21 new mouth-watering dishes have been awarded the Singapore River (SR) Signatures accolade 2016*. Out of these entries, 15 dishes came from restaurants that are first-time winners. Restaurants – Limoncello Pizza & Grill, Eight Korean BBQ, Mitsuba Japanese Restaurant, My Little Spanish Place, Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore and The Mad Men Attic Bar take their place on the list again, having won last year’s inaugural awards with a different set of dishes. The selection was made by a panel of 4 celebrated local chefs Anthony Yeoh, Bjorn Shen, Cheryl Koh and Nixon Low after a series of food tasting sessions.
This year’s theme, “Where Chefs Eat”, highlights the gourmet choices of the chefs and aims to share their expertise with visitors of the event. Visitors can enjoy the opportunity to pit their taste buds against these chefs and decide for themselves how much they enjoy the dishes. It is also part of the Singapore River Festival experience to stimulate all their senses during the festival. Taste is certainly one that we did not want to miss out on! Let’s check out the chef’s favourites and heard what are some of their comments!
Chef Anthony Yeoh’s Top 5 Dishes
1. Maguro Zanmai Don
The Maguro Zanmai Don was a tasting of the versatility of the tuna in a bowl, starting with finely chopped negitoro, followed by chu toro and finally climaxing in sublime slices of melt in your mouth toro. The perfect high point for the omakase menu.
Experience it at Cho Omakase: 14 Lorong Telok Singapore 049027
2. Vitelli Tonnato
An old school Italian favourite of thinly sliced veal and a creamy tuna sauce, already executed perfectly, is given a lift with freshly shaved white truffles. Very good traditional Italian food here with fantastic views of the bay.
Experience it at The Lighthouse Restaurant & Rooftop Bar: 1 Fullerton Square, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore 049178
3. Carpaccio di Polipo
Unexpected but delicious, I was expecting bland, boiled octopus with a dressing over it. Instead the thinly sliced octopus had a sweet, briny quality to it almost ham-like and tender to the bite. Never had octopus prepared this way before!
Experience it at Limoncello Pizza & Grill: 95 Robertson Quay, Rivergate Condominium, #01-19/20, Singapore 235256
4. The 79
Any Francophile will recognise the ingredients – Reblochon Cheese, Potatoes, onions & bacon. A killer carb dish of creamy, rich Tartiflette, wrapped in a crisp galette. But the star for me are the galettes themselves, the batter is fermented almost like a sourdough to develop flavour and achieve the crisp texture a savoury galette should have.
Experience it at Ô Comptoir: 79 Circular Road, Singapore 049433
5. The Gambler
One of the best fried chicken burgers I’ve had in a while. Anyone looking for proper late night fix after falling out of a bar in Clarke Quay, should head here for some post-clubbing grub. The crisp battered chicken, hot sauce and creamy mayo in a very soft, warm bun hit the spot perfectly before bundling yourself into a cab and heading home.
Experience it at The Butchers Club Burger: 3A River Valley Road, #01-01B Clarke Quay, Singapore 179020
Chef Bjorn Shen’s Top 6 Dishes
6. Gai Yang
Wowza! This North-eastern style BBQ spatchcock was most expertly cooked. The bird was brined, marinated in lots of aromatics, then cooked to juicy perfection on the grill. The accompanying nam jim jaew was also tangy and perfectly balanced. Upon finishing this dish, I immediately sent a message to my friends in a whatsapp chat group, telling them that we had to organize a dinner at Soi 60 Thai real soon.
Experience it at Soi 60 Thai: 60 Robertson Quay, #01-04 The Quayside, Singapore 238252
7. Lamb Kubideh
I serve Middle Eastern food at my restaurant, and I’ve done kubideh kebabs before. I have to say that achieving perfection in a kubideh kebab is pretty damn challenging. You need to trim your meat of all fat and sinew, and then mince the lean meat by hand. Then you have to mince the fat and add that back into the meat in some sort of a magical ratio. You can’t under work it, neither can you over work it. The one here at Shabestan is textbook perfect. It’s probably the best kubideh kebab I’ve eaten in a long time. Trust me, I’m a kubideh kebab fanatic. And I’m telling you it is the bomb.
Experience it at Shabestan: 80 Mohamed Sultan Road, #01-13 The Pier, Singapore 239013
8. Kaiju Burger
OMG. This was out of this world. How can a burger be this good?! The pork patty was just oozing with savoury juices that flowed down my chin as I bit into it. The burger bun was so soft it almost disappeared the moment I bit into it. I barely needed to chew this burger. It just hit my mouth and then started to magically fall apart while inside; just like how chocolate melts in your mouth. I kid you not. I don’t care if you live in Jurong or Pasir Ris, you have to make the trek down to Dojo to eat this pork patty burger ASAP. I can’t stop talking about it. Needless to say, this is probably the best dish I ate.
Experience it at Dojo: 72 Circular Road Singapore 049426
9. Combination Platter (Brisket, ribs, chopped beef, pulled pork, cornbread, coleslaw, Mac & Cheese, BBQ Beans)
A staggering assortment of everything good about this little hole in the wall eatery. Getting a mix of everything is definitely recommended, I can vouch for that. This is real stick-to-your-ribs, finger-licking-good grub. The star of the show is the brisket, done Texas-style, with just a simple rub of salt and pepper. The proof is in the eating, and the eating was damn fine. The brisket was well seasoned, had a great bark and smoke ring, and was still juicy – a hard balance to achieve. The ribs were also pretty damn awesome. Not falling off the bone like people think they should be; good competition-quality BBQ ribs should still have enough tension for the meat to hold on to the bone, and yet be tender enough to yield to your teeth. This one hit the nail on the head. There was BBQ sauce on the table, but you really didn’t need it. Now, that’s one hell of a compliment for a Texan BBQ joint.
Experience it at Decker Barbecue: 60 Robertson Quay #01-17 Singapore 238252
10. 8 Colours Set
My dining companion and I were pretty much blown away by this dish, which was a tasting set of Mangalitza pork belly, marinated 8 different ways. The strips of pork belly were grilled in the middle of the table, and you’d dip them into various sauces, top them with pickles, and wrap them in lettuce leaves before popping them into your mouth. Each style of marinade was distinct, and all tasted great. The provenance of the Mangalitza pork also played a pivotal part in the taste of the dish; this Hungarian pig was truly an amazing ingredient to begin with – incredibly bouncy and sweet. This was easily one of my top 5 dishes.
Experience it at Eight Korean BBQ: 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, The central,#02-79/90, Clarke Quay Central, 059817
11. Jyo Chirashi
A very well composed, generous bowl of sea goodies arranged nicely on a bed of well-seasoned Japanese rice. I really like the variety of seafood used, 17 kinds in total. Even at $35, this seemed to be of very good value. Some of the (very fat) sashimi slices were left raw, while some others were smeared with mentaiko and bruleed. That extra work involved really paid off, making this one of the most interesting bowls of chirashi I’ve eaten. I also love how it was garnished with 4 different kinds of fish roe, as far as I could count. This made every mouthful of the dish a fun, savoury experience.
Experience it at Mitsuba Japanese Restaurant: 6 Eu Tong Sen St, 03-88 Clarke Quay Central, Singapore 059817
Chef Cheryl Koh’s Top 5 Dishes
This traditional Indian dessert was well made and added a refreshing end to the meal. The flavours and textures were authentic and balanced.
Experience it at RAS Northern Indian: 3D River Valley Rd, #01-05A, Clarke Quay, Singapore 179023
13. Steak Tartare
The steak tartare had just the right level of spice and seasoning, not many places get this right, this is a great appetizer to start the meal.
Experience it at Brussels Sprouts: #01-12 The Pier @ Robertson, 80 Mohamed Sultan Rd, Singapore 239013
14. Al Funghi E Salsiccia
I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere of the restaurant, very relaxed and homely, this comes through especially in their dishes, this pasta was perfectly cooked, very tasty comfort food.
Experience it at Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore: 30 Boat Quay Singapore 049819
15. Snack Tasting Platter
Great sharing plate for two or for one hungry person. I enjoyed the chicken wings that was served Korean style, sweet with sesame seeds, and the king prawn skewers, a great selection of bar food to go with their innovative drinks.
Experience it at The Mad Men Attic Bar: 11 North Canal Road #03-02 (Attic Level) Singapore 048824
16. Breaded Shrimp with Salmon Aburi
The fresh products shine through in this dish, the prawns were sweet and crispy, and added a nice contrast in flavour and texture to the smoky melt-in-your-mouth salmon on top, and served in a generous portion.
Experience it on JJ.com Fish Mart: 06 Eu Tong Sen Street, Clarke Quay Central #01-68 Singapore 059817
Chef Nixon Low’s Top 5 Dishes
17. Chicken Liver Marsala Tagliatelle
The dish was well seasoned and the chicken liver was nicely cooked, and the marination was very tasty. It would have been perfect, if not for a little lack of acidity. The presentation was simple, clean and allowed the flavours to speak for itself. I am not a fan of chicken liver, however, my perception of it changed after having this pasta. Amazing. Additional points to Lucca’s Trattoria for their great service in a classic trattoria. They also had nice homemade gelatos. Definitely, somewhere I will bring my friends in future.
Experience it at Lucca’s Trattoria Singapore: 11 Unity Street, #01-12 Robertson Walk, Singapore 237995
18. Gambas al Ajillo
This dish consisted of fresh prawns with fried garlic in olive oil – simplicity at its best. I like this dish because it was so simple and had good flavours, and was served with bread. For me, a tad oily but otherwise near perfect. Would have preferred to have the prawn heads in there as well, as it adds more flavour and looks more dramatic.
Chef Edward and Maria were amazing. Both my dining partner and I felt their hospitality came right from their hearts, which is hard to find in restaurants nowadays. The restaurant was small, quaint and honest, and it was definitely reflected in the food. The cava sangria was also amazing.
Experience it at My Little Spanish Place: 54 Boat Quay, Singapore 049843
19. Signature Ma Po Tofu
Perfect. Right amount of Szechuan peppercorn, it was tangy, vibrant and amazing. Tofu was fried, so there were 2 textures in the tofu which is something different. I would have preferred a tad more black vinegar, but my dining partner thought it was perfect. They managed to take a classic ma la tofu dish, fried the homemade tofu to achieve two textures, and elevated it. The only thing missing was a nice bowl of rice.
Experience it at Peony Jade Restaurant: 3 River Valley Road, Clarke Quay, Singapore 179020
20. Century Egg Tofu
It was refreshing and very bold. The dish consisted of chilled homemade tofu, century egg sauce and tobiko for texture. Very well done, despite a dish that’s new for me and definitely won’t be the last. Overall, the restaurant deserves a big shout-out even though they are already full. Yakitori was amazing. Service staff were hospitable. I couldn’t ask for more, and was definitely one of the best food I had so far.
Experience it at Shunjuu Izakaya: 30 Robertson Quay, #01-15 Riverside View Singapore 238251
This was very tasty. Sweet corn that pops in the mouth. Chipotle mayonnaise was acidic, which made it appetizing. The added cheese gave an extra flavour next to the charred bits of corn. It was very well done and would have been perfect if they use the best quality of corn. I’ve never had corn like this, and was definitely one of the best dishes I had at Super Loco. I can still remember the taste and all the elements are very memorable.
Chef Victor has been an amazing host, explaining to us every single dish that was served to us. I thought that really showcased the sincerity of the chef and we made friends as well. Looking forward to eating his other dishes.
Experience it at Super Loco: 60 Robertson Quay, #01-13 The Quayside, Singapore 238252
Singapore River Festival 2016 will happen from November 4-5 (Friday & Saturday) with festivities buzzing along the river from Boat Quay, Clarke Quay to Robertson Quay. To find out more about the festival programme, please visit www.srf.sg.
*SR Signatures is an annual accolade conferred on restaurants along the Singapore River who serve up gastronomical wonders to their customers. It is organised in conjunction with the Singapore River Festival to connect visitors to the River through food and provide them with the opportunity to tantalise their taste buds while exploring the sights and sounds of the festival. These winning dishes will be featured in our Singapore River Festival Official Guide.