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This month, Opus Bar & Grill is ready to beef up appetites with the new Angus T-Bone Steak from Rangers Valley!

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With a marble score of 3+, the 1.2kg T-bone steak combines strip loin and tenderloin in one, priced at $120++ for two persons. Strip loin is known for its unsurpassed flavor that makes up almost three-quarters of the steak, leaving the tenderloin, one of the most tender cut of beef with one-quarter of the 1 to 1.5 inch thick cut, perfectly defined by the T-Bone right in the middle.

Well, that’s all alien language to me since I’m a pescetarian but K the carnivore adores it.

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But before more meaty talk, let’s talk seafood first. Yes, I was pleasantly surprised that despite its name, Opus is not all about meat. Many of their seafood are from sustainable sources and they are even the first restaurant in Singapore to be awarded the MSC ecolabel.

Tartar of Bluefin Tuna ($17++)
avocado, chives, trout roe, extra virgin olive oil

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For starters, definitely go for the bluefin tuna tartar. I love everything on the plate – from the superbly fresh cubes of tuna to the ripe creamy avocado and briny trout roe, it was an ocean party in the mouth! The Hokkaido scallops were plump and sweet too, but if I can only choose one (nooooo!!), it’s definitely tartar for me.

Hokkaido Scallops ($22++)
edamame, blood sausage, miso espuma

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For my main course, it was an easy choice between the toothfish and wild sea bass. It was my first time trying a toothfish fillet and the silky moist and tender texture is very much like that of a cod or chilean sea bass. Needless to say, I enjoyed it very much and will be on the lookout for this fish at other restaurants too.

Glacier 51 Toothfish Fillet ($49++)
charred leek, brocolini, brown butter dashi

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Of course, the stars of the show are the prime meat cuts that are dry-aged between 14 and 36 days in a specially commissioned Himalayan salt tile cabinet to create an intense depth of flavour whilst tenderizing beautifully.

220g Australian Wagyu ($92++)
kobe-cuisine, marble score 6, rib eye

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Living up to Opus’s philosophy of letting the quality produce speak for itself, K’s steak was simply and briefly grilled as he asked for rare (they say the rarer the better ha)! Several sauces are available for pairing with the succulent and juicy steak – bearnaise (K chose this which I thought was so-so), garlic herb butter, green peppercorn sauce, bone marrow with red wine sauce, and black truffle mushroom sauce.

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Take your pick from an extensive selection of side dishes – arugula salad, portobello mushroom, grilled asparagus, mac & cheese, garlic mash potato, truffle fries and our choice of the night – carb-heavy smoked risotto which is not really worth the calories, oops.

Smoked Risotto ($6++)
leek, pecorino

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The concept of grilling also extends to the dessert menu! Both the charcoal grilled banana and honey grilled pineapple were lovely with a sweet caramelized and smoky flavor in every bite. The chocolate dome was a delightful bomb too; gosh it was the perfect decadent treat after a long day at work.

Grilled Honey Pineapple ($12++)
vanilla ice cream, crumble, rum sauce

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For those who love to wine and dine, do not miss out on the attractive “Steak with Free Flow of Wine” special promo. With any order of prime cuts from the Opus beef selection at $58++ onwards, enjoy either a two-hour free flow of selected white and red wines from Sunday to Thursday or 50% off on wine by the bottle on Friday and Saturday. That’s such a good deal!

Chocolate Dome ($14++)
blueberry crumble, bailey ice cream, hot chocolate briolette

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My thanks to Stephanie for the kind invitation!

Opus Bar & Grill
Lobby Level, Hilton Singapore
581 Orchard Road
Singapore 238883
+65 6730 3390

You are not alone if you do not know what is Alpine cuisine. I thought it’s something Swiss, something German before my dinner at Zott’s True Alps where an education on Alpine cuisine awaits. To put it simply, Zott’s takes the best of European food, namely from the countries of Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.

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We took the best seats in the house – right in front of the open kitchen where we could see the chefs work their magic and also the ox Hieronymus setting the scene and keeping an eye on everything. Yes the bull is real and was once owned by the owner!

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Traditional recipes have been transformed under the hands of Chef Lorenz-Maria Griesser and dishes turn out to be surprisingly light and healthy. Case in point, our first starter – amazingly thin swordfish carpaccio topped with crunchy chopped pistachio, briny pearls of ikura and a beautiful deconstructed “apple” of frozen Topaz apple mousse.

Swordfish Carpaccio ($28++)
topaz apple, pistachio

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Another dish I particularly enjoyed is the rich and creamy parsnip soup paired with an intriguing bright green disk of chlorophyll! The plump langoustine was very fresh and I learnt from Chef that it’s imported from France.

Parsnip Soup ($26++)
langoustine, chlorophyll

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Suckling Pig & Smoked Eel ($22++)
prunes, elderflower

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Every component of our next dish was good on its own – fresh scallop, crab meat ravioli (love the striking zebra strips!) and shiitake mushroom – but as a whole, it reminded us of those Chinese braised dishes so will skip this next time.

Scallops ($46++)
crab meat ravioli, pak choy, shiitake mushroom, curry

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Although the majority of the menu focuses on protein rich food (think beef, lamb and veal), I was happy to find that there are various elegant fish dishes too. For my main, Chef prepared a beautiful turbot, a flatfish said to be favored among discerning chefs. I don’t quite like turbot after having a tough one at The Tasting Room in Macau so there was a degree of apprehension when I took my first bite of the fish placed in front of me. But wow wow wow, this was so tasty and incredibly tender with a melt-in-the-mouth texture. Amazing!!

Turbot (off the menu)
peas, potatoes

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Chef won my heart (and tummy) again for his rendition of the classic bouillabaisse. Like the parsnip soup, the broth was rich and bold in flavour. The use of rascasse, a small scorpionfish, is also rare and gives this a unique touch.

Rascasse ($46++)
fennel, bouillabaisse, fond

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The meat chiller provides a choice of lamb, veal or beef cuts for guests to select. Many cuts are hormone and antibiotics free and animals are reared free range. Go for the signatures which include the sous-vide cooked venison with celeriac puree, peach and parsley. Although the meat should be the star, we were impressed by the sweet and fragrant slice of peach on the side!

Venison Loin ($56++)
celeriac, peach, parsley

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Before I forget, the business lunch is of good value too – priced at $32++ for 2 courses and $36++ for 3 courses. With 4 starters, 4 main courses and 3 desserts to choose from, the menu changes on a regular basis, reflecting seasons of the year. For dinner, go on a “Journey through the Alps” with a carefully crafted selection of signature dishes (5 courses $98++ or 7 courses $138++) which I think is more value for money than going a la carte.

Pre-dessert Dessert
fresh berries, berry mousse

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Sweet ending came in the forms of Toblerone® with fresh berries and an a la minute coffee souffle. While the Toblerone® sounded like my kind of dessert on paper, it lacks contrasting texture as it’s basically a chocolate mousse. We much prefer the soft wobbly souffle!

Toblerone® the ZOTT’S Way ($16++)
mousse, raspberries

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My thanks to Chef and the team for taking such good care of us!

Zott’s True Alps
97 Amoy Street
6223 0913

Hokkaido Izakaya

Hokkaido Izakaya has potential. Not everything I tasted was great, but there’s enough to make me happy enough to want to make a repeat visit.

Certified by the Hokkaido City Council to promote Hokkaido produce in Singapore, Hokkaido Izakaya gets its produce from just four cities – seafood from Yakumo Town (a town which faces both the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean); vegetables and cheeses from Furano City (that lavender place!); wines and beef from Kamishihoro City (where cows outnumber people); and oysters from Akkeshi Town, the leading oyster producing area in Japan.

So, authenticity checked?

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Authentic or not, two appetizers didn’t agree with my palate – scallop liver with sesame oil and cubes of cream cheese marinated with miso. Too creamy but to be fair, if you like shirako and ankimo etc, you will probably enjoy these.

Scallop Liver ($9++); Cream Cheese ($7++)

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Actually, make that three unimpressive appetizers. The cucumber slices dressed with konbu were fine but certainly nothing interesting to warrant an order.

Cucumber ($5++)
with salted konbu seaweed

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Served warm, the potato salad uses Hokkaido potatoes and is mixed ‘live’ with egg, shredded vegetables and a generous spoonful of mayonnaise. Check out the video here haha.

Potato Salad ($9++)

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Chicken wings = essential bar grub I suppose.

Chicken Wing ($6++)

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I love tamago so naturally I love this! So soft and fluffy, good stuff. Will have to ask for butter on the side next time because smothering it with butter is overkill after a few bites.

Japanese Omelette ($10++)
mixed with milk

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While not the best value-for-money dish in the house, the grilled scallop was tasty nonetheless.

Grilled Scallop ($10++)

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I’m usually not a fan of starchy food but Hokkaido potatoes are really delicious! Especially when fried like these croquettes.

Potato Croquette ($8++)

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Hokkaido is famous for its milk and other dairy products so don’t be surprised when your hotpot comes with a milky broth. This comforting pot overflowing with salmon and vegetables is perfect for a cold rainy day. We also had smoked salmon belly (not pictured) which was excellent too!

Milk Hotpot ($18++)
salmon, assorted vegetables

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The lunch menu comprises of their signature soba, handmade in the restaurant using 100% buckwheat flour imported from Hokkaido. The kakiage tempura soba has a great presentation but the kakiage was quite a letdown as it was not as crispy or airy as expected.

Hot Soba ($14++)
kakiage and prawn tempura

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By the end of dinner, I had enough of potatoes but dessert also involved this prized commodity! Served with butter and vanilla ice cream, the steamed potato was a heavy ending, not recommended unless you are still hungry. There’s vanilla ice cream with corn sauce on the dessert menu which I’ll try next time and report back.

Steamed Potato ($7++)
vanilla ice cream

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My thanks to the Food News team for hosting dinner!

Hokkaido Izakaya
95 Tanjong Pagar Road
6221 7118

Kwee Zeen

Inspired by the artisanal brasseries lining the French Riveria which gives diners a beautiful riverfront view, Kwee Zeen similarly offers a dining experience with an unrivalled backdrop of the South China Sea.

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It took me a moment to realize that this used to be The Terrace where we had a superb gourmet Sunday Champagne Brunch a couple of years ago. Like The Terrace, Kwee Zeen has upped the champagne brunch game by introducing a Magnifique Sunday Champagne Brunch, featuring an extravagant spread of epicurean indulgences and free flow of premium Taittinger Champagne.

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Highlights include a hearty selection of succulent live seafood, foie gras cooked a la minute, fromage and charcuteries, tandoor, and not forgetting desserts on trolley and handcrafted truffles of unique flavours!

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There’s even a DIY caviar counter complete with blinis, ikura, creme fraiche and other garnishes.

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Don’t miss the interesting cured salmon marinated with coffee! I wouldn’t have imagined this pairing but it works.

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Even the gourmet cheese selection was overwhelming. 32 variations, take your pick!

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Okie, the highlight of brunch for me was not the champagne, not the oysters, not the lobsters, not the caviar, not the cheese…

It was the one and only DUNGENESS CRAB!!!

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I was planning to try all the different kinds of crabs available but the chef helming the crab station confidently placed one whole crab on my plate and told me “just try this, you won’t want to try the others after this”. I nodded and smiled but was secretly thinking I’d be back to try the others after this! Well, I was wrong, she was right! This huge dungeness crab was amazing!!! Super meaty and that fresh roe!! I polished off two of these monsters and didn’t have much tummy space for anything else but…

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Desserts, what else!

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Compared to The Terrace, the sweets selection has definitely been pared down. There’s the usual cakes, mousses, jellies, ice cream, crepes etc, nothing particularly memorable.

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That said, I do love the assorted truffles here! So much so that I probably downed 15 of these handmade and of good quality chocolates oops #whatdiet Black sesame, oolong, durian, coconut, dulce de leche, those are some of my personal favourite flavours!

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Magnifique Sunday Champagne Brunch is available every Sunday, from 12.30pm to 3.30pm:
$168++ per adult with free-flow Taittinger Champagne & wine
$138++ per adult with free-flow soft drinks & juices
$58++ per child (aged 5 to 11 years old) with free-flow soft drinks & juices

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Our thanks to Pearly for spending Sunday with us!

Kwee Zeen
Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa
2 Bukit Manis Road Sentosa
Singapore 099891
+65 6708 8366

Bochinche may be an Argentinian restaurant but trust me when I say that pescetarians (and even vegetarians) can dine very well here too. It’s not all about meat on the dinner menu as Head Chef Fabrice Mergalet has added several new items, including three vegetarian small plates. Granted, they may be intended to complement Bochinche’s popular meat dishes but the sweet roasted beetroot with goat’s cheese and grilled pumpkin with braised kale and yogurt are tasty enough on its own. There’s also a refreshing salad of watermelon paired with mozzarella cream and sun-dried tomato.

Other new small plates menu items include the Hokkaido scallops tiradito with an intriguing pairing of tomato water and for meat eaters game for bold flavours, perhaps go for the crispy chicken skin with liver parfait, candied walnuts and grape chutney – I wish there’s a pescetarian version! Old hot favourites such as the classic provoleta with almonds and oregano honey (a must for cheese lovers!) as well as the signature veal sweetbreads are still available on the menu.

Please don’t leave without ordering the crab croquettes – moreish fried balls of tightly packed crab meat with spot on seasoning, major love! It was my favourite that evening and that alone makes me decide that dinner is indeed more exciting than brunch! Don’t get me started on the tender meaty grilled octopus and delicate dover sole. Just go!

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Roasted Beetroot ($16++)
goat’s cheese, tarragon, oats crumble

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Hokkaido Scallops Tiradito ($21++)
tomato water, avocado, yuca

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Watermelon Salad ($14++)
mozzarella cream, sun-dried tomato, pumpkin seeds

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Iberico Cold Cuts ($22++)
selection of lomo, chorizo, shoulder 30 months

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Crispy Chicken Skin ($18++)
liver parfait, walnuts, grapes

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Crab & Humita Croquettes ($16++)
spicy criolla sauce

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Classic Provoleta ($17++)
almonds, oregano honey

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Grilled Octopus ($19++)
green peas, mussels escabeche

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Catch of the Day (market price)
dover sole, lemon

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Ojo de Bife ($55++)
300g rib-eye

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Dulce de Leche Creme Brulee ($17++)
banana split ice cream

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Milk Cake ($14++)
passion fruit sorbet, toasted almonds

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My thanks to Pamela for inviting and hosting dinner!

Bochinche
22 Martin Road
6235 4990

It’s all about girls and dolls on Hina Matsuri, a day traditionally celebrated in Japan on 3 March when families wish their daughters success and happiness in life. In line with this time-honoured festival, Mikuni pays tribute for the 4th time through Executive Chef Moon Kyung Soo’s culinary interpretation – an impressive lunch bento thoughtfully arranged to be a feast for the feminine eye and palate that’s only available from 1 to 10 March.

Starter
organic japanese green salad, snow crab, orange, blueberry, black sesame

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Priced at $120++ per person for lunch, the Hina Matsuri bento features an array of elegantly crafted dishes in a dainty tiered box and a complimentary glass of amazake (sweet rice beverage). When the three tiered boxes were carefully served, everyone went “waaaaaaa!” as they were indeed a sight to behold. I wanted to take mine home but Chef Moon said the box is really expensive lol. What I could take home was the menu – prettily printed and designed as a bookmark.

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Pulling out the three drawers was like opening a treasure box filled with edible gems! The top drawer housed a beautiful layer of Mikuni’s signature truffle kanpachi served with a distinctively indulgent black truffle sauce. I’ve tried this before during the past Savour events and the top notch quality has never changed. If it’s your first time at Mikuni, this is a must try!

Sashimi
kanpachi sashimi, truffle soy sauce

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The second drawer is a showcase of eight traditional Japanese appetizers with my favourites such as grilled miso cod, unagi and tamago. Be on the lookout for one quail egg – it’s been cutely disguised ha. The most surprising element for me was the abalone. I usually don’t like abalone because of the chewy texture but I have to say that this slow-cooked version was not rubbery at all. In fact, quite delicious I say.

Assorted Appetizers
8 traditional hassun: grilled miso cod, slow-cooked abalone, eel, octopus, umeboshi plum, asparagus, japanese pickles, miso egg

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I felt sad when the third drawer was revealed as that meant that the end was near. The default chirashi don unveiled is Miyazaki wagyu beef on rice but Chef Moon pampered me with uni instead since I’m a pescetarian. So fresh and creamy! The medley of colours artfully decorated atop sushi rice was lovely too.

Rice
uni chirashi don, seaweed, shrimp, tamago

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The tempura was not oily but not as impressive as the other dishes for sure. I’m generally a big eater (when I want to) and this bento filled me up nicely about 80%. Just right for lunch without the food coma afterwards, I guess.

Tempura
prawn, sweet potato, fish, pumpkin, green bean

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Rounding off the meal is Chef Moon’s rendition of a sweet ending with premium Shizoka musk melon and salt ice cream. The tinge of saltiness in the ice cream seamlessly enhanced the sweetness of the melon, interesting!

Dessert
shizoka musk melon, salted ice cream

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My thanks to Chef Moon and the Fairmont team for hosting us!

Mikuni
Level 3, Fairmont Singapore
80 Bras Basah Road
6431 6156

2016 CNY at CÉ LA VI

If traditional is not your style, how about going fusion this CNY?

At CÉ LA VI (formerly KU DÉ TA), Executive Chef Frederic Faucheux has created a festive menu that puts a modern spin on the Chinese heritage which diners can enjoy against Singapore’s magnificent skyline.

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Toss to abundance with his rendition of the Prosperity Yu Sheng Salad with scallop, salmon, tuna, white fish and assorted vegetables, including crispy fried lotus root chips, a delicious alternative to the traditional golden crackers (which I’m not a fan of and yes I know I’m in the minority ha). This bountiful platter is then generously drizzled with spicy plum dressing infused with Japanese chili garlic sauce.

P.S. Is tossing yusheng 57 levels above ground supposed to make us more huat this year?

Yu Sheng Salad
scallop, salmon, tuna, white fish

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The salt and pepper squid is one of the signatures, must try!

Salt and Pepper Squid
smoked chilli glazed, garlic

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Grilled Char Siew Pork Cheek
pickle achar, sesame

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I was kind of disappointed with the coral trout as there is nothing special about it. Just very light and healthy.

Steamed Coral Trout
cherry tomato, dashi, daikon

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Flavored Spring Chicken
plum powder, calamansi

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I love sea cucumber even though it is pretty much tasteless on its own. This is a classic dish loaded with collagen and the gelatinous texture of the braised sea cucumber is perfect.

Braised Sea Cucumber with Scallop
shiitake, broccoli

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By this time, food coma has struck but wait, there’s still dessert!

Golden Egg Fried Rice
XO sauce

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Creatively using symbolically-auspicious ingredients, Pastry Chef Ariane Jimenez rounded up the reunion feast with an orange-shaped dessert featuring Cointreau diplomat cream at the heart, covered by candied kumquats, along with a base of chocolate sesame sablé and garnished with orange dacquoise. A sweet start to the new year, aye!

Orange and Sesame Dàn Gāo
orange dacquoise, candied kumquats, cointreau diplomate cream, chocolate sesame sablé

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The CNY menu is available at $168++ per person (minimum of 2 guests), with an option of wine pairing at $128++ per person.

My thanks to the CÉ LA VI team for hosting lunch with a view!

CÉ LA VI
SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands, Tower 3
1 Bayfront Avenue
6688 7688

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