Never heard of purple-hued herbs before? Don't worry. Neither have I. Hence, a resounding opening statement that Violet Herb would be a rare find amongst the throngs of F&B establishments linearly crowding the Tras Street vicinity.
Edward Hoe, the executive chef and owner of Violet Herb is a rigorous miniaturist, combining a few ingredients at a time into compositions that were utterly complete, even if they left you wanting more. At a tender age of 34, he already had an impressive sense of what to put on a plate and what to leave off. His 20 years of kitchen experience stems to some prominent stints including Restaurant Ember, Keystone Restaurant and the fine dining establishment, The American Club.
My first encounter with Edward was in 2010 whilst busting tables at Epicurious, just a stone's throw away from the maiden household. Even then, his tenacity in the kitchen was evident, his efforts to produce innovative cuisine despite the limitations were astounding; and often, the staff got to reap the benefits of his labour at meal times. Hence, it was with my utmost pleasure that I had the opportunity to sit down to a proper meal at his restaurant a few years down the row, devoid of beads of sweat rolling down my temples and black t-shirts reeking of grease.
Viaggio Italiano at Basilico reaches its halfway mark after Executive Chef Angelo Ciccone took diners on a culinary tour of Sicily and Sardinia. Now from the 1st July to 30th Sep 2015, Basilico explores the flavors of South Italy which counts for a great part of the history of Italian cuisine and continues in the last leg of the Italian epicurean journey showcasing dishes from North Italy from 1st Oct to 31st Dec' 2015.
Exclusive to the dinner seating, the Basilico's Basilissimo dinner menu comprises of an antipasti and dessert buffet that is tagged along with ala-carte main course options. Needless to say, the antipasti spread was rad, and the same can be lamented of the interior design of the establishment. Beautifully cool marbled counter tops and opulent lamp shades casting muted lighting across the luxurious space. What lavish interiors. It just oozes money. And, it is in this space that, you know that your stomach is in capable hands.
My earlier dinners at Ichiban Boshi were filled with ominous black trays touting a myriad of hearty dishes; katsu-don glistening at its peripherals with egg barely set in a soya-sauce-mirin mixture; golden fried kaarage simmering in Japanese curry over a small stove, the blanket of kraft cheese tracing its outlines as it yields to the heat. In a nutshell, Ichiban Boshi was better known for it's bang-for-buck set meals then anything else, despite the rather extensive menu showcasing everything from tonkatsu, to sushi and even kushiyaki.
This time around, I shall turn your attention to the establishment's venture into Sushi, especially apt since Ichiban Sushi and Boshi outlets have curated an array of SG50 themed sushi as a tribute to the nation's birthday!
Have you heard of the new La Ventana by Chef Carles Gaig in Dempsey Hill? Because it is an impressive operation with equally extraordinary accolades under its belt. Chef Gaig originally from Taberna d'en Gaig established in 1869, cleverly unifies tradition and innovation to create high quality cuisine that speaks to the heart; for doing so, his restaurant in the Horta district of Barcelona has been distinguished with a Michelin star since 1993.
In a private chat with Chef Gaig, who maintained an amicable grandfatherly-like mannerism, and abetted by the lovely Ms Nuria Gilbert (Chef Gaig's daughter) in translation purposes, we got to have an insight into the mind of this gifted yet humble chef.
The assault to my five senses as I stepped off the train into the heart of Little India coupled with the the deadly humidity clouding the region; and to make matters worse; a deadly flu virus residing in my body, left me completely disoriented. Thanks babe for coming to my rescue.
After settling in the cool spacious innards of Copper Chimney and chugging down a Cooling Mint Drink; it wasn't long before my nerves had settled and my appetite restored.
A dainty plate of Chicken Malai Tikka ($12) first greets the eye, pieces of chicken grilled and cooked in cream and sharpened with ginger and garlic tantalises the taste buds with a rush of poignant heat. Our other starter of Salt and Pepper Corn ($9)was top drawer - crunchy baby corn stir fried with a healthy dose of garlic, peppers and soya sauce; an absolutely addictive new addition to the menu that focuses more on the Chindian staples.
I've made it my life's mission to suss out perfection in a burger. Never once passing up an opportunity to lay claims on one, even if it means back to back meals of epic waist expanding proportions.
Lest we forget, a good burger is a thing of beauty; and likewise, a lacklustre rendition is one that spits at the iconic stature of this food item (it even has its own emoticon. So go figure). Moving on, I've brought 4 reputable local burger joints to court, putting them in front of a gruelling palate jury, conducted mainly by yours truly. You can take my views with a pinch of salt, hell, you can cuss under your breathe for all I care; but here I am just giving you my two cents worth.
Having been on a cafe hopping spree lately, I've decided to do a compilation of my greatest hits as well as the potholes I've encountered along the way. Shedding some light on my experiences to avoid bad decisions on your part. Let's get the ball rolling, shall we?
5. Harry's For the girl looking for a fun night out
At a chilled-out bar in Clarke Quay, the Fish Cracklings ($13) makes everything okay. Arriving at the table deliciously crisp in short order, this would make the perfect accompaniment to a cold pint of beer.
The party doesn't stop here. Bar Snacks incorporating the burn and tingle of local spices have migrated to the new restaurant menu. There's the Harry's Signature Wings (6 pieces/$13) which are so acutely spiced that a dip in the accompanying homemade chilli jam (aka sambal) may seem unnecessary (we still do it anyway).
1. Saboten For the girl who's got a craving for fried food
Got a hankering for fried food?
Then ascend to golden crust haven at Saboten where you'll be greeted by a plethora of gob-smacking choices of the crisp skin variety. My choices would be the loin set (toss the black pig version aside unless you enjoy biting on ends of white fat - its obvious the marbling isn't that spectacular in their care), Fried Shrimp as well as the Hiroshima Oyster Katsu for the win.
Earlier this month, the first ever frozen custard shop was launched in Singapore. Density Frozen Custard, flaunting explicit photos of velvety ice cream tongues and promises of Pumpkin Pie on their instagram feed aroused all curious bones in my body. A trip down to the joint was inevitable.
Okay, so what sets frozen custard apart from the traditional gelato?
Belgian Beer Cafe
Rostang at the Atlantis
Almaz by Momo
Le Pain Quotidien
Lime Tree Cafe
Fundamentally-flawed is Lee Sihan. 27 going on 28, she is a dessert enthusiast,
food nomad, wanderer of lands and a pastry chef currently working in Singapore.
Fueled by a lifelong addiction to all things sweet, and a burning desire to travel the globe
follow her as she embarks on delicious escapades both in and out of the kitchen