Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Singapore Heritage Afternoon Tea at Clifford Pier, Fullerton Bay Hotel

I had the pleasure to check out the newly launched Singapore Heritage Afternoon Tea ($38++, refillable) by Chef Shermay Lee, who is the owner of a cooking school and granddaughter of Mrs. Lee Chin Koon (mother to Minister Mentor Lee Kwan Yew and doyenne in Peranakan cuisine). It is probably one of the most unique high teas in Singapore. If there is only one high tea session for you to try in Singapore, go for this.

This set represents a fine sampling of all of our best local delights, put together in an exquisite tiered set of 8 sweet and 8 savoury items. I liked the Nonya Chicken Curry & Roti Jala Wrap, Pandan Swiss Roll and Kueh Pie Tee, but do save space for the 2 favorites that is served piping hot by waiters walking by -- the Kurobuta Pork Kong Ba Bao and Chili Crab Buns. 

With the chilli crab buns you can actually skip going for a chilli crab dinner because the sauce is so authentic and filled with generous slivers of crab.





Enjoy the value-for-money afternoon tea daily from 3.30 to 5.30pm while surrounded by live piano music, and high ceilings with light that streams in from the mouth of Singapore River. The luxe décor and relaxed ambience of The Clifford Pier restaurant is best enjoyed with the fine fragrance of TWG teas and in the company of friends and family.

The Clifford Pier
Fullerton Bay Hotel, 80 Collyer Quay, Singapore 049326
Lunch: 12.00pm to 2.30pm
Afternoon Tea: 3.30pm to 5.30pm
Dinner: 6.30pm to 10.00pm
Supper: 10.00pm to 12.00am from Sundays to Thursdays, 10.00pm to 1.00am on Fridays and Saturdays
+65 65975266

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Monday, 15 December 2014

Halal Cafe Hangout: Rouse at 36 Dunlop Street, Singapore 209364

Checked out Rouse after +stooffi blogged about it, as it looked like it had different types of food offered on their menu. It is also one of the relatively few (but increasing) halal cafes out there. Located at the HEART of Little India, it also made for an interesting time getting there and out. When I visited it it was a public holiday, so it was really crowded, but still not overwhelmingly crazy or noisy, which is good!

I really liked the decor of the place, and it wasn't badly ventilated. The doors let in quite a lot of light, shining into the faux-dilapidated interior with naked lightbulbs, vintage furniture... you get the picture(s).



The menu. Prices are alright. As you can see the items are all quite interesting, like Orange Glazed Chicken Frit and Beef wrapped Asparagus. Notice that quite a lot of them are seafood items.


Also had a latte. It wasn't super good compared to the ones my brother make at home, haha. 

Still made for a pretty picture.

I had the Quinoa Quake ($16.90) while my friend had the Crabby Patty ($17.90). Mine had lime dill yogurt on top of smoked salmon on top of a poached egg that was sitting on a fried quinoa patty. The quinoa was interesting but a bit too greasy for me. Still it was quite fun to eat.

My friend's Crabby Patty though, turned out to be too fishy tasting. The crab wasn't the freshest - even the mango salsa dressing couldn't cover it up. Again, being fried didn't add to its healthy index. This got 'gelak' real quick. I wouldn't recommend for you to order this. It's also quite pricey..


Rouse is a great little place to try some alternative brunch foods if you are sick of poached eggs or waffles but some of the items there might be not as good. If I were you I'll stick with the coffee and pasta, brioche toast or caesar salad.



Rouse
36 Dunlop Street, Singapore 209364
Mon: 11:00 - 21:00, Wed - Thu: 11:00 - 21:00, Fri - Sat: 11:00 - 23:00, Sun: 10:00 - 19:00
Closed on Tuesdays
+65 62922642

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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Lunchtime Takeaway: Foodology Fresh at The URA Centre, 45 Maxwell Rd, Singapore 069118

As busy office workers we all wish for a better lunch option that does not involve long queues in a hot and stuffy (also greasy!) environment that is good for us and easy to eat + takeaway. Foodology Fresh has understood that desire, and created the perfect healthy lunch time meal. Located at the URA Centre that's just beside the bustling Maxwell Food Centre, office workers in Tanjong Pagar can now hop over and grab a sandwich, salad or wrap to go! I had the chance to go for a tasting, and found everything to be super up to scratch.

Everything is prepared fresh every morning. Hence the name Foodology FRESH.

I also loved their selection of drinks, and snacks!

The place works like a cafeteria concept. Take what you want and then go to the counter to pay. They can help heat up quiches and sandwiches for you there.

We tried several salads, all 3 of their soups, a wrap, and a few dessert options. I also took home a quiche, which worked really well as breakfast the next day. It was eggy and savoury when toasted and the quiche pastry still delightful. 

Of their soups, the Wild Mushroom Soup is a clear winner for mushroom lovers, while I preferred the Pumpkin Soup (vegetarian) which is thick, creamy and full of flavor. The Chicken Stew was also thick and rich. I would definitely recommend you to go for the soups when there!


Of the salads we tried, I liked both equally, with the Quinoa Summer Salad being really refreshing and light. It has creamy avocados and juicy tomatoes to add pops of textures and flavors.

The Smoked Duck Breast Salad was also really enjoyable, because of the mixture of surprising fruits, vegetables and nuts. In here, on top of the smoked duck, there was pumpkin, beetroot, feta cheese and candied walnuts!


Lastly, for desserts you should definitely try the Apple Crumble Tart and Summerberry Yogurt Tart, even though there are other items like muffins and tarts available.


Foodology Fresh is a great lunch option for those busy bees working in offices all day. Prices might be slightly steep for it to be an everyday affair (unless you are erm, earning super high expat pay) compared to a plate of chicken rice at $3, but I could see having it once a week being good in adding some fibre and greens to your lunch routine.


Foodology Fresh
45 Maxwell Road, #01-02, Singapore 069118
+65 62239724
Monday to Friday from 8am - 6pm

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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Casual Dining: Arterial at 24 Temple St, Singapore 058569

If you are looking for a cafe/bistro/casual dining place around Chinatown or Duxton/Tanjong Pagar area, you might want to head down to the newly established Arterial on Temple Street (near Sia Huat) for just that, because it is perfect for a gathering of friends and colleagues. Why the name Arterial? Is it because the food is artery-clogging? That was what I was wondering when I first heard about the name, but I then found out upon visiting the cafe that it is actually named after a vein behind the temple (in your brain), which is coincidentally where the cafe is. Ahhhh. A light bulb appeared.

The place has a lovely decor. The use of wood and naked light bulbs juxtaposed against a black chalkboard wall created a relaxed, friendly environment. 

Perfect setting to have a glass of vintage Coke. There's also a good selection of 5 craft beers available, plus a red a white and sparkling, if you're in the mood for a drink.

On to the food! We sampled a spread of appetizers and a main dish between the two of us. There was the arterial handmade wanton ($11.90), chicken liver pate ($9.90), chicken wing fries ($11.90), meatball al forno ($11.90), pork aspic terrine ($13.90) and hunter's beef stew ($16.90). The wantons were really delicious, first up. Just eaten on its own, shared with a friend. We also couldn't stop munching on the chicken wings! The meatballs were just fun. The beef stew was a big portion as it comes with some bread, but was quite normal for me. I'm not too sure about the chicken liver pate - - the dish felt a bit like a non-event (but the bread was good).

What's really spectacular, and a must-try, would be the pork aspic terrine! It is a 'fusion' dish of sort if you insist but what struck me was how refreshing and delicious it all was! The cold jelly was pork flavored! It's slightly salty, but so good. I don't really know how to describe this -- I've never had anything like it before. If there is one odd thing you need to eat this year, go for the pork aspic terrine.

For desserts we tried the mocha cake with coffee glaze ($6.90) that came with some whipped cream (option to upgrade to ice cream available!) and banana semifreddo ($6.90). While the latter was alright, the mocha cake was ridiculously good. It was slightly hard and crusty on the outside, but when you cut into it, it's so moist and dense (in a good way) inside. Valrhona chocolate has been used in the production of this, so you know quality is there.


Arterial is the sort of place that will not cause any arteries to pop or clog, but it sure sends blood pumping with so many fun and well-made dishes that are perfect for sharing with people over lunch or dinner. I'll recommend this place if you are looking for a place to simply hang out and enjoy with friends!
Arterial
24 Temple Street, Singapore 058569
+65 62228589
10am to 10pm
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Dessert Spot: Windowsill Pies, 78 Horne Rd, Singapore 209078

"We specialize in pie, the sweet kind. We don't do savoury pies, we don't do cake, and we definitely don't do cupcakes." That is the mantra for Windowsill Pies, a sweet little space at Jalan Besar that I finally had the chance to drop by and check out recently. I liked the whimsical decor, and even more so their pie creations!


The mint chocolate and key lime pie looked really good. So did the rhubarb, and passionfruit.. and.. 

In the end we picked the Smores Slice, and the Coconut Lime Vodka pie ($8 each). They were really good, even if the price was steep.

Why? Because the crust was done just right, the pie filling wasn't overwhelmingly sweet, its not too gooey or hard/dry and you could taste the generous flavors spilling out from every bite. There's also a ball of vodka jelly hidden in the Coconut Lime pie.

We paired it with some classic Earl Grey tea from Gryphon. It was the perfect way to spend a weekend afternoon :)


Judging by the two pies I tried, I would say that Windowsill Pies probably has one of the best dessert pies in Singapore. Go check it out if you would like a cross between a cake, a tart and a mousse.



Windowsill Pies
78 Horne Road, Singapore 209078
Tue - Thu: 11:00 - 21:30, Fri: 11:00 - 22:30, Sat - Sun: 10:00 - 22:30
+65 90047827

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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Special Review: Salt grill & Sky bar's one-night only New Year's Eve Menu 2014

New Year's Eve. A night which has people divided on whether it's a special day to commemorate the end of a year and the start of a new one (with special people, perhaps), or just another day on the calendar. For me, it really depends on my mood I guess! Making NYE a big deal requires a lot of planning, patience and effort, but it could be worth it. Then again, there's nothing wrong with staying in with a bunch of friends to watch TV after a nice dinner. Still, one could make NYE an easy but memorable event by booking Salt grill & Sky bar's one-night only New Year's Eve 3-course dinner at $125++ (till 8pm) or $148++ (seating 8.30pm, till past midnight) per person, which I had the pleasure of tasting. 

Before the start of the meal we are all served with the now-familiar and delicious as always Coconut broth with Sydney spice, which is free with the 3-course meal. 

Then on to entrées! You can choose from 4 options, of which the last is always the vegetarian option. I'm sorry, but if both of you are vegetarian, then Salt is not the place for you to have dinner at, since we've concluded that it is much less worth it for a vegetarian to eat there than a regular omnivore like us. 

1) Star anise pork belly, seared scallops, cauliflower puree, pickled cucumber 
2) Tuna tataki, ponzu, smoked enoki, onion, puffed rice 
3) Seared foie gras, pine nut crust, scallops, peach, brioche 
4) Cigar of whipped goats cheese, beetroot hummus, fig.

I would totally go for the foie gras if I were you, because it was the most perfectly done among all 4, in my opinion. 

For mains, we could choose between these options. 

1) Sydney spiced barramundi, char sui mushrooms, bok choy 
2) Cape grim striploin, grilled asparagus, eggplant, salsa verde 
3) Portuguese baby chicken, grilled corn, chorizo, chili, olives 
4) Pan-fried potato gnocchi, corn, asparagus, zucchini, parmesan, thyme, truffle verjuice dressing

Of the 4, the barramundi actually came out tops because it was so unexpectedly fresh, flavorsome and satisfying. Followed by the baby chicken at a close second because of the unique use of spices to treat it, and for being so juicy and tender. I would have have picked the steak at any 3-course menu actually, so if you do read this, try the fish or chicken instead. For some reason, the beef had quite a spiced flavoring, which I found to be a bit odd because I prefer my steaks to be not disturbed too much. The gnocchi we all found to be too starchy and big, so give that a miss (unless you're vegetarian).



Lastly, some desserts to round off the big meal. There were 4 again to choose from:

1) Chocolate tart, praline ice-cream, brulee banana
2) Raspberry cheese cake 
3) Mango & coconut bomb Alaska 
4) Cheese selection quince paste lavoch

Of which I think the chocolate tart will get my vote for being the best among the lot, as the chocolate was dark, rich and indulgent. The Alaskan Bomb was too much of a sweet bomb for me, whereas the cheesecake was rather normal. I liked the cheese selection actually but at the end of such a big meal I'll want something sweet? Still, cheese lovers do knock yourselves out.



What a meal! We truly sampled some of the more innovative works of Chef Matthew as the dinner strived to celebrate the best of 2014, so 2015 can start on a good note. If you are looking for the right place to spend some time with a special someone (or someones) while enjoying the beautiful night scenery of Orchard Road (you might even see the fireworks from the observatory) call +65 65925118 or email charmaine_a@pj-partners.com to make your reservation now while seats last!

Salt grill and Sky bar
55th and 56th floor, ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801
Tel: +65 6592 5118

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Sunday, 7 December 2014

Fine Dining Review: Lunch at Joël Robouchon au Dome at Grand Lisboa, Macau

Source: Joel Robuchon
Eating at Joël Robouchon's has always been a fine dining mecca for me. While I could easily visit the one in Singapore, I had jumped at the chance to visit the one in Macau because of two reasons. One, it is not a restaurant I can easily pop in and out of if I want, and I was already in Macau on a self-proclaimed gourmet tour. Two, it is actually much more affordable to do a lunch at the one in Grand Lisboa's Dome than have a dinner in Singapore's MBS (more than 300 bucks).
The one in Grand Lisboa also offers a breathtaking view of the coast as it sits on top of the hotel, underneath a glass dome (hence the name).

Walking into the bright and airy place, you'll be greeted by trays of goodies. 

There's also a pianist playing pleasing tunes as you enjoy your meal. It really perked up the atmosphere.


The dome was encased in a gold structure. I felt like I was in a Faberge egg. Magical.


And then we get into the lunch proper. There's the 3-course meal at MOP $498 (83 SGD) for appetizer, fish or meat, cheese or dessert and coffee or tea and confectionaries or MOP $598 (99 SGD) for the additional soup as a course, which is what we took. For under 100 bucks it was a really really good deal! I would easily do this every 3 months if this was available in Singapore. 

First, a small amuse bouche to start. Creamy, and comforting. This reminded me of the organic egg at JAAN in Singapore.

There's also the bread basket, filled with delicious and freshly baked goodies. Each one of them was so good, I wish I could have more, but I had to pace myself.

There was even a butter service. Perfectly curled butter for the warm toasty bread. Mmm.


Since there was three of us, we all took different appetizers and soups! This way we can try more. That's always a good strategy. First, there was the Le Crabe - fresh crabmeat in chilled tomato infusion with spiced avocado guacamole and perfumed soft-boiled egg. The crab taste was really strong in this! Mixed all together it was a delightful dish to whet our appetites for more.

There was also Les moules de Bouchots which is French mussels "marinieres" with a touch of cream and leek fondant perfumed with saffron. I wasn't a fan of mussels, but I tried a little bit of this and found it acceptable! A great choice for shellfish lovers.

Onto soups! There was the L’oseille, which is sorrel bouillon to surround the light salmon mousse and perfumed with dill. The mixture of salmon mousse and the herb broth was delicately balanced.

And a simple pea soup. It was classically light, almost airy. 

We then went onto the mains. For that we got to choose either fish or meat. But first, compliments from the chef - La Noix de Saint-Jacques, the typical scallops in “meunières” style with baby artichoke and tomato salsa flavored with basil and Piquillo emulsion. 

Of all the mains, the l’échine de porc which is pan-fried pork loin neck with charcuterie condiments and Paimpol white bean stew was probably the most normal one. A simple dish done well, but not as impressive compared to the rest. 

We also chose a light le dos de bar, which is grilled sea bass fillet surrounded with spiced aubergine and preserved lemon sauce. The lemon sauce was frothy and light to act as the perfect foil to the fresh sea bass. And the dish looks incredible on top of tasting great.

For some not-so-classic French fare, there was the Le mini burgers, or wagyu beef and foie gras sliders with lightly caramelized bell peppers and potatoes soufflés (additional $90). This was an indulgent but well-made choice. The burgers were super juicy and the wagyu patty made to perfection. I don't think I've ever tasted burgers that are so tiny but so good! This is an unconventional choice at a fine dining French restaurant, but a good one for lunch.

Lastly, dessert! We had the really pretty looking lychee jelly with raspberry sorbet. 
A tart, refreshing end to the big lunch.

And we get to choose more desserts from the trolley. Everything just looked so enticing, it was lucky that we already had a lot to eat.

Some mille feuille (incredibly flaky and light) and chocolate mousse tart will do. Yummy.

And petit fours. They were petit, so it's ok right? Haha. So much fun to be had.

I am so glad to be able to dine at what's considered one of Macau's top fine dining restaurant and sample the works of Monsieur Robuchon! I couldn't find any fault with the dishes - everything was made with such consideration and attention to detail. This is what I like about fine dining. Everything is just fine. If there is one French restaurant you have to put on your list when you visit Macau, consider lunch at Joel Robuchon to be on it!


Joel Robuchon au Dome
43/F, Grand Lisboa (Go to the 39/F, then change elevator for the 43/F),
Avenida de Lisboa, Macau
Lunch from noon to 2.30pm, dinner from 6:30pm to 10:30pm
For reservations call (853) 8803 7878 or visit website
http://www.grandlisboahotel.com/dining-Robuchon_au_Dome-en

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