Inspired by American-style burrito joints in San Francisco's Mission District, Muchachos slings Mexican eats from noon til midnight. Located on Keong Saik Road where all the cool kids hang... you'll find Burnt Ends by Perth chef David Pynt, the Singapore iteration of Potato Head and Spanish tapas joint Esquina.
Update Nov 2017: this bar is now closed
Inspired by the Speakeasy bars during the Prohibition Era, The Library is a bit of a secret. You even need a password to get in. When you peer through the glass door at 47 Keong Saik Road (Singapore) all you see is a bookshelf adorned with books on pop art and architecture. Behind that bookshelf, is a secret chamber flanked by mirrors tinged in red.
The door swings open and you feel like you have stepped into a steampunk version of the roaring 20s. Drowned in music, the copper bolted bar takes the spotlight and thirst overcomes you as you take in the visual feast.
Former film student, Stefan Ravalli, is the brains behind this hidden bar adding his own style of assault of the dramatic to the Singapore scene. We were lucky to have Stefan behind the bar that night and tried to order everything on the menu.
'We're not bartender poets. We can't juggle.
We're not mixologists.
But we do love making drinks.
We want to put the fun back into cocktails.
All our drinks are made with the finest Singapore has to offer; hand-squeezed juices, fresh fruit and herbs, quality liquor we know
and love, and homemade ingredients;
all served up with fancy garnishes and unusual presentations.
We take our drinks seriously so you don't have to.'
Ice Queen - an aromatic collision of apple brandy, Yellow Chartreuese and Amaro Montenegro. Made zesty with equal parts lime and a dash of aromatic bitters. You can have all the turkish delight you want.
A Hollywood old fashioned from back when drinks were drinks - popcorn-infused Elijah Craig 12 year bourbon stirred slowly with sweet toffee apple syrup and a dash of 3D bitters. All done in one take, like a real pro.
We Speak No Americano
We took the Negroni back to it's Yankee roots; Belvedere Cytrus vodka, shaken with Lillet blanc and Aperol, a lick of our Electric butters and an injection of fizz.
White calvados and Aperol, sneaking around with a touch of lemon, house-made raspberry grenadine, egg white and yoghurt powder. Served straight up with a shocking relevation.
Barsol pisco and fresh passionfruit, teamed with aromatic chamomile tea and our spiced pineapple shrub. Served long with a smoking passionfruit 'egg', pineapple leaves, mint sprigs, and all manner of tiki overkill.
Manuka honey, vodka, fresh cucumber and lime, spiked with orange bitters, roseate, and a slug of our house ginger beer. Served in a copper mug with mint sprigs and cucumber.
Botanically-modified Junmai sake is given a lift with watermelon shrub, Strega and chili. Pressurised with CO2 in our favourite high-tech shaker and paired with a side of kimchi. You'd hardly recognise it.
The original restaurant opened in the 80s and now boasts a Michelin star. Its success has seen Bingyi Yang and his wife open branches of their authentic Taiwanese restaurant all over the world. Din Tai Fung's signature dish xiao long baos are made in the trademark open concept kitchen. You can watch hungrily as the chefs keep busy with the mountains of dumplings ordered each day.
Din Tai Fung
26 Sentosa Gateway
We have been coming to the Empress Road hawkers ever since I was little. My nanna has lived in the same complex between Farrer and Queens Road since my mother was a free spirited 20 year old wanting to travel the world. It was only fitting that our last hawker meal be here for nostalgia's sake.
I was saddened to see that so many stalls had closed and that it was not the bustling marketplace from my memories. Built in the 70s, Empress is not looking as majestic as she used to. Whilst the surrounds may be a little lacklustre there is nothing gloomy about the people who keep the fires burning, some dishing up local food for over 30 years.
We bid farewell to Singapore with a healthy serving of rojak, chicken rice, curry puffs, bao, fried rice and greens eaten in the comfort of my Nanna's little corner of the world.
Empress Road Market & Food Centre
Blk 7, Empress Road, Singapore 260007
'Waku Ghin' is derived from two Japanese words ‘Waku’ meaning to arise (like water pouring forth from a hot spring) and 'Ghin' meaning 'silver'. This striking metal is Chef Tetsuya Wakuda's favourite colour and it is highlighted throughout his distinguished restaurant at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
The main dining room which enjoys the exclusive view of the Singapore skyline holds a mere 25 seats. The exquisite 10-course degustation menu is considered amongst the best of the world. Tetsuya's famed degustation will set you back around $S936 ($728) for two people with exotic dishes such as sea urchin and abalone.
Our last night in Singapore called for a slightly less indulgent evening so we treated my sister and her boyfriend to pre-dinner oysters and cocktails in The Bar at Waku Ghin. The Bar offers the same impeccable service with an astounding selection of 85 handcrafted cocktails.
The oysters were dressed with a simple mix of rice vinegar, olive oil and ginger and were served on ice. Their seemingly gigantic size did not compromise the delicate flavour, each bursting with a briny taste of the ocean. At $S72 per half dozen ... thank god they were stunning!
After a weekend of drinking countless bespoke cocktails we each selected a classic. Ryan ordered his signature man-swig Negroni, Kane opted for a Whiskey Old Fashioned, Vanessa went totally left field and ordered bloody mary and I chose a espresso martini just for kicks.
As for Waku Ghin ... I will see you next time.
Exquisite Chinese fine dining with reasonably priced dim yum.
Crystal Jade Palace Restaurant
91 Orchard Road #04-19
gee Ann City, Singapore
el: +65 6735 2388
Update Nov 2017: this restaurant is now closed
Singapore as been struck down with Latin American fever. Joining the ranks of fellow South American eateries, Lucha Locha and La Barra, Sur swung its doors open in November 2012. Sur embraces the open kitchen/bar concept making the brightly lit space both warm and inviting. Shelves line the walls brimming with South American ingredients and the bright mosaic tables welcome you to take a seat. Peruvian-Venezuelan owner, Alejandro Luna, focuses on Nuevo Latino cuisine, his creations are traditional South American recipes reminiscent of his childhood.
At Sur you will find fiercely fresh and flavoursome cuisine making it the perfect spot for a light lunch or intimate dinner with friends.
anchito - Fresh Orange, Mint, Ginger Beer
Papelón con Limón - Lime Juice with Raw Cane Sugar Pulp
Arepas - queso, shredded beef stew, pulled pork
eviche de Salmón - Salmon, Orange Leche de Tigra, Poached Taro Root, Red Onions, Jalapeños, Cilantro
lfajores - oft, delicate traditional cookies
13 North Canal Road
Tel: 6222 2897
Finding the best chicken rice in Singapore was pretty high on the agenda. Just before I left for Singapore I asked the twitterverse where to eat. My good friend Abstract Matt just said "Everywhere! and Tian Tian for chicken rice". To avoid the "whaaaat you didn't go there you idiot" that would have ensued upon my return, it was the first hawker stop on the chicken rice hunt.
We ordered a whole chicken and four serves of soup and rice. The chicken was succulent and white with a deliciously thick layer of gelatinous skin. Served with tasty rice and an addictive lime chilli sauce. Hands down best chicken rice ever. I wish we had eaten here more than once!
Tian Tian Haianese Chicken Rice
Maxwell Road Food Centre
1 Kadayanallur St, #01-10 S06918
Old Airport Road Food Centre kept popping up in “oh you must eat here” conversations. My trusty hawker guide ieatishootipost led me here for it's famous Wan Ton Mee.
Hwa Kee Hougang Famous Wanton Mee
ld Airport Road Food Centre
1 Old Airport Stall #01-02 S390019
Wanton mee $
A line of people waiting patiently is a pretty good indication that there is something worth waiting for. Fatty Cheong touted as the best char siew in Singapore is one of these places. After stalking ieatishootipost walking around like a hawker nerd with Dr Leslie Tay's book under my arm, I literally scrambled into line.
Fatty Cheong has been around for 15 years with all blogs pointing towards it. The rich marinade of soya sauce, sugar, oyster sauce and salted bean paste lovingly caramelizes the meat. A charcoal oven lends a smoky flavour with the pork available in either a lean or marbled version. I don’t know if it was the charred bits of fat that melted with every bite or the fact that it was only $4. Either way, I would definitely line up again.
ABC Brickworks Food Centre
6 Jalan Bukit Merah
You can find bao on every corner in Singapore, in cafes, street stalls, in restaurants and even at the 7/11. They are so hit and miss so it is refreshing to discover a stallwith homemade boa. For 70c a pop Uncle serves up a selection of bao including lotus paste and red bean. We had our hearts on the char siew bao . The buns were perfectly soft and fluffy, the char siew juicy making it the perfect marriage. So good we went back for seconds. The best bit was watching their nimble hands lovingly shape the boa and steaming it fresh. There is nothing like homemade boa so if you can find a stall making their own … eat there!
Guang Ji Bao Zai
BC Brickworks Food Centre
Jalan Bukit Merah
A steamboat is the beating heart of many family meals in Singapore. I love that my mum reverts back to saying lah and speaking malay as soon as we are in Nanna's kitchen. Christmas time in Singapore ... you can't get much better. Makan!