And… we’re back to our regularly-scheduled programming.
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Today, I am so thrilled to welcome Daniel Sassoon of In Each Hand A Cutlass to notabilia! In Each Hand A Cutlass is an instrumental act comprising of some very well-known artists in the local music scene, including indie rock veteran Daniel Sassoon (of Electrico, Livonia, and The Recidivists). This merry band of sonic pirates “blends progressive rock, ambient, post rock and metal elements, casting all music boundaries aside, to create epic sprawling yearning songs that alternate between lifting your spirit and kicking your butt.”
And now, to Daniel…
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Some say that eating is a national pastime for Singaporeans. It’s really not our fault that there’s so much good nosh available here. Picking a favourite is impossible, so I’m just going to present you with a few.
I tend to enjoy regional food that’s generous with the spice: Indian, Malay, and Indonesian cuisine always hit the spot. In Little India, Gandhi Restaurant is my favourite hole in the wall. There’s something about the sambar and rice that’s plain comforting. The fish cutlets here are second to none. The masala sotong and tofu in a tomato-based sauce are wonderful, too. I love South Indian vegetarian food and for that my favourite is Ananda Bhavan (in particular the branch at Selegie Road). The rice meals and the Mysore masala thosai (only on Thursdays and Saturdays it seems) are super. As for Malay food, I can’t pass up a good nasi padang and the one at Sinar Pagi is top notch. The tauhu telor is to die for and the sambal goreng and beef paru are must haves.
My mom’s family is Peranakan and I grew up with some amazing home-cooked Nonya food. I’d just about given up looking for a really authentic restaurant experience until I found Peramakan. The litmus test is the ayam buah keluak and this place passes with flying colours. Just about everything I’ve tried on the menu is excellent; props especially go to the chap chye and the tauhu titek.
Artichoke Cafe serves amazing Moroccan-inspired food and probably the best scrambled eggs in town for brunch. The “Pig Candy” is exactly what it sounds like—a sweet, bacon-ed pork belly—and it is insanely good.
When I’m taking the folks out to dinner, I go for French or Italian rather than anything fusion-based. One of my favourites is Otto Ristoraunte. Their sea urchin pasta with zucchini and bottarga is hands down among the best pasta dishes I’ve ever eaten anywhere.
And, Japanese food. It’s the polar opposite of the spicy food I normally go for, but the subtle and refined flavours that rely on top quality produce and mastery in preparation that never fail to amaze. I love Hinoki Japanese Dining. Trust the chefs and order the omakase and a large bottle of sake (don’t forget to pour a few cups for them) and you’ll be guaranteed an excellent meal with only the freshest ingredients and a few surprises thrown your way.
Peninsular Shopping Centre, and it’s neighbour, Excelsior, are pretty run down compared to the swanky malls littering the country, but there are many hidden treasures there to be found. There’s tons of great music stores all in one place, which are perfect for my guitar, amp, and effects hunting sprees. There are also some great indie record stores like Roxy Music, from which I have bought CDs and tapes since the early 90s, and Hell’s Labyrinth, which is all metal, all the time. There are also plenty of little shops that sell everything from band t-shirts to sneakers to sports wear to vintage dresses; tattoo and piercing parlours; and dodgy looking eating places which I’ve never dared to try. It’s much more colourful, crazy, and genuine than the sterile, glamoured-up tinseltown of Marina Bay Sands and its ilk.
I’m pretty much a permanent fixture at Quiach Bar (also known as the Whisky Store). The range of single malt whiskies might be intimidating to a newcomer, but the owners and staff are great. There’s no doubt you’ll soon find which regions, and even distilleries, produce the drams to your liking.
I also love The Pigeonhole, especially when there’s stripped-down gigs held there. The vibe is lovely and there’s always a quirky blend of art, literature, and something interesting going on. They also have some nice bottled beers and desserts if you’re peckish.
Home Club is the de facto destination for every local scenester and hipster. It’s equal parts indie disco and live music venue and probably the best place to catch underground bands of every genre.
I can’t get by without my caffeine fix, and for that I’ve been a happy camper since Forty Hands opened. It’s still my favourite destination for the best flat white around.
And just a stone’s throw away is the wonderful BooksActually for all my reading wants and needs. Indie bookstores feel like home and I can’t say enough good things about this place.
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Need directions? Check out notabilia’s My Singapore guide!