Food critic Wong Ah Yoke's reviews of the 10 best restaurants of 2016

PHOTOS: VLV, YANTRA BY HEMANT OBEROI, SAIGON ALLEY, ST FILE
Childhood, a dessert dish from Fat Lulu’s Asian BBQ & Desserts at 297 River Valley Road.
Childhood, a dessert dish from Fat Lulu’s Asian BBQ & Desserts at 297 River Valley Road. PHOTO: ST FILE
Kagoshima Kurobuta Char Siew from VLV.
Kagoshima Kurobuta Char Siew from VLV. PHOTO: VLV
Braised Sliced Duck from Paradise Teochew Restaurant at Scotts Square.
Braised Sliced Duck from Paradise Teochew Restaurant at Scotts Square. PHOTO: ST FILE
Crispy pork trotter in a bag, from Birds Of A Feather at 113 Amoy Street.
Crispy pork trotter in a bag, from Birds Of A Feather at 113 Amoy Street. ST PHOTO: YEOH WEE TECK
(Clockwise from left) Chicken Thigh, Wagyu Striploin and Chicken Tsukune on skewers from Le Binchotan restaurant.
(Clockwise from left) Chicken Thigh, Wagyu Striploin and Chicken Tsukune on skewers from Le Binchotan restaurant. PHOTO: LE BINCHOTAN
Yantra by Hemant Oberoi's Lucknavi Gosht Biryani.
Yantra by Hemant Oberoi's Lucknavi Gosht Biryani. PHOTO: YANTRA BY HEMANT OBEROI
Western Australia marron (crayfish) from Whitegrass at Chijmes.
Western Australia marron (crayfish) from Whitegrass at Chijmes. PHOTO: ST FILE
Golden Crispy BBQ Pork Belly from Lucky 8.
Golden Crispy BBQ Pork Belly from Lucky 8. PHOTO: ST FILE
De Res Taco from Super Loco.
De Res Taco from Super Loco. PHOTO: ST FILE
Set lunch set of big bowl & vietnamese prawn roll from Saigon Alley.
Set lunch set of big bowl & vietnamese prawn roll from Saigon Alley. PHOTO: SAIGON ALLEY

Despite the rumblings of a slowing economy, restaurants continue to pop up in 2016 - including a Chinese restaurant in Clarke Quay that is one of the most glamorous in town.

The range runs from high-end restaurants to mid-priced ones and casual eateries, with equally diverse cuisines running the gamut from Australian to Mexican to Indian to Vietnamese.

Some are less easily defined as they straddle different cuisines and cultures, but they are no less serious in their pursuit of culinary excellence.

Here are the best 10 new restaurants The Straits Times visited in 2016. 

1. Fat Lulu's


Childhood, a dessert dish from Fat Lulu’s Asian BBQ & Desserts at 297 River Valley Road. PHOTO: ST FILE

The charcoal-grilled meat, seafood and vegetables come with bold flavours that nonetheless do not overwhelm the palate. Leave room for the desserts, which are modern interpretations of local favourites.

Read the review. 

2. VLV



Kagoshima Kurobuta Char Siew from VLV. PHOTO: VLV

This two-storeyed Chinese restaurant cum lounge looks luxe and stylish, but the menu offers traditional dishes that are good and reasonably priced. 

Read the review. 

3. Paradise Teochew (Scotts Square)


Braised Sliced Duck from Paradise Teochew Restaurant at Scotts Square. PHOTO: ST FILE

The second outlet of this restaurant is even better than the original one at the Chinese Swimming Club, with more refined cooking. The braised duck is the best in town.

Read the review. 

4. Birds Of A Feather


Crispy pork trotter in a bag, from Birds Of A Feather at 113 Amoy Street. ST PHOTO: YEOH WEE TECK

The food is authentic Sichuan but there are also some Western items such as a ribeye steak. The decor is just as eclectic, with lamps that look like fluffy clouds hanging from the ceiling and corners that resemble a courtyard in an olden-day home.

Read the review. 

5. Le Binchotan


(Clockwise from left) Chicken Thigh, Wagyu Striploin and Chicken Tsukune on skewers from Le Binchotan restaurant. PHOTO: LE BINCHOTAN

More charcoal grilling, but this time with French ingredients cooked Japanese yakitori-style. Great for those who like food with smoky flavours.

Read the review. 

6. Yantra by Hemant Oberoi


Yantra by Hemant Oberoi's Lucknavi Gosht Biryani. PHOTO: YANTRA BY HEMANT OBEROI

Yantra is not new but it was taken over by Indian celebrity chef Oberoi this year, who overhauled the menu and introduced his inspired interpretations of Indian dishes.

 Read the review. 

7. Whitegrass


Western Australia marron (crayfish) from Whitegrass at Chijmes. PHOTO: ST FILE

Australian chef Sam Aisbett moved here from Sydney to open this lovely restaurant in Chijmes and introduce his Aussie take on global cuisine.

Read the review. 

8. Lucky 8


Golden Crispy BBQ Pork Belly from Lucky 8. PHOTO: ST FILE

The name may not strike much confidence and the restaurant looks rather nondescript, but this is where I find an amazing roast pork that beats those from more famous restaurants.

Read the review. 

9. Super Loco


De Res Taco from Super Loco. PHOTO: ST FILE

The Mexican fare here is light and bright, just perfect for hot weather. The service staff are friendly and chirpy, which is pretty rare here.

Read the review. 

10. Saigon Alley


Set lunch set of big bowl & vietnamese prawn roll from Saigon Alley. PHOTO: SAIGON ALLEY

This tiny eatery may not have the best pho, but it boasts many other delicious Vietnamese dishes that you do not find easily here.

Read the review.