I arrived all misty eye and in full regret of the wilful night out before. Itching for a jolt of caffeine and some nosh to soothe the alcohol traumatised system, Flock cafe with it's mollifying interior filled with white washed walls and charming wooden furnishings, made me feel right at home instantly.
Perhaps I had come with too much expectations. Having attended the Taste of Sydney event last year (read about my experiences here), I had arrived with a benchmark of experiences to live up to. I'm not saying that SAVOUR 2015 had failed my hyped up intentions. Just that it could have been so much more, with better logistics (more seating area) at hand and definitely more amicable service staff around. Jovial attitudes, that's what lacking!
The SAVOUR food festival is an annual event that aims to bring together the palates of gourmands on a relentless pursuit for the best food and drink experiences. Bolstered by the powerhouse of renowned experts and wizards of the culinary field, the 2015 line-up features a mind boggling 50 dishes including some from highly acclaimed Michelin starred chefs.
Here's a quick overview of what I sunk my teeth into.
Before you get thrown into a state of confusion, let's put it all out on the table.
Oven Baked Chicken, houses two Korean franchises under one roof, Okkudak that specializes in oven baked chicken and Ssaldak who wields a magical hand over the fried chicken territory. Combining the likes of both under one establishment builds a powerhouse of sorts... set at capturing the likes of the health conscious, kfc fanatics and beer chugging fools alike.
Fortunately for them, I was all of the above. Sold on the concept, there was only the food left to judge.
I do not mince my words, and having just put my food evangelist thinking cap on, please pardon me for any feelings trampled on along the way. Believe me, I do not mean it. And even so, we live, we learn and we grow.
Newly opened in February, the Chinatown Precinct sees the looming presence of a casual bistro touting its hold on providing an alternative dining experience, its main aim, to attract the inquisitive taste buds with a penchant for creative design as well as good food.
Unfortunately my visit to the establishment proved to be majorly disappointing. On the design front, I loved every inch of detail within the compound, the white washed walls with whimsical table cloths hanging on knobs, decorative shelves with a bunch of eccentric publications greets the wandering eye as you trod through the narrow corridors leading to the bathroom. The intersperse of striped blocks and circles of black and white imprinted boldly on the walls, tending to the fastidious pastry chef-y side of me. Service staff were young and upbeat, sporting mischievous smiles all around. I basked in the therapeutic ambiance of this design studio vibe restaurant, with the air-conditioning on high in stark comparison to the blinding heat outside.
Life was good.
That was till the torrents of food started flooding our tables.
Unintimidated by the strong restaurant F&B concepts spotting the vicinity, out sprouts The Snack Culture Company which suffers from more than just a bi-polar disorder. It's concept comes across as a tad confusing as I first pulled into the restaurant. The white walls and customised grid like system showcasing a whole array of edibles and snacks (hence the name) which can be selected and crafted into gift boxes. In the day, the shop converts itself into a sandwich type tuckshop, offering tasty snacks suitable for office workers on-the-go and as the light dims down in the early evenings, that's when the magic happens.
The $49 dollars 9 course omakase. I kid you not. It's real and I'm smitten.
Founded by the budding talents of three secondary school buddies, A for Arbite is the projectile of these youngsters vision. After a successful venture with Arbite at Serangoon Gardens, the trio opened a new branch in Aliwal Arts Center medialized under the 'back-to-school' theme with primary colours splashed boldly across the room and wall to wall chalkboards to radiate that feel.
Determined to slake my hunger for my first drop of caffeine that day, I ordered my regular Cappuccino ($4.50), beans are from Tiong Hoe Speciality Coffee - the result, a well balanced, smooth and robust coffee with a kick of cocoa notes at the end. A for Arbite had started the pleasantries rolling.
On the Table, a sizable cafe hidden away in the sleepy western suburb of Pasir Panjang, has always been in my good books. Ever since my first visit last year (you can read about it here), I have always preached about its affordable cuisine and generous portions.
Second time's a charm as well. With it's amicable disposition obviously winning over my regular patrons along the way - Dinner on a peaceful Tuesday sees a full-house in the dining room. With tables being turned over rapidly at the blink of an eye. The service staff, as if feeding off the energy of the brisk business, were a vigilant lot.
Causing quite a stir in the rather mundane tiny town of Club Street, the new Bumbo Rum Club has unleashed some Caribbean heat upon the rather jaded fusion tapas scene in the vicinity.
The newest concept of Deliciae Hospitality Management which manages a slew of rather successful restaurant concepts such as LÉntrecote, Sabio and Forlino (just to name a few); Bumbo Rum Club prides itself on dishing out authentic Caribbean fare, boosted by a rum centric bar and inspired cocktails. Don't be intimidated by the extensive selection of rums here as their claim to fame is the whopping collection of 76 rums from more than 20 countries, this includes 7 homemade infused rums such as Passionfruit & Banana and Cinnamon & Orange. take heed that you can actually take home a bottle of this handmade infused rum for a nominal fee! Perfect for parties or home consumption.
There's no denying that Butterstudio tries to please its customers, its recent launch of a new All Day Breakfast menu tending to the needs of patrons who are itching for a savoury fix. However, its attempts mainly go down in smoke. Call me impartial, but breakfast food without the presence of bacon is doomed for failure. Let's explore the nitty gritty.
Holqa Cafe, you beast. You wild, unpredictable, wholly overwhelming place. Holqa isn't just your run-off-the-mill type cafe where you expect the standard fare at exorbitant prices...it's a spirit, a culture that aims to bind. To link, as they say in Maltese. It's palpable and irresistible and will not be ignored. Holqa, you excite me, I know I sound incredibly biased right now, but I don't give two hoots. Holqa, I love you.
Owners Welson and Simple makes the kind of earnest, fashionably austere food with a slight Asian flair, a tinge of spice here and a judicious movement with sugar. It all comes together in a way so unexpected and right that I had to shake my head.
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