Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Le Comptoir

C says:

One of our new favourite places is Le Comptoir, a creperie/bar along Circular Road that sells some of the best galettes and crepes we’ve had. We’ve been here twice so far – once for a early dinner and again for brunch, and both times were immensely satisfying.

Their galettes are as good as most of the ones we’ve had in Paris – thin, crisp and moreish. A had one with smoked salmon and spinach, and I had the Menage A 5 – a delicious combination of cheese, ham, egg, mushrooms and tomato.

For dessert, we shared a Coco Chanel crepe, with pears, chocolate and almonds.

The Sunday brunch menu has an All Day Breakfast crepe with bacon, egg, mushrooms, sausage and baked beans. The bacon deserves a particular mention – it was perfectly cooked to an even crispness without being burnt.

They also had a Nutella crepe, and we had a brainwave of asking them to add bananas for an additional $2. The resulting Nutella and banana crepe was predictably fabulous – so fabulous that we didn't take any photos of our brunch visit…

A says:

Best galettes and crepes in Singapore. Win!

Le Comptoir
79 Circular Road
Tel: 6534-7645
Mon - Tues: 11 am - 12 mn
Wed - Sat: 11 am - 2 am
Sun: 10 am - 10 pm

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Artisan Boulangerie Company (ABC)

C says:

I've attended a few corporate events at the Asia Square branch of ABC, and it has quickly become a firm favourite. They add a lovely personal touch and take great pains to make our events very enjoyable indeed.

Some of the bites that they offer are shot glasses with a mushroom, grana padano cheese and truffle risotto, seared ribeye steak with pepper sauce, tomato bruschetta and filo pastries with minced meat. All are really yummy, particularly the beef and the risotto shots, which everyone just can't seem to get enough of.

Their tarts are legendary. While many people predictably make a beeline for the chocolate tarts, I much prefer their lemon tarts, which have the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Their eclairs and fruit tarts are pretty good too, but give me the lemon tarts any time.

I like the place so much that I brought A for dinner one night after work. We had the linguine with meatballs, and the Serrano ham and emmental cheese panini. The linguine was clean and simple, and I really liked the panini. I would have preferred the addition of a slightly stronger cheese to add a bit more flavour and saltiness - some grana padano from the risotto would be perfect.

They also do one of the best pain au chocolats in town - light, flakey and fluffy, they're even better than some of the ones we had in Paris recently.

A says:

Pastries are great. Meatballs are great. Everything else is average. The branch at Asia Square does make for a great place for quiet weekday dinners in Shenton Way though.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

O My Dog

C says:

O My Dog at 100AM is part of the Spa Esprit group and, like The Mustard Incident, offers interesting hot dog flavours. I went for the Bak Chor Mee dog, which was a pork sausage topped with vinegary minced pork,  grated cucumber and sambal mayo.

Bak Chor Mee

Le Dog

It was interesting, but this time the tried and tested option was much better. A's Le Dog, with a beef sausage, onion jam and truffle mayo was really good.

They have other combis like Sunday Roast (lamb, pea and mint) and Nacho Libre (chili, corn chips and guacamole), but I really wonder why no one has bothered to make a Korean dog. A beef sausage with kimchi and mayo - I know for a fact that it's a winning combi, having tried it at Chelsea Market, and we're certainly not short of good kimchi in Singapore, so why on earth aren't more people offering it?!

A says:

Great dogs. Poor seating. Will come back at odd hours.

O My Dog
#01-03/04 100AM
Tel: 6235-0644
Open daily: 8 am - 8 pm

New items at Ubin Seafood

C says:

It’s been almost a year and Ubin Seafood is still at the top of our list for a great no-frills dining experience. Obviously the beef and heart attack rice are a must-have, but we’ve tried some new items that are pretty darn awesome too.

Soft Boiled Egg Special

Soft boiled egg served with cubes of seared foie gras, sprinkled with salt and truffle oil. There’s just no way that this won’t taste amazing.

Carabinero prawn sashimi

These prawns are served sashimi style, so you enjoy the sweet flesh with some wasabi and soy sauce, and then attack the mammoth head, filled with the richest, creamiest head juice that almost tastes like uni. At $16 a prawn, it's a bit of an indulgence but if you consider that other places serve the same prawn at over $30 each, it seems a no-brainer not to have it at Ubin.

BBQ Kurobuta pork ribs

We weren’t particularly impressed with the regular pork ribs we had previously, but the kurobuta ones on the other hand were great. Tender, juicy and succulent, and most importantly, not smothered with BBQ sauce.

Smoked bacon carbonara

Carbonara with smokey bacon served in a claypot. This was also really good, but unless we're going with a large group of people, there simply isn't enough room in our stomachs for this, as well as everything else that we want to have.

Note that all 4 of the items above require pre-ordering at least a day in advance.

My ideal Ubin menu, then, goes something like this:

Soft boiled egg special
Carabinero prawn
Kurobuta pork ribs
Beef (takeaway leftover heart attack rice)
Boss Beehoon

Collapse into food coma after.

A says:


Thursday, November 20, 2014


C says:

We had a thoroughly enjoyable, and surprisingly reasonable, meal at &Sons at China Square Central. Owned by Il Lido’s Beppe de Vito, it serves small plates of Italian food, which as everyone knows is right up our alley. Their portion sizes are perfect for sampling a fairly wide selection of their menu – we shared 6 dishes (2 of them were pastas) and were satisfyingly full without being stuffed.

Grilled Smoked Caciocavallo with avocado

Caciocavallo is a smoked, fairly firm cheese – a bit like haloumi. It was pan-fried so it had a nice crisp browned crust, and was served with a simple salad and chopped avocadoes.

Spaghetti sea urchin carbonara

Excellent; the sauce was briny, savoury and had perfect consistency, just coating the al dente spaghetti. If this is any indication, then their lunch-only bucantini carbonara with guanciale must be stellar.

Tagliolini with crab and nduja

Also good, but not as addictive as the carbonara. Nduja is a spicy pork sausage tasting similar to chorizo, so the sauce was basically a creamy crabmeat tomato sauce with a hint of smoked paprika. The interesting snow on top of the dish was a malt extract, which doesn’t taste like much but adds a richness to the sauce.

Lamb tenderloins with cannellini beans

The tenderloins were cooked a perfect medium rare, but I found them a little too aggressively spiced. The cannellini beans, on the other hand, were perfectly seasoned.

Crab and sundried tomato crostone

This was A’s pick, and while I didn't dislike it, it definitely wasn’t something I’d personally order. The bread for the crostone was good, but otherwise I found the crab topping fairly ordinary and predictable.

Calamari with nduja

This was amazing. The calamari will simply grilled so it was charred and smokey but still succulent and tender. The nduja was in the form of a dip, which wasn’t even really necessary because the calamari was so sweet and flavourful on its own.

The dishes we ordered ranged from $9 to $19, which I thought was very good value given the quality and quantity. I imagine that it can get pretty crowded on weeknights after work, but it’s a nice, calm vibe on Saturday night and a new go-to for us.

A says:

Great value. The pastas and calamari are definitely worth ordering. And the service is excellent. 

20 Cross Street
#01-19 China Square Central
Lunch: Mon to Fri, 12 noon to 2.30 pm
Dinner: Mon to Sat, 6.30 pm – 10.30 pm
Closed Sundays

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Wild Rocket omakase

C says:

The newly renovated and re-opened Wild Rocket now has an omakase counter, where you can enjoy a tasting menu of Chef Wilin’s creations, explained to you by Chef himself. You have to specify that you want the omakase menu when you call to reserve, though.

The omakase we recently had was quite an eye-opener. Prior to this, while we enjoyed the food at Wild Rocket, it didn't make a huge impact and we weren’t raving about it both during and after the meal. The meal we had, though, was really quite outstanding.

(Sorry, no photos of first 2 dishes, because they accidentally got deleted...)

First course: scallop carpaccio with konbu and truffle oil. Meant to be reminiscent of chwee kueh. Best dish of the night, in my opinion. Sweet scallops, umami konbu and just the right hint of truffle.

Second course: Thai pomelo salad with frozen coconut milk dressing. Bright, refreshing and with a hint of heat.

Third course: Crab cake on a bed of salted egg yolk paste. Chef’s take on a zi char favourite – salted egg yolk crab.

Fourth course: Grouper with a broth of spring onion and ginger. Again, this is meant to be a riff on that classic zi char dish – sliced fish with ginger and spring onions. Very impressive how the textures are so different but the flavours immediately remind you of the dish that inspired it.

Fifth course: “Singapore fried noodles”. Anyone who’s ordered this dubious-sounding dish in foreign Chinese restaurants will completely understand why Chef is on a quest to change everyone’s impression of this dish; from the lurid yellow, curry powder-flavoured noodle dish can be found nowhere in Singapore, to a dish that represents all the delicious noodles that are truly Singaporean. This will be a constantly evolving noodle dish, and the current version is a take on fried prawn noodles, with pasta, king prawns and a rich prawn stock.

Sixth course: Beef short rib rendang. A really good version of beef rendang with super flavourful short ribs.

Dessert 1: Palate cleanser in the form of pineapple sorbet with soy powder and chill padi – a nod to how the older generation used to eat pineapples with a dip of soy sauce, sugar and chilli padi.

Dessert 2: Matcha sugee cake with coconut ice cream

It was a thoroughly enjoyable meal. I’m not sure how often they update the omakase menu, but when we do go back it’ll definitely be for another omakase.

A says:

Food is better than ever. Definitely a place to take guests for inventive Singaporean cuisine.

Friday, October 31, 2014


C says:

A group of 5 of us had dinner at Izy, a new(ish) izakaya-concept bar and restaurant along Club Street. They do sharing plates, but portions are still on the small side, so between us we managed to sample most of their menu.

I have to say that I expected it to be more style than substance, but was happily proven wrong. Staff were very friendly, and more importantly the food was very good. I don't think anything was bad; it was just a question of what impressed us more.

First off, remember to ask about their specials. A couple of dishes weren't on the menu but we ran into A's friend there, who raved about a couple of off-menu items. The sesame tofu with uni and ikura was very tasty - a silken tofu pudding with just a hint of sesame, and a dollop each of fresh uni and ikura. Both the uni and ikura were already strongly flavoured, so I appreciated how they were quite restrained with everything else.

The foie is another special - foie gras marinated in sake for 3 day is then charcoal grilled, so the flavours are sweet yet smokey. The sake added a very nice dimension to an otherwise straightforward yakitori foie dish.

Two seemingly unassuming dishes on the menu turned out to be some of the best we had all night. First was the smoked potato salad, which again was so simple but so tasty - a creamy and smokey cross between potato salad and mashed potato, with a smokey hit. The other was their salad, that featured fresh vegetables tossed in a sesame dressing. The vegetables were super fresh, and again the dressing wasn't overpowering.

That's not to say that the food is always simple and bland. Their pork and ginger rolls had slices of pork wrapped around young ginger. The ginger flavour was almost too strong, but it stopped just shy of being overpowering. The fried chicken with balsamic soy glaze was also quite a flavour bomb, with battered chicken quite heavily spiced and drizzled with a sticky glaze.

In comparison, some of the other dishes like the trout carpaccio, pork skewers and stewed eggplant were, while certainly not bad in any way, just less memorable than some of the other dishes.

The carbs were tasty too - we tried the wagyu beef don with shaved black truffles, and the lobster porridge. A preferred the beef don and I preferred the lobster porridge, mainly because I thought the latter was a lot less predictable. Both were great way to end the meal.

Even their desserts are interesting. We tried the mangosteen almond pudding, and a coffee and chocolate mousse. I enjoyed the pudding, but objectively I think the mousse was better.

Another place that definitely begs a revisit.

A says:

Surprisingly, it's the simple dishes that really stand out here. Is it the best for the price? I'm not sure, but it's definitely worth a try.

27 Club Street
Tel: 6220-3327
Mon - Sat: 12 noon - 2.30 pm; 5 pm - 1 am
Closed Sundays

Sunday, October 26, 2014


C says:

Grain currently only delivers at lunchtime around the Marina Bay area, so this post may not be relevant to everyone, but I wanted to do a quick write-up about how good both their food and customer service are. Every weekday they offer 2 items, and to keep the suspense, they only announce the options when orders open at 10.45 am. Ingredients are listed in minute detail, as are nutritional information on calories, fat, carbs and protein.

You place your order either online or via telephone, and you can get your food in as little as 10 minutes. If you opt for a later delivery, say between 12.30 – 12.45, they will call you almost on the dot, and you meet the driver at the pick-up point.

How it works seems simple. Because they only have 2 choices a day, they only need to prepare those 2 options. By the time the email goes out indicating that orders are open, their drivers would already be in the Marina Bay area with stock of both choices, waiting for orders to roll in.

What they may lack in daily choice is more than made up for by their stellar customer service. They are always on time, never mess up an order, and are always there with a smile and a kind word. That personal touch almost makes it feel like a friend is delivering a home cooked meal to you. After lunch, they gather feedback on the meal, and dishes that get good reviews are brought back more often.

I’ve had very few misses, but some of the more notable hits have been:

 Hickory Smoked Chicken with Orange Couscous

Assam Chicken with Black Rice and Goji Berry Cabbage

Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Chimichurri Quinoa Salad

They cook their chicken especially well – it’s almost always nice and charred on the outside, yet still quite moist and tender. At $10.95 per dish (delivery is free for orders over $8), this is way more attractive than getting a soul-less salad for $10+.

I would highly recommend checking them out (www.grain.com.sg) if you work in the Raffles Place/Marina Bay. I hope they eventually expand their operations to include dinner service too.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Seriously Ice Cream

C says:

Seriously Ice Cream is our new go-to place if we want a light ice cream snack. Their ice creams are made without preservatives so the texture is a lot lighter and less dense than regular ice cream, but that’s also what makes it so light and refreshing.

They also do interesting flavour combinations, and they even have a mystery flavour every weekend. If you can guess every element of the mystery flavour, you get a free scoop of ice cream. It may sound easy enough, but with flavours like olive oil lemon oregano, or mango cardamom cheese curds, we haven’t gotten it right so far.

Our mainstay flavour is the amazing Lychee Rose, and we’ve also tried their blue cheese waffle with a miso gula Melaka ice cream. The waffle was a bit light on the blue cheese but you can always tell them to amp up the blue cheese when you order. The owners are really friendly and extremely accommodating.

A says:

Great flavours. Lychee Rose is must-try.

Seriously Ice Cream
Block 4 Everton Park
Tel: 9621 6889
Closed Tuesdays

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Immanuel French Kitchen

C says:

Chef Immanuel Tee, who used to be head chef at Keystone Restaurant in the CBD, has opened a very different (and dare I say, much more welcoming) dining concept - a pared-down French hawker stall within a "high-end" coffee shop in the Alexandra Village cluster. Located within the Salut coffee shop and sharing space with other similar concepts like Two Wings, Mien by the Travelling C.O.W and SeaSalt, Immanuel French Kitchen may have a small menu but every item on it is executed perfectly.

We almost never order chicken main courses at restaurants (besides fried chicken and chicken wings in every shape or form), since they're usually the most predictable item on the menu, and it's pretty easy to do a decent chicken dish at home. The Sous Vide Chicken Breast here, however, is possibly the tastiest, most tender version of a chicken breast dish I've had in a very long time. Because of the sous vide preparation, the chicken is ridiculously tender and moist, but there's still lots of flavour from the sear right before serving. The rigatoni gratin that's served alongside is also pretty tasty - I just wish there was more of it.

The Pork Belly with onsen tamago and potato foam was also very good. The pork belly was slow braised, almost kong bak-like, and the light potato foam sauce was addictive. Given the choice, I'd still go for the chicken though, since I'm not a huge fan of super soft, slow braised pork belly.

The duck rillettes starter was tasty, but to me it was slightly underseasoned. It needed a tiny sprinkling of salt to bring out all the flavours.

Main courses are no more than $15, which is a great deal given how good the food is. It's only been open for slightly more than a month, but Chef Immanuel seems to have garnered a small following there already (including A and his colleagues). Yes, it may not be the most accessible location, but for good food at great value, this is definitely worth a (re)visit.

A says:

Great food for a great price. Restaurant quality food. If only parking wasn't so hard. Given it's close to our home, we'll definitely be back for more.

Immanuel French Kitchen
Block 119, Bukit Merah Lane 1
#01-40, Salut coffee shop
Tel: 9297-3285
Tues - Sun: 12 noon to 10 pm daily
Closed Mondays

Sunday, July 13, 2014

On The Table

C says:

On The Table recently opened along Pasir Panjang Road, a few doors down from Fatboys. Staffed mainly by youngsters, it serves simple but pretty well executed fare in a comfortable setting, at quite reasonable prices.

I didn't have high expectations for their spicy honey wings (though I had to order them anyway), and was very pleasantly surprised. Only the mid-joint was used (yay), it wasn't overly battered, it was tender and juicy, and the paprika spice with honey drizzled on top made for a surprisingly good combination.

For our mains, we had a crab linguine and duck confit. The duck was tasty but perhaps a bit on the tough side. The accompanying mash was good (W, yours is better though), and the orange sauce again complemented the duck well.

The linguine was simple but again, well prepared, with a good balance of flavours.

They have a good selection of home-made ice creams, which we had with a waffle. The salted caramel ice cream was more of a burnt caramel, but pretty good anyway. A was a bit disappointed with the waffle - it was too old school for his liking.

The flat white we ordered was surprisingly strong and full bodied. Service was good, albeit a tad slow in churning out the waffle. Overall, I'm glad there's finally a decent coffee joint near home.

A says:

Great coffee. Unexpectedly good food. The only letdown was the very ordinary waffle and ice cream. But if you live around the area, this is highly recommended.

On The Table
118 Pasir Panjang Road
Tues - Fri: 8 am - 10 pm
Sat & Sun: 10 am - 10 pm
Closed Mondays

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Gyoza Ya

C says:

I must admit I had my misgivings when we stepped into Gyoza Ya at the new Robinsons Orchard. Since it's a home-grown concept by the Akashi group, I assumed it was just a novelty restaurant without much substance. I was very pleased to be proven wrong - the food was simple but very tasty.

We tried the pork gyoza and the vegetable ones. Needless to say, the pork ones were far superior, with a sweet, flavourful filling. The vegetable filling was decent but a bit mushy and lacklustre compared to the pork.

By far the most interesting dish was the Jyajya Men - their Japanese take on zhajiang mien. After mixing up the cucumber, leeks, noodles and miso-based minced pork, you can season it further to your liking with more miso and vinegar. When you're down to the last few mouthfuls, they will give you a soft boiled egg to crack into the bowl and some hot sobayu, and you mix it up with more miso to form a noodle soup of sorts.

Given the limited menu, I don't recommend coming here if you're ravenous. It's good for a light bite if you're not very hungry.

A says:

Surprisingly good. Given the lack of dining options in the area, this makes it to the top of the list.

Gyoza Ya
260 Orchard Road
B1-02 Robinsons Orchard
Tel: 6737-5881

Thursday, July 03, 2014


C says:

I regret taking so long to visit Wolf. When they first opened, I'd read about them offering pig's brain croquettes but when we finally decided to visit, they were no longer on the menu. When asked why, they said they tweaked their menu since their opening, as they felt that Singapore diners weren't ready for a true nose to tail experience yet. Odd, given how we aren't strangers to offal and other nasty bits in the form of kway chap.

They've expanded their menu to offer more variety and options for less adventurous diners, but we made a point to stick to an ode to the pig, and I'm so glad we did.

The Crispy Pig's Ears with an endive salad and creamy mustard dressing were a revelation. Our previous experiences with pig's ears have been, while not negative, just very underwhelming. Mainly cartilege, I've always found them to be all crunchy texture and not much else.

Here, the ears are lightly breaded and deep fried, and the result is a super light cross between bacon and chicken skin. The slightly bitter endive and rocket salad toned down the richness somewhat.

No brains, so we ordered the Pig's Head and Trotter Brawn, which was a terrine-like cold preparation with different textured meat from the head and trotter encased in aspic. Despite the name, this was actually a very light and refreshing dish.

Their main course specialties are their pork chops. Simply grilled and cooked only till medium, they have a selection of 5 different breeds with different characteristics. We picked the Nagano, based on the description of fat level and tenderness. The meat was definitely unlike any store bought pork. It was juicy, sweet and delicate, and the bits nearer the bone in particular were full of flavour. We're definitely planning to make our way through the other breeds.

The best dish for me by far was the Grilled Iberian Spare Ribs. This, to me, is how ribs ought to be. Not ultra tender and slathered in BBQ sauce such that you're pretty much just eating pulled pork. Good ribs need some bite to them so I can gnaw them off the bone, and only need a simple seasoning and a good char. This ticked every box. Glam food this certainly wasn't - my hands were dirty and I had oil on my face, but I couldn't have been happier.

The reference to Fergus Henderson's St John Restaurant continues to the dessert menu, with classic British offerings like Eton Mess and Blancmange. We went with a Rhubarb Trifle and a Pear Tart Tatin. The trifle had an amazing chantilly cream, and the rhubarb puree was tart yet fragrant. Very refreshing.

Service was excellent, and the ambience isn't too stuffy but not very hipster/poseur either. Pig's brains or not, we'll definitely be back.

A says:

Blew me away. The pig ears were amazing. The ribs are hard to eat and make you look like a slob gnawing on the bones in a nice restaurant, but it's worth it. Super tasty. In fact, I think it may be better than the signature pork chops. We'll definitely be back to try different chops and report back. Plus, the desserts are very good too.

Highly recommended.

18 Gemmill Lane
Tel: 6557-2224
Mon - Fri & Eve of PH: 11.30 am - 3 pm; 6 pm till 10.30 pm
Sat: 6 pm - 11.30 pm
Closed Sundays

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Element on Tras

C says:

Element on Tras, at Amara Hotel, is an annexe of sorts to Element, which is the hotel's buffet restaurant. At Element on Tras, you can order a la carte from the Chinese, Thai and Spanish sections of the restaurant.

The Spanish kitchen is helmed by Basque chef Mikel Badiola, who used to cook at Martin Berasategui in San Sebastien. We only tried the tapas rather than the main courses, but those were more than enough to impress.

Definite must-haves are the mushroom brochette, and the bacalao bechemal stuffed in piquillo peppers. The flavours were strong but not overly assertive, and overall just very refined.

The tortilla was quite a substantial portion, and while I appreciate that it was well executed, with a nice still-runny centre, I found it slightly underseasoned, and it needed the sauce from the bacalao. The grilled octopus with potatoes and pimenton was simple but very good.

The Basque fish soup was a winner for me. The flavours were again restrained but still very complex, and there were generous portions of perfectly cooked, moist codfish inside. I would be happen to return just for this dish.

The menu is still quite limited, and we've probably ordered most of the highlights of the tapas/pinxtos section, but there's still the main courses to be explored.

A says:

I went in with very high expectations so perhaps it's not fair when I wasn't impressed. Honestly speaking though, the food is still very good food. And I must mention the amazing service.

Having tried the buffet as well, I would say ala carte is the recommended option here.

Element on Tras
100 Tras Street
Tel: 6879 2607
Sunday – Thursday / Public Holiday: 11am - 1am
Friday, Saturday, Eve of Public Holiday: 11am - 2am