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New Eating Places in Singapore

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I think things have been very quiet on the Singapore part of this board ever since klyeoh relocated to Kuala Lumpur recently and Four Seasons have been very quiet ("Hello boys!"). So I thought I might share a couple of new eating places which opened recently in Resort World in Sentosa :-

(1) L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon has finally opened last weekend. I haven't got a chance to try that yet but the more upmarket Joel Robuchon Restaurant Singapore (echoes of Galera a Robuchon Macao) is opening today. Finally!

(2) Anar Middle-eastern restaurant from Dubai has also opened in Resort World on the waterfront. I gave it a try last week and it was fantastic. I particularly like the humus with minced beef. I don't think I have seen this anywhere else in Singapore.

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  1. Hi M_Gomez, am back in Singapore again this weekend - General Elections time! May check out Robuchon ... but I think it may be completely booked out for the week by now, do you think?

    Don't think I'll try Anar whilst on my short trip back home to Singapore. That because Malaysia, with its large Arab-loving Muslim population, has a bigger, better selection of Middle-Eastern cuisine. Some whole districts here, e.g. Bukit Bintang Road (Malaysia's answer to Singapore's Orchard Road, although the M'sian one looked pretty worse for wear) feels almost like London's Edgware Road - whole streets turned over to Arab clientele. Al-Amar at the Pavilion KL serves the best-tasting Lebanese fare I'd had in KL so far, whilst Tarboush along Bukit Bintang Road doesn't lag very far behind. You also find Iranian & Moroccan restaurants on either side of Tarboush on Jalan Bukit Bintang. Sahara Tent along Jalan Sultan Ismail is also very popular with the large Middle-Eastern crowd.

    5 Replies
    1. re: klyeoh

      You're right about Robuchon - my son/daughter-in-law wanted to give me a Mother's Day treat this weekend, but they couldn't even get through the reservation lines :(
      I'll be making a trip up to KL later in the year, shall we catch up and you can show us some KL places which you like?

      1. re: M_Gomez

        Have any of you tried L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in SG yet? If so, any comments (on both the food and the price range)?

        1. re: NP2

          I'm afraid not. My No. 1 dining partner (dear hubby) had a minor health scare recently, so we haven't been eating out much. But we're planning a Robuchon dinner after his next health check (if all goes well) middle of next month.

          1. re: M_Gomez

            M_Gomez, hope Mr G's better. I'm planning a trip to S'pore sometime mid-july - would sure like to do Robuchon, too. But do post back your experience soon :-)

            1. re: M_Gomez

              Ohhh... Sorry to hear that. Hope the health check would go well. And wish both of you happy meals after the health check ;)

      2. Been busy for the last few weeks. We may actually organize a chow meet at Robuchon soon, interested to join us?
        New eating places that I have discovered in the last 1 year, beside those (Waku Ghim, DB Bistro, Sky on 57, Mozza, Cuts) at Marina Bay Sands that have often been discussed on the board before:
        - No Menu: ex chef of Forlino and Osvaldo opened his new Italian restaurant at Boon Tat Street, 2 weeks advanced reservation is needed; it is getting rave reviews from the bloggers and friends alike. However, my lone experience was rather below expectation: Burrata with parma ham was outstanding, others were rather average but unmemorable.
        - Caffe B: Japanese style Italian fine dining at Marina Bay Sands. I went there 3 times, most of the dishes were not so memorable too but there were 2 pasta dishes that were outstanding: Black Squid Ink Tonnarelli with Sea Urchin and Eggplant in a Cream Sauce and Bavettine with Sri Lanka Snow Crab in a fresh Tomato Leek Sauce. I can't wait to go back to try that two dishes again. The Grilled Live Lobster with Yuzu Citrus dressing was also pretty good. But pricing wise is a rather expensive place but with very elegant ambiance.
        - L'Operette at Boat Quaye, another Japanese style Italian restaurant but with rather reasonable pricing and casual cozy atmosphere. Pizza here is Napolitan style, rare in Singapore. Chef used to work at Alba where we had a chow meet before: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/722806 . Just like Caffe B, not every dish connect with me but again the pasta dish Chilled Capellini served with Japanese Sweet Shrimp and Fresh Tomato was truly amazing.
        - Yazawa: perhaps my favorite new restaurant in town. Tokyo-based yakiniku chain Jumbo opened its door at Robertson Walk. Unfortunately, on my recent visit, they said the Japanese beef may not be available soon due to the earthquake situation, maybe substituted with Australian beef.
        - Next door to Yazawa, again another Tokyo-based yakitori chain Shirokane Tori-tama is in town. Good for anyone who loves to try every different offal part of chicken, grilled yakitori style. Also its donburi with chicken and onsen tamago is delicious.
        - Saboten, another new Japanese Shinjuku-based tonkatsau chain also opened up in Parco Marina Bay. For whatever reasons, Tokyo-based restaurants are coming to Singapore in last 1-2 years. IMHO best tonkatsu in town now, better than the popular Tonkichi chain.
        - Indo Kitchen at Lucky Plaza: still want to try its Sop Kaki Kambing which is not available on my last visit. But the Soto Betawi is a good substitute. Seem like Lucky Plaza is becoming the place where the authentic Indonesian stalls are congregating.

        4 Replies
        1. re: FourSeasons

          wow, there's actually a discussion on Singapore food on chowhound! thanks for all the tips; will check these out in the next few weeks.

          FourSeasons - if there's going to be a meet at Robuchon, please count me in.

          1. re: FourSeasons

            FourSeasons

            Thanks for the info. I have been meaning to try Yazawa & Shirokane Toritama for some time now but never quite got around to it. I also like Saboten. The Saboten combo platter is very good value.

            Agree with the comments on No Menu. We were there a week after they opened. While service was very good, and the owners made the effort to work the room for a nice Italian trattoria vibe, the only dishes which stood out for us was the amazing lardo and the featherlight gnocchi with porcini mushrooms.

            Would love to join in a chow meet if there's one!

            1. re: FourSeasons

              any recommendations for the ala carte and tasting menu at latelier robuchon?? planning to cut down the cost of a whole dinner meal , hence i might not want to get the discovery set... able to get 1 discovery set and another dining partner orders ala carte???

              1. re: Lucil

                I've not had the Discovery Menu in the Singapore outpost; however, my friend and I were able to order one Menu (him) and ala-carte (me) at the same time.

                Recommendations-wise, I loved the following: les anchois, le navet, l'agneau, le cochon de lait.

            2. I had dinner in L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon last week. In my point of view the layout is a copy of the one in Hong Kong. The food was surely at Michelin one star level. Pricewise not that expensive. Do not get misled by what in the menu they refer to as a taster, as in my point of view it may be considered a proper appetiser and together with a main dish you will have a proper meal. It is not a must visit, but if you happen to be in Sentosa and want to go for a good casual bite, you will not be disappointed.

              12 Replies
              1. re: tkamp

                How much is not that expensive?

                1. re: PhilD

                  Two starters and a main dish all together S$130.

                2. re: tkamp

                  I also recently ate at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Singapore as part of my personal tour to eat at all nine L'Ateliers in one trip. All L'Ateliers have the black and red decor with the counter seating. The setup of this one is somewhat "longer" than the one in Hong Kong, which is more "square".

                  The tasting (aka discovery) menu is priced at 250SGD, if that is something that interests you.

                  I was there on a Saturday night and I found it somewhat empty. I thought it would be much busier.

                  1. re: gerbera

                    Nine courses (excluding coffee), I believe, for the equivalent of USD$191 at today's exchange rate - excluding wine, taxes, service/tip, I presume. I remember having an exchange with klyeoh some time back about the subject and he commented about how expensive fine dining in Singapore has become...

                    By way of comparison with some US places (excluding supplemental courses):
                    Alinea (Chicago): USD$210, 18 courses.
                    L'Atelier de JR (Las Vegas): USD$155 = SGD$202 - 'Discovery' menu, 9 courses.
                    The French Laundry (Yountville): USD$270 inclusive of service, 12 courses.
                    Everest (Chicago): USD$125, 8 course Degustation (excellent French-Alsatian food).
                    Le Bernardin (NYC): USD$190 - Chef's Tasting menu, 8 courses.
                    Per Se (NYC): USD$295 inclusive of service, 10 courses.
                    (Mignardises generally offered at the end at all places)

                    Interesting.

                    1. re: huiray

                      Waaaay over-priced here in Singapore, consideirng that our service standards are not exactly up to US/European/Japanese levels yet.

                    2. re: gerbera

                      gerbera, I'm still trying to get over your "nine L'Ateliers in one trip" plan! I'd done only 7 L'Ateliers but spread over 7 years - Paris (2004), Tokyo (2005), Hong Kong (2006), New York (2007), London (2 years back), Taipei (last year) & Singapore this year. They all tasted pretty much the same - though I found the Tokyo one to be more meticulous with their plating. Sorry, but I always thought the Japanese can be pretty "anal" about getting the finer details right :-D

                      1. re: klyeoh

                        Kind of a dumb trip, isn't it? :)

                        I did all nine in about a two and a half week span (end august to mid sept).

                        I too was concerned that the food might be too similar, but surprisingly it wasn't that much of an issue. I did all tasting menus and yes, there were a few items that were the same once in while but in general it was quite varied.

                        And to be honest i had my most enjoyable time at the singapore branch.

                        1. re: gerbera

                          No, it's not "dumb" - it just showed that you have a passion for Joel Robuchon's cooking and a fan of L'Atelier - and I certainly hope he knows that! :-D

                          I'd been a fan of Joel Robuchon since his days in Jamin, Paris. Other fave chefs of mine in Paris during that time were Guy Savoy, Michel Rostang and Alain Senderens. But there's always that one degree of separation between Robuchon and his contemporaries.

                          Interesting that you liked the Singapore branch best - it's the newest, so perhaps they went through that extra mile to ensure good service. My most unforgettable L'Atelier experience was in Paris - it was such a novelty to sit in a "sushi counter" setting but dining on French haute cuisine back then.

                          1. re: klyeoh

                            i was there a week ago when robuchon was in town for F1. service was really quite unacceptable (earnest, but all-in-all, clueless):

                            1. interruptions during our dinner conversations. this happened throughout the dinner service.

                            2. wrong placement of cutlery (the waiter actually took a spoon and placed it into my friend's ramekin of mashed potato, to make way for a knife);

                            3. placing the pre-dessert wrongly (only two of our group of four ordered desserts; the waiter came back with two pre-desserts, and proceeded to place them in the centre of the table, rather than in front of the people having dessert. and they were not meant for sharing as there was only one spoon per dessert).

                            4. mistakenly serving a mango sorbet as a passionfruit sorbet, and trying to cover up the mistake by saying that it is a "tropical mix". funny that that was not what was conveyed to us in the first place.

                            the food was brilliant as usual (interestingly, all four of us have eaten at his various atelier outposts), but the service was really unpolished.

                            1. re: klyeoh

                              My thoughts about the Singspore experience were the same as yours, klyeoh. I figured that since they were so new they were trying extra hard. Fortunately for me, i did not receive the same type of service as Akated did with his party, but I will qualify that with the fact that i was by myself and the restaurant didn't seem overly busy.

                              Chef Lorenz came to speak to me several times and allowed me to go behind the counter to take a picture of a dish he was plating, because i had forgotten to take a picture of mine before eating it!

                              1. re: gerbera

                                Service standards in Singapore has always been patchy, even at good restaurants, so akated's experience didn't come as much of a surprise. Some very obvious reasons why this is so:

                                - waiting is not seen as a "respectable" profession in Singapore, hence not many would regard it as a career option. The pay's also very low for such positions;

                                - Western-style service is relatively alien to Singapore's largely Asin wait-staff. Well-trained service staff are in demand due to the tight labor market and often, a restaurant loses its better-trained staff who're pinched by other restaurants. Job-hopping is a problem. Service standards remained alarmingly low.

                                - often-times, the earnestness/friendliness of a wait-staff, rather than his/her professionalism or level of polished service, is what sets apart good from bad service in a restaurant in Singapore.

                                I understand that, unlike the other L'Ateliers in, say London, Paris, Hong Kong, Taipei or Tokyo, the staff of the L'Atelier in Singapore is hired by Resorts World Sentosa (the company which owns & runs the casino and hotels there) - so the restaurant staff won't even have the benefit of secondment to other L'Ateliers around the world to ensure consistency in standards.

                                1. re: klyeoh

                                  ah; I didn't know that RWS hires the staff. my dining companions and I were joking that l'atelier was used as a training ground for the waitstaff so that the good ones can eventually be moved over to their formal restaurant. lol.

                    3. My favourite Italian chef in the whole Singapore, Osvaldo Forlino (ex-Forlino @ One Fullerton and ex-Osvaldo's) is now cooking at No Menu, 23 Boon Tat Street (Telephone: 6224 0091).

                      His former Ristorante Osvaldo premises at Maxwell Chambers is now occupied by L'Angolo Ristorante Italiano, headed by Executive Chef Giuliano Dacasto and Maitre'D-Sommelier Michele Carbotti. I thought it was pretty ironic that Giuliano Dacasto has taken over Osvaldo Forlino's restaurant location again (!) since it was Dacasto who replaced him when he left Forlino @ One Fullerton a couple of years back!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: M_Gomez

                        Is Italian food in S'pore regional in character or pan-Italy? If regional, does any one region predominate?

                        1. re: huiray

                          Very generic Italian here in Singapore. Usually, a chef's cooking depends very much on where he's from, but he still has to give us Singaporeans our pizza Margherita, fettucine carbonara, spaghetti bolognaise etc, irregardless of which region he comes from!

                      2. Sorry to divert from the indepth discussion on Robuchon ....

                        but has anyone been to Smokey's BBQ on the east coast ? I have one guy saying it's average and another saying it's a must go to place. Any color here please would be appreciated. Thanks, HC.