We all have different social groups in our lives, each with their own unique dining preferences and quirks. What to do?
Last week, Go Away editor Deborah shared with you the four best restaurants to head to if you are dining out in a big group. Today, I share with you a few restaurants you need to check out if your friends fit in the following categories.
Best for your perpetually busy friends … Ninja Cut
You know the type – making arrangements with them for a meal is like booking an appointment with the Queen of England. It’s not that they really wanna blow you off; between work and family and fitness, they truly have very little downtime. The best way to catch them is to steal a quick lunch whenever a slot mercifully opens up in their calendar!
If you’re working in the City Hall area, make a beeline for the newly-opened Ninja Cut. This casual dining spot serves up robust, value-for-money meals that will keep you sated for much longer (no more poking around the office pantry in the afternoon). At Ninja Cuts, choose from a variety of protein such as roast ribeye, crackling pork belly, fillet of cod, and grilled squid served with a base of your choice, be it soba noodles, quinoa, a blend of vinegared Japanese pearl rice, or garden greens. You can also choose to go carb-free, but why would you, when the carbs here are so tasty and nutritious?
Some must-try items include the Oh My Cod, where the creamy, flaky fish is doused with saikyo shiromiso, a type of white miso paste from Kyoto renowned for its delicate, sweet flavours; and What’s Your Beef. The latter comes with an entire slab of Australian ribeye skilfully roast-cooked to perfect medium-rare doneness. They only dole out 30 servings each day, so don’t miss out! Special mention has to go to one of Ninja Cut’s signature desserts – the Marvellous Matcha. Imagine a chocolate lava cake, but with dreamy green tea fondant instead. Warm, sweet, luscious … this matcha hotcake is a delight from start to finish.
Ninja Cut is located at 32 Seah Street, Tel: 6264 7727
Best for your health-conscious friends … Sufood
He or she is always on some new diet or the other, and is constantly espousing the virtues of a meat-free diet. But you love your meat! This friendship doesn’t have to wither over food preferences – simply take your friend to Sufood! This popular vegetarian restaurant chain from Taiwan is determined to show diners just how varied and flavourful vegetarian food can be. And trust me, when you dine here, you’ll be so amazed by the textures and flavours that you won’t even crave meat.
After a successful first year in Singapore, the kitchen team has recently introduced new items to the menu including the Lion’s Mane Mushrooms with Black Pepper Sauce, and Classic Stir-Fried Garlic Pasta. The former is a surprisingly hearty dish of mushrooms marinated in black pepper sauce fried to a golden crisp; it’s full of bite and has a rich umami flavour. Other signature menu items include the Baked Potato Al Fungi, where hefty King Oyster mushrooms are drizzled with Italian herb vinaigrette and served with a hunk of velvety baked potato. By the way, don’t skip the breadsticks at Sufood. These freshly baked beauties are soft and pillowy, and imbued with a subtle rosemary fragrance. Pairs perfectly with the sweet mustard dip!
Sufood is located at #02-19 Raffles City Shopping Centre, Tel: 6333 5338
Best for a hearty dinner before partying … Masizzim
The festive season also means we’re doubling up on our drinking and merrymaking. To avoid the cursed post-bender hangovers, my personal recommendation is to have a big meal before you hit the bars. That’s because drinking on a full stomach before you go out will delay alcohol getting into your system (Note: it doesn’t prevent you from getting drunk though, so still drink with care!)
And for a satisfying feast, I definitely recommend Masizzim. After all, with the weather getting colder and gloomier as we race towards the end of the year, what can be more comforting than hot, meaty stews … specifically Korean stews from Singapore’s first Korean stew restaurant, Masizzim? For a belly-warming meal, we recommend the Spicy Seafood Stew, which you can choose to have with beef or without. Served in a cast-iron pot placed over live flames at the table, this dish is a seafood wonderland – it comes with generous portions of prawns, mussels, crayfish, and an entire squid. Another hot, brothy delight is the Kimchi Beef Rib soup, which is a riff on everybody’s favourite kimchi jigae (fermented cabbage stew). Masizzim’s version is served with stewed beef ribs, glass noodles, and a large wedge of radish, as well as an egg cracked directly into the pot for that oozy, gooey goodness.
Remember to leave some space for their signature rice balls, which is best described as “deconstructed sushi”. Basically, you’re served with a dollop of sticky rice-barley combination and ingredients that you can shape into any form before eating. Bestsellers include the Tuna and Anchovy as well as the Crabmeat and Roe rice balls.
Masizzim is located at #B3-02 313 Somerset, Tel: 6509 5808
Best for your pasta purists pals … Mondo Mio
You know who I’m talking about – they turn up their noses at factory-manufactured pastas and are more than capable of having in-depth discussions on the merits of fresh tomato sauce. For these friends, you’ll wanna take them to the tried-and-true Mondo Mio. Here, you’ll find only handmade pastas and sauces prepared from scratch. Restaurant owner Gabriele Galdi says, “We are traditionalists, so we believe in keeping our food simple and true to the flavours that we grew up with.”
This honest approach to cooking must be the secret to Mondo Mio’s popularity – the restaurant is in its 10th year and still going strong! In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the kitchen team (helmed by Head Chef Antonio Bisogno) have rolled out a slew of updated menu items. Gnocchetti in Salsa di Scampi, Zafferano e Gamberoni is a must-try for seafood lovers. Using a jealously guarded recipe, Chef Bisogno has created a sublime sauce flavoured with scampi, seafood stock, and fragrant saffron. Paired with the knobbly gnocchetti (similar to macaroni), this pasta also comes with generous servings of grilled prawns. Another must-try is the limited-edition Tagliatelle Fatte in Casa con Crema di Melanzane e Cicale. Thick, flat noodles (similar to our local kuey teow, but thicker) are whipped in a savoury, satisfying blend of eggplant, tomato, and basil, and topped with sautéed crayfish. Delizioso!
Mondo Mio is located at #01-02A Riverside View, 30 Robertson Quay, Tel: 6736 2503