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T Suggests: A Wine Bar That Serves Pig’s Head Pasta, Well-Designed Puzzles and an Urban Escape

By T: The New York Times Style Magazine Singapore

Situated on the hip stretch of Bukit Pasoh, Rebel Rebel is a wine bar that curates natural wines from all corners of the world.
 
Courtesy of Rebel Rebel
Situated on the hip stretch of Bukit Pasoh, Rebel Rebel is a wine bar that curates natural wines from all corners of the world.

At Bukit Pasoh, a Wine Bar That Also Serves a Mean Pig’s Head Pasta Dish

As its David Bowie-inspired name suggests, Rebel Rebel doesn’t quite fit the bill of the archetypal wine bar. For one, the focus of the bar’s 200-something collection is rather particular: It primarily zeroes in on terroir-driven wines that are produced in small batches with as minimal intervention as possible.

Singular wines aren’t the only thing Rebel Rebel is after. The bar claims to seek the stories of their makers; its sommeliers are dedicated to wax lyrical, if allowed, on a bottle’s back story before its content is poured into your glass. This also means that it’s worth asking if special selections outside of the usual menu are available. Its limited reserve of a rare Japanese pinot noir, for instance, is only sold outside of Japan at two establishments: the bar itself and the world-famous Noma in Copenhagen.

Courtesy of Rebel RebelLeft: Chef Deborah Yeo’s pig’s head pasta dish. The al dente tagliatelle is topped with minced pig’s head — the whole face, from ears to tongue, is brined for two days and then fried. Right: Rebel Rebel’s selection of wines.
Left: Chef Deborah Yeo’s pig’s head pasta dish. The al dente tagliatelle is topped with minced pig’s head — the whole face, from ears to tongue, is brined for two days and then fried. Right: Rebel Rebel’s selection of wines.

To pair with Rebel Rebel’s curated wine list is an equally unique menu. Although chef Deborah Yeo — who had a five-year stint at the modern barbeque restaurant Burnt Ends with Dave Pynt before heading his new restaurant in the Maldives — only recently joined in June to helm Rebel Rebel’s kitchen, her inventive barbecue-forward dishes are worth a trip on their own.

An easily unanimous must-try is Yeo’s flavour-bursting pig’s head tagliatelle. The fiery pasta, cooked impeccably al dente, is liberally topped with fried pig’s face. “We use the whole face,” says Yeo, noting that it includes the ears and the tongue. “We brine it for two days, and we cook it until it’s soft again. Then we pan-fry it,” she continues. The ears are what make or break the dish, it seems. The secret? “They need to be fried until they’re really crispy.” — Bianca Husodo

Rebel Rebel, 14 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089828.
Guillermo Cano. Styling by Emily Karian de CanoLeft: a selection of Ordinary Habit puzzles. Right: a detail of a puzzle by the artist and graphic designer Marleigh Culver.
Left: a selection of Ordinary Habit puzzles. Right: a detail of a puzzle by the artist and graphic designer Marleigh Culver.

Just over a year ago — well before Covid-19 ushered in a renewed interest in indoor activities — Echo Hopkins found herself taking a few minutes out of each workday to complete a puzzle as a small way of escaping screens and refocusing her attention. This eventually led her, together with her mother, Teresa Hopkins, to co-found Ordinary Habit, under which the pair have now launched a limited-edition series of jigsaw puzzles that marries the mindfulness of play with thoughtful design. “We wanted to encourage a return to doing things that are a little more tactile,” said Echo, who is based in Brooklyn, New York. “There’s such a simple joy to finding one piece that fits in a puzzle.” Meanwhile, to engage the eyes, they have commissioned female illustrators based around the world, including Holly Jolley in Chile, Bodil Jane in Amsterdam and the New York City-based artist Shawna X, whose work adorns the exterior of the inclusive performance space House of Yes in Bushwick. There are six 500-piece options in all, each of which is made of recycled materials and comes in a box with a side resembling the spine of a novel that fits seamlessly on a bookshelf. A portion of the profits will be donated monthly to the Loveland Foundation, which provides financial assistance for therapy and other mental-health services for Black women and girls. — Samuel Rutter

ordinaryhabit.com

A Great Escape From the City

Courtesy of Capella SingaporeCapella Singapore’s “The Manor Experience”.
Capella Singapore’s “The Manor Experience”.

Although Singapore’s social distancing rules have eased up recently, overseas travel remains off the table. Staycations, however, are possible with a few local hotels and resorts now able to host guests. Since 15 July, Capella Singapore has been welcoming guests back to its premises, and now it introduces “The Manor Experience” — a new experience designed to restart the local staycation culture, where people can escape to a luxurious, secluded and spacious villa away from the city without getting on a plane.

Capella Singapore, situated within 30 acres of land and lush flora on Sentosa island, is a contemporary hotel revamped from two restored 1880s colonial buildings. Each of the private residences, whether the “Contemporary” or “Capella” manors or any of the colonial bungalows, is served by a dedicated host and an optional personal chef. A range of private activities — such as yoga classes, massage sessions and kids’ activities — can be enjoyed within the confines of each house; in addition to the sunbeds and pool at the adjacent private outdoor terrace, where breakfast and afternoon tea are also served. To further pandemic-proof the resort stay, strict standards of sanitation are enforced around the clock to ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals within the compound, whether in the villas or across the resort’s facilities. — Terence Poh

Capella Singapore’s “The Manor Experience” is available until the end of September 2020, with rates starting at SS$9,000 per night.