Three to try: Kilo Kallang, Fat Prince, Creamier
Fat Prince isn't for purists. If you're expecting authentic, traditional feasts served from the Shahs of the Middle East, you'll be in for a surprise. Head chef Hunter Moyes was poached from Canada, the restaurant's founders are the same guys behind Neon Pigeon (i.e. not of Byzantine blood), and there's even truffle and quinoa on the menu. What you need — and it's pretty important in our dining culture — is an open mind. "If we go traditional, we let the locals do it because they do it best", says Rohit Roopchand, Fat Prince's director of operations.
Sure enough, the kitchen doesn't butcher the flavour profile of the region's dishes, but adds contemporary elements that lure yuppies. The baba ghanouj still retains the smokiness of eggplants with an added earthiness from truffle paste, then topped with crispy shallots for added texture. While you've heard of duck fat being used to decadently coat anything from fries to ice cream (hello, Messina), Fat Prince uses it to add creaminess to their hummus. Before his appointment in Singapore, Moyes headed Tacofino in Vancouver and has borrowed the bite-sized aesthetic of the Mexican street food favourite. Kebabs are served open-faced in taco-sized flour "tortillas", while pickled chillies, tzatziki and harissa sauces are on the side for added oomph. Great for a salad stop during lunch are Fat Prince's quinoa tabbouleh and Turkish kisir. The earlier swaps out bulgur wheat for a contemporary quinoa take, sprucing each mouthful with the burst of pomegranate seeds. Kisir, the Turks' take on the Lebanese tabbouleh, uses a bulgur wheat base and is packed with roasted mushrooms and peppers. — AI
48 Peck Seah Street. 8221 3683
There are more than enough reasons why diners continue to come back to Kilo: The abundant greens that surround its suburban Kampong Bugis locale, the friendly faces of co-founders Javier Perez and Joshua Adjodha, and menu heroes such as the truffled tai yuzu rolls and squid ink rice. With the closure of Kilo Orchard in September and the upcoming re-opening of Kilo Lounge in the works, the team has been working on making their fans' lifestyle experience their best yet.
It starts with a few tweaks to Kilo Kallang's menu. Still favouring a communal dining style, recent additions such as the Kilo gazpacho and beef guisado score top points. While its roots lie in Spain, the gazpacho opts for Japanese momotaro tomatoes at its heart, lending an extra tanginess and sweetness to the textured soup which you can scoop up with sourdough toast. You can taste a bit of the sea from the Boston Bay mussels, which are livened up with hints of mint and spice. Meanwhile, the draw of the Spanish and Filipino favourite guisado lies in melt-in-your-mouth meat — in this case, it's an Australian grain-fed beef cheek that lies on a bed of congee, the Singaporean comfort dish. A slab of salt-crusted bone marrow enhances the hearty dish, while spicy dried shrimp heat things up. — AI
66 Kampong Bugis, Level M. 6467 3987
Creamier x Lennardy
Ice cream is always a good idea, especially if it's a pint from homegrown ice cream brand Creamier. To celebrate its fifth anniversary, Creamier has collaborated with familiar faces in the food and beverage industry to roll out a slew of special flavours. For the month of December, they've worked with former Masterchef Asia contestant Lennard Yeong (better known by his Instagram moniker @Lennardy) to turn out an intriguing flavour straddling both the sweet and savoury realms. The flavour in question? White chocolate miso with toasted seaweed. Available at Creamier's Toa Payoh and Gillman Barracks outlets, Yeong's creation features white chocolate lifted with an umami-burst of organic shiro (white) miso from Japana's Nagano prefecture. Talk about a different kind of edible white Christmas. —DK
Available from 1 to 31 December 2016 at Creamier Gillman Barracks (5A Lock Road) and Creamier Toa Payoh (#01-835, Blk 128 Toa Payoh Lorong 1).