Singapore has long had a reputation as one of the world’s top foodie cities—and it’s not just down to those much-loved hawker centres either. Boasting top-class international chefs and armfuls of dining awards, Singapore is home to hundreds of must-visit restaurants that represent pretty much every cuisine you can think of, all with their own army of drool-worthy signature dishes.
So to give you a solid lay of the culinary land and steer you in the right direction, here’s our pick of eight of the best to tick off the next time you’re in Singapore.
The accolades keep coming for chef-owner Julien Royer’s contemporary French restaurant, including being crowned 2020’s Best Restaurant in Asia by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, being ranked number 18 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019, and winning a coveted third Michelin star.
Such awards really are no surprise once you’ve tasted the food though, with show-stopping signatures like rosemary smoked organic egg and beak-to-tail pigeon. Named after his grandmother who inspired Royer to cook, Odette represents modern French cuisine at its finest—a celebration of fresh ingredients, artisanal produce, classic technique and refined flavours, all done with the utmost elegance.
Where: National Gallery Singapore, 1 St Andrew’s Road #01-04, Singapore
They say there’s no smoke without fire—and Burnt Ends brings the heat in the most delicious way. One of the hottest tables in town some seven years after opening, this hip barbeque joint is a tribute to “the magic that comes from cooking with wood”, with a custom-made four-tonne, two-oven brick kiln as its beating heart.
Divinely smoky, full-bodied flavours rule the roost here, with chef-owner Dave Pynt creating new menus daily. Grab a counter seat at the open kitchen to watch the chefs in action, before savouring dishes like their pulled pork Sanger burger and king crab leg slathered in brown butter.
Where: 20 Teck Lim Road, Singapore
The world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant, Candlenut shines a light on traditional Straits-Chinese cuisine. Chef-owner Malcolm Lee was originally inspired by his grandmother’s homespun Peranakan cooking, resulting in dishes that perfectly balance authenticity and innovation.
Delivering contemporary verve to tried-and-trusted favourites, Candlenut’s ever-changing “ah-ma-kase” tasting menu is an ideal introduction to Lee’s singular style. Look out for flavour-packed dishes like Wagyu beef rendang, blue swimmer crab curry, and buah keluak ice cream.
Where: Candlenut. 17A Dempsey Road, Singapore
JAAN by Kirk Westaway
Forget the stodgy pies and mash of yore, JAAN brings British cuisine firmly into the 21st century, thanks to the culinary genius of chef Kirk Westaway, a former S. Pellegrino Young Chef winner.
Westaway takes pride in sourcing the finest produce from the UK, including his hometown of Devon, to create his signature reinvented and reinvigorated British fare. Dishes here are a treat for all the senses; standouts include his playful Eggs In An Egg dish, featuring a confit organic egg yolk presented in an ostrich-sized egg container, and English Garden, a wow-worthy salad featuring over thirty different seasonal vegetables and herbs.
Where: Level 70, Swissôtel The Stamford, 2 Stamford Road Singapore
Chef Han Li Guang flies the flag for modern Singaporean cuisine at Labyrinth, with a one-of-a-kind menu that showcases exciting new takes on much-loved recipes and traditional flavours from his childhood.
With a focus on highlighting homegrown produce (90 per cent of the restaurant’s ingredients are sourced from local farmers and fishermen), Han is adept at injecting fresh life into familiar dishes, whilst still paying tribute to his local heritage. Dinner is a tasting menu only affair, where you can expect creative twists on the likes of chilli crab, rojak and chicken rice; the latter is a tribute to his grandmother, who used to cook for a British family, and features her trademark chilli sauce.
Where: Esplanade Mall, 8 Raffles Avenue #02-23, Singapore
Sink your teeth into a seriously delicious slice of Scandinavia at Zén, the Singapore offshoot of Sweden’s only three Michelin-starred restaurant Frantzén. While sophisticated Neo-Nordic cuisine with Japanese flourishes is the order of the day here, the setting couldn’t be more Singaporean—a three-storey shophouse dating back to 1926.
Zén makes thrilling use of its venue too; guests are served pre-dinner drinks and snacks on the first floor, before heading to the second floor for the main act – a beautifully presented eight-course tasting menu that includes the restaurant’s signature truffle-topped French toast. Finally, ascend to the third floor’s cosy living room to enjoy petit-fours, coffee and food coma bliss.
Where: 41 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore
As Singapore’s only two Michelin-starred sushi restaurant, you can trust that you’re in for a truly unforgettable omakase experience at Shoukouwa. Only the highest-grade produce makes the cut here, with all fish and seafood flown in daily direct from Tokyo’s famous Toyosu Market.
The focus here is on nigiri sushi that expertly balances flavour with precision, including rice dressed in a secret blend of vinegars, with two different omakase menus available for dinner. While offerings change with the seasons, past highlights have included the kinmedai (golden eye snapper) and house-made ikura—and with only eight counter seats and a six-seater private room at this intimate spot, bookings are essential.
Where: 1 Fullerton Road #02-02A, Singapore
Can’t decide what cuisine you’re in the mood for? Well, a meal at Nouri might be the answer. Chef-owner Ivan Brehm, an alumnus of Heston Blumenthal’s famed The Fat Duck, has created a restaurant that revolves around his idea of “crossroads cooking”—essentially, a melting pot of ingredients, techniques and flavours gathered from around the world, resulting in culinary fireworks.
Take a seat at Nouri’s large communal chef’s table to watch the kitchen cook up a storm, working from highly original tasting menus that change weekly. Brazilian, Italian, German, Spanish, French, Japanese and Chinese are just some of the influences you’ll spot in Brehm’s experimental cuisine, as exemplified by a signature dish like Acarjé and Vatapa—an Afro-Brazilian fritter served with turmeric and coconut sauce, salted prawn vatapa (a type of stew) and okra caviar.
Where: 72 Amoy Street, Singapore
Hungry yet? We know we are. Singapore is brimming with not only a diverse range of restaurants but award-winning ones too. For more information on where to dine, head to Singapore Tourism for more info.
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