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We’ve just launched this year’s edition of our annual dining guide, Top Tables, at the start of the month. While thumbing through the best 100 restaurants in Singapore can be daunting, we thought we’d make it easier by listing our top 10 that are truly worth your time, money and calories.
The most exciting opening of 2017 is Brazilian Chef Ivan Brehm’s fine dining brainchild. We’ve been fans of Brehm since his tenure at Bacchanalia (even before it was awarded its first Michelin star). Now that he’s launched his own place in the CBD, we couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s a gorgeous, intimate space with a striking marble chef’s table, dark wood and touches of turquoise.
On the food front, Brehm puts forth “crossroads cooking”, blending influences from cultures around the world to create standouts such as Acarajé and Vatapá—an Afro-Brazilian white pinto bean fritter with turmeric coconut sauce, bread and salted prawn vatapá. A thoughtfully crafted beverage program by Restaurant and Beverage Manager Matthew Chan and on-point service round out an amazing experience.
- Address: 72 Amoy St., 6221-4148. $$$$
It’s safe to say that no one does the down-home pleasures of grilled meat with the upscale ambience of a classic date night quite like Burnt Ends. It calls a shophouse in Chinatown home, with counter seating built around an open concept kitchen that essentially gives you front row seats from which to watch the chefs in action.
Headed up by Aussie Chef David Pynt, the always-changing menu here has long-standing signatures like the smoked quail egg with caviar, Burnt Ends sanger (stuffed with pulled pork) and onglet with bone marrow and burnt onions, cooked on three metal grills with adjustable heights and a custom-made brick and ceramic wood-burning oven. This is ballsy food at its finest, bold flavors executed perfectly.
- Address: 20 Teck Lim Rd., 6224-3933. $$$
We’ve known Chef Jason Tan as a culinary mastermind ever since Corner House first opened, so we are heartened to see global bodies like Asia’s 50 Best and the Michelin Guide have since caught on. This fine dining “gastro-botanica” restaurant amid the lush greenery in the Botanic Gardens impresses with its beautifully plated dishes. The sophisticated space is a worthy complement to the refined menu prepared with seasonal ingredients.
Don’t miss Tan’s homage to his favorite vegetable: Cevennes onion done four ways, where one of the renditions comes in the form of a tea. Desserts are divine, too.
- Address: E J H Corner House, Botanic Gardens, 1 Cluny Rd., 6469-1000. $$$$
A meal here comes with a hefty $450 price tag, but in this case, you get what you pay for. Expect a sublime European-influenced Japanese feast with exquisite creations using premium ingredients, such as grade nine wagyu and Hokkaido uni, in an understated, classy space complemented by top-notch, personalized service. In other words, this 10-course degustation menu is worth the splurge.
Hold your breath for noteworthy signatures like the botan shrimp with sea urchin and caviar, and the wagyu with wasabi and yuzu soy. Also remarkable is their sake list, with over 100 options including two developed specially for the restaurant.
- Address: #02-01 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Ave., 6688-8507. $$$$$
Inspired by and named after Chef Julien Royer’s grandmother, this bright contemporary French restaurant at the stately National Gallery caused a stir when it opened a few years ago, with foodies waiting for weeks to snag a table for one of its lunch or dinner degustations. Royer, of JAAN fame, brings bucolic sentimentality and gastronomic touches to his creations, most of which undergo constant changes, depending on the season.
There’s an inspiring wine list to complete your dining experience for those so inclined, as well as a Champagne cart if you fancy some bubbly.
- Address: #01-04 National Gallery Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Rd., 6385-0498. $$$$$
You can thank husband-wife duo Rishi Naleendra and Manuela Toniolo for this stellar modern Australian establishment in the CBD. While Cheek by Jowl has gotten the well-deserved attention of the Michelin Guide—it received its first star last year—we first noticed Naleendra during his stint at Maca several years ago.
The chef team cut their teeth in Sydney at the likes of Tetsuya, and the tasting menus draw on seasonal ingredients resulting in delightful flavor combinations such as Arctic char with fermented pear juice, buttermilk and green almonds, and kangaroo loin with wattleseed and burnt carrots. To go with Naleendra’s food is wife/Restaurant Manager Toniolo’s carefully curated wine collection, with an emphasis on organic and biodynamic offerings.
- Address: 21 Boon Tat St., 6221-1911. $$$
Just off Orchard Road, this homegrown establishment has been the toast of the town for years. In the capable hands of Executive Chef Sébastien Lepinoy, French fare is given a contemporary update. Think lobster mousse encased in black truffle accompanied by a classic fish bone sauce, and sea urchin soufflé́ with anise sauce and kristal caviar.
From impeccable service to homemade breads to sublime desserts by award-winning Pastry Chef Cheryl Koh, this is one of our favorite French restaurants in town. Plus, the wine list is outstanding. It’s hard to go wrong here, and that’s a very, very good thing.
- Address: #01-16 Shaw Centre, 1 Scotts Rd., 6733-2225. $$$$$
Photo credit: Kyoko Nakayama
Chef Shinji Kanesaka’s famous Edo-style sushi restaurant in Ginza has been so successful here that Singapore boasts not one but two outposts, our preferred choice being the one at The St Regis. The chef’s omakase special menu is the way to go—a veritable celebration of the freshest Japanese seafood and the finest culinary craftsmanship.
It’ll cost you a pretty penny, but it’s an incredible experience that’s well worth it. Book yourself a spot at the black-and-beige, minimalist sushi counter (just follow the pebbled path leading you in). Be sure to call on the impressive sake selection on hand to complete your meal.
- Address: The St Regis Singapore, 29 Tanglin Rd., 6884-823. $$$$$
In case the name wasn’t a dead giveaway, Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck is all about its namesake. The ultra crispy, traditionally roasted Peking Duck is second to none in this town. Just don’t forget to order it in advance. This tastefully decorated, fancy Chinese restaurant has another branch at Asia Square, but we always find ourselves at the one in Orchard.
It is also a sure bet for dim sum, as well as other dishes like the baby lobster baked with salted egg yolk and sautéed crab claw with preserved olives and shallots. They’re particularly proud of their Yangzhou-style cold appetizers. Order a few of these to kick off what will surely be a memorable feast.
- Address: #05-42/45 Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd., 6732-7838. $$
We’re just going to come right out and say it—Bakalaki is the best Greek restaurant in town, hands down. Set in a picturesque venue reminiscent of the Mediterranean, this is a welcome addition to the Tiong Bahru neighborhood and Singapore’s dining scene. The vibe is convivial, the service is friendly and the food is spot on.
Executive Chef Spiros Palaiologos takes pride in creating authentic Greek cuisine using products directly imported from Greece. Order up stellar examples such as taramosalata (cod roe spread), pan-seared feta cheese dressed with honey and sesame seeds, and grilled octopus with lemon, oregano and Bakalaki extra virgin olive oil. You’re welcome.
- Address: 3 Seng Poh Rd., 6836-3688. $$