Whether you are looking to host a sumptuous midday business meeting or catch up with a friend or two over good food, these lunch places in Singapore now offer exciting menus that are worth trying.
After eight years of solely catering for the dinner droves, the two-Michelin starred restaurant is finally open for lunch — but only on Fridays. Waku Ghin’s brand new executive lunch is half the courses of its normal night set but features the same fresh seasonal produce and top-notch service. The format is the same too: Be ushered from the cosy bar area after a — if you’re so inclined now — twelve o’clock tipple to enter the 25-seater restaurant, which is divided into four private dining rooms, each with an ultra-clean teppan counter and dedicated chef. In such an intimate setting, it’s hard to believe that this is one of the biggest restaurants, in terms of floor space, at Marina Bay Sands. The lunch menu comprises four raw then freshly-cooked-or-prepared-before-your-eyes dishes and a bowl of dessert. As the restaurant’s focus is on seasonal produce, items served are not set in stone but a few signature dishes may make regular comebacks. For lunch, instead of Waku Ghin’s signature marinated Botan shrimp topped with uni and Oscietra caviar, all served in the theatrical shell of a sea urchin; there’s the lunch-exclusive rendition, which features cold al dente pasta with the same Botan shrimp, Oscietra caviar and if there are in season: generous shavings of black autumn French truffles. For desserts, diners leave the teppan counter for the drawing room, where sweet treats are hard to resist.
Birds Of A Feather
Chef Eugene See, one-third of the newly minted Backstreet Bengs, sure has a sense of humour. A quick scan of the Sichuan-centric menu at Birds Of A Feather would reveal See’s comical attempt at naming his new creations: There’s a vegetarian wonder called Good Slime Shine, which consist of Chinese yam noodles cooked in “shiny and slimy” sour vegetable sauce; as well as the Forbidden Risotto — using black rice (sometimes referred to as ‘forbidden rice’, explaining the name of the dish) cooked in parmesan cheese, cream and butter. This oriental take on risotto is topped with Hokkaido scallops, ikura, squid, pickled ginger, sour vegetables and a truly Asian dressing of soya sauce, mirin plus sesame oil. End your lunch on a cool note by ordering a show-stopping dish, aptly yet cornily named Ice2 Baby. We’re talking ice jelly garnished with all sorts of sweet and crunchy goodies, from fruits and nuts to burnt cucumber, and if you’re lucky, the waiting staff may even groove to that Vanilla Ice one-hit wonder before reaching your table to serve this dessert.
There’s something fabulous yet calming about enjoying a meal by the pool. Hilton Singapore’s rooftop Italian restaurant lets you do just that. But with Singapore’s hot and humid weather, the semi-alfresco establishment gives you the option of sitting indoors with a floor-to-ceiling glass partition in the afternoons to protect you from the elements without obstructing the blue view. What’s really heating things up tough is the relatively new recruit. Japanese Executive Chef Yohhei Sasak has not only revamped il Cielo’s menu with more influences from his roots when he took over the helm last year, but now has taken a step further, a bold one, by introducing a new omakase menu featuring Italian flavours with unique Japanese flair. Book in advance (at least three days before) to discuss with chef Sasak about your dietary requirements and he’ll do the rest. The seven-course meal definitely showcases the chef’s refined techniques. For example, methods used in traditional Japanese sushi restaurants are incorporated into how he prepares carpaccio. Ingredients are kept simple and each dish uses fresh, seasonal items including Japanese ayu fish, Hokkaido uni as well as zucchini and octopus from Italy.
Ibid, MasterChef Asia Woo Wai Leong’s restaurant, is now open for lunch — on Wednesdays to Fridays. If you aren’t a fan of set meals, Ibid now offers a la carte options for lunch, besides the two-course or three-course options (while dinner’s courses, up to eight, are still available at night). The dishes whipped up for noon are all new but still honour Woo’s contemporary Chinese cuisine cooking style. If you’ve tried his simple yet sumptuous shao bing a la mode, you’d think it couldn’t get better. Well, enter the shao bing burger. The same mozzarella-stuffed shao bing is now cut in half to hold together a medium-rare beef patty, some charred onions and a smear of green chilli mayo. For fish lovers, choose to tuck into a bowl of black grouper with thunder tea rice-porridge. In what tastes like a cross between porridge and chewy risotto, the Japanese pearl rice is further flavoured with a paste made from peanuts, green tea, mint, coriander and basil. The dish becomes more nasi lemak-like as it comes topped with peanuts, fried anchovies and a ramen egg. Finally, its crown jewel: A piece of panfried crispy black grouper sourced from Singapore’s Ah Hua Kelong sits atop the green mountain of food.
Everyone loves a good tom yum or pad thai. Having turned a year old, Blue Jasmine at Park Hotel Farrer Park wants to offer more than just favourite hits, and will spotlight regional Thai specialities that may be lesser known but taste just as good. The restaurant’s new a la carte menu includes Poh Tek, a traditional Thai soup similar to tom yum but has added deep-fried sea bass plus is brewed with different proportion of spices and ingredients. As you carry on to the curries, you’d notice Blue Jasmine’s Chicken Green Curry isn’t just green curry but is enhanced with a dash of red curry paste, offering another dimension of flavour. There’s also a must-try Yellow River Prawn Curry for those who aren’t afraid to venture from the norm. Made with fresh turmeric and and betel leaves, this dish is creamy and herbaceous, a taste most linked to South Thailand.
This new Japanese-inspired restaurant is the brainchild of the people behind Singapore’s successful PS.Cafe. Jypsy describes its concept as a contemporary yet casual approach to Japanese cuisine. The 65-seater is best enjoyed in the afternoon when natural light streams in, illuminating the expansive space, which is further decorated to look like a chic coastal shack. For a trendy Japanese-meet-Mexican joyride, choose to munch on some addictive salmon tacos. The bite-sized taco shells are made of seaweed and come teeming with raw diced king salmon dressed with wasabi mayo and tomato salsa. But the dish that’s truly a crowd-pleaser is the smokey unagi fried rice — a satisfying meal that features Chinese-style, wok-fried Japanese rice, with a large chunk of grilled unagi, tofu, pickle, shredded omelette, and coleslaw. Finish your meal on a sweet note with a simple vanilla cream puff that’s as big as your palm or try the signature yuzu tofu cheesecake for a creamy change.
Does X mark The Spot? We think it’s more like a tick. Great venue? Tick. Surprisingly good food? Tick. The new restaurant’s Executive Chef Lee Boon Seng’s creations are best described as “contemporary European, South East Asian sauce-centric cuisine”. His sauces are stars. From the buah long long (referred by some as ‘golden apple’) vinaigrette, which sweet-sour zest pairs well with the sweet steamed scallop; to the fragrant chrysanthemum honey glaze that is applied skin-side to sous-vide duck — but if you prefer something substantial for lunch, opt for the Australian beef short ribs, which comes doused in one of the chef’s best sauces. The fork-tender meat has a well-balanced spicy taste thanks to the Java long pepper sauce. This dish pairs well with either an equally spicy Lorong 214 cocktail or a glass of Sexy Beast Cabernet Sauvignon from the Two Hands Winery in Barossa Valley, Australia, which is readily stocked by the bottle at the wine retailer 1855 The Bottle Shop next door.