New restaurants and menus to try in Singapore (Nov 2018)
Book ahead for a table at Hashida Sushi, Bacchanalia by Vianney Massot, Basque Kitchen by Aitor, Thevar, Cure, and Blossoms.
Jordan Chung, Denise Kok
After a short absence in the dining scene, Hashida Sushi Singapore has relocated to a beautifully restored shophouse along Mohamed Sultan Road. The area has shed its 90s bar-top dancing past for a fine dining ensemble (neighourhood newcomers include Esora and The English House). The spacious premises boast three separate dining rooms, and a bar. On the second level is a multi-purpose dining hall for private events.
Chef Kenjiro ‘Hatch’ Hashida and his team continue to deliver with their meticulously crafted sushi and unique creations. Expect to feast on items like soft dumpling of lotus root and white fish accompanied by a creamy mushroom sauce, and a sprinkling of black pepper. Or a solo piece of snow crab, lightly charcoal grilled to elevate its natural sweetness. The omakase meal also features a procession of pristine sashimi, including aji spiked with Japanese green chilli and koji rice, or yellow tail uplifted with radish pickle. Beyond that, the chef masterfully prepares a series of edomae sushi, showcasing perfectly cooked rice draped with a variety of seasonal fish.
To match with the various seafood items, Hatch will be serving his own premium soy sauce that he's created with a 120-year-old soy sauce brewer in Japan’s Iga (Mie Prefecture). The umami-rich soy sauce that's currently being aged will be ready in 2020.
Globetrotters who travel to eat will be glad to know that Hashida is launching in San Francisco in November, and in Tokyo next July. His restaurant will be located at the Kachidoki area (in between Tsukiji and Toyosu – the current fish market venue).
25 Mohammed Sultan Road Singapore 238969. Tel: 8428-8787.
Bacchanalia by Vianney Massot
The completely rebranded Bacchanalia by Vianney Massot is now a French fine dining restaurant decked with plush furnishings and linen-clad tables. As you are led into the main dining area, you will see a wall lined with a wine collection specially curated by Roberto Duran, former executive sommelier for Joel Robuchon, Singapore. Framing the entrance is an open kitchen where chef Vianney Massot, ex-L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, greets guests. The Robuchon prodigy learnt all about rigour, excellence and perfection under the tutelage of his legendary mentor for 10 years.
At this 25-seater, the meal is rather classic, but steeped in finesse. The 27-year-old’s culinary goal here is to “highlight French tradition but with a modern style”. You get precise cooking and artful plating, such as Hokkaido scallop ravioli served with kumquat emulsion and lobster sauce, and crowned with uni, baby leek, and gleaming imperial caviar. There’s also the visually intriguing cep tartelette, layered with eggplant caviar, and shaped like a rose. Massot’s homemade tagliatelle is given a touch of sophistication with a creamy sauce of Shanghai hairy crab, shavings of Alba white truffle and morsels of crab roe. Mains-wise, slow cooked Bresse chicken laced with ivory sauce (composed of foie gras, cognac, port wine and madeira wine) is presented with a side of risotto. At the table, the chef generously showers the delicate chicken with white truffle shavings.
Bacchanalia’s seven-course degustation dinner is pretty decadent, and great for special occasions. If you’re after a top-notch business meal, aim for the five-course lunch.
The recently launched Thevar occupies the former Meta address after the one-Michelin-star restaurant relocated to a bigger space a few doors down on Keong Saik Road. Meta’s chef-owner Sun Kim partners with chef Mano Thevar to set-up this contemporary Indian grill restaurant. Their concept is to serve approachable Indian food woven with fine dining quality.
Score a seat at the bar counter where you can watch meats being fired up in the blazing tandoor oven. Penang born-and-bred Thevar, who’s trained in European kitchens including Waku Ghin, Guy Savoy and Pure C in The Netherlands, rolls out tapas-style Indian dishes injected with a touch of creativity.
Stand-outs on the menu include handmade roti filled with shredded Chettinad chicken, and perked up with creamy aioli, caramelised onions, and pickled cucumber; or the punchy masala octopus, slow-cooked for a few hours then finished in the custom-made tandoor grill. The charred octopus resting on a bed of creamy masala lentils, is balanced with tangy-sweet tomato chutney. Also given a smoky treatment in the tandoor oven is the Irish lamb whose tender meat is complemented by chickpea curry, piquant green chutney, and a shower of pomegranate seeds. The flavours are big but the portions are manageable. Best to pair your meal with one of the Asian-inspired cocktails.
The Basque-inspired restaurant has taken over the former space of the short-lived Blackwattle. Madrid-born head chef Aitor Jeronimo Orive’s credentials include stints in the world’s best restaurants Mugaritz and The Fat Duck. Prior to this, he was head chef Iggy’s.
The chef leaves rustic elements on the backseat, in favour for a more refined and modern version of typical Basque dishes. The chef’s version of marmitako, a classic robust dish of tuna and potato stew, comprises bonito crudo, potatoes, and peppers. His oxtail bomba rice is inspired by a Japanese gyudon. Instead of sushi rice, Spanish bomba rice is braised with Angus oxtail and onions until soft, and then topped with a confit quail egg yolk. Pair your meal with Spanish wines, or have a post-dinner Spanish gin, pacharán (Spanish liqueur made from fermented sloe) or Basque cider.
Basque Kitchen, offers set lunches and a la carte for lunch, and three, five and seven-course tasting menus for dinner.
A stint at fitness bootcamp Phuket Cleanse saw chef Andrew Walsh swapping alcohol and meat for a vegan diet of aubergine curries, beetroot ‘tacos’ (featuring shells made out of pine nuts), and ‘pasta’ formed from celeriac strips. “Surprisingly, I didn’t find myself missing proteins. So when I came back to Singapore, I made it a point to go without protein twice a week,” says Walsh.
Walsh’s personal journey carries over the menu at Cure, where a new five-course plant-based menu (which is refreshed on a regular basis) sits alongside the restaurant’s regular tasting menus – served with the same flair and finesse that goes into every dish that hits the pass. During our visit, we find strips of aubergine roasted over coals until the flesh turns tender with a smokey, meaty quality. It sits in a delicate dashi broth, brewed with vegetable trimmings and fragranced with a touch of Earl Grey tea. There’s also the goat cheese pasta, rich, creamy parcels lifted with the sweetness and acidity of summer tomatoes. The finishing touch – a herbaceous heap of pesto grinded by hand, tableside theatrics at its best.
21 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089128. Tel: 6221-2189. Visit Cure for more information.
This elegant Chinese restaurant at Marina Bay Sands’ sprawling hotel lobby (within shouting distance from Adrift) is a new addition to the multiple F&B outlets in this complex. Interestingly, it is helmed by two venerable names: culinary master Fok Kai Yee, a veteran in the Cantonese dining scene (having headed Summer Pavilion at Ritz-Carlton, Millennia for years), and executive Chef Jason Lau, formerly of Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Restaurant.
The cuisine is predominantly Cantonese, with some Sichuan and Shanghainese options to boot.
And a host of live seafood, bird’s nest delicacies, nourishing soups, and roasts fills up the lengthy menu. If you’re after a quick lunch, the dim sum is highly recommended. Superbly made items include the har gao encased in smooth delicate skin, beautifully crafted golden “pear” dumpling stuffed with minced pork, and steamed siew mai teamed with a quail egg. Other creative dishes to try include the pan-fried Japanese scallops with an intriguing but successful mix of silky smooth housemade edamame beancurd fused with foie gras. Or the boldly flavoured braised American Black Angus Beef Ribs seasoned with spices and glazed with New Zealand wild honey.
The spacious restaurant is frequented by in-house guests and tourists. So if you prefer quieter meal, request for one of the semi-private pavilions or the private room.