There are two different types of restaurants for the Best Restaurants in Singapore 2016. The first type serves a clear-cut traditional cuisine, like Japanese or Indian.
The second serves modern cuisine, such as Australian cuisine with Asian touches, or French with Korean influence. That is to say, they still have a focus, but they are also innovative, bringing in other flavors, often Asian flavors, because Asian ingredients are available, cheaper, and fresher compared to, say, European ingredients, having to import them.
These are the 10 (or 11) Best Restaurants in Singapore and two special mentions:
Special Mention (Buffet): Edge at Pan Pacific
The best buffet can never compare to the best restaurant because a buffet is extensive whereas a restaurant menu is more limited, and hence, more controlled. But the revamped Sunday champagne brunch at Edge at Pan Pacific has far outstripped all other buffets; there is quality and quantity. These are some of the reasons I love Edge: a caviar bar, French and Canadian oysters, Alaskan king crab, truffle mac n cheese (using REAL truffle, not truffle oil), foie gras, hay-smoked grills, ohmi wagyu beef, lobster curry…
Special Mention: Japan Food Town
Japan Food Town at Wisma Atria houses 16 small Japanese shops, most of them are outposts of famous restaurants in Japan. They invited us for a tasting, which we rejected, preferring to pay and review anonymously on our own.
So far, we have visited 4 shops: Tempura Tsukiji Tenka (which is expensive and we didn’t like it); Inaniwa Yosuke Udon (which ranks 2nd on our 10 Best Casual Restaurant in 2016); Bonta Bonta (which made it into our 10 Best Meals under $20); and Yomoda Soba (which is quite good, but we haven’t had the time to blog about it yet.)
As you can tell, Japan Food Town stores some really good quality Japanese food at varying price range. If a shop is crowded, just duck into another, which would probably give a good experience.
#10. Il Cielo / Opus Bar & Grill at Hilton
For reservations at Il Cielo:
For reservations at Opus Bar & Grill:
Hilton houses two fantastic and different restaurants; I just cannot pick one. Opus is a classic, dark, and sexy steakhouse that uses certified sustainable seafood. They dry-age the beef in-house for 18 to 36 days in a bespoke Himalayan salt-tiled aging cabinet and cook them over a full charcoal open flame grill. As a result, the skin is charred grainy, giving a nice texture to the full flavored ribeye ($120 for 2 persons). Also try their durian cocktail ($20) and bluefin tuna tartare ($17).
Opus is a place for sexy James-Bond-type of men in dark suits, swirling their whiskeys, whereas Il Cielo, meaning “the sky” in Italian, is more suitable for dates and romance. 2-course lunch goes for $25++, and 3-course at $35++. Set dinner starts from $59++. Chef Riccardo Catarsi uses traditional ingredients cleverly in different combinations to produce new flavors, so the Italian food is both familiar and uncanny.
My 富二代 friends predicted that Ki-sho would receive a Michelin star (it didn’t). It has a hefty price tag: $150-$250 for lunch and $300-$450 dinner. Kyoto native Chef Kazuhiro Hamamoto, formerly from Waku Ghin, brings a traditional style back to omakase, following a strict structure in serving dishes.
What I like about Ki-sho’s omakase: the cooked dishes are as delicious as the sushi. In most Japanese restaurants, chefs are usually strong in an area, but weak in others. But Hamamoto’s culinary skills are such that all dishes—cooked and sushi—are evenly excellent, without any transitional nadir.
Yantra’s ranking on this list rests solely on our review done in February, although they have rebranded to Yantra by Hemant Oberoi in the middle of the year. We haven’t visited them after they revamped their menu so we couldn’t vouch for the quality now. When we were there, we believed Yantra was one of the best, if not THE BEST, Indian restaurant in Singapore. If you’ve been to the new Yantra, comment and let us know if it is as good.
#7. Portico Prime
The Prime Society steakhouse was brought over by Portico this year, and rebranded as Portico Prime. One of my favorite young Singaporean chefs, Nixon Low, helms the restaurant. Although there is still steak on the menu, the strongest dishes are those that showcase modern French cuisine with Asian twists. Recommended: heirloom tomato salad, truffled capellini ($28), and potato and leek soup ($22).
#6. Jiang Nan Chun
Jiang Nan Chun at Four Seasons Hotel reopens after a period of renovation. It is one of the best Chinese restaurant in Singapore. Three must-orders here: the Peking duck, the soups, and the dim sum, the latter two are the hallmarks of Cantonese cuisine. Rumor has it that the LEE family often gets soup from them. Hey, if it’s good enough for the prime minster, it’s good enough for me.
Whitegrass serves modern Australian food, helmed by chef-owner Sam Aisbett. He used to be a sous chef at the world famous Tetsuya, which explains the Japanese influences in the dishes. The food is clean and bright and unpretentious and honest, combining ingredients in new and refreshing ways; none of the gimmicky, postmodern, stupid sleight of hand nonsense.
A 2-course prix fixe lunch is priced at $48, 3-course $68, 5-course $135. A 5-course dinner at $170, 8-course at $265. No a la carte.
Reservations at Ushidoki is essential as they don’t accept walk-ins; they only open when there are reservations. Stylish chef Nobuaki Hirohashi, with 30 years of experience, formerly from the defunct Kumo Japanese Kaiseki serves a kaiseki set using beef for all its courses.
Beef, as you may know, came very recently in Japan history because it is a Buddhist nation. The first cow was killed in Japan in 1860 because Westerners wanted their steaks. Even with such a short history, Chef Nobu creates a sublime kaiseki, using cow from nose to tail in various Japanese dishes. Although at the end of the meal, you would have eaten only 230g-240g of beef, you will be fully sated and satisfied.
Lunch at $100, and dinner $130 (6 courses), $200 (10 courses) or $300 (10 courses, premium ingredients).
#2. Ashino (DRAW with Meta)
Chef Taku Ashino uses a blend of Hokkaido and Niigata grains, and cooked the shari rice in a traditional iron kettle with water flown in from Fuji. He focuses on Jukusei Sushi (熟成寿司), or aging sushi, which will intensify the flavors and break down the sinews to give a tender bite. Omakase lunch starts from $250++, and omakase dinner at $400.
Ashino is an eyeopener and is better than the few Michelin-starred sushi restaurants I’ve eaten in Tokyo. In fact, this is the second best sushi place I’ve eaten in my life, after Sushi Yasuda.
#2. Meta (DRAW with Ashino)
While Ashino is traditional, Meta is progressive, serving European food with Korean influences. Helming the kitchen, handsome Chef Sun Kim, who is Korean, is another alumni of Waku Ghin–seriously, how many people have worked at Waku Ghin before?!–while pastry chef Tammy Mah owns the #1 spot on our Best Desserts of the Year list; together they are Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Thelma and Louise, Bonnie and Clyde, Obama and Joe Biden.
The ingredients are clear, bright, and distinct, but never postmodern and confusing. It’s also playful, for example, the wagyu beef tartare actually tastes like bimbimbap. They also use rare ingredients, and the meal had been an education for me.
#1. Joel Robuchon
Many times, fine-dining restaurants are either delicious or innovative; rarely can you find a delicious AND innovative restaurant. The only 3-Michelin-starred restaurant in Singapore, serving modern French cuisine, is one of those rare restaurants. It is a polished and magical meal from the start to the end, even for the most jaded diner. They only prepare set menus starting from $148 (lunch), and $248 (dinner). If there is an option, always choose the Kagoshima beef. It’s orgasmic.
You may be interested in:
– 10 Best Dishes
– 10 Best Desserts
– 10 Best Cafes
– 10 Best Meals Under $20
– 10 Best Casual Restaurants for Gatherings ($20-$50)
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.