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Karafuru Desserts

Have you heard?

Japanese-inspired and serving an array of colourful eclairs and gourmet yogurt parfaits, Karafuru (Japanese for colourful!) is the latest to-go cafe for instagram-worthy desserts!

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There was a period of time when I was cray cray over Windowsill Pies, so imagine how happy I am to find out that Chef Michael Liu (ex-Windowsill Pies creator) is the man behind the unique, one-of-a-kind menu!

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Priced between $6 to $7, each slightly savoury choux is carefully baked before being hand-piped with smooth velvety creams. Karafuru’s eclairs are lighter, fluffier, and more dainty than its French counterparts so expectations need to be managed as some may think the flavours are muted and the pastry too soft.

Ume Shiso ($7)
umeboshi creme, shiso

Black Forest ($7)
kirshwasser creme, candied wild cherries, raspberries, dark chocolate

Marc de Champagne ($7)
marc de champagne creme, marzipan, silver leaves

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Traditional Japanese flavours get a contemporary facelift in the form of an unusual ume shiso, complete with a real shiso leaf! If you like choya, try it! Otherwise, the other “boozy” eclairs include marc de champagne, irish cream and black forest.

Matcha Azuki ($6)
matcha crème, azuki beans, matcha sables

Cafe Au Lait ($6)
milk coffee creme, marzipan, dark chocolate sables

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My personal favourites are the matcha azuki and cafe au lait, as both have strong and distinct flavours. Plus, they go well with UCC coffee (for K) and Lupicia tea (I highly recommend peach momo)!

Irish Cream ($7)
coffee whiskey creme, mascarpone chantilly, toasted almonds

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A generous swirl of freshly made yogurt soft serve sits atop a plate surrounded by a spread of moist souffle cake, wobbly pudding, Japanese dango balls and thin buttery langue de chat… That’s Karafuru’s spin on the classic Japanese parfait!

Gianduja Parfait ($16)
hazelnut souffle, chocolate pudding, hazelnut and orange crisp, dark chocolate curd, candied orange, curaçao sauce

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My heart broke when I was told that the matchazuke parfait was sold out (go early, especially on weekends!) so I settled for gianduja (chocolate will never fail) and the more interesting daizu with white miso souffle, soybean pudding and kinako sauce. I didn’t fancy every element (like those chewy dango balls) but what won my heart were the creamy soft serve, dense “souffle” (quite a misnomer) cakes and the hazelnut orange crisp! Now I can’t wait to try the matcha parfait!

Daizu ($16)
white miso souffle, soymilk pudding, kuromitsu, sesame dango, ‘rice stalks’, kinako cream

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My thanks to Joseph for the sweet treats!

Karafuru Desserts
8 Jalan Klapa
62914430

If you like Indonesian food, Kintamani should definitely be on your list, if not already. After all, it is a well-known institution established since 1985 (older than me!) and offers traditional Halal Balinese cuisine over either a buffet spread or savoury ala carte menu.

Just the tahu telur (tahu = beancurd; telur = eggs) alone will bring me back to Kintamani in an instant. Wonderfully crispy and eggy on the inside, moist and meltingly soft on the inside, drizzled with a rich peanut sauce, so good! Both the charcoal grilled red snapper and deep-fried buttered prawns tossed with egg yolk and curry leaves were fresh and worth a try too.

The only dish I didn’t like was the slipper lobster coated with chilli – the sauce was sweet instead of spicy, and lacked an oomph factor.

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Tahu Telur Surabaya ($12++)
javanese beancurd, omelette, shredded cucumber, carrot, spicy peanut sauce

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Udang Galah Sambel Belado ($28++)
fried slipper lobster, chilli

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Ikan Bakar Jimbaran ($32++)
charcoal grilled red snapper, jimbaran sauce “sambel matah” chilli

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Udang Goreng Mentega ($28++)
deep-fried buttered prawns, egg yolk, curry leaves

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My thanks to Li-lin and Jun for hosting dinner!

Kintamani Indonesian Restaurant
Furama RiverFront
405 Havelock Road
6333 8898

A quintessential Japanese winter dish, oden is traditionally served in a pot of light dashi and a mixture of 4-5 ingredients such as boiled eggs, fish cake and daikon. To me, it is simply the Japanese equivalent of yong tau foo and HAN has taken one step further to modernize it by serving each ingredient in individual courses, allowing the distinctive taste of each component to be highlighted in every dish.

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Go all out and opt for the (comprehensive but expensive) HAN’s Oden Kaiseki ($160++) which includes an appetizer, sashimi, 7 kinds of oden, 1 grilled course, 1 fried course, a choice between udon or ochazuke and dessert. That may sound like a lot of food but at the end of my dinner, I felt comfortably full as the entire meal was generally light and clean-tasting.

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With versions of oden differing according to region, HAN has chosen to serve Kansai-style oden, native to the southern-central region of Japan’s main island of Honshu. This region spans the prefectures of Osaka, Kyoto and Okayama and uses a light shoyu in their oden. Although Executive Chef Seiichiro Arakawa’s interpretation of oden reflects the style of cooking in Kamigata, Osaka, his version uses a white shoyu which yields an even clearer broth and sweeter taste.

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According to Chef Arakawa, the best oden is guided by three principles. The first is to ensure precise seasoning so that the ingredient itself has a specific taste. The second requires the dish to be accompanied by a sauce or condiment (e.g. miso or mustard). Lastly, cooking must be used as a vehicle to bring out the natural and purest taste of each ingredient used.

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I like that the oden is cooked and prepared right before the guests seated at the dining counter. Each dish is handcrafted before being placed into simmering oden pots and cooked for a precise length of time. Chef Arakawa uses seasonal ingredients from Japan and incorporates Kaiseki techniques inspired by his training at Kitcho, a Michelin star traditional Ryotei in Kyoto. His oden soup base is prepared with a blend of kelp, dried bonito, white shoyu and mirin while a selection of sauces and condiments are chosen to complement and enhance each dish.

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Menu highlights include fried beancurd cake with mustard which looks and sounds simple but has multiple steps involved – Chef Arakawa presses and mashes the tofu to form a paste, combines it with ground yam, finely diced cloud ear mushrooms and carrots, forms the mixture into balls, fries them and then cooked in the broth before serving! My favourite is definitely the Hokkaido king crab leg, so naturally sweet and succulent that I was almost moved to tears! #dramamama

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Before oden and for the past three years, HAN specializes in kushikatsu, i.e. skewered meat/seafood/vegetables dipped in batter and panko (breadcrumbs) and deep-fried in oil. I have never believed in frying fresh seafood but at least these were expertly fried and not oily at all!

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After all the seafood dishes, the wasabi ochazuke and fresh seasonal Japanese melon/peach were a refreshing change!

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P.S. Those looking for the complete oden experience can select HAN’s Oden Omakase ($120++) which includes an appetizer, 12 different types of oden (truly for the oden lovers!), 2 palate cleansers, a choice of udon or ochazuke and dessert. Alternatively, ala carte oden is available at market price.

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Special thanks to Ada for hosting dinner!

HAN Cuisine of Naniwa
#01-04, Odeon Towers
331 North Bridge Road
+65 6336 2466

Corner House

First we have the term “Mod Sin”. Now there’s “Gastro-Botanica”, the contemporary cuisine created by Chef Jason Tan at Corner House that highlights both protein and botanical elements. We brought a couple of overseas friends there for dinner one night and what else can I say other than it was truly a beautiful meal? There is no ala carte; either you go for the elaborate degustation ($248++) or choose the mix-and-match menu (4 courses for $98++; 6 courses for $148++). We did the latter and left with happy smiles and full tummies!

From start to end, every dish was elegantly presented and the ingredients of high quality. I especially enjoyed the black sesame spheres (yes I’m naturally biased towards anything with the word ‘sesame’ but everyone at the table agreed that these were good!), 62 degree egg hidden in savoury-sweet onion puree (points given for the unexpected slice of shaved black truffle!), delicious fresh cod with seasonal white asparagus (any chef who can whip up fish with such crispy scales has my respect) and of course, both the desserts – chocolate “pebbles” plated to look like a winter garden, and a modern take of the traditional “kaya toast” with weak pandan but strong gula melaka flavour.

The staff packed petit fours for us (really too full!) and guess what greeted me the next morning? Salted egg yolk macarons! Brilliant.

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Amuse-bouche
fish cracker topped with tobiko, black sesame spheres, prawn on cornmeal cracker with avocado mousse

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French Royale Oyster
au naturel, plum granité, basil seed, caviaroli

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Carabinero Prawn (supplement $22++)
variation of best season tomato, vintage sherry, kristal de chine caviar

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Beetroot Collection
smoked eel, 24 months comté, horseradish, walnut & black garlic

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Oignon doux des Cévennes
62 degree egg, buckwheat, noisette croûton

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Maine Lobster (supplement $20++)
char grilled, burrata, yellow capsicum, trombetta zucchini, kristal de chine caviar

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sorry I can’t remember what is this dish. there were too much food!

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Free Range Chicken
champignon, romaine lettuce, sauce surf & turf

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Hokkaido Scallop
riso, seaweed, burnt leek, surf & turf emulsion

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New Zealand Cod “Crispy Scales”
white asparagus

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Cocoa “Pebbles”
white chocolate, meringue, crumbles

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My Interpretation of Kaya Toast
pandan, coconut, gula melaka, muscovado sablé and yuzu

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Corner House
1 Cluny Road, E J H Corner House
Singapore Botanic Gardens
(Nassim Gate Entrance)
+65 6469 1000

Bread Street Kitchen

I sat down for dinner with minimum expectation as I had read mixed reviews about Bread Street Kitchen, the highly anticipated restaurant and bar by Gordon Ramsay at Marina Bay Sands. Offering classic British European fare, the signature dishes include pork belly, shepherd’s pie, roasted veal carpaccio, as well as the BSK burger with melted Monterey Jack cheese and spicy sriracha mayo in a brioche bun. Sound delicious on paper but we had none of those.

Instead, we chose what we know we will like – crispy flatbread topped with naturally sweet butternut squash (must try!), seared bouncy scallops, roasted black cod for me and a hearty slab of rare Irish rib-eye 28 days aged for K. Every dish was well-executed and thoroughly enjoyable! The only misses were the bland Alaskan king crab cocktail and Chinese/Korean-ish spicy tuna tartare which we would not recommend. Maybe the salmon ceviche next time?

Our last course was excellent – again, as with the savoury, we decided not to go for much-publicized-on-blogs sweets such as the treacle tart with crème fraiche ice-cream. We scored with the expertly prepared desserts – the chocolate fondant had an impressive flow of rich dark molten lava; the cheesecake was light and a perfect match with roasted balsamic strawberries; and the coffee white chocolate parfait? Simply lovely!

Pick wisely and I’m sure you will have a great time here.

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Flatbread ($20++)
butternut squash, taleggio cheese, mushrooms, pine nuts, basil pesto

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Alaskan King Crab Cocktail ($28++)
apple, pink peppercorn

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Seared Scallops ($24++)
carrot purée, treacle cured bacon, apple, celery cress

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Spicy Tuna Tartare ($19++)
chilli, garlic, sesame oil, wonton crisps

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Roasted Black Cod ($44++)
crushed potatoes, salted capers, artichoke, red wine, lemon sauce

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Irish Angus Rib-eye Steak ($68++)
12oz 28 days aged grass fed, green peppercorn sauce

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Half Lobster (supplement $25++)
make your own surf and turf with any grill

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Chocolate Fondant ($20++)
salted caramel, mint chocolate chip ice cream

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Monkey Shoulder Cranachan Cheesecake ($18++)
roasted balsamic strawberries

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Coffee and White Chocolate Parfait ($18++)
poached blackberries

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My thanks to Philicia for arranging dinner!

Bread Street Kitchen
Bay Level, L1-81
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
+65 6688 5665

Epicurean Market 2015

I’m sure you already know – Epicurean Market 2015 opens tomorrow and will run till 16 August. I’ve been to the previous two events and no way am I going to miss the latest third edition! These are the dishes which I’m eyeing from the celebrity restaurants:

Adrift: californian heirloom tomato toast with vanilla and turmeric, and its signature King crab melt with pimento cheese (pineapple tamarind glazed pork ribs sound interesting too);
– Long Chim: grilled eggplant salad with dried prawn (meaty dishes include beef skewers, charred rice noodles with pork and yellow beans, and deep-fried chicken with plum sauce);
– Waku Ghin: marinated botan shrimp with sea urchin and oscietra caviar which is a familiar favourite (though I think the menu is quite boring and repetitive every year);
– Osteria Mozza: grilled octopus (there is also a new cold pasta dish – squid ink chitarra freddi with sea urchin, fresh crabmeat and jalapeno pesto);
– Spago: spicy tuna tartare (looking forward to this the most as it’s a sneak preview ahead of its official opening!)

Stay tuned by my Instagram tomorrow evening for my thoughts on the hits and misses!

Credit: Marina Bay Sands

Credit: Marina Bay Sands

Besides food, the other highlights are:

– Over 35 masterclasses from celebrity chefs and various experts
Farmer’s Market with the freshest produce, including Chef Daniel Boulud’s famous Epicerie Boulud
– Fine wines, spirits and premium coffee
Cocktail Bar and Whisky Lounge by Diageo with mini-workshops by experts
After Party on 14 and 15 August 2015
– Exclusive tasting sessions of LOUIS XIII de Rémy Martin and Single Malt by Glen Ord Distillery
Instagram contest: share your most instagrammable moment with us and stand to win an experience for 2 at the cheese and chocolate bar!

Credit: Marina Bay Sands

Credit: Marina Bay Sands

Epicurean Market will be held at Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Basement 2, Hall D & E from 14 – 16 August 2015.
Priced at $28 per person for a three-day pass, tickets include a complimentary pair of Schott Zwiesel red wine glasses.

Salt Tapas & Bar

The existing menu of modern tapas at Salt Tapas & Bar has been revived with the arrival of Executive Chef Ronald Li. Formerly from KU DÉ TA (now CÉ LA VI), Chef Ronald has created a menu celebrating hearty, slow-cooked fare. More impressive is that although this is essentially still a “bar”, he pays close attention to presentation – every plate arrives on the table looking beautiful and artistic.

Menu highlights include the grilled eryngii mushrooms on a bed of chive aioli which I love. There’s minimal seasoning so the natural sweetness of the juicy mushrooms shines through. Even though the menu has supposedly an “Australian twist”, I find that there’s a bit of Middle Eastern influences too – curried roast pumpkin with labneh and dukkah; golden and red beets with ricotta and fresh figs; haloumi paired with eggplant and chickpea. All three were very tasty and I can see myself coming back for more!

Out of the new “mains to share” section, the “fish to share” features a 400g slab of grilled barramundi. Accompanied by tangy mango salsa and sautéed broccolini, the moist and delicate fish is simply grilled with a dash of yuzu to highlight its natural delicate flavor. I heard another noteworthy main to share is the paella with lashings of creamy saffron rouille but I gave that a miss since I’m not keen on carb-heavy rice dishes.

If there’s only one dessert I can have, it’s definitely going to be the gooey chocolate tart crowned with a scoop of mango sorbet. I can never resist dark chocolate – especially when thin buttery crust and non-icy sorbet are part of the deal. And be warned, get the dulce de leche semifreddo only if you have an extreme sweet tooth!

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Grilled Eryngii Mushroom ($9++)
chive aioli

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Taco of Tempura Prawn ($12++)
pineapple salsa, chipotle aioli

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Beets, Ricotta, Fig ($15++)
pickle green chilli, honey & thyme dressing

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Haloumi, Eggplant, Chickpea ($13++)
dried tomatoes, herbs, tahini dressing

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Curried Roast Pumpkin ($14++)
capsicum, labneh, dukkah & coriander

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Scallops, Pancetta ($25++)
green tomato, chutney, apple & chives

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Fish to Share – Grilled barramundi ($60++, 400g)
mango salsa, sautéed brocolini

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Gooey Chocolate Tart ($14++)
mango sorbet

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Dulce de Leche & Salted Pecan Semifreddo ($13++)
strawberries, coconut wafer

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Thank you, Ada, for hosting dinner!

Salt Tapas & Bar
#01-22A, Raffles City Shopping Centre
252 North Bridge Road
6837 0995

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