dish. Here, Kurobuta pork loin is crusted with a cream cracker batter and then deep fried. The house-made tomato reduction served tableside is a refined callback to the zichar staple of sweet-and-sour pork. The dish is also served with steak fries and buttered peas with minced kale.
The place: The brasserie is an ‘open-air’ space in ION Orchard, inspired by gazebos. The retail area, a first for Violet Oon, has a great selection of homely cookies and cakes. P.S. Violet Oon’s famous shepherd pie is also available here. Enjoy, also, a relaxing afternoon here with their high-tea sets.
Violet Oon Singapore, 2 Orchard Turn, #03-22, #03-28/29, ION Orchard, Singapore 238801
Pressed tofu by The Botanic
The dish: The Botanic showcases a menu featuring plant-based dishes and organic produce tied with Asian flavours. The plant-focused culinary direction has also provided a considerable selection of vegan and vegetarian options. The Pressed Tofu is a must-order here. It’s grilled so expect a touch of smokiness which goes deliciously with a side of juicy king brown mushrooms, cashew nuts and a subtle Sichuan spice dressing.
The place: The Botanic takes over Salt Tapas & Bar at Raffles City Shopping Centre. The space is much brighter, and nature-inspired like its menu. Drinks are still a big deal here: take a gander through the wine list, or go for fruit-based cocktails with local inspirations.
The Botanic, 252 North Bridge Road, #01-22A, Raffles City Shopping Centre, Singapore 179103
Roast chicken, Esarn style by Blue Jasmine
The dish: Thai restaurant Blue Jasmine brings forth a more authentic approach to its dishes, as well as a quick introduction to regional differences within Thailand. One such example can be found with a seemingly simple offering of roast chicken, which is done Esarn (or Issan) style from Northeastern Thailand. Kampong chicken is marinated in a paste of galangal, lemongrass, fragrant coriander root and garlic, and slow roasted twice for tender meat and crisp skin. What makes this a much more delightful dish is the accompanying sauce: a spicy, tantalising concoction made from the marinade paste, fish sauce and palm sugar. Finger lickin’ good!
The place: Blue Jasmine is a halal Thai restaurant based at Park Hotel Farrer Park. The menu doesn’t shy away from spice, and you’ll want to consider grabbing a few mocktails here.
Blue Jasmine, 10 Farrer Park Station Road, Level 5, Park Hotel Farrer Park, Singapore 217564