Where to eat and what's new in Singapore: Avenue 87, Pasta Bar, BAO by CÉ LA VI
Where we dined this week...
Right smack in the middle of buzzing wine and dine hub Tanjong Pagar, you'll find Avenue 87. Its name is a nostalgic nod to the childhood streets of the reputable chefs behind the new modern Asian cuisine restaurant. Situated on Amoy Street, the local shophouse space is rustic yet contemporary. And the food? In a nutshell, comforting. The longtime culinary friends — chef Glen Tay and chef Alex Phan — had desires to convey a sense of nostalgia for the food they had growing up in Singapore, whilst withholding an element of surprise that hints at the experimental spirit of our current times. Their 6-course tasting menu for dinner features a series of delectable dishes that bring contemporary twists to the comfort food we turn to every day. With the deep-fried chicken chips and a vegetarian kueh pie tee as starter snacks; both seem to be peranakan-inspired, taking hints of flavor from the typical ikan keropok and assam pedas dishes. The first course — the Norwegian salmon sashimi dish — is a refreshing one that allows the chefs to display their multifarious culinary experience gained from travelling the different parts of Asia. There's the crisp from the Vietnamese chips and crystal pear atop the sashimi typical in a sushi restaurant. The seabass and anchovy broth that follows, definitely hit home; hot soup is probably the epitome of comfort food so when it comes down to it, this peppery bowl of flavor did not disappoint. The next couple of mains — sambal octopus and lamb rack with rice and taro mash —gestured towards the local practices of dining, with the sambal octopus taking a top spot in our books. Not only did it bring back memories of good ol' BBQ-ed sambal stingray, the confit egg atop also leavened the seafood to a tee. To finish, the desserts were eclectic and one-of-a-kind, especially the coconut ice cream that was combined with an unexpected yet favorite local fruit — papaya — and pound cake crumble. The last dessert however, the Pisang No Goreng — pisang goreng that well, technically wasn't fried — did missed the mark. That being said, you'll leave thoroughly satisfied, with a renewed definition of a home-cooked meal.—AT
The 6-course tasting menu is available for dinner at $98++ per person.The 4-course tasting menu is available for dinner at $76++ per person.Wine pairing is also available at $50++ for 3 glasses, and $80++ for 5 glasses.
47 Amoy St, Singapore 069873
Opening Hours:11.30am-2.30pm for lunch, 5.30pm-10pm for dinner. Closed on Sundays.
Bao by CÉ LA VI
Tuck into special fusion baos with a sprawling bird's-eye view of the city from CÉ LA VI SkyBar. Arriving after a successful launch at CÉ LA VI Tokyo in 2019, Bao is a novel fast casual dining concept with a menu full of sapid offerings. Earlier last month, the concept served up their east-meets-west Bao burgers. House-made Bao buns are steamed before being seared on a hot cast-iron pan for a slight crisp interior and warm, soft exterior. To switch things up, the concept is now rolling out bite-sized versions of their popular Bao burgers. We kicked off with the mini Black Angus Beef BBQ Bao — black angus beef patty, crispy bacon, caramelised onions and cheddar cheese are wedged in between soft, pillowy buns, making for a savoury mix of texture. We followed it up with the Salted Egg — Crispy Prawn Bao, an appealing selection for lovers of local tze char. The crunch of the chilli cereal crumble prawn pairs favourably with the fluffy bun and ticks all the sensory points in the mouth. The salted egg aioli sauce complemented the prawns, adding a piquant touch to the tantalising local concoction. Next, the final tiny but mighty Bao — the Chicken Karaage with Wasabi Remoulade. The fried chicken in between the buns is simple, with the crumbly exterior providing a crisp crunch. The wasabi sauce, though, packs a strong pungent punch, so for fans of the green paste, this one's a shoo-in. Supplement your meal with a selection of hand-cut fries accompanied by complementing dips. Classic choices are the truffle fries with grated parmigiano and truffle dip and the BBQ fries with the spiced dip. The winning pairing for the night though, had to be the Furikake fries paired with wasabi aioli dip. The Japanese rice seasoning lends an umami taste to the fries, while the dip is fresh but not too sharp, highlighting the Furikake nicely. The combination of trendy Bao pairings definitely levels up a typical traditional bao affair, with the mini Baos making for perfect small bites with less of a hot mess. —CL
The mini Bao menu will officially launch in the upcoming few months.
1 Bayfront Avenue, Tower 3, Marina Bay Sands, Tel: 6508 2188
Opening hours: (Mon - Sat) 4pm - 10.30pm, (Sun) 12 - 9pm
When you're at Pasta Bar, you know exactly what you're there for. Handmade noodles are what they go by – daily with the essential ingredients that includes a variety of semolina and '00' flours, whole eggs, egg yolks, and water. No pasta is made alike here, and as with any other reputable pasta joint in Singapore, you're bound to find one that you have yet to discover. In their new menu to mark the season of Autumn (although who's really keeping track in 2020), fresh seasonal produce take centerstage. Like fresh, sweet figs joined with smoked whipped buffalo milk ricotta and parma ham, then finished off with aged balsamic. A divine combination with just the right amount of richness, pared back with the refreshing fruit. Another antipasti came in the form of Hamachi tuna, sliced like sashimi and dressed with orange oil, black salt, and a fennel and orange salad. It was a sharper tang than we expected, so perhaps a little more balance with the seasoning was needed. As for the braised veal tongue, the game did not make a striking impression especially with the tuna tomato sauce, which alluded to a powdery finish. To turn things around, the pastas came through. A delightful pumpkin tortelli — stuffed with pumpkin that's been well roasted with onions, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon. It's then pureed and mixed with cheese and amaretti to elevate the sweet spiced flavour. It's a dumpling that we could have had ten more of. Another homerun, the tagliolini in sea urchin cream, garnished with tobiko and chives. It's a simple, umami-based noodle to clinch the potential of a Pasta Bar signature. Fingers crossed on that thought. For something for heavy on the palate, the duck agnolotti is deftly dense with the main star of confit duck, gussied with porcini mushrooms, fresh shaved black truffle, butter, and duck jus. This is one dish best not to take on by yourself, or you could end up resenting it after. —JS
55, 01-05 Keong Saik Rd, Tel: 6222 0627
Opening hours: 12pm-3pm, 6pm-11pm
Where we're looking to dine...
Le Vin, Levain
Jumping onto the gut-friendly food trend is Le Vin, Levain. Spa Esprit's latest concept, essentially a sundown takeover of Tiong Bahru Bakery's Eng Hoon flagship, where you'll get a taste of minimal intervention wines and sourdough offerings — from loaves, to pizzas and waffles.
56 Eng Hoon Street, #01-70, Tel: 6220 3430
Opening hours: (Wednesday - Sunday) 6pm-9pm
Potato Head and 2AM
2am dessert bar, helmed by multi award-winning chef Janice Wong, is set to team up with the Studio 1939 bar team from Potato Head to deliver an indulgent evening of lush desserts and cocktails. Expect sweet treats and tipples lined up on the menu that will have you living the night up. Watch this space for further updates.
36 Keong Saik Road
Official dates to be announced soon.