Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Cooking Essentials: Ethan's Gourmet Grocer at #B1, 50 Tagore Lane, Singapore 787494

For those who are sick of the usual grocery stores, even the premium ones, there's a new grocer in town that stocks fresh beef, seafood and Japanese food and snacks located at the basement level of the Entrepreneur Centre at 50 Tagore Lane (just beside Yio Chu Kang Road, nearest MRT YCK). The shop is not big, but has everything you need to make cooking a joy.

Of particular note are these lovely Marusho cherry tomatoes from Japan! At $7 a punnet they are not expensive, but these are so worth it! I've never tried tomatoes like these before. Sweet (3x sweeter!), explosive, fragrant. Call in advance if you want some as they only fly these in once or twice a month - the farm in Japan only exports 70 boxes of tomatoes a month of which is carried at Ethan's Gourmet, making it the only place to carry them outside of Japan. If only I can grow some! 

Then there's the Tajima beef steaks (Kobe wagyu) and all the lovely cuts of meat. Do you know that among all the wagyu breeds, Tajima wagyu is most prized for its ability to develop high degrees of marbling? The cattle are all purebreds and raised in the Hyogo prefecture in Japan before being certified as Kobe beef.

Would you look at the marbling? With these you don't need any type of marinate - simple salt and pepper will suffice!

There are also other snacks available

Including frozen spinach and peas from Japan. How amazing is that? Stunned vegetables?

We had Chef Peter Rollison, Executive Chef of Flutes at the Museum Singapore to serve up some food made from all the ingredients found at the grocer.

This was simply wonderful. The beef really just melted in my mouth!

The pork chop was good too.

As is the very interesting Amadai fish, which you can eat with the crispy crunchy and scaly skin!

Then a fat juicy grilled scallop on top of peas and truffle squid ink. Again a delight to pop into my mouth! All the ingredients used were super fresh.

I really enjoyed my visit and tasting of their wonderful groceries at Ethan's (named after the co-owner's son!). I'll highly recommend any curious cooks and chefs to check out the place. Pretty soon you can also order online at, so watch out for that. 

Ethan's Gourmet Grocer
Tagore Industrial Park #B1‐01
Entrepreneur Centre, 50 Tagore Lane, Singapore 787494
+65 63728809
Tues toSun, 11am to 7pm
Closed on Mondays

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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Birthday Lunch: Bedrock Bar and Grill at Pan Pacific Serviced Suites, Singapore 238163

I had a great birthday lunch two Fridays ago at Bedrock Bar and Grill just outside 313 Somerset, beside Oriole Cafe and opposite Brotzeit. It's sort of hidden in plain sight, for I must have passed by the place numerous times without actually registering that that is Bedrock! Well this time round I'm glad I did. Checked out their set lunch menus online (view PDF here) and made a reservation on a Good Friday to celebrate a near 30th for a good value lunch at $58++ (steaks).

As part of the lunch we had some warm fluffy flat bread with a pat of butter and some garlic olive oil. 

As a starter we both ordered the Lobster bisque, which was thick, and full of flavours of the sea. 
No scrimping on taste or ingredients here!

I had the wagyu minute steak, medium rare, on a bed of sliced potatoes, and it was fantabulous.
My only grip was it could come with some long beans by the side. Feels weird not to have something green.

My lovely lunch companion and bestie had the hamburg steak and it came with a side of cripsy shoestring fries. Hamburg steak was good but the sauce could have been more generous! Still, I reckon if we asked they would have given us more (the service was impeccable!)

Here we are with some delicious red. I can't remember the name, but it was really yummy! Red wine should be like this all the time (then I will start drinking more of it!)

We also ordered a side of their famous mac and cheese ($20) on the ala carte menu, and it was indeed as delicious as it looked, if not more. We agreed that it's so good we'll come back just for this! The cheese wasn't too thick or overpowering, and the macaroni thin and al dente. Couldn't have asked for more.

Here I am, slightly red faced from the wine, with my first birthday 'cake'! The waiter sang me a birthday song and it was hilarious, and sweet.

Thanks for celebrating my faux 30th with me, dear bestie!

The sticky date pudding had a special tag on it. We were really full by then, but still managed a good half of it!

The chocolate tart was really sweet... but rich and indulgent. For those with a sweet tooth you won't be disappointed.

Thanks to the good service and delicious steaks, I had a great experience at Bedrock Bar and Grill for my birthday lunch. I'll definitely recommend this place for some unpretentious and good quality steaks. Do check out their lunch menu if you can too. Otherwise, there's also 1-for-1 main course with the Entertainer App! Don't miss out.
Bedrock Bar and Grill
96 Somerset Road, #01-05 Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Orchard, Singapore 238163
+65 6238 0054
Lunch: Mondays to Sundays, 12pm to 3pm (last order at 2:30pm)
Dinner: Mondays to Sundays, 6pm to 11pm (last order at 10:30pm)
Bar: 12pm to 12am (last drinks order at 11.30pm)

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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Freeflow Charcuterie, Cheese and Wine at KUVO, #02-01 Orchard Shopping Centre, Singapore 238866

You know how after you've worked one whole week, that by Friday evening all you want to do is to unwind with some wine and light bites and chat with friends about all the horrors and joys you've been through? Well that's how I feel sometimes. And now, with KUVO's "Charcuterie, Cheese & Wine Unlimited" promotion  ($78++ each) that's available every Friday and Saturday from 9pm to midnight I can do exactly just that! This is such a great deal and value for money for all that you're getting so head there this weekend or the next 3 to enjoy it, for promotion will only run from now till 31 May 2015.

KUVO, situated on the second floor of Orchard Shopping Centre (just beside Robert Timms at Somerset), is the perfect place to hide out in town for a quiet Friday night with friends. 

The selection of ham and cheeses plus other delightful components makes the Deluxe Charcuterie & Cheese Platter a joy to have. There were cold cuts (Pork Salami and Prosciutto Ham). dried fruits, prune and apricot marmalade, toasted walnut and table wafers and not forgetting the Taleggio and Bleu de Bresse cheeses. Both were quite mild, to go with the wines and Friday.

We tried the 5 available wines that night. 

Antica Fratta Brut: Sparkling, slightly dry. I am not a fan of sparkling wines, so I won't be able to comment much!

Then the Pierre Jean Colombard Chardonnay, which is really pleasant. It was a bit sweet like a Riesling, light and fruity. I enjoyed this.

The next is of Italian make - the J. Hofstätter Weißburgunder Pinot Bianco, which has a more alcoholic taste and is heavier than the Chardonnay. I preferred the previous one!

Then we moved on to the reds. There's the Pierre Jean 2013 Merlot, which is really sweet and cloying when you first taste it. After a while when it had time to breathe, I noticed that it got less sweet. So let this one rest a bit if you were to pick it!

The unanimous favourite of the night would be the Markowitsch 2012 Pinot Noir from Austria, with its very modernistic label. It was very well balanced - not too dry or heavy. Apparently this is best paired with the Super Peking Duck from Singapore! I could drink half a bottle of this easily. Good thing it is free flow...

My friend had a cocktail instead, and this came out. What an amazing creation! The ice around it stayed put for the entire drink duration too.

There's also the 'deconstructed snickers' dessert we shared. Again it was indulgent, sinful and perfect for a Friday evening with the girls. I do think KUVO's particularly gifted in the desserts and drinks section so order with confidence!

I honestly think this is one of the best ways to spend a Friday night out in town -- not shopping, but drinking and having good quality cheeses as time fly by! Definitely order the Markowitsch 2012 Pinot Noir and nom away at the charcuterie and cheese.
#02-01, 321 Orchard Road, Orchard Shopping Centre, Singapore 238866
+65 67338272

Ambrosia: 12 noon–11pm daily, last order 10.30pm
Vine Lounge and Elixir Bar (Tapas & Wine): Sun-Thu & PH: 12noon – 1am, last order 12.30am
Fri-Sat & Eve of PH: 12noon–2am, last order 1:30am
Elixir Bar (Cocktails): Sun-Thu & PH: 5pm–1am, Fri-Sat & Eve of PH: 5pm–2am

Thanks to KUVO and Foodnews PR for the invite. 

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Monday, 30 March 2015

#RememberingLKY: With emotions

Repost from my personal Facebook:

What made LKY's passing once in a lifetime for me wasn't the fact that a great man died, but that for once, there was an immense outpouring of emotions from Singaporeans.

Public displays of crying, of singing, standing in the rain, queuing 8 hours.. All of which are abnormal. The old wept for the loss of a generation, the middle aged read about his quotable quotes and Western media stories, and the young simply followed. It was easy to get swept up by the river of tears, and join in.

I had thought we are a stoic bunch. We were the perfect result of traditional Asian parenting and a unique law ruling system. Emotions are never the first response. We are ruled by our head - practical and realistic.

Yet I've never felt more love and passion for the country that we live in than now. That is something a nationwide birthday celebration, even of 50 years, will never achieve. We have been numb to the yearly parades and fireworks -- just like eating moon cakes or dumplings, it comes and goes. But now, it's almost as if all the previous celebrations, all the heart maps and writing of your Singapore stories were a dry run for the past week's affairs.

The old man must have foreseen this. But I bet he would have wished to have seen it. A nation united, One Singapore. Only in his death did our songs ring true.

I wish we could all remember this sentiment, his love for the nation that we must carry on. I wish we can continue to make him proud. The tears should not be shed in vain for they are rare - we Singaporeans are typically a stoic bunch.

Remembering LKY in his own tears after LKY's cortege drove pass.#RememberLKY #AhKongLKY
Posted by Chia Aik Beng on Saturday, March 28, 2015

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Friday, 27 March 2015

Refreshed: Morton's Singapore at Mandarin Oriental, 4th Floor, Singapore 039797

After 16 years of providing quality steaks and stiff drinks, Morton's at Mandarin Oriental has been renovated to present a brighter and lighter atmosphere. I'm sure most of you would have heard about Morton's, or frequented it before. My department in my current company used to have this tradition where we'll celebrate a colleague's birthday with Morton's MORTinis and steak sandwiches at 5pm (we'll shut down our laptops and leave by 4.15 to grab seats). It was great fun. I'm happy to see that it's been renovated now - looks good!

Here's how it looks in the day - perfect for business lunches! Visit their website to look at their extensive lunch, dinners and private dining menus.

The main upgrade from the renovation came from the removal of the partition between Bar 12.21 and the main dining room, to give it a bigger sense of space. There's also new wall-to-wall windows that stretch the length of the main dining room and French windows around the bar so you can look in as you walk past the place on level 4 of Mandarin Oriental.

Bar 12.21 beside the restaurant does really great classic drinks and offers over 60 types of whiskies, in case you're wondering. 

My favorite would be the Lychee Mortini ($15.95), available from Mon to Sun, 5-7pm with free flow steak sandwiches.

We of course had the famous free flow Steak Sandwiches. 
So simple, so good.

Their bar bites in general are excellent. Very generous and tasty; not something they just heat up with a microwave. You can just tell. After steak sandwiches, my fav would be the Chicken Goujonettes ($16) with mustard mayonnaise. The mini crab cakes BLTs ($37) were really delicious too.

We had a look at the bar/lounge that's in the middle of the hotel as well (on the fourth floor). Changes are minimal since you can't do much structurally, but new carpets and furniture was placed. I liked the bar here because it feels so cosy and intimate!

Well now I feel like having an Appletini. I'll definitely recommend anyone looking for a quality bar or restaurant to check out the new Morton's.
Morton's The Steakhouse
Mandarin Oriental Singapore
Fourth Storey, 5 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039797
+65 63393740
Bar: Monday - Saturday 5pm - 11pm, Sunday 5pm - 10pm
Dining Room: Monday - Saturday 5:30pm - 11pm, Sunday 5pm - 10pm

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Monday, 23 March 2015

The only influencer that mattered. #thankyouLKY

I was tagged by Alvin to tell #MyLeeKuanYewStory, but unfortunately I never had the chance to meet the man. All I had was accounts, stories and tributes from others. So I don't have a story, but here's something else.

Back in the day and up till now, Lee Kuan Yew was the only influencer that mattered

The only one who brought a nation to where it is today, with his unwavering beliefs and hard truths.

He did not influence just Singaporeans and their future, but international leaders and our position on the world map.

He had his views and stuck by them, no matter what other people said, because he believed in it.

He spoke, he cried, and a nation watched and cried along with him. That, is influence.

He has lived a good long life. 91 years was plenty. And I got a feeling that if anyone got the chance the ask, the man would smile and go on to say that he had no regrets.

I'll raise a metaphorical glass to that, and say, let us celebrate his life.

Thank you Ah Gong for everything you gave to us.


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Saturday, 21 March 2015

Cafe Hangout: Paddy Hills at 38 South Buona Vista Road, Singapore 118164

Paddy Hills at 38 South Buona Vista Road is a three-week old cafe and bistro that has exploded on social media for their instagrammability, and in real for being one of the few F&B joints in a landed housing estate. I paid the cafe a visit last Saturday afternoon and like what DanielFoodDiary said, take your OOTD at the wall outside, and then go in for a cuppa. It was packed to almost full house at that time, so if you are hungry you might not want to wait for food there. Coffee is just fine. They must have spent a lot on the reno including investing in a Slayer, and it sure looked good! Hopefully they will be able to stay on.

Food is actually pretty pricey for what you get, - drinks start from $5.50 for a latte, to 11 for a milkshake. There's a huge selection available, which might not be the best thing for the kitchen (nor profitability). I rather have a simple but good menu. (Click to expand menu)

Have not really tried their dinner menu, but was pretty impressed that the kitchen is able to do morning, noon and evening service. No break! There's yakitori, food for sharing and single portion Lu Rou Fan which looked interesting. Paddy Hills seem to be leaning towards the Asian fusion style.

 The decor is really comfortable, New York loft type of style with chipboard and brick walls, plants and chrome piping. I am happy to report that there is zero grease smell even though the air con didn't seem strong enough for a bit at the beginning. Ventilation was well-done!

 We had the chance to sit by the window, where there's plenty of light for photos :)

 I already had coffee that day, so I didn't order one, but my brother did and got a swan!

I had the "Tastes Like Purple" ($7) cooler instead, which would be so much better with some alcohol. At $7 a glass, it also wasn't really worth it, even if the berry fruit juice was quite refreshing.

For food, we ordered two dishes, which took 1 hour and 15 mins to arrive. I kid you not. But we were warned when we ordered that it will take an hour, because the kitchen makes each portion when ordered. Still, I thought it was pretty long for something which could be assembled. 

The Golden Man Tou Sliders was $23 - but only had 3 sliders and some sweet potato chips (too oily). While the mantous themselves were nice and fluffy, we all can't help but feel that the sweetness from the buns overwhelmed the taste of the steak patty inside. Would I eat it again if it is free? Yes. Would I pay and wait for it again? No.

Then came the most instagrammable dessert in Singapore - the Berry Ricotta Hotcake ($19). Yes it looked pretty and fresh, it was, but... well firstly the portion was odd-sized. It simply cannot be just for two people because it's a lot. The hotcake itself tasted exactly like a flatted corn muffin (just less rough) but it was slightly on the dry side. Unfortunately, no ice cream around -- while the ricotta cheese was pleasant and creamy, it wasn't the best combination. Like I said on Instagram, I would probably only recommend it if it costs $9.50, is half the size, and comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Otherwise, rest assured that you won't be missing out.

Overall I would definitely recommend any self-respecting hipster to check Paddy Hills out but just don't have any high expectations for the food, and be sure to have a wallet full of cash. Oh, and charge your phone/camera so you can take plenty of instagram #foodporn photos and OOTDs. I might go back for coffee and more photos, but probably unlikely due to its location and price.
Paddy Hills
38 South Buona Vista Road, Singapore 118164
Tel: +65 6479 0800
8.30am – 10pm daily (no food orders from 5-6pm)

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