Restaurants and F&B businesses that took off in 2020
All things considered
2020 was a year of many tragedies. While some might profess the cliche: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger", they are probably the lucky ones who made through the year with some innate rewards. On the food front, the effects were seismic. We lost many treasured restaurants and F&B spots this year — the reformed Maggie Joan's, Ding Dong, Jalan Berseh's explosive popiah, just to name a few — leaving many gourmands shattered especially when Phase 1 of the circuit breaker began. We realised when the city was finally allowed to dine out at a restaurant, our favourite ones would no longer be in operations.
Perhaps it was that that ignited a fervent desire to support our frequented spots, as well as the survival instinct and camaraderie kicking in, the future for our local F&B scene suddenly didn't seem so grim after all. How blessed are we — with losses, come wins — to witness new restaurants here to revive the buzz and chatter of the immense pride we have for food as Singaporeans. In no particular order, we're thankful for these new stars below.
Rishi Naleendra's reveal for his third restaurant in Singapore, Kotuwa certainly didn't turn out the way most expected — by first debuting during the circuit breaker. A bold move — especially with a first taste of Sri Lankan delights packed away in biodegradable boxes. True to what we suspected, even with the travel time considered, their lamb curry and calamari stir fried in chili butter made a stellar first impression. Looking back, we don't think it could arrived at a better time — to spark excitement and newness into a routine that most of us couldn't quite live with. Currently, the restaurant has just opened its doors and word on the street is that, the next available reservation is slated for mid-January.
What initially was an e-commerce pivot in light of the pandemic for iLlido Group, turned out to be an accessible new brand in comparison to restaurants like Amo and Braci. While the site is now taking a break, we don't think we can find an equivalent that serves up ready-to-eat dishes and grocery items all at a really friendly price point. Delivery's free too, if you're ordering enough to host a last-minute gathering at home.
In case you missed it, all that time in isolation at home stirred up a real love for donuts in Singapore. Or rather, they are finally getting the adoration they deserve. Thanks to these guys behind Sourbombe — sourdough bombolinis stuffed with innovative flavour concoctions like passionfruit and banana and lavender and mascarpone. To vie for a chance at snagging these, follow them on Instagram and turn on post notifications. You're welcome.
An intimate joint that interprets heritage classics into modern plates. A whole lot of seafood, finesse, and yes — punctuated with flavours all around. We haven't exactly found the name for its cuisine, but all we know is that every order here is well worth the gamble.
One could be so favoured to score a pastry special from Le Matin while the entire Singapore was in lockdown — read: by-products of ex-Noma chef Mohamed Al-Matin. Since that happened, households were christened with a decadent box filled with a wildcard of pastries — Kouign Amann, canelé, savoury danishes, and more. Now, the online store has doubled up on its capacity since it started out, but you have to get through a pre-ordering queue. Again, turning on post-notifications on Instagram would definitely help your chances.