My favourite dining spots: Travis Masiero
Because F&B insiders know best
When I have chef friends in town, I always bring them to Candlenut, a wonderful Peranakan restaurant that captures the soul and history of Singapore.
My go-to supper spot is Nagomi at Cuppage Plaza. It is perfect for late night eating as it's open until 2am. It's quiet and I can eat quite healthily. Think sashimi, grilled vegetables, soba, and more. All the ingredients are top-notch and owner Nada Sarturo is an affable host.
I'm a regular at Din Tai Fung. Perfect for a meal with the family or taking out-of-town guests. I always find the meals here consistent. Everything is relatively healthy and made-to-order.
A heritage eatery I hope will never disappear is Ya Kun. Kaya toast and Kopi are such an elemental part of Singaporean food heritage.
Brunch with friends is usually at... I don't do brunch :) Too many horrible memories as a cook. I cook breakfast at home or like to get together at Kilo, run by my friend, Javier Perez.
For cocktails, I head to D. Bespoke at Bukit Pasoh. It has the best Sherry selection in Singapore and the perfect ambience. The place transports me back to Ginza and I feel like I am in someplace special.
For special occasions, I head to Shinji at Raffles Hotel. Hands down the best Sushi I have had outside of Tokyo. Oshino-san is a master and I have had a few life-changing meals there.
When dining with family, we opt for Jade Palace Seafood Restaurant at Forum The Shopping Mall. It has a great selection of seafood, roast meats and claypot dishes. The place feels like a family-run restaurant with the two brothers, one in the front and one in the kitchen, managing the place. They have a generous corkage policy so I can bring a few special bottles and have a great long lunch over the weekends.
Best place to get a meal with seafood is Sin Huat Seafood in Geylang. It was one of the first places I went to when I arrived almost 10 years ago. People go for the crab bee hoon but I like the snow crab, gong gong and frogs legs. Danny, the chef and owner, knows how to use garlic — so get ready for that.
For coffee, I head to Stamping Ground Coffee along Club Street. It's inside a little nook next to the Emerald Gardens apartments.
My favourite Japanese restaurant is Otowa at Orchard Plaza. Dingy environs are not enough to deter me. This is where you go for yakitori. Period. The chef there is the best. Chicken is the specialty of the house, but order the quail eggs at the end and they will blow your mind.
A restaurant to watch is Cure by my friend Andrew Walsh. The restaurant is on Keong Saik road. This is his first restaurant where he is the owner as well. He puts so much care and attention into the food which is delicious. The menu changes every month which means you have to be open-minded but I have never had a bad meal there. I see Cure becoming a classic dining spot in Singapore.
A hawker stall I would queue for is Thye Hong Hokkien Mee, which is sadly no longer around. I first started eating there nine years ago and it has been my comfort food ever since. It helps that Thye Hong is a passionate soul. When he was cooking there, there was no better place to be.
My favourite dish at Luke's Oyster Bar and Chop House is the oysters!
My guilty pleasure is Chocolate chip cookies. They remind me of my childhood when we would bake cookies at my house. The smell when they are baking plus the incredible comfort I get makes them my favorite snack when I need a little sugar.
The country that has the best food scene is America. Incredible produce, creative chefs, and a desire to do things well is very much the American way.
- Image: Portrait courtesy of Travis Masiero
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