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The Top Tables guide to 25 of the finest restaurants in Tanjong Pagar

Not cheap, but definitely memorable.

Part of our new Top Tables: Singapore Restaurant Guide 2017.

 

 

 

 

By SG Staff | Feb 14, 2017

  • The Top Tables guide to 25 of the finest restaurants in Tanjong Pagar
    Esquina

We almost can’t keep up with the crazy amounts of hip and cool restaurants erecting at Tanjong Pagar that transformed its line of old shophouses to classy restaurants and cafe. There are a few areas which you might already find familiar like Keong Saik, Duxton, Club Street and Ann Siang Hill accommodating cuisines from Italian to Spanish, Japanese to Mediterranean. Here is our guide on the 25 restaurants in Tanjong Pagar.

Angeleno

Foodies know that the robust flavor of Italian-American cooking is a distinct cuisine unto itself, and few places in town do it well and give it the fine dining treatment. For these reasons, this year’s sleeper hit Angeleno is a must-visit. Brought to you by the people behind Luke’s, Angeleno serves hearty but balanced fare like the Iberico pork chop with wild fennel pollen, their famous saucy meatballs with woodfire polenta and a half-dozen housemade pasta dishes—not to mention Italian-American icons like the veal chop Parmigiana. 20 Gemmill Lane.

Bar-roque Grill

This cave-like and convivial restaurant and grill by chef Stephane Istel (formerly of the Daniel Boulud Group) serves up classic and solid French fare, from the rillettes, escargots and terrines at the beginning to the Tomahawk ribeye with Bordelaise sauce for mains to the baba au rhum for dessert. Dig into it all in a cavernous space with long communal tables, and finish up at their alfresco space with a digestif. 165 Tanjong Pagar Rd.

Brasserie Gavroche

A facsimile of an old school Parisian brasserie right on Tras Street, this pretty, skylit dining room fosters a bit of nostalgia with black and white photos on the wall and a 1930s wooden bar-counter said to have been rescued from the original Parisian Café de la Paix. It’s all about hearty and rustic here, and aside from the usual suspects like escargots de Bourgogne, you can also look forward to forgotten classics, made using recipes passed down from chef Frederic Colin’s grandpa Henri, like baked pork terrine pie. The food and service are excellent, but it’s the charming ambiance that you’ll find particularly hard to resist. 66 Tras St.

Bochinche

This Argentinian restaurant has recently moved from Martin Road to the oh-so-hip Amoy Street, sporting a swanky interior yet retaining its casual vibe with the street art-decorated walls. We have to say, the new location has done the atmosphere a lot of good. Keeping elements of traditional Argentinean bistro, the restaurant merges its own take of the modern with their new classic hot and cold starters and chargrilled Argentine main courses, offering a selection of their signature small-plate favorites like chorizo croquettes and stuffed empanadas with fillings like braised cuttlefish (with fennel and chorizo). #01-02 115 Amoy St.

Burlamacco Ristorante

This intimate and elegant eatery, set in a conservation shop house, really drums up its Tuscan roots, both in the Tuscan commedia mask it’s named after, and the Tuscan dishes on the menu. The menu may be by-the-book, but it is hearty, delicious and comforting. Order home rolled pasta dishes like the ricotta ravioli with porcini sauce and the spaghetti vongole, and meaty affairs like the roast lamb rack with herbed pumpkin in red wine sauce. There’s a serious Italian wine list to go with. 77A Amoy St.

Cure

A partnership between chef Andrew Walsh (formerly of Esquina and The Study) and Joel Fraser (of The Cufflink Club), the minimalist and moody Cure recently did a menu overhaul, adding an a la carte option to their previous degustation-only set-up. You can still do set lunches and dinners. Just don’t miss delightful dishes like the crab salad with coconut rice, little dots of green curry, lime and pear, and the pretty exciting Iberico pork loin which comes with the lesser-seen pairing of smoked mussels and cauliflower done four ways. 21 Keong Saik Rd. Make a reservation via Chope here.

Chef’s Table

Chef Stephan Zoisl’s space looks more like a high-end wine bar, with its high tables and stools, but sign up for one of the multi-course dinners, and he and his team whip up dish after exciting dish in their open kitchen, with subtle gastronomy touches. There’s no menu, only a daily list of about 28 ingredients the kitchen will be working with, and the Austrian-heavy wine list is a great accompaniment. We recently had a glorious hamachi with cauliflower, samphire and Bouchot mussels, and a quinoa with olive oil caviar, basil oil and a burrata foam. 61 Tras St.

Cheek by Jowl

Led by husband-wife duo Rishi Naleendra and Manuela Toniolo, modern Australian restaurant Cheek by Jowl has been the toast of the town this year among Singapore’s foodies. The chef team cut their teeth in Sydney at the likes of Tetsuya and the menu has a tapas-style inclination towards shareable plates and mains, with seasonal ingredients, such as wild venison tartare and their signature pan-fried local barramundi with braised leek, bonito butter and caramelized onion. 21 Boon Tat St.

Esquina

Young Barcelona-born chef Carlos Montobbio took over the Esquina kitchen over a year ago, and the vivacious space has only gone from strength to strength, offering classic, comforting tapas with some innovative touches, as in the sandwich-style Spanish omelet, which comes with onion confit and olive oil caviar, and the Spanish Nigiri, a delicious dollop of salted cod, potato and garlic oil topped with roasted peppers. If you haven’t been in a while, check out the quieter second floor space, great for groups. 16 Jiak Chuan Rd. Make a reservation via Chope here.

Fleur De Sel

A cozy space featuring an open-concept kitchen, this restaurant is helmed by French chef-owner Alexandre Lozachmeur, who has worked at the Spoon restaurants and Alain Ducasse Au Plaza Athenee. The menu includes classic French dishes such as slow-cooked duck breast with apple, figs and cherry, as well as a five-course Fleur de Sel dinner and three-course set lunches. #01-01 64 Tras St.

Lolla

The warm space—especially the basement communal table—is one of our favorite respites from the throngs of Ann Siang. Lolla’s portions may be modest, but the simple, Mediterranean Style dishes deliver plenty of fireworks, limited not just to their legendary sea urchin pudding. Their egg dishes are a triumph—try the Spanish tortilla with eel—as is their exciting, well-chosen wine list. Come by on Sundays, too, for their brunch menu that includes grilled avocado and charcoal grilled grass-fed ribeye steak. 22 Ann Siang Rd. Make a reservation via Chope here.

Luke’s Oyster Bar & Chop House

Travis Masiero’s oyster bar and chop house has a few branches around town, but we’re eternally partial to the tucked away flagship on Gemmill Lane. The chic brasserie is classy yet relaxed—everything from the marble topped-bar, to the crisp white linens, to the vest-wearing servers recalls a lighter version of Old World elegance, while the food includes American retro-glam classics, including iconic East Coast dishes like the clam chowder and Boston lobster pot pie. Or order the lobster mac and cheese to go with your bonein tenderloin au poivre. The three sommeliers on staff bring an extra focus on the wines of the US, South America and the Loire region in France. 20 Gemmill Lane.

Lucha Loco

Probably among the more casual places in this guide, but we’ll always be fans of their original, perpetually packed space on Duxton Hill, especially the fairy-light festooned alfresco backyard. The name of the game here is elevated Mexican food, and worthwhile options include the mango and snapper ceviche, the carnitas tacos with pork belly, cilantro mayo and jicama, and the Bisvb tek con Nopales, skirt steak with cactus salsa verde and chimichurri sauce. Be sure to peruse their fun, party-worthy and refreshingly nonstuffy cocktail list, too. 15 Duxton Hill.

Maggie Joan’s

We have loved Moosehead for a long time, so we have been absolutely delighted by the arrival of the more upscale sister restaurant Maggie Joan’s, a narrow and beautifully decorated hole-in-the-wall Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, accessible only via the alley behind Amoy Street, now home to a row of cool restaurants. The space, while intimate, is rather non-descript with typical wooden furniture and raw, exposed bricks. They serve up modern, aesthetically driven plates like hamachi crudo, pickled tomato and basil, Inka roasted cauliflower, and the egg with dukka & saffron mayo. #01-01 110 Amoy St.

Moosehead

A restaurant we happily go to again and again, Moosehead has had some changes lately: an interior renovation has made the space more cool and comfortable, and new chef Seumas Smith has brought in some exciting new signature dishes that blend seamlessly with the Aussie-Mediterranean sensibility and respect for vegetables we expect from Moosehead. Don’t miss the cauliflower with garlic miso and gooey leek confit and the Inka three bean salad with padron peppers, snow peas and edamame with feta. You won’t even need to get to the meats, though the flank steak is affordable and delicious. 110 Telok Ayer St.

Majestic Restaurant

Few Chinese restaurants are hip, but this is definitely one of them. Fashionable diners come for chef-owner Yong Bing Ngen’s signature style of modern Chinese fare. The food is best exemplified in artfully-crafted dishes such as a combination of Peking duck skin, pan-seared foie gras and crispy wasabi prawn, which fit right in with the beautiful art pieces that grace the restaurant’s walls. Sadly, they plan to be closed for much of 2017, so do squeeze in a meal while you still can, or wait breathlessly to see what they do next. 31-37 Bukit Pasoh Rd. Make a reservation via Chope here.

Neon Pigeon

This packed, modern izakaya sports a street-inspired facade with graffiti murals, a sexy crowd and a trendy menu. They serve Japanese small plates with an edgier twist like chilled cucumber with crushed chili roasted peanuts and goma and crab cakes with wasabi and avocado. For mains, try the smoked baby back ribs in sake barbecue sauce and the tare-roasted chicken thigh with Japanese curry. A special mention goes to their pocket-friendly cocktails and special in-house junmai daiginjo sake. 1A Keong Saik Rd.

Pepenero

When the Burlamacco people took over Pepenero, we knew it would be something good. The space is simple and understated—no starched tablecloths or overstuffed armchairs here—the mostly-classic dishes kind of place a corporate executive may have a nice lunch at, but the food is warm and well executed. Try the cod fillet with rosemary potatoes and saffron sauce and the pappardelle with pork sausage ragout, porcini and truffle paste. 14 Stanley St.

Restaurant Ember

We were pretty sad when the cozy and chef-driven Sorrel closed, but now there is a big reason to be happy: Sorrel’s rising star chef Alex Phan, who also sharpened his knives at Tippling Club and Open Door Policy, is now running a market-to-table concept at Restaurant Ember, working with local wet markets and kelongs (the meats are still the fancy, imported kind). Get the local sea bass with tomato butter and wild fungus, and the scallops with cauliflower and preserved lemon. 50 Keong Saik Rd. Make a reservation via Chope here.

Rhubarb Le Restaurant  

It’s not particularly trendy, but Rhubarb Le Restaurant has had a loyal following ever since it first threw open its doors over a year ago. It’s easy to see why: the lovechild of French dining temply Au Petit Salut alums Chef Paul Longworth and manager Jerome Desfonds, this classy dove gray and white space serves up refined and seasonal French food in its open-plan kitchen. No gimmicks here, just solid food and some interesting ingredients. The a la carte menu has dishes like Obsiblue prawn tartare with seaweed, pomelo and Oscietra caviar, and their signature pigeon breast and leg confit with rhubarb and rose puree. There are lunch and dinner degustations, too. 3 Duxton Hill.

Senso Ristorante & Bar

Senso is a Club Street institution. Food here is a joy, as is the service, and in such a charming space (they occupy five adjacent shophouses and the courtyard is gorgeous), too. The decor, with its starched tablecloths and not-so-subtle giant paintings, is pretty old school fancy, but the menu of Italian classics is well-executed and consistent. Try the salmon tartare with pan-seared scallops and Avruga caviar, and the homemade ravioli with veal shank and porcini mushroom. Their revamped bar is great for aperitifs. 21 Club St. Make a reservation via Chope here.

Sushi Mitsuya

Singapore is full of fancy sushi restaurants, but this one, a rare standalone, has been reliably excellent. Helmed by chef Ryosuke Harada, formerly the sous chef of Sora Sushi at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, the typically private and zen restaurant has an 18-seat counter for course-by-course sushi. As expected, it works on an omakase basis where you’ll get a mix of fresh sushi and sashimi, as well as appetizers and an assortment of cooked dishes. It’s a popular spot for local sushi fanatics, native Japanese and of course many of our panelists. 60 Tras St.

Tippling Club

It’s hard not to love Chef Ryan Clift’s molecular degustation restaurant, with an ever-changing menu that consistently impresses. In the deft hands of Paul Gajewski, you’ll find a slew of amuse bouche and palate cleansers before even embarking on the Classic six-course or Gourmand 12-course tasting menu. Everything is conceptual and presented in kooky vessels, but the food is always a rave. Don’t forget about the equally interesting cocktails, too. 38 Tanjong Pagar Rd. Make a reservation via Chope here.

Terra

Terra might be less than a year old, but chef-owner Seita Nakahara, who has worked his way through kitchens in Tokyo, Tuscany, Sicily and Piedmont, has quickly made waves with his beautiful “Tokyo-Italian” restaurant. Choose from three omakase price points, and sit back for a parade of original dishes like the seafood broth Acqua Pazza (“crazy water”), and Seita’s specialty, the spaghetti sea urchin, with homemade bottarga cured in-house. 54 Tras St.

The Market Grill

The bustling industrial looking space on Telok Ayer is still going strong, with its open-concept kitchen with a zinc counter and a 1.5-meter long live lobster tank. In the kitchen is executive chef Colin West who puts out a straightforward menu of juicy burgers and grilled meats and seafood. Premium beef aside, there is also a selection of unsung-but-good, affordable cuts. The food may be simple but it’s flawlessly executed and always hits the spot. 208 Telok Ayer St.

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