One-Michelin-starred contemporary French restaurant Bacchanalia has quietly undergone another round of changes after founding chef Ivan Brehm left in December 2016, followed by a couple of changes in ownership and even in its name.
Most recently, Australian head chef Luke Armstrong has added more prix fixe menus with varying price points. The priciest of the lot is the Carte Blanche menu (from $145++) that offers five or seven courses, in which Armstrong has free rein to design dishes around seasonal ingredients.
A huge fan of wild morel mushrooms from France’s Loire Valley, Armstrong has opened up the earthy flavours of the tender morsels by soaking them in a morel veloute that is spiked with Vin Jaune (French yellow wine) that has a slight astringency. Also on the menu are hand-dived Hokkaido scallops — among the largest that we have seen in a long time — are served with an intensely umami veloute of 60-day aged parmesan and red pepper.
Don’t miss the Mieral Duck from France which has a sharper meat flavour from being dry-aged for six days as a whole piece of meat. The meat is firmer and more dense, almost like a slab of beef. The bird is served with duck jus and bitter chocolate. The accompanying shot glass of duck consomme takes five days to brew. 39 Hong Kong Street.
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Despite its name, this hip restaurant-cum-bar does not specialise in claypot dishes. In fact, it has only three claypot offerings on its menu, with the rest of it devoted mainly to seafood done Mediterranean-Asian style.
The 60-seat restaurant is a collaboration between Melbourne seafood chain Claypots, which has four outlets, and a couple of Singaporeans who love it so much that they decided to open one here. Much of the food has a Mediterranean influence, thanks to founder Renan Goksin’s Turkish heritage. The Singapore outlet is called Claypots Full Circle, as Goksin has a penchant for claypots and has “returned to the birthplace of his inspiration”.
Be prepared to get your hands dirty as you tuck into seafood caught in waters near Singapore and in the region. The seafood dishes here boast spicier and bolder flavours as they are cooked by home-grown chefs that have worked in local seafood and zi char restaurants. Some inspired dishes include the crunchy Atlantic sardines that are enrobed in mildly spicy sambal and the signature St Kilda Shellfish Stir-fry, which has a messy pile of flower crab, clams, mussels and tiger prawns on top of rice, enough for four to six diners.
As for the claypot dishes, try the Moroccan Claypot ($26), which brims with clams, flounder fish, vegetables and couscous, all drenched in a heady harissa gravy. 103 Amoy Street.
The Butcher’s Wife Celebrates The Gluten-free Lifestyle
After eight years in the original hipster neighborhood of Tiong Bahru, Open Door Policy has, well, shuttered its doors to make way for a fresh new concept by the same Spa Esprit group.
The menu is entirely gluten-free, but you wouldn’t know it from the delicious bread and pasta options like the baked focaccia topped with tomatoes, caramelised onions and thyme, and a hearty Chestnuts Pappardelle smothered in an ossobuco ragu that’s been braised for eight hours.
Sofitel Singapore City Centre’s all-day restaurant bounded into the scene just eight months ago with its novel dual-cuisine concept and its refreshed menu continues to reflect the restaurant’s signature of two distinct cuisines, Gastronomie Française and refined local Chinese cuisine, prepared by two distinct brigades of chefs overseen by executive chef Jean-Charles Dubois and executive Chinese chef Andrew Chong respectively.
From the Chinese kitchen comes flavour-packed new dishes like the moreish deep-fried eggplant bites drizzled over with curried aioli and topped with seasoned meat floss — once you pop, you can’t stop. Chef Chong’s refined take on yong tau fu features a silky smooth homemade beancurd with lobster mousse while his interpretation of chendol is a riot of textures with chilled coconut pudding, cubes of pandan gelee, azuki beans and gula Melaka ice cream. Chef Dubois sticks close to classic French flavours with light dishes like cannelloni filled with gratinated Spanner crab bathed in a creamy Mornay sauce and quintessentially French turbot, pan-fried till the white flesh is flaky and juicy, served with white wine sauce and delicate stalks of salsify. 9 Wallich Street, Level 5, Sofitel Singapore City Centre.
Un-Yang-Kor-Dai, which means “anything goes” in Thai, is a restaurant where people from the community, both young and old, all come together to share their passion for the culinary arts. It is helmed by a group of friends from different backgrounds and expertise, and gives back to the community as a percentage of the outlet’s earnings go back to help the residents of Khao Yai. Newly opened in June in South Bridge Road, the 70-seater restaurant offers an array of north-eastern Thai and Isaan cuisine. The original restaurant in Khao Yai, Thailand, is the biggest community restaurant there.
Appetisers include the Thai Papaya Salad, also known as Som Tam, which consists of crunchy leaves mixed with cubed papaya and succulent prawns. Follow it up with the PenLaos Signature Grilled Chicken, the restaurant’s signature dish, which follows a time-honoured Thai recipe of marinating the chicken with white peppercorn and coriander for three days.
Other spicy dishes include the Tom Yum Fresh Prawns Soup and the Grilled Pork Neck, which comes with an Isaan dipping sauce that’s made with a trio of tamarind sauce, chilli powder and cilantro. Created with Singaporeans in mind, the Stir-Fried Lobster With Salted Egg Sauce is drenched in the sauce, with soft-shelled lobster that is easy to eat. The highlight of the meal would be the Khao Niew Dum, a staple food in Isaan culture. The glutinous brown rice is served in a katip, a handcrafted Thai basket, and is traditionally eaten by hand and can be rolled and dipped in sauce. #01-02, 57 South Bridge Road.