Dining out can be tricky especially when you’re dying to impress. Well, no fear. Judging by the number of restaurants here popping like daisies, there is more than enough to choose from. Here are four places we think will do just the trick.
If you are in dire need of somewhere inconspicuous, this is it. An equivalent of a private dining club that lurks behind Amoy Street, Maggie Joan’s makes the perfect intimate back alley “getaway”. The lunch menu has been revised and better than before. Food here is fresh and under the spell of the Mediterranean, the chef puts together a hearty chickpea stew you must soak with bread, as well as a house-made lamb ragu parpadelle that’s easy to share. If you’re looking for swanky, look elsewhere, but if you like somewhere casual for good conversation, this sure is classy enough to impress.
110 Amoy Street. Open Monday to Friday 12 to 3pm and Monday to Saturday 6pm to late
Cheek by Jowl
Taking over the short-lived Sorrel is yet another by Unlisted Collection, and with almost every restaurant under its umbrella, food tends to be good. Cheek by Jowl, an epitome of modern Australian cuisine, is in the good hands of Rishi Naleendra who once worked at Taxi Dining Room and Tetsuya’s. Grub here is mostly unfussy and healthy, but nothing of the pretentious vegan sort. It is what it is and you’d find glee in the most unexpected – a modest plate of beetroot roughed up with crunchy wild rice, spicy horseradish and mild goat’s cheese.
21 Boon Tat Street. Open Monday to Friday 12pm to 2.30pm and 6pm to 10.30pm; Saturday 6pm to 10.30pm
The name stems from a peculiar fascination with moss, a hardy green that thrives even in the harshest, and so given that, we are pretty sure this place will stick around for a while. Captained by Tim Ross-Watson of the now defunct Garden of Eden, dishes here are fashioned according to a MacGyver approach – he makes use of the simplest of ingredients from head to toe. Think salmon cured in upcycled ground coffee and an entire pig’s head pressure-cooked into a soft and tender terrine. His food is mostly delicious, particularly the Mother’s Lamb, a medley of lamb heart, neck and salty ‘lamb bacon’. Heart, anyone? It will be boring to eat here without someone as adventurous.
43 North Canal Road. Open Monday to Saturday 5pm to 12am
The end is near for Kilo Orchard but thankfully, the more romantic outlet in Kallang is here to stay. Recently air-conditioned to lock away the sweltering heat, the concrete bistro has always been known for its solid executions of contemporary Asian, be it Japanese, Vietnamese or Chinese. A huge favourite of ours remains the squid ink rice, but as far as women go, order the spicy duck and pomelo salad to go with. Reservations are recommended.
66 Kampong Bugis, Level M. Open Monday to Saturday 6pm to 12am