10 delights to usher in the new year
THIS year should be an exciting one for the Singapore dining scene.
Michelin Guide inspectors will be coming to our shores to inspect and produce our very own guide.
At the same time, there seems to be a return to the simpler ways of dining - rustic dishes and set-ups, inexpensive menus and socially conscious food sources. My wish list for 2016:
That diners learn to appreciate and tip good service.
That we will get more small restaurants with specialised menus.
That more local chefs will come to the forefront, joining the great foreign ones we have now.
Until my wishes get fulfilled, here are 10 dishes from 10 great restaurants you just have to check out.
Salt 'N' Pepper tripe ($10)
Where: 5th Quarter (39, Syed Alwi Road)
As they took my favourite dish, pork tail, off the menu, this is actually my second choice. But it makes a worthy filler for the top spot.
Hakka salt-poached chicken ($18)
Where: Joyden Canton Kitchen (#02-21, HillV2, Hillview Road)
Half a chicken is steeped in a salt and herbal stock and you eat this with a killer ginger sauce. Just add rice.
Cacciucco alla Livornese ($28)
Where: Capri Trattoria & Pizzeria (3, Binjai Park)
If you like robust flavours and seafood, this will leave you weak at the knees.
Torched scampi ($18)
Where: The Pelican Seafood Bar & Grill (#01-01, One Fullerton)
A gorgeous dish with a sauce - made with lobster and crab stock and whipped with butter - that will seduce you.
Shrimp porridge ($28)
Where: Boca (6, Bukit Pasoh Road)
Let 2016 be the year you try Portuguese porridge, which is made of bread, fish stock, olive oil and shrimp.
Available only for dinner
Where: Moosehead (110, Telok Ayer Street) Tel: 6636-8055
It is just beetroot with pomegranate, toasted almonds and salted ricotta - but it all comes together perfectly.
Prawn paste kai lan ($18)
Where: Chef Kang's Kitchen (25, Mackenzie Road)
The prawn paste used is aromatic and addictive but it's the pork lard that takes this dish over the edge. Very satisfying.
Where: Humpback (18, Bukit Pasoh Road)
If you have been meaning to add vegetables to your diet, start here. It's a simple dish - just charred cabbage with a sprinkling of cheese and oil - but it's marvellous.
Condensed Milk & Milo golden toast ($3.80)
Where: Tuk Tuk Cha (Suntec City Tower 3, Sun Plaza, Tampines 1, Raffles City)
This guilty pleasure is as sinful as it is glorious. Any time you feel down, eat one of these crispy babies. It is an instant mood-lifter.
Buah keluak ice cream ($6 per scoop)
Where: The Quarters (#01-09, Icon Village, 12, Gopeng Road)
This Sin-Mod restaurant has a few innovative dishes but it's this ice cream accompanying the brownie that is memorable - nutty, earthy and sexy.
OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS BY FOODIES
Who: Maureen Ow of misstamchiak.com
Recommendation: National Kitchen by Violet Oon (#02-01, National Gallery Singapore)
"The menu features authentic Nonya cuisine, Singapore dishes from Violet's growing up years and her 50-year-old recipe collection. I was really intrigued by their memory walls because every picture on those walls reflects Singaporeans' life in food."
Who: Jasper Aston Lim of six-and-seven.com
Recommendation: Beef-tasting platter at Ash & Elm (InterContinental Singapore)
"On the platter is the seldom seen bavette d'aloyau. Although slightly more fibrous and chewy, this less common cut is stunningly rich and full of that glorious meaty flavour."
Who: Cheryl Ng of ms-skinnyfat.com
Recommendation: Maggie Joan's (110, Amoy Street)
"MJ is the epitome of underground hipness, with its hidden back street alley location at Amoy Street.
Try the mod-Mediterranean small plates such as roasted artichokes, egg dukkah, fork tender Iberico belly with prunes and that amazing orange burnt cake. Enjoy them first. You can thank me later."
THE NEW PAPER