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5 New Must-Try Restaurants and Menus in December 2016

The turn of the year brings new ideas—fresh dining concepts, new chefs, and updated bills of fare.

Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine

Imperial Teochew cuisine - abalone wrapped with eggwhite skin

Seamlessly picking up where its well-loved predecessor in Ngee Ann City left off, the all-new Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine promises an even better dining experience. Calmly sophisticated in dark browns, burnished gold and gleaming white, and boasting plenty of space, its ambience of understated luxury perfectly complements the kitchen’s elegant presentations of classic Teochew cuisine. Having sommeliers on hand to suggest complementary wines or champagnes from the restaurant’s extensive selection is the cherry on the cake.

Dishes to Try: Parcels of delicately flavoured diced abalone and chicken, wrapped in sheets cleverly fashioned from egg whites, are just one of the many traditional dishes that have been skilfully recreated by the restaurant’s chefs.

Who: The Imperial Treasure Restaurant Group and its stable of accomplished chefs who roll out dependably gratifying offerings.

#03-05 ION Orchard. Tel: 6736 2118. http://imperialtreasure.com/en/fine-teochew-cuisine

Picnic

Picnic's Tikka Taco Food Truck

Floral and foliage-themed decor is one thing. Actually bringing the outdoors indoors (complete with food trucks!) is something else. Have a picnic, complete with changing “seasonal conditions” courtesy of its proprietary PicnicAmbience technology, at Level 3 of Wisma Atria, and eat your way around the world while you do—the gourmet-casual fare here hails from various national and international cuisines—fancy coffees and cocktails included! Picnic’s digital menus and ordering system here are an innovation that should prove easy to use, too, especially if you’re familiar with PasarBella or Marche.

Dishes to Try: Crunch into a cross-cultural pork belly prata taco from Tikka Taco, get high on the heady flavour combinations in Flour & Water’s rigatoni with spicy sausage (flambeed in a pink vodka sauce), and give your taste buds something to cheer about with an experimental hot dog—Basic Kneads has created a strangely beautiful union of chorizo, manchego and brioche.

Who: Chef de cuisine Eric Hoe and restaurant manager Beawulf Reyes oversee the 13 individual diners co-occupying Picnic’s 10,000 sq ft space.

#03-15-23 and #03-41-49, Wisma Atria. Tel: 6734-8352.

Pollen

Pollen's red prawn tartare and tomatoes

Already well established as a destination restaurant for modern Mediterranean-European fare in an exquisite garden setting, Pollen has just hit the “refresh” button with its new executive chef, Steve Allen. Reflecting Chef Steve’s leanings towards French-style preparations and Southeast Asian inspirations, the intriguing new menus promise to satisfy without being overly complicated. And as before, patrons can choose between two distinct culinary experiences—a lighter, more casual vibe on the terrace, and multi-course formal dining on the first floor.

Dishes to Try: Celery and Seaweed, a delicate amuse-bouche that tastes like the layers of memories (childhood, seaside, ice cream) that inspired it; Poached and Roasted French Duck, a masterful fusion of French techniques and Chinese flavours; and Red Prawn Tartare and Tomatoes, a playful study in contrasts that celebrates the many natural flavours that a single ingredient can supply.

Who: Executive Chef Steve Allen, previously head chef at Michelin-starred Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, CEO of The Delicious Group, and Group Creative Chef at E&O Berhad. His rigorous training and varied experience makes him uniquely able to marry his English roots, French instruction and Asian immersion together with his personal respect for the simple preparation of high quality ingredients.

Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay. Tel: 6604-9988. http://www.pollen.com.sg/#home

Hashida Sushi Toki

Hashida Toki

Hashida Sushi Singapore has just unveiled its new exclusive concept Toki – a private fine dining space at its refurbished Mandarin Gallery premises. Toki, which means time, offers a well thought-out communal seating layout, ideal for either a group of six to eight or separate parties of three to four. A special section of the table has been designed so that guests can be seated side-by-side or across from each other – as opposed to simply being seated in a row as one would at a typical sushi bar. This cosy setting, a chef’s table of sorts, enables groups of diners to chat among themselves while still being able to watch the chefs carve out their sashimi and sushi.

Dishes to try: Hashida is known for its omakase menu featuring a series of sushi items. You will get to savour its signature otoro sushi topped with well-marbled tuna belly. Other dishes served include delicate fish noodles in superior dashi, and fu manjyu – chewy and silky-smooth wheat gluten steamed dumpling filled with sweet white bean paste and yuzu.

Who: Chef-owner Kenjiro ‘Hatch’ Hashida is a second-generation master sushi chef with 25 years culinary experience. His father, Tokio Hashida, heads one of Japan’s premier gourmet sushi restaurants, Hashida Sushi.

333 Orchard Road, #04-16, Mandarin Gallery. Tel: 6733 2114. http://hashida.com.sg/

FOO’D by Davide Oldani

Caramelised onion with hot and cold grana padano

This new modern Italian restaurant is slated to open in December at the historic Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall. Davide Oldani, chef-owner of Michelin-starred restaurant D’O in Italy (in Cornaredo, an idyllic town 11km outside of Milan) will be presenting his unique culinary philosophy that focuses on accessible fine dining using fresh quality, seasonal produce.

Dishes to try: Signatures include caramelised onion with hot and cold Grana Padano Riserva (a Grana Padano mousse and ice-cream with caramelised onions); and a dessert featuring tangy lemon curd and meringue with a lettuce ice-cream sitting atop cocoa crumble.

Who: Davide Oldani who produces boundary-pushing modern Italian dishes that merge tradition with innovation.

11 Empress Place, #01-01 Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall. Tel: 6385 5588