New drinks, fresh air
A range of new cocktails and food in these breezy outdoor and al fresco spaces at Caffe Fernet, Bayside Drinks and Eats, and SoFrance
Having established a serious reputation for good cocktails and food, waterfront Caffe Fernet’s new menu revamp sees a “New-Italian” theme, referring to their cross-cultural take on Italian cuisine with canny twists. There are 80 seats indoors, but the real draw is the 50 outdoor seats with a sweeping view of the Marina Bay waterfront. First though, a trip here isn’t complete without a modern aperitivo, priced at $13 at happy hour (from opening to 7pm) and $17 otherwise. Try the Sicilian Spritz for a happy olive-tinged bubbly, or the classic Americano for something with a cleaner palate. The Negroni menu offers four concise creations, each with a specific gin and vermouth, and some with bitters. The Vecchio ($23) with Koskue gin and Mancino Rosso gets our vote for most sophisticated, and the Secco ($16/$22) for approachability.
Executive chef David Tang, who’s spent time in Wolfgang Puck’s kitchens, pulls out all the stops on perfecting the pompano piccata ($42), featuring a half golden pomfret from Ah Hua Kelong with lemon butter sauce and crispy capers. The crispness of the skin and brininess of trout caviar make this one of our best seafood finds of the year so far. Their signature dish of mafaldine cacio e pepe ($26) remains, thankfully, featuring the ruffled ribbons of mafaldine adequately flecked with grated Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses and four kinds of peppercorn. Stalwarts like burrata ($24) is amped up with jade and green tomatoes, and a roasted tomatillo sauce with house fermented serrano chile for ample textures and piquancy.
#01-05 Customs House, 70 Collyer Quay. Tel: 9178 1105
A new al fresco space beckons when you head to French bistro-market So France, which effectively doubles the restaurant’s seating space. The inviting light-filled terrasse space curving outside the restaurant is covered, so it’s weather-proofed while offering a casual Mediterranean food and drinks menu all day. Channel your best Parisian vibe with a glass of Lillet Sonic ($10) or Rose Pamplemousse ($10) at happy hour rates (5-8pm), along with charcuterie like country pate, duck rillettes and saucisson balls ($15 each). More substantial fare includes the Croq’s sandwiches ($18) with Bayonne ham and Petit Basque sheep’s milk cheese.
A large range of wines by the glass begin from $13 for a Muscadet sur Lie from Chateau de la Bretonnerie, though the deliciously appetite whetting Sauvignon Blanc from Domaine Reverdy in the Loire Valley ($18) is a recommended aperitif. Red wine lovers, the Chateau Martet Reserve de Famille 2016 (half bottle $85) is drinking well now, and is one of the exclusive labels carried by So France. Another discovery is the French whisky and rhums carried at So France’s retail section – if you want to taste them by the dram, here’s where to sip on Roborel de Climens – Finition Sauvignon ($30/dram) or Finition Merlot ($32/dram).
#01-51/56 Duo Galleria, 7 Fraser Street. Tel: 6909 6449
Bayside Drinks & Eats
Aperol Spritz is the official tie-up at this bunker-like tiny bar, located on the footpath around One Fullerton. Set up by the same folks behind Miss Fitz, Bayside Drinks & Eats, or BDE for short, exudes a retro California vibe and serves a short but fast-moving menu of beers, house wines and of course the iconic Aperol Spritz ($16) – bittersweet Aperol, sparkling wine and soda. The refreshing sunset-coloured cocktail goes at $25 for two between 5-7pm. Grab a decent lobster roll ($26) or chips & guac ($12) to accompany your respite when you pop by. They also have a weekend brunch on Saturdays, 1-4pm, featuring Brunch Free Flow ($70) with unlimited Aperol Spritzes, beer, wine and house spirits. The brunch menu is expanded with proper sized plates of double smash burger ($24), eggs benedict ($22) and pancakes ($18).
#01-12 One Fullerton, 1 Fullerton Road. Tel: 8121 3995