My favourite dining spots: Rishi Naleendra

My favourite dining spots: Rishi Naleendra

Because F&B insiders know best

Denise Kok

The chef helming Cheek by Jowl talks us through his culinary haunts in Singapore

These days, I'm busy with my restaurant, Cheek by Jowl. It's all we (myself and my wife) are busy with these days, but it is our baby. Sometimes, we leave even later with the rest of the team because we are doing some research and development for new dishes. Late nights get our creative side going.

A hawker stall I would queue for is
Tai Wah Pork Noodles at Hong Lim Food Centre. It's delicious and also convenient as it's near where I stay. I usually order the dry noodles with lots of chilli. Here's a tip: Get the small or medium-sized bowls. As the hawkers cook it according to muscle memory, it's always consistent in taste and flavour.

A heritage restaurant I hope will never disappear is
Le Gavroche in London. I've never been to London, so I hope it will still be there when I eventually visit. It is the first restaurant in the United Kingdom to be awarded three Michelin stars and has turned out legends such as Marco Pierre White.

I'm a regular at
Long Chim. They cook with the flavours I love and using amazing quality produce. It is always a tasty, sensorial overload at Long Chim. I really, really love Thai food.

Chef David Thompson in the kitchen at Long Chim

When I need to eat clean, I head home. I know people might be expecting me to say that I fix myself a salad or something equally healthy — but I can't do that. What I really enjoy is a good, lean piece of meat. When I need to eat clean, I cook myself a simple steak. Steak is clean. It's all protein.

My guilty pleasure is
a McSpicy. The funny thing is that I can't eat spicy food (ahem, it doesn't go down well), but I love it and it's available at any time.

When I have chef friends in town, I bring them to 
Samy's Curry. You can't go wrong with Indian food. The flavours, the spices — it's all so tasty. And in Australia, you can't get Indian food that tastes as good as what we have in Singapore. Samy's Curry is always consistent. You know what you're going to get and you will never be disappointed.

My all-time favourite restaurant is
MoVida in Melbourne. I love the vibe of the place. The neighbourhood where MoVida is located is just full of art and great energy. It's also a great combination of two places I love — Melbourne and Spain.


My go-to supper spot is Dong Bei Can Ting located along New Bridge Road. I go there often with my team, and again, to reiterate my love for spice, Szechuan food provides me that necessary kick to end my night with.

The best place to get Sri Lankan food is
mum's kitchen. I wish I could name a place in Singapore, but Sri Lankan food is a really personal cuisine for me. I always head back to mum's for good Sri Lankan food.

For special occasions, I head to... 
Ah, I wish we had the time to celebrate special occasions, but we are often at Cheek by Jowl helping others celebrate their special occasions. We did go to Corner House for my wife's birthday earlier this year though.

Corner House

I had my most memorable meal at The Royal Mail when Dan Hunter was there. One of the best dishes was a roasted duck with squid ink; it was simple, elegant, but still chockfull of big flavours. Loved it.

My favourite bar is
Operation Dagger or Manhattan. I can't choose between the two because they sit on opposite ends of the spectrum. I love Operation Dagger because you don't get drinks like theirs anywhere else. As for Manhattan, I love the space and it's great if you want to enjoy some classic cocktails.

Operation Dagger

For coffee, I head to Sarnies. My reason's quite simple — they make damn good coffee.

A restaurant to watch is
Whitegrass. No one else is doing food like theirs in Singapore.

The food scene in Singapore is
evolving and very challenging because there are always new places popping up and there are so many options for people who love food. However, as restaurateurs, it's a constant challenge because you really have to stay on top of your game all the time. That said, I love the challenge.

The country that has the best food scene is
Australia. We have the most amazing produce and it is just a giant melting pot of cultures. You never know what's going to be next. It's full of surprises.

To view more recommendations from other F&B insiders, click here. To read our restaurant review of Cheek by Jowl, click here