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    Shining a Spotlight on Singapore's Flourishing Stage: 2013 Singapore Travel

    by Dan Catinella
    Antoinette Bruno
    May 2013

    France relies on tradition, the United States totes sustainability, Scandinavia embraces terroir, and Singapore embraces full culinary freedom. It’s a melting pot of transplants like André Chiang of Taiwan, Colin Buchan of the United Kingdom, and Michael Callahan of San Francisco. These hard-working chefs and mixologists come to Singapore because they have a vision, and this island gives them a chance to project it for the drinking and dining masses. Whether it’s traditional French cuisine from Chef Gunther Hubrechsen or edible art installations from Pastry Chef Janice Wong, talented chefs have a blank canvas and are channeling their inner artist, philosopher, and even businessman to grow successful, boundary-pushing restaurants.

    Much of the freedom comes from Singapore’s small thumbprint. The 26-mile-wide island is rich with attractions, art, and architecture, leaving little room for farms and hatcheries. The expectation of hyper-local—mentioned in our San Francisco travel guide—does not apply here. What matters is high-quality ingredients and knowing how to prepare them. Sometimes that means langoustine from the coast of Scotland in January and organic button mushrooms from Malaysia in March, but it almost always means an ethereal dining experience from pedigreed chefs. And with the competition only minutes away, Singapore’s talent raises the culinary bar every day.

    EAT

    28 HongKong Street

    28 Hongkong Street
    Singapore, 059667
    (65) 6221 8338
    www.28hks.com
    Hours: Mon-Sat 5:30pm-2am

    Poised in front a veritable library of liquors, tinctures, and bitters, San Francisco native Mixologist Michael Callahan is pushing Singapore cocktails to never-before-seen heights. By introducing techniques like supercharging Aperol and barrel-aging Negronis to enhance subtle flavors, Callahan is setting standards for the whole island and region. The bar also offers a small food menu that includes items like House-made Pastrami with Lacto-fermented Sauerkraut on Rye and Truffled Macaroni and Cheese. Callahan even works with local ice manufacturers to freeze mineral free, ultra-dense ice for a pure cocktail experience.

    Recommended:
  • The Rudy: Floraison Gin, Martini Rosato, Becherovka Bitters, Dandelion Bitters, Burdock Bitters
  • Rosita: Excellia Reposada Tequila, Dolan Dry and Martini Sweet Vermouth, Supercharged Aperol

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    2am:dessertbar

    21A Lorong Liput
    Singapore, 277733
    (65) 6291 9727
    www.2amdessertbar.com
    Hours: Mon-Sat 6pm-2am

    Pastry Chef Janice Wong’s 2am:dessertbar is a chic, stimulating pastry temple. Dark-stained bars with sloped edges and walls of protruding angular blocks direct your eyes to Wong’s inspired creations, for which she combines science and personal experiences to sate dessert desires. Wong creates textures and flavors that trigger her own nostalgic emotions with desserts like like Sweet and Salty Popcorn, taking her childhood memories and transforming them into sophisticated pastry. This interplay between pastry, technique, and memory is also at the fore in her 14-Nut Biscotti, which diners use to scoop and savor Cheesecake. Offering limited savory options, 2am:dessertbar is meant to focus your attention on Wong’s dessert and wine pairings but can still be a one-stop-shop for a memorable evening out.

    Recommended:
  • Cheese Avalanche
  • Chocolate Water

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    Antoinette

    30 Penhas Road
    Singapore, 20818
    (65) 6293 3121
    www.antoinette.com.sg
    Hours: Sun-Thurs 11am-10pm; Fri-Sat 1-am-11pm

    Having competed on the Singapore National Pastry team in the coveted Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, Lyon, France, Chef Pang Kok Keong now funnels all his ingenuity and competitive spirit into Antoinette’s, where he aims to satisfy both the sweet and the savory cravings of his guests. The palatial design, with scrolled woods and ostentatious décor that extends to the ceilings, make guests, one and all, feel regal. Keong’s award-winning pastries and decadent French inspired savory menu combine to make Antoinette’s twice as delicious as its rivals. Sipping on one of Pang’s extensively sourced teas is a fitting finish to any meal at Antoinette’s.

    Recommended:
  • Confit de Poitrine de Porc: Pork Belly Confit, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, and Mustard Sauce
  • Assorted Macarons d’Antoinette

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    Esquina's Tapas Bar

    16 Jiak Chuan Road
    Singapore, 089267
    (65) 6222 1616
    www.esquina.com.sg/
    Hours: Mon-Fri noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm; Sat 6pm-11pm

    Esquina’s steel bar stools, blue accents, and open kitchen may suggest a casual dining experience, but Jason Atherton’s tapas-inspired cuisine is the culmination of years of fine-dining work. The open kitchen, led by Executive Chef Andrew Walsh, performs as if cooking for a large chef’s table, offering decadent dishes like sea urchin and crab bisque, beef tartare, and jamón Ibérico–foie gras burgers. The menu combines local and European flavors to offer a variety of dishes sure to satisfy even the most prudent eaters.

    Recommended:
  • Marinated Beet Root Salad, Honeycomb-Truffle Burrata, and Pine Nut Crumble
  • Sea Urchin and Crab Bisque, Sea Grapes, and Herring Roe

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    Gunther's

    36 Purvis Street
    Singapore, 188613
    (65) 6338 8955
    www.gunthers.com.sg
    Hours: Mon-Sat noon-2:30pm, 6:30pm-10:30pm; Sunday Closed

    Chef Gunther Hubrechsen began cooking at age 16, climbing the hierarchy in notable L'Arpège before moving to Singapore in 2002. Inspired by the cuisine and surroundings, Hubrechsen opened Gunther in 2007. There he crafts traditional French dishes like Lobster Thermidor with modern interpretations. Chef Gunther's self-proclaimed "from the heart" cuisine offers comforting food in an up-scale atmosphere. Gunther’s pays homage to the revered French fine-dining model that transformed the dining scene across Europe and major western cities like New York.

    Recommended:
  • Cold Angel Hair Pasta and Osetra Caviar

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    Iggy's

    581 Orchard Road
    Singapore, 238881
    (65) 6732 2234
    www.iggys.com.sg
    Hours: Mon-Fri noon–1:30pm, 7pm–9:30pm; Sat 7pm-9:30pm

    Minimalism is the design aesthetic at Iggy’s, but Chef Akmal Anuar’s food boasts both a sophisticated and abstract derivation. Anuar’s take on traditional Malay Nasi Lemak includes a brilliant white fish mousse layered with coconut-infused Japanese rice, spinach-pandan sabayon, and puffed rice. Sea urchin is plated with luffa, orange, and shiso, and some elements are frozen with liquid nitrogen, an exciting textural and temperature contrast that brings the dish to life. Combine Anuar’s cuisine with the expertise of one of Singapore’s most accomplished sommeliers, Ignatius “Iggy” Chan, and a memorable dining experience is sure to spring to life.

    Recommended:
  • Traditional Singaporean Malay Nasi Lemak
  • Uni, Luffa, Orange, and Shiso

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    Jaan

    2 Stamford Road
    Singapore, 178882
    (65) 9199 9008
    www.swissotel.com/hotels/singapore-stamford/dining/jaan
    Hours: Mon-Sat noon-2pm; 7pm-10pm

    Nested near the top of Swissôtel The Stamford, Jaan’s intimate 40-seat dining room, complete with luxurious white linens, overlooks Singapore’s downtown and offers sweeping views of the glowing island skyline. Chef Julien Royer’s sophisticated French cuisine offers bold flavors to match the dramatic panorama and showcases traditional techniques with modern plating. Sweet wild langoustine, delicately wrapped in silky avocado and studded with osetra caviar, rests on a bed of nage gelée brightened with lime. Royer progresses the meal to Bresse pigeon—poached in foie gras fat and roasted in hay with barley, beetroot sorbet, meringue, and jus d’abats.

    Recommended:
  • Wild Mushroom Tea, Cep Sabayon, Lovage, and Walnuts
  • Bresse Pigeon, Beetroot, Barley, and Jus d’Abats

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    Keong Saik Snacks

    49 Keong Saik Road
    Singapore, 89153
    (65) 6222 1616
    www.keongsaikhotel.com.sg
    Hours: Mon-Sunday noon-10:30pm

    Another ambitious venture by Jason Atherton and headed by Chef Andrew Walsh, Keong Saik Snacks, combines a comfortable dining atmosphere with reinterpreted British comfort food. Complete with a copper wrapped bar overlooking the open kitchen with vibrant red accents, the eatery occupies a mere 400 square feet, creating a diner-style vibe and fun, vibrant atmosphere, where the restaurant experience is as rewarding as the food.

    Recommended:
  • Whole Lobster with Pomme Frites
  • House Hotdog

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    Maison Ikkoku

    20 Kandahar Street
    Singapore, 198885
    (65) 6294 0078
    www.maison-ikkoku.net

    The tri-level space of the Haji Lane district’s Maison Ikkoku contains more than initially meets the eye. A contemporary café with an industrial design—complete with latte art and small plates—relax you for browsing the second floor menswear boutique. And just when you thought you were too tired to shop any further, drop into a seat at Maison Ikkoku’s third floor cocktail bar, where Mixologist Ethan Leslie Leong crafts artisan cocktails from meticulously sourced spirits. Leong also offers beverages meant to blur the line between cocktail and dessert, like a Grasshopper variation with fresh milk, green peppermint, and white crème de cacao topped with bruléed meringue and toasted marshmallows.

    Recommended:
  • Secret William Pear Garden
  • Torch Daiquiri

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    Pollen

    18 Marina Gardens Drive
    Singapore, 018953
    (65) 6604 9988
    www.pollen.com.sg/#!/welcome
    Hours: Mon-Sun noon-2:30pm, Dinner 6pm-10pm

    The modern and unusual architecture of Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay is the perfect setting for London transplant Chef Jason Atherton’s Pollen. Contained in a temperature-controlled facility and surrounded by olive trees, herbs, and vegetation, Pollen combines prevailing concepts with European and local flavors. Seasonal tasting menus showcase the chefs’ (Executive Chef Colin Buchan, and Pastry Chef Andrés Lara) depth and understanding of classic technique and the appreciation and application of worldly ingredients.

    Recommended:
  • Scottish Lobster, Japanese Sea Urchin, Wild Dill Oil, and Pickled Fennel
  • Wagyu Beef Cheek, Miso Butterscotch, Salt Baked Carrot, and Bone Marrow
  • Fennel Pollen Bon Bon, Milk Chocolate, Lime, and Coffee
  • Magnum Bar: Caramel Ice Cream Dipped in Caramelized Milk Chocolate

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    Rabbit Stash

    356 Alexandra Road
    Singapore, 159949
    (65) 9858 8607
    www.therabbitstash.com.sg
    Hours: Wed-Sun noon-2:30pm; Tues-Sun 6:30pm-10:30pm

    In the heart of Singapore’s Queenstown, Rabbit Stash serves Asian-inflected European classics with an injection of molecular gastronomy. The open dining room and simple design act as a blank canvas for Chef Matthew Mok’s intricate and colorful cuisine. Guests enjoy his vibrant menu in a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere that goes far beyond the rigidness of traditional fine-dining—in both the physical space and culinary boundaries. Dishes like Mok’s Roasted Lamb Rack with Sweet Potato Risotto, Asparagus, Pistachio Soil, and Grapefruit twist familiar flavors in unexpected presentations with particular attention to texture and color.

    Recommended:
  • Lamb Rack, Sweet Potato Risotto, Asparagus, Pistachio, and Grapefruit
  • Smoked Trout, Potato Salad, Wasabi, and Garden Pea Velouté

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    Restaurant Andre

    41 Bukit Pasoh Road
    Singapore, 089855
    (65) 6534 8880
    www.restaurantandre.com
    Hours: Tues-Fri noon-2pm, 7pm-11pm; Sat-Sun 7pm-11pm

    Chef André Chiang has been making waves in Singapore’s culinary scene since opening Restaurant Andre in 2010. His food is both inventive and cutting edge, relying on Chiang’s “Octaphilosophy.” The pillars of this abstract yet earnest and demonstrably successful approach are the following eight words and ideas: unique, pure, texture, memory, salt, south, artisan, terroir. Chiang’s pillars are found inherently in his cooking style. Whether paying homage to Southern France by creating stews spiked with pastis (terroir) or enhancing the flavors of his ingredients using only seawater (salt), his philosophy envelopes the diner and offers unexpected experiences.

    Recommended:
  • Needle Fish, Artichoke Barigoule, Granny Smith, Burnt Onion, and Tomato Confit
  • Snickers: Deconstructed; Soil and Ice Cream

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    Tippling Club

    8D Dempsey Road
    Singapore, 249672
    (65) 6475 2217
    www.tipplingclub.com
    Hours: Mon-Fri 6pm-midnight; Sat noon-3pm, 6pm-midnight

    Ensconced in lush forest, Tippling Club’s glass walls invite a vivid, verdant landscape to serve as the backdrop for Chef Ryan Clift’s cuisine. Born in Wiltshire, United Kingdom, Clift’s introduction to food began as a dishwasher for a Michelin-starred restaurant in his hometown. Today, with over 20 years of experience working for chefs like Marco-Pierre White, Shannon Bennett, and Raymond Capaldi, Clift is blazing his own path, pairing modern food and cocktails in new ways. By combining French technique, Asian influences, and an ever maturing plating style, Clift and his team, including Mixologist Zachary de Git, create dishes like carrot gnocchi—made from carrot flesh poached in carrot juice—and cocktails with liquors infused and redistilled in a rotary evaporator.

    Recommended:
  • Foie Gras Muesli, Candied Apple, Coco Nibs, and Confit Orange
  • KodaKara Peak Cocktail: Fermented Yogurt, Sake, and Calvados

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    Waku Ghin

    19 Bayfront Avenue
    Singapore, 18956
    (65) 6688 8507
    www.marinabaysands.com/Singapore-Restaurants/Celebrity-Chefs/Waku-Ghin
    Hours: 2 Seatings Daily: 6pm and 8:30pm

    Nestled in the heart of Marina Bay Sands hotel, Chef Tetsuya Wakuda's Waku Ghin combines a hypersensitive approach to cuisine with award-winning service, a craft bar selection, and high-end sakes rarely seen outside Japan. Diners can sit in an open dining room with a view of the restaurant's expansive wine selection or reserve a private table where personal chefs craft a tasting meal before your eyes. Wakuda, coming to international prominence by way of Sydney, Australia, has crafted an elite team. With the help of Sommelier Paco Galdeano and Pastry Chef Ishi No, the talented group is melding Japanese and French cuisine on custom plate ware that transforms the dining experience into a full-on sensory extravaganza.

    Recommended:
  • Botan Shrimp, Sea Urchin, Osetra Caviar, and Egg Yolk
  • Tasmanian Abalone, Fregola, Basil, Cherry Tomato, and Seaweed

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    STAY

    Sultan Hotel

    101 Jalan Sultan
    Singapore, 199002
    (65) 6723 7101
    www.thesultan.com.sg
    Rooms Range from : $140 to $235

    Reminiscent of ancient Asian palaces, the Sultan Hotel provides a grand haven while visiting Singapore. In the heart of the Kampong Glam, a once bustling shopping and trading district, the local area is rich in cultural history and was once the home of Sultan Hussein Shah. The hotel’s 64 rooms span from quaint singles to august loft suites, and the exquisite detail from décor to dining embellish the regal experience.

    Swissôtel The Stamford

    2 Stamford Road
    Singapore, 178882
    (65) 6338 8585
    www.swissotel.com

    With hotel destinations around the world, Swissôtel’s vast hospitality experience accommodates business and leisure travelers alike. One of the tallest buildings in Singapore’s skyline, the hotel offers exquisite views of the island. More than 1,200 rooms offer state-of-the-art technology and are blocks from the heart of Singapore’s downtown, with world-class shopping, entertainment, and the island’s central business district.


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