01: Pim Pam by FOC
If you’re thinking of savouring Spanish bites, tapas and wine – throughout the day from breakfast to supper – there is one place in Singapore where you can do so. Located at one end of Orchard Road, Pim Pam (meaning quick and easy) is another successful spin-off by the FOC group. Jordi Noguera, FOC’s group executive chef and co-owner is in charge of the all-day dining menu, which offers FOC signatures as well as unique tapas and Spanish rice dishes. Paella a la llauna, a distinct style of rice dish found in the Catalan region and cooked over a thin cast-iron pan is served here (try the version with slow-braised pork chop and pan-seared scallop paella). The kitchen also rolls out robust dishes like chicken ‘a la Catalana’ – chicken leg and thigh braised with pine nuts, plums and fresh tomato. If you want something lighter, the stracciatella salad will do the trick with its blanched zucchini ribbons, light stracciatella mousse and confit tomato, dressed in homemade basil pesto. Finish with cinnamon sugar-coated churros with dark chocolate sauce, and your day will be complete. Dario Knox, FOC’s group creative beverage director concocts a range of daily bottled cocktails and other unique sips. There is also has a retail corner offering hearty Catalan food for takeaway and dining in.
442 Orchard Road, #01-29 Claymore Connect, Tel: 6100 4242. www.pimpambyfoc.com
French Japanese restaurant Beni has recently swapped spaces with Hashida Sushi (within Mandarin Gallery). After redesigning its interiors, the elegant Michelin-starred restaurant can now accommodate even more guests. Beni’s chef de cuisine Keni Yamanaka uses ingredients air flown from France and Japan for his refined creations. Start with a summery Vegetable Garden – composed of 25 kinds of vegetables (think: fresh microcress, snap peas, and radish, sharing plate space with a vibrant beetroot puree, delicate caviar aurbergine, and a sprinkling of tomato crumble). All the veggies are bound with a subtly briny plant emulsion sauce. Other highlights include the succulent kinmedai laced with black truffle sauce, and the exquisite Ozaki beef from Miyazaki prefecture. Bred by Ozaki-san, the cattle are fed a special diet, and less than 20 cows are sent to the abattoir each month. Interestingly, chefs must prepare this prized produce for Ozaki-san before he decides to supply the meat to them. At Beni, the beautifully marbled A5 wagyu sirloin is partnered with truffle cream with madeira port reduction, as well as Perigord black truffle, gingko nuts, Hokkaido potato, purple carrot and purple potato. During your meal, allow knowledgeable restaurant general manager Antoine Capelli to assist with the pairing of different wines, sakes, and premium Royal Blue Tea from Kanagawa, Japan.
Mandarin Gallery, Level 2, #02-37, Tel: 9159 3177. www.beni-sg.com
03: Kanda Wadatsumi
Omakase meals are elevated at Kanda Wadatsumi, thanks to the variety of fish and seafood brought in by its partner Zengyoren Japan Fisheries Association (or JF Zengyoren), which represents all coastal fishermen in Japan. Although this unassuming gem has been around since 2015, it has been one of the best-kept secrets along Tras Street, well until now. To promote Japanese fish and seafood to external markets, such as Singapore, JF Zengyoren offers a wide variety of fish and seafood at competitive prices. Diners can sample pristine seafood, including firefly squid (hotaru ika) from Hyogo prefecture, blackthroat sea perch (nodoguro) from Shimane, giant pacific oyster from Hiroshima, and of course maguro from Tokyo’s Tsukiji market.
Executive chef Hara Shinji from Tokyo is in charge of the kitchen team here. The chefs deftly prepare a variety dishes according to what’s in season. You may get a wobbly egg custard with scallop sauce, a simple salad of seared yellow tuna from Nagasaki, followed by hearty claypot rice generously scattered with crispy sakura ebi. Beyond sea creatures, the omakase meal may round off a luxurious Kagoshima wagyu sukiyaki. With the backing of JF Zengyoren, Kanda Wadatsumi presents monthly ‘Prefecture Fairs’, offering customers a glimpse into Japan’s rich food culture and insights on the importance of the fishing industry in the coastal towns.
50 Tras Street , Tel: 62216264. www.kanda-wadatsumi.sg
04: The Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill
To be launched in February, this brand new concept by local doyenne of nonya cuisine, Violet Oon, is fanning the flames of culinary nostalgia at Clarke Quay. The restaurant is sited at the former spot of Singapore’s Satay Club. Its open kitchen offers views of the chefs working their magic over charcoal and flames. Expect a good range of grilled meats, seafood, and local vegetables in familiar as well as creative new flavours. The satay here is accompanied by thick, flavour-packed sauces with freshly minced pineapple and ground toasted peanuts. Look out too for Violet Oon signatures such as kueh pie tee, babi pongteh, beef rendang and dry laksa. The bar’s offerings, ranging from local artisanal beers to specially created cocktails, have been curated to complement the main menu.
05: Botanico at The Garage
Parked amidst the lush greenery of Botanic Gardens, The Garage is the latest concept by lifestyle F&B group 1-Group, also behind 1-Altitude and UNA. While the café-bistro Bee’s Knees on ground floor is where peckish joggers will go for a post-workout brunch, upstairs at Botanico restaurant is meant for slightly fancier dress and pretty food cooked by Spanish-born chef de cuisine Antonio Oviedo, formerly from two Michelin-starred Sant Celoni and the one-starred Roco Moo by the Roca brothers. Of Oviedo’s dishes, our favourite is the house-smoked Japanese sardines. Rather than play down the intense flavours of the rich oily fish, Oviedo goes for broke by frying up croutons in iberico fat and chopping up chorizo to go with it. A chilled soup of almond, garlic, grapes and cucumber rounds off this daring combination.
50 Cluny Park Road, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Tel: 6264 7978.
06: Po at The Warehouse Hotel
More restaurants are trying their hand at elevating hawker food lately. Joining Labyrinth and Seng’s Wanton Noodle Bar is Po, the flagship restaurant of The Warehouse Hotel by The Lo & Behold Group. Kitchen captains Willin Low and William Lim (formerly from Violet Oon’s National Kitchen) are both familiar with putting a spin on local fare, and this comes through in the dishes here. The carabinero prawns and konbu mee, for instance, is a delicious reinterpretation of Hokkien mee (fried prawn noodles). Lim uses whole baby prawns instead of prawn heads for his stock, so there’s no residual bitterness from the head juices. Instead, the dish delivers just the right notes of umami punctuated by sweetness.
320 Havelock Road, Tel: 6828 0007. www.po.com.sg