As Singaporeans, we LOVE our local food. From classics such as Nasi Lemak to Laksa, we’ll never pass a chance to wolf up our Singaporean delights. If you’re looking for something more than the classics, here’s a new hotel restaurant that delivers exciting fusion twists on traditional local flavours.
Opened in November 2017, Local Restaurant & Bar is a contemporary resto-bar at 30 Bencoolen. As the hotel’s main restaurant, Local introduces hotel guests to authentic Singaporean flavours.
Interestingly enough, Local’s name isn’t supposed to be a telltale sign of the local dishes brought to the table. Rather, its name follows the concept of being an accessible restaurant where everyone, from students to office crowds, can come for a good meal.
At the cosy marbled bar counter, you can grab the perfect drink for a lazy afternoon. Salad lovers can also rejoice, as Local is starting a lunch special that will give you access to the salad bar with a purchase of any main course, from mid-March 2018.
Executive Chef Elvin aims to put our local flavours into elegant presentations. If you were expecting the same old dishes you could find at any hawker centre, you might be in for a surprise.
Here are plates of local food that even true-blue Singaporeans might not have seen before!
Considering the hot weather lately, you might like this refreshing mocktail that’ll quench your thirst and cool you down before the meal.
Concocted with grenadine syrup and a homemade sour plum juice, the LOCAL Freeze ($9++) is packed with fizziness and a bit of zest.
To whet our appetites, Chef Elvin served up his rendition of our beloved “Har Cheong” Wings ($13.90++). Biting down, I could hear the glorious crunch of the crispy skin.
Strong notes from the shrimp paste flavoured the succulent chicken meat. The meat was tender and easily pulled off the bone.
What really stole the show, however, was the delightful achar sauce. It was light and sweet, adding a much-needed freshness that was missing from the heavier “Har Cheong” Wings.
As a big “Har Cheong Kai” fan, my companion’s seal of approval definitely confirmed my love for Local’s delightful version. With so much sinfulness on one plate, be sure to get your hands on these hot wings. But be civil; don’t fight over the last wing like we did!
Struggling to decide what to order? I strongly recommend the signature dish, LOCAL Nasi Lemak ($16.90++). While most mid-ranged hotel restaurants typically serve upscale versions of Chicken Rice or Laksa, Local has chosen to present an elevated version of Nasi Lemak.
Instead of chicken wings, the plate comes with sumptuous chicken rendang! Aromatic and sweet, the gravy really paired well with the chicken that was just a tad dry. As for the homemade sambal chilli, although it could’ve been a little less sweet, it absolutely packed enough spice for my liking.
While I was very impressed by the chicken rendang, I have to admit that I’m still very much a sucker for old-school Nasi Lemak. Nonetheless, for those looking for Nasi Lemak with a little more finesse, Local’s version will definitely impress you.
One of my favourite dishes was Local’s 8h Braised Beef Cheek Bowl ($22.90++). Just look at that beautiful sous vide egg! Adorned with furikake, daikon and purple shiso, this dish was a multi-coloured delight. The main draw was definitely the beef cheeks. It was soooo tender, a testament to the meticulous preparation put into this dish.
Of course, I couldn’t resist breaking open the delicate egg and revealing the silky yolk that poured out. With a bit of yolk, the dish became so much more decadent. Make sure you get some of the crunchy purple shiso in each bite!
Local also has the Imperial Chicken Sandwich ($16.90++), which is an open sandwich. While the marinated chicken fillet was quite succulent, the overload of sauces with pai gu wang sauce, sour plum mayo and mango salsa made for a confusing plate. Nonetheless, those looking for something more filling may be satisfied.
I just couldn’t resist Local’s “Salted Egg” Tempura Don ($18.90++). Presented in a claypot, this sumptuous tendon has enough assorted tempura (prawn, white fish, sweet potato, okra) to make it value-for-money.
Best of all, the salted egg sauce really added a buttery richness which enhanced the tempura.
Even after adding the salted egg yolk sauce, the tempura batter still retained a delightful crispness. And the prawns inside were so juicy!
Although the flavours of the chilli and curry leaves could have been a little stronger, the salted egg yolk sauce was so delicious, it had me scooping up every last bit of rice to go with it.
Chef Elvin definitely wasn’t going to let us leave without dessert, my favourite course. His Asian-inspired Crispy Banana Split ($12.90++) had generous scoops of ice cream in coconut, chocolate and vanilla flavours. This dish definitely satisfied my sweet tooth.
And yes, that is goreng pisang, indeed! Instead of regular banana, Chef Elvin has chosen to serve goreng pisang as a twist on the classic banana split sundae. I’m not going to lie, the hot and crispy goreng pisang was even better than my grandma’s!
Look out for the impressive promotions available! With a 15% discount for SMU and NAFA students and even Manulife employees in the vicinity, this is a hotel restaurant that isn’t catered exclusively to those with deeper pockets.
Getting bored of the same local food? Try something different from Chef Elvin’s progressive menu of upbeat local-inspired fusion food. With new items coming up such as a rather intriguing dessert combining bubur cha cha and orh nee in one, you will never be bored at Local.
While some of the dishes could have been better, Local Restaurant definitely shows that they are not afraid to be adventurous. As Local Restaurant gets bigger and bolder in their creations, do keep an eye out for this promising restaurant.
Expected Damage: $25 – $40 per pax