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On the fringe of Chinatown, Singapore’s once sleepy Club Street — home to upscale Chinese clubs and associations in the 1800s and 1900s — is enjoying a revival.
Restaurant operators are jostling for prime real estate in converted shop houses to anchor their presence in this historic area, now one of the hottest dining enclaves in the city.
“The old world charm of these rows of old Chinese shop houses adds a sense of history and identity to Club Street,” says Toni Rossetti, chef-patron of Noti Restaurant and Bar, who occupies two units of shop house space on Club Street.
“This unique atmosphere cannot be replicated in a modern building.”
In April 2013, Singapore authorities moved to pedestrianize Club Street and adjoining Ann Siang Road on weekend nights, cementing the neighborhood’s status as the site-du-jour for foodies and bar hoppers.
“Since the commencement of road closure, Club Street has been enjoying a lively and dynamic vibe,” says Rossetti. “We have noticed a 15% increase in weekend business due to an increase in walk-in guests.”
In a city where restaurants appear as fast as they disappear, these 10 picks have so far stood the test of time, cementing their reputations as places that diners return to again and again.
Who knew a plate of beef heart could look so appetizing?
Inspired by St. John’s, London’s nose to tail stalwart by Fergus Henderson, Wolf brings a never-before-seen vibrancy to Club Street with a menu of animal parts like beef lips, beef heart and pig’s head.
The focus here is on pork, but beef, poultry and fish are served.
Squeamish diners can always fall back on Kurobuta pork chop and ribeye steak.
More on CNN: Devouring Singapore’s original fusion cuisine
WOLF Nose to Tail Dining, 18 Gemmill Lane, Singapore 069256 Singapore; +65 6557 2224
2. Luke’s Chop House
Chef-patron Travis Masiero has attracted a following of expense-account clientele since this all-American chophouse opened in a quiet corner of Gemmill Lane in 2011.
Other than pricey steaks, credit card-denting Boston-imported seafood (lobsters, oysters, clams) is also featured on the menu.
Luke’s Oyster Bar & Chop House, 20 Gemmill Lane, Singapore 069256 Singapore; +65 6221 4468
After a few glasses of French wine you’ll think you’re in Paris. One of Singapore’s most authentic bar a vin, O’Batignolles is a place to watch the world go by as you order more French wine, French cheeses, cold cuts and light meals.
As befits the Parisian experience, you’ll inhale lots of secondhand smoke.
O Batignolles Wine Bar & French Bistrot, 2 Gemmill Lane, Singapore 069247 Singapore; +65 6438 3913
More on CNN: Singapore’s best new restaurants
Izy: Singapore’s hottest izakaya. Chef Kazumasa Yazawa, who earned his pedigree at Tetsuya’s and Waku Ghin, infuses European sensibilities into Japanese small plates at this ultra-hip izakaya.
For the perfect meal, we recommend the eight-course omakase (Kyoto toufu with ikura perals and Hokkaido uni in dashi broth).
A nightcap at the Cache Bar is the perfect way to end the evening.
Izy, 27 Club Street, Singapore 069413 Singapore; +65 6220 3327
More on CNN: Singapore’s best cocktail bars
Club Street Social’s Mediterranean Veggie Panini is a menu favorite.
A cafe and sandwich bar by day and drinking hole by night, this New York-inspired restaurant doles out salads, paninis and crostinis alongside cocktails that draw a reliably large after-hours crowd.
The swarm of patrons with drinks in tow usually spill out onto the narrow five-foot way by dusk.
Club Street Social, 5 Gemmill Lane, Singapore 069261 Singapore; +65 6225 5043
6. Noti Restaurant & Bar
Noti’s house-made gnocchi with tiger prawns and pesto Salentino.After a whirlwind 24-year hotel F&B career, Toni Rossetti retired to the confines of this handsomely decorated trattoria that he co-owns with his Singaporean wife.
His southern Italian fare is unapologetically simple and rustic.
Judging by the packed room, Rossetti has struck a chord with local Italian food aficionados.
Noti Restaurant & Bar, 54 & 56 Club Street, Singapore 069431 Singapore; +65 6220 0089
Lolla is one of Singapore’s hottest restaurants. Barely six months after opening, this Mediterranean-inspired small plates eatery made Zagat’s 2013 hottest new restaurants list.
If you’re lucky enough to snag a seat, we recommend the squid ink pudding crowned with a tongue of sea urchin and the Spanish tortilla with smoked eel.
Both pair nicely with bottle of grower champagne.
Lolla, 22 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069702 Singapore; +65 6423 1228
More on CNN: Singapore dining: Best of the old and new
8. Oxwell & Co.
Mark Sargeant, Gordon Ramsay’s former righthand man, shows Singapore how British fare should be done. Gordon Ramsay’s former righthand man, Mark Sargeant beat the foul-mouthed celebrity chef to staking a claim on the city’s culinary turf at this rustic triple-story space that serves British-inspired fare like Yorkshire pudding and prawn cocktail.
Even if you’re not up for a meal, the groovy ground-floor bar is worth checking out.
Oxwell & co, 5 Ann Siang Road (opposite screening room), Singapore 069688 Singapore; +65 6438 3984
9. Ding Dong
Ding Dong: Proving Singapore’s tapas craze is far from dead. Ryan Clift of Tippling Club fame takes a break from his haute gastronomy roots at his third outpost, a South East Asian-inspired tapas bar that takes up three levels of shop house space.
Guests can sip fantastic cocktails (we love the Fujiyama) and eat exotic small plates like Vietnamese Scotch eggs, scallop ceviche wrapped in Chinese cabbage and one-of-a-kind Malacca chendol.
Ding Dong, 23 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069703 Singapore; +65 6557 0189
10. Truffle Gourmet
Truffles on tartare? Tastes as sublime as it looks. Italian eateries are a dime and a dozen in Singapore but not many boast a lineage like Truffle Gourmet, a franchisee of Piedmont-based San Maurizio Relais Chateau hotel.
The property produces an eponymous range of truffle-accented gourmet products that enable fans of the prized-fungi to feast on truffled Italian creations year round.
When Alba white truffles are off-season, the truffle caviar that crowns a mound of veal tartare is equally dazzling.
Truffle Gourmet, 49, Club Street, Singapore 069426 Singapore; +65 6222 5996
Originally published December 2013. Updated March 25, 2015.
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