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Best dishes of the week: Folklore, Botanico at The Garage and Lavo Singapore

Singapore’s food scene continues to be a whirlwind. The last five weeks alone saw the launch of the third edition of the Michelin Guide, a visit by Massimo Bottura — the man behind the world’s best restaurant this year while collaborations have become the new norm. Just take a look at the week ahead: Nouri will be playing host to Aussie chef Mark Best while Odette will be graced by the presence of Dominique Crenn.

The news doesn’t stop there. Our city is finally (successfully) exporting a fine dining Michelin-starred restaurant as Saint Pierre is opening in KL, after years of seeing other big names opening here instead.

These are certainly exciting times and while we bring you headline after headline, the F&B reporters on this team are still wining and dining, bringing to you our honest opinions on what’s worth shelling out for.

We revisited Folklore, schlepped up to The Garage at Botanic Gardens on a Friday night and sunk in our seats to absorb the stunning views that Lavo Singapore has to offer at daytime. Here’s what to expect.

Seasonal Oysters at Botanico

(Photo credit: Botanico)

The dish: There’s a new chef at Botanico and with that comes a new direction. The menu that relies on Spanish flavours is now replaced by one that emphasises on Asian flavours. Expect dishes like Iberico char siew, curry lamb neck and lemongrass panna cotta courtesy of local chef Sujatha Asokan. Of these, the seasonal oysters are our favourite. It’s not just because the relaxed space is perfect for slurping down oysters but also because its flavours are on point. Here, Irish oysters are topped with a relish of shallots, chillies, lime juice and fish sauce — making it the perfect combination of spicy, tangy and umami that even those who aren’t normally fans of oysters would like.

The place: Botanico, at the second floor of The Garage in Botanic Gardens is a great spot for those looking to get away from the humdrum of urban life even if just for a little bit. The space is remarkably quiet on Friday nights — perfect to kick back over a glass of wine especially now so since there’s a new wine programme in place where over 30 premium labels rated 90 points and above by Wine Spectator are available.

Price: $6

Botanico at The Garage, Level 2, 50 Cluny Park Road, Singapore Botanic Gardens, 257488. +65 9831 1106.

Sotong Masak Sambal Belado from Folklore

(Photo credit: Folklore)

The dish: Sambal balado, sometimes spelled as belado is a quintessentially Sumatran sambal that’s common in the few authentic nasi padang eateries here. It hails from the same Minangkabau culture that blessed the world with rendang. At its barest minimum, the recipe calls for onions, garlic, chillies and diced tomatoes which are stir-fried before adding key lime juice to finish.

At Folklore, the spicy paste has deep caramelised undertones as it’s cooked over low heat for as long as two hours — a technique that chef Damien D’Silva attributes to a family friend named Aunty Zainab. Upon ordering, the kitchens would fire up a wok to fry up the slices of squid quickly, reaching the diner piping hot and ready to set your palate ablaze with its spicy-umami goodness.

The place: Folklore is a restaurant that celebrates Singapore’s culinary traditions through the lens of Damien D’Silva, a veteran chef of Eurasian and Peranakan heritage. He brings traditional dishes, often enjoyed in the vernacular into the mainstream, employing the same time-consuming techniques and processes that make them delicious.

Price: Market price.

Folklore, 700 Beach Road, Singapore 199598, +65 6679 2900.

Wake and Bake at Lavo Singapore

Photo credit: Lavo, Marina Bay Sands.

The dish: Brunch is by no means the most complicated meal to be had. It does however, have to tick a few boxes to fit the occasion: the food has to be easy (no deconstructed highfalutin nonsense please), comforting and an all-round social affair. Lavo at the top of Marina Bay Sands has all this, plus a view for you to soak in thanks to its new brunch opening hours.

There’s a decent selection of what we like to call “easy eating” and that ranges from granola with greek yoghurt, honey and berries to ricotta pancakes if you’re looking for something sweet after a night of partying. Yet it’s the Wake and Bake that has our vote. No weekend morning is quite complete without eggs and Lavo does a simple rendition where it’s baked with onions, tomatoes, capsicum and paprika. Such an undemanding dish for brunch is perfect.

The place: Lavo Singapore opened to much fanfare. It’s an Italian restaurant and sexy rooftop bar that boasts stunning views of the CBD. It used to be open only from 5pm till late so being able to head up for daytime views is a welcome alternative to neighbouring Ce La Vi.

Price: $24

Lavo Italian Restaurant And Rooftop Bar, Level 57, Marina Bay Sands Hotel Tower 1, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956, +65 6688 8591.