Singapore’s amazingly diverse population means an equally global food scene, where breakfast can be dim sum, lunch can be Japanese and dinner can be rustic French. And then there are snacks aplenty at any of its world-famous hawker centers where adventures in street food is the name of the game. As the city celebrates its 50th birthday in 2015, the culinary options have never been richer. Here’s where to eat in the booming island nation now.
Cassia On Singapore’s island resort of Sentosa, the Chinese dining room at the Capella hotel is easily one of the city’s marquee restaurants. The stylish interiors, swathed in subtle black, beige and grey with the occasional Asian-inspired prints, set the stage for an unforgettable meal of Chinese classics with a twist. Highlights include the delightfully fluffy BBQ pork bun topped with rich truffles, and the steamed siu mai stuffed with minced pork and prawns and then garnished with a generous piece of abalone.
Pollen In any other part of the world, it’s hard enough to find a worth-it restaurant located near a tourist landmark. But in Singapore, one of the best kitchens in town is actually inside a highly popular new attraction. Set in Gardens by the Bay’s flower dome, Pollen is all about elegant dining. As popular with business groups as it is with families taking a sightseeing break, the elegant eatery has sophisticated interiors and puts innovative flourishes on typical Singaporean dishes. The deconstructed take on the traditional soup Ba Ku Teh is nothing short of inspired. The wine menu offers a vast selection that can keep oenophiles happy for hours.
Esquina Chef Jason Atherton (who won a Michelin star for his London restaurant Pollen Street Social) wanted to evoke the colorful vibe of the tapas bar in Spain with this casual, chic Chinatown eatery. The dining room is constantly buzzing with locals and expats who can’t get enough of his beautifully plated chorizo madeleines, poached oysters with seaweed dashi and the eye-catching Mini Spanish Breakfast, in which Atherton serves mushroom ketchup, chorizo crumbs, potato espuma and egg inside an egg shell.
Bar-Roque Grill Chef Stephane Istel originally hails from the Alsace region but cut his teeth with Daniel Boulud in New York before striking out on his own with Bar-Roque Grill. Dramatic light fixtures, wood communal tables and oversized street art–inspired paintings converge to create a rustic-chic scene. The mostly French menu brings Gallic treats to Singapore like a traditional tarte flambée from Alsace — perfectly crisped dough with bacon, onion and sour cream. There are many fabulous seafood dishes and the grilled meat selection is equally impressive with free-range rotisserie chicken, grilled steak topped with foie gras and crispy pork belly.
28 Hong Kong Street Singapore is having a cocktail moment. Every corner of the city boasts a hip spot featuring an award-winning bartender. The best might be 28 Hong Kong St in the Central Business District. This intimate bar recently went through a design touch-up to create even more atmosphere — the booths have been lowered to allow adjacent parties to chat and the bench seating in the back has opened up the space. Spirits-forward drinks are still the stars of the show, where the creatives at the bar whip up classics and wow with an ever-changing menu of only-at-28HKS cocktails.
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