Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Event Report: McDonald's Singapore launches Ebi-Kase Cereal Prawn Burger

Flavour bomb explosion! I was invited to try out the new Ebi Burger from McDonald's on Monday, and was intrigued because I was told that it is different from the regular Ebi burger, but wasn't told what exactly was different. So imagine my surprise when I found out that in 2015, McDonald's is launching a new version of their Ebi Burger, made with cereal in the batter called the Ebi-Kase Burger! What's also amazing is that it came with sweet potato fries, which I believe is also a first. And just to throw in a sweetener -- there's also a Honeydew McFlurry ($2.90) in town. This new menu will be available in stores starting tomorrow, 3 September, in all stores.

Credit: McDonald's Singapore

I had loads of fun at the media preview invite, where the team put in so much effort to "Japanify" the area, including serving the sweet potato fries in a lacquer bowl, on a lacquer tray, on top of a bamboo mat. We were also provided Welcome Drinks -- the Ribena Chill (on offer at $1.95) or Mango Peach Chill. Both were really delicious and refreshing by the way, and not too sweet (most important).

During the tasting they even provided props and costumes for us to take photos with! So much effort!

Taste-wise for the burger, I definitely liked the thicker batter, though I did not necessarily taste any of the cereal, and the prawns were of course the 'pasty' sort instead of springy, real prawns (duh!). The chives on top of the bun were a nice touch, lending it a bit more fragrance. The main thing that will strike you with the burger though, is the spicy sauce, which assaulted my taste buds. I believe the old Ebi burger did not have a spicy sauce. It gave the burger a good kick.


Personally, I felt that the sweet potato fries stole the show from the burger. The fries were crispy and almost like what you'd get in hipster cafes for half the price? If only this is a permanent item on the menu! And because it isn't, I'll urge everyone to give this a try. Even better than curly fries, IMO!

The honeydew McFlurry was interesting. I generally dislike artificial fruit flavourings like banana or orange, but for some reason this artificially flavoured honeydew went really well with the ice cream. Pro tip -- dip your sweet potato fries in it and get a taste of Japan!

Arigato McdSG and OMY for inviting us to this Ebi-Kase experience! Me and @Stooffi definitely enjoyed ourselves.


From 3 September for a limited time only, the Cereal Ebi Special will be available from $7.45 for a Single Cereal Ebi, crispy Sweet Potato Fries (M) and a small Coca-Cola. The Honeydew McFlurry will be available from $2.90.

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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Best cakes in SG: Mad about Sucre at 27 Teo Hong Road, Singapore 088334

This is the story of how 4 friends ended up eating 5 cakes. We walked into Mad About Sucre after sharing 2 appetizers and 3 main courses at The Lokal on a Wednesday night, and two of our friends have pre-ordered 4 cakes because they have tried and loved it. We saw one more on display which looked delicious and figured that we'll try all of them.

The shophouse was decorated like a classic French cafe, with a little corner to sell knick knacks at the entrance. Very pleasant, not noisy and boisterous, perfect for tea and cakes after dinner.

Cakes are arranged by order of intensity, starting from the lightest to the heaviest (the chocolates), left to right. It's $10.80-$12.80 each, and you can pre-order them for special occasions by sizes - Small ($60), Medium ($90) and Large ($120). They also do custom cakes which you can check out their pricing here.

Also, the unique thing about Mad about Sucre is that every cake is paired with a cup of uniquely blended tea, meant to complement the cake. Now that's just heavenly matchmaking!

We started with the Coco Citron, made with coconut mousse, light lemon curd, shattered crystals and sablee tart. It was paired with a very delicate French pear with Japanese yuzu, white orchid and Tibetan chrysanthemum tea. I loved this cake very much because even though I normally dislike desiccated coconut, this was light, but blended so well with the lemon curd which did not overwhelm. I think that's what everyone likes about this! 4.5/5


Next, the Luna de Miele, also known as the Moon of the Honey. It consists of French spring honey mousse, blood orange caviar, grapefruit as a surprise, savore sponge and short pastry base. I like how this was inspired by the blood moon lunar eclipse. Very creative, and tasted pretty damn good! It was paired with a slightly lighter tea of French apple, Spanish blue ginger, Tibetan camomile and Cambodian honeycomb. 3.8/5


Then the best of the lot - the Passionne, made of light cheese with passionfruit, sponge soaked with dew of passionfruit, sweet short pastry and cocoa nip crunch. It was paired with tea of Spanish blood orange, California carrots, Cambodian mango, specifically to clash with the cake's strong flavours. The creamy but airy texture was enhanced when you have some of the husk of the cocoa nips that went with it. 4.8/5


Then we had the Almond and Vanilla (not actual name), which was paired with tea of African lychee and Moroccan roses. It was described by Eric, host of the cafe as, "Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston on the same stage. Because vanilla and almond are powerhouse flavours that they are bringing back."

Here's how it looks once you cut it open. Beautiful! We all enjoyed it, but truthfully when compared to all the other cakes, this would get voted off the stage, only because it's more appealing for almond lovers, and the center surprise was not as perceptible. 3.5/5

Lastly we had the piéce de resistance, the San Domingue ($12.80). There's a chocolate jewel box filled with rum that you break first so that it surrounds the sphere of 70% dark chocolate mousse that coats a caramelized plantain center. Bananas, chocolate and rum? Of course that is a sure win! It was paired with tea of Moroccan mint with Cambodian lemongrass and Japanese green tea with Vietnamese lotus flower to help cleanse your palate. If there's a third cake that I'd come back for, it will be this. 4/5


We might have had 5 of the best cakes in Singapore. It is really that good. If there is one cake shop that you have to try this year, go to Mad About Sucre, and be willing to spend because every penny is worth it.
Mad About Sucre
27 Teo Hong Road Singapore 088334
+65 6221 3969
Tue - Thu: 12:30 - 22:30, Fri - Sat: 12:30 - 23:00, Sun: 12:30 - 17:00
Last Orders 30 mins Before Closing
Closed Mondays

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Sunday, 23 August 2015

Brunch review: FYR Cycene Onc Drinc at 19 Boon Tat St, Singapore 069619

If you are in the Chinatown area hankering for some brunch that is not your usual eggs and sauce, I'd highly recommend that you check out FYR Cycene Onc Drinc at Boon Tat Street. Even though I have no idea how to pronounce the restaurant's name and always think of it as "fire cy-scene onk drink" (and found out later that it's FIRE Kitchen and Drink), that didn't stop me from enjoying what I'd think of as European styled cuisine with Asian, Mediterranean spices. The hearty, charcoal oven cooked dishes are perfect for a long lunch or weekend brunch at their breezy, light and airy restaurant.

Source: FYR Cycene Onc Drinc
Here's the menu. Simple, but plenty to choose from. Prices are all quite reasonable too! All their dishes are cooked in the Josper Wood charcoal oven, as written.


We started off with the thirst-quenching and ever so refreshing Iced Teas - The Hibiscus Mint ($4.50) was to me the best among the trio! 

Their Lattes ($4) were also really surprisingly good,for a restaurant because it was made with their premium La Marzocco Espresso machine. Mine was smooth with a hint of sweetness from the milk. Great accompaniment to breakfast.

There's also a new introduction: the Party Detox Basket ($10). Cure a hangover by combating it with some Blood Mary, DIY! There's vodka, grilled fresh tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce at rock salt for our disposal to concoct our own poison. Mine was pretty strong for a Saturday late morning, I'd say!


We then started with some Small Bites. The Skillet-roasted Escargots ($12) were an intense pot of buttery garlic and snails, with some bread to soak everything up. They were good, I won't really recommend ordering them for brunch.

There's also the Grilled Squid ($12), which was quite juicy and tender, even if its too early for seafood. I liked the mix of textures and hint of charcoal on the squid. But I am just not a big fan of squid in general. 


I really liked the Yam & Sweet Potato fries ($8) though! Especially with the decadent and tangy cheese sauce and tomato salsa. Perfect for a group of 4 to munch on while waiting for the food to be cooked! They were very addictive, be warned.


Then one of the highlights of the meal in my opinion - the Baked Beef Hash ($18) with ribeye, corned beef and spring onions crepes! Seriously this is just... a flavour explosion of homely spices, tastes and everything. I totally did not see that coming.

Dipping the spring onions crepes into the broken egg was so SHIOK. You can easily share this dish between 2! Or have 3-4 people, order this plus a main and the fries.

The Baked Java Curry Chicken Ragout ($15) on the other hand wasn't as impressive as it sounded. The curry taste was rather overpowering with something like cumin even though it wasn't strong, and I am just not sure whether it's that enjoyable. The chicken was also imperceptible. 

We have the "celebrity" dish of the day then - the Grilled Steak & Eggs ($25), comprising of a striploin with a sunny side up, some side salad, and some toast. Before we get to the meat, I must tell you to check out the garlic butter that was served with the toast. I melted and went to heaven with it. How can butter, which is already awesome, be any more awesome? Turns out it can with garlic. Of course the steak itself was a chunk of charcoal-grilled perfection - not too tough, with juices still running amok in the flesh as you sink your teeth in them. Meat lovers, your dream.

What I thought was a strong contender for not-so-carnivorous eaters was the Baked Blinis ($15) which came with an awesome slab of perfectly grilled salmon, some Avruga caviar on a sunny side up as well as grated Bottarga (salted, cured fish roe) that's on the baked blinis (the doughy pancake made with yeast butter underneath the egg). Honestly, the salmon was the real deal for me. It literally melted in my mouth! So fresh! So healthy! Omega-3!


OK, so that was it for the small bites and mains. Then we got to the dessert that rounded the meal off to a great finish with a signature Baked Pistachio Melt & Pandan Ice Cream ($10). There was pistachio cream that flowed out from the cake -- it was like a green lava cake, only with more delicate flavours like pandan and pistachio! Very innovative, and made for great Instagram photos of course.

Some of us from the tasting session! Really enjoyed brunching with these girls. 


I'd say despite the fierce competition in Chinatown/Boon Tat/Telok Ayer area, FYR Cycene Onc Drinc managed to hold their own with their brand of charcoal-grilled dishes and innovative dishes to jolt jaded brunchers from their eggs benedicts. Definitely get their fries, the baked beef hash, and either the steak or salmon!

FYR Cycene Onc Drinc
19 Boon Tat Street, Singapore 069619
Mon - Fri: 11:00 - 23:00, Sat: 09:00 - 23:00, Sun: 09:00 - 16:00
+65 62213703
www.facebook.com/FYRBTS

Thanks to Brand Cellar and FYR Cycene Onc Drinc for the invite!

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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Event Report: Naiise launches at Clarke Quay Central

Naiise has officially launched their largest lifestyle concept store yet in Singapore, replacing Goods of Desire (G.O.D) at the Central, Clarke Quay. I was invited to their launch party (yehhh~~) and had tonnes of fun checking out the items available.

A photo posted by alexis cheong (@alexischeong) on

Wishing them all the best! Do check them out in stores or at www.naiise.com for local designs, goods and products.

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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Bakery with a Restaurant: Dining at PAUL, #B2-07 Marina Bay Link Mall, Singapore 018984

Do you know that PAUL, the French bakery that many of you know at ION, also offers food? And that there's a branch at Marina Bay Link Mall basement 2? Well, I certainly did not know that until I was invited to celebrate Bastille Day, the French National Day, with them!

Here's our tasting menu for the night. It was plentiful with 3 types of salads, 3 mains and a selection of pastries and tarts for dessert.


 I found the salads to be simple, but rather authentic. French cooking is similar to Italian in that aspect -- as long as the ingredients used are fresh, it will taste great. No need for bells and whistles.

The Cold Tofu Salad

The Grilled Beef Salad

The Salad Nicoise (with tuna!)

For mains, I truly enjoyed the Roulade au Poulet (the chicken), but there were also fans of the grilled eggplant with tomato sauce (vegetarian option too!). The Cod Fillet was also decent. 




Desserts were awesome, and tasted as good as they looked! PAUL is known for their breads and pastries, being a French bakery. The reason why there's also food was because in the past, the bakery in the village is the only place with an oven. So people will bring other things like chicken and fish for it to be cooked there. Isn't that cool?

I also "made" a fresh baguette from scratch under the tutelage of PAUL's Master Baker. It's amazing how a combination of flour and yeast can be transformed into a crackling good bread in an hour!


PAUL is a great place for simple, casual French cuisine. Don't expect fine dining or complicated gastronomical cooking -- it's really a bistro that you can get breads and food from when you need to grab a bite! 



PAUL 
8A Marina Boulevard,
#B2-07 Marina Bay Link Mall, Singapore 018984
Daily from 9am to 9.30pm
Tel Bakery Shop: +65 6509 8339
Tel Restaurant: +65 6509 8329

Thanks FoodNews PR and PAUL for the invite!

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Monday, 10 August 2015

New Dishes at Ding Dong: Modern style x traditional taste at 23 Ann Siang Rd, Singapore 069703

I had the pleasure to try out the new dishes on Ding Dong's menu one fine day for lunch and I'm happy to report that Head Chef Jet Lo and Chef-Owner Ryan Clift of Tippling Club did not disappoint. It's always a bit tricky when you take old familiar Asian favourites and try to come up with something refreshing, because palates might resist change if not coddled and persuaded along.

We also tried some delicious cocktails by Silas Lee, Head Barman of Ding Dong, working in
collaboration with Tippling Club’s Head Bartender Kamil Foltan to concoct magical potions like the Stylo Milo ($20), a dessert-style cocktail of Hakushu distillers reserve, green chartreuse and Milo concentrate served in a crumpled green cup. I totally dug the Ca Phe Sua Da 3 ($21) made with Vietnamese coffee, VSOP cognac, Amaro and agave nectar and the Ding Dong Sour 2.0 ($20)! In those cocktails you'll find ingredients like jackfruit, pi pa gao, ba kwa, yuzu.. all Asian flavours incorporated into alcohol.
For food we've tried a medley of items, all delicious and prepared with the finest attention to details. First we had the Vegetable ‘Kon Lao Me’ ($18) – a rendition of the traditional noodle dish from Chef Jet’s hometown, Sabah in Malaysia, that substitutes noodles with shredded root vegetables, and served with sliced Mangalitsa pork imported exclusively from Hungary. Next, the savoury 'Nan Ru' Pork Ribs ($17) combines both red and white fermented bean curd with a ginger and apricot sauce that's made in-house. 



We also tried the Spicy beef salad with bittermelon, asparagus & tamarind ($19) and Asam pedas salt water barramundi with okra & baby eggplant ($22). Both were really light, refreshing and perfect for lunch. 


What's more, there's a Lunch Promotion now, where for $25++ per person you get to have 3 dishes from the menu that changes monthly. Top up an additional $10++ for a glass of wine or Suntory premium malt.

Ding Dong has managed to stay on top of the dining scene with fresh, new variations on Asian dishes drawing from the young but talented Chef's background and family history. For something more of a exploratory dining experience and less of the 'I need to feel stuffed with carbs and curry' type of meal, go to Ding Dong.
Ding Dong
23 Ann Siang Road, Singapore 069703
Mondays to Fridays: Noon - 3pm, 6pm - midnight, Saturdays 6pm - midnight
Closed on Sundays
+65 6884 6884

Thanks to Bless Inc Asia and Ding Dong for the invite!

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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Review: District 10 Expanded Menu at UE Square Shopping Mall, Singapore 239917

I had the pleasure to try out some of District 10's expanded menu with 15 new dishes by Executive Chef and co-owner Luca Pezzera (previously from the award-winning Bonta restaurant) a couple weeks back. Dining and 'wining' at District 10 is always a pleasant experience because you get hearty, quality, value-for-money dishes that satisfies but does not break the bank. And I'm happy to report that all the new dishes did not disappoint, only adding to the quality of the amazing steaks and burgers you get here.

The Rocket Lettuce Salad ($14) was not new, but I couldn't resist having some greens in the form of my favorite leaf, the arugula. A simple dressing with pine nuts and some olive oil, cheese and cherry tomatoes and I'm happy!

OK, what's new is this Quattro Formaggi pizza ($22). The four cheese pizza was speckled with bits of blue from the blue cheese, and that gave it a really great flavour. The crust was thin, airy and fresh from the oven - just about one of the nicest pizzas I've had recently! If there weren't other dishes I'll probably be able to finish all of this.

There was the Slow Braised Tripe with Tomatoes, Chili and Parmesan Cheese ($16) to contend with. Tripe is not something one would normally see or order in an Italian restaurant in Singapore, I'd reckon. We'll normally go with safer choices like parma harm with melon or burrata with tomatoes. So I was a little apprehensive when asked if I wanted to try it, but I was glad! The tomato sauce was well balanced - the chili gave it a mild spice kick while the cheese and tangy sweet tomato tangoed with each other to produce the umami taste everyone loves. Because it is slow braised, the tripe was also soft with a slight bounce to it, and not rubbery or anything like that.

Then another simple but great dish - the Black Ink Tagliolini ($24) with jumbo crab meat in tomato basil sauce. They weren't kidding about the jumbo crab meat! Generous chunks (not silvers, chunks) of crab adorn the jet black pasta. Again, this was something that looked like could be too much for 1 person, but after tasting, feels like it can be tackled with just enough room for some tiramisu.


And that was it! The two of us were too full to get anything else, but I was super pleased with all the dishes I had that night at District 10, but also because the restaurant had managed to maintain their standards and produce quality food at affordable prices for those who'll like to treat themselves to something fine, but not 'fine'. Still dreaming about that 4-cheese pizza and tripe!

District 10
81 Clemenceau Avenue, #01-15/16/17, UE Square Shopping Mall, Singapore 239917
+65 67384788
Dinner from 5.30pm to 11pm (Sunday to Thursday); 5.30pm to 1am
(Friday & Saturday)

Thank you District 10 and FoodNews PR for the invite!

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