Where to go for the best fine dining experiences in Singapore

Interior of the dining area. (PHOTO: Restaurant Zen)

Text: Alyssa Chung

SINGAPORE — It may be tough to score a table at Odette, awarded no.18 at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 awards held in Singapore this week, but here are other excellent fine dining restaurants to check out in our food-obsessed city.

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Restaurant Zen

Taking pride of place at the former Restaurant Andre venue is Restaurant Zén, the Singapore outpost of Frantzén, Stockholm’s only restaurant with three Michelin stars. In this charming building, three levels of unique dining experiences await.

For Zén’s menu, Stockholm-based Chef Patron Björn Frantzén has devised an innovative Nordic cuisine woven with Japanese touches, alongside a host of fresh seasonal ingredients. Helming the kitchen here is executive chef Tristin Farmer, who will happily share his knowledge about the ingredients and techniques used. The team of friendly chefs and waitstaff are clued-in on every aspect of the menu as well.

Chef Patron Björn Frantzén. (PHOTO: Restaurant Zen)

Food aside, the entire evening is made even more unforgettable as it’s reminiscent of visiting Frantzén’s home. After ringing the doorbell, you’ll be welcomed into the elegant lounge area. There you will be served a variety of canapés such as sliced Jerusalem artichoke layered with preserved truffle as well as a delicate tart of grilled asparagus with spiced Brillat Savarin soft French cheese, Sicilian pistachios, and gooseberry jam. After getting a preview of the seasonal ingredients in the open kitchen, you will then be shown to the main ‘Dining Room’ on the second floor for your sublime dinner. The night ends on the third floor’s ‘Living Room’, a plush, cosy space where you will unwind over coffee, tea, fruits and an assortment of petit four.

Beer poached crustacean, smetana, wild trout and roe. (PHOTO: Restaurant Zen)

Some of Zén’s standout dishes served at dinner include plump butter poached and grilled Australian marron livened up with Miyazaki style ginger emulsion, yuzu kosho, sansho, and a shower of chive powder. There’s also the superb combination of succulent grilled Akamutsu (black throat sea perch), lightly smoked over burning thyme leaves tableside. The fish is brushed with oil made with roasted walnuts and chicken fat, and then finished with ponzu and topped with a sliver of bafu uni. This creation is paired with fermented asparagus beurre blanc and Koshihikari rice cooked in walnut milk. There’s also Zen’s version of chawanmushi, made with milk and cream, and topped with sweet king crab. Just as memorable is the signature sourdough with parmesan custard, crowned a shower of black truffle shavings, and perked up with balsamic. Savour this with a side of heart-warming pigeon bone broth. After a procession of dishes, you’ll be served a playful dessert which comes in the form of Salted Hokkaido ice cream, flavoured with coffee oil, and Tahitian vanilla. This is complemented with heart-shaped waffles, rhubarb flambéed at tableside, and strawberry compote.

Salted Hokkaido milk ice cream, wild strawberries and waffles. (PHOTO: Restaurant Zen)

Aside from the list of rare wines, what’s interesting too is the well thought-out non-alcoholic beverage pairing featuring fermentation, herbal infusions, aromatics and fresh flavours coaxed out from fruits and vegetables. These drinks are designed to pair with your meal. Restaurant Zén’s Tasting Menu (eight courses plus snacks and petit fours) starts at $450 per person with additional $125 for non-alcoholic beverage pairing; additional $175 for mixed beverage pairing; and additional $250 for wine pairing.

41 Bukit Pasoh, Singapore 089855

Tel: +65 9236 6368

www.restaurantzen.com

L’Asperge Blanche de Provence. (PHOTO: Restaurant Vianney Massot)

Restaurant Vianney Massot

This year saw some transformations in the dining scene. One of which is the name change of one-Michelin-starred Bacchanalia to Restaurant Vianney Massot. The new name of this Hong Kong Street restaurant is a reflection of the brand’s revamped concept, direction and menu offerings. The talented 27-year-old chef Massot who has helmed this contemporary French fine-dining restaurant since October last year, pays tribute to classic French cuisine while infusing it with a touch of modernity. His produce-driven menu will be changed every quarter depending on the availability of seasonal ingredients.

Executive Chef Vianney Massot of Restaurant Vianney Massot. (PHOTO: Restaurant Vianney Massot)

Step into the 20-seater intimate restaurant and through the kitchen, and be personally welcomed by the team of chefs. The open-kitchen concept also allows you to observe the preparation of your meals. Dishes may include a delicate arrangement of petits pois (sweet fresh peas) crowned with Imperial caviar, and seafood like Britany blue lobster cooked in aromatic court bouillon, and served with spiced heart of avocado and fragrant tomato water. Mains may be a piece of succulent Kinki fish on lightly spiced tomato concasser, served with fricassee of violin zucchini and almonds. Desserts are usually light and refreshing, such as the poached rhubarb with verbena sorbet and strawberry consommé. If you’re there for dinner, your sweet treats will be extended to a dessert trolley.

Le Nid d’Abeille. (PHOTO: Restaurant Vianney Massot)

The restaurant’s wine cellar boasts 450 labels of premium wines, as well as 60 different wines by the glass. Simply asked the maitre d’ for recommendations. The two-course lunch menu starts from $68, and the seven-course degustation menu is available from $368. A la carte dishes are also available for lunch and dinner.

39 Hong Kong Street Singapore 059678

Tel: +65 6909 6360

www.vianneymassot.com

Halibut and peas. (PHOTO: JAAN by Kirk Westaway)

JAAN by Kirk Westaway

Another restaurant that has undergone a rebranding exercise recently is the one Michelin-starred Jaan, ranked 32nd on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019.
The restaurant on the 70th floor of Swissotel is now called JAAN by Kirk Westaway. After helming the restaurant for four years, Executive Chef Kirk Westaway ushers the establishment into a new chapter.

Green Asparagus Langoustine. (PHOTO: JAAN by Kirk Westaway)

The chef continues to elevate his Reinventing British menu (launched last year) with even more produce from the UK. For instance, paying homage to his hometown of Devon with the Devon Cheddar Cheese Buckwheat Pancake, Devon Cream Tea and Devon Butter served with sourdough. One of Westaways’ iconic dishes is the instagrammable English Garden – a beautiful multi-coloured dish filled with seasonal vegetables such as baby carrots, Romesco leaves, kohlrabi, tomatoes, radishes and other veggies. The dish is further uplifted with a black olive powder and anchovy dressing. You’ll also get a mini watering can filled with a light Scottish seaweed and herb broth to sprinkle over dish.

Strawberry pancake. (PHOTO: JAAN by Kirk Westaway)

For the summer menu, you may be served light yet flavourful seafood items like roasted langoustine with warm brown butter mayonnaise or poached snapper with English peas. Your dining experience here is topped with assured and savvy service plus stunning views of the city’s skyline. Lunch prices start from $98 for a four-course set menu, and dinner set menu is at $268.

Level 70, Swissôtel The Stamford, 2 Stamford Rd, Singapore 178882
Tel: +65 6837 3322
www.jaan.com.sg