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Savour Mod-Sin Cuisine At These Choice Spots

Whether you’re craving a new spin on a local favourite or love creativity when it comes to your food, these Mod-Sin cuisine spots will satiate all that and more.

Mod-Sin cuisine, a term coined by chef Willin Low over a decade ago to describe modern Singaporean cuisine has since grown to be a core part of Singapore’s vibrant restaurant offerings. From one-Michelin starred meals to degustation menus and more casual (and affordable) interpretations. Explore the possibilities of modern Singaporean flavours at these great dining spots.

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1. Labyrinth
At one-Michelin-starred Labyrinth, chef Han Li Guang elevates the mod-sin cuisine genre via local produce and honours our eco-system of farmers, growers and artisans with his “new expression of Singapore Cuisine”. Dishes here are conceptualised with broad inspiration drawn from local street food melded with in-depth knowledge of traditional recipes, artisanal techniques (so many components are made from scratch, even their cheong fun is homemade, so do take time to savour every bite), and influences from his grandmother’s cooking. Be charmed by wonderful dishes such as Heartland Waffle with pate made using poultry liver from Toh Thye San Farm inspired by chef’s favourite childhood snack: the soft and moist pandan waffles from Prima Deli; tantalising Nippon Koi Farm Silver Perch topped with spicy fragrant otah rempah, all-spice leaf and kaffir oil; Grandma’s special Chicken Rice (we shan’t give too much away, but chef’s version has no rice) that is paired with a rich button mushroom sauce – Grandma created it during the colonial era whilst working for a British Family and it is one of our favourite dishes; and the refreshing purple Clam Leaf Snow with peach gum and textures of grape. Lunch menu starts from $75 per person. Restaurant Labyrinth is located at Esplanade Mall, 8 Raffles Avenue #02-23, Singapore 039802, tel: 6223 4098. Visit http://labyrinth.com.sg Photo: daphotographer 2. Wok In Burger
You may already be familiar with old school tze char eatery Keng Eng Kee Seafood’s lip-smacking signatures such as Moonlight Horfun and Crab with Salted Egg Yolk, but have you tried their quirky Tze-char burgers under their new Wok In Burger concept? Housed within the same coffee shop, the mod-Sin burger stall pulls off the novel combination of tze-char and burgers with flair. Chilli Soft Shell Crab Burger served with tangy, spicy, eggy sauce? Check. Crispy Sotong coated with moreish salted egg yolk sauce in a burger? Bold. Their signature toothsome and tender “Pai Gu Wang” (or Sweet & Sour Pork Ribs) in a burger? Genius. Tempted yet? Go on, try it for yourself. Burgers (from $9.80) come in a set together with fries, salad, and a drink. Oh, and if you love pasta, do consider the Sambal Lala (clams) pasta ($8) with juicy, plump clams and spaghetti tossed in a sweet-spicy sambal sauce. Wok In Burger is located at 124 Bukit Merah Lane 1, #01-136, Singapore 150124. Photo: Xie Huiqun 3. CreatureS
With its stylish, inviting interiors and chic vibe, casual fine dining restaurant CreatureS is the epitome of “chill-lux”. Tucked away along Desker Road, the award-winning dining enclave presents hearty modern Asian comfort fare with a twist and peppered with local influences. Highlights include the Hainanese Uncle Han & Hatsumomo Katsudon ($24) with strips of tender pork chop pan-fried Hainanese-styled on a bed of Japanese short-grain rice, layered with scallions, topped with an onsen egg, and served with a local Singaporean curry gravy to give it a little kick. Think: Japanese pork chop rice meets Hainanese “Scissor’s Cut Rice”. There is also the unusual dish named Italian Godfather “Yong Tau Foo” & An Ma Noodles ($22) that has chilli, aubergine and okra stuffed with herb feta cheese then drizzled with balsamisco dressing and accompanied by la-mien tossed in fried shallot and light soy. Meatless, playful and strangely tempting. If you are feeling less adventurous, their signature CreatureS Crayfish Hokkien Mee ($30) will hit the right spot. Wok-fried noodles enriched with a fragrant prawn stock and served with fresh crayfish, tiger prawns, squid, crispy pork lard, Japanese fish roe and home-made sambal belachan. So good. CreatureS has also opened its second restaurant concept, TEASE by CreatureS, in Beijing, China in February 2019, do check them out if you are there and missing food from home. CreatureS is located at 120 Desker Road, Singapore 209639, tel: 6291 6996. Visit www.creatures.com.sg/ Photo: CreatureS5. 4. Violet Oon Singapore
Besides the beloved classic signatures such as the ever-delicious Kueh Pie Tee and Dry Laksa, the latest Violet Oon Singapore at Jewel Changi Airport has also included some dishes with a modern touch. The Roti Violet Tuna Wala-Wala ($15, available at Jewel and ION) of crispy fluffy prata topped with spiced tuna flakes, curry leaves, tomatoes and cubes of avocado came across like a local “taco” of sorts. The Crispy Kurobuta Pork Fingerlings with Garlic and Curry leaves ($18, Jewel only) reminds us of hearty tze char flavours condensed into golden-brown bite-sized goodness, perfect with their signature VO Chilli Sauce. If you love dessert, then the Pandan Gula Melaka Cake ($13, available at Jewel and ION) could make your favourites list. The cake has a light and airy sponge infused with fresh pandan juice and gilded with layers of buttercream frosting and dessicated coconut tossed in a gula melaka syrup. Violet Oon Singapore’s latest outlet is located at Level 1, #01-205 / #01-206 Jewel Changi Airport, 78 Airport Boulevard, Singapore 819666, tel: 9834 9935. Visit www.violetoon.com. Photo: Violet Oon Singapore 5. Baba Chews
Housed in the old Joo Chiat Police Station – a designated heritage building steeped in history – Baba Chews now serves a refreshed menu by chef Alvin Leong with more local-inspired favourites. Our favourites include the delicious Chicken Rendang Lasagna ($18), which marries rich, cheesy-creamy baked pasta with fragrant, lightly spicy rending, and the Otah Yu Tiao ($12), a crispy starter with homemade mackerel otah paste spiked with kaffir leaves, sandwiched between charcoal yu tiao (dough fritters) served with a light sambal sabayon. Other dishes that piqued our interest include the Peranakan Pulled Pork Burger ($20) of tender Iberico pork cooked pongteh style (braised in fermented soy bean sauce) with caramelised onions, cucumbers and tomatoes, and Foie Gras Tau Kwa Pau ($22) of foie gras in lor chap (fragrant gravy of spices and soya sauce) with quail egg, bean sprouts and coriander leaf piled onto fried beancurd. Baba Chews is located at 86 East Coast Road, #01-01 Katong Square, Singpapore 428788, tel: 6723 2025. Visit www.babachews.com.sg. Photo: Baba Chews  6. d’Good Cafe
ocal fare with a European twist reigns at d’Good Cafe’s newest outlet in Jewel Changi Airport. Its head chef James Lin take a lot of care with his dishes, so plates served are often imbibed with various textures, flavours and ingredients that are both surprising and delicious. Take the Hainanese Chicken Roulade & Risotto Balls ($19.50). The humble Hainanese Chicken Rice is taken up several notches, with the dish’s fragrant rice made into crispy fried risotto balls instead and the main star, its chicken, served as a poached chicken roll. We love that the balls are soft and aromatic, while the thigh meat is tender and juicy. But we especially applaud the use of foie gras to replace the usual chicken liver, and the addition of a cool and light Japanese cucumber spaghettoni for a refreshing bite. Pasta lovers should try its Laksa Seafood pasta ($16) — spaghetti cooked in a spicy piquant laksa broth that is topped with fresh prawns, quail eggs, cockles and shrimp floss. For a light bite, go for its deconstructed nasi lemak ($8) that is served in the form of three sushi pieces instead — fried silver sillago fish, otah and konbu egg are stacked on top of fragrant coconut rice and served with their house-made sambal chilli and ikan bilis. Don’t forget to wash down the dishes with its Kopi Chendol ($8.50), an indulgent beverage of espresso, fresh milk and coconut milk topped with red beans, pandan jelly and a house-made coconut sablé. This dessert-in-a-cup will send you on a heady sugar rush. d’Good Cafe’s latest outlet is at located at Level 1, #01-227 Jewel Changi Airport, 78 Airport Boulevard, Singapore 819666, tel: 6243 3188. Visit www.dgoodcafe.com. Photo: d’Good Cafe 7. Le Binchotan
Treat yourself to a little supper at Le Binchotan with Chef Jeremmy’s Supper Special 2019. Think “Big Plates” of comforting local favourites with a modern touch such as Uni Congee prepared with premium Akitakomachi rice, house-made scallop broth, century egg, foie gras and generous lobes of uni; or perhaps chef’s signature wok hei-imbued Hokkien Mee served with a wicked sambal. “Small Plates” such as Kicap Manis Chicken Satay – binchotan-grilled skewers of deboned chicken thigh marinated with kicap manis, lime juice and spices – are also available. Chef Jeremmy has also invited fellow chefs ArChan Chan of LeVeL33; Sam Chablani; and Damian D’Silva to share their supper favourites on selected weekends over the next couple of months. Chef ArChan’s awesome Stir-fried Clams with homemade XO Sauce kick started the Jeremmy & Friends 2019 series from 25 April 2019. Don’t miss the superb Steamed Threadfin with homemade tau cheo (fermented soybean sauce), bentong ginger and pork lard by chef D’Silva. And do also try the refreshing Yuzu Beer ($15) specially created by LeVeL33 for this event. About: The Supper Special menu at Le Binchotan is available every Friday and Saturday from 25 April to 30 June, 9.30pm to 11pm. Chef Jeremmy will be cooking with Damian D’Silva on 6, 7 and 8 June 2019, 9.30pm to midnight. Tickets priced at $35 per person for Jeremmy & Friends 2019 (includes one big plate and one small plate from each chef). For reservations and more information on Jeremmy & Friends events, visit https://www.eventbrite.sg/e/le-binchotan-supper-special-2019-tickets-59939161646 Le Binchotan is located at 115 Amoy Street, #01-04, Singapore 069935 (Entrance via Gemmill Lane), tel: 62241045. Visit http://lebinchotan.sg. Photo: Ryan Acompanado 8. Relish
At the second branch of Relish (the first is at Cluny Court) at Frasers Tower on Cecil Street, Mod-Sin pioneer Willin Low dishes up much-loved local-inspired fare in addition to Asian-inspired creations such as Ma La Papadam Nachos and La Zi Cauliflower (inspired by the Sichuan dish La Zi Ji but done without chicken). Must-try mod-Sin classics include his signature Laksa Pesto Linguine ($17.80), Hae Bee Hiam Spaghettini ($17.80) and the surprisingly addictive Har Jeong Frog Legs ($10). Think: crispy, savoury fried prawn paste chicken just with fresh frog legs instead, good with beer or bubbly. The latest creation launched in May 2019 will be Willin’s version of sliced fish bee hoon ($17.70) – red snapper fish bone collagen broth served with ramen or inaniwa udon (this is thinner than regular udon). Brewed with red snapper bones and bonito flakes, the soup, which takes hours to prepare, is rich in collagen and naturally milky white without any addition of milk. A most soothing bowl of comfort indeed. Relish @ Frasers Tower is located at #02-12/13 Oasis of Frasers Tower, 182 Cecil Street, Singapore 069546, tel: 6904 5458. Visit www.wildrocket.com.sg/relish.html Photo: Relish