Where to eat and what's new in Singapore: Fukui, Kinki, Club 5 at ParkRoyal, and more
Where we dined this week...
Kinki's makeover at Raffles Quay now boasts a sophisticated chic interior with funky splashes of retro Japanese graffiti alongside an urban, open-concept indoor dining space. Tantalise your tastebuds with reinvented Japanese classics starting off with appetisers like cassava nachos, where you'll find minced beef sauteed with spicy miso sauce, crisp cassava chips, guacamole and Japanese cucumber tossed up in a single plate. Their unique sushi options are definitely a must-try: such as Cowabunga — oozing with juicy seared aburi-style A4 wagyu beef slices sitting nicely amidst cream cheese, soft rice, cucumber and drizzled with homemade spicy mayo sauce. AC/DC dynamite is no slouch either, with finely cut raw salmon and in-season white fish mixed with Sriracha mayo in the midst of Niigata Koshihikari rice. On to main courses, where you'll be delighted by crispy fried pork belly carefully marinated with Ume honey plum, karaage chicken bao with deep-fried chicken thigh squashed between two fluffy buns. Finally, indulge in the chef's selection of the day's premium seafood (featuring sashimi, bluefin tuna belly and more) on sushi rice and finish it off with charcoal grilled unagi and sauteed Nigata claypot rice (cooked overnight) rich with charred smokey flavour. Other highlights include crunchy baby corn sauteed with unsalted butter then topped off with sea salt, chargrilled pacific Japanese squid dipped in tangy Chimichurri sauce, and tender succulent breaded pork loin cutlet hailing from Canada, tossed in signature Japanese buffalo sauce and garnished with shredded nori. Afterwards, let the sea breeze hit your face as you sip on freshly-concocted cocktails such as the Naughty Kopi, a fresh take on the traditional Espresso Martini with the sweet addition of Bailey's Irish Cream. Or if it's too late for coffee, Tears of a Geisha is a wise alternative — Sakura No hana jelly (made from yuzu umeshu) drowned in Roku gin. —JC
#02-02 Collyer Quay, Customs House,Tel: 6533 3471
Opening hours: (Mon-Sat) 12-3pm, 6-10.30pm, (Sun) 12-3pm
A sense of calm seeps through as you saunter down the narrow hallway of Fukui, almost like you have stepped into a shrine. Only that your destination is a seat at an intimate table of 12, with a generous view of head chef Nick Pa'an busy serving up the next dish. A ceremonial pour of Kokuryu sake — from a fabled brewery in Fukui prefecture — commences the meal. Its finish was dry and clean while along the way, we were met with hints of roasted grains and flowers. An omakase meal here sure strays away from the conventional, with chef Nick's expertise in serving up his own sauces, that are as varied as they come. Most of the time, the condiments are the finishing touches to the produce that arrives twice a week from Japan. There's quite a bit of smoke and fire throughout the entire meal, with one of our first courses undergoing a straw fire flame (known as warayaki) with skipjack tuna as the main star. The aroma was woody and flavours of the fish were elevated with his marinate of olive oil, soya sauce, and garlic. Then, there was the joyous box of sashimi — comprising of a delicate medley of uni rolled in olive flounder, botan ebi, otoro, kimmendai, akagai, and scallop served with its muscle intact. A midas touch goes to the citrus by its side to cut through the brininess. A slew of hot dishes followed after: grilled unagi, which couldn't have been phenomenal without the clever sides of popped rice as well as the broad bean and Japanese gingko nut — all of which was well in season. Then a steamed dish that truly revived the dated expression of abalone. It was juicy, soft, and deftly doused in shellfish liver sauce — creamy and decadent, that covered a slab of daikon in the same bowl. In comparison to the strong start, it was hard for the sushi courses to match up, with a repetition of seafood melded on rice, then blowtorched. Not only were they lacking in that smear of wasabi, but perhaps, we wanted the freshness of the mekajiki (swordfish) to be present, instead of its heavy dressing taking over. Fortunately, the last piece of sushi was redeeming: minced tuna interspersed with uni rolled in a rice ball. No add-ons or fire glaze, a perfect combination, just as it is. —JS
25 Mohamed Sultan Rd, Tel: 6509 0909
Opening hours: (Mon-Fri) 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm
It might be hard to imagine, but 5pm used to be the golden standard of knocking off from work. 9-5 ring any bells? Back in 1986, that alone gave Club 5 its name, where working folk could go from the office to unwind at the bar at ParkRoyal Beach Road and possibly let loose on the dancefloor. After all, before it was a bar, Club 5 started out as a dance club where most patrons dabbled in ballroom dancing. Currently, the storied drinking hole reveals a new façade, transformed by designer Emma Maxwell, with brass finished glass doors letting in a spacious haven to mimic grandeur reminiscent of The Great Gatsby. With a brand new face naturally cues a revamp of the menu, which takes its guests on a journey through the various addresses surrounding the hotel. First up, Beach Road - where you'll sip on 20 Houses Tonic. An aromatic riff off the classic G&T. The jolt of cardamom certainly made an impression, alongside fresh citrus juice, as compared to a lime wedge, which faintly scratches the surface. But the real kicker falls in the Nasi Lema'rgarita (quite the mouthful so we'll just dub it the Nasi Lemak), an ode to Arab street's grub. It's an oily finish, with a strong dose of coconut tequila taking over the entire glass. And perhaps a tad bit too overpowering, which left out the savoury profile of a "food" drink. We did however, appreciate the ikan bilis and peanuts on the side. Journeying to the next stop, Bugis street, that used to be quite the debaucherous spot for sailors looking for some fun. The cocktail in tribute to that (titled Boogie Street) sounds a lot like danger: imagine London Dry Gin, mezcal, apricot brandy, agave, citrus, and violette all in a single sip. But to our surprise, the mix went down seamlessly — fruity notes and a smokey finish. We'll get down to boogie anytime with this number. —JS
7500 Beach Road, PARKROYAL on Beach Road
Opening hours: (Tues-Sat) 11am-10.30pm
Where we're looking to dine...
From the brainchild of Miss Fitz Kitchen + Bar comes a sister joint at The Sail at Marina Bay. Glamourous and glitzy with a retro twist, Roxy is a cocktail bar that's reminiscent of the vivacious rock and roll nightclubs back in 1970s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Sip on spirit-forward, classic drinks, such as the CBGB Swizzle, a riff on the classic Mai Tai, You Don't Have to Put on the Red Light, an amaro twist on the classic Negroni, the Jean Genie, a pear twist on a classic daquiri, and The New York Dolls Sour, a whiskey sour with American apple brandy named for the legendary 1970's glam metal band.
6 Marina Blvd, 01-17 The Sail at Marina Bay, Tel: 9382 5147
Opening hours: (Wed-Sun) 6pm-10.30pm
The Great Spice Potluck at The Dempsey Project
Indulge in the finest selection of dishes from ancient Indian and Peranakan family recipes rich in heritage, put together from the best chefs in Singapore. Treat yourself to a spin on local, nostalgic dishes such as laksa, prepared by soaking noodles in spicy coconut laksa broth and adorning the bowl with juicy butter poached lobsters to having the best of both worlds when you wind up with a combinaton of two local favourites Rendang and Nasi Lemak on the same plate.
Block 9 Dempsey Rd, #01-12, Tel: 6475 2005
March 31st, 5:30pm and 8:30pm sitting