Eating in Singapore

[Invited Tasting] 8-Course Omakase Menu at Big Sake Bar

In conjunction with Big Sake Bar’s first year anniversary, an eight-course omakase menu has been introduced and it features premium ingredients like grade A4 wagyu beef and otoro, plus an optional sake pairing option, with a choice from three seasonal sakes to suit the different customer preferences.

Located at the Concourse Skyline Building, Big Sake Bar is an izakaya concept restaurant, which boasts a large selection of over 40 different kinds of Japanese sakes and whiskeys. When I first stepped in, my eyes were immediately drawn to the back wall with all the various bottles on display!

The rest of its interior has pre-war Japanese beer posters on its brick walls and is reminiscent of a nostalgic era.

This Japanese gastropub’s trademark “大” (Japanese kanji character for “big”) emphasizes its philosophy, to be “big on food, big on service, big on sakes”. It is run by three good-looking young men, (from left to right) Co-Owners Jeremy Goh, Daniel Kwok and Head Chef Andy Quek.

In order to preserve the freshness of the ingredients and to ensure a great experience, Big Sake Bar will only seat six guests at the main sushi counter each night for their new omakase menu.

This will ensure that diners get to enjoy the full omakase experience as they watch Chef Andy at work. You can even chat with the friendly chef between courses, especially if it’s immediately after the dish has been served to you (i.e. before he starts to get busy preparing the next course).

Big Sake Bar’s new omakase menu will be available for a limited time only from 23rd October to 31st December 2017.

8-Course Omakase Menu
(Available for Dinner from Monday to Saturday, 6pm to 11pm, with advance reservation)
SGD$88 nett per person for the eight-course omakase menu.
SGD$108 nett per person for the eight-course omakase menu with sake.

Century Egg Tofu

This to me is somewhat of a fusion dish as it is usually found on the menus of Chinese restaurants. The century egg has been marinated with Chef Andy’s secret sauce, which is sweet and masks the strong flavour of the egg, so those who aren’t fans of the “100-year-old egg” may find themselves liking this! In addition, the silky smooth tofu is made in-house by the chef and is topped with sprinkles of crispy tempura flakes and slivers of spring onions. Overall, it was a nice start to the meal.


Sashimi Platter

This comprises of botan ebi, mekajiki (swordfish), salmon and aburi (i.e. seared) salmon. The seafood was fresh, the prawn was plump and firm and my favourite was the aburi salmon.


Wagyu Beef Sirloin

At first glance, this may look like a humble dish, but these are slices of grade A4 Kagoshima Wagyu Beef Sirloin flown in from Kyushu, Japan and is definitely a must-try! Although the accompanying ponzu sauce complemented the flavourful beef, I felt that it tasted just as good on its own. The marbling of the meat wasn’t overly fatty and was just right. For more information on beef grades, you can click here.


Sushi Platter

When we first set our eyes on this dish, the initial thought was on what that strange spiky thing at the far end was! It’s actually the prawn head from the botan ebi sashimi that we had earlier and a clever re-use of ingredients so that nothing is wasted.

We were told to start off with the shoyu ikura (salmon roe) and work our way down from left to right to gradually build up the flavours.

I don’t like eating ikura in Singapore, as it usually tastes a little fishy in the country’s hot and humid weather, but the one here was quite alright to me. The next morsel to chomp on was a piece of maki, topped with yuzu infused tobiko and the flying fish roe was really fresh and crunchy. Following on was the tamagoyaki, which was a bit overly sweet to me and I couldn’t really taste the flavour of the dashi stock in it (I’m quite particular when it comes to tamagoyaki, as this is one of my personal favourites).

The final bite was a challenge to eat as it was a deep fried prawn head, sat atop a blob of mentaiko mayo sauce. Now this is the typical sort of unusual food item found at Japanese izakayas and goes well when downed with alcohol. Don’t worry, it’s really crispy and you can swallow everything, plus it’s extremely flavourful! The trick to eating this is to chew off all the protruding sharp ends, which are very crispy, then munch carefully until you reach the main section of the prawn head.


Wagyu Beef Maki

This is actually a temaki (i.e. hand roll), made with wagyu beef as its key ingredient. The beef was seasoned with salt, which made it a little salty, but when eaten together with the other ingredients in one bite, the flavours actually went well together. I much preferred the previous beef dish to this one, although this was good too.


Negitoro Don

This dish uses otoro (the fattiest portion of the tuna, found on the very underside of the fish – this cut is fatty almost to the point of falling apart and can literally melt in your mouth) and is topped crisp green onions sitting atop a bed of premium Japanese rice from Akita prefecture in Japan. A raw quail’s egg is served on the side and you are supposed to add the egg into the rice bowl and mix well before eating.

Thus, I poured the egg in and voila – this is how the dish typically looks like at most restaurants in Japan:

This particular dish is probably what most Japanese will consider to be luxurious, as it contains the most precious part of the tuna.


Asari Miso Soup

People usually think of miso soup as an ordinary and simple soup dish, but the flavours of the soup stock may vary and the ingredients found in the soup may differ too. This one contained plump and firm asari clams, enoki mushrooms and cubes of tofu and the white miso-based soup had a fuller body and flavour, as the stock was made from boiling the clams.


Goma or Yuzu Ice Cream

We had the yuzu ice cream and its zesty flavour was really refreshing, plus it contained bits of peel, which gave each mouthful an extra dimension. It also helped to cleanse the palate from all the flavours from the entire meal.


(Optional) A tokkuri「徳利」 of guests’ choice of sake from a selection of three premium sakes, Toyo Bijin, Nabeshima “Pink Label” or Karakuchi Ki-ippon. Diners will first do a tasting of all three sakes, then pick their favourite one to accompany their meal.

From Left to Right: Karakuchi Ki-ippon, Toyo Bijin and Nabeshima “Pink Label”.

More information on the three different sakes:

Masumi’s Karakuchi Ki-ippon「純米吟醸 辛口生一本」 is a delightfully dry junmai ginjyo (milled to 40-50% removal of each grain of rice) from Nagano Prefecture. The word “karakuchi” means “dry” and this sake is said to be popular with drinkers.

Toyo Bijin「東洋美人」, a junmai daiginjyo (milled to at least 50% removal of each grain of rice) from the Sumikawa Shuzojo Brewery in Yamaguchi prefecture, has a clean entry with a slight sweet finish. This was previously served to President Vladimir Putin during a dinner party at the Japan-Russia summit meeting in December 2016 and it is said that Putin enjoyed the taste of this sake.

Nabeshima “Pink Label”「鍋島 特別本醸造 ピンクラベル」 is a tokubetsu honjozo (milled to 30-40% removal of each grain of rice) from Kashima City in Saga Prefecture. It is a refreshingly sweet sake, with slight effervescence and an excellent aftertaste. This was my personal favourite as I like my alcoholic beverages to be on the sweet side.

Regardless of which sake you choose, all of them go down well with the entire meal.

Overall, the meal was quite satisfying, the ingredients were fresh and my favourite dish was the Wagyu Beef Sirloin. Surprisingly, I did actually enjoy that crispy prawn head although it looked more intimidating than appetising – do give this a try and you may find that you’ll want seconds!


Address:

Big Sake Bar
302 Beach Road, #01-02 The Concourse Skyline, Singapore 199600.
[Map]

Getting There by MRT:
Nicoll Highway station exit A, take the connecting overhead bridge to cross the highway to get to The Concourse (about a 5min walk)

Seating Capacity
Indoor Table seatings – 24
Indoor Bar counter – 6
Outdoor – 12

Contact/Reservations Tel: +62912700 / 96567105

Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday: 5pm–12am
Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays.

Email: enquiry@bigsakebar.com

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Categories: Eating in Singapore, Japanese, Media Invite | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beat the Queues at popular eateries with DBS Fastrack Apps

Hate long queues? Are you one of those who always dabao food/drinks on behalf of your colleagues, friends, family or perhaps for yourself? Read on to find out how these mobile apps could help save you a lot of valuable time! Queuing may gradually be a thing of the past for you…

List of apps currently available:

Several merchants (as seen from the above photo) have partnered with DBS Fastrack to provide a solution to enable customers to order and pay without having to be physically there. More eateries may be added to the list in the near future.

What’s in it for me as a consumer?
Well, one benefit is that you can avoid queuing and save that precious time to run other errands. After all, in our fast-paced society, time is money.

These mobile apps are especially useful when ordering takeaways, as you can go pick up your food/drinks when they are ready for collection.

Some establishments like Five Star Restaurant, allow customers to drive by to pick up their food orders. With their app, it allows for a cashless drive-through and customers can just grab and go – this minimises inconvenience to other road users as previously customers who stop their cars to pick up their orders may obstruct the traffic flow in the area.

From the merchants’ point of view, they benefit from these apps as it increases their productivity and they can serve more customers due to a reduction of time required to handle cash and return change.

How does it work?
I decided to give it a go and went down to Koufu to check out the weekday lunch queue in the CBD area. This was the queue at the Duck Rice stall and although the queue wasn’t exactly that long, I decided to order duck rice to go, via the Koufu app.

When you launch the app, you can select the stall which you wish to order from and a choice of food items will be displayed. Ohh…I discovered that there is a 10% discount if you order via the Koufu app!

I chose the Specialty Braised Duck Rice, checked that the correct quantity was specified and that I was doing a takeaway (although dine-in option is also available).

Add the item to the cart and when you are ready, click on the cart to do a checkout.

The estimated waiting time will be shown next and you will be prompted whether to proceed with your payment.

The amount to be paid is displayed and you can choose to settle by DBS/POSB Debit or Credit cards, or by DBS Paylah!

I chose to pay using DBS Paylah!

After my payment had been processed, a collection slip was provided and this is to be shown to the stall when collecting my food.

At the stall, they had also printed a collection slip with the queue number and this sat next to my packet of duck rice.

I have to say that the ordering process and payment was pretty straightforward. The best part was getting a discount on the food and knowing what time I had to go collect it. Do note that if you want to use DBS Paylah!, you’ll first need to apply to use internet banking.

As my office will be moving to the CBD area early next year, I am happy that I will have some solutions available for me to beat the long queues during the lunch hour madness. For those groups of colleagues who want to dine-in but don’t have the habit of using tissue packets to reserve tables at various eating places and one magnanimous colleague usually needs to sit at the table and wait for the rest to return before heading to order his/her food, the good news for this person is that he/she can sit at the table and order food via the app whilst waiting! Alternatively, everyone can sit at the table and chat, order via the app and walk over to pick up the food once it is ready.

Each mobile app differs according to the merchants’ customizations. Most will offer takeaway options, but some may also allow dine-in orders to be placed via the app. Hmm…I can’t wait to go try this out at Tiong Bahru Bakery and Miam Miam, both of which have notoriously long queues during the peak mealtimes.

These apps are available for download in both the Google Play Store as well as the Apple App Store. All you have to do is search for “DBS Fastrack” and a list of related apps will be displayed. Do try out the apps and let me know if you find them useful.

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KoKoPanda – A Korean Superfood Dessert and Beverage Parlour

Officially opened on 16th December 2016, Kokopanda is a new Korean soft serve and beverage concept focusing on “superfood” toppings to cater to the health-conscious. Yes, you can indulge without feeling guilty!

They offer three unique soft serves, which include White Cremo (a rich smooth and creamy Korean soft serve ice-cream made from premium Korean milk), Black Yogo (a black frozen yogurt made from roasted coconut husk that contains edible activated charcoal, which helps to cleanse the body of toxins) and for the undecided who want to try both – KoKo Twisto (a combination of both Black Yogo and White Cremo).

White Cremo

Black Yogo

Koko Twisto

Quality ingredients sourced directly from Korea are used, including Korean Milk and a selection of superfood toppings like KoKoCrunch granola (a blend of dried fruits and rice puffs) and dried fruits that are rich in vitamins and fibre. The best part is that the fruits are not artificially sweetened and if you are familiar with Korean strawberries and tangerines, they are naturally sweet! The Korean Milk used here is preservative free and thus has a shorter shelf life, so this is regularly flown in fresh from Korea.

A variety of dried fruit is available and this includes Jeju tangerine, Korean strawberries, pear, apple, persimmon, orange and lemon! My favourites are the pear, tangerine and strawberries.

Interestingly, when you eat the dried fruit on its own, their texture is what you’d expect dried fruit to be like, but when you put them into the soft serve, some of them turn a little crispy! I tried this with both the tangerines and strawberries and there was an added crunch to them!

Fruit Bombs (made from real fruit juice) and Jelly Pearls (made from seaweed) are some of the other toppings that are available. If you like nuts, you can try the Honey Butter Almonds, which I absolutely loved!

In addition, there are also Jellies and Chia Seeds that you can choose to add to your dessert or beverage.

A variety of different drinks can be found on their beverage menu, which include Seoulistic Iced Tea Lattes, Korean Fruit Vinegar Ciders and Fruit Enzyme drinks, Exotic Gangnam Iced Teas and ChiaChaCha, which is a refreshing combination of 100% coconut water with Chia Seeds.

One of their signature drinks is the Jeju Green Tea Latte and you can have this with black KoKoPearls, i.e. if you are the type who’s into bubble teas. I usually like my drinks with 0% sugar and I found the green tea latte with black pearls to be just right for me as it wasn’t too sweet and I think those who don’t like the slightly bitter taste of Japanese matcha may like this as this Korean green tea doesn’t have that same bitter taste. Premium grade Jeju green tea is used and it contains natural polyphenols and antioxidants.

Those who can’t do without sugar haven’t been forgotten and similar to other beverage outlets in the market, you can customize your sugar levels, but of course to be healthier, try to slowly reduce your sugar intake and go for 0%! ^_^

Although I’m not a hugh fan of coconut water and healthy drinks, I did try the ChiaChaCha with added Mango Fruit Bombs and I have to say that those fruit caviars burst easily in your mouth and made each sip of the drink very flavourful! Hmm…possibly something I can consider drinking more of in the future, with health benefits!

Weight conscious individuals can opt for the Green Grapes or Green Apple Cider with Chia Seeds, as these are made from pure fruit vinegar ciders known for extra health benefits such as weight loss and maintaining blood sugar levels.

If you haven’t already noticed by now, the shop’s logo has a cute panda in it and you can find this mascot on both the drink and dessert cups, on the staff’s t-shirts, as well as at the shopfront.

On what sets KoKoPanda apart from other dessert and beverage outlets, Katie Kang, Managing Director for KoKoPanda states: “We are all about superfood desserts and beverages. We noticed that many of the drinks and desserts available today are mostly made from sugar and syrups with little goodness included. We are here to spread our concept of guilt-free indulgence by adding the benefits of superfoods into delicious desserts and beverages that people already enjoy.”

I’ve always thought of health foods as being bland and taste-wise not to my liking, but this has somewhat altered my perception. Healthy desserts and beverages that taste good too! Do come and give it a try!

As part of their Opening promotions, Kokopanda will be having a special Buy-1-Get-1-Free promotion on all items on their menu during their launch weekend from 16–18 December 2016.

Thanks to KoKoPanda for the dessert and beverage tasting!

Address:
KoKoPanda
#B2-60, Plaza Singapura,
68 Orchard Road, Singapore 238839.

Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm Daily

Categories: Cafe, Desserts, Eating in Singapore, Korean | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Seoul Garden’s All-U-Can-Eat Buffet at Harbourfront Centre

Seoul Garden has opened a second outlet at Harbourfront Centre #01-65/66 and this is a buffet restaurant (different from their hotpot restaurant located at the 2nd floor).

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For those who are unfamiliar with their buffet concept, both cooked food and uncooked ingredients are available in the buffet spread. You can choose to cook the raw meats and seafood on the grilling pan or in the hotpot(s) at the table.

Here’s a look at the buffet spread…

Take your pick from a selection of meats (beef, lamb, chicken) that you can put on the grill.

Premium meats and seafood are available in the dinner buffet – I was eyeing the crayfish and scallops! :p

Other items at the buffet for the hotpot/grill:

Various sauces to go with your food, or you can also use them as an additional marinade before cooking the various meats!

For those who can’t wait for their food to be cooked, a selection of cooked and ready-to-eat dishes are available.

Sushi:

Salad and pickles:

Instead of a soup base, you can opt for Queso Fundido, which is a cheese dip and these are some of the foods that go well with the dip!

Moving along…here are the drink dispensers, plus an ice shaving machine (at the far right of the photo below), which you can use to make your own version of ice kachang.

Fruits and ingredients for your ice kachang:

Ice cream and available toppings to go with it:

Both Western cakes and Asian “kueh“:

We tried the Thai Tom Yum hotpot and the Queso Fundido (cheese dip), which was topped with kimchi and grated cheese. I know the combination of kimchi and cheese sounds weird but surprisingly it actually goes well together!

  

In case you are unsure of the optimal temperatures to use for cooking, we were told to use P2 for the cheese dip, P4 for the grill and P3 for the hotpot.

Okay…time to start cooking and tucking in!

The good thing is that this restaurant has certainly kept up with the times! I’ve patronised Seoul Garden since my schooling days and when I first entered the workforce and in the past, after a BBQ meal, your clothes and hair will end up smelling of the food that you had cooked earlier – well, gone are those days as the restaurant has a ventilation system which absorbs the cooking “smells” and when you are done with your meal, your hair and clothes still smell exactly the way they did as when you first entered the restaurant! ^_^

I think the buffet spread is quite decent for its price and I loved the grilled meats, seafood and the cheese dip!

Thanks to Seoul Garden for the invite to the food tasting!


Address:

1 Maritime Square, #01-65/66 HarbourFront Centre, Singapore 099253.

Telephone: 6710 6339

Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:30pm

Buffet Prices:
Weekday Lunch – Mon-Thur (11:30am-4:59pm), Fri & Eve of PH (11:30am-3:59pm): Adult $21.99++, Member $17.99++, Child $8.99++
Weekday Dinner – Mon-Thur (5:00pm-10:30pm): Adult $28.99++, Member $25.99++, Child $11.99++

Weekend Lunch – Sat-Sun & PH (11:30am-3:59pm): Adult $25.99++, Member $22.99++, Child $8.99++
Weekend Dinner – Fri-Sun, Eve of PH & PH (4:00pm-10:30pm): Adult $31.99++, Member $28.99++, Child $11.99++

Student Meal is available for Lunch on Mon-Fri, excluding PH (11:30am-3:59pm): $14.99++ (present bus-pass, matriculation card or student pass before ordering)

Senior Citizens (60 years and above): Mon-Fri (11:30am-4:00pm) – $15.99++

Kids (below 1.0m in height) dine for FREE on Sunday with every paying adult.
Child price is applicable for kids between 1.0m to 1.3m and those aged 9 years and below.

Soup Base (freeflow, per table):
Basic Soup Base $1.99++
Soup Upgrade $5.99++ which gets you a choice of any 2 soups OR 1 soup & 1 Queso Fundido (cheese dip)

Soup flavours include:
Herbal Beef Broth, Ginseng Chicken, Chinese Herbal, Thai Tom Yam, Seafood Kimchi and Miso.

Categories: Eating in Singapore, Korean, Media Invite | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

SAVOUR Wines 2016

For the uninitiated, SAVOUR is Asia’s premier gourmet festival which features the finest food and drink, live demonstrations and culinary shopping, all in one special purpose-built location. This second event in 2016 is held from 9-11 September and has its focus on wines.

DBS Treasures held a private event for their clients (before the event opens to the public) and each person was allowed to bring a friend along. I was glad to have the opportunity to check out the event’s offerings a day earlier and went to check fill my tummy with food first before going on to sample the wines. A doctor friend who was there said “why waste time on food when the wines are so good?” but I live to eat and I guess she loves alcohol more than food!


GOURMET VILLAGE

The two photos below were taken about 5mins before the event closed as I was too pre-occupied earlier with the lovely food and wine, so I didn’t take many shots of the venue, especially with the crowds.

Wandering past the various food stalls, everything looked good but I couldn’t possibly eat them all in one night and so I had to prioritise and only select the dishes which “called out” to me.

These were some of the dishes that my hubby and I had tried…

RESTAURANT EMBER – by Chefs Pan Sihui & Alex Phan
Sakura Ebi Pasta ($12)
Sakura Ebi Pasta with Konbu, Chilli and Crustacean Oil

This was a lovely start to my dinner and I enjoyed the crunch of the Sakura shrimps, mixed with the other flavours in the pasta.


Foie Gras ($12)

Foie Gras with Chinese 5-Spice Caramel and Market Fruits

The foie gras was cooked perfectly and I thought it was a refreshing touch to have it served with jambu slices.


XPERIENCE RESTAURANT, SO SOFITEL – by Chef Trevor Paulo

Beef Short Rib ($12)
Onion Puree, Broccollini, Onion ‘Paper’, Shallot Jus

This seemed to be one of the crowd favourites and the beef was very tender and easy to slice! The various accompaniments and seasonings in this dish seemed to revolve around onions but I couldn’t even tell that THAT piece of crispy “paper” is made using onion! Interesting!


MITZO – by Chefs Nicky Ng & Ben Yapp

Truffle Noodles with Prawn Ball & Lobster Claw ($12)

There was a crazy queue at this booth and I guess everyone must have ordered this dish!! It was served piping hot and the taste of truffle was well balanced and did not overpower the dish, which came with a prawn and a lovely piece of lobster claw. Ohh…the indulgence!


RABBIT STASH – by Chefs Matthew Mok & Soon Teck (Skydy)

48hrs Slow Cook Wagyu Beef with Trompette Stew, 58 Degrees 1st Born Egg and Crispy Brown Rice ($12)
French-Singaporean inspired dish with an Oriental Marinated Beef slow-cooked for 2 Days

This was another booth which had extremely long queues, in both the ordering queue as well as the collection queue. Loved the flavours in the beef, which was served with mixed greens on a croissant-like pastry that you can use to clean up the plate especially if the egg yolk has broken and oozed out all over the plate. The crispy brown rice added an extra crunch to the dish.


ANGELA MAY FOOD CHAPTERS – by Chefs Tee Lee Hing & Angela May

Lobster and Crab Roll with Salted Egg, White Wine and Kabocha Squash
+ Locally Grown Curly Leaf Kale Salad and Pomegranate Seeds
+ 1 Dark Chocolate Cream Choux with Toasted Marshmallow Topping
($26)

This was one of my initial picks for food but I ran out of food coupons and was saving the last two for dessert! There was a lady showing us a sample of the dish, so I asked if I could take a picture of it. Apologies, but I can’t tell you how it tasted.

Anyway, it was time for dessert!…

BIRD BIRD – by Chefs Fiona Ting & Bjorn Shen
Durian Softie Pie ($12)
Durian pudding, almond pie crust, caramelised white chocolate, gula melaka caramel, brown butter soft serve

I was drawn to this dessert as it sounded interesting with all the varied ingredients! Wow! There were so many flavours and textures in this dessert – it was creamy, yet crunchy and sweet but also with a hint of saltiness. The best part was when you got to the durian pudding, which actually contains real durian flesh!


There’s also an Oyster Bar and Cheese Room, which is located next to the Wine Market.

I found popcorn here…

…as well as oysters.


WINE MARKET

Go on a wine tasting journey where there are hundreds of specially curated wine labels from all around the world to choose from!

Access to the Wine Market is limited to Wine Tasting Card holders only (max 700 per session).

The Wine Tasting Card (Single) – $15 (online pre-event price) includes the following:

1 x Wrist Band for single person access into the Wine Market
1 x Wine Tasting Card with 10 Tastings
1 x Badoit Sparkling Water (330ml)
1 x Limited Edition SAVOUR Wine Glass

Here’s an idea of what you’ll get, minus the wrist band and the fact that my wine tasting card has been used up.

I had initially started tasting wines from the booths which seemed to be more popular with the crowds but as I am not a wine connoisseur and my preference is for sweet wines (yes, I love dessert wines!), so after about 3-4 tastings, I decided to switch focus and hunt down only sweet wines! ^_^

My favourites of the night were…

De Bortoli Emeri Pink Moscato NV (Australia)


Little Eden Moscato (Australia)


Balan Viola Moscato NV (Italy)

Even if you are not a wine lover or you don’t drink alcohol, you can still come to SAVOUR Wines 2016 and check out the food!


SAVOUR Wines runs from 9-11 September 2016

9th (Friday): 6pm – 11pm
10th (Saturday): 11am – 4pm & 6pm – 11pm
11th (Sunday): 11am – 4pm & 6pm – 11pm

Location: Bayfront Avenue, next to the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre

Entry to the Gourmet Village is complimentary to all visitors. However, the purchase of dishes and drinks are on a consumption basis.

Access to the Wine Market is ticketed and limited to 700 guests per session, so if you’re a wine buff or are looking to learn more, it is to best pre-purchase your wine tasting card to avoid any disappointment! I hear that they are selling out fast…

Categories: Eating in Singapore | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Set Lunch at Janice Wong Singapore

Janice Wong is a Singaporean pastry chef who is known for her creative desserts. When I heard that she had opened a restaurant which serves other food apart from desserts, I was curious and went to have a try…

The interior of the restaurant has an interesting piece of art which looks like something edible.

Looking at the menu, the prices aren’t cheap and we didn’t want to spend too much for lunch, so we decided on the set lunch (SGD$28++), which comprised of three courses.

Before our food arrived, we were given 4 types of sauces/accompaniments to go with our dishes.

Clockwise from Top Left: Ginger slivers in vinegar, chilli sauce, XO scallop sauce and a truffle infused minced garlic paste. No instructions were given as to pair them with which dishes, so I guess we had to get creative ourselves.

The first course was a choice between Hot Explosion XLB (Whisky Pork or Truffle Cheese Chicken) or Whimsical Buns (Liquid Egg or Minced Vegetables).

We ordered the Truffle Cheese Chicken flavoured XLB (i.e. Xiao Long Bao), which was black in colour and came in 2 pieces, but was a bit boring to photograph, so we decided to place it together with the Liquid Egg Whimsical Bun, that we had also ordered, for the shot below. ^_^

Surprisingly the combination of truffle, cheese and chicken worked in the XLB and it was tasty! The Liquid Egg Whimsical Bun on the other hand, tasted like the liu sha baos that can be found at other restaurants.

The second course was a choice between two different noodle dishes and we ordered one of each.

Corn Noodles (Sous Vide Chicken, Peanut Broth) – my hubby liked it but I thought it tasted a bit on the light side.

BlackRed Duple Noodles (Braised Beef, Fried Mushroom Stems) – the soup was quite tasty but the visually striking noodles were a little limp in texture.

The third and final course was of course dessert and we were given a choice of Tiramisu, Chocolate Praline Cake or a Selection of Mochi. We chose the first two as I’m not really a fan of mochi.

Tiramisu (Mascarpone, Coffee Sponge, Expresso Ice Cream) – the flavours were true to how we expect the dessert to taste, but probably a bit stronger than the ones that you’ll find elsewhere.

Chocolate Praline Cake (Poprocks, Vanilla) – very chocolatey cake which seemed to have been soaked in some alcohol. The peanut butter was smooth and cleverly hid a fair quantity of pop rocks. Everything on the plate amazingly worked well together, with the pop rocks giving a pleasant surprise in your mouth!

Overall, I felt that the desserts fared a notch better than the food. I’d probably come back again to try their high tea which has some dim sum items but more desserts.

On the other side of the restaurant is a sweets boutique, where you can find many interesting and colourful creations!

All of them look too pretty to be eaten! I like the ones that look like Lego bricks!


Janice Wong Singapore

Address: 93 Stamford Road, National Museum Singapore, 01-06, Singapore 178897.
[Map]

Opening Hours:
Monday – Saturday: 11am – 11pm (last order 10:30pm)
Sunday: 11am – 6pm (last order 5pm)

Telephone: +65 97125338

Email: info@janicewong.com.sg

Categories: Eating in Singapore, Fusion | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Chocolate Origin – the place for chocolate desserts and now a new Dark Chocolate Gelato!


Chocolate Origin, the dessert cafe which is known for their rich luscious chocolate ganache cakes and artisanal coffees, has launched its first ever Dark Chocolate Gelato, a project which took five years to finally create that perfect recipe!

This new dessert will be available first at their Bugis Junction outlet on 18 June 2016, followed by their other six outlets islandwide from 19 June onwards.

I was delighted to have been invited to be one of the first to try out this new frozen creation (made with premium fresh milk and rich Belgian Chocolate!) and found it to be a deliciously rich, smooth and creamy gelato, which tasted just like their signature chocolate truffle cake! One taste and you will know what it means to be in chocoholic heaven!!

This Dark Chocolate Gelato will be priced at $4.50 per scoop, $6.50 for double scoop and $12.50 for a pint (takeaway only).

The inspiration behind Chocolate Origin’s Dark Chocolate Gelato was for our customers to enjoy our chocolate ganache cakes in the form of a gelato especially with the hot weather we’ve been experiencing recently,” said Kian Yong, General Manager of Chocolate Origin. “We spent hours in the R&D room perfecting an Italian gelato recipe in order to tweak it to suit Singapore’s palate and we are very happy with the final product.

Chocolate Origin will be giving out FREE GELATO on Saturday, 18 June 2016 from 10:30am to 9pm, to the first 1000 customers at their Bugis Junction outlet!


Left: Goh Kian Yong, General Manager of Chocolate Origin

The first 50 customers for the day or registered fans at gelato.chocolate-origin.com will also walk away with an exclusive set of Chocolate Origin’s commemorative button pins.

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For the uninitiated, let me tell you that Chocolate Origin is a place where chocoholics congregate to satisfy their chocolate cravings. ^_^

Besides chocolate drinks, you can also order their Signature Chocolate Truffle Cake and Cuppa Lava Cake.

The Chocolate Truffle Cake reminds me of a thick slab of chocolate but it actually comprises of two generous layers of chocolate truffles enveloped between two thin and light layers of chocolate sponge cake, which are coated by a smooth, luxurious chocolate ganache. This delicious creation is made using premium imported Belgian chocolate.

As for the Cuppa Lava Cake, both chocolate and vanilla are combined to make this hot and cold dessert, with both cake and ice cream contained within a single cup. The warm cake is fluffy and the chocolate lava oozes out perfectly when you cut into it! Yummy!


Latte Art

My coffee-loving friends will usually say that desserts are best washed down with a good cup of coffee! Well, the cafe also serves freshly brewed artisan lattes, which are made from the finest Arabica coffee beans from South America and you can pair this with your desserts.

The baristas at Chocolate Origin go the extra mile to surprise and delight their patrons with their coffee or chocolate drinks. A visit here is certainly memorable when you are presented with unique and creative latte art!

The picture below was taken during one of my previous cafe-hopping visits here (at my own expense) and on the left was my Iced Chocolate with 3D latte art and on the right, Cappuccino Delight.

This time around as part of the media event, the barista gave us a latte art demonstration and this was her creation:

I was so intrigued by the process that I decided to video it. Wow…she made it look so simple!

When she was done, it was our turn to have a go at the latte art! I was passed this cup of coffee with a big blob of foam in the middle (plus some edible food colouring and toothpicks) and told to get creative. Gosh…I was scratching my head for a long while as I had no idea where to begin!!…

Voila!…This was my very first attempt at latte art! What do you think?

I thought it was good fun, but do note that if you are too slow in creating the art, your coffee will turn cold! LOL!…

As I’m not really a coffee drinker, my hubby drank up the cup of coffee and this was what’s left of my “masterpiece”:

DIY latte art is currently not available at the cafe outlets, but if you want to hold team building events or a private event at any of their cafes, you can enquire if they can arrange to have this activity for your group.

Locations of the Chocolate Origin outlets in Singapore:

For more information, please visit www.chocolate-origin.com or www.facebook.com/chocolateorigin.

Many thanks to Chocolate Origin and Goh Kian Yong for the invite to try their amazing gelato and desserts, as well as the DIY latte art! Chocolate ice cream will never be the same again for me!

Here’s one last look at their mouth-watering desserts…

Categories: Desserts, Media Invite | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata

I’ve been wanting to try the roti prata at this place for the longest time (some say that it is the best prata in Singapore), but keep missing the opportunity if I have a lay in on Saturday mornings (it is not surprising if we have lunch at 3pm!).

Finally I managed to get both hubby and myself out of the house earlier and reached there just in time for lunch!

Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s is located at an old coffee shop along Crane Road. Parking may be difficult to find here as it is along the roads but you will have better luck parking at the HDB carparks in the vicinity.

Here’s a closer look at their menu and I must say the prices here are quite cheap considering the inflating costs these days.

We ordered one kosong (i.e. plain), one egg prata and 2 plasters.

These were old school pratas reminiscent of my childhood days. The kosong was fluffy and crispy around the edges. I found this to be the crispiest out of those that we had ordered here.

The egg prata felt like it had more egg than prata in each mouthful and thus had a different feel when you bite into it. I usually prefer having kosong when I eat prata but I quite liked this one. As for the plasters, the sunny side up eggs are cooked perfectly and the yolks will ooze out when you break them.

Is it really the best in Singapore? Well, I think it’s down to personal preference as I like my pratas to be even crispier. Their curry is yummy and I would definitely go back again for their food!

In addition, the Mrs is a friendly lady, who thanked us and bade us goodbye when we left after eating. 🙂


Address:
Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s Roti Prata Shop
Poh Ho Restaurant (it’s actually a kopitiam)
7 Crane Road, Singapore 429356.

[Map]

Opening Hours: 6:30am to 1:30pm
(Closed on Tues/Wed, 3rd week of the month, but check at the stall as the dates of closure may differ – during our visit, there was a sign listing the dates of closure)

Categories: Eating in Singapore, Indian, Local | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hojiak Black & White Rojak

The name of this rojak stall initially made me raise an eyebrow as the word “hojiak” means “delicious” in Hokkien, a Chinese dialect. They must be pretty confident of the taste of their food to use this name!

I don’t know why I’ve never noticed white rojak existed in Singapore until now, as I’ve always only eaten the black one (i.e. the usual ones with shrimp paste)!

As this was also my first time patronising this stall, I wanted to try both the white and black versions and so I ordered the smallest serving of each.

White Rojak (Left) and Black Rojak (Right):

It was difficult to choose which one was better as both were good! The white one (technically it looks more yellowish brown than white) is served with sour plum sauce instead of hae ko (shrimp paste) and thus is suitable for vegetarians. I found this version to be quite refreshing and more like an appetizer!

Apart from the sauces used, the ingredients in both versions are similar – cucumber slices, pineapple slices, turnip slices, beansprouts, a sprinkling of diced peanuts over the top and also youtiao (dough fritters) and taupok (deep-fried tofu) that have been toasted until they were crisp, which is exactly how I like them.

So was it “hojiak“? Well, I’m glad to say that the rojak was good enough to live up to the stall’s name! ^_^


Address:
Hojiak Black & White Rojak
Blk 846, Yishun Ring Road, Singapore 760846.

[Map]

The stall used to be located at Blk 848 but due to the increase in rental, they decided to move over to Blk 846 (and still remaining in the same neighbourhood so that their regular customers can find them).

Nearest MRT: Khatib

Categories: Eating in Singapore, Local | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yan Ji Seafood Soup (炎記海鮮湯)

I chanced upon some reviews of this stall selling seafood soup in Woodlands and decided to go check it out as they have a version with crayfish!

Yan Ji Seafood Soup is located at the Woodlands Centre Road Food Centre, just a stone’s throw from the Woodlands Checkpoint. It was rather inconvenient for me to get there as I live in the north-east of the island, but curiosity got the better of me! ^_^

Since it took some effort to travel there, I decided to go for the most expensive item on their menu – Crayfish Seafood Soup (蝦婆海鮮湯)! This is being sold at 2 prices – $10 and $12. When I asked what the difference was between the two, I was told that the type of fish is different – i.e. $10 comes with “normal fish” (i.e. dory) and $12 comes with garoupa.

The uncle also asked if I wanted to order their pig trotters but both my hubby and I are not fans of this dish and so we gave it a miss. I did however add on some fish maw ($2) to my seafood soup.

I have to say that this is the most expensive seafood soup that I’ve ordered to-date at a hawker centre!

The ingredients in this bowl included 1 crayfish, prawns, garoupa, fish maw, meatballs and tomato. I liked the taste of the flavourful soup, which seemed to have some slivers of dried scallop in it, but felt that the soup was a little on the salty side, so you’ll definitely need to have this with rice! Typically seafood soups don’t have meatballs in them, so I thought this was quite unique and tasty as the minced meat seemed to be mixed with bits of dried sole fish!


Address:

Yan Ji Seafood Soup (炎記海鮮湯)
Blk 4A, Woodlands Centre Road
#02-11 Woodlands Centre Road Food Centre
Singapore 731004.

[Map]

Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 11:00 – 20:30 (Closed on Mon)

Categories: Eating in Singapore, Local, Seafood | Leave a comment

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