New year, new restaurants to check out. Here are some of the most exciting establishments that have recently opened in Singapore.
Home is at the heart of Claudine, the latest French restaurant by Odette chef Julien Royer and The Lo & Behold Group. Set in the former space of The White Rabbit, it is named after Royer’s mother and boasts a warm, lively atmosphere bolstered by a menu of French classics, formidable hospitality team and design by Nice Projects. Guests are seated on plush banquettes under a red gabled roof and 15m-long paper lamp. Other interior highlights include an open kitchen and a striking brass-backed bar flanking each end of the restaurant. Dishes here are best enjoyed communal style. Must-haves include the Mozambique Langoustine boasting crustacean dumplings and pan-roasted langoustine crowned with sugar snap peas and pea tendrils bathed in an umami seafood bisque. The Claudine “Bouillabaisse” and Vol-Au-Vent are new takes on hearty classics, best paired with wines from the 300-label list curated by sommelier Geoffrey Leotot. End the night with the Pariterole, which marries Royer’s two favourite desserts. The airy choux puffs topped with toasted and caramelised pecan praline and sea salt are a delicate embodiment of what the restaurant stands for: extraordinary cooking that elevates simple and comforting recipes.
Visiting Sushi Sato is a dining experience that feels cosy and laid-back yet elegant. Hailing from Hokkaido, Chef Yuji Sato has honed his craft over the last 26 years and has merged this with his fondness for botany in his first namesake restaurant. Guests are welcomed to the serene Dempsey Road restaurant by a small Zen garden outside tended to by the chef himself, before they enter the minimal, light wood interior that seats up to nine people in the counter-only space. Chef Sato puts diners at ease with his friendly banter, while he serves seasonal produce prepared expertly. With seafood deliveries four times a week from Japan’s Toyosu and Sapporo markets, he is able to serve his signature ika somen for Tuesday and Friday dinners, where the live squid is sliced into smooth noodle-like strands. These are served in chilled noodle dashi broth with shreds of slippery mountain yam, ikura, uni, perilla leaf, shallots and freshly grated wasabi, for a refreshing, umami-laden dish.
A retail and dining space spanning 6,000 sq ft in the Dempsey Hill enclave, Terra Madre hopes to fill the gap for high quality and accessible organic and natural products. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offers a good range of vegetarian and vegan options. The small and large plates on the dinner menu are great for sharing, such as the Butternut Hummus and Grilled Flatbread with smoked paprika oil and gremolata. At the retail store, customers can browse over 1,000 products, such as pastas, confectionery, spices, household items and even speciality products like truffles.
Located in Palais Renaissance, Binary is a new spot for hangouts or a respite from retail therapy along the shopping strip. The gastrobar presents a unique binary approach, featuring the distinct flavours of Asian and Western cuisine. In the Small Plates and Mains sections of the menu, the same produce is available as two different dishes prepared in either Asian or Western style. For example, the Octopus comes served with pesto alla genovese or “Lao Gan Ma” chilli crisp, while the Iberico Pluma is offered with either Argentine chimichurri or Korean gochujang. In addition to a selection of over 60 wines, Binary also serves beers and cocktails such as the sweet and refreshing Chrysanthemum Tea, comprising house-made chrysanthemum tincture, kaffir lime and lemongrass infusion, Grand Marnier and tonic.
Hortus and Marguerite
Housed within the picturesque Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, Hortus and Marguerite are two new dining concepts owned and helmed by chef Michael Wilson in partnership with Unlisted Collection. Hortus is great for casual dining, serving Mediterranean sharing plates like vibrant salads, dips and hearty mains. Highlights include the Fremantle Octopus, charred on the grill and paired with a spicy green harissa. Over at Marguerite, chef Wilson and his team showcase the seasons’ best produce in a seven-course contemporary tasting menu that comes across as simple, but belies unexpected layers, textures and flavours. Dry aged for two weeks then delicately poached in olive oil, the Ōra King Salmon from New Zealand is incredibly soft and buttery, and complemented by the sharpness of French breakfast radish, tart finger lime and briny salmon roe. In a nod to the restaurant’s namesake, the Tropical Fruit Vacherin dessert is presented in the delicate form of a marguerite flower. Coconut-flecked meringue petals surround yoghurt bavarois, and a mango and passionfruit sorbet centre. Underneath, more bright flavours come through in the mixture of pineapple, young coconut, ginger flower-kaffir lime leaf oil and baby coriander.
(Main and featured image: Tropical Fruit Vacherin at Hortus and Marguerite)
This story first appeared in the January issue of Prestige Singapore.