Years after gaining fame for its reputation as Singapore’s hottest dining enclave, Club Street is taking a back seat as the Telok Ayer CBD – encompassing Amoy Street, Telok Ayer Street, Stanley Street and Boon Tat Street – on the fringe of Chinatown comes under the spotlight for its fast-expanding food and beverage offerings.
Today, this stretch of roads in the CBD are lined with conservation shop houses dotted with a plethora of dining and drinking options that span various genre from cheap to affordable to fine.
If you are looking to dine in the Telok Ayer CBD neighbourhood, here’s a list of restaurants that we highly recommend (arranged in alphabetical order):
One of the most interesting – and exotic – small plate eateries to surface in Singapore, this all-day joint serves everything from Cheng Du-roasted coffee beans and cocktails to Szechuan-inspired small plates as well as lunch and dinner. We suggest you come for the small plate menu, available only from 11am daily, which features blue-ribbon Szechuan-accented hits like the chilled braised pig’s ear in a piquant hot and sour dressing served atop a mound of see-through arrowroot “noodles”.
Modern Australian isn’t your typical modern Australian at this black-bathed eatery by Clayton Wells of Automata, Sydney. Here, Nordic-inspired courses mingle with funky Chinese accents, which in turn mingle with modern European creations. Think grilled octopus in a thick fennel-accented squid ink sauce infused with vinegar layered against housed-made XO sauce. You get the drift? Lunch is a straightforward three-course prix fixe menu costing $48++ while dinner offers five courses for $115++.
The hallmark of this restaurant by chef Diego Jacquet, a Buonos Aires native and head chef of Zoilo, London, is cocina Argentina served a la carte-style in small plates but with a special focus on charcoal grilled grass-fed steaks imported from Argentina. But here’s a piece of insider tip – while the steaks are great, the biggest piece de resistance is provoleta, an Argentinian cheese grilled with honey and almonds in a pan served with oregano.
A modern Australian eatery by chef-owner, Rishi Naleendra, and his wife and Maître d’, Manuela Toniolo, that gained a Michelin star in the red guide’s sophomore year, this unassuming space serves up one of the city’s best value-for-money tasting menu. Dinner starts from $78++ for three courses (from Mondays to Thursdays only) and includes dishes like roasted barramundi with a seasonally changing entourage of condiments like bonito butter, puffed rice and leek. Lunch starts from $38++ for two courses. Given how often Naleendra updates his menu, there’s always a reason to return for something new.
This family-style casual offshoot of a one Michelin-starred restaurant of the same name by Carles Gaig in Barcelona fields well-executed a la carte-style Catalan and Basque-inspired dishes that you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere in the city. A standout is its traditional cannelloni, cylindrical fresh pasta stuffed with three-hour braised beef and pork doused in a savoury white sauce of cream and chicken stock flecked with black truffles.
A casual offshoot of the one Michelin-starred Meta by chef-owner Sun Kim and head chef, Seok Hyun Han, this eatery deviates from the tasting menu norm by serving only an a la carte menu of stellar Korean-inspired small plates. While it’s almost impossible to pick favourites, the dishes of kampachi sashimi with ginger in gochujang and Korean-style wagyu tartare topped with a disc of quail’s egg have found fans with returning regulars.
Chef-owner, Christophe Lerouy, who snagged a star for Alma in Michelin’s first Singapore edition, does not bill this new eatery as a bistronomy but his unorthodox pairing of ingredients, matched with great pricing and a casual counter-style setting, tick all the right boxes for one. In true omakase style, Lerouy’s menus are served completely carte blanche (lunch starts from $38++ and dinner from $98++) but if you ask nicely, there’s no reason why you should not get a taste of his most popular creation yet – salt-baked cabbage with lardo, egg yolk puree and lime gel.
After scoring a star for The Kitchen at Bacchanalia, Ivan Brehm left to create this restaurant with serial restaurateur Loh Lik Peng of Unlisted Collection. To bring together the various cultures that influence his cooking, Brehm brands it cross border cuisine and names the restaurant for the nourishing fare it dishes out. Case in point is the opening snack (only at dinner) of Bread & Broth – homemade sour dough served alongside a shot of vegetable essence (from seven vegetables and shiitake) and silken cheese. Lunch starts from $85++ for a five-course omakase while dinner starts at $145++ for a five-course tasting menu.
After all is said and done, should you ever thirst for an apertif or digestif, you needn’t head far. In fact, we suggest that you head to the following bars.
9. Jigger & Pony
One of the industry earliest contenders for well-crafted classical cocktails, this bar by a husband and wife team offers 24 types of cocktails, each categorised as “Classic”, “Vintage” or “Signature” mixed with a precise Japanese bar-tending technique courtesy of group bar director, Aki Eguchi. The list does not stop here, you will also find spirit flights, punch bowls, non-alcoholic drinks as well as a robust list of more spirits.