Where to eat and what's new in Singapore: Dumpling Darlings, The White Rabbit and a vegan street kiosk in Chinatown

Where to eat and what's new in Singapore: Dumpling Darlings, The White Rabbit and a vegan street kiosk in Chinatown

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Text: Aravin Sandran Janice Sim

A shortlist of top eats and treats in town

Where we dined this week...

The White Rabbit

Time flies, it's been a decade since the enchanting chapel nestled in Dempsey Hill started serving out fine European grub, along with equally fine service and silverware. In fact before hip tenants started streaming in, The White Rabbit had been the stalwart at the Dempsey enclave, long before it was touted as the It destination for avant-garde establishments. Now ten years in, it definitely calls for a celebration, and a feast for the milestone. Chef Benjamin Tan curated a special menu in line with that — weaving the old classics with the new. Their humble-sized Salad Printemps' 18 is ideal for perking up your appetite; think a bevy of season's prime greens along with lime vinaigrette. We also recommend getting a plate of wagyu carpaccio; not because it sounds expensive but because it's prized meat (from Rangers Valley) and dressed with truffle vinaigrette and slices of green apple. As far as mains go, the Iberico pork collar has our seal of approval — eschewing the heaviness typically found in most pork dishes and drizzled with the right spiced jus to elevate and encourage a second bite. Love yourself some table service? Order a serving of their Crepes Suzette, and you'll get a live action flame show of sorts right by your booth. Although we might have to confess, the theatrics do triumph the flavour here in this dessert. — JS

Where to dine

39C Harding Rd, Tel: 6473 9965
Opening hours: (Tues-Fri) 12pm-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm, (Sat-Sun) 10.30am-3pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm

Halcyon & Crane

Owners of Mod-Sichuan restaurant, Birds of a Feather has birthed a new ego; well with a name still linked to birds. Dishing out a similar cuisine (one of modern European that dabbles in Sichuan flavours), Halcyon & Crane sets the comfortable premise of a café. One with more breakfast foods and a focus on wellness, which means you'll see more healthful produce like quinoa, salads and multi-grains in the mix. Their rendition of the well-loved breakfast item, shakshuka conceals the goodness of a runny egg as well as cured sausage from Chengdu for that hint of heat. And while Halcyon & Crane's menu is thoughtfully curated and exceptionally creative, those who are sceptical about the idea of fusion, might just need to stick to safe options. For instance: those in search of numbing peppers, go for their Australian beef striploin carpaccio; its source of spice comes from a wild chili vinaigrette that's made with pickled chili padi and ginger as well as a Sichuan pepper dressing. Trust that you'll need a bowl of comfort after — a rich tomato-based beef broth withholding a series of healthy grains (of pearl barley and brown rice). While it might not look the most presentable, the flavours are hearty and wholesome. Do remember to peruse their drink list, it's extensive and bears a slew of mocktails, cocktails, juices, and lastly, interesting shakes just so you can wean off the spice. — JS

Where to dine

#03-09/09A Paragon Shopping Mall, Tel: 9727 5121
Opening hours: 9am-10pm

Dumpling Darlings

Few foods are as universally beloved as the dumpling. Whether they're steamed or fried, these bite-sized pouches with minced meat and vegetables, go down easy without much resistance. It's not that much different at Dumpling Darlings. It might be a little hard to spot; only a red neon sign of a dumpling marks its door along the heaving culinary hotbed that is Amoy Street. Their dumplings reference the many incarnations available around the world: Nepal's momo curry, Korea's veggie mandu and the Eastern European fried pierogi. Pillowy soft skin on the top with a crisp brown bottom — The Original Dumping that's filled with minced pork and napa cabbage is a pocketful of joy with its lip-smacking juiciness. Owner June revealed that it was a trick she borrowed from Shanghai, where chefs fill xiao long bao dumplings with a little bits of gelatinized pork broth that melt when steamed. The handmade egg noodles don't disappoint either. Firm and light, they call to mind the versatility and neutral palate of Italian pasta when lusciously tossed with braised pork and salty seaweed. A dessert dumpling might sound a little dodgy — but boy, were we wrong. Fried golden brown with an almost all-American pie crust on the outside with chockfull of warm poached pear on the inside, these crisp nuggets are topped off with a cold scoop of well-balanced Tasmanian honey and vanilla ice-cream. Sweet dreams are definitely made of this. — AS

Where to dine

44 Amoy Street Tel: 8223 9249
Opening hours: 11:30am - 3pm, 6pm - 10:30pm

Where we're looking to dine this week...

Hello Baby

HVRST first caught our attention when it managed to talk us into eating vegan food. Yes, they could have had us fooled. And now Singapore's first vegan restaurant is now rolling out a brother brand — Hello Baby. It takes the form of a food kiosk (that's fortunately here to stay) on the bustling streets of Chinatown Market. Expect equally inventive creations like vegan "chili crab" mantou sliders and savoury jackfruit dish cooked in their housemade hoisin sauce. Time for our minds to be blown, yet again. 

Where to dine

10 Trengganu St
Opening hours: (Mon, Wed-Sun) 11:30am - 9pm

A Jim Beam pop-up

This weekend, Clarke Quay's getting a temporary tenant; a very special Jim Beam pop-up bar that is. From 9 October to 13 October, the brand will serve up their signature highballs but more importantly, their Jim Beam highball draft machine is there to churn out fizzy fruit-flavoured Jim Beam highballs. We definitely love that the renowned bourbon house is breaking out of their brick-and-mortar quarters, and embarking on something different for a change. 

Where to dine

Clarke Quay Fountain area
Opening hours: 6pm till late

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