Where to eat and what’s new in Singapore: yi by Jereme Leung, Kin by Damian D’Silva, and Ichiran’s pop-up in Singapore
Where we dined this week...
yi by Jereme Leung
The symbolic quarters of Raffles Hotel Singapore reopened recently — with many exciting F&B appointments like La Dame de Pic and Alain Ducasse's invasion to the hotel's Bar and Billiards Room. Of course, there's also yi by Jereme Leung, which happens to be the only Chinese restaurant in Raffles Hotel Singapore. Touted to be a vanguard of Chinese cuisine, Leung made his bones internationally (although being half-Singaporean) and after 17 years of multiple establishments chocked up worldwide, he finally unveils a stunning space in Singapore that centers itself on contemporary Chinese cuisine. Of course, yi, which means art, has its many fixtures here. Especially that breathtaking entrance cascading to the main dining area, which takes diners through a beautiful installation of a thousand handcrafted and individually strung floral strands. Despite eschewing the stereotypes of round tables and lazy Susans in exchange for square tables and cosy booths, the fare stresses on preserving tradition and that special taste of home. Drinking snacks like Sichuan spicy chicken with the real kicker of luncheon meat cubes set the scene, while cold plates like an elaborate display of cucumber sliced in a hundred cuts fell a little short. Turns out, a simple cucumber vinaigrette salad can be appreciated without all that finesse, which is what we would have preferred. Also a grand selection of soups can be easily procured here — from gingered duck soup to hot and sour concoctions — choose your fancy, knowing well that all ingredients are on a premium pedestal. While nothing is plated perfectly (save the trouble of your phones eating before you), there's the whole memory of gathering together and digging your chopsticks all in a messy plate of great grub. Like the beef cheeks, perfectly braised in sorghum grains and wine, and roping in other indulgences like tendon and oxtail bits within. Press pause on that keto diet, a steaming bowl of rice is absolutely mandatory to complete the dish. —JS
Hero dish: Beef cheeks with tendon and oxtail
Estimated calorie count: 444
#03-02 Raffles Arcade, 328 North Bridge Rd
Opening hours: 11.30am-1.30pm, 6.15pm-9.15pm
One can find plenty of heart and homely fare nestled within French bistro Summerhill. The humble alfresco seating is at best, comforting and set in ease — almost like dining in a friend's outdoor lawn, when met with chef-owner Anthony Yeoh's personal trophy wall of botanicals. Then comes a menu that strays from the stifling routine flavours that typically identify with a French restaurant. New additions like creamy curried mussels stole the show — bearing a winning broth of assam, rempah, curry powder, and tamarind working their individual strengths to cream and white wine. It was punchy like how a curry should be, gracing plump mussels (which happens to be from Tasmania Spring Bay). To clean the plate, soak it up with a basket of fries or toasty baguette slices. Grilled cheese sandwiches are also a fun affair at Summerhill — with a rotating stack like the French onion number. Basically, helming all the makings of a hearty French onion soup. Summerhill's iteration lies on the sweeter side, with an onion jam confit, gruyere cheese, capers, and thyme between crisp sourdough. Of course, if you love your red meat, cut yourself a piece from the wagyu Tajima striploin here. With a cut this outstanding, it's hard to actually go wrong. In the case of doing it justice, the soft tender slab is paired immaculately with porcini cream sauce, mustard, and truffle fries on the side. To make the meal a little less guilt-inducing, opt for the tomato salad — the crunchy bite is juicy and fresh, while mashing well with creamy ricotta and butter-fried capers. Lastly, always save room for that 72% dark chocolate tart, peppered with sea salt. Intense cocoa is always a good idea, especially when met with a buttery flaky crust. —JS
Hero dish: Creamy curried mussels
Estimated calorie count: 330
106 Clementi Street 12 #01-62, Tel: 6251 5337
Opening hours: (Tues-Fri) 12pm-3pm, 5pm-10pm, (Sat-Sun) 11.30am-4pm, 5pm-10pm
Cassia's Winter menu
It's hard to ever leave Cassia on a bad note. The Cantonese restaurant at Capella Singapore stuns with its refined furnishings (credits to acclaimed interior designer Andre Fu) and retains every diner here with a consistent delivery of sophisticated dishes. Ringing in Winter, the seasonal menu (under the expert hands of executive chef Lee Hiu Ngai) lends inspiration from the Chinese character of fresh (鲜) — when taken apart, read as a fish and a lamb. And while it's pretty explanatory to which ingredients are set to be the mains, there are always the others who shine just as brightly — if not better. Starting from the dim sum platter — where you'll find pillowy charcoal buns concealing strips of perfectly marinated Hokkaido pork and black truffle and roasted boneless duck paired with fresh mango and a tart dressing. The techniques of creating a dish is steeped in Cantonese roots, with the occasional weave of influences from other regions. Speaking of steeped in roots, a double-boiled soup at Cassia should always be on the agenda, if not you might need to question your priorities. Ours came in a piping bowl of braised seafood soup with dried scallop and chives. A laborious broth that took eight hours, its verdict sat on the lighter side, which was almost proof that all flavour came from the ingredients and eschewed other elements like salt or soya sauce. The cod came next — baked and adorned with bonito sauce and seasonal greens. However, the decadent slab of fish might have fared better without the over-dousing of sauce, that bore sharp, tangy notes within. Chef Lee's treatment of the lamb turned out to be the real surprise — the lamb chop was deep-fried in a spiced batter, and stuffed with fish paste. While everything was spot-on on texture and flavour with the choice of the fry, the inclusion of the fish paste did feel a little foreign and out of place. A highlight that paid off in the dish had to be its barbecue sauce, which embodied 13 different spices including a main one — cardamom, that gave the dish the outlying note it needed. —JS
Hero dish: Deep-fried lamb chop stuffed with fish paste
Estimated calorie count: 292
1 The Knolls, Capella Singapore, Tel: 6591 5045
Opening hours: 12pm-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10.30pm
Where we're looking to dine...
Ichiran Ramen pop-up
Arguably the most popular ramen franchise, Ichiran, is finally coming to Singapore in the form of a pop-up at Takashimaya's Japan Food Matsuri this October. We're excited to finally see them here, even if they will only be serving their "New York Limited" instant packs at $12 a bowl, without any boiled eggs or pork slices. When it comes down to it, we'll take what we can get.
Takashimaya Square, B2 From 3 October to 20 October.
Previously helming the kitchen at heritage restaurant Folklore, chef Damian D'Silva is moving on — to his next chapter at private members' club Straits Clan. Apart from cooking up Eurasian and Peranakan flavours he is best known for in Kin, we're excited to hear that he'll incorporating Chinese, Malay, and Indian recipes passed down from his grandfather as well. Currently, the restaurant is only offering its preview menu until 28 September, and will be opening in October. Our advice is to either be a member, or find a friend who's an existing member at Straits Clan to leech on.
L1 Straits Clan Lobby, 31 Bukit Pasoh Rd, Tel: 6320 9180