This article was originally published on burpple.com.
Ready or not, here are 18 new places for you to check out! The long-awaited Odette by chef Julien Royer is finally here, along with more spots for small plates with cocktails, a lovely modern Mediterranean back alley gem, a spot for American-style smoked meats and many more!
For the experience of the year
Following his departure from Jaan, everyone was excited to see chef Julien Royer's return. Named after his grandmother, Odette has finally opened its doors in the swanky, iconic National Gallery Singapore. The approach to both the food and the space is similar, one that has found a delicate balance between honesty and flair. It is wonderfully refreshing to experience a fine menu in such a comfortable space, one that retains formality while keeping you at ease. Go for the four-course lunch ($88), or indulge in a six-course meal ($128) on weekdays. Alternatively, splurge on a special occasion with the six- ($208) or eight-course ($268) dinner. Expect some twists to a couple of familiar dishes from Jaan (think a modified 55' smoked egg), alongside new creations such as the Hand-Picked Scottish Scallop which boasts fresh, springy scallops over a juicy, smoky slab of charcoal-grilled Kurobuta pork belly. This is a meal to remember, for sure.
For meat lovers
Listen up, meat lovers - this is a spot for you! Hidden in the heart of Jalan Besar, this unpretentious space (opened by the same people behind Riders Cafe) has its focus on American-styled smoked meats. The menu is simple, featuring beef, pork, chicken, and sausages sold by weight. Go for the wonderfully smoky and indulgently fatty Pork Jowl ($6/100g) and the must-order tender Angus Beef Brisket ($15/100g). Pair it with some sides like the crunchy Broccoli Salad, or the tangy Coleslaw ($8) to cut through all that the meaty richness. Wash it all down with a beer or cider or even whiskey, and you're all set for a complete meal. Come here with some friends to share the meats, and don't be afraid to get your hands a little dirty!
3. Black Nut
For everything buah keluak
This new bar situated along Emerald Hill at Peranakan Place takes inspiration from the humble buah keluak (black nut), an ingredient frequently used in Indonesian and Peranakan cuisine. Serving bar bites and a few mains for dinner, go for the Balukoo Wanton ($18) - crisp, deep-fried wontons stuffed with a spicy buah keluak filling. For something more substantial, try the Asian-influenced Ayam Bakar Burger ($18) brimming with the flavours of lemongrass, assam, blue ginger and kaffir lime leaves, while the juicy chicken leg is glazed in sweet and sticky kecap manis and a homemade rempah spice. Grab a few drinks to wash it all down!
For Korean street food
This Korean fried chicken concept in Bugis Village strives to not only serve fried chicken and fries, but to also bring Korea's unique street food culture to Singapore. Look for the bright and cheery space splashed with yellow and red, guaranteed to instantly catch your eye. The Jinjja Wings ($7.90 for six pieces) come in two sauces - Soy Garlic or Yangnyeom, but the Jinjja Whole Chicken ($11.90 for half) might be a better option if you're coming with a group of friends. Get both sauces as you'll most probably want as much as you can handle. Get the Seafood Jjampong ($9.50) to share, a spicy seafood soup that comes loaded with clams, squid, and chewy noodles, and make sure you leave some tummy space for the Patbingsu ($5.90) to cool off.
For surprising small plates and drinks
New in the Tanjong Pagar neighbourhood is Kite, a sexy little restaurant cum bar concept along Craig Road. The food is served dim sum-style, served in a series of small plates. Some successful, unusual combinations include the Salmon ($14) cooked at 42 degrees Celsius - soft and smoky, topped with sesame, and accompanied by seaweed and jelly-like apple cubes. Also, enjoy the juicy Black Spanish Pig ($18) which comes with a crisp skin, the perfect partner for a a cocktail or two from here.
Pro tip: Pop by during lunch with your colleagues as the set lunch menu ($25/$30 for three/four courses) allows you to try most of the small bowls, plates, and desserts available for dinner - definitely value for money!
For Korean cafe culture
No two Caffebene outlets carry a similar design, and the very first one in Singapore features an industrial chic design with splashes of vintage elements that create a fun, cosy environment. Bring a date or a good friend and plonk yourselves on the cushioned seat under the faux tree, and start off by sharing a Garlic & Cheese Bread ($13.90) - thick toast with garlicky flavours dressed with nacho cheese sauce. Then, share a Coffee Bingsu ($14.90), which comes with coffee ice cream, milky shaved ice, coffee and chocolate crunch, almost like a latte in bingsu form. Also try the warm Sweet Potato Latte ($6.50), as well as the Soba Noodles ($9.90) served with sesame sauce - one of the few dishes that is exclusive to the Singapore outlet!
7. Icebox Cafe
For milkshakes and bingsu
Shaking things up at Rangoon Road is Muslim-owned Icebox Cafe, serving a wide variety of trendy, fancy milkshakes and bingsu. In this cosy space, you can get your bingsu in flavours like the Creamy Cookies Pleasure ($12.90), which features crushed Oreo cookies sprinkled over milky shaved ice and chocolate ice cream. If you are feeling adventurous, go for the Chendol Melts Bingsu ($12.90), a familiar combination of attap chee, pandan jelly, gula melaka and red bean. Chocoholics can opt for the Clad in Black ($12.90) milkshake, a dark chocolate milkshake doused in thick chocolate syrup, topped with whipped cream, strawberries and a brownie!
For homely Chinese fare
Joyden Treasures is the third, and also the largest concept from Joyden Concepts. While it is designed to be a semi-casual dining establishment, the restaurant also features VIP guests rooms for private gatherings suitable for family celebrations. In addition to the usual Chinese restaurant fare, the founder's family-favourite recipes such as the Jumbo Prawns in Traditional Dark Sauce ($26) should not be missed - deep fried, succulent, and huge prawns swimming in a fragrant sesame oil-based dark sauce. Also try the Traditional Salt Baked Crab (market price), which sees the fleshy crab absorbing the salty-spicy mix, resulting in a juicy bite full smoky, savoury flavours.
For stuffed churros
Hailing from Korea, Churro 101 is the latest churro specialty store to hit our shores. The dough is made fresh in-house daily while the crisp and light churros are made-to-order. You can choose to enjoy your churro while seated, or grab some to go. There is a variety of unique flavours and fillings to choose from, such as the thick and sweet Milk Custard ($4.50), or Cream Cheese ($4.70) for the sweet toothed. For something lighter, the chocolate-filled churro ($4.50) is not too sweet yet decadent enough. Purists can opt for the Cinnamon Churro ($3.50), which comes dusted with cinnamon and sugar. Better than boyfriend as advertised? You decide!
For bold food and cold drip coffee
Opened to much hype along Neil Road (a few doors down from The Lokal), The Populus Cafe might just live up to its name. The interior is industrial-chic, complete with wood finishings, black walls, and cement floors accented with gold. Started by the same people behind Department of Caffeine, and Two Degrees North Coffee Co, a specialty coffee roaster and wholesaler, this cafe aims to provide bold, inventive food. The Populus Scramble ($17) features creamy scrambled eggs, streaky bacon, and marinated feta in a crisp, buttery croissant - a substantial, tasty dish. Don't leave without trying a dessert, in particular the Lemon & White Chocolate Sundae ($13) that boasts a balance of tart and sweet with citron mascarpone, fresh lemon jelly, and rich vanilla soft serve served on a bed of more sweet goodies (think popping candy!). Pair it with their Cold Drip Coffee ($6) - it is rather stellar!
For everything but entrees
True to its cheeky name, Non Entree Desserts is a new cafe on Rangoon Road that serves all things dessert. It occupies the spot of now-defunct Woodshed, and is vibrantly decked out in bright yellow, white and black. Expect a fun menu of plated desserts that are intricately designed, both in terms of flavour and aesthetics. Be sure to try the Cherry Pop ($13.90) - a giant "cherry" that will create a little carnival in your mouth thanks to boisterous elements like the spicy, sour cherry sorbet and earl grey jelly. For something simple but lovely, go for the Pistachio Raspberry ($8.90) cake, which sees a perfect marriage of berries and nuts. Pop by with a friend or two (so you can sample more) after a good meal in the area!
12. Maggie Joan's
For underground vibes
It is easy to miss this hidden gem, with its backdoor entrance located in the quiet alley behind Amoy Street. That underground, mysterious vibe is just what the owners, the same people behind Moosehead Kitchen & Bar, were looking for. This unpretentious modern Mediterranean spot instantly puts you at ease with its warm, cosy interior complete with raw brick walls, making it great for date nights or celebrations among small groups. Start with some housemade rosemary bread ($5) - it's so good you might just forget the accompanying hummus is there. Go for the Dukkah egg ($6) for a quick, oozy bite, and share the Iberico Secreto ($34) for a sublime mouthful of tender pork, tart prunes and pickled cauliflower. You may not want to share the Sea Bass ($28) with marinated cherry tomatoes, and a gentle pesto "soup". For dessert, don't miss the Goat's Cheese Parfait ($10). Pro tip: enter from Gemmil Lane, and turn right when you reach the end. *Menu items will change with seasons.
For a taste of Teochew
Showcasing traditional Teochew cuisine, Paradise Teochew Restaurant is Paradise Group's latest venture, and their first entry into the Teochew cuisine market. This semi-casual 196-seater restaurant is situated on the third floor of the Chinese Swimming Club, with large glass windows that allow natural light in, along with a view of the swimming pool. Start your meal with familiar classics in the Teochew Four Varieties Combination ($9/pax, minimum three pax) - a platter of Braised Sliced Duck, Pork Roll, Prawn Ball and Scallop. Don't miss the exquisite Steamed Diced Chicken wrapped in Egg White Crepe ($18), and the unique Crispy Pumpkin, Yam and Sweet Potato Strips ($12). This is the perfect spot to bring your folks to for Sunday afternoon dim sum, or perhaps for a celebration and for some truly authentic Teochew fare!
For a sexy new hangout
Taking over an old clinic space at 20 Foch Road (hence the name), 20F Specialty Coffeehouse in Jalan Besar boasts both day and night concepts. Passers-by would notice the fusion of old and new in both the facade and interior of the cafe - where old-school window grills and gorgeous vintage tiled floors meet industrial bronze fixtures and colourful chalk drawings on concrete walls. The Duck & Waffle ($22) is the signature item here, available for both lunch and dinner, featuring a harmonious marriage of crisp buttermilk waffles, savoury duck confit and berry sorbet. For a substantial brunch option, go for the Pulled Pork Flatbread ($17), a Mexican-inspired dish of spicy pulled pork, chipotle mayo, guacamole, an oozy sous vide egg, plus nachos on the side. Pair it with a latte ($5) pulled from Liberty Coffee's Speakeasy blend. Degenerate drinkers (yes, you) would be happy to know that they serve cocktails like the Red Sangria ($18). These vibes are just perfect for an after work chill-out sesh on Fridays (or Mondays...).
For homely Italian supper
Ciao adds yet another late-night option to the Kampong Glam neighbourhood with their homely Italian fare. Open till 1am, this is just the place to chill with a small group of friends over some pizza and Italian cocktails after work. Go straight for the Tartufina ($15) and don't bother resisting the winning combination of mozzarella and truffle paste; the heady aroma will instantly make your night better. The Calamari ($18) here is lightly pan-fried and finished with earthy pine nuts, sweet cherry tomatoes and briny olives, making for a nice side dish to share. Finish off with Zia Luisa's Tiramisu ($12) made using a recipe from chef's very own mother! They're open till 2am on Fridays - sounds like a good plan for a decadent supper, aye?
16. Andong Zzimdak
For hearty Korean stews
From the same folks who brought us Yoogane, Andong Zzimdak at Raffles City's basement specialises in Korean stews. You might be tempted to order the Mini Seafood Pancake ($9.90), but it might be wise to opt for the Chicken Karage ($9.90) instead and share these light and crisp nibbles and leave precious stomach space for the hearty stews. Then, dive into the ginormous portion of Andong Jjimdak (small $45.90, large $55.90), a mildly spicy chicken stew with a soy-based sauce that originates from the Andong province of South Korea, and brims with carrots, potatoes and translucent, chewy sweet potato noodles. This is the kind of soulful food that is best shared among a small group of friends - you'll definitely leave with full, warm, happy bellies.
For unbelievably buttery cookies from Hong Kong
After a short pop-up stint at Junction 8, Jenny Bakery has finally opened its doors in Singapore (their very first outpost, we're so flattered!) in the heartlands of Ang Mo Kio. For those of you who've had the privilege of tasting a Jenny Bakery cookie before, it's certain you know just how crumbly these babies are. For those who haven't, either get in that queue or hope that someone in that queue likes you a lot, and is planning to pick one up for you. Go for the 4 Mix Butter Cookies which comes with Hard Butter, Coffee, Raisin, and Oat flavours, and decide which you like best ($25 for 320g tin, $45 for 640g tin). Directly flown out of its factory in Hong Kong, these butter bombs command a fairly ridiculous queue, so come early - they sell out fast!
For late-night Teochew porridge
On a cool night, or after a long day, there are few things more comforting than sitting down on a table full of dishes and a warm bowl of Teochew porridge in hand. This eatery manages to retain the down-to-earth nature of this traditional food, while allowing you some air-conditioned comfort. The porridge ($0.70) is just the way you expect it to be, with a good amount of porridge water. Go straight for their delicately Steamed Mullet (market price), perfectly light and flaky and served with salted vegetables, a staple that will bring memories flooding back to any Teochew nang (people). There are also many other sides to choose from, like the Big Sotong ($6.90) - served chilled with a sweet, tangy home-made sauce. If you ever find yourself hungry at wee hours of the morning, you'll be glad to know this spot is open till 5am! Pro tip: Go for the Supper Buffet ($16.80/pax) from 11pm to 5am, entitling you to porridge over 30 dishes to choose from.