Three to try: Audace, Le Binchotan, Zafferano
Where Cocotte at Wanderlust Hotel used to be is now Audace — a chic new concept by the folks at Unlisted Collection. This elegant restaurant serves up French bistro fare with a contemporary touch, imbued with influences from the region. Chef Jérémy Gillon's produce is hand selected from the nearby Tekka Market, or from specialist suppliers in Northern Thailand and Vietnam. He also proudly displays an array of spices, personally flown over from France, which he uses to spice up his dishes. Try the seabream broccoli, topped with a smooth broccoli puree, blanched broccoli glazed in butter, and shaved broccoli stems. Need good reason to eat your beetroots? You have to tuck into Chef Gillon's remarkable pork beetroots, a beautifully caramelised pork belly that is marinated for 48 hours in a beetroot marinade, and slow cooked for three hours before it's served and hand carved tableside.
Wanderlust Hotel, 2 Dickson Rd. Tel: 6298 1188
Here's a decadent omakase experience that won't empty out your pockets. Make a booking at French-Japanese tapas bar, Le Binchotan, hidden away in a quiet corner along Amoy Street (next to Gemmills and Burger Joint). Meats and seafood are smoked over a bincho-tan (white charcoal), while ingredients like uni, daikon and miso have been generously infused into the dishes. If you love your drinks, cocktails at this 38-seater restaurant are exceptionally creative — sit by the bar and get the full theatrical experience of yours being made. While Chef Jeremmy Chiam, formerly of Iggy's, switches up the omakase menu regularly depending on produce, special mention goes out to his cherry tomatoes with pickled hijiki, sakura ebi cappellini, and mushroom risotto. Tip: Go for the omakase experience anytime from Mondays to Thursdays from 6pm to 8pm, as its 1-for-1 weekday deal means your partner will dine for free.
#01-04, 115 Amoy Street. Tel: 6221 6065
While the view from Zafferano — located on the 43rd floor of Ocean Financial Centre — is nothing short of breathtaking, it is Chef Marco Guccio's winning flavours in his new summer menu that will have us coming back time and again. Riding off the backs of a perfect Italian summer, there's no better time than to indulge in fresh produce such as Sicilian sardines, Mazara red prawns, and fava beans. While sardines may not be the most popular dish in restaurants, Guccio's de-boned rendition is worth a try. Cleverly filled with breadcrumbs, lemon skin, raisins, and pine nuts before being baked, his sardine dish boasts a hit of acidity, texture and well-balanced flavours. We also loved the Mazara raw red prawn ceviche, served on crispy house-baked sourdough bread and drizzled with black figs. If carbs are your thing (like ours), make room for Guccio's pastas and risottos, which are surprisingly light and don't leave you in a food coma after. The flavourful squid ink risotto with sautéed calamari and fava bean puree is wonderfully al dente, as is the Calamarata pasta kissed with Sicilian pesto, jumbo prawns and mint. We'll double our time at the gym just for that.
Level 43, Ocean Financial Centre. Tel: 6509 1488