Where to eat and what's new in Singapore: Junior at Ann Siang Hill, Tenya, Operation Dagger's pop-up and more
Where we dined this week...
Junior at Ann Siang Hill
Since its debut, Junior The Pocket Bar, at Tanjong Pagar, albeit small, has proven to be a driving force in the cocktail scene on our shores. For starters, given its unpredictability with a rotational thematic fit-out, the bar has steadily retained a loyal community — rallied from unexpected riffs and dangerously good cocktails. And now, with a change of address comes a slightly different approach on the term, "pocket bar" From what used to be ten seats, is a cosy hideout at Ann Siang Hill housing 25 people. As far as rotating concepts go, that still remains a cheeky aspect of the bar. But Junior will now hold a core identity, which allows for fan favourites or rather their classics to always have a place on the menu. Currently, the new address is alluring at best. In a dim den lined with futuristic looking panels, there's a nod to Japan — to match up to the current theme, Washi. Inspired by the drinking holes in Shinjuku Golden Gai, origami cocktails stand to be the highlight here. The Crane, while sweet, holds a firm balance of lemon and a scented floral vermouth to round up the mouthfeel. For something a little alternative, go for the Panda. Those who look for woody, nutty flavours might get a kick from this. Essentially Junior's attempt to imagine what bamboo would taste in a drink. And while the focal point would always be on their cocktails, the snacks and bites are as stellar as they come. Starting from a simple rendition of a Japanese taco — raw marinated octopus in calamansi and wasabi rolled in a single seaweed. Props to the chili padi inside for added heat. A sure winner to save your stomach for had to be the mala hot fried chicken sandwich with Szechuan sauce, purple cabbage slaw, and pickled pineapple. A heady combo with the numbness restrained, just so other flavours could come through from a single bite. In an added creative arm, the extensive menu now comprises of culinary cocktails. Where your drink comes with a gourmet element. Since one would or rather should, have a full meal at Junior, sweeten your goodbyes here with a sparkling bubbly. Tiny Bubbles come spiked with peach and strawberry and is meant to savour mid-chew on a chocolate strawberry. —JS
6 Ann Siang Hill, Tel: 8121 1462
Opening hours: (Mon-Sat) 5.30pm-10.30pm
Tempura Tendon Tenya at Orchard Central
Dawning from the Land of the Rising Sun, this latest tempura spot isn't a stranger to those who know their battered foods. The No. 1 tendon chain from Japan, Tempura Tendon Tenya, has occupied a humble corner of Orchard Central, making it all the more easier for you to drop by in the midst of your shopping ventures. Through the years, Tenya has earned a well-attained reputation for authentic, quality and value-for-money meals — something we can appreciate. It may be set up in a humble corner of Orchard Central, but its interior is one that boasts technological superiority: from noodle boiler machines to robot waitering services, much of their internal operations are heavily automated to increase service quality and efficiency. Once seated, you can order your desired choice of tempura set (or even refreshing appetizers for that matter). If you'd like to get a good variant of tempura types, we'd recommend the signature Tenya Tendon or Premium Tendon Set. In one bowl, you'll be treated to a delightful range: deep-fried Black Tiger prawns, squid from Japan, sweet Japanese pumpkin, and local french beans are just some of the various ingredients that you might find in your bowls. The tempura served is crisp and fresh, yet made slightly soggy (in every good way possible) when glazed with their specialty Tare sauce. They also offer a Mushroom Vegetables Tempura option; a perfect pick for those with dietary restrictions. Every set is accompanied by some warm miso soup, and a bowl of soba or udon served either hot or cold. You can also request for less noodles or less rice in your don, if you think the portion might be too big for you to finish. The soba is light and firm whilst the udon is a slightly heavier option with its chewy and velvety texture. If it were up to us, we'd recommend the udon with its accompanying hot soup — a fragrant broth that uses dashi stock from mackerel, sardines and kelp, mixed with a well-balanced blend of brewed soy sauce. To end it all of, the Hokkaido Soft Serve is a must-have dessert option; at just $2 you'll be treated to a smooth and creamy milk soft serve in a wafer cone that makes it easy to have on the go. — AT
181 Orchard Rd, #B1-01 Orchard Central, Tel: 6509 6838
Opening Hours: 11am-10pm
Christmas at Capella Singapore
It might only be October, but it's never too early to start planning for Christmas. After all, we're no doubt in need of some form of joy and uplifting in our lives — especially after the downturns that occured this year. Rekindle the spirit of Christmas at Capella Singapore, with a menu of lavish dishes that'll set you in the festive mood. A bowl of warm vichyssoise velouté, rich and comforting, sets the stage. Liquid joy in a bowl, the soup is velvety smooth down the throat, with none of the overwhelmingly rich mouthfeel one might find in creamy soups. Pan-seared Hokkaido scallops submerged in the soup are slightly browned, and adds a distinct depth of flavour to the soft leeks, tying the whole dish together perfectly. Next up, an extravagant seafood salad joins the party. The slight saltiness from the decadence of Oscietra caviar contrasts well against the sweetness of the Alaskan king crab and prawn gelée, with the textures playing immaculately together. For those who prefer an Asian twist to their Christmas affair, opt for the festive offering by Cassia — Capella's contemporary Chinese restaurant. The baked spare ribs served was succulent and sweet, with a glossy sheen owing to the champagne glaze. Of course, no Christmas would be complete without a classic turkey, and Capella's honey-rosemary brined turkey is the exact sort of turkey everyone hopes to savour during Christmas. None of that tough dryness that results in Christmas guests politely taking a piece only to sadly push it to the sides of their plates. With the chef's expertise, the slow-cooked turkey breast meat and confit leg is soft and tender, invoking proclamations of surprise and satisfaction. The turkey gravy, made from the bones of the turkey, was flavour gold — enhancing the meat with a seasoned touch. To round up, another Christmas classic — a mini Fluer de Sel log cake that's incredibly rich, moist and the quintessential for serious chocolate lovers. —CL
Capella Singapore's Christmas menu will be out in the coming weeks.
1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island, Tel: 6377 8888
Where we're looking to dine...
Min Jiang at Goodwood Park Hotel
Paying homage to traditional Cantonese and Sichuan dishes, Min Jiang has been one of Singapore's most established stalwarts of Chinese cuisine. Their newly refurbished space promises a rejuvenating dining experience, with a fresh and contemporary ambience, alongside all-new creations slated to debut on the menu.
22 Scotts Rd, Goodwood Park Hotel, Tel: 6730 1704
Opening Hours: (Mon-Sat) 11.30am -2.30pm, 6.30-10.30pm
The Dagger Lab at Straits Clan
Operation Dagger, one of the most avant-garde bars in the world — once on (or under) Ann Siang Hill — is rebranding and relaunching themselves, as The Dagger Lab at Straits Clan. Venturing into a refreshingly alternative presence, this time as a pop-up at Straits Clan come 1 December 2020, they are inviting their guests to get into the experimental spirit along with them. The Dagger Lab will also be welcoming active participation from the guests, when it comes to creating bespoke drinks for their new menu.