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Modern Singaporean Cuisine

Modern Singaporean Cuisine

Featuring Botanico at The Garage, The Marmalade Pantry (ION Orchard), Wild Rocket, 田 Magic Square, Labyrinth, Restaurant Ibid, Morsels, OwnselfmakeChef, Relish by Wild Rocket (Frasers Tower), Buko Nero
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua
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I loved this.
The very gently cooked prawn was stretched out and scored down the back. Into that linear space went pearls of ikura followed by a covering of thinly sliced carrots. The head, deepfried till crunchy, was smothered in a prawn brain and ebiko sauce. Both body and head were reassembled on a pool of liquid gold - a luscious concoction of prawn shells, glutinous rice wine, kefir cream and Shaoxing wine.

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I must say, I like the food at “Restaurant Ibid” more now. Overall, it is less sweet which suits my pro-savoury palate and there are quite a few gutsy, playful and delicious creations on the new Tasting Menu that I found really impressive.
One of which is the Stuffed Chicken Wing with Foie Gras, an item included only in the bigger 9-course menu.
Fantastically crunchy on the outside and sooooo juicy and richly-flavoured by the foie gras within, the engorged chicken wing is offset brilliantly by the acid and heat of the special sauce concocted from Chinese black vinegar and “Marzo Heat”, a brand of hot sauce by Owner-chef Woo Wai Leong’s friend Jim Marzo, amongst other ingredients.

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H O S T E D
One of new dishes on the menu at the brand new flagship outlet of The Marmalade Pantry is the “Curry Barramundi”. I see it as a creative take on the traditional curry fish head that is conveniently sized down for a single person’s serving.
There are two large, boneless pieces of the pan-fried fish so it’s easy to enjoy, and you get to choose how much of the curry you want on them as it comes in a little jug on the side. Speaking of the curry, I thought it was wonderfully fragrant, rich and thick. It tasted to me like a hybrid of Peranakan and Indian curries and was spicy but not overly so. As for the vegetables, the lady’s fingers and eggplant were cooked lightly while the baby tomatoes were left raw.

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A couple of months ago, my ears perked up when I heard Chef Shen Tan was launching a fruit-centric menu ($99 per pax) for her @ownselfmakechef private dining. I promptly made a reservation and that is how a group of us indulged in it last Saturday night.

The 8-course menu featured at least one fruit in each dish, but sometimes it wasn’t immediately obvious what fruit it was, which made it kind of fun because we got to play guessing games. The following were my favourites from the entire menu:

- Green banana (or plantain) layered mille-feuille style with slices of Wagyu beef which was then breaded, battered and deep fried. This painstaking creation tasted a lot like mashed potato and beef but with the benefit of a crunch factor. It was served with a sharp-ish kalamansi marmalade and kewpie mayo and the combination was terrific in my opinion.

- One of the top crowd-pleasers of the night had to be the huge and fleshy mussels from @ahhuakelong that were cooked in a piquant guava chilli sauce. It possessed the kind of appetite-whetting flavour that triggered a craving for more. In me anyway.

- Inspired by the tapas from her recent trip to Madrid, Chef Shen came up with croquettas of green jackfruit and mashed up cooked jackfruit seeds. Crunchy on the outside, and thick and creamy on the inside, they were served on fluffy Japanese rice topped with a curry sauce and onions. This also proved to be a hit with everyone around the table.

- Although Chef Shen and her assistant chef Joy proclaim to not enjoy desserts, the brown butter cake with lychee sorbet, coconut ice-cream and a dusting of red peppercorn seemed to suggest otherwise. I inhaled it despite how full I was feeling by this point.

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When a big group of us visited Morsels for lunch on Sunday, Chef-owner Petrina kindly brought out their newest creation at the end of our meal to let us have a taste.
Meet the “Duck Kut Teh”, which is available from yesterday until the 24th of February. The latest addition to Morsel’s rotating noodle of the week, it is an embodiment of her new direction in focusing on one meat each time.
What you get to enjoy here is soft, silky “mee sua” served in a delicate but flavourful broth made from red and green Sichuan peppercorns plus white pepper. Toppings include the starring meat of the week in two forms - as a whole duck thigh that’s been cooked in the same stock till very tender, and a crispy “cigar” stuffed with fragrant shredded duck meat. You can also find a few pieces of thick and bouncy beancurd skin prepared Sichuan-style in rose wine, vinegar and soya sauce in the bowl as well. As you can probably tell, there’s a wonderful mix of textures to excite the mouth with every bite. On the side is a very appetising dip of “kicap manis”, dark soya sauce, garlic and chilli padi. I loved splashing loads of it over the “mee sua”.
If you are a fan of duck, this would be a most ideal dish for you.

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We came here for the special Wonton Mee (which exceeded expectations!) but the two snacks which preceded it, put on quite a show. Especially the first - a beef tartare with a very cleverly done southeast asian twist.
Cradled in an airy-light pulut hitam cracker was a generous mound of raw minced beef that’d been cured in a housemade rendang paste for a few days. Garnished with tiny bits of fermented green radish, raw onions, shaved cured egg yolk and chives, this was fiercely beautiful on the palate. I was in awe.

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Clicking open the eDM from @morselsinsingapore caused me a serious case of “heart eyes” accompanied by a side of racing pulse. Their “Wonton Mee”, a noodles special for the week, looked too enticing to miss. So I made like an aerodynamic packet of tissue and reserved via Chope.
Some might baulk at the $28++ price tag but I say this set is worth every damn cent because aside from the egg noodles which are custom-made by a trusted supplier according to Chef-owner Petrina’s specifications, the rest of the ingredients are produced in-house by her and her team. Needless to say, tastiness is unequivocally next level.
Laid on the fine strands of noodles which have been tossed in pork lard oil, mirin and herbal soya sauce is a neat arrangement of juicy, tender slow-cooked pork jowl “char siew”, wontons filled with kimchi-flavoured minced pork, blanched greens and crispy pork lard.
If you can take the heat, mix in all of the green paste served on the side. Created from jalapeños, local chillies, parsley and fresh lime juice, it spikes the contents of your bowl into a fragrant, mouthwatering and very spicy pleasure.
Everyone knows #wontonmee must come with a bowl of soup and Morsels’ take is a luxuriously thick, MSG-free chicken broth so delicious it will have you wishing for more.
If you are keen to try this dish, do note it is available till the 18th of Feb but will return in March due to the rotation basis of Morsels’ noodles menu. I recommend following their Facebook or getting on their emailing list to be kept updated.

4 Likes

Clicking open the eDM from @morselsinsingapore caused me a serious case of “heart eyes” accompanied by a side of racing pulse. Their “Wonton Mee”, a noodles special for the week, looked too enticing to miss. So I made like an aerodynamic packet of tissue and reserved via Chope.
Some might baulk at the $28++ price tag but I say this set is worth every damn cent because aside from the egg noodles which are custom-made by a trusted supplier according to Chef-owner Petrina’s specifications, the rest of the ingredients are produced in-house by her and her team. Needless to say, tastiness is unequivocally next level.
Laid on the fine strands of noodles which have been tossed in pork lard oil, mirin and herbal soya sauce is a neat arrangement of juicy, tender slow-cooked pork jowl “char siew”, wontons filled with kimchi-flavoured minced pork, blanched greens and crispy pork lard.
If you can take the heat, mix in all of the green paste served on the side. Created from jalapeños, local chillies, parsley and fresh lime juice, it spikes the contents of your bowl into a fragrant, mouthwatering and very spicy pleasure.
Everyone knows #wontonmee must come with a bowl of soup and Morsels’ take is a luxuriously thick, MSG-free chicken broth so delicious it will have you wishing for more.
If you are keen to try this dish, do note it is available till the 18th of Feb but will return in March due to the rotation basis of Morsels’ noodles menu. I recommend following their Facebook or getting on their emailing list to be kept updated.

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H O S T E D
When you want pasta but also something unapologetically Asian, this “Hae Bee Hiam Spaghettini” can be found right smack in the intersection of that Venn Diagram.
Available at the newly-opened Relish at Frasers Tower, it’s a Mod Sin dish created by Owner-chef Willin a long time ago but has remained a firm favourite for many due to a simple reason - it is really shiok. The fragrance and moreish flavour comes courtesy of the spicy mix of minced dried scallops and shrimps (it’s just like an “XO sauce”) that the fine al dente strands of pasta are tossed in.

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H O S T E D
Spam. Fries. Kaffir. Mayo.
Four words. Each powerful on its own.
An unstoppable force when strung together.
Now available in the CBD.

FUN FACT: Did you know Owner-chef Willin was the first person to put #spamfries on his menu in Singapore? This was in 2006 at his Wild Oats Bar on Mount Emily. Or if we are to be very accurate, he was already making them for snacks while doing National Service, with the help of the tiny oven at his army camp.

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H O S T E D
This has the taste of Thailand combined with a noodle popular in Singapore and Malaysia.
Appetising in a mildly spicy way, the minced chicken is stirfried with chopped up long beans and fresh Thai herbs, then scooped on to the slippery “rat tail” noodles. Placed on that is an onsen egg that quivers with every move, awaiting the reason for its existence - to be sacrificed in the name of silky lusciousness.
You can find it at the newly open “Relish” at Fraser’s Tower on level two.

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Here is the Indonesian / Malay favourite - “sayur lodeh” like you’ve never seen it before. Inspired by Chef @lerouy_’s creation at his eponymous restaurant, the “Baked Cabbage Sayur Lodeh” by owner-chef Willin of “Relish” has the veg in a wedge, plated with the classic dish’s spicy lemak gravy thickened into a sauce. This is done purely with carrots, pumpkin and cabbage which means there is so much goodness in there. The finishing touch is a sprinkling of bacon bits and fried shrimp for a savoury crunch.
Ideal for sharing but I do feel it is a good choice if you are after a light, tasty and meat-free meal.

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Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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