New nosh places coming up in Singapore

Hotelier-restaurateur Loh Lik Peng has three new food-and-beverage concepts, including Sorrel (above), under construction in Boon Tat Street.
Hotelier-restaurateur Loh Lik Peng has three new food-and-beverage concepts, including Sorrel (above), under construction in Boon Tat Street.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

A slew of unique food-and-beverage outlets will open in the coming months, from hotelier-restaurateur Loh Lik Peng's three new concepts, including a bar that will play vinyls, to a fine-dining Italian restaurant at the National Gallery Singapore. REBECCA LYNNE TAN reports

Long Play, Sorrel and Meat Smith

LONG PLAY

Where: 4 Haji Lane & 33 Arab Street

Opening: Before Christmas

SORREL

Where: 21 Boon Tat Street

Opening: Before Christmas

MEAT SMITH

Where: 167 Telok Ayer Street

Opening: Before Chinese New Year

Hotelier-restaurateur Loh Lik Peng is busy expanding yet again.

The 42-year-old, who is behind boutique hotels 1929 in Keong Saik Road and New Majestic Hotel in Bukit Pasoh Road as well as restaurants such as Pollen at Gardens by the Bay's Flower Dome, tapas bar Esquina in Jiak Chuan Road and Bincho in Tiong Bahru, will open three new food-and-beverage concepts in the coming months.

He already has more than 20 hotels and restaurants under his hotel-restaurant group, Unlisted Collection, which are in cities such as London, Shanghai and Sydney.

His partners for the new projects here are the same ones behind secret bar The Library and eatery The Study, both in Keong Saik Road, as well as Esquina.

Long Play will be an industrial-themed bar with light bites where people can chill out to tunes from 1950s to 1970s vinyls. The shophouse will have entrances at both Haji Lane and Arab Street.

Sorrel, over in Boon Tat Street, will be a 35- to 40-seat tasting-menu restaurant headed by chef Johnston Teo, the former sous chef of Jaan, who has also worked at Pollen.

Mr Loh says the restaurant will be "edgy, urban and not too rigid". Vegetables will come from a farm in Cameron Highlands in Malaysia, which the group works with for its other restaurants. Prices have not been determined, but expect options of five- and seven-course tastings.

Down the road from Sorrel will be Meat Smith, which is taking over the space previously occupied by the nowdefunct Sophie Bakery in Telok Ayer Street. It is across the road from one of Mr Loh's restaurants, The Market Grill.

Meat Smith will focus on smoked meats that will be prepared in specialist smokers from the United States. Interiorwise, expect a blacksmith shop-like vibe, says Mr Loh.

Rebecca Lynne Tan


Syun at Resorts World Sentosa

Where: Resorts World Sentosa, Festive Walk, next to Osia restaurant

Opening: Next month. Noon to 3pm, 6 to 11pm (Tuesday to Sunday), closed on Monday

Info: Call 6577-6688 or go to www.rwsentosa.com/language/en-US/Homepage/Restaurants/Syun

Renowned Japanese chef Hal Yamashita, 44, who runs eponymous restaurants in Tokyo and Osaka, will open his first restaurant outside Japan next month at Resorts World Sentosa.

The chef may not have Michelin stars to his name, but his restaurants draw foodies and gourmands from all over the world because of his attention to quality produce and ingredients.

Syun, the Japanese word for spring, takes up more than 1,700 sq ft and is located near other celebrity chef restaurants, including Osia, Joel Robuchon and TungLok Heen.

The 53-seat casual restaurant's contemporary cuisine will be driven by Yamashita's philosophy of simplicity, which focuses on the use of quality ingredients from various provinces in Japan.

For those who want a little more exclusivity, there will be two private dining rooms for eight to 10 people each.

Syun will offer set menus, seasonal menus as well as a la carte items. For lunch, diners can expect bento sets, while sushi and sashimi will be available for dinner. Prices start from $22++ a person for lunch and $55++ for dinner.

Signature dishes include sea urchin and Kuroge wagyu beef roll topped with caviar; grilled gindara (cod) saikyo marinated in premium miso and dried mullet roe with a yuzu miso sauce (above); and a Kuroge wagyu beef sukiyaki.

Yamashita, one of the chefs whose cuisine was featured during the annual gastronomic festival, The World Gourmet Summit, here in 2010, says: "Singapore is a melting pot of various cuisines and I have noticed that diners here are well-travelled and have a more adventurous palate. I'm confident they will embrace what Syun has to offer."

Rebecca Lynne Tan


Boca in Bukit Pasoh

Where: 6 Bukit Pasoh Road

Opening: By January

Portuguese restaurant Boca has taken over the space vacated by Italian restaurant Oca Grassa in Bukit Pasoh Road. It is slated to open progressively from next month.

Occupying three floors of a conservation shophouse, each level will showcase different aspects of Portuguese cuisine, including its trend of small sharing plates.

Expect seafood to be the focus, but offerings will also include items such as cheese and Iberian pork.

The restaurant plans to offer authentic Portuguese fare presented in a modern context. It will also feature more than 50 wines from various regions in Portugal.

The interior will be designed by well-known Portuguese design company Viterbo ID, which has designed hotels, restaurants and residences in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Rebecca Lynne Tan


Zaku at Capitol Singapore

Where: Capitol Singapore, an integrated development with residences, a hotel, retail mall and theatre at the junction of Stamford and North Bridge roads. It comprises Capitol Theatre, Capitol Building and Stamford House.

Opening: In the coming months

The Akashi Group will be opening a modern Japanese sake bar at the iconic Capitol Theatre's redeveloped site next year.

The 3,200 sq ft bar-restaurant, which has a 600 sq ft private dining area on the second floor, will serve lunch and dinner. There are plans to serve supper from 10pm to 1am.

Zaku is just one of the new food-and-beverage offerings at Capitol Singapore. Life! understands that Angelina, a famed tearoom and patisseriecafe from Paris, will be setting up an outpost there, while the BreadTalk Group says it will unveil new concepts at the building next year.

On Zaku's offerings, Mr Mervin Goh, 42, director of the Akashi Group, says: "The modern sake bar will start with about 40 premium and exclusive sake labels and offer Japanese food with a European touch."

Heading the kitchen will be American chef Dan Segall, former executive chef of Ku De Ta and, more recently, of The Big Idea Group, whose restaurants include The Pelican and Fat Cow. The group was acquired by Kitchen Language, the food-and-beverage arm of Far East Organization, in February.

Pricing and menu items have not been finalised.

The Akashi Group's stable of restaurants includes the Akashi Japanese Restaurant chain, upscale robatayaki grill restaurant Akanoya at Orchard Parade Hotel and gyoza specialist Gyoza-Ya at The Heeren.

Rebecca Lynne Tan


Lollapalooza in Keong Saik

Where: 1A Keong Saik Road

Opening: By end-January

The team behind popular small-plates restaurant Lolla in Ann Siang Road is opening a second outlet that will go beyond small-plates dining.

The 2,000 sq ft restaurant is one of the food-and-beverage concepts opening on the ground floor of a 1920 conservation shophouse (above), off Neil Road, which was previously owned by insurance company AIA Singapore.

Mr Thaddeus Yeo (left, with chef Issachar Lee) 38, one of the restaurants' partners, calls Lollapalooza the "big sister" to Lolla, which opened in September 2012.

"Lollapalooza is more sophisticated, but it still carries the same spirit as Lolla," he says. "It has a completely different menu. The cuisine is best described as freestyle and we will change our menu daily based on seasonal produce."

While the menu is not fixed yet, dishes will be cooked in a wood-fired oven using apple wood. The menu will not be limited to small plates.

"Think a whole roast chicken to share," says Mr Yeo, whose two partners are champagne importer Pang Hian Tee, who runs underground supper club Lolla's Secret Supper, and Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef Lee Chin Sin, who is also a freelance musician.

Helming the kitchen is former chef-owner Issachar Lee of the nowdefunct Spanish restaurant Kaixo in Tanjong Pagar Road.

Over at Lolla, Singaporean sous chef Kyle Henderson replaces head chef Tan Huang Ming, who left last week.

Chef Tan, 28, who is working as a consultant chef for restaurants opening in Kuala Lumpur, will open a New York-style sandwich deli in the Central Business District by March.

Called Park Bench Deli, it was previously run as a weekend project at pop-up events and is in partnership with Cajun restaurant The Cajun Kings and a producer friend.

Eunice Quek


Kuvo at Orchard Shopping Centre

Where: 02-01 Orchard Shopping Centre, 321 Orchard Road

Open: Noon to 1am (Sunday to Thursday and public holiday), noon to 2am (Friday, Saturday and eve of public holiday)

Info: Call 6733-8272 or e-mail reservation@kuvo.com.sg

Kuvo, a multi-concept food-and-beverage outlet, has taken over the space vacated by Chinese restaurant Lei Garden in Orchard Road Shopping Centre.

It opened three weeks ago and is owned by Sarika Connoisseur Cafe, the company behind The Connoisseur Concerto, better known as TCC, which has 28 outlets islandwide. The company also runs local outposts of Australian coffee chain The House of Robert Timms.

Each of Kuvo's four concepts, which total more than 9,000 sq ft, has different names.

Vine Lounge (above), a 32-seat wine lounge with plush couches, features about 140 wine labels; Ambrosia, an 88-seat all-day dining restaurant, has a gazebo; The Gift Shop is a retail store that sells souvenirs, housemade cheesecakes, chocolates and coffee and tea blends; and Elixir Bar (below) is a bespoke cocktail bar.

The bar is headed by mixologist Yutaka Nakashima, 35, former head bartender and bar manager of popular cocktail and whisky bar Coffee Bar K in UE Square.

The group's marketing communications manager Henry Tan, 36, says: "Singaporeans are always looking for something different, something hip. Yet they still love a comfortable place where they can come and chill out at any time, any day. Kuvo is the perfect fit."

Rebecca Lynne Tan


Aura at National Gallery Singapore

Where: National Gallery Singapore, St Andrew's Road, the City Hall and former Supreme Court buildings, opposite the Padang

Opening: Next September

When the National Gallery Singapore opens next year, it will be more than just a place to see great art.

Art lovers can also dine at food-and-beverage outlets, including a fine-dining Italian restaurant by veteran Italian restaurateur Beppe de Vito.

The 3,000 sq ft Aura restaurant, which will include an alfresco dining area, can seat 100 people and will be located on the fifth floor. Above it is a 6,000 sq ft rooftop terrace where diners will find a raw bar with oysters, a gourmet salad bar and a cake lounge that can seat about 80 people in all.

In the evenings, the rooftop space transforms into a bar, where guests can sip drinks and soak in city views.

Mr de Vito, 42, owns popular restaurants here such as il Lido at The Sentosa Golf Club; Southbridge, an oyster bar in Boat Quay; Latteria Mozzarella Bar in Duxton Hill; and &Sons in China Square Central.

He arrived in Singapore almost 20 years ago to set up Bice, a Milanese restaurant at Goodwood Park Hotel, which has since closed. He later co-owned Italian restaurants Garibaldi and Forlino, but is no longer involved in these businesses.

At Aura, diners can expect the interior to be warm and chic without being snobbish.

It will feature an open kitchen and offer craft pizza, among other appetisers, as well as fresh housemade pastas and charcuterie. There will be main courses from meats to fish.

Mr de Vito says: "The restaurant will have a strong Italian identity in terms of food and decor."

By August, he plans to relocate Italian restaurant il Lido from Sentosa to the Central Business District.

In the meantime, he will focus on opening an offshoot of the nine-year-old restaurant in Seminyak, Bali. It will take over the space now occupied by Warisan restaurant and is slated to open in April.

Rebecca Lynne Tan


Janice Wong at Ion Orchard

Where: Ion Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, Level 1 Atrium

Open: From Dec 22, 10am to 10pm, daily

Award-winning home-grown pastry chef Janice Wong launches her eponymous retail sweets brand next week at Gardens by the Bay's Christmas Wonderland. The 31-year-old will run a pop-up store at the festive bazaar from Nov 29 to Dec 21.

After that, she will set up a permanent shop in Ion Orchard.

The 450 sq ft sweets shop in the mall will showcase lollipops, edible chocolate and marshmallow paintings, and edible sculptures, from balloons to snowflakes. Prices will range from $3 to $2,000.

Ms Wong says: "None of the items will be too far-fetched. They will be sweet experiences and nostalgic pleasures, but presented in new ways."

Diners can buy items such as eclairs, mochi, chocolates and cakes, but they will look unconventional. For instance, Ms Wong's first collection is inspired by all things round and spherical.

Cakes, from strawberry shortcakes to those with yuzu, will be in the shape of balls and presented in different colours.

Chocolate paintings will be sold in clear plastic bags and hung on racks, while marshmallows that look like artworks will be sold in perspex boxes. Diners can pick at marshmallow paintings and eat with their fingers.

The counter at Ion may also include an area where diners can pay to create their own chocolate paintings with coloured chocolate paints (above) that have been infused with flavours such as lemongrass and strawberry.

Ms Wong plans to introduce items such as ice cream, nougat and caramels at a later stage.

Rebecca Lynne Tan