The toughest restaurant to get into in Singapore is not a particular sushi bar, Michelin-starred restaurant, Mustard Seed or some Nonya private kitchen that claims a two-year waitlist.
It is Bistrot Etroit, a nondescript seven-seater eatery run by a notoriously temperamental Japanese chef who seems to be better known for rubbing his customers the wrong way than for his French omakase which he single-handedly prepares from scratch, right down to his signature homemade brioche.
Attitude or no, a seat at this bistro is next to impossible to come by, with no lack of diners in pursuit of bragging rights and a few extra likes on Instagram.
The lucky few will find Etroit in an unlikely location – the street level of the ageing Orchard Plaza, which has been steadily accumulating an eclectic collection of Japanese speakeasies, wine bars and crammed eateries with a grungy, edgy vibe, built on a cast of colourful characters and equally vibrant food and drink.
Ahead, we explore what’s shaping the revival of Singapore’s Little Tokyo.
A QUICK GUIDE TO ORCHARD PLAZA RESTAURANTS
Apollon/AmBar, #01-29 (sake bar/izakaya)
Al Solito, #03-49 (Japanese-Italian)
Ao Ringo, #01-44 (Japanese-Spanish)
Araki, #04-23 (omakase)
Bistro Du Le Pin, #01-34 & #02-25 (fusion)
Bistrot Etroit, #01-38 (French)
Fukuda, #01-39 (yakitori grill)
Kai Yakitori, #03-16 (yakitori grill)
Kakiin Oyster Bar, #01-37 (izakaya)
Mezame!, #01-36 (natural wine bar)
Piu-M, #04-21 (Japanese-Italian)
Yakitori Uma, #01-26/27/28 (yakitori grill)
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