Where to eat and what's new in Singapore: Gucci Osteria review, Min Jiang at Dempsey, Shang Palace
Where we dined this week...
Whether devout followers of Massimo Bottura or the fashion squad, demand for the debut of Gucci Osteria's first overseas entrance went through the roof. Seeing it in the flesh: The transformation of Gucci Osteria Singapore was a remarkable one, considering the restrictions to do with a heritage conservation building. The room was dolled up with Gucci motifs; alongside the stage (that was already built within The Arts House) with the iconic lime green hue that's exactly the same one from Gucci Osteria in Florence. The first course: Fresh uni crab, seasoned with spices and citron, sheltered by a crisp yellow corn tostado, adorned with avocado, pickled radish and dusted with coriander and hibiscus powder. A refreshing ode to Lopez's Mexican heritage. In between Bob Dylan's tunes and refined classic orchestra, came the famed highlight — The Crunchy Part of the Lasagne, a dish inspired by Bottura's childhood inklings of his favourite top bit of the Italian classic. To pay tribute to Singapore, the pasta sheet was coloured in red and white, instead of the usual red-green-white combination for Italy. While my very attentive server warned me about the hot plate, the minced beef wasn't; rather it tasted perhaps too mildly warm. Still, it's hard to discount the complexity of the dish for what it is — a crisp wafer crafted to resemble an art piece, plated above ragu, bechamel and a strip of tomato terrine. All I did wish for, was a chunkier bite to make for the corner slab of the lasagne that I'm always eyeing on. Next, a decadent serving of wagyu tenderloin paired with daikon and vinegar-infused roots and a black celeraic garlic puree that we could easily lick the plate for. But not when you have social cues to observe in a makeshift Gucci lair. For dessert? Think a decadent treat plied with kaya cream and dark chocolate ganache within a sandwich. If that doesn't do it for you. These babies are gleamed with gold dust with the words Gucci embossed within.
The Arts House, Annex Building, Level 2
When a storied hotel like Shangri-La keeps an F&B establishment since the start of operations —harking back to 1971 — you know there's something worthy of preserving within. As a matter of fact, Shang Palace is the only restaurant that has weathered through the decades alongside the deep, respected hospitality that you'll find in the hotel itself. As the opulent space celebrates 48 years of operations, head chef Mok unveils three heavyweight menus: Nostalgia, Signature and Innovation. From the dim sum range, you'll find a picture-perfect trio with an assorted selection. Our favourite from the lot? Encased assorted vegetables, mushrooms, which included dried morel, wrapped in a homemade crystal dumpling skin. From the Nostalgic list, order a comforting bowl of broth — this one comes with boneless quail, painstakingly deboned and then stuffed with bird's nest. The soup is cooked for eight hours, with chicken, pork and Jinhua ham — which pays off big time — flavours are expertly extracted and might just be best nourishment you need on a rainy afternoon. Other standouts include a white asparagus that's only available with a pre-order as well as seasonal specials of stewed Boston lobster. But the one thing your round-table needs? Deep-fried deboned kampong chicken from the Signature menu. The bird's skin is crisp while stuffed with piquant glutinous rice wok-fried with Chinese sausage, dried scallops and shiitake mushroom. We gladly say, bring on the calories.
Lobby Level, Tower Wing, Shangri-La Hotel, Tel: 6213 4473 / 4398
Opening hours: (Mon-Fri) 12pm-2:30pm, 6pm-10pm, (Sat, Sun, PH) 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm
Min Jiang at Dempsey
We get it. Chinese restaurants aren't often the coolest to make for good content on Instagram —even if the food is to die for. They're usually clad in crimson red and clothed with carpet floors. That is until Min Jiang revealed their new home at the luscious fortress that is Dempsey. Bidding farewell to their home at One-north, the airy space sings of modern chinoiserie, stylish rattan blinds, and plenty of natural light that trickles in. Fields of green can also be easily seen from every table here, reminding us of a hip outfit in Bali. Cantonese and Sichuan influences work in tandem in the dishes here — with exciting new plates like The Heritage Treaures Platter comprising of a sumptuous spread of tiny moreish bites. Hero picks include the deep-fried crabmeat with chicken liver and salted egg yolk and a tantalising braised pork sparking sweet, salty and sour notes all together. An all-time favourite: A hot stone bowl of braised sea treasure soup simmered with fresh Sri Lankan crabmeat with superior stock and potato starch. That's not all, an egg white white crepe parcel holding poached Australian abalone, chopped bamboo pith and dried scallop is drenched within the thick mixture. You're even given a skinny fried prawn roll for dipping purposes. Those who can't live without carbs, make sure to call for their stewed noodles with local lobster and kalian. It's a simple dish, put together with minimal frills but all the right condiments are brilliantly implemented; alongside the power of fresh produce. Finally, end the meal with their deep-fried banana balls, drizzled with toffee and sesame seeds. Like goreng pisang, but dangerously addictive.
7A and 7B Dempsey Road, Tel: 6774 0122
Opening hours: 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm
Where we're looking to dine...
From the folks who brought you Super Loco and Lucho Loco, this fast-casual joint's spotlight is on Mexican spit-roasted chicken. To that, we have many questions — how good is this bird that we can forgo our favourite taco pockets for?
102 Amoy St, Tel: 9738 7828
Violet Oon Singapore at Jewel Changi Airport
Here lies Violet Oon's biggest outlet to date — spanning 3,800 square feet — at our city's new hottest dining destination, Jewel Changi Airport. Expect outlet exclusives like DIY nyonya poh piah, so you and the whole fam can experiment in good fun and spirit while seated at the dinner table.
78 Airport Blvd, #01-205/206, Tel: 9834 9935
Opening hours: 9am-11pm
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