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Archive for the ‘Don't Mind Going Back’ Category

I was happy to be back at il Cielo for an exclusive one-night-only Etruscan Dinner Affair last month as part of the Gusto Italiano promotion. The six-course menu featured quintessential Tuscan dishes crafted by new chef at helm, Riccardo Catarsi, with handpicked wines paired by the in-house sommelier, Stephanie Rigourd. Interesting fact of the day: Etruscans are the first major civilization in Tuscany!

Highlights of the menu for me include the 47°C salmon served in a herb-infused glass (very smokey! I love smokey stuff!); deconstructed classic Tuscan fish stew Cacciucco (commonly known as the native dish of Tuscany) with a briny concentrated sauce and skewer of tender sustainable seafood; and the chocolate dessert symphony which I’ve already raved about on Instagram!

In retrospect, il Cielo scores points for 1. being daring and bold (pigeon was on the menu!) and more importantly 2. taking pride in the food they serve. There were two meat courses on the original menu which I don’t take so chef had to change them. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that the seafood dishes he prepared were not from the ala carte menu (no one told me, I just checked the online menu when drafting this post), which is usually not the case with other tastings. I can only guess that chef wanted to showcase something different from the same old same old and it worked – the burnt prawn with basil sorbet turned out to be my favourite so thank you for being creative, chef!

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47°C Cooked Salmon
sherry vinegar jelly, saffron dust

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Burnt Prawn
basil sorbet, bean puree
paired with Isole e Olena Chardonnay 2011

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Cacciucco
chef riccado’s interpretation of classic tuscan fish & tomato stew
paired with Isole e Olena Chardonnay 2011

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Stuffed Ravioli
squacquerone cheese & galbanti’s ricotta, beef cheek cream, morels
paired with Isole e Olena Chianti Classico 2011/Isole e Olena Cepparello 2009

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Chitarra Spaghetti
assorted seafood (mussels, prawns)

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3-way Pigeon Opera
piccione e frutti rossi, fennel red berries
paired with Isole e Olena Syrah 2006/Isole e Olena Cabernet Sauvignon 2007

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Tuscan-style Dessert Symphony
amedei cioccolate composition
paired with Isole e Olena Vin Santo 2004

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Cheers to TGIF tomorrow, everyone! :)

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Many thanks to Cindy and Stephanie for the kind invitation!

il Cielo Restaurant & Bar
Level 24, Hilton Singapore
581 Orchard Road
6730 3395

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BFF and I have an inside joke that The Beast is highly recommended for those who are going through a breakup and just want to eat/drink like there’s no tomorrow. Because not only do they offer comfort soul food, the portions are incredibly hearty and generous too. Plus the bar boasts one of the largest variety bourbons in the country, and has an extensive selection of American craft beers and bourbon+rye specialty cocktails. Jokes aside, I think this place is perfect for any occasion, happy or sad!

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I unabashedly professed my love for the freshly-baked cornbread on Instagram yesterday – “This is the best one I’ve ever tried! So soft yet dense, like a castella cake! Of cuz, I can easily count the number of times I had cornbread in my life using one hand so I’m not the best judge. Can only say I REALLY LIKE THIS” – and yes, I’m still standing by my words!

Cornbread ($6++)
maple syrup, butter

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We were really pleased with the crab cakes – 0% fillers, 100% crab meat! Well seasoned and deliciously paired with the refreshing sweet corn salsa on the side.

Maryland Crab Cake ($16++)
sweet corn salsa, honey mustard

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The tomato soup was packed with intense flavour, a result of roasting the tomatoes I suppose. Anyway, K was totally blown away by the simple and unassuming grilled cheese sandwich! Lightly browned bread, gooey melty cheese, this is the amazing grilled cheese sandwich in the movie Chef!

Roasted Tomato Soup ($10++)
grilled pimento cheese made in-house

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Fries are great pub grub but that’s too boring. Why not deep fried some green beans for a crunchy (and healthy?) snack? Very addictive and the seasoning reminded us of sweet potato fries!

Jack & the Beast Stalk ($12++)
deep fried green beans, secret seasoning

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Okie, enough raving for now. Both soft shell crab and pulled pork sliders were admittedly average and rather forgettable to us.

Soft Shell Crab Sliders ($16++)
lemon, honey mustard, dill mayo, mixed salad, toasted buns

Pulled Pork Sliders ($16++)
slaw, bbq sauce, toasted buns

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Most value for money dish for the night had to be the DIY catfish tacos! On the wooden platter was a heaping amount of fried catfish with hard corn taco shells and various condiments. An icon of Southern cooking, the white fish had a firm and moist texture. I’m definitely ordering this again!

Catfish Tacos ($24++)
cabbage, sweet corn salsa, cajun remoulade, sour cream, lime wedges

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The gravy was too heavy and creamy, otherwise this was a competent dish (I think K wished that it was a full-sized portion of the grilled cheese sandwich instead haha).

Char-grilled Rib-eye Steak ($36++)
8oz rib-eye, bourbon mushroom gravy, fries

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Grits are small coarse broken grains of corn and commonly eaten in Southern United States. Cooked grits are sort of like polenta – creamy, smooth and lacks crunch. It did get pretty monotonous after awhile, especially after all the shrimps were gone.

Shrimp & Grits ($24++)
garlicky shrimp sauce

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Two of my food blogger friends told me that the mudpie here is not good but I beg to differ actually! True, it was unbreakable as a rock initially when served but after letting it thaw (while we attacked the other dessert haha), we polished off the whole solid block of ice cream! Love the combination of crumbly cookie crust layered with rich chocolatey ice cream~

Mississippi Mudpie ($14++)
oreo crust, vanilla bean & triple chocolate ice cream, chocolate fudge

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My favourite pecan pie is from PS Cafe but the homemade version here is not bad too! Huge slice with lots of sweet crunchy pecans and topped with a lovely scoop of fig ice cream – the perfect finishing touch!

Bourbon Pecan Pie ($12++)
fig & honey ice cream

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Special thanks to Jamie, see you again soon!

The Beast
17 Jalan Klapa
6295 0017

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Out of nowhere we discovered The Boiler, a Southern American-inspired seafood joint located within the Tai Seng industrial area. We were there on a Tuesday night and the place – despite newly opened a couple of months ago – was absolutely packed, well done! A good sign of things food to come.

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The menu centers around a wide array of fresh live seafood cooked with homemade sauce options: “The Works” (mild, medium or ragin’ hot), “Garlic Butter” and “Peppa’ Butter“. All of them were tasty but since I’m usually in love with garlic butter, no prize for guessing which sauce was most finger-licking good to me haha.

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Because one was not enough, we shared two Boston lobsters ($75++ each) *bliss* Large and heavy, firm and succulent, I only wish we had a third one *wistful thinking* Also, I read somewhere that a lobster with long antennae is an indication that it has been fresh caught. The ones we had were fresh indeed!

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Nowadays, seafood restaurants (think Crab in da Bag etc) seem to like throwing assorted seafood into a bag and then dumping them again onto the table for everyone to dig in. I can understand why though – it’s a great show, it’s fun, it’s messy, so why not right? :)

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For a taste of all the crustaceans offered by The Boiler, get the specially customised Boiler’s Bombdiggity Bag ($139++ for 4 pax) which contains a party of air-flow Dungeness crab, prawns, mussels, clams, corn, chorizos and a side serving of fried buns (comparable to Momma Kong’s!) to mop up whichever sauce you choose. I thought I’d be partial to the crab but no, I kept reaching for the prawns – exceptionally toothsome, sweet and juicy!

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Starters and sides are not neglected, what with interesting items such as lobsicle ($15.90++ for half, $28.90++ for full) and chicks & waffles ($9.90++). The former is the first and only in Singapore (even trademarked!) – whole lobster on a stick, dipped and fried in the chef’s secret batter. Not impressed though, it was dry and tough so just stick to the real thing! The standout was surprisingly the fish & chips ($12.90++)! Ultra soft moist meat sealed within a crispy golden shell, very enjoyable.

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Chocolate molten lava cake was sold out so the alternative was CBD, i.e. crispy banana & durian ($7.90++). Decent end to a (more than) satisfactory feast!

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Thank you, Carrie, for the kind invitation!

The Boiler
18 Howard Rd
#01-06, Novelty Bizcentre
6635 1285

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Our bosses decided to take us out for lunch a couple of days ago and as usual, the resident food blogger was tasked to recommend a place that can accommodate eight hungry folks. Common Man Coffee Roasters was shortlisted and it turned out to be a great choice (self-praise haha) as several ladies in the office have been wanting to try this hippy cafe!

I felt really happy (it’s a foodie thing; I like to see people well-fed and satisfied) that everyone seemed so pleased with their selections, from the turkish/full breakfast to grilled “chilli” chicken with crushed avocado salsa. My crab salad was outstanding too, a lovely plate of fresh white meat tossed with pomegranate and caper crumbs in a yuzu mango mint dressing on a bed of wild rocket, romaine and endive. My idea of a healthy yet hearty lunch.

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Common Man Coffee Roasters
22 Martin Road, #01-00
6836 4695

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Serving Italian styled western cuisine, Sapori D Italia (previously known as Vintage Chef) stuck out like a sore thumb in the Bishan neighbourhood coffee shop. Go ahead and give it a try though! Price tags are affordable for the quality and quantity, plus plating and presentation are not overlooked.

Mushroom soup was blah (read: diluted and watery), salad greens had unsightly holes (obviously not the freshest) but we were suitably impressed with the mains. My double slabs of grilled seabass were as crispy as K’s battered pork loins were tender. We like!

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Mushroom Soup ($3.90)
blended sauteed mushrooms, butter, vegetable stock

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Pork Piccata ($7.90)
pork loin battered with parmesan and egg, black pepper sauce

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Grilled Wild Seabass ($8.90/1 piece or $12.90/2 pieces)
diced sauteed potatoes, balsamic reduction, grapefruit, mixed salad

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Sapori D Italia
Blk 112 Bishan Street 12
8101 3134

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Besides Maple and Market, there’s a new dessert cafe (or more specifically, a gelateria) near my house yay! The Hideout sells an array of artisan gelato made fresh daily with no preservatives and (what else but) waffles, of course.

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Honestly, most of the flavours tasted rather average (chestnut, matcha and pistachio were disappointing) but we managed to settle on the three better ones – mao shan wang, salted caramel and dark chocolate ($10). I must remember to ask them not to pour the colourful sprinkles and marshmallows on my gelato next time. Hate those artificial stuff.

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The Hideout
Blk 32 Cassia Crescent #01-50
6440 0971

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The one and only reason why we found ourselves inside Oblong at Serangoon Gardens was because of their awesomely late closing hours — 12am on Sundays to Thursdays and 2am on Fridays to Saturdays! Despite the late hours, it was crowded and noisy when we reached at midnight. I heard from one of my Instagram friends that the waiting time for the popular red velvet waffles can take up to an hour! Luckily we didn’t order any, phew.

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We had our usual triple scoops (even though it was already past 12 hehe) and after trying almost all the flavours, we picked baileys (had a last minute change of heart about chocolate stout which was very good too), coffee almond and pistachio salted caramel. I love the creamy and smooth texture, a great contrast to the nutty bits in the latter two!

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Salted caramel molten lava cake!! When we saw this on the menu, I went “I want!!”

Please do not make the same mistake as me. The cake was a joke (sorry to be so mean) haha. As small as my palm (I have small hands, FYI), minimal lava flow (what you see below is what you get), and the weirdest thing was the lack of salted caramel taste! I felt confused while eating it and K said it was one of the worst cakes ever in his life #melodrama

Just stick to the ice cream! Be there or be square!

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Oblong Ice Cream
10 Maju Avenue
6858 2320

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