The Meatball ($38) at Lavo Singapore
One of the hippest hangouts with a view to kill is Lavo, an Italian restaurant and rooftop bar, that is perched on the 57th floor of Marina Bay Sands. The 339-seat space looks like an extravagant dining room of a swanky Italian nonna that is decked in chandeliers, oversized lamp shapes, subway tiles and lots of wood and orange hues—that is filled with pulsating tunes from the DJ counter. It is after all co-run by the TAO group, a U.S.-based nightlight, entertainment and dining group. The menu is Italian/American, comprising of favourite dishes from Lavo’s Las Vegas and New York City’s outposts.
Like the outfits of the many snazzy well-heeled diners, the signature Lavo one-pound meatball ($38) screams for attention. The softball-sized meatball is a moreish mash-up of tender chopped wagyu chunks and Italian sausage bits, and the depth of the meaty flavour is dialled up with the chopped veal shoulder, and the hand-moulded ball is crisp up by a dash of breadcrumbs. The yin intense meaty fumes is balanced by the yang of the rich, unctuous tomato meat sauce with its acidity accentuated by a melting ice-cream scoop of whipped ricotta. An exclusive-to-Singapore dish is the roasted black cod ($56) that pits juicy flaking meat against a pan-seared brown finish and crisp portobello mushroom fritters, served in a creamy butter sauce.
Level 57, Marina Bay Sands Skypark Hotel Tower 1
Flor di Latte Pizza ($32) at The Cliff
After one and a half years, Italian fine-dining restaurant il Lido at The Cliff in Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa is now The Cliff, with local restaurant group il Lido leaving the partnership. Out goes the fine-dining concept and in comes a casual all-day dining restaurant with an outdoor lounge, which maximises breathtaking views of the South China Sea, that will open in mid-April. While the restaurant’s signature pastas such as beef cheek tortelli and lobster spaghetti remains, the menu expands to include more pizzas, snacks and finger food.
New pizzas include the flor di latte ($32) a cream-based pizza that is slathered with earthy black truffle cream and milky mascarpone, which makes an aromatic mushroom-like pizza. The dough is airy and crisp thanks to a 48-hour proofing process using natural yeast. New mains include a whole baked sea bass ($28) that comes dramatically presented—an explosion of cubed vegetables such as zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers oozes from the fish. The succulent de-boned fish is smeared with salmoriglio (a garlic and tarragon oil seasoning) that wafts a lovely aroma and garnished with taggiasche olives for an intense umami kick.
2 Bukit Manis Road, Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa, Sentosa
The modern Japanese and Korean restaurant is renowned for its sublime mushroom pizza that has wafer-thin mushroom sheets on umami aioli, but vegetarians can now have more options in an expanded menu at Akira Back. The barley risotto ($32) features a scallop that is actually a pan-seared eryngii mushroom medallion that is meaty and juicy without the stringiness that one gets from gnawing on scallops. The ‘scallop’ is served on a bed of wholesome barley risotto and sweet edamame pea foam. If you are sick of seafood, go for the innovative sushi platter ($55) that is sushi for herbivores. The salmon is replaced by a pickled red bell pepper that is equally tart and sweet, "meaty" vegetables such as eryngii mushrooms
Level B1M, JW Marriott Hotel Singapore, 30 South Beach Road, South Tower
Morsels has recently switched out its à la carte menus in favour of more streamlined sharing set menus. For a fixed price, you can choose from a selection of snacks, small plates, mains and desserts featuring chef/owner Petrina Loh’s signature east-meets-west cooking style. Many dishes—like the Toriyama tartare, truffle-braised Korean abalone with truffle-scented bubur terigu and the old-favourite steamed Venus clams (“We couldn’t take it off the menu,” says Chef Petrina)—stand out and we are hard-pressed to pick just one dish. But it would probably have to be the simply-named "toast" (ume ricotta, oyster mushrooms, fermented iceberg lettuce and mushroom catsup)—you’ll never call iceberg lettuce boring again.
#01-04, 25 Dempsey Rd.
Firebake marks its first anniversary this month by extending its opening hours to include an all new breakfast menu. Alongside savoury Cheesymite buns and morning buns aromatic with cinnamon and lime, you can also wake up to the morning set, which features a deliciously chewy sourdough milk bun marked with charcoal-grill lines, two soft-boiled eggs, butter and local kopi or tea. Definitely opt to top up $1 for the homemade Hainanese kaya and slather all that caramel eggy goodness on your buttered bread.
237 East Coast Rd.
Chef Keisuke Takeda has launched a new ramen concept at Holland Village serving up duck ramen. The star protein of Ginza Kamo Soba Kyudaime Keisuke is the premium Irish hybrid duck, favoured for its ample fat and tender, succulent meat. There are two variations of duck broth ramen here: the rich soup is robust and sticky with collagen while the clear soup, though lighter and cleaner, still packs and umami punch. Our favourite though was the tsukemen—take a few strands of ramen, dip it in the luscious rich duck soup thickened with bonito flakes and slurp it all up, so you can enjoy the springy al dente texture of Chef Keisuke’s famous handmade ramen alongside the unadulterated broth.
16A Lorong Mambong
La Pissaladière at Ma Cuisine ($19)
Unlike conventional wine pairings, here at Ma Cuisine, you are supposed to pick your wines first, then let owners Anthony Charmetant and Mathieu Escoffier suggest food pairings for your wine. A Côtes du Rhône La Vie On Y Est Domaine Gramenon 2016, for example, pairs beautifully with la Pissaladière, a caramelized onion tart with anchovies and olives, the savoury umami-ness of the pizza-like dish bringing out the ripe apricot flavours in the wine. The concise food menu features rustic French fare with family recipes from the original Michelin-recommended Ma Cuisine in Beaune, Burgundy.
38 Craig Rd.