Audace (short for Audacity), which recently took over Cocotte’s former space at Wanderlust, is dishing out contemporary French bistro cuisine. Executive chef Jeremy Gillon focuses on local produce, and sources fruits, vegetables and seafood from Tekka Market daily.
As the restaurant’s name suggests, Gillon attempts more adventurous approaches with his dishes; sauteed kang kong flanks slow-cooked chicken breast with spinach wasabi coulis, for instance. His pork belly signature recalls char siew, but carries an unexpected tartness from the beetroot marinade. He also uses French alpine herbs in his dishes, such as matricaire, which is made into a light floral foam and placed atop pan-seared red snapper and pumpkin. Audace keeps the eclectic furniture of Cocotte before it, but adds its own eccentricities: a mural of a large eye adorns the walls.
Wanderlust Hotel, 2 Dickson Road
Amò, the latest smart-casual Italian restaurant by Beppe de Vito (il Lido Group), was long in the making. The restaurateur sent chefs Federico Schiraldi and Mary Cirillo to Puglia on a two-year intensive discovery into pizza making. The result is crispy yet doughy pizza crust, baked for four minutes in the in-house wood-fire oven. Classic pizzas like margherita and marinara are available. But go for the signatures such as the bone marrow pizza with wild garlic pesto and anchovy salsa verde.
Not to be missed are the pastas: some are made in-house, while some are dried pastas from Italian artisans. The substantial spaghettoni with Boston lobster and tarragon is an impressive sight and great for sharing. The whole lobster is presented – rather than pulled apart – and mixed with the pasta. Feel free to get your hands dirty by prying out every bit of the lobster’s sweet flesh – the helpful service team provides wet towels for the occasion.
33 Hong Kong Street
03: Kappo Shunsui
New restaurant Kappo Shunsui has set up shop in Cuppage Plaza, known mostly for its restaurants patronised by Japanese salarymen looking for respite and a taste of home. Kappo Shunsui is non-descript; there’s no storefront or signage – only a plain grey door with a doorbell and biometric scanner for regular diners. Helming this place is executive chef Tomo Watanabe who closed his Bib Gourmand restaurant Shunsui in Tokyo for his first overseas venture.
Watanabe’s Kappo cuisine showcases five basic cooking techniques: grilling, steaming, frying simmering and raw preparation. While the eight or 10-course omakase menus will more than suffice for a hearty meal, an a la carte menu is also available. Depending on what’s available at Tsukiji Market, the menu features interesting offerings such as roast A4 Ohmi sirloin with fresh onion puree or omelette of hairy crab from Hokkaido. A certified sake sommelier himself, Watanabe curates well-thought out sake pairings for a complete dining experience.
Cuppage Plaza, #04-02
04: Muse Amuse
Muse Amuse is two concepts in one. The restaurant, Muse, serves mod-Asian small plates such as chicken roulade infused with lemongrass, black pepper and soy sauce, or the Royal Ratchaphruek, a Thai “ratatouille” with seasonal vegetables deftly rolled up and cooked in a spicy tom yam broth.
At the back of the restaurant is Amuse, a cocktail bar. Here, you can sip Asian-inspired cocktails such as the teh-halia cocktail with ginger cognac and Cointreau Chamomile. The modern and contemporary space also houses an edible rooftop garden and an events space that doubles as an artisanal timepiece retail space.
289 South Bridge Road
The team behind Neon Pigeon and Fat Prince has unveiled their newest venture, Summerlong, at Robertson Quay. Heading the kitchen of this “city beach” restaurant and bar is Neon Pigeon’s chef Justin Hammond, who carves out Eastern Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Sharing plates include roasted sweet potato and chilli hummus, and a Greek-style burratina with honey and tangerine. Diners can also tuck into Persian fried chicken with mint sauce, dukkha and harissa as well as black cod with a puree of sesame, cauliflower puree and capers. There’s refreshing cocktails such as the Medium Terra Fizz with rosehip gin, lemongrass, ginger and soda to be had.The bar also offers a wine list highlighting Mediterranean vineyards from France, Spain, Italy and Turkey.
The Quayside, #01-04
06: Steamroom with The Pillars and Stones
Local artist Wong Lip Chin’s latest venture, Steamroom with The Pillar and Stones (SRPS for short), is a three-in-one concept: the “Steamroom” serves up specialty Asian teas and artisanal coffees; “The Pillar” is a restaurant helmed by Stephan Zoisl of Chef’s Table; and “Stones” is the art studio and retail store.
Diners will get to savour dishes like spanner crab salad with wasabi mayonnaise, and a modern take on ochazuke with salmon, salmon caviar and smoked tea dashi. The chef’s contemporary cuisine is injected with herbs from the edible wall garden. For the adventurous, try the house kimchi with an extra punch of ghost chilli. The green sanctuary SRPS offers a welcome getaway amid Orchard’s hustle and bustle.
Orchard Central, #03-08
07: Wine & Chef
As the restaurant’s name suggests, wine and food go hand in hand. Yet the casual 40-seater has its surprises. The wine cellar is stocked with mostly Italian wines, and the plates are Mod-Sin. Its general manager William Seah makes the pairings work.
Executive chef Wilson Ang, formerly of DB Bistro, dishes out comfort food such as his homemade tofu served as a refreshing cold starter with century egg yolk sauce. Steamed black Chilean mussels are cooked with a flavourful broth of aromatic Chinese wine, chicken stock, cilantro, chillies and minced ginger. The pork knuckle is another dish to try, richly seasoned in spice mix and blanketed with a potent homemade curry sauce.
7 Keong Saik Road