Our Picks for Great National Day Dining (and other fun bits) This August

It’s National Day excitement in Singapore again. The grand preview of the National Day Parade is just over, and we’re all gearing up for NDP fervour this Friday. We are celebrating our 54th anniversary unshackled from the greedy hands of colonialism, and also marking the bicentennial of Singapore’s ‘founding’….But that’s like celebrating Nigella Lawson ‘discovering’ pandan leaves. Us in Asia knew about Singapore for quite a number of centuries already before Mr Stamford decided it was a good idea to pop over and grab it for the ‘empire’. Anyways, before we get too snide, let’s refocus our happy thoughts. If you’re not off to the parade, there’s plenty to do around town to feel the Majulah spirit. Here’s some nice stuff you can do….

Forest restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa has a brilliant $54 menu featuring five courses by chef Sam Leong’s 76-year-old mother Mdm Pit Yoke Eng, available til end August. They promise to be heritage dishes that remind you of grandma’s home cooking. These include Mama Leong’s Soup of the Day; ‘Samsui’ Kampung Chicken with ginger and homemade special sauce, signature chicken rice ball and steamed Soon Hock with preserved vegetables and shredded ginger. For $54, we think it’s great value. What’s more, several other RWS restaurants have $54 national day specials too. They include a 4-course crab themed menu at Tangerine (we love its tranquil setting), and a three-course lunch set at TEPPAN by Chef Yonemura comprising Sautéed Foie Gras, Prawn Kadaif and Saffron Rice with Beef Consommé; Iberico Pork “Pluma” Steak 110g and a dessert. Reserve online at http://www.rwsentosa.com/sg54-dining with the promo code RWSNDP at least 24 hours in advance.

Easy Asian restaurant Fat Chap at Suntec City celebrates national day with a big dose of ASEAN neighbourliness. We love how they celebrate not just the anniversary of our independence, but also of our neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia who also celebrate theirs in August.  It has rolled out the ‘SIN-MYS-IDN Makan Trail’ menu for the entire month of August, showcasing favourites from the three countries. What looks good to us are Really Indomie Goreng ($12.90) with seafood and chicken satay, Lontong Sayur ($12.90) with sambal egg and beef rendang, sate ($18 for 6 skewers) including pork, Not Really Ramly Burger ($25) made with hand-chopped beef patty between homemade brioche buns and Durian Shortcake ($14) with homemade durian ice cream and cempedak brulee.

3 Temasek Blvd, Suntec City East Wing, #01-643, S038983
(Lobby of Tower 4)

Swissotel Stamford & Fairmont Singapore has the best vantage point for watching the parade and fireworks this year. If you didn’t book a staycation there, the next best thing to do is sit down with the girls and feast on a delicate yet patriotic afternoon tea ($52 per person) at Antidote, created by our friend and super talented head chef Tryson Quek. From a large, tiered jewel box are elegant bijou bites of inspired Singapore flavours such as chilli crab foie gras pao, lobster achar in coriander brioche, gula Melaka scones with kaya and clotted cream, pineapple tart with almond sable, and otah mousse with puff pastry and plenty others. If you’re feeling particularly celebratory, get a glass of Taittinger ($15) or don’t shy and go the whole hog with a magnum ($168).

The food at mod-Cantonese restaurant Mitzo is really excellent. But first, you have to get past its trippy lighting which, we admit, may not go down too great with our inner aunties. Settle down, and when the walls stop spinning, the reward is the five-course National Day Set Menu ($88 per person) made up of creative dishes inspired by heritage fare. Expect delectable like Scallop Spring Roll, Prawn with Red Yeast

Mayonnaise and Spicy Chicken Otah stuffed with Lotus Root, Abalone “Bak Kut Teh”, Cheese Baked Chilli Lobster and Braised Snow Vegetables and Sea Bass with Noodles. Finish with the Longevity Tea served with Sesame Ball. For hydration, take in patriotic cocktail National Treasure (S$21), an original creation of chamomile-infused
whisky, dry curacao, maraschino and grapefruit bitters, egg white and cranberry soda.  (HSBC, UOB and DBS cardholders get a 10% discount.)

Other fun bits

As an “alternative cultural celebration”, the Former St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital, a state property, is open on National Day as the venue for I AM CITIZEN. A collaboration between Singapore Land Authority and The Local People, it’s a day of art, musical performances, art workshops (eg. calligraphy, bookbinding and block printing) and an art market where local designers and makers showcase their handmade treasures. Catch the national parade live streamed on the rooftop and see the fireworks from this unique building too. This is a fantastic opportunity to explore a unique building no longer open to the public ordinarily. Get updates from the ‘I AM CITIZEN’ Facebook page.

 Details: 9 August, 5-11pm, at 5 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore 069183 (the former St. Andrew’s Mission Hospital, next to Maxwell Food Centre   

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Patriotic Dim Sum at Yan

It’s that time of the year in Singapore again when we all get into that flag-waving, red-and-white wearing mood. It’s National Day round the corner, and this year, we mark the bicentennial of colonialism on our shores. Hmmm…

Anyway, food is something hardly controversial in Singapore, and round the corner from the historic centre where Singapore all began is Yan, a nice, tranquil Cantonese restaurant in the National Gallery Singapore.

From now until the end of August, it’s serving up a patriotic menu where elements of hawker favourites are spun into re-interpreted dim sum. The steamed xiao long bao ($5.80 for 4) with herbal bak kut teh stock was surprisingly good with full-on BKT flavours; and the hefty pan fried chilli crab meat bun ($9 for three), nicely chewy, was rather elegantly laced with a touch of orange zest.

A Hainanese chicken rice rendition of the glutinous rice, or nuo mi fan was all right except for having a bit too much rice; and the mutton satay spring roll ($6.80 for three) was good, rich, savoury-sweet in flavour but might prove a little heavy for some.

Surprisingly the one dim sum that combined my two favourite nibbles – chai tau kway and chwee kuay – and which I expected to be the best, turned out the most disappointing. Steamed chai tau kway with chwee kuay toppings of preserved radish and garlic should logically be great. But perhaps it’s the perennial problem of too much of a good thing. Best leave these lovelies in its traditional form.

Carry on with patriotic fervour and have the delicious braised mee pok with crab meat and so much aromatic, delectable lard you can see it. It is uncompromisingly good, so just eat it and leave the calorie counting to another day.

NEW & NOTED: Singapore Highlights

Best ‘Eat’ Deal – 27 and 28 July At Li Jiak Ba Buey

I guess if you look really hard you could find a meal under $3 in Singapore but 0.50 cents is an impossible price tag in SG these days. So that’s why we think that the The Fifty Cents Fest (五毛钱美食荟萃) happening on 27 and 28 July 2019 at Chinatown Food Street, Smith Street spotlighting Singapore’s Hokkien heritage with over 40 stalls and mobile vendors peddling an assortment of more than 50 different savouries and sweets, is worth checking out.

50 Cents Fest - Black Hokkien Mee

Everything on the menu at this award-winning festival is priced from a humble S$0.50 to no more than S$3.00 and visitors get to taste traditional Hokkien dishes ranging from Hokkien-style rice, noodles and nourishing soups, to snacks, small pastries, and ice-cold desserts and drinks. See: http://www.thefiftycentsfest.com.sg/

WOAH! Made-in-Singapore Low Fat Protein Ice Cream

The packaging of this made-in-Singapore dessert, reads “WOAH” aptly preparing you for the $24 price tag for a 473g pint (but as they say, you probs can’t put a price on your health!). We think spelling it “WAH” would have probably gone down better with us Singaporeans and brought some ‘Singish’ into the global marketplace as the brand has some exciting development plans! All said, we like the idea of a health conscious ice cream which is has as it’s key ingredient L-Leucine, a powerful branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) which stimulates protein synthesis, helps build muscle mass, is burned by the muscles as fuel and is especially beneficial to older people. Pitched as a Protein Ice Cream with premium ingredients and complete with a low fat, low carb, low calorie, low sugar and gluten-free labelling, there are 6 flavours to love: Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Strawberry,Vanilla, Peanut Butter and Cookies & Cream, with new flavours like Matcha, Red Bean, Latte and Milk Tea, all in the works.

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Singaporean inventor and dutiful son, Edward Foo used his background in heath, nutrition and finance and put all 3 together into one product when he invented this humble but appetising food option for his mum who was undergoing chemo treatments in 2017. He shared samples of his concoction with her fellow cancer patients during his mum’s chemotherapy sessions. They loved it, the nutritionists loved it and even the kids that he gave it to loved it. It’s your turn to decide! See: www.woahprotein.co

 

 

KOMA opens at MBS

Another reason to visit MBS this month… KOMA, a brand new Japanese restaurant and sushi bar by leading hospitality company TAO Group opens 26 July with a modern interpretation of Japanese cuisine, featuring original creations by its Executive Chef Kunihiro Moroi and what they are calling an ‘elevated’ dining experience.

Main Dining Room (2)_KOMA

Bells and whistles meets bold and distinct – walk into a striking 20 metre-long passageway flanked with orange arches that greet guests as they arrive, to a dramatic 2.5 metre-high, one-of-a-kind bell that overlooks a traditional Japanese foot bridge and reflecting pool. Inside there are 230-seats, an oversized sushi bar and a private dining room at the mezzanine. See: www.komasingapore.com

MOONCAKE updates happening this week on our IG account – look up the latest and yummiest finds that Ee Waun has snapped up at https://www.instagram.com/simplyfabulicious/

Elaine

 

The Old Man – Intriguing Libations That Pay Tribute to Hemingway

I got a chance to check out The Old Man recently, the Singapore sister-outlet of the Hong Kong of the same name, and which recently took top place in Asia’s 50 Best Bars list.

A fairly new addition to Singapore’s hip Keong Saik enclave, this quiet, very grown up bar bears no signage, and for a while I was left quite lost, looking at the row of shophouse units which all went by the address 55 Keong Saik Road. The tricks is to look for a hanging pineapple shaped lamp that marks the spot.

The breezy white-washed exterior brings you into a darkened, masculine space dominated by an I-shaped counter. On the wall is a mural of tropical plants and a mosaic installation of Hemingway’s silhouetted profile. Indeed, the bar is a tribute to the literary giant who loved his tipples.

The menu is concise and tight, based on the first ever menu of its Hong Kong outlet. The cocktails—often technically complex using tricks like distillation, fat washing, fermentation —are named after Hemingway’s works, with flavour profiles as complex and intriguing as the writer himself.

Start gently with Islands In the Stream, a tall refreshing tipple of clarified pink grapefruit, salted gin and soda. Fizzy, tangy and fruity, with a slight edge, what’s there not to like? After that, all other drinks that came were quirky, adventurous, odd—but they all worked.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro is, as Louie the bartender described, “an alcoholic Yakult”. This creamy, mildly berry flavoured curiosity comprises gin, lacto-fermented raspberry, a touch of citrus to give it an edge and a dusting of 30-month aged gruyere to give it just a hint of a salty counterpoint. Unbelievable as it may seem, it worked nicely.

Still on milky libations, Death In The Afternoon is a shocking caterpillar green, lassi-like long drink of pandan yoghurt countered by sparkling wine and absinthe. Again, bizarre but enjoyable.

The Sun Also Rises starts off an ugly moss green, almost black concoction which you might hesitate to try. Put it to the light and miraculously, it reveals a bright green hue—great party trick and conversation starter. The most complex drink on the house, it takes days to prepare its individual components such as including copra fat-washed applejack, curry leaf infused gin and sweet vermouth sous vide with pandan. It is a fascinating jumble of herbaceous, citrus, soft rounded pandan, hints of peppery anise, and mellow applejack and vermouth. Again, delightful.

All drinks on the menu are at a reasonable $17.

 

Culina at COMO Dempsey – Great Steaks and Gourmet Finds

Culina at COMO Dempsey recently moved to new premises at Blk 15, just across the old parade square from its former location, and I must say I like it so much better here. It’s a brighter, more cheerful space, with a much more spacious and welcoming bistro, and a peekaboo kitchen where you can catch glimpses of Chef Timothy at work. There’s also an eye-catching Parisian-inspired wine bar bang in the middle of the market space, and individual counters of produce presenting seafoods, meat, deli and natural cheeses that make browsing more focused. Flower boutique Grandiflora, from Australia, and well know for huge statement bouquets, occupy a lush colourful corner. (Look out for their fragrances too.)

There are some noteworthy products, like ‘Message In The Bottle’ a concentrate of red prawn essence by Rosso Di Mazara made by freeze drying the prawn heads and turning it into a “100% pure product” perfect for cooking, jars of brussel sprout powder, Awani jam from Bali, Ghee Hiang’s famous teelseed oil from Penang and Kwong Who Hing’s premium soy sauces (which you can otherwise get only at the factory door or online). All great for personal indulgence or gifts for your foodie friends.

A delight for all upmarket aunties, here lies the elusive Ghee Hiang sesame oil and Kwong Woh Hing premium soy sauce.

At its breezy bistro, apart from the focused menu, you can also pick meats and seafood from the counters at the marketplace and get it cooked for you with an additional prep fee of a reasonable $15-$25.

Lunch started with some drippingly fresh and sweet Tasmanian Blackman Bay and Japanese Mie oysters (from the seafood counter, from $3 each), served with nahm jim and Tetsuya’s oyster vinaigrette. Then came a unctuous French onion soup ($15). Made with cider, thyme, chicken and beef stock and topped with a generous layer of molten gruyere, it was savoury-sweet in flavour, moderately rich in texture, nicely balanced, neither too cloying nor salty. A must-have if you ate here.

Yes this pot of soup is super tiny, set against the tablespoon for scale. Rest assured this is just a tasting portion, not the actual size. But isn’t it cute?

For mains, the Black Onyx sirloin medium-rare was absolutely divine in the fullness of its hearty flavours and juicy tender bite. The few potatoes that came with it are no sideline players either, so good and tasty and indulgent that they were, shamelessly deep-fried in duck fat. The chimichurri sauce was a lovely match, even if the steak stood out well on its own.

Sumptuous, divine, one of the best steaks I’ve had in a while.

If you must have something else, perhaps in a moment of untimely dieting, then a thick slab of crisp herb-crusted hapuka fish from New Zealand, slowbaked and served with sweet campari vine tomatoes, broad beans and basil, is a great comfort. I am not one for western-style fish dishes, but this was exceedingly enjoyable, much to my own surprise. Sweet, intense flavours and moist flesh with sweet tomatoes made it most delightful. Both beef and fish were options directly from the marketplace counters (market price + $15-$25 prep fee).

If one must have fish in the face of steak…

For peckish pickings, have the truffle fries ($15), moreish sticks of crisp potatoes, fluffy on the inside, with truffle paste, white truffle oil and truffle salt.

Triple whammy truffle fries.

While I could not stay for dessert, I understand the tiramisu ($15) is a good choice.

Worth noting, the bistro is spacious, with car park smack in front of the entrance, and the path from car to restaurant is easily navigable by wheelchair.

Block 15 Dempsey Road,
Singapore 249675
T: +65 6474 7338

A Horizontal Tau Sar Piah Tasting – See How The Cookie Crumbles

From left: 603 TSP, Thye Moh Chan and Loong Fatt

Last week, I needed to have some tau sar piah (TSP), my all-time favourite pastry. For me, the best is still Ghee Heang from Penang, but there was this small problem that it was up in Penang and I was not there. So in compensation, we went to three places that scorching Singapore afternoon to seek out our local options. First, Thye Moh Chan, then the famous Balestier Loong Fatt tau sar piah, and finally 603 Tau Sar Piah. The expedition was purely on a whim, but we had ourselves a small horizontal tasting of the pastry, which is by no means representative of Singapore’s TSP landscape. Nevertheless we share our tasting notes and observations.

Loong Fatt Eating House & Confectionery – A huge favourite here, Loong Fatt’s TSP pastry is delicate, crumbly and buttery. The fat gave it just that nice hint of moistness, enough to make it a smoothly textured, fun-to-eat pastry rather than a dry, flaky one. It crumbled elegantly, so the pastry broke away neatly with the smaller pieces holding together nicely. The filling was sweet, very moist and pliable, with a texture of lotus paste rather than the dry-ish, sandy filling that I was expecting.

Loong Fatt’s buttery crumble encasing a moist, almost lotus-paste like filling. Note the pastry is yellow-hued from the butter.

The thing is, this TSP had a distinct taste of butter or margarine in it, which is rather odd for Chinese pastries. There should not be butter in the mix. Then we discover that the decades-old Loong Fatt had Hainanese roots. Like so many early Hainanese in Singapore, the founder had worked with Europeans and learnt to use butter. So he had incorporated butter into his version of this Chinese pastry, imbuing it with the indulgent crumbly texture that many like. It didn’t quite work for me because the buttery taste came on front and centre. Having said that, it was a nice pastry—just not one that I want from a tau sar piah.

Ancient salon seats at Loong Fatt.

The buying experience was business-like. A long queue snaked halfway down the length of the shop which had not changed since the 1970s. It was a scorchingly hot afternoon, but it was a huge testimony that so many would brave the heat to buy their pastries and cakes. An old aunty sat in the middle of the shop, assembling a sea of Loong Fatt paper boxes. She was one of the long time staff there, and literally runs the place, I understand. Another younger aunty was dealing with the customers.

Behind her, about eight people beavered away in the kitchen in front of an army of whirring industrial fans, kneading and shaping and baking the pastries non-stop. All done by hand too. Our queue moved quite quickly and the wait was perhaps no more than 10 minutes.

Apart from the tau sar piah, there were retro cakes like butter and chocolate cakes. Their cream puffs were also big favourites, so much so that by the time it came to our turn, there were only four left. We bought two—they were good, old fashioned flavours.

603 TSPs waiting their turn

603 Tau Sar Piah – Down the road from Loong Fatt is 603 TSP, a quiet, neat little shop with the benefit of air conditioning. It offered more flavours, including a peanut filled tau sar piah, beh the sor, wife biscuits, large cream puffs, and other western cookies.

Large cavities, moist filling and large flakes of pastry
See how the cookie crumbles. In the forefront. Thye Mog Chan’s packed cavity and thin flakes of pastry. In the back, 603’s specimens have collapsed into large layers. The bottom came off in one, unbreakable piece.

On tasting them back home, we find that 603’s TSP had big airy cavities in the middle, with less filling than Loong Fatt’s TSP. It was also paste-like though slightly less moist and sweet and actually quite nice. The pastry was flaky and unfortunately, hard. It broke apart in large, thick sheets. It was dry and could have done with more shortening, I think. The bottom of the pastry where it was all pulled together and sealed before baking, was tough too – it could not break away easily. Very messy to eat. Flavour-wise, it was fine; but the texture was the hardest of all three we tasted, and took more effort to chow down on.  Some may like it, but personally, it was not for me. The peanut-filled variety was an explosion of filling — super generous, and nicely moist. If you like peanuts, this is definitely a winner. Their retro cream puffs are larger than Loong Fatt’s and also very good, with soft tender choux pastry and a nice smooth custard inside, which was just sweet enough without being cloying. Frankly, I think I’d get their cream puffs anytime, but not sure about the TSP.

Thye Moh Chan is the most expensive of the lot. You be the judge if it’s worth the price tag.

Thye Moh Chan – For me, this was the best of the lot, but compared to the 80 cents I had to pay for Loong Fatt, this comes at a hefty $2 a piece. In Thye Moh Chan’s TSP, I can actually taste the mung bean, and the filling was, while still paste-like, the least moist and ‘paste-y’ of the lot. The filling was generous, not too sweet, and the flavour was more like what I expected. The pastry was not as crumbly (being a nice element) and buttery as Loong Fatt’s, but the mouthfeel was refined, with delicate thin flakes as you bite down. We tried the Teochew yam filling piah as well – it was smooth, but somewhat bland and not too exciting.

The ‘mixed’ pastry by Thye Mog Chan. Love the sweet complexity of flavours and textures.

What I enjoyed most was the the ‘mixed’ pastry—it wasn’t strictly a TSP having no TS in it—comprising red bean paste and a soft, slightly sticky filling of winter melon, melon seeds, spring onions, and glutinous rice flour. Nice.

The different ways the pastry flakes tell you a lot about its texture.

My final conclusion, I still like Ghee Heang and Him Heang of Penang the most. But I am sure there are TSPs in Singapore which I would really like. For TSP connoisseurs out there, I am well aware that the few I picked are quite random, though I think it encompasses the two grand dames of TSP in Singapore. But my hunt is still on. We are not done yet.

Loong Fatt TSP : 639 Balestier Rd, Singapore 329922
603 TSP : 603 Balestier Rd, Singapore 329904
Thye Moh Chan : 133 New Bridge Road, #01-45 Chinatown Point, 059413

NEW & NOTED: Party Peranakan Style In Singapore

Here’s a party to rival all parties – the Kamcheng Peranakan Gala Dinner on 7 June at The Marina Mandarin.

I remember back 12 years ago when I actually lived in Singapore, a leisurely drive down the North South highway took you to the best Peranakan restaurants. Back then they were in Malacca and once there, you could to eat your way through their famous Peranakan restaurant row and stock up on an endless supply of pineapple tarts, cincalok and belachan.  It seems these days that Singapore has gone way ahead of Malacca with the number of new Peranakan restaurants that have sprung up to level the playing field and bring authentic homestyle Nonya cuisine to the tables here.

So if you are in love with all thing Peranakan – up and coming in the red dot, our lively island in the sun – this is the P party to rival all parties.  The Kamcheng Peranakan Gala Dinner features 8 chefs and 13 courses on one night serving up “makan, merriment, music and joget” shares Organiser and The Peranakan’s Executive Chef, Raymond Khoo. The dining event kicks off the 3rd annual Peranakan Festival in Singapore and a series of other festival events. See here.

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Event details:
Friday, 7 June, 6pm at The Marina Mandarin Singapore

Menu: 
13 course dinner prepared by 8 Chefs – Aziza Ali (author, host & chef), Devagi Sanmugam (The Spice Queen), Damian d’Silva (Folklore), Elizabeth Chan (Kueh Ho Jiak), Lisa Kassim (Asian Food Channel), Lynda Seow and Lionel Chee (Casa Bom Vento), Raymond Khoo and Carol Ee (The Peranakan) as well as Chefs Chan Tuck Wai and Daniel Tan from Marina Mandarin Singapore.

Dress code: Batiks and Sarong Kebayas

Entertainment:
Make Over Nyonya showcase will dazzle one and all on a custom catwalk, decked out in batik Qipao by designer Ada Goh and hairstyle creations by Shunji Matsuo Salon
Live music and entertainment that will get everyone in the mood to Joget and Gelek Gelek into the night

Shopping Bazaar – featuring authentic Straits Chinese crafts and artisan designs, vendors displaced by the closing of Sungei Road Thieves’ Market (open to the public from 4pm to 6pm)

Charity silent auction in aid of Assisi Hospice

Venue:
Marina Mandarin Ballroom, Level 1, Marina Mandarin Singapore, 6 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039594

Tickets:
Priced at $148nett, $168nett or $388nett. Early bird special 
available when you buy here * Bookings made by DBS Credit cards will receive a $30 The Peranakan restaurant voucher with tickets priced at $148 and $168, while $388 tickets will be bundled with an $80 voucher.

Elaine

 

Lunch at the New One-Ninety – Breezy, Luxe and Nicely Priced

Hotel restaurants are often overlooked, but look hard enough and you’ll find some that give good value. Lunch at One-Ninety at the Four Seasons Singapore has always been one such, especially with its charming lunch buffet. Its appetiser and dessert buffet, which is usually more than enough of most of us, is just $38. Add another $10 for a main course. Add to that an indulgent, tranquil setting away from the harsh afternoon, plus good service and you’ll find the entire package really good value.

We were recently there for lunch, and was surprised to see it so nicely renovated. What was once a dark, heavier setting has now been opened up with literally more light, a brighter coat of paint, lots of foliage and furniture that lightens the whole look. It’s urban but breezy. Taking pride of place now are two buffet tables with a country kitchen look, and a shiny, copper-edged show kitchen. We like what we see.

A crusty light house-made sourdough bread to start, served with seaweed butter. The bread is made with two kinds of flours from Hokkaido which is milled only when it is ordered.
Crab claws at the appetiser buffet. We don’t often see crab served this way.

As for the food, One-Ninety’s lunch buffet has always been healthy, light and creative, but under new chef Kamarl John, it’s been taken up a notch. Apart from the heirloom tomatoes that has always been on the buffet, other picks I liked were the smoked mozzarella, green beans, grilled pumpkin, and there’s also a lovely hummus, seared tuna and beef tartare, amongst other yummies. The chef seems to have a thing raw food, and on the a la carte is a small menu of such options. If you opt for the buffet with entrée, choices of main course include spicy Korean pork belly with ssamjang and sesame leaf, seabass curry, palak paneer with bryani rice and wagyu rump cap steak with fries ($15 additional).

Dessert was a well curated but modest spread: the strawberry cream cake was lovely, have the meringues and kueh kosui. The chocolate tart looked very promising.

One of the best seafood platters we had in ages. The quality of the seafood is faultless.

From the a la carte menu, I had a taste of the spectacular three-tiered fruits de mer or seafood tower which was served with dramatic flair, with dry ice cascading down its sides. The seafood was fabulously fresh and succulent – perfectly juicy jumbo prawns, sweet Maine lobster tails, clams and mussels, crab, and chopped sashimi, including a most delightful serving of Hokkaido scallops. I can still taste it as I write. Absolutely lovely. This is served with a delicious calamansi aioli and a ginger vinaigrette on the side. At $78 on the a la carte menu, it’s perfect for two people—with a few flutes of champagne.

Deceptively simple–fresh avocado salad

Other a la carte dishes that stood out were the avocado salad with baby cress ($18) and lobster & prawn toast ($8). The salad was a surprisingly delectable dish with creamy subtle avocado being a foil to the piquant baby cress, and contrasted with a nutty, earthy counterpoint of slightly charred, crisp puffed rice. The lobster and prawn toast was a straight-up comfort snack, crisp crackling pastry encasing a generous stuffing of sweet seafood.

Under the ‘snack’ listing, a more-ish lobster and prawn toast with creamy aioli.
The same lobster prawn toast, with its substantial stuffing exposed. What’s there not to like?

 

Roasted seabass ($38), a heftily sized main dish. Pity it was rather overcooked.

Good to note also is the small selection of raw dishes on the a la carte menu such as traditional beef tartare ($24) and Hokkaido scallops ($24) and pomelo dressing. My only beef is that the wines are painfully expensive.

To mark its reopening, there’s a 25% off your dinner bill every day at One-Ninety now until June, 25% off the seafood tower for lunch and dinner daily, and free corkage for dinner for every table of 8 diners minimum.

Eewaun

Native Kitchen – Island Flavours Perfect For Kids And Grandparents

We had a chance to lunch at newly opened restaurant Native Kitchen recently. Located at the new Village Hotel on Sentosa, this family friendly restaurant serves what they call ‘island cuisine’—a mish mash of dishes from islands around the world. On the menu are dishes that hail from Bali and Singapore to the Caribbean, Jamaica and Hawaii, many of them for sharing.

I guess this could work, as it fits in quite nicely with the Sentosa resort vibe. Add to that a spacious, natural light-infused space with lots of greenery, it’s a family friendly place to heave the kids and grandparents. What struck me was that it was breezy, friendly and particularly wheelchair friendly. (See note at bottom)

The food here is generally good, with a few misses, and the prices particularly palatable. For starters, the watermelon and feta salad ($14) was refreshing, but not remarkable, striking me as something that could be easily whipped up at home. Instead,  get an a la carte serving of the island ceviche ($18), comprising barramundi cubes, cucumbers and carrots marinated in lime juice and coconut milk. It was creamy, yet light, with mild piquant flavours, and it was definitely something more unique. On the other hand, forget the appetizer platter – the fried calamari and chicken wings were rather dry and tough.

Mains are big and hearty. The meat platter is a good choice too for carnivores to share – the short ribs, pork shoulder and jumbo satay were pretty good, even if the striploin was dry.  Another good one to have is the big kahuna burger ($28, good for sharing) with chopped steak, grilled pineapples and thick bacon, and a very healthy and prettily presented steamed barramundi with yellow squash and bright purple potato mash. The fish was very nicely done, all juicy and fresh and sweet-fleshed. The sweet potato mash was most enjoyable too.

Of all the mains, my favourite was the Balinese style bebek goreng ($25), a deep fried duck with complex, aromatic Balinese spices, coconut rice and excellent tempeh. For one who is no fan of tempeh, this is something quite outstanding indeed. It was chewy but soft, with a good bean flavour but without the bitter edge that your usual supermarket tempeh often has. For desserts, have the burnt banana crumble with vanilla ice cream.

A quick eyeball down the cocktail menu showed some good standards that fit the island resort theme. Margaritas and sangrias are priced at $16, and jugs of it start at $48.

*Good to note: the restaurant is wheelchair friendly, coming in from the carpark at the same level with no steps to navigate. The spaciousness of the restaurant and the generously distanced tables are a bonus too.

Native Kitchen
Village Hotel at Sentosa
10 Artillery Avenue
Tel:+6567220818

Eewaun

New & Noted – Great Food Finds with a Local Spin

A couple of foodie finds caught our eye lately, ranging from new restaurants to tantalising heritage menus which we would happily dive into. Here goes:

Just launched in Pahang Street, No Milk Bistro is a quirky name until you realise its forte is Teochew style fish soup, done traditionally, with no cheating addition of milk. But there’s more to it.

The first level houses The Fish Soup Boutique, where its signature dish is fish soup that’s “deceptively clear and full-bodied, finely balanced with a generous garnish of Japanese Nori in place of seaweed”, made with mackeral and seabass. Other complementary dishes include black char siu and grilled pork belly, and another signature, a spicy fragrant egg noodle dish which offers a local spin on mala, served with grilled fish or pork belly.

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Upstairs, The Rooftop Bistro has a more international spin. Open from 5.30pm, it offers Mexican, Italian and local fusion cuisine like beef rendang pasta. Cocktails are available too between $10 and $20, and good to note, every night is ladies night.

Where: 18 Pahang Street

Premium Madness - Rock Lobster

 

If you want a good range of local comfort food at good value, head to Ginger at Parkroyal Beach Road for its buffets. The weekday lunch spread  is priced at an impressive $35 per adult and offers up local faves like kurobuta pork belly kong bak pau, kueh pie tee, curry chicken noodles, Penang style prawn noodles and chicken rice. Things are raised up a notch for dinner ($58) with baby lobster laksa, braise pork trotter mee sua soup, Singapore chilli crab, and salted egg crab. Weekend buffets (from $58-$68) include soft shell crab, white pepper crab, wagyu beef cheek rendang, whole baked nonya salmon and roast wagyu beef. Sometimes we don’t need glamorous. Good value and soul food that resonates hit the spot.

Tel: +65 6505 5710

Weekday Lunch Buffet

Eewaun