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12 new award-winning restaurants from this year’s G Restaurant Awards

In its eight years of presenting awards to the best restaurants in Singapore, The Peak Selections Gourmet & Travel has come up with its longest list yet, with 52 Awards of Excellence recipients in total. Of the 12 new entrants that made it to the winner’s list this year, one has snagged the most-coveted title - Restaurant of the Year.

 

Check out the list of award-winning newcomers, starting with 2017’s Restaurant of the Year.

 

Whitegrass (Restaurant of the Year)

 

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Chef-owner Sam Aisbett used to work with chefs Peter Gilmore (Quay) and Testuya Wakuda (Tetsuya’s) in Sydney before opening Whitegrass at CHIJMES last year. Amy Van, editor of Gourmet & Travel, who assessed the restaurant for this year’s awards, says, “Aisbett thinks outside the box (and far beyond) for his creations. The piece de resistance is the roasted Iberico pork jowl neatly wrapped in black Chinese moss, and pan-fried until crisp.”

On his win, Aisbett said, “We don’t follow trends, we just do what we do.”

 

Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill (Best New Restaurant, Asian)

Singaporean food personality and veteran restaurateur Violet Oon continues her tremendous comeback – her National Kitchen at National Gallery Singapore took home the award for this category last year – with this Peranakan-inspired dinner-only charcoal grill concept in the country’s entertainment precinct, Clarke Quay. Food writer Celine Asril says, “The five headlining offerings of plump, juicy satay (above) cooked to a light char will start any meal beautifully.”

 

The Dempsey Cookhouse & Bar (Best New Restaurant, Western)

This is the only South-east Asian outpost of celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten – a casual one to boot – and the menu features a collection of his Asian-inspired signature fusion dishes. Of her experience, Van says, “Particularly noteworthy is the puffy pizza with black truffle and Italian fontina cheese.” Other standouts include crispy salmon sushi with chipotle mayonnaise (above), and hamachi sashimi with chilli and lime.

Executive chef Erik Gustafsson, who helms the kitchen at The Dempsey Cookhouse, says, “You can expect a lot more new dishes, week by week. I think people want that: loud music, good food.”

 

Salted & Hung (Award of Excellence)

This modern Australian Restaurant is a carnivore’s dream come true, and chef Drew Nocente is no stranger to nose-to-tail dining. Reviewer Cara Yap says, “The most engaging treat to discover is the charcuterie (above). We mop up oxtail rillettes and other cured meats with toasted flatbread. There’s also the creamy lardo – pig fat that we’re told has been cured in salts and aromatics.”

No stranger to the Singapore dining scene as Salted & Hung is not his first venture, Nocente says, “There is a lot of hard work that goes into every dish in the kitchen, and the service team is educated on the various cuts and different techniques we use.”

 

Akira Back Singapore (Award of Excellence)

The Singapore Branch of the eponymous restaurant by professional-snowboarder-turned-celebrity-chef Akira Back serves up Japanese cuisine with Korean accents. The signature tuna pizza (above) – a crispy tortilla disc covered with thin slices of tuna tartare and drizzled with truffle oil – has been on everyone’s lips. Other notable dishes include fatty tuna belly with gochujang (Korean chilli paste) and oscietra caviar, and the braised Tajima short ribs.

 

Cure (Award of Excellence)

This modern European “fine-dining bistro” is chef-owner Andrew Walsh’s push for culinary freedom. Both his tasting and a la carte menus use the best seasonal ingredients; the former changes monthly and the latter, quarterly. Dishes that have stood out include sous vide squid “noodles” marinated with lemon peel, olive oil and thyme in clear apple consommé (above), and grilled mackerel fillet on taramasalata (a Greek fish-roe dish) and potato ribbon.

Walsh has this to say about the award: “We are small, we are independent and we would like to push all the way.”

 

Cheek by Jowl (Award of Excellence)

Veteran reviewer Daven Wu described head chef Rishi Neleendra’s menu as “remarkably intuitive modern Australian” and cited noteworthy creations such as the salt-baked and pickled beetroot with goat’s cheese (above), and crispy skinned barramundi with prawn bisque and prawn floss.

 

Sushi Kimura

A 12-seater sushi restaurant by chef-owner Tomoo Kimura, this celebrates the best of Japan’s ingredients through exclusive relationships with producers, some of whom had to be persuaded for a long time before agreeing to export to Singapore for Kimura’s use, such as a three-time champion sake, and aged vinegar from a Kyoto brewery. This award of excellence is the first-ever award for the chef, he sums up the success of the restaurant as the result of “traditional skills and organic ingredients”.

 

Terra (Award of Excellence)

Marrying authentic Italian techniques with the best of Japanese ingredients, chef-owner Seita Nakahara’s Terra serves up superb Tokyo-Italian fare. The omakase courses, where Nakahara sends out the best dishes of the day, are highly recommended. Some dishes such as the duo of bruschetta – one topped with Hokkaido uni (above) and the other, with botan – the seafood soup and the wagyu will always make a strong impression.

 

The Summerhouse (Award of Excellence)

Many might ask if it’s worth making the trek all the way out to the former Seletar Air Base to eat at this modern European Restaurant with chef de cuisine Florian Ridder at the helm. Its inclusion in this list would answer the question in the affirmative. Ridder focuses mostly on local seafood and produce – he even has a small kitchen garden to get inspiration from.

 

Braci (Award of Excellence)

This is the restaurant that is closest to veteran restaurateur Beppe de Vito’s heart, one where he can step into the kitchen and cook modern Italian food that taps into the heart of his hometown, Puglia. He’ll even step out from behind the open kitchen counter to serve and explain his food. You only have to look at him lightly charring the air-flown traditional Puglian bread over the grill and serving it with the olive oil from his family’s grove to feel the passion behind the venture.

 

Mitzo Restaurant & Bar (Award of Excellence)

Its name may sound Japanese and its boldly coloured dining space may be contemporary, but executive head chef Nicky Ng puts forth Cantonese Fare underpinned by strong and true classical technique. Modern riffs on traditional dishes include roast duck served with a savoury truffle sauce, and green xiao long bao filled with double-boiled duck soup.

 

Awards of Excellence (rest of the list):

  • Basilico
  • Buona Terra
  • Cassia
  • Cherry Garden
  • Corner House
  • Cut by Wolfgang Puck
  • DB Bistro & Oyster Bar
  • Edge
  • Esquina
  • Fat Cow
  • Gordon Grill
  • Jaan
  • Jade Palace Seafood Restaurant
  • Joël Robuchon Restaurant
  • Kaiseki Yoshiyuki
  • L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
  • Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant
  • Man Fu Yuan
  • Mezza9
  • Odette
  • Osteria Mozza
  • Rang Mahal
  • Restaurant Labyrinth
  • Saint Pierre
  • Shinji by Kanesaka
  • Summer Palace
  • Summer Pavilion
  • Tamashii Robataya
  • The Kitchen at Bacchanalia
  • The Knolls
  • Ushidoki Wagyu Kaiseki
  • Waku Ghin
  • Yan Ting
  • Zafferano Italian Restaurant & Lounge

 

Written by Anne Loh, Awardee Interviews by Xie Hui Qin for SilverKris

 

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