Where to eat and what's new in Singapore: habitat by honestbee's hama hama and b bar, 51 Soho and more
Where we dined this week...
hama hama and b bar at habitat by honestbee
We've thought we have seen all the multi-faceted tricks of tech-enabled grocery store, habitat by honestbee, but obviously we thought wrong. The wondrous super-supermarket has just opened up two new concepts — skewed to be of a more premium category. And by premium, we don't mean merely better quality produce and gold dust on your truffle shavings, but rather unsuspecting outfits that serve up gourmet delights akin to any fine restaurant on our shores.
First up: An intimate 18-seater seafood and oyster bar, named hama hama (rolls off the tongue well), armed with a clever menu to only intrigue and tease your taste buds. How? Well for starters, their oysters are done in multiple ways — from raw ones slapped with lemon and hot sauce jelly to getting the panko treatment and topped with mentaiko aioli. Flavours are bold and adventurous here — which in the case of hama hama pays off, big time. Order their bowl of truffle udon and you will see what we mean. The special Japanese udon isn't quite like the thick and lumpy ones we were expecting, but instead it's skinny like soba and bears a firm bite. Add to that, a cold truffle emulsion and shio kombu for the perfect finish. For more fresh fins and bigger portions, their skate wings are lightly pan-fried, and dabbled with braised leek, peas and shredded hash. The typical French mussel stew also gets an Asian makeover with Chinese wine, coriander and crispy rice noodles that most of us would fondly recognise as hor fun. Desserts aren't treated carelessly here either; in fact, they come as innovative as the prior starters and mains. After a serving of their calamansi meringue tart, along with a sublime scoop of pineapple sorbet, we were instantly sold. —JS
34 Boon Leat Terrace, #01-01
Opening hours: (Mon-Thurs) 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-9.30pm, (Fri) 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-11pm, (Sat) 11am-11pm, (Sun) 11am-9.30pm. To make a reservation, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Once you've grown tired of checking yourself out at the wines and spirits alley, which involves an arched full-length mirror, you'll notice that beyond your glowing reflection, lies an alluring speakeasy. Make no mistake, this bar isn't a place where you can only get three types of cocktails. It's a fully-stocked pad of innovative tipples where their cocktails come grouped according to its abv content. We enjoyed every bit of Rice Up (from the low abv selection) where Junmai Ginjo sake marries umami cordial and an unexpectedly piquant genmaicha (brown rice) vapour. See where we're going with this outstanding prelude? It gets better. More shenanigans spill over, as you stagger and maximise your alcohol intake for the night. That's the beauty of lower abv cocktails — you get to make room for a higher dose. Milky Whey, which falls under the medium category, is a sweet milk punch made with a secret natural cola recipe, while incorporating the scent of dried lavender and coriander. They've also dreamed up a very special G&T titled Beehive, with gin rested with sweet beeswax and mixed with elderflower liqueur, sesame oil and grapefruit tonic water. This bar has clearly pulled all the stops; and they're only going to get better with a continuous push by switching up their concept and menu every six months. A word of advice? Don't fill yourself up on just liquids. they have stellar grub stowed away in this chamber of secrets. Ask for the smoked beef sliders and you'll be served pillowy brioche buns encasing four cuts of hand moulded Angus beef patty, molten raclette, smoked aioli and onion confit. Rosemary fries also come on the side. We repeat, rosemary fries. —JS
34 Boon Leat Terrace, #01-01
Opening hours: (Mon-Fri) 5pm-12am, (Sat and PH) 12pm-12am, (Sun) 12pm-10pm
Tucked in a corner of the lively and ever-bustling Telok Ayer is 51 Soho — a space that was conceived from the idea of a community. Inspired by the Chinese culture and blending that with contemporary aspects, influences can be seen from the décor to the food and drink offerings. Decked out in natural materials such as brick and wood, the chic all-day dining restaurant also has a specially designed cocktail bar with an extensive wall of alcoholic options. Dinner started with their signature charcoal-grilled skewers, with our favourites being the duck gizzard and Padron pepper stuffed with Halloumi cheese. Marinated overnight with a housemade marinade and sprinkled with spice dust, the duck gizzard had a nice crunchy texture while the beef and pork belly skewers were tender and flavourful. The peppers also had a nice, smoky char that was balanced out with the soft and salty halloumi cheese. The Green & Nutty — a broccoli slaw that consisted of broccolini, broccoli florets and romanesco was a pleasant surprise with its refreshing and tasty dressing of lemon vinaigrette, charred spring onion pesto and a mixture of herbs. This might be the closest thing to a salad that we love. Another favourite was the Salmon & Pearl that featured a delicate and tender pan-fried salmon fillet on a bed of pearl couscous that has been cooked in fish stock, pickled ginger and chili. What some would describe as fishy, we loved how that elevated the entire dish with its flavour while not overpowering it. The Spice de Canard had an excellent marinated lentil base and while the duck leg was fork-tender, it was a tad too salty. You can't say you have been to 51 Soho without having the five 51 Soho specials — these are cocktails that have been curated from cross-cultural references. We were amused by the Prosperity Cup that took a literal presentation with a 100 yuan note printed on rice paper — served together with the cocktail. We were even told that you should tear a piece of the paper money and dip it into the drink with a base of Chinese rice wine, barley juice, barley pearls and rockmelon syrup. Good things come in small packages and we couldn't agree more with the Dancing in the Moonlight. Incorporating Chinese ingredients that our grandmothers would approve of, the cocktail is served in a traditional teacup with a base of bamboo wine, cucumber syrup, boiled snow fungus and goji berries — a potent yet refreshing drink to sip from the tiny teacup. —CC
51 Telok Ayer St, Tel: 9755 1058
Opening hours: (Mon-Fri) 8am-11pm, (Sat) 10am-11pm, (Sun) 10am-10pm
Where we are looking to dine...
A largely Australian-inspired menu, wholesome and the Impossible patty are just some ways to describe Botany. With menu offerings that blend East and West influences together, you can look forward to items such as Otah chips, Granny's Chicken Congee and a choice of replacing the beef patties in their burgers with The Impossible Patty.
86 Robertson Quay, Tel: 6951 4861
Opening hours: (Mon-Thur) 9am-10pm, (Fri-Sat) 9am-11pm, (Sun) 9am-10pm
Located on the 25th floor of the Andaz Singapore is the newly opened Teppan Chef's Table — a teppanaki restaurant. Get up close and personal to both the chef and other guests as you take a seat at the communal tables while the chef whip your orders à la minute. Look forward to donburi sets that come with miso soup, salad and pickles.
5 Fraser St, Tel: 6408 1234
Opening hours: (Mon-Sun) 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm-10pm
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