From classic French flavors to a cinematic ode to India, the latest additions to the city’s food scene beckon.
Aiming for the sweet spot between haute cuisine and bistronomy, the latest restaurant by chef Julien Royer is all about home-style French cooking. Housed in a converted 1930s chapel in the Dempsey Hill area, Claudine serves up Gallic classics such as onion soup, pigeon confit, and vol-au-vent with veal sweetbread, cockscomb, and morels. The vibe is decidedly more casual and family-friendly than it is across town at Royer’s three-Michelin-starred Odette; larger parties will want to order sharing dishes like steak flambé or bouillabaisse. claudinerestaurant.com
This cinematic ode to India from an unabashedly firangi (foreign) perspective fairly bursts with character and whimsy. Filled with vintage decor, the four dining sections are by turns styled as a Raj-era officer’s club, an old railway carriage, a Rajasthani palace, and a jungle lodge. The food, by third-generation Indian-Malaysian chef Thiru Gunasakarn, exhibits an equal amount of quirk, most of it successful. Try his playful reinterpretation of aloo gobi or the Salvador Thali, a vivid pumpkin dish that will forever change your appreciation of the humble gourd. firangisuperstar.com
All blond woods and soft lighting, Korean chef Louis Han’s first solo venture is easy on the eyes. So, too, is his contemporary Seoul cuisine, which mingles traditional Korean flavors with Western techniques. Opened in July, the 28-seat restaurant is already into its second seasonal dinner menu, which is inspired by the wintertime mountains of Han’s homeland. Highlights of the six-course feast include a salad of acorn jelly and konbu-aged sea bream, and slow-roasted samchi (Spanish mackerel) with mushrooms and daikon in a mushroom broth. naeum.sg
Gaggan Anand at Mandala Club
While Thai diners mourned the pandemic-induced closure of Gaggan Anand’s namesake Bangkok restaurant last April, their counterparts in Singapore have reason to cheer with the temporary relocation of the Kolkata-born chef’s team to the Mandala Club, where they will be in residence through March 2022. The current menu features both Gaggan signatures like Yogurt Explosion — a sphere of yogurt chaat masala on a “leaf” of green chutney — and such new creations as the Kachang Uni, a tribute to Singapore’s ice kachang in the form of sea urchin and almond-milk tofu atop shaved kelp dashi ice. mandala.club
This article originally appeared in the December 2021/February 2022 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Four in S’pore”).