You can save the earth when you eat too.
‘Sustainable dining’ isn’t just a buzzword spouted by a niche of eco-warriors; it has entered the mainstream with many restaurants in Singapore rising to the occasion. The term refers to ethical practices that care about our planet and environment and reduces the overall carbon footprint. It includes using local and/or organic produce, providing meat-free options, having on-site gardens, and choosing sustainable sources for meat, fish and eggs. Here are 10 places in Singapore you can go to to enjoy sustainable dining.
This popular cafe‘s all-day brunch menu features dishes made with upcycled ingredients that would otherwise be discarded, and re-imagining them as part of a dish. Not only does this reduce food wastage, it also takes culinary creativity to the next level. Dishes include the Salmon Skin Chips, which uses salmon offcuts as well as trimmings from the cafe’s homemade coffee smoked salmon, and the Pork and Broccoli dish, which gives the side serving of broccoli stems a new lease of life, by softening, steaming then slow-roasting them. And because you know them for their coffee as much as their grub, there’s the Strangers Reunion Coffee Smoked Salmon on Toast, featuring house-cured salmon that’s cold-smoked with spent coffee grounds.
At 33/35 Kampong Bahru Road, 169355, tel: 6222 4869.
One of the first in Singapore to push the farm-to-table concept in Singapore and focus on local farming, there’s plenty to do here besides eat, as you can also explore the fruit and vegetable orchards or take part in gardening workshops. The focus here is on locally-sourced ingredients and seasonal and innovative dishes, such as Cauliflower “Wings” (a crowd favourite) and Duck Rillette (served cold with homemade and homegrown roselle jam, red leaf hibiscus and sourdough crisps). The restaurant also curates and hosts local farmers once a month to showcase their produce to guests, who can then enjoy these freshly-harvested ingredients and learn more about the grow-your-own-food movement.
At 130E Minden Road, 248819, tel: 6471 030.
The mantra here is ‘Real Food, Full of Natural Flavours’ and the menu includes gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and raw food options. Beyond its commitment to serve healthy food, it extends a commitment to the local communities and the environment that supports it. For example, 60 per cent of seafood served here is sustainably sourced and 50 per cent of menu items use locally and sustainably-sourced high-quality ingredients. Also, all chicken and eggs used are certified organic and free-range and there’s an on-site vertical garden, which provides some of the leafy vegetables for its dishes. Offerings include dedicated farm-to-table specialties such as sustainably-sourced Nonya-Style New Zealand Rockling Fish (spicy sour tomato and pineapple gravy, organic okra and brown rice) as well as plant-based dishes in partnership with Impossible Foods.
At Level 2, Hilton Singapore, 581 Orchard Road, 238883, tel: 6730 3397.
On the second level of The Summerhouse complex (the ground floor houses Wildseed Cafe & Bar) sits this farm-to-table concept restaurant located in a unique countryside location. Here, every dish is cooked with harvests from the garden, whether as garnishes or herbs. Examples include Sweet Potato Leaves (with freshly-picked sweet potato leaves from the garden, wood-fired zucchini and asparagus, and green olive) and French Toast, a brunch menu item that featured an assortment of fruits and garnishings from the garden. The restaurant also works closely with a farming collective of growers, producers and kelongs (wooden offshore platform for fishing or fish farming), to ensure value-added sustainable practices. What’s more, an interesting element can be seen on the dinner menu (and selected brunch menu items): Each item tells you which farm the food comes from, leaving diners with a little food for thought.
At Level 2, 3 Park Lane, Seletar Aerospace Park, 798387, tel: 6262 1063.
This modern Chinese restaurant in the gorgeous Six Senses Duxton is beautifully-decorated in black, gold and yellow, and with – you guessed it – yellow pots of various sizes and designs too. But décor aside, it is the restaurant’s sustainability efforts that deserve mention. Yellow Pot works closely with local farmers and producers who are committed to responsible sourcing and sustainable practices, and this can be seen in its dishes. For example, you can order crisp local greens such as Braised White Cabbage with conpoy and wolfberries soaked in Shaoxing wine, or Locally Farmed Shanghai Greens wok-fried in a garlic and ginger broth. Also, unhealthy additives such as flavour enhancers, gluten and sugar are largely avoided, with fresh natural ingredients chosen instead.
At Six Senses Duxton, 83 Duxton Road, 089540, tel: 6914 1420.
This Michelin-starred restaurant has already made a name for itself for its ‘new Singaporean’ dining experience but few realise how big an advocate chef-owner LG Han is of sustainable food practices. A majority of the menu – 80 per cent, to be exact – is from and around Singapore through a close relationship with local farmers, fishermen and fishery ports. This results in dishes such as Claypot “Ang Moh” Chicken Rice (a Chicken Rice Dumpling with skin made of home milled rice flour and braised chicken paired with grandma’s chili sauce) which uses chickens from Toh Thye San farm and mushrooms from Kin Yan agrotech farm and Local Wild Caught Crab with Sustenir Farm Strawberry which uses crabs from Ah Hua Kelong, strawberries grown in Singapore by Sustenir Agriculture and eggs from The Freedom Range Co, all dishes inspired by Han’s childhood food memories of his grandmother.
At #02-23, Esplanade Mall, 8 Raffles Avenue, 039802, tel: 6223 4098.
Few people realise that the restaurants here – mezza9, 10 Scotts, Pete’s Place, Oasis, StraitsKitchen – serve seafood that’s sustainably sourced, with certifications from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) or the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Seafood with the ASC mark comes from a farm that has been independently certified to the ASC’s standard for responsibly-farmed seafood, while seafood with a MSC certification means it comes from a fishery that has been independently certified to the MSC’s standard for a well-managed and sustainable fishery.
It also uses herbs such as mint and basil from the hotel’s organic herb garden, and 70 per cent of greens are sourced from nearby Cameron Highlands. It also uses higher animal welfare products such as grass fed cows, free-range chickens and cage-free eggs. Not just that, it serves a range of plant-based options at mezza9, such as Beyond Burger and Just Egg, making it not only more welcoming to vegans but also less reliant on meat.
The hotel on the whole is big on sustainable practices, being the first hotel in Singapore to install (in 2016) a waste-management plant, which converts all food waste into pathogen-free organic fertilisers within 24 hours. The fertilisers are then used at all green spaces in the hotel, including the rooftop herb garden. It also recently launched JUST water at its event spaces, which contains 100 per cent spring water sourced from Australia, packaged in a carton made of 82 per cent certified renewable resources, including paper (54 per cent) certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and a plant-based cap that is made from sugar cane (28 per cent).
At 10 Scotts Road, 228211, tel: 6738 1234.
It’s not just the panoramic views from this restaurant and bar that’s impressive, its sustainability focus from the menu to the restaurant’s design is as well. The eco-friendly Tulip umbrellas at the outdoor terrace bar are designed to allow rainwater to drain into the ground, which is then recycled within the building. The menu of sustainable, seasonal cuisine, inspired by the rich culinary heritage of the Mediterranean, sees Artemis working with partners to obtain the finest organic produce and sustainably-sourced seafood. Most vegetables come from France, cod from Scotland, and hamachi and scallops from Japan. Plus, all the meats cooked here are ethically-farmed, free range and hormone-free. We all know how healthy a Mediterranean diet is, so the fact that the food served here is also sustainable makes us love this restaurant even more.
At 138 Market Street, CapitaGreen Rooftop (Level 40), 048946, tel: 6635 8677.
Looking at the name of this restaurant, it’s no surprise that the ‘origin’ of the dishes is the main focus here, so what you’ll get is fresh, farm-to-table ingredients with an emphasis on responsible sourcing and sustainability wherever possible. This includes a bespoke beef selection that are sustainably-sourced, with grass- and grain-fed, pure-, cross- and full-blooded Angus and wagyu beef from Australia and Ireland, as well as snow-aged wagyu beef from Niigata, Japan. Seafood-wise, menu selections include line-caught sustainable seafood from marine-certified coasts [a certification given by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)] in Indonesia, the Philippines and New Zealand.
Tower Wing, Lobby Level, Shangri-La Hotel, 22 Orange Grove Road, 258350, tel: 6213 4595.
This is technically not a ‘restaurant’ but we’re including it in this list as we love how sustainability practices extend to a selection of Singapore bars too. At this travel-inspired cocktail bar at the Inter-Continental Singapore, you not only get tipples inspired by 10 cities along the popular Transatlantic Route, such as Dublin, Lisbon, New York and London but they’re fashioned with sustainable practices in mind.
Take the Sugarloaf, one of the cocktails from the Mexico collection. Pineapple rum and cognac is blended and shaken with house-fermented pineapple skin tepache, tamarind, lime and sugar and served with a mini ‘taco’ hand-rolled from pineapple leather and pickled watermelon rind. The bar reuses the rinds (which contains a lot of juicy flesh) of pineapple and watermelon that the hotel juices daily as part of their breakfast buffet. The peel and rind of spent pineapple is also used to create a tepache, a fermented Mexican beverage, for the drink. The juice from the rind of spent pineapple is then mixed with agar to create the ‘taco’, and watermelon rind is used as a topping for it, meaning this edible garnish is made entirely out of spent fruits. We’ll definitely drink to that!
Lobby Level, InterContinental Singapore, 80 Middle Road, 188966, tel: 6825 1045.
By Balvinder Sandhu, April 2019 / Updated by Muneerah Bee, December 2019