Food Picks: New menu for Araya, new location for The Masses and new chef for Goho (2024)

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Araya The Masses Goho

Food Picks: New menu for Araya, new location for The Masses and new chef for Goho (1)

Food Picks: New menu for Araya, new location for The Masses and new chef for Goho (2)

Tan Hsueh Yun

Senior Correspondent


Spring has sprung and newness is all around in restaurants. Chilean fine-dining restaurant Araya, which The Straits Times named the best new fine-dining restaurant of 2023, continues its winning streak.

It has introduced a new eight-course tasting menu, Costa, priced at $368++ a person. Chefs Francisco Araya, 40, and Fernanda Guerrero,36 – the couple behind the restaurant – celebrate Chile’s 6,437km coastline along the South Pacific Ocean.

Dining at Araya is delicious education. For the first time, I taste cochayuyo or bull kelp. The seaweed looks remarkably like brown rubber tubes, but lends salinity and a savouriness to butter, which I spread liberally on chef Guerrero’s bread.

Her new introduction to the basket is bocado de dama, a scroll-shaped roll. This is the bread of my dreams. Yes, the nori worked into the dough gives it plenty of umami. But there is something even better in it: beef fat. And, yes, the roll is terrific with the butter.

Other standouts include Tairagai, which, in Japan, where the couple worked for years, refers to pen shell. The Chilean variety is called choro zapato and chef Araya serves it raw, with aji amarillo chiles and blood orange for a springy and sweet starter.

Another is Curanto, whole abalone wrapped in corn husks, covered with charcoal and corn husk ash and cooked over fire. It emerges smoky and tender, and is served with two sauces – chorizo and abalone liver. Shards of chicharron add turf to surf.

Food Picks: New menu for Araya, new location for The Masses and new chef for Goho (3)

The chefs have also tracked down lucuma, a fruit that tastes of butterscotch and caramel. Chef Guerrero uses it to make ice cream and serves it with coffee espuma and vanilla jelly – coffee and dessert all in one.

Her carrito de dulces, which is new to me, is jaw-dropping in its splendour. There are eight kinds of chocolate bon bons. The standouts are the banana, coffee and passion fruit ones.

Where: 01-08 Mondrian Singapore Duxton, 83 Neil Road
MRT: Maxwell
Open: 6 to 11pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays and Mondays
Tel: 8870-0871

The Masses

Food Picks: New menu for Araya, new location for The Masses and new chef for Goho (4)

Despite moving his restaurant from Beach Road to fancier digs at Capitol Singapore, chef Dylan Ong, 37, of The Masses is sticking to his philosophy of serving affordably priced food for the masses.

Kudos to him for offering French classics with smart, Asian twists at the new 90-seat location. A whole Lemon Sole Meuniere ($39.90) is served with a Sauce Grenobloise spiked with salted vegetables. Yes, kiam chye.

Duck Confit ($21.90) sits on a bed of kway teow with lots of wok hei, showered with shaved house-cured egg yolk.

Steak Au Poivre On Hot Plate ($29.90) takes me back to steakhouses of the late 1970s, where sizzling platters of meat thrilled my young self no end. The wagyu, served with charred leeks, a lemon-caper beurre noisette and beef jus, also comes with the best side dish I have had in 2024 – thick, crunchy, airy onion rings. I would order the beef just for the rings.

A serious contender for best dessert of 2024 looks to be Fennel & Pink Guava Aiyu Jelly ($13.90), cool relief after all those rich main dishes. It is such a smart dessert too – fennel is a well-known digestive aid.

In this dessert, it infuses jelly and is topped with fruit and pink guava shaved ice. Fennel flowers, a tad bitter, temper the sweetness and keep a food coma at bay.

Where: 01-84 Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski, 15 Stamford Road
MRT: City Hall
Open: 11.30am to midnight daily (last order for food is 9.30pm on Mondays to Saturdays, and 9pm on Sundays)
Tel: 6518-4988


Food Picks: New menu for Araya, new location for The Masses and new chef for Goho (5)

A kaiseki meal for $88 a person? Featuring mostly seafood? Can’t be done. Not in Singapore, where restaurant prices routinely cause heartburn.

And yet, there is two-year-old Goho, a hip restaurant in Duxton Hill serving its take on kaiseki, Japan’s haute cuisine. Dinners are priced at $88, $138 and $178 a person.

Its new menu comes from the new chef at the helm, Stefan Kam, 28, who has worked at two-Michelin-starred Alchemist in Copenhagen and three-Michelin-starred De Librije in Zwolle in the Netherlands. He applies European cooking techniques in his multi-course meals.

My $88 dinner starts with a Lychee Highball, made not with whisky, but with fortified wine. It is a win – cold and refreshing.

The restaurant’s signature monaka course is filled with smoked duck, cubes of plum, fermented plum chilli, tart red sorrel leaves and yuzu kosho. Served alongside is a sphere that evokes the taste of spring – liquid plum flavoured with sakura.

What follows is course after course of seafood. Maguro atop shiso leaf tempura is one of the snacks, and there is also chawanmushi with hamaguri and mirugai; a fat unagi temaki the chef makes a la minute and hands to the diner; oyster poached in dashi beurre blanc; and firefly squid atop barley risotto with chopped up takuan, tomato, bacon and onion, and napped in mornay sauce.

For dessert, a square of matcha nama chocolate, a mini madeleine and warabi mochi.

Sure, the menu can be improved. The unagi hand roll is large and unwieldy for an inelegant eater like me. I would like bigger pops of acid to temper the beurre blanc and mornay. But I love the juicy pearls of barley used in place of rice in the main course, and the effort to merge East and West seamlessly. I look forward to summer at Goho.

Where: 53A Duxton Road
MRT: Tanjong Pagar
Open: Noon to 2pm, 6pm to midnight, Wednesdays to Saturdays; 6 to 10.30pm, Sundays; closed on Mondays and Tuesdays

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Food Picks: New menu for Araya, new location for The Masses and new chef for Goho (2024)
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