These establishments around the island are offering new concepts and diverse ways to eat and drink.
Widely regarded as an institution in the Singapore bar scene before it closed its doors in 2018, Sugarhall is back in a new space, but with the same focus on rum. The vibe is laidback, like that of a neighbourhood English pub, especially with the dark wood furnishings, cosy booths and distressed pillars. For drinks, the returning crowd favourite is the refreshing yet boozy Dark & Stormy, made with Hampden 8-year-aged overproof Jamaican rum, fresh lime and a ginger beer specially brewed for the bar by The 1925 Brewing Co. The cocktail is also available in a Mega Stormy size, which is equivalent to three regular servings and served in a stein.
Settle into one of the various nooks in this 1960s-inspired, retro-cool 65-seater venue reminiscent of a Southern Californian suburban living room from that iconic era. To better cater to different drinking preferences, the cocktails here are labelled full proof, half proof or zero proof, which indicate a standard alcohol content, half the standard alcohol content and zero alcohol, respectively. Despite not containing any booze, the zero-proof drinks are still full of flavour, like the June Gloom made with Lyre’s Aperitif Rosso, Lyre’s Italian Spritz and a hint of oregano.
The House Bar
The entrance to this speakeasy in Regent Singapore is so well-concealed that most would walk right past it. Stepping inside, the intimate space feels like a private lounge, with just five seats at the bar, sofas for about eight, as well as a VIP room. Premium Japanese whiskies take centre stage here, alongside labels from around the world. The spirit also features in cocktails like Mountain Forest, a smooth blend of Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve and umami bitters.
Several local eateries offer handmade pasta but they are hardly to the level of Forma. A collaboration between Singapore’s foremost pasta artisan – Lee Yum Hwa of private diner Ben Fatto 95 – and The Cicheti Group, the upscale trattoria in Joo Chiat doles out a variety of pasta made fresh in-house, using traditional techniques that pre-date modern machinery. The Tortellini in Brodo is one example: The size of a 20-cent coin, each tiny, handmade meat-filled parcel is made in accordance to its native region of Emilia-Romagna’s strict size, weight and composition standards. The pasta is packed with savoury pork and cheese, and complements the clear, slow-simmered chicken broth it’s served in.
Da Paolo Gastronomia
Italian gourmet café-deli Da Paolo Gastronomia has expanded its range of freshly baked breads across its eight outlets to focus more on Italian-style and Italian-inspired breads. Headed by Konstantino Blokbergen, group bakery manager at Da Paolo Group, the bakery team follows an age-old sourdough-making process, without using any artificial additives. Depending on the outlet, there are over 10 different breads available, such as the Wood-fired Sourdough Stirato, an Italian version of the baguette. Baked in Da Paolo’s wood-fired oven and then seared with fire for a slight char and golden-brown colour, the stirato pairs well with both sweet and savoury accompaniments.
Award-winning local chef Nicolas Tam, alumnus of Singapore’s most esteemed fine-dining restaurants including Esora, Robuchon and Zen, has taken the helm of new establishment Willow, located at 39 Hong Kong Street. Contemporary pan-Asian flavours are the name of the game here, coaxed out using simple, gentle cooking methods to preserve the properties of the ingredients. Open for lunch and dinner, Willow offers prix fixe menus that commence with a few snacks, including caviar on a crispy nest. The seafood courses that follow include a five-day aged Shima Aji fillet dressed with aged soy, preserved Japanese peel vinaigrette and a micro cress salad. A highlight of the menu is the A4 Japanese Wagyu Zabuton, served with mushrooms and a dab of black vinegar. Rounding off the meal are tropical desserts by pastry chef Soh Hui Shan, formerly of Restaurant André and Restaurant Zen.
This story first appeared in the June 2022 issue of Prestige Singapore.