Dig In: Restaurant Ibid

Here on Dig In, we give you the lowdown on great restaurants and cafes in the city worth checking out.


The Rundown
There’s been a lot of anticipation ever since Woo Wai Leong won the inaugural Masterchef Asia competition in 2015, and we’re glad to report that his restaurant dream has finally actualised in Restaurant Ibid, where he serves contemporary Chinese fare inspired by his mom’s cooking. His cooking is strong, as is his concept — every dish features either an Asian ingredient or a modern take on a Chinese dish.

The Vibe
The restaurant entrance on North Canal Road can be a tad difficult to locate due to ongoing construction next door, so look out for a little Chinese latticed window frame (Ibid’s logo) on the door left of Lucky Saigon. A wall of Chinese medicine drawers sets the tone upon your entry, but the place is more sleek than traditional. Seats are on a raised platform and tables are good for smaller groups of three to four — most offer a good view of the open kitchen, which fills the room with warm, buzzy vibes. Service is attentive, with quick and efficient plate changes and water refills. Bring your friends, or any MasterChef Asia fans!


Photo by Burppler Cheryl Ng

What’s Good
We’re told plans are in the works to introduce a lunch menu within the next few months, but for now, it’s dinner only. The set menus offer a choice of four ($78), six ($88) and eight ($118) courses. The four courses allows you an appetiser, a main and a dessert of your choice, along with lotus rice, while the six and eight courses are tasting menus put together by chef Woo. Our advice is to put your meal in the chef’s hands and go with the six, which lets you try a variety of dishes without feeling stuffed, as portions are pretty sizeable! Just bear in mind that all guests at the table have to decide on the same number of courses, so bring friends who are ready to feast!

You will always start with their star dish, the Spring Onion Shao Bing. Soft yet crisp from pan-frying, stuffed with savoury mozzarella and redolent of spring onion and sesame oil, this is quite possibly the perfect bread, and definitely the perfect beginning to a creative meal. We’ll be at this for hours if we waxed lyrical about every dish we enjoyed, so here’s a rundown of our absolute favourites.


Photo by Burppler Jasper Six&Seven

The Escargot Skewers, glazed in dou ban jiang mayonnaise and grilled, wrapped in betel leaf, is a wonderful harmony of sweet, salty and spicy, with an aromatic crunch gifted by the betel leaves. If you like tartare (we sure don’t mind it!), the Lamb Tartare sees a northern Chinese twist with the use of garlic yoghurt and Sichuan peppercorns, and comes topped with thin slices of deep-fried lotus root.


Photo by Burppler Rueann Dass

As for mains, we tried the Ah Hua Kelong Grouper, pan-fried and topped with an amazingly luscious, melt in the mouth tofu butter. The addition of Shaoxing furnett (fish and wine emulsion) really uplifted the dish with its heady, umami flavour. That said, our favourite is undeniably the brined and charcoal-grilled Momoiro Collar Pork, which comes embellished with double-fried sweet potatoes, savoy cabbage and a caramelised black vinegar and red fermented beancurd glaze. Yum!


Photo by Burppler Veronica Phua

As if that wasn’t enough to have us talking about the meal for the entire week, chef Woo sent us home with the dairy-free Soy Milk Ice Cream, which blew our minds with incredible textures and creative pairings — think almond espuma, sesame cake and Sarawak pepper meringue; the latter is an ode to his mom, who is from Sarawak. Trust us when we say that we wouldn’t miss a chance to return for another contemporary Chinese dinner — it’s absolutely worth the splurge.

Read what the Burpple community has to say about Restaurant Ibid here.