Everyday Dinners

‘Everyday’ in a comfortable, complimentary sense vs. a derogatory one.  Think mid-week, laidback dinner.

E-SARN

Ridgewood Condo

5 Ridgewood Close

Singapore 276696

http://www.esarn.com.sg

T(+65) 6466 8078

This is a real favourite. If you don’t already know and love it, you soon will. In
fact, 
would go so far as to say that it is the cheap and cheerful (and crucially, very good) Thai restaurant you have been looking for.  The Thai family who run it (they own 4 E-Sarns across the island) used to run a hawker stall at Farrer Road market called ‘Neng’s Kitchen’ before becoming so popular that they branched in to the restaurant business. Neng is still very much in charge and handpicks and trains all the native Thai chefs in each venue.  If you are planning on coming here, it’s worth calling ahead and reserving a table as we have been caught out before.  And there is nothing worse that anticipating a heavenly pomelo salad and green chicken curry only to find out that you can’t have it because they are full.  Firm favourites include the herb salad – sounds unimpressive but just try it – good old thai green prawn curry, weeping tiger and pomelo salad (the papaya salad is very disappointing, don’t bother with it but the pomelo is heavenly).  Sticky mango rice for pudding or otherwise pop next door to fab Japanese waffle and ice cream parlour for a raspberry sorbet to cleans the palette.  Oh – and we almost forgot, the best bit is that for a $2 corkage charge (per person), you can also bring your own wine.  (There is a wine store a few doors down if you have failed to remember to bring your bottle – but be warned, they can be a bit hit and miss).  If you have forgotten to chill your bottle of Cloudy to a suitable temperature, E-Sarn will also provide an ice buckets for $3.  

Opening Times: 11.30am-10pm Tue-Sun.  Closed Mon.  See website for other outlets and their opening times

CASANOVA PIZZA BAR

Block 21 Ghim Moh Road (01-213)

Singapore 270021

 T: (+65) 6465 1338

Who’d have though Casanova lived on Ghim Moh market square! This is only a find if you live locally to Ghim Moh market/Sixth Ave; you wouldn’t schlep all the way here if you didn’t live close by.  Happily for us, it’s just down the road, so we love this for a low key Sunday sups or a mid week bite.  Owned by Salvo who is, as his name suggests, a real, live Italian, we are thrilled with their good, simple pizza that comes from neither from Spizza nor La Forketta.  Formerly known as Pizza Donato, this is under new ownership and boasts a chef from Oso as well as someone from Garibaldi. Not bad, although not sure exactly what he did at Garibaldi – they didn’t elaborate.  Possibly took people’s coats, as if he was their head chef, it would be too good to be true – and they’d have undoubtedly mentioned it.  It’s not super cheap considering the market location – expect to pay around $19 per pizza –  but it is delicious and surprisingly authentic.  

Opening Times: 10am-3pm; 5pm-11pm Tues-Sun.  Closed Mon.

TORI-TAMA

Robertson Walk (01-01/02)

11 Unity Street

Singapore 237995

T: (+65) 6836 5680

Where: Right next to Wine Connection on Robertson Walk – go there for a  pre dinner drink

Wear: No one really cares. Not shorts, not flip flops.  Full of Japanese businessmen most of the time, so geisha gear might get your bill paid but you will stick out like a sore thumb

Why: Carb free eating that even carb cravers will enjoy

Who: Friends

A very good budget yakitori joint that’s not half bad.  Their veggies are beautifully seasoned, their chicken skin is addictive and perfectly cooked and they wagyu beef, melt in the mouth deliciousness.  They also do great deals on bottles of saki and you can usually get 2 for 1.  What you don’t drink they ask you to take home.  We’ve never managed not to finish ours, but if you do, the bottles are fun to keep and make good salad dressing containers that will fit in the fridge as well as look nice on the table.

BTW: If you are a real, die hard yakitori fan and not afraid of splurging, try Akanoya Robatayaki and/or Torisho Taka by Aoki (more info available on both of these under Spoil Me Dinners category).  Both are at least twice, if not three times the price of Tori-Tama but worth it if you are going for a really special dinner. Either that, or someone else is paying.  This is a good, everyday alternative.

Opening Times: 6pm-11pm Mon-Sat.  Closed Sun

BISTRO DE SOMMELIER

46 Princep Street

#01-01 Prinsep Place

Singapore 188675

T: (+65) 6333 1982

Looking for proper French food without Les Amis/Au Petit Salut pricing? Then this is for you.  While prices are still by no means what we would describe as being phenomenal value – to be fair, a lot of the produce is flown in from France –  they are not tooo bad either…and the food is delicious.  Try their seasonal specials (white asparagus in June is to die for).  Portions are on the large side so it’s quite possible to share a few plates if going with girlfriends.  Rustic and charming, your waitress is the part owner and is not only French, but beautiful and thin to boot (note to self, must read book ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat’).  Great for both low key mid week sups or weekend blow-out.

Opening Times: 6pm-11pm Mon-Sat.  Closed Sun

PIZZERIA MOZZA

Marina Bay Sands (#B1)

Singapore 018972

http://www.pizzeriamozza.com

T: (+65) 6688 8522

Delicious pizza but be prepared to pay around $27+ for it. Service is not great and be warned that your table invariably won’t be ready for the time you’ve booked it (very annoying) but their creations are both brave and fabulous.

Opening Times: 5pm-11pm Tues-Sun; Fri & Sat from 12pm-2pm for lunch, 5pm-11pm for dinner.  Extended opening hours to follow.  Closed Mon.

EL PATIO

34 Lorong Mambong

Holland Village

T: (+65) 6468 1520

If mexican is your thing then you will struggle in Singapore.  Check out Taqueria – a tiny shack with outdoor tables at the top of the hill in Phoenix Park off Tanglin Road – but only go between 12pm and 1pm on weekdays.  The rest of the time it is either closed or has run out of the good stuff.  They are mean with their guacamole and salsa but it is good.  It is also very cheap and there fish tacos are really not bad at all.  All ingredients are fresh and everything is cooked to order.  But that isn’t what we’re talking about here.

Nestled on a strip that can only really be described as Singapore’s answer to Puerto Banus, El Patio is halfway up the Holland Village main drag.  Beware though, it is nestled slap bang next to another restaurant that is not good at all – unless of course you are after processed cheese and refried beans out of a can. Actually, if I could be sure they were straight out of the can I would be a little less uncomfortable about eating there…need I say more? El Patio is the one with the lovely poncho tablecloths and they give you freshly made tomato salsa  and real corn chips while you think about what to eat.  They do the best fresh lime juice that is delivered to you in a jar – very authentic and their food has not disappointed yet.  It is not really anywhere to write home about – but it ain’t bad – and the service ain’t too terrible either!

Opening Times: basically 11am-11pm, but can be flexible – worth calling to book to avoid disappointment!

COCOTTE

Wanderlust Hotel

2 Dickson Road

Singapore 209494

http://www.restaurantcocotte.com

T: (+65) 6298 1188

What: Rustic French fare

Where: Little India

Wear: Boho chic

We’re: Quite expensive for our ulu location, but very much a new, hip hotspot for those in the know

Cocotte means either a prostitute or something slow cooked in a casserole dish, but we assume this restaurant’s name draws its inspiration from the latter.  Serves delicious food coupled with faultless delivery and flare – but then again it’s pretty expensive for what it is, so we would expect nothing less.  Prices are around $30 for a main with a bottle of house (Rhone red) around the $75 mark.  Champs is $28 a glass which makes it more expensive that the Aston Bar at the St Regis.  But great fun and stylish and a bit of a hidden away gem.  Try it.  BTW: They have just introduced BYO at Cocotte on Mondays.  Wine corkage is waived for both lunch and dinner. 

Opening Times:  12pm-2.30pm daily except Sun; 6.30pm-10.30pm Mon-Thu; 6.30pm-11pm Fri & Sat

CARILLON DE L’ANGELUS

24 Ann Siang Road

T: (+65)  6423 0353

We’re: Nice little nook

Where: Club Street/Chinatown area

Wear: Whatever you like

Bring: Friends or family

A sweet little French bistrot with a nice vibe but virtually non-existent (I suppose French style) service…though this doesn’t really seem to matter.  Good place to relax and try a variety of different French wines.  They have an exhaustive but reasonably priced list- many of which you can sample by the glass. The food is simple and decent and is one of the few places in Singapore that imports the coveted Parisien sourdough Poilaine bread (though ask how fresh it is before purchasing).   Sit outside and soak up the atmosphere or hang out at the bar after a wander around the arty vicinity.  Find a good spot, order a salade nicoise and a bottle of plonk, and settle in with the book you just bought from the outrageously expensive but seriously stylish Books Actually round the corner.  Basically a good place for a long lazy afternoon that seeps into evening.  Read the papers and people watch – particularly rewarding checking out the clan house members across the street doing whatever it is they do these days.

RAW KITCHEN

66 Kampong Bugis

Singapore 338987

http://www.rawkitchenbar.com

T: (+65) 6467 3987

We’re: Laid back

Where: New location (moved from Old Fire House at Upper Bukit Timah) just beyond Beach Road

Wear: Casual chic

Bring: Friends

Raw is an absolute fave. Simple yet delectable dishes that are….simply delectable……and by no means predominantly raw (but you will find ample carpaccio etc on the menu if you are looking for it).  A very chilled, laid back vibe that is sometimes missing in higher end and higher priced establishments and worth the schlep to get to, even if you live on the other side of the island.

Opening Times: For dinner and drinks only (no lunch). 6pm-11pm, Tue-Sun.  Closed Mon

PS. CAFE

28B Harding Road

Dempsey Village

Singapore

www.pscafe.com

T: (+65) 6479 3343

We’re: Expat safe bet

Where: Dempsey

Wear: Whatever you like

Bring: Friends or family

Not cheap by any stretch, but we defy you to have a bad meal in this pretty well-run joint. Good salads and mains, fresh fish, fabulous truffled shoestring fries and a decent wine list.  Absurd sized cakes that tend not to dissappoint in the taste-as-good-as-it-looks stakes.   Also good for weekend brunch – see Brunch listing.  BTW: They have recently opened a new resto on Ann Siang Hill which has a much edgier vibe and is great for weekend/mid-week dinner.  Tricky to find the first time you go, the entrance is actually via Ann Siang Hill Park at the end of the street (T: (+65) 9797 0648).

Opening Times: 6.30pm-12am Sun-Thu; 6.30pm-2am Fri & Sat

LAGNAA, barefoot dining

6 Upper Dickson Road

Singapore 207466

T: (+65) 6296 1215

We’re: In love…with everything about the place

Where: Little India

Wear: Trousers…seriously

So easy to miss, especially given the lurid yellow scrawled upon tiles in the downstairs portion of this shophouse restaurant.  Leave your shoes and cares behind as you climb the uneven but well polished stairs to an upstairs haven.  Although the furnishings are decidedly minimal and the room could do with a little more effort in terms of decor than just bare magnolia walls, the curries are, on the whole, pretty darn good.  Run by a knowledgeable and passionate team, with your food served by the chefs, this place is as authentic (despite it’s predominant expat/traveller crowd) as it is relaxed.  Every month the chefs devise new recipes that are voted for by an invited group of lottery picked customers.  Just lovely…but don’t forget to tell guests to wear trousers…you will all be sitting on the floor!

Opening Times: 11am-10.30pm daily

PICOTIN

100 Turf Club Road

Singapore

T: (+65) 6877 1191

We’re: Relaxed Euro fare

Where: Turf City

Wear: GAP

Bring: Everyone

A bar, bistro and bakery, this place is a good all-rounder, whether it’s for brunch, lunch or a relaxed weekday dinner. Picotin has something for everyone, serving French-ish food (they are also well known for their pizzas), their menu is large but simple.  BTW: If only a pizza delivered to your door will do, Picton have a pretty good delivery service, though not great cold if you live more than 10 mins or so away.  Rather a nice spot for weekend brunch or breakfast with the kids too as there is plenty of space to run about and throw petanque balls at each other.  They also screen movies on a Tuesday night (starting around 7.30pm).  Classics include Life of Brian, Snatch and Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barels.

Opening Times: 12pm-10pm Weekdays; 12pm-10.30pm Weekends

RELISH

Cluny Court (#02-01)

501 Bukit Timah Road

Singapore 259760

www.wildrocket.com.sg

T: (+65) 6763 1547

We’re: Burger worth paying for

Where: Bukit Timah

Wear: Jeans and heels

Bring: Girlfriend or Boyfriend

The best burgers in town…BTW: skip pud and take a trip downstairs to the delicious ISLAND CREAMERY in the Serene Centre (#01-03).  Choose from their classics (burnt caramel in a choc cone is hard to better and their cookies ‘ n’  cream is a winner) as well as delish local flavours that we love, including cancer-busting soursop, durian and chendol…

Opening Times: 6.30pm-11pm Weekdays; 10.30am-11pm Weekends

LES BOUCHONS

7 Ann Siang Road

Singapore 69689

T: (+65) 6423 0737

We’re: Bon steak frites from ‘a bistro around the corner’

Where: Club Street

Wear: Left Bank chic (not required for restaurant as much as it is for post-dinner Club Street drinks)

Bring: Wife or work

Nothing to rave about if we were in France, there’s one in every town, but on the basis that we aren’t, this place does excellent steak and chips (and more) washed down with reasonably priced red. There is also a branch at 41 Robertson Quay (#01-01; T: (+65) 6733 4414) but it’s not nearly as cosy and private as this one.  BTW: Excellent venue for a party provided you have enough people (minimum requirement is around 10+).  The ground floor is small enough to be entirely yours, at no extra charge.

Opening Times: 7pm-10pm Mon-Sat.  Closed Sun

SANTOUKA

The Central (#02-76)

6 Eu Tong Sen Street

Singapore 059817

T: (+65) 6224 0668

We’re: Ramen restaurant

Where: Central Mall, Clarke Quay

Wear: Muji or Uniqlo

Bring: Spare shirt

This one’s all about ramen – a Japanese noodle dish that began life in China.  The rich miso broth of their signature ramen perfectly compliments the sweet, lean yet juicy pork meat.  Proudly awarded three pairs of chopsticks by Makansutra 2009 and included within the street food section of this foodie bible, this is no hawker centre.  Sit and slurp in sleek, petite and classically Japanese surroundings.  Ramen Girl, eat your heart out.  Make sure you go for their pork cheek (toroniku) ramen and, quite simply, be bowled over.

Opening Times: 11am-9.30am daily

Same but different: HOKKAIDO RAMEN is a good ramen stall at Ion Orchard (Level B4 and outside the ‘Food Opera’ section). Be warned thought, it is not cheap and comes in at around $20 per bowl, which is large enough to share between 2, ditto Santouka.

DA PAOLO PIZZA BAR

44-46 Jalan Merah Saga

Chip Bee Gardens

Singapore 278116

www.dapaolo.com.sg

T: (+65) 6479 6059

We’re: Decent pizza

Where: Chip Bee Gardens, HV

Wear: Anything

Bring: Friends

Decent pizza + good wine list = mid-week heaven.  Stroppy staff but really pretty good food makes them easy to ignore once you have ordered.  A pretty sophisticated set up with a nearby ‘gastronomic’ and pastry offering too – see website for more details.

Opening Times: 11am-3pm, 6pm-11pm daily; closed Mon

Same but different: If it’s pizza you must have, also try PICOTIN who will also deliver (see listing above).  Arguably better quality is LA FORKETTA in Dempsey (T: (+65) 6475 2298) however, you will have to put up with stroppy staff, pay a minimum of $28 and order the pizza exactly as it appears on the menu.  Don’t ask for iced water either – they will refuse.  But pizza aficionados should put up and shut up.  La Forketta do a takeout service but in true unhelpful style, it involves you collecting it.  Their website’s pretty useless (www.laforketta.com.sg) giving no information at all on what pizzas they have.  But don’t give up just yet…try SPIZZA for a real hit and miss delivery service (but when they get it right, it’s pizza heaven and when they don’t, provided you make a big enough fuss, it often comes for free next time).  www.spizza.sg; delivery hotline: (+65) 6377 7773.  The best pizza in Singapore though is actually very reasonably priced (though not huge) at OSVALDO’S; see Spoil Me section

Same but very different: HOUSE’s signature ‘skinny pizza’ at THE BARRACKS, Dempsey (T: (+65) 6475 7787) is great for guilt-free blow-outs – see entry below.

THE BARRACKS CAFE

House

8D Dempsey Road

Singapore 249672

www.dempseyhouse.com

T: (+65) 6476 6050

We’re: Casual cool with arty attitude

Where: Dempsey

Wear: Juicy Couture

Bring: Wannabe style gurus

A great place for easy weekday dinners, this has the casual cosiness of a café, but the food and service of a good restaurant.  Try their virtuous skinny pizzas which are a must.  They also do great salads but the best thing on the menu has to be the appetizer: a 15 minute mobile back and neck massage from their beauty emporium upstairs, delivered at your table.  BTW: Book your massage with your table.

Opening Times: Mon-Sun 6pm-10.30pm

KURIYA DINING

Great World City (Office Tower #01-28)

1 Kim Seng Promenade

Singapore 237994

www.res.com.sg

T: (+65) 6736 0888

We’re: No quirks Japanese; sushi, ‘sets’ and more

Where: River Valley

Wear: Kimono – this is authentic

Bring: Novice or grand master

Authentic without being over priced and intimidating, they have a huge menu as well as some good value set meal options.  The wagyu beef sushi is pretty darn impressive and they have salmon and tuna belly, as standard, too. Their Red Book holds a large list of today’s fresh Japanese imports.

Opening Times: 11.30am-2.30pm; 6pm-11pm

SABAI

Ngee Ann City (#04-23)

391B Orchard Road

Singapore 238874

T: (+65) 63338492/8491

We’re: My Thai…don’t tell everyone

Where: Takashimaya

Wear: Anything but pink or you’ll clash with the walls

Bring: The wife, esp if she’s vegetarian

The food is delicious and the staff are knowledgeable. The main attraction is their pomelo and green mango salad (any restaurant aficionado will tell you that a green mango or papaya salad is the yard stick by which to measure a Thai restaurant by).  Don’t forget to check out their divine noodle dishes and, of course, curries too.  Be warned though, leave room for pudding (the portions are generous and it is easy to get carried away) as they serve a dessert buffet in the evenings that is a really rather an elegant affair.

BTW: Their chilli and lime peanuts are a must with cocktails. This is also a great place to know if you have vegetarians in your midst.  Thai food is not known for its array of vegetarian options (more often than not there is shrimp paste or fish sauce lurking in most things) – but this menu has 2 whole pages (out of 10) devoted to delicious vegetarian delights.

Opening Times: Mon-Sun 6pm-10pm

TANGLIN TREE

Friven Centre (#01-01)

56 Tanglin Road

Singapore 247964

T: (+65) 6733 0992

We’re: Easy eatery

Where: Tanglin

Wear: FitFlops or wedges

Bring: Someone to share a bottle of wine with

Opened at the end of 2008, this establishment has quickly become part of the furniture.  Owned by the same restaurateurs behind Flutes at The Fort, this lovely, brasserie-style restaurant combines good food with unpretentious flair.  A fantastic wine list and well thought out menu makes this an easy choice when you just want a good, honest meal, any night of the week (try their penne with tomatoes in creamy rocket pesto – rich and delicious).  Incidentally, a really great place to go for proper breakfast or brunch as we know it (i.e.10am/11am).

Opening Times: 9am-9pm Mon-Sat, 8am-7pm Sun

RED HOUSE

East Coast Seafood Centre (#01-05)

1204 East Coast Parkway

Singapore

www.redhouseseafood.com

T: (+65) 6442 3112

We’re: Seafood central

Where: East coast, very near airport

Wear: Shorts & T-shirt

Bring: Dressed down diners

The Seafood Centre on the east coast provides you with a boggling array of (essentially pretty similar) places to eat all kinds of fresh seafood, whether it’s razor clams, scallops, chilli or black pepper crab.  The Red House is consistently good and was one of the pioneering restaurants here (established in the ‘70s).  Make a point of trying their shell-on cereal prawns – you eat the entire thing.  They also have a branch at Robertson Quay, but the seaside atmosphere and almost obligatory shorts and t-shirt makes this the better branch by far.  BTW: Make sure you order deep fried mantos (sweet-ish buns) with your chilli crab – it’s just not the same without them.

Opening Times: 3.30pm-12am Mon-Fri; 11am-12am Weekends

Same but different: NO SIGNBOARD SEAFOOD has been going for around 30 years, and as the name suggests, when it began life it had no name.  They now have 4 branches in Singapore, including one at the East Coast Seafood Centre (T: (+65) 6448 9959) as well as at The Esplanade (T: (+65) 6336 9959; open from 11am-11pm daily) which is very popular and overlooks the water – somehow an essential component of the chilli crab experience (Long Beach at Dempsey is wrong).

RISTORANTE DA VALENTINO

11 Jalan Binka

Singapore 588908

http://www.valentino.sg

T: +65 6462 0555

We’re: Local Italian with punchy prices

Where: Bukit Timah

Wear: Gucci loafers and brylcreem

Bring: Mario or Maria

A little Italian restaurant in its truest form in Singapore – feels like any other round-the-corner Italian back home, but hard to come by here.  Run by an Italian family that has been here for years, Valentino’s has become a bastion of the Singapore foodie world.  Put up with the slightly absurd waiters reciting a ten minute list of the days specials in accents that would not be out of place in an episode of ‘Blackadder’, and enjoy.  The food here really is pretty good and their ingredients are also pretty impressive.  They really do get fresh truffles when they are in season (Italy’s season of course) and use beautiful Burrata cheese and hand sliced Prosciutto.  Classic Italian dishes include calamari, squid ink risotto, a variety of pasta dishes and of course the ubiquitous (though occasionally disappointing) tiramisu or pannacotta for pud.  Well worth the trek around the houses along Rifle Range Road to find – but we warned – it is not your average trattoria prices -especially if you avail yourself of their fairly extensive wine menu.

Opening Times: 6pm-10pm Tue-Sun; closed Mon

GRAZE

4 Rochester Park

Singapore

www.graze.com.sg

T: (+65) 6775 9000

We’re: Grown up Aussie

Where: Rochester Park

Wear: DVF

Bring: Bill Granger

Nestled amongst other well noted restaurants in Rochester Park this place is always a winner.  Though not cheap, there is always something for everyone on the extensive menu including a pretty impressive page devoted to vegetarians at dinner (but non-veggies, don’t panic).  Their stuffed Zucchini flowers are delicious and their generous side of fries is enough for two – ask for them to be served with tartare sauce for a real treat.  They also do a great proper brunch – eggs benedict and full English breakfast but make sure you book ahead on the weekends – see Brunch listing.

Opening Times: 6pm-12am Mon-Sun

SPRUCE

320 Tanglin Road

Singapore 247904

http://www.spruce.com.sg

T: (+65) 6836 5528

We’re: Not as grown up as Graze

Where: Tanglin

Wear: Jeans and jewellery

Bring: Kylie or Jason

A relative newcomer to the modern Australian food scene in Singapore and part of the latest demilitarized development of Phoenix Park, this is a nice place to go for breakfast/brunch, low-key lunch or dinner.  It didn’t knock our socks off, but this was mostly due to the tepid coffee, ineffectual staff and large bill.  However, they have a great menu and wine list and a really nice atmosphere.  The meat is good and comes from the Cameron Highlands, and the chef is accomplished; his menu is well thought out and includes interesting options for non-meat eaters.  Dinner can be quite romantic, especially if sitting outside (bring mozzie spray), and the food tends to be consistently good in the evenings (vs brunch which can be hit or miss).

If you are there during the week be sure to check out their Taqueria canteenthe top of the hill.  Open only weekday lunches it is really very good quesadillas and tacos – unique in Singapore and very cheap and cheerful.

Opening Times: 8am-10.30pm Mon-Sun

THE RAMEN STALL

6 Short Street

Singapore 188213

http://www.theramenstall.com

T: (+65) 6734 9294

We’re: Perfect for civilised late night nosh, whether you’ve been working late or partying hard

Where: Just off lower end of Orchard, behind The Cathay

Wear: Whatever you want

Bring: Friends

Not an uber culinary experience, but good food served ’til late in the morning (4am Mon-Sat is pretty impressive).  Despite the name, they don’t only serve ramen, there is lots of choose from including sushi, sashimi and delish kushiyaki which they grill in front of you.  BTW: Place an order of over $50 and they’ll deliver free of charge (just call 1 hour in advance).

Opening Times:  til 4am Mon-Sat; til 1am Sun

FIKA

257 Beach Road (on the corner with Arab Street)

Singapore

T: (+65) 9002 3853

We’re: Scandinavian café/restaurant.

Where: Airconditioned haven on Arab Street

Wear: Anything you like

Bring: Weary Arab Street shoppers and weary office workers alike…

A lovely little stopgap on the corner of Arab Street and Beach Road.  An unlikely spot for a Scandinavian Restaurant but nevertheless a welcome change from the Houmous and Tzatziki style fayre everywhere else.  Classic Swedish meatballs and ubiquitous lingonberry jam, beetroot and potato salad with soups of the day and of course open sandwiches.  They try hard, and it pays off.  A rather refreshing addition to the mid-range supper and lunch hangout lists.

Opening Times: 11am-11pm Thu-Sat; 11am-10pm Sun-Wed (but they’ll close earlier if they’re not busy)

TANDOORI RESTAURANT

320 Serangoon Road (#01-26/27/28)

Singapore 218108

T: (+65) 6294 2232

Where: Little India – just next door to Mustafa (slightly further down)

We’re: Northern Indian fabulousness

Wear: Sari – we’re authentic

They’ve been here for 18 years and even have their own chappati chap outside the restaurant, making the very bread that you are going to tear up and dip in to their delicious curry sauces….Come here to eat before, or after, you’ve embarked on the madness of Mustaffa (if you suffer from any form of low bloody sugar, eat before you shop!).  Full of a very local clientele, you can’t go far wrong here.  We highly recommend the prawn masala and the saag paneer was delicious too.

Opening Times: 8am-11.15pm daily

SUNSET GRILL

140B Piccadilly – this is what they say their road is, but it isn’t, see below…

Seletar

Singapore

T: (+65) 6482 0244

Where: Seletar

We’re: Chicken wing wonder, in local, kampong setting

Wear: Singlet and shorts

This place is the place to go if you want to eat buffalo wings in Singapore.  In fact, it’s such a legendary, bizarre place that it’s worth coming here – and the other food is good enough to warrant it – even if you don’t.  For starters, it’s deliciously obscure…and in fact an absolute mission to get to. This is mainly because the restaurant, despite what they tell you, is not actually on Piccadilly. You need to drive the length of Piccadilly before spying Old Birdcage Walk; take this road and once on it, follow any signs you see to ‘East Camp’.  There is sometimes the odd ‘Sunset’ sign with rather faded arrows thrown in to the mix, so between both of them, you should be OK.  Drive past the parked, private planes and helis and you are there – at the Singapore Flying Club which is where the restaurant is actually based.  Super low-key, it’s actually a very well oiled machine and VERY busy.  Time it wrong and with no reservation there can be an hour’s wait….(on the weekends they don’t take reservations, so it’s best to go later, just before their last order at 9pm).  Other things to note are that the chilli heat of the chicken wings is rated and starts at a seemingly modest level 1 (hot, hot, hot – do not go higher) and goes up to level 10 – although they say they have an off-menu level 30 for those that dare.  This makes it sound very gimmicky but actually it’s not, and the atmosphere, enhanced hugely by way of strings of fairy lights, the sounds of crickets and the sense of space the deserted green fields far from the city give you, really makes you feel like you’re on holiday.  All the chilli they use here is actually Mexican – Asian chilli is apparently not hot enough.  On the non-spicy front, you can actually ask for level zero buffalo wings; the burger is delicious and the full/half rack of pork ribs, very good too.  Wine is chilled Italian red at around $8 a glass and there is of course Tiger.  Corkage is $20 but probably not really worth it on the basis that this is low-key nosh.

Time it right and they are reputed to have a wonderful view of the sunset…and as it’s located near the Flying Club’s runway, you may even see the odd plane taking off or landing – perfect for children’s tea time…

Opening Times: 4pm-9pm Fri, Sat, Sun; 4pm-9.30pm Mon, Weds, Thu.  Closed Tues

THE FRENCH STALL

544 Serangoon Road (opposite Shell petrol station)

Singapore

www.thefrenchstall.com.sg

T: (+65) 6299 3544

Where: In the most un-French place on earth: Little India

We’re: Bon marche makan

Wear: Casual

Claims to be the only French hawker stall in Singapore, with real hawker prices….which sounds pretty darn good and also rather unlikely.  Certainly more alfresco restro than hawker, it does still managed to serve delicious and great value French fare. Owned and managed by a French chef, who used to work in a Michelin starred restaurant in Paris, and who produces, for the price, pretty decent French fodder.  Do not go off-piste and get adventurous or you will be disappointed.  Stick to the classics; we recommend the chicken liver pate to start with, followed by steak (the veal was not good and the snails weren’t either).  Girls, make sure you pee before you come here as the loo is of the long drop variety – he argues that this is very French and therefore highly authentic!  There is a second branch at MacPherson Lane (T: (+65) 6746 0183 – closed Mondays – check website for details).

Opening Times: 3pm-6pm (desserts only); 6pm-10pm

Other nice places we haven’t had a chance to write up yet…

Pietra Santa: Italian joint behind Tanglin Trust School.  Book for the terrace but take mozzie spray

Crepes des Artistes: A lovely little hole in the wall.  Shophouse on Prinsep/Selegie street – turn left on Orchard just after the Cathay and then immediately right.  Perfect crepes – a lovely place to sit outside and take in the world….particularly on balmy evenings.  Even better….they have drop down outdoor projectors to watch the football on.  So have a lovely dinner next door at Brasserie du Sommelier (see below), then come here for ubiquitous lemon and sugar crispy crepe perfection!

Brasserie du Sommelier:  On same little strip of shophouses at top of Selegie road.  Lovely Chateaubriand, baked vacherin has to be done, regardless of the absurd temperature outside and french onion soup the way it should be.  Sit outside for bottle of wine and cheese plate for lighter dinner followed by crepe next door.  A really little Gauloise hidey hole!

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