5 alternative Christmas spreads to indulge in during this festive season

Forget the turkey, spare the meat-heavy platters and the log cakes this Christmas season and switch it up with these international treats.

The good ole Christmas feast with turkeys, ham, too many potatoes and the servings of vegetables to make yourself feel better about eating healthier can be enhanced by turning it into a hodgepodge of delectables from several cuisines.

Here are five places you can consider dining in with your not-naughty but nice guests!

Quiach Bar Wanderlust

Photo: Carolyn Teo/Coconuts
Photo: Carolyn Teo/Coconuts

Skip the eggnog and mulled wine for now and let these professionals at Quiach Bar Wanderlust whip up some of their 19 cocktails and array of whiskeys. They draw foreign flavors from all over including Korea, Spain and South Africa, among others.

Noteworthy ones include the Miyeok Guk (S$25), which translates to seaweed soup in Korean and also their interesting, multi-layered savory drink. It is made with seaweed-washed vodka, Makgeolli (Korean rice wine), and three drops of sesame oil.

The Threesome (S$25) is also a strong contender made with Bunnahabhain 12 years whisky, Lapsang Souchong-steeped Vodka, Montelobos Mezcal, and balanced with Gentiane, Pampelle and Cherry liqueurs, with a spritz of coffee perfume to finish.

Since the bar’s roots are built on whiskey, noobs or aficionados can sample their tiered whiskey flights for cheaper.

Make sure to pair the drinks with some bites so the fun can last longer.

The Nanlu Pork Belly (S$16) combines Shanghai fermented beancurd and Spanish Pork Belly served with a side of Nanlu mayo.

Forget your past tastings of the commonly disliked Brussel sprouts and try their Fried Brussel Sprouts with Teriyaki Sauce (S$16). Be sure to add the bacon bits for extra saltiness.

There’s also the highlight of our evening, the Singapore Soft-Shell Chilli Crab (S$20) served with chilli crab sauce and fried mantou. The crab and the mantou can’t get any crispier and the sauce is on the thicker end.

Photo: Carolyn Teo/Coconuts
Photo: Carolyn Teo/Coconuts

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GOHO

Photos: GOHO<br>
Photos: GOHO

Go for something different on Christmas and book yourself a seat for a kaiseki-with-a-twist at GOHO. If you’ve dined here before, some things are the norm: loud music, immaculate plating, and the occasional theatrics like edible gold dust and smoke-infused dishes (that are done in front of you). In one word, the experience is ostentatious, but would you accept anything less for Christmas?

The Christmas menu at GOHO follows its regular kaiseki format but with some festive additions to the ingredients. The Seasonal Monaka (traditional Japanese snack) features an ambrosial chunk of monk fish pate – with a sweet fig berry jam, Japanese ginger and tangerine jam while the Yoghurt Spheres, also part of the appetizer is infused with cranberry reduction.

The crowd favourite dish, the Miso Butter Engawa (flounder) is usually served with a creamy yuzu beurre blanc but the Christmas version of the dish sees the poached flounder fin sitting in a bonito eggnog, garnished with pomegranate seeds and chive oil and topped with lumpfish caviar.

Even the signature Mt. Goho – the final dish served before the dessert course which is a decadent stack of uni, wagyu, toro, ikura, kani and caviar on rice – is dusted with snow salt for extra festive effect. A 9-course dinner starts from $188 while the complete 12-course version starts from $248.

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Penny University

Photos: Delfina Utomo/Coconuts<br>
Photos: Delfina Utomo/Coconuts

In case you didn’t know, Penny University has blossomed into a full-day dining concept complete with a dinner menu – and it has a new home too.

The bistro used to run a thematic private dinner series playing around with Indonesian Fusion, British and also Moorish flavours at the old space on East Coast Road. But now as they settle into the new Jalan Klapa digs, owner Mouss Kamal has now curated a rotating dinner menu to include some of the best dishes from the series and some new ones like Cullen Skink Chawanmushi using smoked haddock, Iga Bakar which is an elevated take on the popular Indonesian dish and features a kecap manis infused with orange sauce and a polenta begedil (potato patty), and Sea Bass with kecombrang consomme where grilled seabass fillet is served with a clear broth and topped with a spicy Manado chilli made with fresh shallots, herbs and fragrant kecombrang (torch ginger flower).

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Greenwood Fish Market

Photo: Greenwood Fish Market<br>
Photo: Greenwood Fish Market

Having seafood for Christmas might be a little off-tradition but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a feast. The Greenwood Fish Market at Quayside Isle in Sentosa offers a unique experience with the different dining zones. There is an omakase counter where the chef places freshly made sushi on your hand, an oyster bar where oysters from around the world are shucked right before you slurp them, and if you want to keep in private, a cosy corner nook can be reserved for your own personal party.

But fish and crustaceans aren’t the only things you should try at Greenwood. For a place where the word ‘fish’ in its name, some of the best dishes here are burgers and sandwiches. Only available at the Sentosa branch, the pastrami sandwich is truly a masterpiece. Every single component of the sandwich from the bread to the pickles and the brisket itself is made from scratch in the kitchen by chef-owner Alan Lee.

Thinking of staying home and ordering in for Christmas? Greenwood Fish Market also has a takeaway menu featuring beef wellington, an oyster platter, a seafood feast and some of that amazing homemade pastrami.

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Leckerbaer

Photo: Carolyn Teo/Coconuts
Photo: Carolyn Teo/Coconuts

If it’s not cakes, it’s chocolates, so why not include some bite-sized Danish delights like småkagers (Danish butter cookies), tarts, puffs and dessert jars instead?

The lineup of Christmas småkagers this year features the Hazelnut with lychee curd and meringue swirl; the Chocolate with hibiscus meringue atop a chewy chocolate cake; the Pistachio with mandarin and calamansi curd; and the Salted Caramel dolloped on dark chocolate coated butter cookies.

As for their tarts, there’s the Lemon & Earl Grey Tart and the balanced Yuzu & Apple Tart with citrus and apple compote.

The cookies and tarts in mini are available in boxed of four (S$12), eight (S$24), 12 (S$35) or 16 (S$46).

Other new additions include the creamy Chocolate & Hazelnut Puff (S$8.50) filled with 70% dark chocolate mousse, namelaka and hazelnut praline; and the Cherry Puff with Salted Caramel (S$8.50) that is filled with vanilla cream, cherry compote, cherry meringue and berry curd.

There’s also the deconstructed Midnight Chocolate Dessert Jar (S$8) with scoops of chocolate mousse, mandarin and calamansi curd; and the layered Lemon Cloud Dessert Jar (S$7.50) with lemon mousse, passionfruit curd, hazelnut cake and a crunchy tuille.

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