Two Japanese places to check out, a delicious Find, Straits cuisine on an imaginary train, comfort food with a twist and a cafe that tech geeks will covert.

Tze char meets contemporary at cheeky The Prawn Star. Its conserved shophouse space has been transformed into a gritty, graffitied back alley–albeit an air-conditioned and comfortable one. Feast on seafood and grills with the TPS grilled king prawns ($26), slathered in a delish kimchi-miso butter, though some may prefer the fragrant king prawns in vermicelli claypot ($32). Other influences abound in the Sriracha caramel popcorn ($8), sweet spicy and salty to whet the appetite, while shoestring fries get a juicy makeover banh mi style with barbecued pork and jalapenos ($12).

21 Duxton Hill. Tel: 6323 3353

 

If you enjoy omakase dining without the austere settings of a traditional sushi-ya, add E.Pachi to your culinary black book. Japanese veteran Kisho Watanabe, who used to helm Hachi at Mohamed Sultan, speaks enough English to guide you through the choices (from $78 for lunch, $123 for dinner) and will accommodate special requests to the best of his ability. Want to end
your meal with udon instead of donburi? Just ask. Because menus are mercurial, expect anything from shirako marinated in a light ponzu sauce to nigiri sushi draped with melt in your mouth fish.  40/40A Boat Quay. Tel: 6535 1869

 

How do tech gadgets and coffee fit together? At Geek Café, buy electronic devices or get yours
repaired, while sipping on house-roasted artisanal brews (signature KopiG blend) and tasting Cat and the Fiddle cheesecakes. Have the classic Over the Moon ($4.50), or take on Maneki Neko ($6.20) which features yuzu, lime and lemon in a half-baked cake. Shop for iPhone 6 cases (from $4.50), power banks and record players even as you devour the Geek Sandwich ($5.90). They also host workshops that teach basic iPhone repairs, terrarium making and barista training.

Mon-Tue, Thu, Sun, PH 9.30am-10pm; Fri-Sat 9.30am-11.30pm. #01-644, 81 Marine Parade Central. Tel: 6440 0256

 

Hotpot Kingdom could double-up as a reunion dinner venue or a comforting respite on a rainy day. Choose from a selection of mod-Asian rich broths brimming with flavour: Chungking Szechuan, Korean kimchi, Macanese pork bone, beef consomme and herbal chicken. Tuck into fresh ingredients like homemade fish paste noodles, Japanese wagyu tenderloin and seafood; and dim sum like siu mai with black truffle. Set menus from $15.80/pax.

Daily 11am-2.30pm (hotpot and dim sum), 2.30-5pm (dim sum only), 5-11pm (hotpot only). #B1-01B The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue. Tel: 6688 7722

 

Featuring food from Guangdong province, Joyden Canton Kitchen serves up delightfully refreshing chicken with huai shan (wild yam) and wolfberry in old coconut soup ($12.80), steamed in the coconut itself, to open up palates. On a cold day, the signature traditional rice vermicelli with poached egg white, crab meat and scallop ($15.80) with a glistening yolk atop warms the
tummy with its wok fried fragrance. We also loved the soy sauce chicken (from $12) with a special ingredient of rose water.

Daily 11.30am-9.30pm. #02-21 HillV2 Shopping Centre, 4 Hillview Rise. Tel: 6465 9988

 

Catering to the CBD lunch crowd is Koji Sushi Bar‘s inexpensive range of donburis and sushi sets served with speedy efficiency. In the evening, the bar transforms into a relaxed spot serving omakase with carefully selected sake, shochu and craft beer. Savour chirashi don ($17) with cubes of fresh sashimi marinated in a tangy sauce that comes with miso soup and salad. Or let the chef decide on the menu in a 9- to 10-course set ($65/$85).

Mon-Sat 11.30am-3pm, 5-10pm. #01-42, 3 Pickering Street. Tel: 6225 6125

 

At Straits Express, you’re travelling to nostalgic times on an imaginary luxury train. The railway station inspired restaurant features specialties from Singapore, Malacca and Penang with native chefs at the helm: Anglo-Hainanese oxtail stew ($18.50), Nyonya chap chye ($9.50), and Penang assam laksa ($8). Chill by the river or party by the pool with one-for-one draught beers.

Daily 10am-10pm. #01-24/28 & #01-K13/K17 Kallang Wave Mall, 1 Stadium Place. Tel: 6702 2964

 

The Find: modern European cuisine with a focus on French and Italian dishes, led by chef Andre Teo. The food: buttery lobster atop a flavourful risotto with watercress and sundried tomatoes ($28), a chocolate lava cake, crusty outside and liquid decadence inside ($10). You’ll also find a handy kid’s menu with pasta ($6), beef burger ($8) and a set meal ($12). The feel: comfy, homely, with a touch of class and an outdoor events area.

Daily 11.30am-2.30pm, 6-10pm. #02-15 Rochester Mall, 35 Rochester Drive. Tel: 6659 8215

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