Shin Sapporo @ Orchard Gateway: Seasonal Summer menu

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Offering more than just Ramen, the new Shin Sapporo at Orchard Gateway gives the other ramen joints in the vicinity a good run for its money. Here, the options run wild and freely, spanning from the usual suspects of soup bases, miso, shoyu and tonkatsu to even the noodle types. bodaciously curvy to straight-edged; there's something to satisfy everyone's whims and fancies.

The thing about the practise of eating ramen here in Singapore is how everyone is so strongly opinionated, almost guru-like, often sticking to familiar territory when navigating a new menu. When at Shin Sapporo, ,my advice would be to remove all inhibitions and try something different. How about the new Seasonal Summer menu?

Acquaint your taste buds to the lighter flavor nuances of this newly introduced menu with the appetiser of Ebi Tofu ($6.80), a plump prawn sits on a pedestal of cold silky tofu and an aromatic homemade sesame sauce cascades down the sides. I wish the sauce was a little thicker but it may be wiser to appreciate the more subtle approach of this dish in the entirety of the meal ahead.


I soldier on...the Miso Tofu Steak ($6.80) picking up the pace with its racy entry. Here, tofu is a deep fried to golden brown in tempura batter and topped with a sauce that was redolent with miso paste and just sticky enough to moisten the dish perfectly. 


For mains, the Tenchirashi Ramen ($15.80) comes highly recommended. If you're a carnivore like me and can't imagine tucking into a bowl of ramen sans the mandatory slice of char siu then you might want to heed my advice, clear you mind and give this dish a go. At the end of the day, you'll thank me for it.

Chilled ramen is served with a generous mixture of tempura prawns, shitake and shimeiji mushrooms. I appreciate the additional whisper of sweetness with each mouthful, from the light sauce that was expertly balanced. Before eating, give the poached egg a playful poke and enjoy the classic combination of poached egg with mushrooms done with a Japanese twist.

Having said that, I turned to my usual ramen order to weigh it against my benchmark. The Shin Sapporo Miso Ramen ($14.80) delivers on its promise for a lighter approach. The soup is translucent and only slightly salty, not so much that it sets you back with tingling lips at the end of the meal; topped with sweet corn, stir fried vegetables (just a tad queer with the boiled cabbage), bean spouts, tender yakibuta and RUNNY egg. This was a bowl of comfort, simply made, yet big on flavor. Authentic sapporo miso noodles are used in the dish, a tad thicker than the usual versions, this curly noodle feel fuller to the bite and allows the sublime flavor of the broth to adhere better to its surface when you handle them. To be honest, this isn't a bowl of ramen that would send me running up and down the corridors flailing my arms in the air; but IT IS a good dependable version that is unlikely to disappoint.




Desserts such as the Chocolate Lava cake trip up the traditional line up of  mochi and matcha dominated finale menu choices. It's uncanny presence revealing a burlesque-girl type performance, with all the bells and whistles included. Piping hot chocolate dribbled from the molten centre, the sides reinforced by sinister walls of crusty chocolate cake batter. Trailing your spoon along the plate, get a bite of the vanilla ice cream with the unorthodox toasted peanut crumbs and that divine chocolate cake; then, you're pretty much in heaven.


Shin-Sapporo Ramen
Orchard Gateway
#B2-04A/05
t: 6702 4906
w: www.shin-sappororamen.com

Opening hours:
Daily 11am - 10pm

Five & Dime Eatery: Reservations recommended

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Sporting a modest single page menu, Five and Dime eatery located along River Valley road at the back of Killiney Road has clearly got something right with queues snaking out of the restaurant and an army of reservation tags attempting to conquer my dining territory on the bar counter. 2 years into business and yet there is still no lack of activity within the stand alone building. With a parking lot conveniently located next to the cafe, that could be a contributing factor.

I had the Braised Pork Belly Sandwich ($18); Black Berkshire Pork slow-cooked for 6 hours on toasted ciabatta with sweet potato fries; this comes across as a knockoff (though as knockoffs go, it's very well made). The rich spices in the braised pork rich are very predominant and the pork was braised to a jaw-dropping tender. The only flaw in the dish would have to be the mindless horizontal slicing of the pork belly in order to spread it out onto the ciabatta, This resulted in a half of the sandwich swathed in succulent fatty goodness whilst the other half left to deal with a chunk of lean meat. Just deal a smaller serve of bread please. That would solve the whole situation. The sweet potoato fries on the side are excellent, crisp, slightly hollowed and a bit creamy on the inside.

The much raved about Mentaiko Pasta ($18) spaghetti tossed in spicy mentaiko, topped with more cod fish roe was perfectly delicious albeit a little on the dry side. A peak at our neighbour revealed a little inconsistency to the dish, hers gleaming with a more raucous sheen from the sauce.

Simple and cozy with homely cuisine, don't expect the kitchen to achieve transcendence here. But still, with such tough crowds to handle, make sure to nail your reservations should you be dropping by on a weekend.


Five & Dime
297 River Valley Road
T: 9236 5002

Opening hours: 
Mon-Thurs: 12pm - 10pm
Friday:        12pm - 12am
Saturday:    10am - 12am
Sunday:       10am - 10pm

ON-YASAI @ Chijimes: A Welcome Relief

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Weekends are when the guilt sinks in, a culpability towards the stress that I put my body through with my horrendous diet during the weekdays. Take today for example where I followed a Chicken Tikka Naanwich from Fix with Pulled Pork tacos from Mex-out and then rounded up the whole sinful affair with the BEST fried chicken and waffles at The Beast. All this washed down with copious amounts of alcoholic beverages... hey.. don't judge.. after all #TGIF folks! Continuous days of dietary insurgence with hardly any greens in sight usually leaves me feeling sluggish and out of shape. Then, as my mind shifts to the notion of healthy eating, I am deterred by the thought of bland tasteless dishes. Well, if some of you out there are faced similar dilemmas, fret not, I reckon I've found a solution to this problem.

ON-YASAI is a shabu shabu joint hailing from Tokyo. With origins since 2000, this chain currently has more than 300 outlets in Japan alone. ON-YASAI aims to challenge the common concepts, firstly that shabu shabu is an expensive affair and secondly, to delineate the all-you-can-eat steamboat experiences you often get in Singapore brimmed with cheap ingredients and frozen meats. Targeted at the families, couples and the professional woman, they strive to provide a healthy selection of ingredients driven by seasonal produce with a creative array of soup bases.

Besides its usual ala-carte menu, there is the buffet option which comes with 40 different types of vegetables and appetizers. Each diner also receives 1 tray of meat, 1 Chicken Tsumire (Japanese minced chicken in bamboo stick) and 1 dessert. Priced at just $49.90++ on weekdays and $54.90++ on weekends for adults; this is a wallet friendly manner of eating healthy yet eating well. Do take heed that there is a time limit of 1.5 hour per table on the buffet so pace yourselves.


Japanese hospitality meant us trying a multitude of appetizers before the real deal. Jagakara ($8.90) was a peculiar combination of potato and pickled squid that was very much acquired taste, the distinct poignant taste of the sea with the squid kicking up an appetite. Another stellar dish to order with your beers is the Brown Sugared Broad Beans ($3.90), sugar coated with a brief touch of salt, this crunchy snack is extremely addictive and I dived at it continuously much to my embarrassment when the host offered to refill my bowl.

One of the main characteristics of ON-YASAI is the assortment of soups, there are Tomato Soup, Citron Soup with Collagen, Japanese Style Spicy Soup, Golden Soup (truffle flavored), Seaweed Soup, Sichuan Spicy Soup, Soyamilk Soup and secret Sukiyaki Soup. Best part is.. you get to select 2 soups for every pot! 

Soon, the pots of soup (we chose the citron soup, golden soup, seaweed soup and soyamilk soup) placed on the induction stoves had reach a rolling boil and we proceeded to cook our meats with gentle precision. The Japanese Wagyu Chuck Roll ($34.90) and Australian Wagyu Chuck Roll ($23.90) both had excellent marbling and cook within seconds of its interaction with the hot stock. Boosted by a refined setup, we were encouraged to leave our meats on a drip tray before dipping in our choice of goma or ponzu suce to prevent watering the sauce down. Utter brilliance and such attention to detail on the restaurant's part. The Japanese Momoiro Pork Collar ($18.90) was best savored in the soyamilk soup, the milky richness of the soup enhancing the fattiness of the protein. I found refuge in the exquisite goma sauce, the use of foie gras adding an extra flavor dimension. Truth be told, I would have loved to take a swim in this sauce had it not been for my nagging reminder to maintain proper table manners in front of my hosts.


The Chicken Tsumire ($6.90)  is a house special of chicken mince stuffed in a bamboo skewer that eventually becomes meatballs as you carve them with a spoon into the pot of soup.


Let the feast begin.


The assortment of fresh vegetables and mushrooms filled us up quickly. The excellent broths adding to the pageantry of the dish, the restaurant's consideration for every aspect of the meal pushing it past any type of expectations I've had for a shabu shabu experience.

The Soya Milk Cheese Risotto Set ($5.90) hit the nail right on the head with a grand finale that I've yet to encounter anywhere. At the end of the meal, instead of letting a good rendered down broth with the essence of all that cooked meats and vegetables in it go to waste, we are given cheese, rice, condiments and an egg. After a few magical whisks of the wrist, we were presented with a bowl of silky smooth risotto. As simple as it sounds, it's an ingenious and satisfying way of appreciating the entire shabu shabu experience at ON-YASAI.



The meal concludes in a wave of gustatory pleasure capped off with a dazzling cat-walk of light desserts to sweeten the deal. The Homemade Pumpkin Pudding ($8.90) comes strongly recommended, the dish entailing a restrained sweetness with elegance, stacking earthy flavors from the steamed pumpkin to comforting nuances of cream with the warm toasty notes from the brown sugar syrup.


We also indulged in the Peach Sorbet ($6.90) and the ON-YASAI ice cream ($7.90),  a pleasant way to round up the evening of food festivities.


ON-YASAI on the grand scheme of things offers up a holistic experience that intends to debacle some old school shabu shabu controversies. With the backing of such an excellent array of soup bases to boot, I reckon that factor alone seals the deal for many return visits.

ON-YASAI
Chijmes
30 Victoria Street
#01-03/04
t: 6336 4002

The Ugly Cake Shop: Sweet nothings and a {GIVEAWAY}

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From one 2-in-1 foodie and baker to another,  one can be sure that Lisa Tan knows what she's talking about when it comes to cakes. Her labor of love, the Ugly Cake Shop churns out confectioneries both toothsome to the palate and sweet to the heart; armed with a belief to spread the love, Lisa has pledged to donate 20% of the proceed to support the meals of undernourished kids in Timor-Leste. Delicious artisanal cakes for a worthy cause.

One thing to note, if you do have pre-conceived notions about cupcakes being just dried out mini cakes with a ton of sickly sweet frosting over the top, be prepared to have these challenged when you get a load of Lisa's handmade versions. Using only high quality basic ingredients such as cocoa powder, butter and chocolate, the results speak for themselves in the form of rich, moist petit cakes that are even addictive on its own. Lisa then kicks it up a notch, employing her marvellous pastry skills to produce silky smooth frostings, both ganache and Italian meringue buttercreams which leaves a pleasant mouth-feel (accompanied by numerous eye-rolling motion).


Some of her signature flavors include Zesty Zee ($4 per cupcake and $55/7 inch, $70/9inch). My personal favourite, Sally, featuring an indulgent dark chocolate cake crowned with a delicate wisp of peanut butter frosting, a little salt thrown in for good measure. Cross over to the dark side with her Big Daddy Junior ($3.50/cupcake), guaranteed to please any chocolate snob in the room.


Another crowd pleaser is the ever so popular salted caramel cupcake named Juliana, recent R&D efforts in the kitchen have blessed these beauties with a magic dusting of sea salt flakes, pushing this creation across óut-of-this-world' boundaries.


Melissa is the newest addition to the group, made similarly out of an addictive dark chocolate cupcake base christened with an innocent looking strawberry frosting, hiding a deep dark secret of its salacious hook up with rum.

Thanks to the kind folks at Ugly Cake Shop, Fundamentally Flawed is holding a {GIVEAWAY} where you'll stand a chance to win a box of 4 cupcakes, each box containing one Zesty Zee, one Melissa, one Sally and one Big Daddy cupcake!

All you have to do is
  1. Like my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/snapeatlove and comment on this blogpost with your favorite cake flavor in the world (including your name and email address)
  2. Follow fundamentally_flawed on instagram
and you're in the running to win a set of these wholesome cupcakes from UGLY CAKE SHOP. Hurry as the contest closes on the 11th September!


UGLY CAKE SHOP
e: uglycakeshop@gmail.com
t:  8288 8300

{Wordless Wednesdays} @ Percolate: Seriously Coffee

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Alvin and Vincent in their lovechild of a cafe, Percolate, located in the caffeine deprived neighbourhood of Bedok.

Here, the duo's passion for delivering excellent coffee is translated resoundingly with the aid of Nylon Coffee beans (a favourite of mine). While the tantalising display of cakes and sweets may be too bewitching to ignore, have a go at their Smoked Salmon with Wasabi Cream Cheese Croissant, this will surely please the rainy day cravings.

Percolate
136 Bedok North Avenue 3
#01-152B
S ( 460136)
T: 8259 0316