Where Have You Been, 2021?

I have only made one trip overseas in the whole of 2021, compared to over 40 in 2019. How’s everyone in 2021? Ate anything interesting?

An empty food hall

This picture pretty much summarised 2021, where dine-in capacity went from 8 to 5 to 2 to none and then back to 5 (all vaccinated) and back to 2 (all vaccinated). The original virus mutated, Delta created a lot of havoc for everyone and one last one for 2021 was Mu. Everyone was assessing the aftermaths as we were moving from a Covid-prevention (pandemic) to Covid-resilient (endemic) mode.

Top 10 Eats for 2021 (Singapore)

Food wise, many restaurants closed but others opened as the best adapted to the new business environment. Some of the newcomers in 2021 that I particularly enjoyed included Hathaway and San Shu Gong. But classics like Quentin’s still endured the times.

10. Cho Omakase (Japanese)

Cho Omakase offers value-for-money lunch menus, and very high quality fish from Japan shipped in 3 times a week. Moved from Boat Quay to the current OCBC Centre location in early 2021.

9. San Shu Gong (Teochew)

Positioned as Private Dining but more like a good Teochew tzechar, San Shu Gong serve really good Teochew cuisine. The fact that all the old folks in the family gave their thumbs up say so much.

8. Meatsmith Telok Ayer (Southern BBQ)

The best smoked beef brisket I tasted in Singapore – simply fork tender and juicy. Also highly recommended was their BBQ pork ribs – great sauce, the bones just glided off the meat. Great eat for those bo gey (no tooth).

7. So France (French)

The closest thing to a Parisien bistro without going to Paris. They serve simple, rustic French bistro food. Same saltiness as the French versions too, so be warned.

6. Quentin’s Joo Chiat (Eurasian)

Born and raised in Singapore, Eurasian cuisine gets its influence from all the different races that made up the Eurasian community – Chinese, India, Portuguese, Spanish – not to be mixed up with Peranakan (Straits-born Chinese).

5. The Dragon Chamber (Tze Char / Innovative)

Hidden behind the coffeeshop facade is a opium-den like restaurant serving Cantonese tze char but with a modern twist. Must try: Wagyu beef horfun in two texture.

4. Table 65 (French Innovative)

My last Michelin star for 2021. Surprisingly good 5 course dinner I had, delicious with bold use of spices and flavours.

3. SO/ X MIZNON (Israeli / Middle Eastern)

A collaboration between Sofitel SO and Miznon, it was the Tel Aviv summer brought to Singapore. Too bad you can only stare at the photos as it was for a limited time only, hence it did not move up the charts.

2. Bincho at Hua Bee (Yakitori)

One of my last restaurant for 2021, but it moved to second place. Bincho’s yakitori is the closest thing to getting on a plane to go to Japan, but with a modern twist. Purist, beware. There’s no skewer for their yakitori!

1. Hathaway (Peranakan Fusion)

Yum Yum Yum – they are the surprising good eats that I had for 2021. Hidden in Dempsey Cluster and helmed by a young and energetic team, I look forward to more good things from them.

Happy New Year, everyone. May 2022 bring you more good eats and culinary surprises.

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