Where to eat and what's new in Singapore: The Butcher's Wife, Zafferano, The Masses 10th menu, and more

Where to eat and what's new in Singapore: The Butcher's Wife, Zafferano, The Masses 10th menu, and more

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Text: Anna Aye Janice Sim Cheryl Lai-Lim

Where we dined this week...


The gem of Ocean Financial Centre is none other than Zafferano, a fine-dining Italian restaurant in the heart of the CBD. Their new head chef Andrea de Paola is responsible for curating a menu and a la carte repertoire that demonstrates his culinary finesse developed over a decade. Starting off with the light Fegato D'oca, a delicate orange-cured foie gras, it's a work of art on a plate, with flavours like beetroot to contrast the vibrant raspberry vincotto. Next, scampi, or the grilled langoustine with white miso sauce and seasonally-sourced Italian bagna cauda (pink garlic) was given a nice nutty flavour with the addition of colourful toasted sesame seeds. Spaghetti with razor clams followed quickly after, served with Russian oscietra caviar and scented with bergamot. It was pasta that veered out of the comfort zone, while taking on a fragrant and of course, extravagant approach. Moving onto the mains, the clean flavour of the branzino, or seabass fillet, is the perfect springboard for heavier and richer flavours. Zucchini cream, sautéed zucchinis dressed with tarragon salmoriglio and orange zest paired well with the seasoned seabass. The second main was the Agnello — a smoky New Zealand lamb rack coated in a fine crumble of Bronte pistachios, which turned out to be less gamey than we expected. Its salt level was also deftly met with the earthiness of cured beetroots with the sweet and tangy borrettane onion. For dessert, a buffalo mozzarella cheesecake with Japanese strawberries was opped with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt flakes — a velvety and creamy finish worthy of seconds. —AA


10 Collyer Quay, Tel: 6509 1488
Opening hours: (Tues-Fri) 11.30am-3pm, 5.30pm-11.30pm, (Sat-Sun)12pm-3pm, 6pm-11.30pm

The Butcher's Wife

The age of gluten-free is indefinite as we know it; more than just a fleeting trend as The Butcher's Wife fronts the concept for two years now. What's different would probably be the public's stance, which means that you don't have to be gluten-allergic in order to enjoy a gluten-free meal. The stalwart bistro at Yong Siak ropes in a new face and head of the kitchen — Brazilian chef Mariana Campos D'Almeida for the tall order of serving up gut-friendly dishes, in accordance with her skills honed in Paris, her Brazilian roots, and her new home on our shores. Her weapon of choice? A good knack for wild fermentation, a process intrinsically linked with gluten-free diets. As far as snacks go, they make a striking first impression. Mini corn, scorched atop of a grill and teased with fermented black garlic mayo, catapulting the flavour points off the charts. Another dangerous (we mean this in the best way possible) morsel that won us over with the first bite, the dadinhos — stemming from a popular Brazilian street snack made out of tapioca and cheese. For starters, it's deep-fried and also accentuated with an Asian dip made out of local dragonfruit and assorted spices. Perfectly crisp while retaining a warm, chewy mush inside. A dish that didn't quite hit the mark happened to be one that encapsulated the restaurant: chef D'Almeida's very own goat cheese — made entirely from scratch. While it carries a long, arduous process (just ask the chef), the result was identical to Greek yoghurt, marked by a clever pairing of raw honey and buckwheat bread from local bakery Oh My Goodness! Don't miss the crispy pig ears here, sliced and marinated with paprika, red dates sauce, and pickled ginger flower, blanketed in a wild pepper leaf. A single bite of this number might just convince unbelievers of the exotic body part to think otherwise. As far as mains goes, nothing made a real impression to return for — perhaps the sweet potato gnocchi but only with the request to dial down on the salt level. We'd say: come for a tipple alongside the tantalising snacks and you'll leave slightly buzzed and rightfully sated. —JS


19 Yong Siak St, Tel: 6221 9307
Opening hours:  (Tues-Sun)11am-2.30pm, 6pm-8.45pm

Buona Terra

Housed within a bungalow, you might miss Buona Terra if the visit isn't intentional. The fine Italian establishment first emerged in 2012 and recently clinched its first Michelin star last year under the helm of resident chef Denis Lucchi. Now in phase two of the circuit breaker, we're chuffed to have made it just in time for summer. Seasonal produce remains to be an important fixture of Buona Terra; albeit a little more challenging now with import road blocks in lieu of a global pandemic, but with a steady stream of returning customers, there's nothing a little improvisation and trusty rapport can't solve. Although it might look that way, despite being Italian and well, a quote-unquote decadent place to secure a seat at the table, Buona Terra isn't your typical restaurant to only serve up lavish carbs and designer wines. A surprising amuse bouche ensued, the snail ragu. At Buona Terra, the common delicacy is soaked in a ragu before layered with the sabayon — an Italian dessert, but made savoury in a yolk emulsion spiked with four kinds of pepper then topped up with vermouth. And with the treatment of standout produce, chef Lucchi approaches each of his in an ovoid way. Setting the stage for the main stars, came the sea perch. Grilled over binchotan, the silky fish is steeped in a tomato-based broth, joined by French bouchot mussels, marjoram, micro greens, sun-dried tomatoes, and black olives. It's a piquant, kissed-by-the-ocean slurp that sets a prelude for what's to come. And we got to say, we came at an opportune time. Hands down, a loose risotto comprising of Acquerello grains — a unique product in itself, as it goes through a rigorous ageing and whitening process before landing in the chef's hands. This 7-year aged carnaroli rice is cooked in fish and prawn bisque, sun-dried tomato sauce, butter, squid ink, and brandy, then laid with a chargrilled carabinero prawn. For more flavour pulses, we scraped out the insides of its head for more juices to come through. It might have been the firm, perfect bite of each grain or the punctuated brine of the prawn in itself, but this was possibly the best risotto we had in a while. —JS

Buona Terra

29 Scotts Rd, Tel: 6733 0209
Opening hours: (Mon-Fri) 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm, (Sat) 6pm-10.30pm

Where we're looking to dine...

The Masses' 10th menu

Established by Singaporean chef Dylan Ong, The Masses undergoes its 10th menu change with a recharged focus on Southeast Asian twists to French classics. Diners at this Franco-Asian restaurant can indulge in new creations such as the Artichoke Barigoule "en croute", a traditional Provençal artichoke stew made with a Southeast Asian twist, or old favourites like the Claypot Angus Beef Cheek Bourguignon. There's now an omakase service that features a monthly change and some features of the regular menu. What we're really excited for? Their in-house baked goods such as sourdough, brioche, and country-style fig bread.

Petit Brioche

85 Beach Road, #01-02, Tel: 6266 0061
Opening hours: (Mon,Tue,Thu,Sun) 12pm-10.30pm, (Wed, Fri, Sat)12pm-12am, (Sun) 10.30am-10pm

Dumpling Darlings Circular Road

Tucked away in a shophouse on Circular Road, Dumpling Darlings long-awaited second outlet has finally opened. New highlights include the prawn and crab dumplings and their XO prawn noodles, which are exclusive to the new outlet. Not to worry, original sell-outs such as the spicy Sichuan dumplings, miso mushroom noodles, and Sichuan pork noodles have been retained on the menu as well.

Dumpling Darlings

86 Circular Road, Tel: 8889 9973
Opening hours: (Tues-Sat) 11.30am-3pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm