Let's start off with a bit of honesty here. Truths are always nice in the light of day.
I've never had Valentines day dinner in a restaurant before.
There, I've said it. Perhaps its my unfortunate run-ins with really stingy ex-boyfriends or maybe its a blessing in disguise as the sight of overly affectionate couples and the saturation of love themes splashed loud and proud in all forms make me nauseous. I am a generous lover, but I rather do all that in the privacy of the bedroom.
However, if I have to choose one place for this years celebrations, it would have to be Arteastiq. Mainly because overpriced, second-rate food makes me pissed, and to be frank, there's no space for love in the presence of shoddy cooking. Arteastiq delivers on all fronts, presenting 2 sets, one for the Ladies and one for the Gentlemen, encouraging cheeky sharing and careless whispers exchanged over the tables.
The Valentines Day menu at Arteastiq is fresh and shows incredible promise. For starters, there's the Roasted Sweet Potato and Rosemary Salad for the Ladies and the Cyperian Affair for the guys.
The former, a light chaser to kick off the evening cause the ladies definitely don't want to bloated by the end of the night (truth be told, we would like save room for desserts!). The latter is an impressive melange of sensational flavors and textures. The sweet burst of Taiwanese grapes melding with crisp pan fried haloumi, salty capers, and a cheeky drizzle of honey.
The next courses come in hot pursuit. WARNING: this might cause quite a stir over the table. The ladies get the Crabcake Benedict with maryland crab and smoked paprika hollandaise whilst the guys get the Frikadel et Rosti, a chicken panfried dumpling accompanied by sweet potato rosti, horseradish brown sauce. Being a lady, I would gamely ward off all lingering forks that wander into my territory, but that's just me, good food makes me selfish.
The next course brings us something a little more substantial. Barley Risotto for the ladies and the Duck Pancake for the beefed up guys. Two very fulfilling main courses that deliver on very unexpected fronts. The risotto uses barley in contrast to the conventional arborio rice, resulting in a textural peculiarity that I found oddly refreshing. Cooked with a saffron fennel broth and garnished with pecorino romano, This dish remained perfect for the peckish throughout its long stay at the table. The duck pancake that had once captured my imagination before failed to fork out the same lip-smacking effects. Dusted with five spices and elevated by a slightly bitter orange caramel, the duck rolls were slightly warped in terms of ingredient ratio and I craved for a little more protein amidst the tussle of greens.
Desserts are a sweet affair with the Osmanthus Creme Brulee for the ladies and the French Toast with the Brie for the lads. My vote goes for the French toast; essentially a play on the grilled cheese sandwich with melty savoury brie sandwiched between toasty custard brie, this is one course to melt your heart.
Note that this set is priced at $188++ per couple. served with a complimentary tea set. Totally worth the price tag if you ask me. Headlined by the exemplary food and the twists and turns thrown your way. Make you reservations quick to avoid disappointment!
It's easy to see why my diet has gone haywire, especially after the onset of the new year, with Chinese New Year and Valentines day fast approaching and the food tastings numbering up, one can't help but to load up on calorific foods. Most of you might not know this, but my struggle to balance out being a food evangelist and to pursue a standard of healthy living is very real, and I'm sure most of the others out there can empathise with me.
To be very honest, the juice diet fad has always struck me as ludicrous, capitalising on the power of highly acclaimed celebrities to increase the appeal of a certain sort of lifestyle. Hence when I was alerted of this new juice.salad.wrap kiosk located at Central, my interest was piqued.
Squash's slogan of 'not all juices are created equal' says it all. They focus on providing truly delicious and nutritious food and drinks to patrons mostly in the CBD area who are often stuck in the rut with unhealthy 'eat-on-the-go' lunch options. Besides their selection of freshly cold pressed juices, the salad bar adjacent to the cold presserie delivers a good spread of salads, meticulously picked to compliment the fresh concept of its juice business.
Before you diss the idea of cold pressed juices (like I did), let's just get on top of the issue: Why does it cost so much? One reason is the amount of produce used to make a single bottle of juice. LA-based Neighborhood Press for example contains 1.5 - 3kg per 450ml bottle. That's a lot of produce. And secondly, cold pressed juices are pricey because of the pressure needed to make the juice. Cold pressed juice companies use thousands of pounds of pressure to squeeze juices from their produce and since most of them contains no preservatives, shelf life dwindles and wastage instantly quadruples. In other words, just by determining how many pounds of fruit or vegetables go into a bottle of that very trendy Cold Pressed juice is enough to justify its price tag, but its simply not a selling point. Hence the tie-in with celebrities and lifestyle bloggers.
While we were there, getting all 'tipsy' from their healthy blends, we were fortunate enough to sample some of the more solid offerings that Squash has to offer. Centered around the Asian theme, there are innovative proteins such as Chicken Bulgogi, Spicy Thai Prawn and even their famous Ultimate Rojak Salad to tickle your fancy. Specially created for Chinese New Year, there's the healthy version of the usual Lo Hei, a medley of vegetables tossed around in sweet raspberry pulped sauce; the addition of raw pumpkin seeds, almonds and corn-tons (geddit?) adding to the crunch factor. Strangely, I found this very addictive and found my chopsticks making repeated visits to the plate.
The Ultimate Rojak Salad is definitely the highlight of Squash's interpretation on salad. Ease into the meal with the piquancy of the homemade prawn paste that teases the palate. Topped with crispy dried cuttle fish and taupok-tons, you'll be sure that even a person who is averse to greens would find this concoction easy to swallow.
The salad bar also allows for customised salads, choose a base of either greens or in house noodle salad, then proceed to select from the fresh range of toppings and the final cherry on the top would be other exotic additions which include chicken bulgogi, beef kimchi and mushroom egg frittata should you be feeling #fancy. Looking for a more solid finish, you can even opt to have the entire salad encased in a wrap! Possibilities are endless, and seemingly more guilt free without having to suffer the onslaught of dull and bland food.
As much as the salads provide something a little more substantial to munch on. I believe that the mainstay of Squash is still in their power juices. With 6 different flavors to boot, all of them enlivened by an innovative blend of fruits and vegetables, there's enough nutrients and vitamins to essentially live on them! My favourite of the lot was the Purity: Pear, Honeydew, Cucumber, Kale, Lemon and Ginger. It carries a very potent and herbaceous vibe that might not be everyones' cup of tea, but taking it in, you'll feel instantly refreshed; perhaps its all in the mind, but if you think about it, you can't go wrong with a medley like that. Squash currently provides 3-day or 5-day juice cleanse diets during which you need to drink 5 bottles a day and consume no other solid foods. Sounds crazy? I think not, the health benefits shrouded such a discipline include increased alertness, higher energy level and an increased libido. To that, I say hell yeh...
All it took was a little dish of dim sum samples to remind me of good times spent in Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant on my previous visit. The opulent entrance might be intimidating to some, but to others it exudes abundance and lavishness, states that we normally associate with Chinese New Year.
This year, Li Bai rolls out the big guns for CNY; Executive Chef Chung and culinary team presents a range of goodies from Yu Sheng takeaway platters to exquisite dine in menus to fit every occasion. If you're looking to bring the family out to soak in the festive mood, Li Bai has 5 different set menus designed for 8 to 10 pax with prices ranging from $868 to $3998 and another 4 set menus catered to smaller groups priced at $138 to $588. Note that these menus will be available from 2nd Feb to 4th March, so do make your reservations accordingly!
Let's start off with a confession. Here's me coming clean about my drinking ways, yes, I might be a little bit of a beer snob ( I frequent Smith Street Taps quite a bit) but when the stomach's empty and the wallet feeling a little underweight, I head on over to Brewerkz for their stellar happy hour price schemes and excellent beers.
Where else can you get 500ml pints at $7 nett? I'll take it... even if it means having to drink in broad daylight.
To accompany the beers, Brewerkz has an extensive menu that satisfy those pub grub cravings. Worth visiting are the BBQ Pork Ribs (1/2 rack $33, full rack $57), glazed in a homemade chipotle honey BBQ sauce, the full of the bone juicy flesh has just the right amount of smokiness. Seriously finger licking good. Then there's the shredded slaw... pardon me as I get a tissue to wipe my mouth.
Equally 'meaty', the Pork Knuckle ($34) attends to the voracious appetites of the carnivores with its crisp golden brown exterior breaking into succulent tender flesh. Shame on the cheddar mashed potato that had a really chalky consistency. Put that aside and plunge your porcine shards of goodness into the delicious pot of homemade mustard. The deal is sealed. Definitely one of the best valued pork knuckles here in Singapore.
Here's how this is going down, my dear-hearts, fudgy cookie dough wrestled into a pan and baked to sweet submission, then an eggless brown sugared dough spread over the top, all this with a huge amount of discipline and hell load of self denial in tow, and finally, Valrhona crunchy pearls sprinkled and pushed into place.
It's cruel. Every step of the way. so many reasons to pick up the mixing bowl and spoon the batter shamelessly. But no, I soldiered on to produce these babies. And trust me, it's all worth it.
You're thinking movie scenes, sweat pants, bundles of tissue strewed all over and a wailing female lead stuffing her face with cookie dough ice cream in an effort to put an end to her misery. Neh... we all know it doesn't work. But hey, these brownies will definitely work its magic on even the grouchiest pants in the office.
Did I mention they make terrific cheerleaders too? Pyramid formation, boo-yah.
75g chocolate chips/shaved chocolate (I used Valrhona dulcey crunchy pearls)
for the brownies
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper and grease lightly.
Combine the melted butter, sugars and vanilla in a mixing bowl. On slow speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each, until thoroughly combined.
In a separate bowl, sieve the flour and cocoa powder. Put in the salt. Gradually stir flour mixture into the egg mixture until blended. Making sure there are no lumps of dry ingredients and pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
Lick the spoon.
Bake in preheated oven for about 30mins or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool before frosting.
For the Cookie Dough layer
In a medium bowl, use a wooden spoon and mix the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Make sure that your butter is well softened before doing this otherwise you'll have to suffer a really painful process when spreading it out. Whisk in the vanilla and milk. Mix in the flour until well incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips; I used Valrhona Dulcey Crunchy Pearls here (because I'm so ghetto) but regular chocolate chips will work just fine.
Spread cookie dough in an even layer on top of the cooled brownies. Refrigerate for about 1 hour until firmed up before removing it from the pan and cutting into your desired shape.
Nestled inconspicuously at a small corner of the Paya Lebar Kovan Community Center, lies Yorijori Korean BBQ, Ministry of Food's latest dabble in the vivacious local Korean food scene. With "yori" meaning to cook and "jori" to recuperate, I was expecting a soothing and palatable journey of soulful Korean classics when invited for the media tasting at this humble neighbourhood joint.
Sure enough, the weather was on our side. Cool winds swept through the mainly alfresco dining area (a scene I deem rather problematic during stormy weather), and we settled down to the generous hospitality of the knowledgeable staff, the gregarious sounds of evening line-dancing activities chiming in the background..
Now if previous reviews are anything to go by, you would know Bochinche as an Argentinian restaurant that's popular for two things. Meat and sharing plates. I finally got the chance to check this place out in place of the poor ol' missus, who was stuck at work while I got to sample some of their new wares.
We started off with the Chilled Pea Soup, Shallots, Yoghurt and Chopped mint ($8). This is one of their new, healthier (#eatclean) menu offerings. Though it looks velvety smooth, there was a slight grainy bite to it which I felt gave it more character. The mint gave you a cool minty freshness as an aftertaste, just like smoking Marlboro menthol light cigs (I kid, it's way better and healthier than cigs). The shallot rings giving it a mild sweetness while the breadcrumbs added some crunch. Only way to make this dish better is to add ham in! Cos who doesn't love green pea and ham soup? RIGHT?!
To say that this post is overdue is an understatement as the memories of Christmas fade into the background, and a heavy stream of red takes to the street. Yes, Chinese New Year is around the corner, hinting the procession of lo hei and festive goodies. Still, what's good is always worth sharing and my trip to Dolcetto at the Regent Hotel Singapore sure does justify a post, even if it might be a very tardy one.
Not a desserts fan, get a load of the sandwiches, daily soup and salads at Dolcetto. Being a take-away extension of the famous Basilico upstairs, you'll be guaranteed similar standards of food in tidier portions. Having visited Basilico before on a business lunch; an affair that resulted in me feasting flagrantly with wild abandon in front of my Chairman, grunting as I tugged on the cheesy strings of the white truffle infused calzone and getting carried away helping myself to one too many smoked buffalo mozzarella balls, I swore I almost choked when he asked me asked me if I was enjoying the food! ; As I perused the display at Dolcetto, I was thrilled to see that congruent offerings were carried downstairs. Take for example the Buffalo Mozzarella Salad, served with a simple balsamic vinegar dressing and the sweetest tomatoes ever. Perfect if you are allowing yourself to go big on the indulgent stuff without inheriting too much guilt.
Senso Ristorante and Bar has got a special place in my heart (and tummy). Recollections from a somewhat suggestive first 'business lunch' with the current boyfriend (read more about it here) float as thick as smog around our window seats which were sadly occupied by another eccentric couple. To celebrate our monthsary, we turned to the trusty folks at Senso for a good time, armed with our Entertainer apps, we were ready to rock out the Sunday Prosecco Brunch in style and reckless abandon. Working in the F&B industry, day-offs are rare and that explains our 'go big or go home' attitudes.
Priced at just 98++ with free flow of Prosecco, wines, beer, soft drinks, coffee and tea, it sounds like a steal, but truth be told, it gets better! Think a buffet of starters, Cause nobody does cold cuts better than the Italian!; fresh Italian breads, a galore of cheeses, salami, parma, prosciutto, smoked salmon, oysters. Tuck into a bowlful of the freshest prawns and revel in the crystal sweetness of these babies.
I can never say no to ribs. And seriously, looking at those peeking honeyed strands of tender meat percolating barbecued goodness, only a saint can resist (or can they?)
Dinner at Outback Steakhouse was an interesting experience since my previous exposure was in Sydney. Uprooting, might I add, since I had the misconception that Outback steakhouse as name stakes was an all Australian joint, NO, in fact, it's an Australian-themed American casual dining restaurant chain based in Tampa, Florida with over 1200 locations in 23 countries now. Pardon me for the large rock I've been hiding under...
So moving on, we started our feast with non other than the quintessential American pub grub classic, Buffalo wings dressed as Kookaburra Wings (half $9.90, full $14.90), chicken joints tossed in a savoury blend of spices and then fanned out around a well of creamy blue cheese dressing. If you appreciate a good chunky blue cheese dressing then this would be one not to miss. A quick dipping with the fresh celery sticks would satiate those with a penchant for sauces.
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