ROOSEVELT’S DINER AND BAR
Vibe: Conveniently located at Dorsett Residence (near Outram MRT Station), Roosevelt’s Diner and Bar is generating quite a buzz in the area since it opened. At a glance, the design looks like a hybrid between a third wave cafe and a casual New York City-style joint. High ceiling, minimalist design, exposed brick walls and industrial chic touches give Roosevelt’s Diner and Bar a bit of a hipster vibe. If you’re dining in a group, be sure to reserve the specially made race car engine table by the window; it’s made from one of the engines of a race car driven by one of its owner back in his racing days. By evening, the cafe-cum-diner turns into a watering hole for the suits in the area, making the communal- style tables perfect for after-hours boozing.
Bites: Like its name suggests, the menu is inspired by president Theodore Roosevelt, and is as American as you can get. The calorific menu is pretty extensive for a new restaurant, ranging from American diner staples (mac and cheese, bacon cheeseburger), and then some. The Eggs Roosevelt is basically eggs benedict on steroid: Three poached eggs with hollandaise sauce served on top of a layer of chorizo and smashed potato. The Candied Bacon Beef Burger is probably every dieter’s worst nightmare, but is a burger fan’s dream: Tender (and generously portioned) beef patty and crispy candied bacon is just divine, with a bite of sweetness and great mix of textures from the lettuce and relish. A standout is the Southern Fried Chicken, a simple battered fried chicken made with the chef’s own blend of spices that goes really well with a specially made brown sauce, giving it a tangy hint of spiciness that’s probably more Asian than American. The BBQ Baby Back Ribs is described in the menu as “falling-off-the- bone, lip-smackingly good” – and it’s not lying. The soft meat is easily separated from the bones and is infused with a light smokiness that adds depth to the American barbecue sauce that’s layered on them.
Dorsett Residences, #01-02, 331 New Bridge Road Tel: 6538 3517, www.roosevelts.com.sg
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL
Vibe: You might need to do a double take when you step into Life Is Beautiful as it looks more like a bar than a restaurant. The New Orleans-style restaurant’s name says it all – the joint is all about celebrating that ‘Nawlin’s’ joie de vivre, and it’s evident by the vibe it exudes. Like a plush bachelor’s pad or an intimate posh underground club, the exposed walls and floor juxtaposed quite nicely with velvet furniture and black wood, giving it a very metropolitan feel. Bright ottomans surround the tables close to the DJ console, where various locally- based DJs spin to set the mood as you sip Prohibition-era inspired cocktails and chow down on some Southern grubs.
Bites: If you’re looking for classic New Orleans cuisine, you’ll probably be disappointed. The food concept is a twist on Nouveau New Orleans Louisiana (NOLA) dishes, where chef Rob Staedler – a veteran in the Australian food scene, known for his stint in Ku De Ta Bali and Supperclub Singapore – takes apart signature NOLA dishes and infuse it with contemporary touches for that little posh touch. The Absinthe-washed Oyster Sorbet, while combining elements of Creole-influenced Absinthe and seafood (plenty in New Orleans), is still a pretty forward dish that’s hardly traditional in its execution. For something a little more exotic, the Crocodile & Fennel Boudin with Cauliflower Puree is quite a standout; an unexpectedly interesting sausage meat that, given its off-kilter meat, tastes familiar and comforting. If you’re down for some serious soul food, get the traditional staples of Seafood Gumbo, Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Pulled Pork with Duck Fat Chips. Just stop counting calories when you step through the door.
99 Duxton Road, tel: 6423 0939, www.lifeisbeautiful.sg
RAWC (RIBBERY AND WINE CO.)
Vibe: The monochromatic colour scheme, sleek lines and mostly white interior are quite the opposite of what you’d expect from a ribbery. The super-casual joint is spread over two storeys, with the first floor feeling more homely than the second, with exposed wood table top and stout black chairs. It’s hard not to miss the wine bottles stacked by the walls of the restaurants. Not surprising, since the owners of the restaurant are the same people behind Vintry Cellars, the wine specialists that launched Vintry at Royal Selangor in Clarke Quay. Like the ambience of the area in Bukit Timah, it’s designed to be a meeting space by sunset, with a wide alfresco area perfect for a convivial get-together with friends.
Bites: You have to be serious about ribs if your restaurant has the largest ribs offering in Singapore. RAWC has over 12 types of ribs, ranging from pork to beef and lamb with familiar favourites like BBQ and Hickory smoked pork ribs. But for those with an adventurous palate, there’s Marmite pork ribs for that Aussie spin on the otherwise very American dish. While the Hickory smoked pork rib weren’t as smoky as others we’ve tried before, it still has a balanced flavourful meat that’s cooked to succulent perfection. Other American South favourites that are bestsellers include the Louisiana Hot Wings that is packing a lot of heat – a heads-up for those with low tolerance to spiciness. If carbs is on your mind, order the Bacon on Waffles, a sweet-and- umami delight that’s perfect for any time of the day.
Sixth Avenue Centre, 805 Bukit Timah Road, #01-04 Tel: 6463 2830
Vibe: Moulding itself after American diners, it’s a pretty chill and unpretentious restaurant that’s set with a communal- style table seating. With a high ceiling and an open concept, it has no distinct design element other than a rather rounded contemporary decor that is laid-back enough to encourage lively interactions, but is polished enough to befit its gourmet menu.
Bites: If you find yourself salivating over American grubs in Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, this is as close as you can get for a bite without taking a long- haul flight. Southern favourites on the menu include Crusty Blue Swimmer Crab Cakes served with sweet corn kernels, savoury milk glaze and wild rocket salad. Roadhouse’s spin on the Bacon Marinated Burger adds a gourmet touch with its Josper-grilled wagyu patty and streaky bacon mixed with melted gorgonzola and served with caramelised onions, garlic mayonnaise and sautéed mushrooms, giving it an explosion of flavours that makes this the best burger on its menu. Be sure to also order its Char-grilled Whole Squid which is perfectly grilled and succulent, and goes perfectly with its paprika mayonnaise dip.
13 Dempsey Road, Tel: 6476 2922, www.theprivegroup.com.sg/roadhouse