Travel inspiration: Four new restaurants or menus to satisfy your globetrotting needs
Included: a limited-time menu from Ola Cocina Del Mar created in collaboration with Promperu, Peru’s tourism agency.
by Alvin Lim /
November 25, 2020
It’s getting close to that time of the year where you’d usually be thinking about travel. But with borders closed (save for news of bubbles planned, or being planned), it’s not an option. What options we do have are culinary ones, thanks to Singapore’s excitingly eclectic culinary scene.
In the wake of the circuit breaker, business is more or less back to normal – though closing at 10.30pm is still a drag – especially since everyone is stuck in Singapore and itching for novelty. Throw in a staycation, or make the journey to some of our further-flung suggestions, and you’d get plenty of globetrotting satisfaction – at least until travel is back on the menu.
Husband-and-wife duo Daniel and Tamara Chavez (chef-owner and head chef respectively) are a mainstay in Singapore’s culinary scene, having served up consummate Spanish cuisine from their restaurant in Marina Bay Financial Centre for the past eight years. The former, though Peruvian-born, has spent time around the globe in a variety of Michelin-starred kitchens, including Les Amis. He hasn’t forgotten his roots though, which is what makes Ola Cocina Del Mar the ideal launching pad for a Peruvian superfood-inspired menu. Think nutrient-rich ingredients like chia seeds, camu camu berry and tricoloured quinoa, competently weaved into vibrant Peruvian dishes. We liked the ceviche Inka, which saw the inclusion of healthful, antioxidant rich chia seeds to the already vibrant dish of market-fresh fish, criolla and passion fruit tiger’s milk (a Peruvian concoction of lime, onions and chili used in ceviche). Equally worthy of attention was their arroz chaufa, a Cantonese-inspired fried rice first introduced by Chinese immigrants to Peru. Smoky grilled calamari and octopus, crispy pork and tartar sauce meets red and white quinoa seeds for a combination that’s inventive and achingly familiar (in a good way).
The menu is in collaboration with Promperu, Peru’s tourism agency, and will be available from November 23 to December 18.
#01-05/06, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3. Tel: 6604-7050.
Travelling to the bucolic bliss of Seletar might feel like a trip in itself – one well worth the effort if mod-European-turned-French, along with a healthy dose of farm-to-table and local produce, excites you. The Summerhouse’s updated menu for Christmas reflects their latest sensibilities for the French palate, with highlights including a classic homemade pork and duck terrine with bacon and pistachio; an all-in-one turkey roulade stuffed with chestnuts and cranberry, managing to avoid the curse of dry Christmas turkey with aplomb; and a velvety, smoke-infused pomme purees that’s as buttery as it is moreish. Expect communal style dining to celebrate the conviviality of Christmas (with serving cutlery, of course). There’s always the option of your very own travel bubble in their garden domes, complete with upscaled menu and an accompanying bottle of wine, tucked away within the various edible flowers and flora that make up the bulk of The Summerhouse’s menu.
Their Under the Mistletoe menu will be available from December 19 to 27, though French farm-to-table is here to stay for now.
Catfish is the latest concept from the mind of Chef Andrew Walsh (of Cure and Butcher Boy fame), focusing on contemporary, seafood-centric fare done Asian fusion style. To that end, he’s employed head chef Erik Gustafsson, who has spent time in one-Michelin-starred Swedish joint Restaurant F12 among others honing classic French techniques and Asian fusion in equal measure. With this plethora of inspirations to draw from, it’s no wonder that Catfish’s menu looks to showcase the best that Asia has to offer – at least in terms of seafood. Think Swedish hasselback potatoes laced with bluefin tuna and wasabi, sesame prawn toast taken up a notch or three thanks to the additions of uni and caviar, and classic fish and chips served along jalapeno tartar sauce, crushed edamame salad and sweet lemon. They’re also serving up catfish tacos slathered in plum jam and umeboshi mayo, and Sichuan-esque whole barbecued fish with crispy herbs and laksa sauce. In short, anything this side of the equator (and beyond) seems to be fair game – which makes Catfish the ideal choice if you’d like to be surprised again and again.
Casual Israeli street food giant Miznon has just opened up in Telok Ayer, making it the 11th outlet of the chain in the world. It’s headed by self-taught chef Eyal Shani, who wields the power of Mediterranean cooking and his Israeli heritage to conjure up excellent, unfussy grub with unbridled vigour. The star of the show here is pitas (specially made by a bakery in Israel, according to Shani’s recipe), artfully stuffed with vibrant flavour combinations including charred chicken livers, onion schmear and green chili dressing; seared sirloin slivers topped with sour cream, fried egg and some veg; as well as lamb and beef meatballs, housemade salsa, pickles and tahini. That’s not to forget two of Miznon’s signatures, which include the deceptively simple roasted cauliflower – roasted whole, leaving the florets with a beautifully auburn char, yet soft and luxuriant centre. The other is dubbed Run Over Potato, so-called because, well, it resembles a squashed, paper-thin potato that’s baked and served along with garlic, green onion and sour cream.