Restaurant take-outs: What to order for your dine-at-home pleasure
Restaurants are ready to roll with take-out menus that sound too good to pass up.
This isn’t Singapore’s first stay-home rodeo, which means that patrons and purveyors of food have come a long way since we were first thrust into a nationwide lockdown a little more than a year ago. Diners now know where to look for good food and restaurants are dishing out food suited for islandwide travel better than ever before.
And if there’s one thing we’ve learnt from our past experience, it’s that the stay-home mandate is a fine opportunity for us to sample fare from restaurants that we haven’t had the privilege of dining at in the last year since reservations have been hard to come by.
So think about that sushi restaurant you’ve been lusting after or that steakhouse you’ve been meaning to visit. With dining rooms closed, you’ll have a better chance of tasting their food this month and in the comfort of your homes, to boot. The following are some options that we’re finding kinda irresistible.
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Irish chef Andrew Walsh wasted no time in turning the five-foot way outside his restaurant Catfish into the Patio Pie Deli. The charming set-up heaves with some of the best pies you’ll eat, including a lovely chicken and leek pie and a fantastic fisherman’s pie (from S$26 each). Honestly, these were some of the best things we ate during the last lockdown. And don’t leave without a tray of his fluffy and very addictive sticky toffee pudding (S$24).
If you’ve never had the pleasure of tucking into Esquina’s Spanish carabinero paella (S$58, feeds two), do yourself a favour and order one stat. Saturated with a tasty prawn stock, each grain of rice is cooked to a perfect al dente, with a base of double-delicious soccarat or burnt rice. For textural contrast, it is topped with sugar snap peas and plump carabinero prawns.
If you choose to have it delivered in the pan it was cooked in, you’ll pay an additional S$20, which is refundable when you return the pan within 14 days. While you’re at it, put a couple of thyme and onion breads with smoked paprika butter (S$12) in your shopping cart to enjoy at breakfast or tea.
When it is open to the public, this is yet another hard-to-snag reservation. So why not hole up at home with Chef Akane Eno’s exquisite fare? The only female chef to helm a Japanese fine dining restaurant in Singapore, Eno is serving up an awabi donabe rice (S$150, feeds two to three people) comprising slow-cooked abalone with liver sauce and seaweed over Japanese claypot rice.
New to the takeaway menu is the uni and awabi miwa somen set (S$88) featuring slow-cooked abalone, uni, seaweed and mushroom sauce with somen that you cook at home. And it’s not just any run-of-the-mill somen, of course. The noodles are produced by a sixth-generation maker at Miwa Yamakatsu in Nara Prefecture. To order, WhatsApp 9018 2897.
JEKYLL & HYDE
Soul food and cocktails are always a good mix, especially when it involves wagyu char kway teow (S$25), and Indo goreng (S$19), both of which are gussied-up takes on street food by Jekyll & Hyde chef Alvin Tan. Along with these dishes are more-ish snacks like chilli crab nachos (S$18) and chicken tikka satay (S$15), which you may have thought about making yourself but never got down to.
Chase these rib-sticking dishes with cocktails like lychee martinis and Mr Bean (S$22 each for a 130ml bottle), the latter a vodka-based cocktail riff on Lau Ban beancurd dessert.
Just as it was scheduled to make its debut in April last year, Laut found itself caught in the headlights of the Circuit Breaker. While owner Frank Shen and his crew rolled with the punches, this year, their offerings are more fine-tuned and the team better prepared.
Among the goods to order is the squid gado (S$27) and carrot cake (as in chai tow kway) given a luxe spin with salted turnips, baked eggs and kecap manis cream (S$15). Laut’s cocktails are also available by the bottle from S$48.
LARRY & THE BIRDS
It’s funny how fried chicken cravings have a knack of striking at inopportune times… like in the middle of the night when you’re scrolling mindlessly through YouTube and find yourself face-to-face with a cooking show host chomping on a bucket of the stuff.
From 10pm till 2am, newcomer Larry & The Birds is doling out Ramen Fried Chicken (S$32 for five pieces) made from drumsticks imbued with fish sauce caramel and served with gochugaru pickled cucumbers. There’s also a Late-Night Sandwich dripping with Montgomery’s cheddar, raclette, Ogleshield (a British cheese) and njuda.
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LE BON FUNK
We can’t get enough of Le Bon Funk’s delectable beef tongue sandwich, dripping with piquant gibriche and packed with tender slivers of pink, succulent beef tongue. No doubt, the to-go sandwich set for two is rather extravagant at S$110, even if it comes with charcuterie, pickles and a chocolate hazelnut tart. But then again, so is dining in at the usually atmospheric restaurant.
If you’re in search of value, the restaurant’s Heritage Chicken Set (feeds four) goes for a more agreeable S$190 and comes with sourdough bread, pickles, a selection of charcuterie, burrata and pumpkin seed gremolata, parmesan and tapioca fritters, endive seeds with tete de Moine, and two slices of chocolate and hazelnut tart.
If working from home messes with your sleep cycle and you find yourself hankering for some proper carbs in the middle of the night, know that the folks at Lucali BYGB now deliver round the clock. Any time, day or night, pick from the restaurant’s extensive menu, including its famed 18-inch pizza (S$55), the wholesome meatloaf (S$38), excellent pastas (S$35), chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies (S$10), and an impressive selection of wines.
We never imagined a steak could travel halfway across the island and remain succulent and dusky pink in its centre. But that’s exactly how our Williams River cross-bred 400 days grain-fed wagyu (from S$72.76) arrived, with a good seared crust and impeccable seasoning to boot.
While dining in at Origin Grill can be a plain vanilla sort of dining experience, it is exactly well-made standards like steaks and braises that people crave when stuck at home. And the restaurant delivers impressively.
The braised kurobuta pork collar with macerated plums, pomme puree and mustard seeds (S$29.96) is spoon-tender and bathed in a flavourful glossy sauce, while the sides like sauteed greens (S$12.84), braised mushrooms in albufera sauce (S$17.12) and buttered Brussels sprouts (S$12.84) are so wonderfully done that you may feel you never have to leave home for a good meal again.
We’ve always said that Chef Jason Tan’s mochishire deserves a bakery of its own. And now, thanks to the pandemic, our wish has come true. Well, sort of. Restaurant Euphoria is now offering mochishire sets (S$20 for eight pieces and S$36 for 12) that come with the Never Enough Onions sauce which is essentially caramelised Cevennes onion puree that’s cooked down to tasty sweetness over eight hours.
It had barely been open a month before Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) forced this Barcelona import to shut its doors temporarily. There’s lots from this gem to enjoy at home, however, including the famed Tapas 24 Bikini Sandwich with black truffles, Iberico ham and buffalo mozzarella (S$16), and the Barceloneta’s Bomba (S$6), a creamy-centred croquette filled with pork and beef. Also try the Catalonion Roasted Canelon (S$24) – meat-stuffed cannelloni gratin blanketed in a lush bechamel sauce. Call 6513 6810 or WhatsApp 9821 8471 to order.
THE BUTCHER'S WIFE
We all have that one friend or family member who just doesn’t do well with gluten. For them and for days where you want to eschew the wheat, The Butcher’s Wife has some excellent options that even include bread.
The Bread Basket (S$12) comes with walnut bread, herb bread, focaccia and pita, but we never pass up on the pao de queijo (S$14) – chewy Brazilian cheese bread made from fermented tapioca flour and served with a mild tomato sambal. Check out the buckwheat gnocchi (S$26) and the marinated chicken thigh dosa (S$28) too.