Book ahead for a table at Opus Grill & Bar, Ottomani, Summerlong, and Stranger's Reunion.
Weets Goh, Denise Kok
Opus Bar & Grill
The four-year-old flagship steakhouse at Hilton Singapore isn’t racing to reinvent the grill. After all, the hallmarks of a good steak begin with the elemental combination of premium cuts, a dash of sea salt, and an open-flame grill (in this instance fuelled by charcoal and Jarrah wood). With these fundamentals in place, the chefs at Opus have expanded the menu beyond its popular offering of grilled meat platters to include Iberico pork racks and hefty New Zealand lamb Porterhouse, the latter combining the tenderness of lamb chops with the heartiness of Porterhouse steak. Beyond the classic bearnaise and red wine bone marrow sauce, Opus also offers a smoked chilli glaze dip reminiscent of kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce). Other recent highlights include Marine Stewardship Council-certified Atlantic scallops with butternut squash puree, and Opus-Over-The-Top Fries, a hot umami mess of thick-cut Idaho potatoes amped up with foie gras fat, truffle puree, and grated parmesan.
There's no Mediterranean breeze along Robertson Quay, but you can still come close with Summerlong's new menu of eastern Mediterranean inspired sharing plates. Standouts include the refreshing market ceviche, which features the catch-of-the-day marinated with citrus, and a spiced harissa vinaigrette; and served with crisp sesame lavosh. You'll also want to head for the moreish corn fritters, where a crisp exterior hides fluffy batter studded with sweetcorn; as well as the boldy spiced Israeli lamb pita, served with an addictive toum. As befitting any waterside venue, they've also got a selection of barbecued meats and seafood — from smoky, spiced squid to pink, tender lamb. Each barbecued item comes with your choice of sauce, with options like sumac yogurt or seaweed butter. Be sure to save space for dessert: their sticky date pudding and Greek donuts with pistachio ice cream hit all the right spots.
60 Robertson Quay #01-04. Tel: 6235-1225
One feels special dining at the Ottomani. You're led through one restaurant, only to find yourself in another, separate space where the lights are dimmer, the decor more lavish, and the food a little more exclusive. It's like being the Sultan's private guests. The supperclub concept features a four-course set menu by head chef Beau Churchill, who puts together a contemporary Middle-Eastern inspired menu with plenty of bold, smoky flavours and meltingly tender meat thanks to their charcoal grill and a wood-fired earth pit oven. Through hours of patient cooking in said oven Churchill turns out hearty mains like Kurobuta pork collar marinated with Turkish coffee, Szechuan pepper. This is served with zhoug, a moreish Yemeni hot sauce based on cilantro and green chillies. Other standouts include meltingly tender lamb with spiced molasses, sumac gremolata, and charred scallions. There is also an intriguing selection of refined small bites and starters like Crust to Crust, a snack of toasted brioche generously spread with foie gras mousse that's enlivened with dots of orange gel, pistachio, and edible flowers.
48 Peck Seah St, #01-01A. Tel: 9231-9316
Coffee stalwart Stranger's Reunion once again proves why they've thrived for so long in Singapore's cutthroat cafe scene with their new menu. Breezy brunch highlights include a classic snapper ceviche lifted with avocado and shaved fennel; and roasted cauliflower salad, a middle-eastern inspired creation with smoky, nutty charred cauliflower, pickled florets, homemade pine nut labneh, and pomegranate, and honey mustard. What's particularly compelling though, is their collection of dishes with upcycled ingredients — the cafe's smoked salmon on toast features fish smoked with hickory and spent coffee grounds served on toasted sourdough, with espresso-infused creme fraiche. Other examples include their matter-of-factly named Pork and Broccoli, which makes use of fibrous broccoli stems that are transformed into tender, sweet morsels through steaming and slow roasting. This gets served with pork collar ends, burnt onion juice, and broccoli puree.
35 Kampong Bahru Road. Tel: 6222-4869
The popularity of Caffe Fernet may have a lot to do with its textbook perfect cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper pasta) and prime perch at Marina Bay, but the Italian child of the Jigger & Pony Group isn’t about to rest on its laurels. Caffe Fernet has quietly introduced new menu items, beginning with the ahi tuna tartare which sees raw tuna seasoned with smokey Calabrian chilli from the south of Italy, green onions, and sesame. Belinjau crackers, instead of toast, accompany the dish, lending an earthy, bitter edge to this moreish combination. Those dining in groups have more large plates, such as the New York Sirloin served with smokey tomato butter, and an excellent roasted hake, to tuck into. Over at the bar, the litany of negroni continue to grow with the addition of a cantaloupe negroni spiked with housemade meloncello and a stiff raisin boulevardier which swaps gin for a potent base of Monkey Shoulder Whisky.