Contemporary restaurants are a dime a dozen these days but most have elevated classic dishes to such heights that they’re no longer recognisable. Not at these three spots that we’ve dined at recently. Their dishes may have been modernised in plating or technique but their flavours have remained true to soul.

From Spanish tapas bar FOC Pim Pam to new restaurant Xin Divine and Myo Restobar — an updated avatar of respected institution Kia Hiang Restaurant — we’ve scoured the menus for the best dishes to order from each. Here’s more.

Patatas Bravas by FOC Pim Pam

The dish: Patatas bravas is the quintessential tapas dish and traditional versions often see diced potatoes fried till a crispy golden brown then slathered in a thick tomato sauce and aioli. At the FOC group of restaurants, the potatoes are sliced thinly and then stacked like a millefeuille with the sauces piped neatly on each slab. The result? An elegant way of eating patatas bravas that not only delivers on flavour but offers more yummy crispy edges than the traditional renditions.

The place: FOC Pim Pam is a Spanish establishment that has a bodega, restaurant, tapas bar, private dining area and terrace all rolled into one. The kitchens are overseen by Chef Jordi Noguera while Chef Nandu Jubany of one-Michelin-starred Can Jubany in Barcelona flies in fairly regularly to make his rounds.

Price: $6++ from the tapas menu and $10++ from the main menu

FOC Pim Pam, 442 Orchard Road, #01-29, Singapore 238879, +65 6100 4242

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Kia Hiang Claypot Organic Chicken by Myo Restobar

The dish: If it’s classic, fuss-free flavours that you feel like having over lunch (that isn’t a salad), head to Myo Restobar for its signature claypot chicken. It’s a juicy, fall-apart tender serve of chicken that’s swaddled by cabbage and cooked in a thick herbal stew that’s equal parts comforting and nourishing.

The place: Kia Hiang Restaurant at International Plaza is a respected institution that’s been running for four decades. They have since launched a younger offshoot in Myo Restobar, aimed at the executives of the CBD. Expect a menu of Cantonese classics served in a contemporary space and industrial interiors.

Price: $28++

Myo Restobar, 19-01 Oxley tower, 138 Robinson Rd, Singapore 068906, +65 6931 1247

Szechuan Style Tortellini by Xin Divine

The dish: What happens when Italian and Chinese cuisines embrace on a single plate? Fat, juicy dumplings stuffed with minced kurobuta pork and chives, shaped like a tortellini, that’s what. It doesn’t end there. These dumplings are wrapped in gyoza skin and sit on a moreish broth of Sichuan chilli, ginger and Zhejiang vinegar topped with chilli foam. The result: a hearty rendition so big that we’d highly recommend using a fork and knife, and not chopsticks.

The place: Xin Divine is an exciting opening this time of year that not only successfully treads the line between traditional and contemporary, but excels at it. We think it’s thanks to the meeting of minds in the kitchen where chefs of three specialities: Sichuan, Cantonese and French cuisines come together to produce such stunners. These are plated with a contemporary European aesthetic served in an elegant space fitting of any fine dining establishment.

Price: $18++

Xin Divine, 10 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089594, +65 3100 0030

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Azimin Saini
Editor
Azimin Saini is the deputy editor and manages the team in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. He writes about food and culture (mostly) and has been told the sound of his backspace is like thunder through the clouds. On a regular day, he has enough caffeine in him to power a small car.