Right by the Esplanade MRT station, chic and brimming with exciting food and drinks, South Beach Avenue’s the place to plot that great year-end meet-up.
Spanning 3.5 hectares in the City Hall district, South Beach may look modern and even futuristic, but this mixed-use development holds years of heritage within its gleaming steel frames and louvered canopies. It was the Old Beach Road Camp used by the Singapore Army and the premises of the Non-commissioned Officer (NCO) Club built between the 1930s and 50s. Now, apart from the flagship JW Marriott Singapore South Beach, a tower block for Grade-A offices and the 190-unit South Beach Residences, there are seamless courtyards and alleyways that host a bevy of restaurants and bars.
At South Beach Avenue, for instance, a sheltered piazza right by Exit F of Esplanade MRT Station, you have snazzy establishments such as wagyu specialist Black Cow, Alchemist Beer Lab, touted the world’s first infusion beer bar, Lady M® New York and casual modern Australian diner Fynn’s. And just beside South Beach Tower stands South Beach Quarter, a stark white heritage building that was once the army camp’s armoury. Vatos Urban Tacos, offering Seoul-inspired Mexican fare, is just one of the eateries housed here. Here’s a closer look at what these fine establishments will be serving up this festive season.
One word: Wagyu
“We consider ourselves wagyu cognoscenti and only use prime cuts of Japanese black wagyu, ranging from A3 to the highest grade available, A5,” says a spokesman from Black Cow. And this is not just any A5 wagyu, but Matsusaka wagyu from Matsusaka city in Mie prefecture. Only heifers fattened for longer periods—36 months compared to the typical 30—are used and just 2500 cattle are put on the market each year. Thinly sliced pieces of this tender, well-marbled wagyu is best enjoyed in Black Cow’s signature shabu shabu or their Kanto-style sukiyaki, which includes a homemade warashita or sukiyaki sauce glazed with premium cuts of wagyu beef fat to heighten its umami flavour.
For something simpler and quicker but no less hearty, go for one of Black Cow’s gyu dons. Treat yourself with the premium don – “All in One” featuring Japanese wagyu or pork, glazed foie gras, sea urchin, caviar, onsen egg topped with shaved truffles (from $85), or their signature truffle don (from $45) where you get the unbeatable trifecta of Japanese wagyu beef, onsen egg and shaved truffles. This December, seasonal white Alba truffles and European black truffles will feature in their donburis and other dishes such as aburi camembert cheese and chilled truffle somen.
For drinks, look out for a stellar range of premium sakes, such as Juyondai, a brand from sake maker Takagi Shuzo in Yamagata prefecture that has achieved cult status for their fruity, bold-flavoured sakes; Tatenokawa’s Komyo, limited to 100 bottles in the world, brewed with rice polished down to 1 per cent; and Dassai 23 Centrifuge, where the sake mash is pressed using gentle centrifugal forces that help give the sake a smooth and clean finish.
#B1-20 South Beach Avenue, 26 Beach Road. Tel: 6386 6720.
Vatos Urban Tacos from Seoul has served up modern renditions of Korea-influenced Mexican favourites at South Beach Quarter for the past three years. At that time, the Singapore branch was its first overseas outpost. Now, its Southeast Asian presence includes a recent new outlet in Manila.
Must-haves here are their signature specialties such as kimchi carnitas fries ($19) where savoury fries, braised pork carnitas, sautéed kimchi and melted cheese are topped with sour cream and Vatos hot sauce. Other winning dishes are their galbi short rib taco (from $14 for two tacos), featuring fork-tender marinated short rib with ssamjang aioli; and the comforting and savoury spicy chicken quesadillas ($18).
A recent menu refresh sees new additions to try, such as kimchi galbi grilled cheese ($16), where you get sourdough bread with sautéed kimchi, galbi short rib and Mexican cheese; ribeye steak fajita platter ($32) served with black beans, Mexican rice, guacamole and warm flour tortillas; and chicken mole enchiladas ($16), where chicken and cheese enchiladas are paired with a Mexican mole jazzed up with Korea’s spicy gochujang.
All these go down well with their signature margaritas, served on-the-rocks, frozen, or in cool derivatives such as I’m Rick James, Peach! ($28), made up of a peach margarita and a Bacardi breezer. Don’t miss their specialty makgeolitas too where tequila meet makgeolli (from $26) in renditions such as peach, mango and passionfruit.
#01-03, 36 Beach Road. Tel: 6385 6010
Not Just Mille Crêpes
Lady M® New York is synonymous with their divine mille crêpes, but at South Beach (and Scotts Square), their menu goes beyond cakes, with delectable offerings such as soups, sandwiches and wines and champagnes from France and Australia. What’s more, a new vegan chocolate tart ($11.50) has been launched and will be available at Lady M® New York South Beach and other branches, featuring a gluten-free chocolate tart base filled with salted caramel sauce and topped with a vegan dark chocolate ganache. In a new collaboration with Monogram Tea, you can also enjoy teas by the pot ($7), tea blends of two teas (for an additional $2), or cold brewed teas (from $7.50) to go along with your cakes in their tea pairing menu.
But of course, you can’t leave without trying one of Lady M® New York’s signature mille crêpes that consist of at least 20 paper-thin handmade crepes clasped in alternating layers with light pastry cream. Here you can tuck into the ever-popular rose mille crêpes ($9.50 per slice), previously only available at the Scotts Square boutique, as well as other selections such as the salted caramel mille crêpes ($9.50 per slice) and the yuzu cheesecake ($9.50 per slice).
And just for the festive season, throughout the month of December, look out for the black forest cake, comprising layers of dark chocolate sponge, brandied cherries and whipped cream ($9.50 per slice) and a gingerbread latte (from $7.50), where Christmas bake goals aka gingerbread cookies fresh from the oven come to life with a gingerbread latte topped with whipped cream, gingerbread cookie crumble and a fairy dust of cinnamon powder.
#01-17, 26 Beach Road. Tel: +65 6702 6735
Breezy Modern Australian
Casual modern Australian diner Fynn’s is the perfect spot for a laid-back afternoon where you have nothing more on the agenda than trading memories and planning next year’s grand plans. In their comfy rattan chair-marble table ensemble indoors or rustic wooden table setup outdoors, tuck into produce-driven meals in lunch, dinner and weekend brunch menus overseen by local chef Yew Aun Lim, who’s also behind Italian restaurant Cicheti in Kandahar Street and its sister pasta-and-wine establishment, Bar Cicheti in Jiak Chuan Road.
The lunch menu here comprises salads, sandwiches, burgers, fresh pasta and grilled meat plates, with popular items such as their superfoods salad ($21) and beef burger ($26.50). On the dinner menu, handmade pasta like crab meat taglierini ($27) and dishes such as spiced Iberico pork glazed with fermented garlic and served with oven-baked Brussels sprouts and celeriac puree ($33) are ones to try.
For dessert, go for the chocolate semifreddo ($13), embedded with Maldon salt and pink peppercorns or their coconut mascarpone cream ($13), comprising coconut and gula melaka jelly, butterscotch ice and chocolate crumble. In the cocktails department, the perky Wild Child ($18) made with St. George California citrus vodka, lemon juice, champagne and raspberry jam, is just one of their many options.
#B1-21 South Beach Avenue, 26 Beach Road. Tel: 6384 1878
Apart from offering a host of other drinks such as classic cocktails, whisky and wine, Alchemist Beer Lab takes pride in being the the world’s first infusion beer lab by using eight infusion beer towers to infuse myriad flavours into their beers. Some of the drinks they’ve tinkered most with before perfecting include Are You A Hendrick’s, a new draft cocktail where they achieve the flavour of Hendrick’s gin by making their own cucumber soda and infusing rose petals. And the owners recommend you don’t leave without trying Marla Maple ($14), which uses one of their favourite beers, Little Island Brewing Co.’s A Whiter Shade Of Pale Ale, Japanese whisky, maple syrup, caramel essence and oak chips to create bitter-sweet flavours and a bewitching caramel aroma on the nose.
For grub to go along with the drinks, go for snacks such as crispy salmon fish skin ($9) or wagyu beef quesadilla ($17), or go for the cold cuts platter ($22) from the charcuterie selection. In the seafood department, go for the refreshing morsels in Caribbean ceviche ($26), featuring lime, coconut, pineapple and habanero pepper marinated calamari and red snapper with a shot of rum ($26); or Peruvian ceviche, comprising orange and lime juice, aji, Amarillo, habanero pepper marinated sea bass with a shot of pisco and cassava chips. Otherwise, for something heartier, there’s always the crispy roast pork belly ($15), or the beef short rib ($38), featuring a red wine braised Angus beef short rib with smoked bacon and a potato puree.
#B1-16, South Beach Avenue, 26 Beach Road. Tel: 6386 4365
All prices indicated are before GST and service charge.
This post was made in partnership with South Beach Consortium Pte Ltd.