While technically not a new restaurant, a visit to contemporary Chinese eatery Majestic Restaurant at its brand new Marina One digs – complete with your favourite bottle of wine, there’s no corkage – is a must. Housed in a glass bubble with floor-to-ceiling windows, an in-house bar and contemporary art on the walls, this is not your typical Chinese restaurant. Similarly, the menu strikes an effortless balance between traditional and modern Chinese cuisine. The crystal skin dim sums are filled with foie gras and minced mushrooms ($6.80 for 3), a sizable lobster dumpling ($9.80 per serving)– easily one of the stars of the menu – comes served in a hearty broth that leans more towards a classic bisque, and even the traditional Peking duck dish (S$48 half, $88 whole) is modernised, using Irish ducks from Silver Hill Farm (known for their succulent meat) and rose-infused millennial pink pancakes.
Chef-owner Yong Bing Ngen, however, hasn’t just embraced modernity and cast off his roots, his Stewed “Mee Sua” with Baby Abalone, Vegetable and Crab Roe Gravy ($22) is a heartwarming, impossible to replicate dish you imagine all grandmothers know to whip up on a cold rainy day. And true to Majestic’s reputation, dessert is an experience. The Crispy King of Durian with Maple Syrup is akin to a perfectly fried goreng pisang (fried banana) just with fresh durian filling and a drizzle of rich maple syrup, if there’s one way to enjoy durian, this is it.
5 Straits View, #04-01 Marina One, The Heart (East Tower), 6250 1988, http://restaurantmajestic.com/
Our Second Home
While it’s more a boutique than a café, we couldn’t skip recommending Our Second Home, the newly opened lifestyle and retail concept store at Chip Bee Garden. While the space is more a bricks-and-mortar showcase of Our Second Nature’s print-tastic clothes, now you can get an excellent flat white ($5) or a cold brew latte ($7) (by Cata Coffee) while you browse the racks. Working with a local bakery, the food selection is simple but delicious: a dense banana cake with chunks of walnuts ($5.50), a butter cake with lemon drizzle ($5.50), the Chip Bee cookie ($4.50), a savoury-sweet chocolate chip cookie with potato chips and pretzels – quite the original. But we wouldn’t expect anything different from a brand that knows to get (and hold) our attention.
#01-66 Chip Bee Gardens, 43 Jalan Merah Saga, https://oursecondnature.com/
Café is open 10am-5pm (weekdays), 10am-6pm (weekends)
Ceviche was a big food trend for 2017, so it comes as no surprise there’s a new Latin American restaurant in town. Opened by the same people behind 13% Gastro Wine Bar, the menu is designed to be shared with a mixture of chilled and hot dishes like the Crispy Chilli Con Carne ($11) – think of it as a western-stype spring roll with minced beef and sour cream foam – and the Pulpo Ranchero ($18) of grilled octopus and pumpkin seed. What we’ve got our appetites set on though is the Tentacion de Chocolate ($14), a chilli chocolate dessert with egg custard, paprika and sour cream, and a stiff Mezcal Negroni ($18) made with barrel-aged bitters and Campari.
14 Bukit Pasoh Singapore, 6224 5466,http://www.casaponcho.com/
Grain bowls are still a thing and the latest to get in queue for is Pickleville. Opened by the same people behind Sarnie’s (so you know they’ll have good coffee, we recommend the Bulletproof ($9) with banana, cashew, flaxseed and coconut oil), their bowls (from $12, there’s Vegan, Roasted Beef, Chicken and Salmon) or create your own and do it with a twis of gut-friendly pickled and fermented ingredients. Add everything from pickled red radish, red onion or pumpkin, to sauerkraut and fermented pineapple tepache to them. Aside from giving it a punch of umami, it’ll also provide your digestion with a bit of a boost, which is never a bad thing. Go early as bowls stopped being served by 3pm.
#04-00 The Working Capitol, 140 Robinson Road, www.facebook.com/picklevillesg