Where to eat and what's new in Singapore: Impossible Foods, Idlewild, The Ottomani
Where we dined this week...
When we first heard that award-winning bartender Andy Griffiths was trading in his Aussie-bustle life for our sunny shores, we were intrigued and frankly, flattered. His big move turned out to be heading the operations of the new glamour-puss bar at InterContinental Singapore, Idlewild. And no, it isn't just some hole-in-a-wall. This place was designed to claim the spotlight. Idlewild (adapted by IDL — which happens to be the original name of John F. Kennedy International Airport) is inspired by the romance of air travel. While you won't be boarding any real planes here, the concept is take guests on a journey through the era's greatest hits of famed cocktails that have defined some of the most celebrated travel destinations. Your journey starts from Lima, then to Havana, followed by Mexico, New York, Dublin and more. There's a total of 20 globetrotting cocktails that have been interpreted for a modern age. One in particular — the Sugarloaf from Mexico City won our hearts with its efferverscent pineapple rum and spicy notes of tepache. You'll find artisanal spirits from small batch distilleries in each location, each concocted in avant-garde techniques. Along with it comes a tapas-style bar snack to represent each location's native cuisine. Eager for the exclusive stuff? Whisper the sweet longings (in this case: a tour of the Cabinet of Curiosities) and you'll be led to an elusive corner that houses over 50 rare and exotic bottles and drink paraphernalia that has been procured from travels across the globe. Indeed, ask and you shall receive. —JS
80 Middle Rd, Tel: 6825 1045
Opening hours: (Tue-Thu) 5pm-1am, (Fri-Sat) 5pm-2am
Along the shophouses of Peck Seah Street lies The Ottomani, a restaurant that dishes up Middle Eastern cuisine — while incorporating local and sustainable ingredients from the likes of Quan Fa organic farm. The intimate space is almost completely lit with the warm glow of candles and oil lanterns. Sink into the comfy lush cushion seats as the waiter comes around with a pushcart of alcoholic options. Our choice of gin and tonic was one of the best we've had — well-balanced with notes of citrus from the lime slices. We started off dinner with the Pea Version 9 — Fava Falafel 'kebab' made of mushed peas that was deep-fried till crispy on the outside yet retaining warm moistness on the inside; along with foraged mushroom and truffle. We had a go at the refreshing and light Rock Hill— juicy and sweet grilled black figs that married well with the smooth cashew labneh (Greek yogurt). On top of that, fresh pomegranate peppered all over added a lovely touch of colour and texture. There was also the indulgent melt-in-the-mouth chicken foie gras, which sat atop a buttered toasted brioche with sprinklings of crushed roasted pistachios. While it may be a slightly heavy way to precede the mains, no mistakes were made with having this dish as a starter. The mains opened with wood-fired earth pit roasted communal plates of meats that had been slow roasted overnight. The Kurobuta pork collar had the sweetness from the marinate of Turkish coffee, Szechuan pepper and zhoug (Middle Eastern cilantro sauce) while the lamb shoulder brings together Mediterranean influences with the midas touch of sumac (Mediterranean spice), gremolata (herb condiment), spiced molasses and toppings of charred shallots and parsley. All mains were served with four side dishes — charred corn with couscous, baby potatoes, local squash and heirloom tomatoes. Let's just say, you will be full for a while after a meal here. —CC
48 Peck Seah St, Tel: 9231 9316
Opening hours: (Mon-Sat) 6pm-12am
The launch of Impossible Foods in Singapore couldn't be more aptly timed with the burgeoning vegan options in Singapore's food scene. In line with its launch today at some of Singapore's leading restaurants, we had a preview of some of its Western and Eastern selections. At Potato Head Singapore, we started off the mains with the Impossible Chedda and the Impossible Dream — both burgers served with a medium cooked patty. At first sight and bite, the burgers looked and tasted very much like the real deal — thanks to a generous amount of tasty condiments such as double ketchup and XO Mayo. But what's the real truth about the famous patty? We broke the burger apart to sample the patty on its own. Verdict: Well charred, which gave a distinct smoky taste, slightly softer than your regular beef patties but evidently lacking in that distinct beefy flavour — instead you'll recognise a prominent soy flavour. Meat-lovers will know the difference, for sure. An Italian favourite, the Juicy Lucy Impossible Meatball Spaghetti featured a delicious meatball with a surprise of melted cheese in the center. The acidity of the tomato ragout and basil paired well with the meatball. We were impressed especially with the Impossible Satay Sliders that shone the spotlight on a national beloved. The marinated meat was topped with a rich peanut sauce, mango, cucumber and red onions. End the meal on a tart note with a zesty lemon dessert that is essentially a citrus posset. We loved the balance of sweet-sour and despite its creaminess, it was a rather fitting way to end the meal. —CC
The Impossible Foods' plant-based meat will be available from 7 March at seven of Singapore's restaurants. For more information, click here.
Where we are looking to dine...
Named after the chef's daughter, Olivia is a much-anticipated entrant to Keong Saik. Drawing inspiration from Barcelona and the Mediterranean, expect laid back vibes from navy-coloured plush booths and wooden tables. Match that with Spanish classics of Jamón Ibérico (free-range oak forest ham) and Mediterranean favourites of a grilled catch of the day with onions and garlic. This might just be your next favourite place.
55 Keong Saik Rd, Tel: 6221 0522
Opening hours: (Tue-Thur) 11.30am-2.00pm, 6pm-10pm, (Fri-Sat) 11.30am-2pm, 6pm-late
An exciting reopening of Four Season's flagship restaurant, One-Ninety is all about paying homage to the Asian heritage. Adorned with Peranakan tiles and making use of light and natural colours in its decoration, provençal cuisine is given an Asian twist with its signature menu items. Consider us intrigued to see how Asian flavours would go hand in hand with the French cooking.
190 Orchard Blvd, Tel: 6831 7250
Opening hours: (Mon-Sat) 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm, (Sun) 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm
Yet another chic dining venue to pop up in Telok Ayer, 51 SOHO serves more than just your usual F&B offerings. Moreish breakfast items such as overnight oats or scrambled eggs in a croissant; one bowl meals that are made up of the food pyramid proportions; and a custom-built bar that pours you drinks drawn from cross-cultural references. A menu for all occasions? We'll take that.
51 Telok Ayer St, Tel: 9755 1058
Opening hours: (Mon-Fri) 8am-11pm, (Sat) 10am-11pm, (Sun) 10am-10pm
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