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New Restaurants, Cafes and Bars in Singapore: January 2016

New Restaurants, Cafes and Bars in Singapore: January 2016

Phew. January has gone by in a flash, and now's the right time to spend quality hours with your family over some good food at these new places! Start your weekend by dropping by the buzzy Instagram-worthy cafe along Bukit Timah Road to relax over a good coffee. Then, bring the kids out for an adventure to a carnival-themed café in Boon Keng, or reserve a table for your next big family celebration at a Cantonese restaurant!
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From the same people behind Assembly Coffee at Evans Road comes Atlas Coffeehouse, a place where they believe you can be "at land and sea". In contrast to the homey, cosy vibe at Assembly, Atlas boasts a generous space and a lofty ceiling, complete with a deep blue theme and marbled tiles. Expect crowd-pleasing brunch options like the Creamy Mushroom on Sourdough ($12), and the ATLAS Butterscotch Banana Pancake ($18) — a fluffy pancake with caramelised bananas, and a dollop of butterscotch and honeycomb ice cream (a 20-minute wait, totally worth it). Fans of Assembly's signature buttermilk waffles will be glad to see them on the menu here. It's good to also see a healthy, tasty option in the form of The ATLAS Super-Bowl ($17) — a bed of toasted quinoa topped with baby spinach, shimeiji mushrooms, roasted veggies and a generous scoop of peanut sesame pulled chicken. Located just five minutes from Botanic Gardens MRT (it's taken over the old Mad Jack's, if you knew it), drop by for a Flat White ($4.50) if you're in the area, made with a blend of Guatamalan and Brazilian beans from Two Degrees North Coffee Co.

South Korea's Seorae Galmaegi chain has finally taken root in Singapore, on the second floor of Plaza Singapura. This sprawling Korean BBQ house is best known for serving Galmaegisal ($21.90 for 170g, $29.90 for 270g), an exclusive pork skirt meat that was only served to royalty in the olden times. This small, precious cut of meat is found between the ribs and belly, and an adult pig only yields 250grams. Enjoy this rare treat, alongside other marinated meats like beef ribs and pork belly. Chilli lovers can also opt for the Spicy Galmaegisal ($22.90 for 170g, $31.90 for 270g). Charcoal is used instead of gas, and a circling grilling technique is employed by the staff, ensuring perfectly grilled meats. Don't miss the Three Musketeers ($31.90) that features original, spicy and soy sauce-flavoured pork belly. Quietly cooking on the outside of the grill is a moat of silky smooth eggs and a pool of molten cheese, perfect for dipping your meats into! Classic Korean meals like Mul Nangmyeon Noodles ($14.90) and Sundubu Jjigae ($14.90) are also available. Come for lunch on weekdays with your colleagues for the Dosirak Set ($9.90), a Korean-style packed lunch akin to bibimbap, served in a thin metal tin that you're meant to shake up, complete with free flow side dishes and a soft drink. End off with the refreshing Apgujeong Bingsoo ($14.90), which comes topped with thick-cut cheesecake and vanilla ice cream covered with cheese sprinkles!

Helmed by chef-owner Fung Chi Keung, previously with Paradise Group (think colourful Xiao Long Baos), Kai Garden serves Cantonese cuisine with a creative twist. The sprawling 200 seater restaurant specialising in roasts and dim sum is located in Marina Square, complete with private dining rooms that are perfect for your next family celebration. Drop by for dim sum business lunches, and be sure to order the oozesome Liu Sha Bao ($5.80 for three) and their juicy, soup-filled Xiao Long Baos ($5.50 for three). At dinner, don't miss out on the crowd-pleasing Peking Duck ($88 for whole, $48 for half), where you're allowed to be a little adventurous and opt for bright pink beetroot wraps. Also worth ordering is the Garoupa in Lobster Soup (seasonal price) — thinly sliced garoupa cooked on the spot and served in a flavourful lobster broth. With 30 years of culinary experience under his belt, Chef Fung's flair for eyebrow-raising dishes doesn't stop here — try the wonderfully crisp Sweet and Sour Pork on the Rocks ($22), skewered meatballs served on a little hill of ice shavings!

You will find no average joes here — just hot, manly, charismatic guys working the counter to serve you coffee, freshly squeezed juices or sandwiches with a side of flirty. Originating from Denmark, Joe & the Juice provides healthier options for athletes looking for a quick-fix meal. This outlet at Chevron House in the CBD is its first in Southeast Asia, and has ample seating both indoors and outdoors. Drop by for lunch and pick up the Tunacado ($11.50) — tuna spread, avocado and tomatoes between two flat-pressed wholegrain rye bread — perfect for a light lunch option. Juices and shakes here are aplenty, and for radiant skin, go for the Sweet Beet ($7.20 for 12oz; $9.20 for 16 oz), where beet root, apple and fennel will protect you against premature ageing. These energising, healthy drinks are great for a mid-day snack, or alternatively, pick up a Flat White ($6) for a caffeine boost! Pro tip: add a Ginger Shot ($3 for 2 oz) to further awaken your senses!

Hidden from the public eye is a 40-seater, unpretentious, cosy cafe that is fast becoming the talk of the town. It is located within the grounds of Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations in Bugis, next to the New2U thrift shop (where you can find TM Lewin shirts for $1 and $10 Miu Miu shoes). Paper Crane is the brainchild of an ex-magazine editor, who cooks alongside a Canadian chef previously from Wild Honey. The menu features simple Western grub and craft beers and ciders, perfect for unwinding after a long day. Come by with a group of friends and start your night of fun with the Popcorn Chicken with Spicy Coriander Mayo and Homemade Chilli Sauce ($10), and munch on fried chicken nibblets paired with homemade UBO Chilli Sauce ($15 for 350ml). The sauce takes two days to make and packs a mean punch, the perfect combo of meat and heat. Also good for sharing are their Kimchi Fries with Grilled Steak and Cilantro Mayo ($15) that is best paired with a bucket deal of five craft beers for just $40! For something less sinful and more substantial, order the Pan-fried Sea Bass on Pearl Barley with Grilled Asparagus ($25) made with the freshest fish from Ah Hua Kelong. Look out for the next monthly Trivia Night (last week of the month) held in collaboration with Magpie, and have a go at it with your friends while sharing five Asahi beers for just $30!

Situated along the Singapore River at Robertson Quay is newly re-opened Verre Modern Bistro and Wine Bar. Previously a wine bar (Verre means French for ‘glass’), this cosy space is now making a comeback as a full-fledged restaurant with consultant Chef Masashi Horiuchi (of Shelter in the Woods) at the helm. This 70-seater restaurant sits in a 70-year-old warehouse that comes complete with lovely alfresco seating for a riverfront view, a lofty interior, and even a walk-in glass wine tower cellar! Perfect for a date or a cosy night out with a couple of your best friends, start with the Tarte Flambée Forest ($22), a thin-crust pizza with mushrooms, Gruyere cheese, egg yolk and caramelised onions. Go for the recommended pairing, a lovely glass of aromatic wine with a fruity finish ($18). All items on the menu come with a recommended wine pairing, which are usually spot on. If you have a preference, however, choose from their extensive list of 750 labels, or ask their in-house sommelier for advice. Also dig into the piping hot Seafood Papillote ($30) packed with juicy tiger prawns, clams and octopus. Be sure to soak up all the seafood broth with your toasted dill bread! Don't miss the perfectly executed Lamb Chop with Moroccan Couscous and Mint Sauce ($46), and wash it down with a glass of velvet smooth Gevrey Chambertin ($38), it's a match made in heaven. End your meal with the classic Apple Mille-Feuille ($16) for that sweet bite!

It seems that the sisters behind the successful Hatter Street cafe in Hougang have a knack for all things whimsical, judging by their latest venture in the heartlands of Boon Keng. Oh My Tian is just a ten minute drive away from its sister store, a carnival-inspired cafe with hand-painted wall murals, European-themed furniture and decorations larger than life, including a six pax seating booth built to resemble a carousel. A stark difference between Hatter Street and Oh My Tian is the inclusion of more savoury items on their menu. Swing by the cafe with your kids in tow and order the Hashbrown Pizza ($12) — shredded potato baked to a golden brown and topped with mushrooms, sausages and a shower of cheese — a definite winner in any kid's book! Adults, go for the Chicken Tacos ($12) stuffed with thick chunks of sous vide chicken salthered in sambal mayo(!). Reward yourselves with a cup of Hot Fudge Ice Chocolate ($7.50), and save some space for their legendary Hatter Street Whoa-ffles ($5.50 plain, $9 with ice cream) complete with a scoop of ice cream made in-house!

For those looking for an all-in-one dining experience, Big Street is the place to hit up in Little India. Situated at the junction of Jalan Besar Road and Veerasamy Road, the two-and-a-half storey shophouse has been converted to accommodate a music lounge, wine bar and a dining area that serves authentic local fare. Drop by during lunch with your team and go for the Traditional Char Kway Teow ($14.80) because nothing screams ‘local’ like a glistening plate of wok hei goodness. Don’t be deterred by the price – it’s for the succulent large prawns and scallops that they include. The Chilli Crab Chunks served with Prata Coins ($28 for four pieces) may come with a hefty price tag, but rest assured you're getting large pieces of actual crab meat on top of flake-in-your-mouth prata, allowing you to taste the iconic dish without getting your hands dirty. Wash it all down with a nitrogen-infused chilled brewed ice coffee ($6.80)!

Dining at Dehesa, meaning "grasslands" in Spanish, is a wonderfully adventurous way to start the year. A strong contender in the nose-to-tail dining scene, this charming, intimate space along North Canal Road helmed by chef Jean-Philippe Patruno (formerly of Bomba Paella Bar and UNA) is perfect for special occasions and new experiences. Dive head first into their Platter of Cold Meats ($32), a generous assortment featuring pig's ears, homemade saussison, Fifi pâté (heart, belly, liver) and more. Prepare for a study in lesser known animal parts that will prove delightful — from the intensely flavourful Crispy Pig's Head ($28) topped with a quivering egg yolk ravioli, to the warm Duck Hearts on Toast ($13) that feel surprisingly familiar and comforting. Don't miss the unbelievably tender Octopus ($28) draped lovingly in sheets of thin-as-air lardo, and balance the whole meal out with tart Cherry Tomatoes ($15) paired with refreshing fennel and creamy burrata. End off, as you must, with the classic Torijas ($14), a dessert of milk-soaked bread brûléed to a crisp, served with plum compote and crème fraîche. Be sure to come by with good friends and open minds, and don't forget to order a bottle of wine.

Come with a group of friends who love bold flavours, and start by nursing a Sexy Sanchez Vatos Rita's ($28), a strawberry margarita infused with a pint of Brunty's Strawberry Cider, placed precariously upside down on the side of the glass. For food, order the better-than-fish-and-chips Baja Fish Tacos ($10 for two tacos, $14 for three) — tempura beer battered pollock fried to a shattering crisp, topped with spicy chipotle mayo, fresh salsa and apple coleslaw. Don't miss the irresistible Kimchi Carnitas Fries ($16) — think tender braised pork and sauteed kimchi atop a bed of french fries, smothered by cheese, sour cream, hot sauce and cilantro.

Who better to open a national kitchen in the iconic City Hall building than veteran food connoisseur and Nonya chef, Violet Oon. Located on the "Singapore" floor at the National Gallery, National Kitchen by Violet Oon showcases Singapore's vibrant culinary roots. Step into the luxe black and gold Great Gatsby-esque hall, and take in the grandeur of mirrored walls, draping chandeliers, and colourful Peranakan tiles. Violet celebrates Singapore's food history here not just through her cooking, but also in the form of carefully curated photographs of old Singapore adorning the walls, allowing memories from the past to trickle into dinner conversation, creating the perfect setting for multi-generational meals. Start by sharing the Southern Indian staple, Idly ($7), a fluffy steamed rice cake served with fresh coconut and handmade chutney, and the crowd-pleasing Satay ($12), an ode to the defunct Satay Club at Beach Road. The menu proudly highlights Singapore's multi-cultural nature with new additions like Eurasian Beef Brisket Semor ($24) and Hakka Abacus Beads ($16), while retaining most of the Peranakan dishes found at Violet's flagship restaurant along Bukit Timah Road. A must-try classic is the Buah Ayam Keluak ($23), a spicy, tangy chicken stew infused with the buah keluak nut, blue ginger and tumeric — a wonderful representation of the complexities of Peranakan flavours. End the meal with Roti Jala ($10), a traditional laced pancake served with gula melaka and banana coconut sauce. Dinner reservations are filling up fast, so try to make them at least one week in advance! Note that all meat used here are from Halal-certified suppliers.

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Attention all easties, your side of Singapore just got better — again. Located within the heartlands of Serangoon is The Plain Jane, a cosy vintage-themed cafe where you can unwind and learn a thing or two about slow-living from Jane, the owner. For the uninitiated swiss roll eater, go for the freshly-made The Plain Roll ($4.90), a light, fluffy cake encasing a generous amount of smooth, melt-in-your-mouth cream that will ease you right into the club. Also try the crowd favourite Thai Milk Tea Not So Plain Roll ($5.90), or other limited edition flavours like Earl Grey, Matcha and Nutella Chocolate. These flavours come in limited in quantities, so be sure to head over early to secure the ones that you want. Sit back and relax with a cup of Ette Tea Mango Sticky Rice ($8 per pot) — you read that right, its genmaicha and black tea infused with diced mango and candied coconut bits for that extra fruity sweetness. Seasonal brunch items are also available, just check with Jane. Pro tip: To order a whole roll, contact them at least three to seven days in advance!

The top picks, popular finds and newly opened places in Singapore, curated by Burpple editors!

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Curated by our editors, featuring great places and the latest food news.
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