Wok and Barrel
Once famed for its less-than-salubrious ‘karaoke bars’, the Duxton Hill enclave is currently undergoing a transformation that is seeing the flashing neon lights extinguished, and funky little restaurants appearing in their shadows. One such establishment is the Wok and Barrel, a minimalist whitewashed bistro dishing up modern Singaporean home-cooked dishes with a twist (wok) and pairing them with an interesting selection of craft beers (barrel). Chef/owner Madam Tan is famous for her nasi lemak (coconut rice), and you also shouldn’t miss the Beef Rendang Pizza, or the Bak Chor Mee pasta – tagliatelle tossed with melt-in-the-mouth shredded five-spice roast pork, a modern twist on the hawker centre favourite.
Luke’s Oyster Bar and Chop House
Tucked away in a narrow high-ceilinged shophouse on Gemill Lane, off popular boutique nightspot Club Street, Luke’s does exactly what it says on the tin: fresh raw oysters and seafood, and grilled meat. Owner Travis Masiero hails from Boston and this is reflected in his menu which includes a selection of New England classics such as clam chowder, oyster po’boys, crab cakes and lobster rolls. Carnivores are well catered for with succulent chargrilled lamb chops, and large juicy steaks all grilled to perfection. Casual diners can perch on a bar stool at the counter to watch the oysters being shucked, while those on a date can tuck themselves into a table-a-deux in the corner. The food is sensational, service is slick, and the knowledgeable sommelier will ensure your wine selection is worthy of your menu choices.
Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra
Joining fellow celebrity chefs such as Wolfgang Puck and Guy Savoy, Jiggs Kalra – “the Czar of Indian Cuisine” – has chosen the Marina Bay Sands complex for his Singapore venture and the international debut of Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra. His restaurant by the same name has won numerous awards in his native India for its gourmet versions of Punjabi cuisine. Jiggs Kalra mixes everyday dishes from the Northwest Frontier Province, with secret recipes from the royal kitchens and throws in a dash of modernity to create his own signature flavours. Favourites include Tandoori Lobster, Tandoori Duck, Salmon Tikka and four different types of Kebab. Designed to impress, the restaurant takes its inspiration from the splendour of India’s Maharajas. Combining abundant glass and high-polish metal with plush rich upholstery, it gives a modern slant on the glamour of Indian royalty. Within this setting, diners can choose a la carte or indulge in a five course avant-garde degustation menu.