78,79 Boat Quay
Enotecca L’operetta is undoubted one of our favourite pizza places in Singapore. It is a Vera Pizza Napoletana certified pizza restaurant where its pizzas are baked in a wood fired oven. Their service is excellent as well. The waiters are friendly, chatty and they never fail to refill our glasses.
1) Make reservations to sit outdoors – you’ll have a beautiful view of the Singapore river!
2) When ordering your pizzas, always top it up with their special Mozerella cheese, it makes a big difference to the pizza
3) Ask for recommendations.
4) Order to share
Hup Lee Cafeteria
Arcade Shopping Centre
Sliced fish soup is the food of corporate champions in Singapore: It is tasty, high in nutrients, and easy to take away on a busy desk-bound day. The sliced fish soup stall at the back of the Arcade Shopping Centre is popular with the white-collar crowd working around Raffles Place. The fish is prepared just before they open shop at 10:30am and turnover is incredibly fast, so there is hardly any time for it to sit around and grow soggy.
I visited early on a Monday morning to catch the food at its freshest. The soup was extremely good, fortified with chunks of salted vegetables and a slice of tomato for added tartness.
The fried fish slices ($4.50 for a basic bowl) simply stole the show. Whereas other hawkers may use the batter to cover up the mediocrity of their fish or to act as a bulking agent, the meat here was firm and fresh and the flour well-seasoned and surprisingly crunchy. We’ve travelled far and wide for good fish soup, and Arcade’s is heads and shoulders above what we’ve had before.
The notion that special food can only be found in out-of-the-way places is misguided and is wont for changing. Food in the CBD tends to be overlooked because of the location’s sheer prosaicness, but if one cares to look, there are dozens of hawker stalls tucked into the numerous food centres in town that are so deserving of being catalogued and re-discovered.
60 Robertson Quay #01-11
Met up with Denise just before she jetted out of Singapore for coffee at Smitten. Had a latte specially pulled for me by the erstwhile barista (thanks!) and learnt what acidity means in the context of coffee (sourish aftertaste). It was a good time catching up.
Smitten is situated in the quiet Quayside complex next to the multicoloured Alkaff Bridge at Robertson Quay
The cafe occupies a small narrow space at the Quayside. The decor is simple, with bare concrete flooring, stripped ceiling and whitewashed brick walls. The cafe is jam-packed with knick-knacks commonly associated with the coffee business – assorted cups, french presses, filters, coffee bags for sale, and a pretty cool looking coffee roaster at the back. The aroma of freshly-brewed coffee pervades the premises, all the better to enjoy one’s cuppa in.
My coffee was in good hands.
The blend that day was on the sour end, with enough tartness to kick the mid-morning sleepiness out of me. Denise says it’s akin to what one will get at the London coffee houses. Kaffeine and Prufrock did have very similar-tasting brews. I enjoyed it, but generally I prefer my coffee on the nutty side.
Smitten also has a small selection of sandwiches to whet your appetite. The bratwurst panini could be smelled from a not-inconsiderable distance away and oozed cheese like lava. It’s rich so it’s best enjoyed when shared.
Diner en Blanc has been getting all sorts of coverage in the news recently, so we aren’t going to talk much about what it’s all about. The event was held outside the ArtScience museum at Marina Bay Sands, which made for some really nice pictures! We’ll leave you with some we took that night. Maybe we can convince you to go for the event next year 🙂
A word of advice for the men: get your white pants early to avoid unnecessary panic.
5 Purvis Street #01-04
Tel: +65 6333 3121
Angel Hair Pasta with Sakura Ebi
French food anywhere hardly comes cheap. Considering the number of processes involved in making even some of its classic dishes, the price might even be justified. However, the two proprietor-chefs at Saveur Restaurant may have stumbled upon a happy solution to French dining’s price-quality dilemma. Following their move from a humble hawker stall along East Coast Road to their current premises at Purvis Street, Saveur has thrown down the gauntlet and (to quote Monty Python) now shake its fist in the general direction of fancier/pricier establishments like Garibaldi (No. 35) and Gunther’s (No. 36) down the road. Saveur is budget French dining at its most optimal.
Pan-fried foie gras with lentils and pickled onions, available in 35g and 70g lobes
Confit of Duck, Orange segments, Sautéed Shitake
The menu is simple to navigate, and not so fancy as to overwhelm. We strongly recommend the bestsellers: pan-fried foie gras with lentils and pickled onions ($7.50-$13), the angel hair pasta with sherry minced pork and sakura shrimp ($3.90), and confit of duck with orange segments and sautéed shittake ($8.80). We also had their premium offering of pan-fried monkfish ($23.90). The food was faultlessly prepared and tasty to boot, which really makes us wonder why it is that other restaurants still manage to murder their food at thrice the price!
9 Penang Road
Park Mall #01-01
Tel: +65 6338 8611
Kith café did well by opening its second outlet at Park Mall, a niche mall known more for its expensive furniture shops and lack of patrons. Yet, it’s precisely because of its slow-n’sleepy character that makes it suitable for an indie joint like Kith – far enough from the manic bustle of Orchard Road but still a convenient 2-minute walk from Dhoby Ghaut MRT station. Kith’s coffee came highly recommended by friends, so I dragged Hweifen along for a coffee and lunch.
We started with a macchiato and latte. Now, I’ve mentioned before that I’m not much of a coffee person, so I was happy to defer to the judgment of my better-informed counterpart. She proclaimed in her characteristic manner that the coffee was “mehh”, which I translated meant “good, but I’ve tasted better”. She also noted that the macchiato was smaller than she thought it would be. On my part, I was glad the waitress didn’t give me a dirty look when I asked for sugar with the latte.
Because we were also hungry, we had the tenderloin spaghetti ($19) and big breakfast ($15.50). The spaghetti itself tasted fine, tomato-tangy with the beef adding a smoky hint. However the treatment of the tenderloin was shameful. The meat is just too delicate for stir-frying. The lack of fat means it dries up quickly when subject to high heat – which was exactly what happened. A better choice would be to use sirloin or ribeye, do it on a griddle as a large chunk and then slice them medium rare into the spaghetti.
The big breakfast was customizable, but I picked the wrong combination by choosing the poached eggs and brioche toast. The brioche with added butter and jam was particularly nasty. Go for a sandwich-able combination – ciabatta/focaccia with eggs done scrambled/sunny-side-up. Nit-picking about the steak aside, Kith was decent for food. What made the place nice was how chill (what an indie word!) the place felt. The premises suffered from no lack of natural light and there was plenty of seating in the canopied alfresco area outside. Plus, the waiting staff was really polite (“certainly, sir, any drinks to complement your mains?”). No brusque, dour service here, sir. At Kith, we teach our people their proper Ps and Qs, mind you. That really made my day.
19 Tanglin Road
Orchard Parade Hotel
Tel: 6732 4438
There is a little bit of everything at Akashi. Its set lunches and dinners are priced affordably for the casual diner, but its sushi counter is also a place of wonder for the sashim-ly inclined. Akashi is one of the better known Japanese restaurants here in Singapore, but it deserves a mention anyway for its consistency, longevity and quality of food. Judging from the evening crowds, we aren’t the only ones who think so. Be sure to make reservations to avoid disappointment.
The menu is extensive, so we’ll only cover our favourites. The chawanmushi ($8) is some of the best we’ve had, silky smooth with a tangy citrus inflection. The black-hog tonkatsu (served in a set) was consistent on the half a dozen occasions we’ve had it, with a nice crispy batter and some marbling for added juiciness.
Sashimi – fresh, thick slices with plenty of bite
California Reverse Rolls, with a massive topping of ebiko for kicks
Akashi has a decent selection of California-styled rolls, with the house special reverse rolls priced at $10-$15 for 8 pieces.
The chirashidon set ($28) is generously portioned, with large chunks of salmon and tamago sliced into it. Also consider ending off your meal with some of the restaurant’s Japanese ice creams. The goma (black sesame) ice cream is particularly good.
Experience tells us that food normally tastes better if the proprietors are around to keep things ship-shape. At Akashi, it so happens that there are three brothers to do just that, with two of them taking personal charge of the the sashimi counter at their Tanglin flagship. You’ll find them slicing fish and swigging sake with their guests in the evenings. Our friend goofing around above introduced us to his Uncle Don, who in turn gave us advice on life and clarified the distinction between women and ladies (“you leave the woman at home, you bring the lady out”). Quite pithy for a man on to his 12th sake cup.