Solo Ristorante is under new management, and with it, comes new dishes. Helming the impressive open kitchen of the restaurant now is chef-partner Simon Fraternali, whose illustrious cooking career has seen him cooking in three-Michelin starred restaurant Da Vittorio Relais & Chateaux in Lombardy; as well as be part of the pre-opening team for Aura restaurant (now renamed as Art). The menu, however, is considerably removed from his fine-dining roots, with relatively fuss-free, but gourmet plates like hearty, soul-warming eggplant parmigiana and marsala pork ragu with pappardelle. There are also plenty of opportunities to indulge, including with a wagyu carpaccio topped with pickled artichokes, 24-month-aged parmigiano reggiano, and balsamic. Don’t forget to get some of the restaurant’s signature sea urchin tagliolini — if only to share — which comes with al dente thin noodles in a rich, moreish sea urchin sauce balanced out with tarragon, lemon zest, and just the slighted hint of smoke.
If there needs to be any more of a case for travelling: The Garage’s head chef, Sujatha Asokan, has come back from a – pre-Covid – trip around Europe, including a short stint at Mugaritz, to curate a menu that’s more refined than before. Her food’s Asian influences present themselves more strongly now, with dishes like an appropriately spicy, refreshing wing bean salad with lime aioli and housemade chickpea tofu.
Other standouts include a corn-forward riff on a popular Indian street food, panipuri. Asokan’s version sees the round, crisp shells filled with sweet, curried Japanese corn espuma and baby corn. We’re particularly fond of the umami-laden crab rissoni (a rice-shaped pasta), prepared with two types of crab to round out flavours and topped with comte custard and octopus bottarga. There’s also a handful of plated desserts inspired by local ones like black glutinous rice mochi cake with fragrant toasted rice ice cream and compressed fresh coconut flesh.
Zafferano’s refreshed chef’s menu showcases technique and some pretty interesting ingredient choices. Born in Milan, raised in Naples, but having travelled all over, head chef Andrea De Paolo presents dishes like kinmedai fillet with sweet Delica pumpkin puree, chard, and a coconut-basil emulsion. Other standouts from the menu include Mazara del Vallo red prawn with foie gras, a deceptively complex dish that finds the crustacean cured in fermented orange juice and coated with crumbled, house-made prawn cracker and shichimi; and served on a round of marsala-cured foie gras. Dessert is a showstopper, with an Autumn-inspired plate of textures and flavours that include shimeji mushrooms, tonka beans, elderflowers, and Itakuja chocolate — Valrhona’s fruity single-origin creation that sees the cacao beans undergo a second fermentation with passion fruit pulp.
Indulge in a little farm (or vat)-to-table with Level33’s post-circuit breaker menu that’s shifted its focus to Singaporean produce for a menu that’s all about quality and creativity. Beer-centric ingredients like whole grain beer malts as well as spent grain, remnants from the world’s highest urban microbrewery’s vats, are woven into the new dishes and old favourites with aplomb. Seafood from Ah Hua Kelong is featured in Hong Kong-born executive chef ArChan Chan’s seafood bouillabaisse, which is as comforting as a warm blanket on a rainy day. Kuhlbarra barramundi undergoes a grilled stingray, hawker-esque treatment, all wrapped up in banana leaf with a heady aromatic mix of turmeric, lemongrass and chili. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, there’s always grilled French beans – a part of Level33’s ugly veg programme – that come dusted with cumin and chili salt. All great pairings with Level33’s hoppy brews, which, by the way, are still available for subscription – not to mention the gastro-brewery’s unrivalled view of the bay.