Popular Hong Kong dim sum eatery Tim Ho Wan opens its first overseas outlet in Singapore.
The concept: PS. Cafe’s first Asian offering was born from partners Philip Chin and Peter Teo’s fond memories of westernized Chinese food while abroad. The result’s a stylish establishment in a colonial house, think jet black ceiling fans, old school marble tables and red-and-black rattan chairs.
What to expect: Aside from classics like sweet & sour pork ($22), with the option of swapping to chicken ($19), snapper ($24) or even king prawns ($26), and sesame seed-crusted General Tso's Chicken Drumlets ($21), you’ll also find contemporary items such as steamed tofu and snapper ‘lasagna’ ($19) in black bean sauce. There’s an impressive list of cocktails—shaken, muddled or stirred—too, including Coolie’s Cooler ($19), spiked with Pimm’s and Wenjun baijiu.
The verdict: Although prices are a little on the steep side, this is currently the only restaurant in Singapore that fully embraces the notion of Anglo Chinese fare—yes, fortune cookie included—complemented by mean drinks in attractive surrounds.
The concept: Chocolate-toned wood accents, comfy booth seats and an open-concept kitchen give this slick, contemporary take on the all-American diner—which threw open its doors two months ago along happening North Canal Road—a distinctly laidback and casual feel. Just don’t come expecting a sharing concept despite the name.
What to expect: Helmed by chef and owner Ryan Jetté, comfort food dominates the menu with goods like burgers (from $14), lobster mac and cheese gratin ($20) and prawns and polenta ($18), a twist on shrimp and grits. Jetté’s also done time at Thomas Keller's The French Laundry (TFL), alluded to in more sophisticated plates such as torchon of foie gras ($20) with strawberries and balsamic reduction; something no longer available at TFL since the foie gras ban in California.
The verdict: Generous portions of well-executed, wallet-friendly food, not to mention $12 two-course lunch sets, what’s not to like?
The concept: NYC’s proving a real muse for young entrepreneurs in Singapore. Case in point: East 8. This joint draws influence from East Village’s Eighth Street—once an alternative culture and tattoo parlor hub in the 1980s but now a somewhat gentrified Little Tokyo—and serves unabashedly Asian fusion tapas in an industrial chic Manhattan loft-style space.
What to expect: As a nod to the street’s Japanese influence, choose from sashimi like hamachi with caviar ($15) or small plates such as soy yuzu Argentine tenderloin ($20) and miso Chilean sea bass with shimeji mushrooms ($23). Rounding out the menu is a compact list of beers, sakes, wines and cocktails, including sake-based concoction Soho Noho ($18) with cucumber and passion fruit.
The verdict: If you’re in the mood for light bites and after-work drinks, this laidback eatery is just the ticket.
The concept: Another newbie that’s taken its cue from New York is this spot; the name’s a reference to the cross street of Fordham and Grand in the Bronx back in the prohibition-era. Fashioned after a speakeasy—look out for discreet signage and number 43 above a wooden door on Craig Road—this cozy, low-key establishment’s decked out in dark wood, brown leather couches and the requisite dim lighting.
What to expect: A joint effort from Tron Young and Timothy Lim, who met during their stints in Tetsuya’s (Sydney), the kitchen dishes out items like ginger- and chilli-spiked lobster linguine ($28) and an effing brilliant French toast with rum sabayon ($15) during dinner service. The surprisingly substantial minute steak and fries ($20), only available for supper, is real bang for your buck. Thanks to Young’s background, cocktails also put up a particularly strong showing; try the unusual Le Café Cocktail ($16). There’s an easy-drinking wine list of 100 under $100 to boot, with prices starting from $50 a bottle. Plus, they’re open till 3am.
The verdict: Whether you’re true blue boozehound or just after a satisfying meal, you’ll be well catered for here. The attentive, well-informed wait staff make any experience here a truly fantastic one.
The concept: Moving things towards the west coast is this recent arrival on the dining scene, backed by culinary heavyweight Cat Cora—the first and only female Iron Chef of Iron Chef America fame. Housed in Marine Life Park’s S.E.A. Aquarium, Cora’s restaurant here is all about using sustainably-sourced seafood.
What to expect: True to Cora’s signature style, Ocean Restaurant puts forth Californian-Mediterranean seafood-heavy fare. Think light, fresh flavors in the form of habanero-mandarin glazed salmon with Meyer lemon cous cous ($46) and sakura shrimp risotto with morels, ikura (salmon roe) and black truffle butter ($28); great when paired with house wines like an easy-drinking Penfolds Chardonnay (from $9/glass, $45/bottle).
The verdict: The food and ambiance is pleasant enough, but what makes any meal here really special is the amazing view of the ocean gallery’s marine life in action; expect to pay a premium for the novelty.
The concept: Brought to you by American-born Howard Lo, the man behind Standing Sushi Bar, Lo's latest 80-seat industrial chic offering houses a bar, as well as an indoor and alfresco dining area that overlooks Orchard Road.
What to expect: American interpretations of Japanese grub, with a modern twist. Forgo the usual suspects such as sushi (from $6) and sashimi (from $12) in favor of items like California don rice bowls with avocado, tobiko, cucumber, crab stick and mayo ($15), accompanied by miso soup and salad, or the Trickster Cheesesteak ($12), a riff on the Philly cheesesteak with yakiniku beef, onions, mushrooms and melted cheddar cheese in a butterfly bun. Be sure to give their house-made shrubs (fruit vinegars; $2) a shot; we suggest spiking soda (or your poison of choice) with flavors like pineapple and grape, blueberry and kiwi for zing.
The verdict: A good, relaxed pit stop to refuel or wind down at while you’re in town. Oyster fans should take advantage of their "happiest oyster hour" which sees freshly-shucked Hiroshima molluscs going for $1 a pop with any drink from 5-8pm daily, while martinis will set you back $10. They also do weekday lunch sets (from $10).
See more American restaurants in Singapore.