great fusion at the arcade of the hotel grand park city hall – one of the best meals I’ve had since coming back to singapore, both in terms of taste and innovation. it makes me very nostalgic for london, where there were great restaurants like this one popping up everywhere, and flavours were new and exciting. it’s meant to be new-york-inspired, but I think the casual-chill (and hipster in very much the right way) vibe is one that applies to most excitingly vibrant cities, and very welcome in the singapore foodscape. the food comes in tapas-like portions, which means your bill potentially runs high, but most of the flavours are bright and clean, and it makes for a great night out.
I was really hoping that this meal would shine – it is celebration weekend for my partner and I – and it didn’t disappoint. service was cheery and friendly, and this place has so much design quality – I said above that it was hipster in the right way, and you see it in their details: the wooden coasters, the grass in the al fresco area, the fancy-and-dim lighting, and the furniture. I’m a sucker for good design.
but let’s talk food – we started with a marinated hamachi and caviar, which was slices of raw fish in a rather japanese-chinese style dressing. this was unusual – it was reminiscent of fish I would marinate for cooking, without the cooking bit, and the dressing was tasty, but overwhelmed the caviar. the soy yuzu beef that came later was brilliant though – thin slices of ribeye in a tangy dressing alongside a nicely-bitter salad, this was tender and beefy in the best way.
this was followed by (one of their monthly specials) braised oxtail in filo pastry – now this was some good and fatty oxtail, but it was wrapped in filo pastry that was a little too oily for our tastes. it came with a mustard aioli, but I suggest requesting for neat honey mustard, which cuts through the fat and oil and perks up the flavours quite a bit. this was very interesting though – and while it could do with a little more finesse in frying (and draining), it was a nice play on textures. my partner also had another special of lamb shank and mushroom ragu, which came with two fried mantous – chinese buns – that looked like the frozen ones you can get at the supermarket, but I thought the mini cocotte and buns were very cute. it was a tad oily and heavy-going, but the mushrooms were well-tasty.
I’ve really saved telling you about the best for last: the chilean seabass was a pretty portion of fish that came well-seared, with caramelized outsides and flakey interiors, and was accompanied with sauteed mushrooms. this was beautiful – oily white fish, full of flavour in a very savory sauce, this was easily the best thing we’ve eaten for a while. if I quibbled, the skin was a little scaly at parts and the sauce a little too salty, but it didn’t detract from what was very good cooking.
it was a great meal – and so inspiring. we traversed quite a bit of the menu, and I think it’s fantastic for coming with friends, or for a relaxed time with your partner, and while it’s not cheap – it is very much unique in being hipster and deservedly so, with good food to match and an atmosphere I’m willing to pay for. it also reminds me of eating out in london, where small bistros like this one pop up with young chefs and new flavours – and while the dishes might not be as polished as at other upscale places, I think its attraction lies in its earnestness and ingenuity. a great place to eat.
East 8, New York Fusion Tapas + Bar
10 Coleman Street #01-21/22,
tel +65 6338 8289