Picnic, Basil, Kam’s Roast, Talad Thai, Yentafo Kruengsonge, The Coconut Club and michelin-starred Tsuta.

We can’t believe it’s December already! While everyone is in a holiday mood, Singapore’s restaurant scene is not taking a break with a slew of new restaurants popping up. Treat yourself to an affordable Michelin-starred meal at Tsuta (Japan) and Kam’s Roast (Hong Kong). Or get lost in an array of food concepts and cuisines at Picnic along Orchard Road. Love Thai food? You will be glad to know you have three new options to get your taste buds fired up.  

Central Perk

Calling fans of the TV series Friends (1994-2004) – now you can step into the world of your favourite characters! Expect to find cleverly themed cuisine that reflect dishes that the characters loved to eat, as well as new items inspired by quotes from the series. Coffee lovers will be pleased to find six 6 different coffee blends profiled to the 6 different F.R.I.E.N.D.S. characters – the Joey Tribbiani, for instance, is a “full Italian roasted”. It’s the attention to perfect little details like these that already has us hooked! Read more here.  #01-01 Central Mall, 1 Magazine Road. Tel: 9025 2524, centralperk.sg

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Hotdogs Inc.

Moving from Metropolis to the heart of town in PoMo is Hotdogs Inc. Using only premium gourmet sausages and freshly baked buns, the hot dogs are of top quality and not your usual fast food fare. Sink your teeth into their signature Wagyu Beef Roll ($9) topped with purple cabbage, rocket leaves, onion confit and BBQ sauce. Made with 100% minced Wagyu beef, the sausage is coated in organic egg and breadcrumbs then deep-fried to crispy perfection. The Spicy Italian Sausage ($7.50) is a classic not to be missed, with a tangy tomato and cheese sauce, and hotdog relish.  #01-23 PoMo Mall, 1 Selegie Road. Tel: 9721 2905

Picnic

Enter a forest wonderland at Picnic with 13 different food concepts housed in mobile food trucks serving French, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and American cuisines. Some favourites include a prata taco ($12 lunch/$16 dinner) stuffed with melt-in-your-mouth pork belly and pickled cabbage, as well as a very moreish vodka rigatoni ($12 lunch/ $16 dinner)–al dente pasta cooked in spicy pink vodka sauce. The ambience is stellar, with AstroTurf, fairy lights, and large communal wooden tables giving the space an outdoor atmosphere with all the comforts of dining indoors. #03-15 Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Road. Tel: 6734 8352

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The Coconut Club

The newest kid on the nasi lemak block, The Coconut Club specialises in all things coconut. As of now, they only serve Malaysian-styled nasi lemak, but do watch their space as they plan on expanding their menu in 2017. Using whole chicken legs instead of the usual winglets, the tender chicken is marinated in lemongrass and turmeric and fried till crispy perfection. The rice, although not as lemak as the traditional makcik version that we are used to, is just as addictive—it’s a mix of chicken rice and nasi lemak rice. Taking customers feedback into consideration, the sambal chilli has been fired up to deliver more heat. Our verdict? It’s definitely worth $12.80.  6 Ann Siang Hill. Tel: 6635 2999

Tsuta

Experience the only Michelin-starred ramen in the world, as Tsuta opens their first outlet outside of Japan. They’ve got two signature ramens: the shoyu soba ($15) features a heady broth made with custom brewed shoyu, dashi made with a blend of seafood, vegetables and chicken, all topped off with a black truffle sauce. The shio soba ($15), while lighter, is more complex with a chicken-seafood broth flavoured with Okinawa sea salt and Mongolian rock salt, subtly scented with fresh mint. #01-01 Pacific Plaza, 9 Scotts Road.

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Kam’s Roast

Kam’s Roast is the first overseas offshoot from the Michelin-starred Hong Kong flagship. As chilled goose is not available in Singapore, they are using Malaysian ducks for the specialty roast (from $16.80 for upper  ¼ to $55 for whole). The skin is succulent, but we miss the toothsome goose meat of the original. Thankfully, there’s the savoury-sweet Toro char siu pork belly ($22.80), with fattier layers than the nicely charred BBQ pork ($14.80) to up the decadent factor. #01-04/05/06/07 Pacific Plaza, 9 Scotts Road. Tel: 6836 7788

Basil

Thai restaurant Basil has marked the opening their flagship store with exciting new offerings created by Iron Chef Thailand and his team of chefs. Fresh on the menu is the Poa Pia Boran ($9.90), a time-honed recipe of Thai-style spring roll filled with chicken, bamboo shoots and glass noodles. We were especially wowed by the Keang Khua Poo ($16.90), a sharing dish of rich, fragrant crab curry and small bundles of rice vermicelli. Be sure to also check out their red ruby ($5.90), which is made fresh in-house daily and naturally coloured with rooibos.

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Yentafo Kruengsonge

One of Bangkok’s most popular noodle chains has landed on our shores. Yentafo Kruengsonge specialises in Thai yong tau foo; yen ta fo, which translate to pink noodle soup. Expect to be well-fed as each bowl comes with a generous serving of eight tasty items, including fried tofu, black fungus mushroom, squid ball and fried seasoned taro, to go with flat wide rice noodles. The moreish pink sauce is both savoury and sweet, and a great addition to the soup broth — although you can have it dry if you prefer.   #02-06A/B Cathay Cineleisure Orchard, 8 Grange Road. Tel: 6736 0971

Talad Thai

Talad Thai exceeds expectations with Thai street favourites. Aside from the usual Ayutthaya boat noodles we are used to, they also have variants like stewed chicken noodles with bitter gourd ($5.80/medium, $9.80/large) as well as premium signatures like stewed Wagyu beef noodles ($18.80). The broths are simmered for up to 10 hours, giving off an intense aroma. Giving Singapore kaya toast a run for its money is toast with pandanus kaya ($1.80), which comes with four airy toasts drenched in creamy, vibrant cream pandan custard. The interior also mirrors Bangkok’s street vibes with a push cart, metal stools and tables, as well as corrugated steel panels lining the ceiling. #01-78 Bedok Mall, 311 New Upper Changi Road.

Featured image: Picnic