The top of Yue Hwa Building in Eu Tong Sen Street has always struck me as an ideal spot for a restaurant, so it is no surprise to find Eclipse, a smart restaurant that marries European and Asian cuisines, opening there this month.
The building has a long history. It opened in 1927 as the Great Southern Hotel and was the tallest building in Chinatown at the time.
Now occupied by Yue Hwa department store on its lower five floors, the rooftop restaurant on the sixth floor commands a good view of the shophouses in the vicinity as well as Chinatown Point across the road.
Eclipse is helmed by chef Samuel Quan, formerly from Element on Tras Street at Amara Hotel. The interior design is lovely, with a mix of old-world grandeur and modern stylishness accentuated by what looks like glowing clouds on the ceiling.
The menu captures that whimsical spirit in its combination of Western and Asian flavours. Having lived through the 1990s when fusion cooking was all the rage, I find some of the ideas rather retro, though younger diners may find them novel. Besides, I do like the way the chefs here play with textures on the plate.
A five-course tasting menu costs $198 with dishes like pumpkin laksa soup with seafood tortellini and chicken with green curry foam. Lunch sets are $52 and there are a la carte dishes like slow-cooked salmon with celeriac remoulade, pickled beetroot and fritter crumbs ($26); and lobster risotto with green curry ($42).
There are also bar snacks like tempura soft-shell crab with mala spices ($26) and citrus roast duck in pie tee shell ($18).
Where: Eclipse, 06-01 Yue Hwa Building, 70 Eu Tong Sen Street
Open: Noon to 2.30pm, 6 to 10.30pm (Tuesdays to Sundays), closed on Mondays
Info: For reservations, call 6908-0880 or go to the Eclipse website
With many new Japanese restaurants charging hundreds of dollars a person for an omakase meal, Osomatsu's $160 seven-course menu seems very reasonable in comparison.
You get a mix of raw and cooked food, including three types of sashimi, ikura yuzu chawanmushi and kinki shioyaki. The highlight for me is the Miyazaki A4 wagyu chazuke, which features a generous portion of lightly grilled well-marbled beef on rice and dashi stock.
For those on a smaller budget, there are a la carte options, with izakaya dishes like maguro tataki salad ($28) and shiromi truffle ($30), which are thin slices of raw sea bream laced with truffle oil and topped with caviar.
The restaurant, which opened this month in Kinex mall, is conceptualised by local chefs Angus Chow and Justin Foo. Although neither of them is in residence, their input can be seen in dishes like charcoal chicken ($16), a black karaage speckled with gold dust that is a Chow signature.
Other dishes to try include pork katsu sando ($24), made with Iberico pork loin, and the uni ikura tart ($22 a piece).
Where: Osomatsu, 01-21 Kinex, 11 Tanjong Katong Road
MRT: Paya Lebar
Open: 11am to 11pm daily
Info: For reservations, call 9235-9419 or go here
Permata, the restaurant occupying the iconic Gedung Kuning or Yellow Mansion in Sultan Gate, reopened last month with a new chef and concept.
It no longer serves a buffet. Instead, chef Mel Dean has come up with a menu of what he calls progressive Nusantara cuisine featuring about 40 dishes from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. What that means is recipes based on traditional dishes but presented in new ways and with different ingredients, borrowing ideas liberally from contemporary Western cooking.
An example is the kerabu daging Sri Mersing ($16), a beef salad that is made with grilled chateaubriand and green mango tossed with ginger flower lime dressing. Then there is rawon risotto ($28), which is beef stew infused with buah keluak and served over creamy risotto rice and topped with a ramen egg.
The rusuk percik ($36) or percik lamb rib is delicious, with the New Zealand lamb ribs braised with chilli, shallot, galangal and lemongrass until tender before being chargrilled.
The chef has also brought back a noodle dish sold here in the 1970s called mee wak katok ($26), but upgraded with slices of chateaubriand and a poached egg.
For dessert, try the cek molek molek ($12), which is a sweet potato doughnut from Kelantan. Here, it is dusted with icing sugar, sprinkled with almond flakes and served with vanilla ice cream. There is also espresso caramel on the side as a dip.
Where: Permata, Gedung Kuning, 73 Sultan Gate
MRT: Nicoll Highway/Bugis
Open: Noon to 3pm, 6 to 10.30pm (Tuesdays to Sundays), closed on Mondays
Info: For reservations, go to this website