Whether it’s Mum’s simple steamed fish for dinner, a platter of shellfish to pair with weekend tipples, or an indulgent crustacean feast to celebrate a special occasion, seafood holds a special spot in our hearts. To feed this insatiable appetite for seafood, we’ve sussed out seven restaurants that offer modern takes on oceanic favourites that pay homage to classic Asian flavours we grew up loving.
1. Window on the Park
At this popular buffet restaurant at Holiday Inn Orchard City Centre, indulge in a special seafood buffet featuring cooked prawns, black mussels, golden clams, gong gong and scallops on the inviting ice display. If you prefer hot dishes, go for the freshly cooked Baby Crawfish in Mala Sauce, Tiger Prawns in “Har Lok” Style, and all-time favourites, Sotong with Sambal Chilli and Deep Fried Pine Salt Calamari Lemon Wedges at the Wok Station. Diners are also entitled to a half lobster each, with a choice of either Black Pepper or Chilli Crab Sauce.
SAFRA members enjoy 1-for-1 a la carte lunch and dinner buffet; more info at www.safra.sg/promotions/window-on-the-park
Till 30 June; Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre, 11 Cavenagh Road, Singapore 229616; Tel: 6733 8333
Boasting a 130-year history, tendon (short for tempura donburi or tempura rice bowl) specialist Akimitsu brings their shatteringly crisp tempura to Singapore all the way from Asakusa in Tokyo. Akimitsu’s signature tendon features fresh fish fillet, prawns and a variety of vegetables, served with the original sweet-savoury Asakusa sauce, or spicy sauce. Despite being coated in batter and deep fried, the tempura at Akimitsu is light, fresh-tasting and crisp. Aside from the tendon bowls, there’s also ramen and udon to enjoy your crispy morsels of tempura with, and free flow pickles on every table to accompany your meal.
SAFRA members and 11B holders enjoy 10% off the a la carte menu; more info at www.safra.sg/promotions/akimitsu
Various outlets at AMK Hub, Plaza Singapura, VivoCity and more; www.facebook.com/akimitsu.sg
3. Nude Seafood
When you have the freshest ingredients, cooking should be kept to the minimum to allow the natural flavours to shine through. That is the philosophy at Nude Seafood, as reflected in their name. Opened by third-generation seafood wholesaler Hai Sia Seafood, the restaurant’s menu of classic Western and Modern Asian dishes has won it many accolades, including being named one of Singapore’s Top Restaurants every year from 2017 to 2021.
While the cooking is kept simple, each dish is meticulously constructed to bring out the best textures, flavours, and aesthetics. The Hickory-Smoked Salmon, for example, pairs sashimi-grade fish with black forbidden grains, a Chinese rice variety, which not only lends the dish a slightly nutty and floral note to balance the oily salmon but also offers dramatic visual contrast. Other Asian-inspired dishes include Baby Squid with Thai nam jim sauce, Hokkaido Scallops with chincalok emulsion and nori shoyu, and Grilled Swordfish with ginseng teriyaki.
5 Straits View #01-23, Marina One East Tower, Singapore 018935; Tel: 8726 1576
4. Scaled by Ah Hua Kelong
The restaurant arm of the beloved local kelong, Scaled by Ah Hua Kelong’s menu features seafood from fish farms located in the Singapore waters that are skilfully prepared with punchy flavours from the region.
Highlights include Asian-inspired mains like Pan Seared Seabass with assam broth and lontong, “Kong Bah” Grouper in dark soy braise, and Nam Jim Grouper with Thai-inspired broth and homemade mee hoon kueh. Even the Western-style dishes are dotted with Asian elements. For instance, the Seabass Puttanesca is studded with a pickled starfruit to balance the briny mix of capers, anchovies and powdered black olives. For sides, the Curry Mussels with fried mantou and Dang Gui Mussles with steamed mantou are perfect to share with the table. And instead of the usual wings, Scaled offers the punny KFC, or Kelong Fried Collar, which are crispy, finger-licking fish collars.
8 Hamilton Road, Singapore 209179; Tel: 9133 3379
5. Naked Finn
Nestled in the picturesque Gillman Barracks, Naked Finn is the brainchild of Tan Ken Loon, who advocated the philosophy that less is more when it comes to high-quality produce. Take the fresh Yamada Bay Pacific cupped oysters for instance; while they are delicious right off the shell, the restaurant serves them two ways – chilled with a piquant blend of fermented green mango, chamomile mignonette, and kaffir lime leaf oil, or warmed over binchotan with pea miso butter, red rempah oil, and aoyuzu. The ingenious accompaniments elevate each indulgent gulp into sensational flavour bombs.
The restaurant has also embraced head-to-tail cooking by using unconventional parts of their seafood. The Japanese abalone is braised in abalone dashi for 6 hours and finished with abalone’s gonad emulsion, while the marble goby (soon hock) is deep-fried with scales on for extra crunch and served with vinegar and chili powder and a tamarind dipping sauce seasoned with fish bone soy.
Blk 39 Malan Road, Gillman Barracks, Singapore 109442; Tel: 6694 0807
Contemporary fish grill and raw bar Catfish opened its doors in October 2020 to bring Asian fusion fare to hungry punters in Telok Ayer. Although an Irish native, chef-owner Andrew Walsh brings a wealth of experience and passion to working with Asian flavours and ingredients.
The menu offers appetisers such as Chilli Crab Cake, Sesame Prawn & Scallop Toast, and Crayfish Cocktail served with prawn crackers and avocado. There’s also a raw seafood bar with Irish and Sunseeker oysters, scallop with apple, uni with prawn, and more. For mains, the Sichuan BBQ Snapper with laksa and crispy herbs is a masterclass on showcasing Asian flavours. Other outstanding seafood entrees include Pepper Crusted Tuna Nicoise, ½ Lobster Thermidor & Fries, and Steamed Snapper with black olives and Romesco Sauce.
5 Gemmill Lane, Singapore 069261; Tel: 6226 1395
7. Hack It Seafood
Maybe it’s the novelty of tucking into a mountain of seafood with your hands, or the savouring of a lip-smacking assortment of crustaceans and shellfish in one meal, but seafood boils have become a popular way to stuff our faces with seafood. Most renditions available here use either a Cajun-spiced base inspired by Louisianan flavours, or a creamy garlic and butter sauce – that is until Hack It popped up on the scene.
Created by the Jumbo Group, the virtual restaurant gives seafood boils an Asian twist with sauce bases like laksa, chilli crab, black pepper, and mala. Besides the usual live mud crab, live Boston lobster, clams, mussels, prawns, and sausage, Hack It also offers mini lobsters, which is a popular treat in China. To complete the feast, there are Asian-fusion sides, like Brussel sprouts with a gula melaka assam dressing, crab cakes with Nonya-inspired mayo, and the 8-layered Hack It’s Caesar Salad with mantou croutons and Asian Caesar Dressing. Each order comes with a disposable tablecloth, bibs, and gloves to keep you looking immaculate while you feast.
Only available for online orders at hackitseafood.com.sg
Looking for familiar and comforting seafood dishes? Head down to Rasa Istimewa at SAFRA Jurong for a wide selection of favourite Asian dishes such as Chilli Crab, Black Pepper Crab, Curry Fish Head and Hotplate Seafood Tofu. SAFRA members enjoy 10% off the subtotal bill; more info at www.safra.sg/amenities-offerings/rasa-istimewa-restaurant
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