Where to eat and what's new in Singapore: Meatsmith Little India, Tempura Oji, Rebel Rebel, and more
Where we dined this week...
Meatsmith Little India
This gem of a restaurant along Campbell Lane needs no introduction. Helmed by head chef Kurt Sombero, Meatsmith Little India pretty much sings its own tune, apart from a shared love for meats and the grill just like its other outlet down on Telok Ayer. A revamped menu sees a more ambitious gamble on flavour with indigenous spices from India drummed down by techniques that have yet to be taken on here. Snacks like fresh oysters came swimming in a pool of punchy cinnamon tomato gazpacho and heightened by roasted shallots, turmeric pickled onions, lightly smoked cloves and curry leaf oil to finish. Then, a paper thin papadum slathered with smoked crème fraiche, a spiced house rub and garnished with orange drops of ikura and tobiko — a smoky, savoury burst with every bite. While the veal brisket chapatis might not be what any traditional Punjabi would be expecting, stave off the technicalities and come with an open mind when dining at Meatsmith. The veal was smoked perfectly and seasoned alongside chipotle and pickled beetroot within a warm chapatti wrap. That's the pay-off in experimentation, as played out in the foie gras turmeric doughnuts that followed after. A sweet riff off the typical doughy spheres with a slab of foie gras to steal the show. We wouldn't have minded for a heavier dose of turmeric — just to see where it would take us. Of course, go big on the meats here — always. Whether you take to beef or lamb, each are lip-smackingly charred with a rub that comes on heady and matched with a dip restrained with heat and a tad bit of tartness. To veer into something a little different from the orders at this meat stop, call for the crispy soft shell crab, which sits atop a prawn curry bisque and livened by a side of herb salad and smoked yoghurt. Our one gripe? More bisque, please. With a sauce this good, we love dunking just about anything inside — even our fingers.
21 Campbell Lane, Tel: 9625 9056
Opening hours: (Mon) Closed, (Tues-Fri) 5pm-11:45pm, (Sat-Sun) 11.30am-11.45pm
Modern izakayas are a sighting that will never go out of style here on our shores. It could be the allure of Japanese culture or how delicious their grub is, because correct us if we're wrong but it's hard to find an address here that serves up lacklustre teppanyaki. Tempura Oji is the hot chick down on Keong Saik and like every other Japanese gastrobar, it's dim and enshrined with the token Japanese ornament (the fake sakura blooms stood out most for us). But grilled skewers aren't exactly the specialty here, most come here for the tempura, which abides by Dr. Fry technology — a healthier way of fry by cutting down the oil content while retaining the crisp factor. Spam fries and the mixed platter would be a good way to start off the night. And hungry diners can order moreish bowls like their ramen selection and donburi bowls. We adored their Tempura udon, silky and al dente in a light dashi broth, and on the heavier side, the Shio Tonkotsu ramen, holding up skinny noodles immersed in a full-bodied pork bone broth. Draft beers? You'll be spoiled for choice here, along with their enticing tipples from a brown sugar whiskey sour to a glass spiked with sesame oil. But this isn't just all there is to the intimate space. Through a rabbit hole cleverly disguised as a beer fridge, is a doorway leading to the secret bar and club, titled Brown Sugar. And just like that, we stepped in to a venue entirely different from where we just had our dinner — exposed brick walls, a DJ console, and a disco ball levitating above. And yes, we finally found the bar where all our cocktails were churned out. It's safe to say, this isn't just any modern izakaya...
51 Kreta Ayer Rd, Tel: 9142 8366
Opening hours: (Mon-Thurs) 6pm-11pm, (Fri) 6pm-1am, (Sat) 6pm-2am, (Sun) Closed
Where we're looking to dine...
Expect to find terroir-driven winemakers and producers coupled with abundant selections of artisanal wines at our city's new wine bar Rebel Rebel. Stocking over 200 bottles of burgundies, champagnes, rosé wines, skin contacts, whites, reds and rare old vintages, here's where you can have a boozy night of fun and even new insights to take home —that's if the alcohol didn't get to you first.
14 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Tel: 6224 5466
Opening hours: (Mon) Closed, (Tues-Sat) 5pm-12am, (Sun) Closed
Light is the center of all things in this new 70-seater restaurant and bar stationed at the corner of Boat Quay. Patrons are invited to relax, dine and ease into the comforting Scandinavian-themed atmosphere whilst sipping on their prismatic natured cocktails. Distilled through culinary methods, their delectable cocktail ingredients offer palate appealing flavours such as Brew, Milk, Fruit, and many more. That's not all — when it comes to the food, the recipes are specifically catered to complement the cocktails with modern European finesse. One of them, a traditionally aged chicken coated with saltwater, ginger and finished off with a smoking hot applewood grill sesh.
50 South Bridge Road, #01-00, Tel: 8921 3818
Opening hours: (Mon-Thurs) 5.30pm-2am, (Fri & Sat) 5.30pm-3am