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

The dish:

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.

Price: $34++

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.

Price: $16

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.
Price: $16

Blue Jasmine, 10 Farrer Park Station Road, Level 5, Park Hotel Farrer Park, Singapore 217564

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.