Clarke Quay is seeing a revival of sorts, thanks to new concepts being launched. One of the latest lifestyle destinations to set up shop here is VLV, which combines a modern Chinese restaurant, a club lounge, an al fresco live entertainment courtyard and a riverfront dining area. Housed in a historic 1880s building, VLV injected a new lease of life to this space (formerly occupied by Indochine) with its luxurious interior filled with plush furnishings. The restaurant serves a huge variety of Cantonese specialties presented in a contemporary manner.
Dish to try: The VLV Peking duck – a 45-day-old duckling is slow roasted until its skin is ultra crispy. The golden, crackling skin is then expertly sliced and served with avocado, lettuce, beancurd skin, cucumber and spring onion along with house-made truffle foie gras paste and goma hoisin sauce. For the duck meat, you can choose to have it diced and stir-fried with water chestnut, mushroom, and bamboo shoot, and served in spring roll ‘cones’. Or have the meat tossed with a Korean style marinate, and paired with kimchi.
Who: Executive head chef Martin Foo has more than 25 years of culinary and management expertise under his belt. Most recently he spent nine years at Tung Lok Group with his last appointment as the senior executive chef at Tong Le Private Dining. Besides launching and managing a range of restaurants in Singapore and Beijing, the Singaporean chef built his foundation for classic Cantonese cuisine at the Lei Garden Group for 17 years.
3A Merchant’s Court, River Valley Road, #01-02. Tel: 6661-0197
2) DOMVS by Gabriel Fratini
Once the fanciest Italian eatery in town, DOMVS at Sheraton Towers in Newton is making a comeback with new owner Gabriel Fratini, who held the position of head chef back in 1988. There’s no fixed menu here. Instead, Fratini does a five-course and eight-course omakase lunch and dinner respectively. Expect traditional flavours done in a modern style.
Dish to try: Everything that Fratini puts in front of you.
Who: Former head chef Gabriel Fratini, who has come full circle after opening his own eponymous restaurant in Dubai, Jakarta and Australia.
Lobby Level, Sheraton Towers Singapore, Tel: 6839-5622
3) SPRMKT Kitchen & Bar
McCallum Street’s bistro SPRMKT has introduced two new concepts at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute – SPRMKT Daily, a takeaway counter cum artisanal retail spot, and SPRMKT Kitchen & Bar, a fine-dining restaurant. The restaurant’s European-American style dishes feature local and Asian ingredients such as fried water spinach (kangkong) with grilled octopus and Chinese sausages in corn jambalaya.
Dish to try: Smoked fish pate – haddock and Creole spice, paired with grilled flatbread.
Who: Running the kitchen are head chef Jonathan Ong and executive chef Joseph Yeo, who met during their stints at celebrity chef Tetsuya Wakuda’s Waku Ghin in Marina Bay Sands.
#02-01, 41 Robertson Quay, Tel: 9736-4170
4) COO Bistro
Playing up the heritage of the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood, Asian fusion restaurant Coo Bistro, attached to new luxe hostel Coo, puts a spin on Singapore icons to lure in the trendy set. The place is decorated with whimsical renditions of the area – notably, neon lights shaped in a map of Tiong Bahru hang from the ceiling. The menu offers its own renditions of locally inspired dishes such as prawn noodles and kampong fried rice.
Dish to try: The Tiong Bahru Platter comprising roasted pork belly, grilled chicken satay, and salt and pepper fish, paired with mackerel crackers. Enjoy it with Coo Bistro’s homemade sambal chilli for an extra kick. The dish is ideal for sharing between two diners.
Who: The Coo brand was created by former bankers Silas Lee and Winnie Yap, who went into the hospitality line after 25 years in finance. The hostel and restaurant were designed by brand architect Colin Seah, founding designer of Ministry of Design.
259 Outram Rd, Tel: 6221-7060
5) Tanjong Beach Club
It’s hard to believe that since its opening in 2010, Tanjong Beach Club is only just now getting its first menu revamp. Expect plenty of seafood sourced from the US, Japan, Italy and Australia, with zesty cocktails to match the easy, breezy vibe here.
Dish to try: Barbecued Octopus Salad – succulent slices of a perfectly grilled tentacle nestled on a bed of baby spinach, quinoa and pomegranate.
Who: The Lo & Behold Group worked with consultant chef Jason Jones for this revamp. Jones’ resume includes heading a team of 20 chefs who cooked for celebrities during the star-studded annual Cannes Film Festival in France.
120 Sentosa Beach Walk, Tel: 9750-5323