Reminiscent of the old Capitol Theatre’s Magnolia Snack Bar, Capitol Milk Bar is the newest joint to find its place in the refurbished Arcade @ Capitol Kempinski. The nostalgic bar that used to be the haunt for many Singaporeans movie-goers young and old, now sees reincarnation in the form of a familiar ‘60s-themed diner that offers burgers, hotdogs, milkshakes and ice creams; accompanied by ceramic mosaic floor tiles, neon lights and vintage posters. They also do a 1m-long jumbo hot dog — bringing back that fun, family-friendly diner experience, while appealing to the young (but also the young at heart).
Look out for their funky local takes on the menu, especially in the milkshakes department, such as their cendol milkshake; their “Dinosaur” milkshake, inspired by the childhood favourite drink, the milo dinosaur; and the Nutella milkshake, made after the bread spread that is a crowd-favourite amongst Singaporeans.
After two years of non-occupancy, the Alkaff Mansion is back under new management by the One Group. While the space used to have a reputation for Italian food and weddings, they now offer Basque cuisine, a flower-themed cafe, and weddings. On the ground floor, you’ll find Txa, a pintxos (the Basque equivalent of tapas) bar offering an experience that’s as authentic as you can get without leaving the country. Pick your pintxos off the counter display, order them a la minute, or even get a degustation — and pair them with unique Basque beverages — options include txakoli, a high-acid, low-alcohol indigenous white; and Basque cider, a bone-dry, naturally fermented apple cider with the funk of natural wines. There’s an extensive array of pintxos, and standouts include spicy olives stuffed with vermouth jelly; and intense wafers of crisped Jamon sandwiching smoked cod roe and mascarpone. For more hefty bites, head for the grilled octopus, which comes with turnip cream and is finished with a drizzle of honey.
Godmama is what happens when you introduce young Peranakan chefs into a kitchen where a no-compromises Bibik normally holds court. The result is still traditional dishes, with a couple of embellishments and twists that are probably tailored for a younger audience. The 60-seater restaurant in the newly-opened Funan has the archetypal Nonya restaurant story: co-owner Christina Keilthy wanted to preserve and share her godmother’s egg skin popiah; while fellow co-owners and Peranakans Derrick Chew and Fredric Goh (who is also the head chef) also has their own heirloom recipes to contribute. Highlights include a fiery babi assam — pork cooked in a tangy tamarind-based gravy — and said popiah, which is made with a delicate egg-based crepe instead of the usual chewy, flour versions. Brunch though, gets a little more interesting (or sacrilegious, depending on your point of view) with creations like buah keluak bolognese and otak-otak benedict, which replaces swaps out the usual ham or smoked salmon with an otak mousse. Keilthy’s son also happens to be an award-winning bartender and has formulated a Nonya-inspired bar programme with drinks like a rum Old Fashioned made with gula Melaka, bitters, and smoked cinnamon.
Funan Mall, 109 North Bridge Rd, #04-07. Tel: 6970-0828
Celebrity chef restaurant Fratelli Trattoria and Pizzeria is celebrating its third anniversary with a new seasonal menu featuring dishes inspired by the mothership: the 3 Michelin-starred Da Vittorio, where brothers Enrico and Roberto Cerea helm the kitchens. Highlights from the new menu include a chilled carrot soup — perfect for summer or the Singaporean weather — with pickled vegetables, rice puffs, and creamy stracciatella. The new dishes also feature plenty of Sicilian produce: red Marzana prawns feature in Risotto, Gamberi Rossi e Capperi di Lipari, a hearty dish of tomato risotto with said prawns, cut through with intense, earthy capers from the volcanic island of Lipari, off the northern coast of Sicily. It’s not all purely Italian though — one of the new desserts include the Midori, an avocado cream with lemon kelly, dehydrated coconut sponge, macadamia nuts, and yogurt sherbet.
26 Sentosa Gateway, #02-144 Hotel Michael. Tel: 6577-6555
French culinary doyenne Ann Sophie Pic now has a restaurant at the iconic Raffles Hotel Singapore. Christened La Dame de Pic, the restaurant has been called Pic’s “most feminine one yet” with its pink-hued interiors and plush leather seats; and laser-cut chandeliers with a spade design (La Dame de Pic literally translates as the “queen of spades”). Even the food fits into the restaurant’s aesthetic. Pic maneuvers French cuisine with a rare levity, swapping out many of the meat, cream, or butter-based sauces for broths that sometimes even approach juices. The restaurant is degustation-only with lunch and dinner options — where you’ll find botanical, herb-perfumed dishes like Pic’s signature Berlingots, a pasta dish named for the distinctive shape of a French candy. For the Singaporean version, matcha pasta is stuffed with sharp liquid cheese before being served in a tangy green zebra tomato broth scented with mint and chou chao, a locally-found herb that’s also known as herb-of-grace. Other highlights include turbot served with a green juice-like broth of Granny Smith apples, marigold, and tarragon; and a dessert of strawberries, bourbon geranium, and a light batak berry (a relative of the Sichuan pepper that features plenty of citrus notes) mousse.
While Raffles Hotel has yet to open, La Dame de Pic is now open for reservations.
Raffles Hotel Singapore. 1 Beach Road. Tel: 6337-1886