gajalee, esplanade

it’s the first day of the work-week (and work-year, if you want to be depressing about it). how did the holidays time pass so quickly?!

but to start things off on a very positive note, here’s a fantastic indian (specifically malvani, if that means anything to you) place we chanced upon the other day. situated terribly in a back alley between the esplanade and satay by the bay, this indian restaurant looks strangely posh for its otherwise uninteresting (read: shabby) exterior.

and the food is quite utterly fantastic, with a focus on seafood and tandoori offerings. the prices are high too, which is expected given its location, but I would say the experience well-worth worth it.

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gattopardo, tras street

DELICIOUS, oh-so-good italiano (more specifically, sicilian) dining at this small, cozy little restaurant along tras street. this post is a long time coming, given that I ate here during my birthday (six months ago, hello!), but it’s a goodie (even if it is also an oldie now).

I nearly don’t dare to come back here given how pleasant my memories of this meal was, so I implore you to try it and give it ago, and perhaps bring back some reassurance?

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majestic bay seafood restaurant, gardens by the bay

really rather good dimsum in this quite stunning restaurant set in the idyllic compounds of the gardens by the bay (one of my favorite places).

I had rather a far-too-much spree of dimsum a couple years ago, and so I very gingerly tread my way into dimsum restaurants these days, because of the very one-ness of their characteristics – they really only differ in quality. but at least this one was pretty much worth the calories (and repetition of flavors), and that view out the window is nothing to laugh about.

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dancing crab, the grandstand at turf city

great seafood – both cooked in a bag, and out – though a tad expensive, at this currently packed-to-the-roof seafoodery at the very-out-of-the-way grandstand at turf city. this is probably the only outstanding my favourite tunglok eatery – it’s a take on the american crab boil or new orlean boiled seafood in a bag concept that’s taking on in singapore.

it’s very trendy, so I had to wait a while to escape the hypeish period and land a table (reservations accepted, thankfully) – and I’m glad to report that while the boil-in-a-bag concept might be pretty gimmicky, it’s backed up by some stellar cooking. very much worth a visit, even with the price and location (which I think says a lot).

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tatsu teppanyaki, asia square

guys, I’m sorry for the photos – the restaurant was dark and done up all in black – but the food here is pretty good, and worth a visit if you’re into teppanyaki. singapore has a dearth of these fry-in-your-face places, and the places that dodo it range from the very cheap to the very expensive.

this one lies somewhat at an upper-middling price point – but my hypothesis is that price makes little difference to the eating (it’s mainly just fresh ingredients with garlic, which is difficult to go wrong with). what you’re paying for instead is that entire package of ambiance and show – the latter really up to the skills of the chef in throwing foods up to unnecessary height and setting things on fire.

so tatsu is, as with its price point, a good posher-than-average joint that doesn’t have its underpants in a wad – with pretty delicious food off an extensive menu.

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the naked finn, gillman barracks

expensive seafood at this uppity too-cool-for-school restaurant at the gilman barracks. this place – well. the food is good (let’s get it out of the way), but it’s simply cooked, it’s simply expensive, and service is pretty inadequate for the price you’re paying.

I simply don’t understand the hype – seafood is abundant in singapore, and a more-than-decent dish is more than easily found (even at your neighborhood czechar store) – it’s the sort of seafood restaurant I’d imagine in a land-locked part of the US, where seafood is both posh and inaccessible.

but I’ll give it to them that the seafood is fresh and delicious in its simplicity, but I’d hazard a guess, too, that anyone with half-decent cooking skills can churn out similar dishes.

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the most economical option here would be to take their set menu (which is still pretty price-hefty) for a taster of their dishes. it starts with a simply dressed salad, and fried vermicelli noodles (simpler-ly known as fried beehoon in this part of the world) are brought to the table as accompaniment to the subsequent dishes.



and it’s good right, but a lot of it is due in part to the fresh produce they’ve got (which is admirable) as opposed to any particular skill (which is the point of visiting restaurants). not that not-overcooking seafood is not a skill (omg, triple negatives!) – but it’s a pretty basic one.

fat, plump clams in an easily-drinkable, more-ish soup that went well with the beehoon, and plainly seared scallops served in-shell with garlic. plump and sweet, those were delicious.


these were followed by grilled mozambique – read: skinny – lobsters (no photo, because it photographed terribly) that had a good charred flavor, the same of which you could smell and taste in the seared fish and baby squid. that baby squid was pretty delicious – they were chewy but tender, with none of that crisp nothingness that happens with deep-frying.

so the food was good – even if I might complain about price – but service is pretty hit-miss. the good thing was that we had chirpy waiters dishing up our food – but we had to be chased out after barely two hours of a long many-coursed dinner (such is the quirk of trendy, busy restaurants), and they refused to bring me a glass of water when I first walked in (IT’S SELF-SERVICE, PLEASE) even though there was no one else in the restaurant and the waiters were milling about.

have a look at bernie’s review on the naked finn, visit it yourself, and let me know what you think.

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the little fish shop, serangoon nex

an offspin of the greenwood fish market, this place serves good seafood and fish dishes – it’s fancy and yet not: the dishes are properly and beautifully plated, but preparation of the white meat is usually simple and served with condiments that let it shine.

I used to think it was a little strange setting up in the heartlands – prices are a little more associated with town dining than simple suburbia – but they do fantastic business day after day, so they definitely know what they’re about.

and I can’t complain – for it’s good food, and great lighting for photos. really the wet dream of a food photographer.

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