Chef-owner Malcolm Lee (also Candlenut) is the ace in the pack of this tropical gem, where contemporary Straits cuisine with a modish twist means dishes popping with seasonality and freshness. Expect deep flavours cut through with chilli, ginger and local spices and plenty of chicken, duck and seafood, plus first-rate veggies. Sip interesting New World wines while looking out across the Botanic Gardens.
Where: 11 Gallop Road, Gallop Entrance, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore 259015
The (very modish, grand) farmhouse-style of this new restaurant elicits a relaxed, family-focused vibe while the fireworks in the open-planned kitchen (behind glass) are from super chef Mauro Colagreco. In keeping with the ambience the food is accessible but classy. Meatballs and pizza, yes, but also like white truffle in season and beautifully cooked dry-aged steak. Walk it all off on the beach afterwards.
Where: Capella Singapore, 1 The Knolls, Sentosa, Singapore 098297
The styling of this fabulous new Japanese has garnered much attention and praise for its kinetic flower centrepiece and textural 'ice brick' wall, but it’s the free-flow, artistic and super-elegant omakese style of dining that will leave the most lasting impressions. The tuna here is faultless. Most will covet a place at the sushi counter, but their private rooms also make a statement particularly for small parties.
Where: Sushi Yujo #02-26, Amara Hotel, 165 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088539
The cool minimalism of this gastronomic cathedral (in fact a former rickshaw depot) provides a wonderful showcase and a bucket load of drama for the kitchen talents of chef Zor Tan and his team. Chinese ingredients and French technique combine magnificently in dishes like crispy skinned but supremely tender, dry-aged pigeon served with barley risotto or steamed monkfish very lightly smoked over bincho. The pièce de résistance, however, is their taro puff.
Where: 1 Neil Road, Singapore 088804
Why: A brand-new designer’s brief has breathed fresh life into Zafferano. 43 stories above Collyer Quay. The views are still great but now it’s all wrapped in a glamorous, contemporary new look. Out with the stiff white napery, in with slinky banquettes, slick table tops and an open kitchen. All the usual Italian nous and knockout flavours, and a reassuringly top-end price tag. Don’t forget the alfresco terrace, particularly for sundowners.
Where: Altro Zafferano, 10 Collyer Quay, Ocean Financial Centre, Level 43, 049315
Why: This tribute to sixties California – think woodie wagons, Malibu surf boards and sunken living rooms – conjures a counterculture world where rules be damned. It’s populist stuff that seems as contemporary today as it did then. Food has similar appeal: grilled calamari, Caesar salad or something vibrant like smoked bucatini with pork ragu. Signatures include spanking fresh red snapper ceviche or pizza with a topping of fennel sausage and braised leek. So Cal-Ital.
Where: 88 Amoy Street, 069907
Why: This Modern Asian restaurant in buzzing MBFC Tower 3 has much to like about it, particularly at lunch when their good-value sets are a boon for local workers. Chef Marvas Ng’s reinterpretation of Asian dishes through a French lens means Japanese yellowtail sashimi rubbing shoulders with signature butter-roasted herb-brined French Poulet, served with Hong Kong scallion salsa and daikon sword leaf lettuce roll. It’s a heady mix. We like the wine list, too, for its close-knit appreciation of Old and New Worlds.
Where: 12 Marina Boulevard, Tower 3, #01-05/06, MBFC, 018982
Why: This sleek and beautiful piece of Nikkei restauration brings the combined talents of Nobu and the Four Seasons together. It’s a hedonistic mix that creates a lively sense of occasion and a magic that few restaurants can rival. The Japanese garden houses a bar packed with exotic temptation, but for many it’s the city skyline view and classic Nobu dishes with the usual Peruvian twists and flavours for which they come. Black cod and yellowtail jalapeno alongside sushi that demonstrates unfathomable knife skills. Two teppanyaki private rooms to note.
Where: Four Seasons Hotel, 90 Orchard Blvd, Level 3, 248646
Clean fresh flavours and refined executions are not the only foodie calling cards of this beguiling collaboration between chef Tetsuya Wakuda and arch restaurateur John Kunkel. It’s a stunning restaurant, too, decked out with jaunty wood and bronze fixtures and floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the restaurant’s very own garden. This looks like being a sure-fire winner, bringing us more of Wakuda’s great French technique married to Japanese influence. Whether it’s lobster or beef, sushi or nigiri, there’s much to enjoy.
Where: Lobby, Marina Bay Sands Hotel Tower 2, 1 Bayfront Avenue, 018971
Being unable to see is just a little bit scary, but it’s also thought-provoking and fun. As such we would advise our lovely readers to throw caution to the wind, leave behind any notion of eating with your eyes behind and let your wider senses run wild. Eating in the dark will not be for everyone but it’s something everyone should try at least once.
Where: 83 Club Street, 069451