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

Two girls two guys eight tapas one dessert at East 8, a New York fusion “East meets West” tapas bar. In case you are wondering (like I did), “8th Street” is an area in lower Manhattan in NYC, where there are several diverse Asian restaurants. Plus, the number “8” means luck (huat ah!!!) in most Asian cultures, hence the inspiration behind the name “East 8″.

The one-pager menu is compact and comprehensive with different categories such as “Raw”, “Meat”, “Seafood”, “Vegetables”, “Sides” and “Desserts”. On hindsight, I realized we had a well-balanced meal cuz at least one dish was ordered from each section haha. Anyway, other than a couple of mediocre dishes, I enjoyed most of the tapas, score!

The predictably likable ones are the fresh hamachi slices doused with sesame soy dressing and tuna chunks tossed with cubes of avocado. Most impressive are the crispy truffle portobello mushroom fries (I love how thick and chunky they are!) and miso chilean seabass (so deliciously soft that I wanted it all to myself heh heh). I’m not surprised K likes the cream drunken chicken (his favourite choice of meat!) more than the pork sliders and soy yuzu beef. The bacon wrapped scallops were average and portions were small for the price. I had my heart set on the molten peanut butter chocolate lava cake and it didn’t disappoint! One word: RICH.

Hamachi & Caviar ($16++)
hamachi with sesame, soy dressing & black caviar

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A.L.T ($16++)
avocado and lemon on yellowfin tuna chunks

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Portobello Fries ($16++)
truffle portobello mushroom fries with roasted garlic aioli

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Miso Chilean Seabass ($24++)
marinated Chilean seabass in miso and wine, buttered shimeji mushroom

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Cream Drunken Chicken ($18++)
poached half chicken roulade dressed in chinese wine cream sauce, king oyster mushrooms

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Land + Sea ($27++)
baked bacon wrapped hokkaido scallops, sunny side up quail eggs, yuzu vodka cream sauce

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Molten Peanut Butter & Chocolate ($15++)
lava cake, french vanilla ice cream

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East 8, New York Fusion Tapas + Bar
#01-21/22, 10 Coleman Street
6338 8289

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Tough competition, high rental, fickle consumers, and yet there are so many new (and upcoming) ice cream parlors in Singapore these days! Respect!! Because of all these brave entrepreneurs, my to-go list has been lengthening rapidly so time to strike off one!

Beans & Cream at Bukit Batok (omg sooooo farrrrrrrrr) clearly caters to the residents in the neighbourhood – I saw families/couples in tees/singlets, shorts, slippers and kids wearing pajamas, cute. It’s a very plain-looking shop but the varieties of ice cream in the chiller are anything but!

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Waffles are predictably on the menu so we tried one set ($9 with two scoops of ice cream; additional $0.80 for every “premium” flavour). The shape and size of the waffles are similar to Creamier but I still prefer the latter. These were pretty decent but not as crispy as I’d like (I love super crispy ones!) and missing a certain aroma to it? Anyway, doesn’t matter because the avocado supreme and green tea ice cream were so creamy and smooth! The former had swirls of chocolate and gula melaka while the latter was bittersweet and apparently made from Kyoto-Uji matcha containing the super nutrient chlorella. Healthy ice cream yay! #whoamikidding

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I wanted three scoops of ice cream on the waffles (our default!) but the staff refused cuz two is the max! Something due to their POS system, whatever. So I’m penalized because I want to buy more (and help them save one paper cup)?! Pfft, doesn’t make sense to me. Okie rant over, back to happier topic – ice cream, of course! Pistachio ($3.80) is one of the premium flavours and will only be available for a limited period. The initial taste was good and nutty but somehow it got sweeter and sweeter hmm. Kind of regretting that I didn’t get the black sesame soy instead…

Note to self (and K): next time!

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Beans & Cream
#01-260, 347 Bukit Batok Street 34

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Singapore Restaurant Week is back! From 25 Oct to 2 Nov, top restaurants in Singapore will be offering a 3-course lunch and dinner at $25++ and $35++ respectively (additional supplement applies for certain restaurants) and the theme is “chocolate” yay! Priority bookings will be offered to American Express Card Members from 22 Sep and booking for the public will open from 27 Sep.

Although it’s already in its 9th edition, I’ve never participated in one before (don’t ask me why, I was just never inclined to do so)! But this year is gonna be different because I’ve already decided to support one of my favourite chefs for both lunch and dinner during Restaurant week! Check back tomorrow if you wanna know who/where/what~

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I was lucky to go on a media trail for a sneak peek (and taste) of what the upcoming Restaurant Week will bring! The idea is that three mystery restaurants will be featured, each serving one course (starter, main course and dessert). This is the second time I’ve attended the mystery restaurant trail and I think it’s better-organized than the first! Last year we started at AMK and it was such a long ride to our 2nd destination in the city zzz. And this year we were chauffeured in style in Audi cars to our next venue/course (last year was disco van; fun but Audi is way cooler haha).

Cauliflower Gratin
deep fried cauliflower florets, white truffle & cheese foam, gremolata

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Our first stop was *drumroll* Bacchanalia! When our starter arrived, my heart sank a little because it didn’t look appetizing. Not photogenic at all, for sure. But wow, I really should learn not to judge a dish by its looks haha. The plain jane cauliflower gratin was my favourite that night. Love the bold flavour (spices used somehow remind me of Indian cuisine) and the cauliflower florets were surprisingly not soggy despite being buried under a blanket of foam and cream.

Next stop was Amarone at Capital Tower where we had a nicely grilled sea bass. Nothing amazing, but I felt healthy after polishing it off!

Branzino alla Siciliana
grilled sea bass with sicilian dressing, cherry tomatoes, capers and olives

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We were guessing where we’d end up for dessert but Hilton Hotel certainly didn’t cross my mind! High up on level 24 is il Cielo, a contemporary Italian restaurant which I’ve heard good things about. Although it was strangely served at room temperature, our dessert was lovely – three different layers of intense coffee froth, tantalizing dark chocolate and rum mousse with sugarcane crumbles dominating the bottom layer for a crispy and sweet aftertaste. This put il Cielo on my ever-growing to-go list!

Dolce Ponce
coffee froth, chocolate and rum mousse with sugarcane crumbles

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To make bookings or find out more information, check out the official Restaurant Week website: http://www.restaurantweek.sg

My thanks to DiningCity, Debbie and Natasha for the invitation!

Bacchanalia
23A Coleman Street
6509 1453

Ristorante Amarone
168 Robinson Rd, Capital Tower
6423 0464

il Cielo Restaurant & Bar
581 Orchard Road
6730 3395

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K picked me up after my dinner at Alkaff Mansion and he was quite skeptical when I told him that I enjoyed most of the food! Can’t blame him because we had a very underwhelming (I quote myself: “crappy”) brunch there early last year jeez.

But times have changed at the Grande Dame on the hill (looks majestic at night!) – new executive chef from Sardinia, new Italian menu with a Sardinian flair, so I reckon it’s time to “rediscover” Alkaff Mansion eh?

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And actually, it was a night of “discovery” about yours truly too. See, I’ve never liked octopus and squid (and abalone and oyster and mussel and the chewy seafood, you get the idea) but wow, I couldn’t stop myself from having seconds of the beautiful octopus salad! The fresh octopus carpaccio was so thin and tender! Have I been missing out the good stuff all along?! Haha.

Insalata di Polpo alla Carlofortina ($24++)
Sardinian Octopus Salad with Yellow Frisée Salad

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The refreshed menu also boosts a luxurious seafood platter for two, with five different items – plump tiger prawns, tuna tartare, sea bass carpaccio, octopus salad (new found love!) and lobster chunks in a zesty citrus dressing. The portions were generous and I think four persons can share this comfortably without fighting!

Gran Misto di Mare ($68++, serving for two)
Seafood Platter with Tuna Tartare, Tiger Prawns, Lobster, Sea Bass and Octopus

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Usually I’d prefer pasta to risotto (too carb-heavy, relatively) but the classic porcini mushroom risotto made with Superfino Acquerello grain (reportedly prized for making flawless al dente risotto as it absorbs liquids well yet still remains fluffy) had such a heady aroma and rich flavour that the toothsome fregola pasta steeped in a savoury seafood broth just paled in comparison.

Fregola ai Frutti di Mare ($28++)
Sardinian Pasta with Assorted Seafood

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Risotto ai Funghi Porcini e Timo ($28++)
Porcini Mushroom Risotto Superfino Acquerello with Thyme

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My main course of sea bream was fresh but unfortunately, it was way too salty. Guess you can give the other new dishes a try – oven baked lamb rack or the sardinian style suckling pig, which is apparently slow roasted for several hours at 70°C to obtain the perfect skin texture as well as ensuring the flesh is fork tender.

Orata al Forno in Crosta di Patate e Pomodorini Ciliegina ($48++)
Baked Sea Bream with Potatoes and Cherry Tomatoes

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Carre’ d’Agnello al Forno, Cipolline in Salsa di Prugne e Arance ($45++)
Oven Baked Lamb Rack with Caramelised Onions & Homemade Prune Sauce

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Porcetto Sardinyan Style ($46++)
Slow Cooked Sardinian Style Suckling Pig with Roasted Potatoes

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A modern twist on another Italian dessert sees the creation of the mint and vanilla panna cotta which honestly didn’t score points with me. The minty flavour brings to mind toothpaste? Ah, just ignore me, I’m the girl who doesn’t like mint ice cream anyway.

Panna Cotta, Frutti di Bosco e Salsa al Lamponi ($14++)
Fresh Mint Vanilla Panna Cotta with Mixed Berries & Raspberry Sauce

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Special thanks to Veronica and Jeanette for hosting us for dinner!

Alkaff Mansion Ristorante
10 Telok Blangah Green
6510 3068

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If not for the unexpected (and unfortunate!) closure of Hanare on a Saturday, we wouldn’t have gone to Sushi Kou because that was not in the immediate “let’s go eat there!” plans. And yes, I plan every meal hehe. Anyway, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise and we like our ala carte orders (usual favourites so everything was oishii!) enough that one day soon, we will be back for the omakase, which I heard is priced very reasonably for the quality~

Clockwise from bottom right:

yuzu and green tea ice cream, negitoro maki, unagi avocado maki, soft shell crab maki, tamago, anago sushi

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Sushi Kou
1 Tras Street
6444 8433

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Brunch at Bochinche is slightly different – the menu goes beyond the normal done-to-death-but-somehow-I-still-go-back-for-more eggs ben/waffles and successfully dispels the notion that Argentinean cuisine is only about meat. I was happy to find several pescetarian-friendly items on the menu, such as the classic provoleta (darn, no good photo of this!) – rich and creamy/milky grilled provolone cheese served sizzling hot in a pan. Other memorable dishes include the squid ink burger with a thick disc of golden-brown crayfish patty, yellow fin tuna (light and healthy!), and the smoked salmon with scrambled eggs (sounds boring, I know, but sometimes it’s the simplest dish that stands out!)~

K was the meat tester for me that day and he pretty much finished everything I dumped on his plate haha. The sirloin steak and chorizo sausage made in-house were his favourites. Think he will skip the bland ossobuco the next time round though (poached eggs are so not him anyway). Pancakes and French toast (bacon ice cream is losing its novelty factor these days, don’t you think so??) are good to try but not something we’d order on our own since they are kind of average.

Save some space for desserts because they are lovely, especially the bitter chocolate tart paired with chili flakes yogurt (so interesting!) and smooth crème caramel. Milk cake and crème brulee were rather sweet, so I passed and didn’t go back for seconds. Can’t say the same for the chocolate tart though hee.

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Sirloin Steak Salad
porcini mushrooms, sweet potato, grilled leeks & mustard dressing

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House Chorizo Sausage
malbec braised ox cheeks & caramelised onions

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Squid Burger
smoked pepper, chopped romanine, crayfish & dill mayo

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Ricotta Pancakes
berries salad, maple syrup & cinnamon crème fraîche

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Yellow Fin Tuna
grilled pak choi, spicy humita & crispy “aji molido” tofu

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Braised Ossobuco & Organic Poached Eggs
toast & chives hollandaise sauce

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Brioche French Toast
house-cooked ham & bacon ice cream

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Smoked salmon & Scrambled Eggs
red onions, capers & dill cream cheese

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Milk Cake
passion fruit sorbet & toasted almonds

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Bitter Chocolate Tart
chili flakes yogurt & chocolate ice cream

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Crème Caramel
“dulce de leche” & crushed meringue

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My thanks to Alexandra for inviting and hosting brunch!

Bochinche
22 Martin Road
6235 4990

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I wish there are more bang for the buck set lunches around my workplace but alas, I can only be envious of you CBD folks for the time being. And now I’m also jealous of those working near Vivocity because Jamie’s Italian has introduced a value for money set lunch menu on weekdays from 12-5pm! S$17.90++ for an appetizer and main course; top up $6++ for a TGIF (or mid-week) treat: tiramisu or the epic brownie (these are the two best items for desserts at Jamie’s, tried and tested so trust me)! The menu changes twice-weekly and choices are actually from the ala carte menu (which are obviously more expensive if you choose the same dishes during dinner).

I personally like the starters more than the mains: both the cauliflower fritters and crab/avocado bruschetta are as delicious as what I tried on my previous visit; the spicy chicken wings come in a generous portion (K polished off the whole plate, sauce included); mains of pasta are not particularly impressive (rather plain and boring) though I imagine they are certainly hearty enough to last you through the day. Those on a strict 1 hour lunch break (poor thing you!), fret not. The two-course set lunch is thoughtfully designed to be served within an hour, ideal for a quick and tasty meal before returning to the office!

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Crab & Avocado Bruschetta
sourdough topped with devonshire crab, avocado & yeo valley yoghurt, with apple, chilli, mint & lemon

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Italian Spiced Chicken Wings
free-range wings with smoked spicy tomato sauce

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Cauliflower & Parmesan Fritters
with a fiery arrabbiata dip

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Tagliatelle Bolognese
ragù of beef, pork, herbs, chianti & parmesan with crunchy, herby breadcrumbs

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Turbo Penne Arrabbiata
tomato, garlic & basil sauce with chilli & crunchy breadcrumbs

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Tiramisu
coffee-flavoured trifle with orange mascarpone & chocolate

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Epic Brownie
warm fudgy brownie with amaretto ice cream & caramelised amaretti popcorn

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Special thanks to Stef for arranging dinner!

Jamie’s Italian
#01-165/167, VivoCity
1 HarbourFront Walk
6733 5500

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