The Parts I-V of “Best Food in Singapore 2015” cumulate and distil in this entry: these 10 Best Restaurants in Singapore are the absolute and ultimate best of the best, out of more than 350 establishments we have eaten this year.
Unlike the previous lists which have a price range [“Best Meals Under $20” and “Best Casual Dining ($20-$50)“], this list has no price range; it’s free for all. If the eatery is good, it will be on this list.
That said, 8 out of 50 fine-dining restaurants we have visited this year made this list. Fine-dining restaurants use premium ingredients, and premium ingredients yield better food, so it’s logical that most restaurants on the list are fine-dining. The question arises: “Why are not all 10 restaurants on this list fine-dining?”
Many fine-dining restaurants, some by international celebrity chefs, that opened this year have prices that do not commensurate with the taste and quality of the food. You’ll not find them on this list. As a consumer who isn’t a millionaire, value-for-money is one of my considerations.
What I appreciate is honest, delicious food that surprise and delight. These best 10 restaurants in Singapore for 2015 are in a class of their own. In ranking:
Formerly from Enoteca L’Operetta, Chef Seita Nakahara started Terra at Tras Street, serving Tokyo-Italian cuisine. Where his food used to be homely and charming, it is now graceful and confident like the flight of a hummingbird.
#9. I Want My Noodle
I Want My Noodle is what I called ja-pa-lang noodles, or freestyle noodles. The chef-owner combines Asian ingredients in interesting ways, and it’s not very expensive at about $13 a bowl. They buy their ingredients freshly at wet markets, and the noodles are made freshly daily. That’s effort.
#8. Tsukada Nojo
I want to emphasize my disdain and dislike for chain restaurants only because they are character-less, but it is impossible not to like Tsukada Nojo, serving hotpot. The stock and chicken are imported from Japan, using free-range chicken. The broth changes taste with different ingredients put inside. And the service is as good as Singapore Airlines!
#7. Corner House
Corner House took over the colonial house that used to be Au Jardin, and is helmed by Chef Jason Tan. Although not all the courses are perfect–seafood could be fresher–the modern French cuisine has some memorable dishes, like the New Zealand Cod, and the salted egg yolk macaron.
#6. Ginza Kuroson
This is the second outlet of Ginza Kuroson, and it is brilliant. Japanese chefs take care of the food. Sugata-yaki (whole grilled fish) is fantastic. The decor is classy, and the service is one of the best I’ve experienced by local and Malaysian wait staff.
Gattopardo has an Old-World charm, which contrasts brilliantly with the boldness of Chef Lino Sauro’s Italian food. This is the way of Sauro’s inspiring cooking: combining familiar ingredients in unfamiliar ways, to defamiliarize the eater, shocking us to appreciate and scrutinize the food anew.
It’s a pity that the Japanese kaiseki Chef Hirotaka Murata is situated at Akari, which is more like a bar than a proper restaurant. People come here to drink, and miss out on the wonderful kaiseki meal. Not all culinary endeavors can be considered as art, but nobody would dispute that Akari’s kaiseki set is pure artistry; there is beauty, there is taste, and there is a philosophy behind the food. Although not all dishes are perfect, the meal as a whole is poetic, well-crafted, and delicious. PURE ART.
#3. Ginza Yoshihiro
Not everyone can have the experience of tasting orgasmic food because some people lack that gene for the tastebuds. It’s like some of us can differentiate shades of green, some can tell it’s green but can’t differentiate shades, and some are color blind. It’s evolution, it’s genetics.
But for those of us who can have the oral experience, there are two kinds of orgasmic food. The first is the kind that would make you jizz and scream in your mind. The second kind is subtle but transformative. It will produce a trancelike state of mind, an out-of-body experience as if your soul floats to the ceiling of the restaurant and you see yourself eating. I have never tried weed before but I guess the experience is similar to smoking weed.
It’s very rare to find the first kind; perhaps 1 in 100 restaurants will give your mind orgasm. For example, Cure’s Trio of Starters gives you the mental scream. But it’s even rarer to find the second kind of out-of-body experience. So far, I only experienced it at Japanese restaurants: Sushi Yashida at New York, Sushi Dai at Tokyo, the defunct Ezoca, and Ginza Yoshihiro.
The sushi is good, but nothing extraordinary. It’s the simple oden, a simple tomato in broth that creates that out-of-body experience. When I drank that, I felt my soul was in Japan. The food here is no longer food; it has sublimated into a feeling of “Japanese-ness”, a cultural affect.
Chef Julien Royer at Odette juxtaposes ingredients brilliantly. He uses many ingredients in each dish, and the flavors can still complement one another immaculately; take a spoonful from any dish on the menu, and it will still taste good. So much finesse and power.
Chef Andrew Walsh left Esquina to set up Cure, serving set menus of creative dishes. No newfangled gimmicks, no instagrammable food, no hipster concept, just plain o’ delicious food–so rare these days. The testimony of Walsh’s prowess is how he made me like the food despite my prejudice in the strange pairings.
You may also be interested in:
Best Desserts in Singapore 2015
Best Dishes in Singapore 2015
Best Cafes in Singapore 2015
Best Meals Under $20 in Singapore 2015
Best Casual Restaurants in Singapore ($20-$50)
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.