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Archive for December, 2013

My Christmas present came early in the form of a staycation at Grand Hyatt Singapore, courtesy of our local Hyatt team! We stayed in one of the Grand Club rooms, which I immediately gushed over how huge and warm (as in ambience, not temperature haha) it was once we stepped through the door. Super comfy king bed, free wifi, great amenities, extended workstation, 37-inch flat screen TV, spacious bathroom –> you get all these and more when booked into a Hyatt guestroom. And you can bet that Hyatt is Listening to your needs: a new healthy room service menu has been launched, plus I love that unconventional (but oh so essential) items such as phone chargers, yoga mats and even free weight sets can be borrowed and delivered right to your door!

Thanks to the team for the chocolate cake! That was a delicious surprise : )

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Before we checked into our room, we popped by Mezza9 for a cooking demonstration conducted by Chef Martin. It was kind of like watching a cooking show live, and he’s so talented and composed in the bustling kitchen! Within an hour, he showed us how to prepare three dishes that are supposedly easy to replicate at home. I say supposedly because with my current almost-non-existent culinary skills, they are definitely not going to make an appearance on my table anytime soon haha.

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Lunch was (you guessed it) the dishes prepared earlier! Hokkaido scallop pops with sauce romesco, free range egg with young spinach and truffle veloutee, wood fired barramundi with pumpkin, chestnut and crustacean jus, and a special nosebleed-inducing dark chocolate fondant with coconut ice cream. A very good and satisfying meal, maybe because I personally saw how much effort Chef Martin put into each dish!

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We spent a luxurious afternoon at Damai Spa thereafter. I wanted to take some photographs for memory’s sake but unfortunately, the rooms were all full when I headed back with my camera in tow. Nevertheless, the hour long body massage was splendid and so relaxing! I really wish I could stay for another hour haha. And of course, with an exercise freak with me, K and I had to pay a visit to the well-equipped gym. Within 24 hours, we actually went to the gym twice! Gosh. Dinner was at Oasis grill, a poolside restaurant where we enjoyed barbequed meat and seafood cooked on charcoal-fired grills.

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All too soon, the next morning arrived! Groan. Sigh. Haiz. Anyway, guests staying in Grand Club Rooms can access to the Grand Club Lounge, which — in addition to evening cocktails and all day beverages — also serves a complimentary Continental breakfast. The spread is rather limited, but it has everything we like: fresh fruits (I loaded up on the sweet and juicy strawberries!), bircher muesli, eggs cooked a la minute (poached, scrambled, omelette, sunny side up — I think K ordered all these), breads and pastries, cold cuts (smoked salmon rocks!), and even free flow Yakult for digestion!

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This was an amazing experience and guess what, also my first ever staycation! I’m the type who’s not into local staycations as I’d rather buy an air ticket and travel overseas. But I think this Hyatt staycation has changed my mind! Can’t wait for the next one : )

Big big BIG thank you to Indrani, Sandee and Nicole! You ladies have given me one of the best memories of 2013!

Grand Hyatt Singapore
10 Scotts Road
6738 1234

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The Flying Squirrel

I attempted to make a reservation at The Flying Squirrel thrice and were always thwarted by others more enthusiastic about advance booking than me. Finally, on the fourth try (whatever happened to third time’s the charm?), we scored a table for 5 yay! Ordered a lot of food and honestly, while I love Japanese cuisine wholeheartedly, nothing at TFS blew me out of my socks (not that I was wearing any), except maybe the gorgeously fatty negitoro tataki which I can easily self-assemble at most other Japanese restaurants ha.

Top right, clockwise:
TFS signature maki, onsen tamago, spicy maguro temaki, anago, unagi and aburi salmon sashimi, tako wasabi.

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Negitoro Tataki
pounded tuna belly, black tobiko, uni, served chilled

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TFS Carpaccio
salmon belly, rocket leaves, homemade sauce

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TFS Chirashi
assorted sashimi, japanese rice

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The Flying Squirrel
#01-02, 92 Amoy Street
6226 2203

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Are you still vexed over where to go for a special dinner on Christmas?

Here’s one more restaurant to add to your list for consideration: Arossa Wine & Grill! This festive season, Chef Chiaki Watanabe has put together a fixed 5 course menu priced at $135++, only available from 23 to 25 December. On hindsight, it’s actually more than 5 courses since in addition to the appetiser, foie gras, pasta, choice of main course and dessert, you also get to enjoy a glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne, amuse bouche, and coffee/tea! That’s a lot of food and drinks, perfect for festive overindulgence!

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Lovely hue of strawberry bubbly!

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Turnip Potage Soup
amuse

Okie it’s supposed to be turnip potage soup but we were served a small cup of hearty mushroom soup instead. A warm start to our meal on that cold evening!

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Smoked Salmon and Vegetable Terrine with Sour Cream & Orange, Dill Dressing
course #1: appetiser

Too green for comfort? Nay, don’t be put off by the colour! Fresh asaparagus and broccoli seemed to be frozen in time by gelatin, and the sashimi quality salmon was super fresh.

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Sauteed Foie Gras with Caramelized Apple, Balsamic Sauce
course #2

K kept raving about this crispy-outside-soft-inside piece of decadence! You’ve got to trust his words since I can’t comment on this haha.

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Home-made Herb Tagliatelle with Cream Bisque Sauce
course #3

I’m trying to go low carbs these days so I can eat more for my upcoming trip to Vietnam, and this delish pasta didn’t help one bit haha. Rich and creamy, this was sooooo good!!

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Australian Roasted Tenderloin with Celeriac puree, Périgueux Sauce
course #4: choose meat or fish

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Sauteed White Fish with Saffron Flavored Clam Soup
course #4: choose meat or fish

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Fondant Chocolate with Panettone Gelato, Mixed Berry Sauce
course #5: dessert

The somewhat predictably sweet ending to the cheery feast; check out the massive eruption of smooth intense dark chocolate lava here! My only gripe is that the scoop of gelato was too tiny; we definitely needed more to pair with the awesome cake!

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Special thanks to the team from Publicist PR for inviting and hosting!

Arossa Wine & Grill
#02-01, Scotts Square (next to Hyatt Hotel)
6 Scotts Road
6636 2951

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Pidgin Kitchen & Bar used to be Pamplemousse, a restaurant which I declared I liked back in 2011 and now 2 years later, I’m pleased to report I like Pidgin (not to be confused with pigeon; google for meaning) too! Same owners, but with an entirely different concept this time. By combining popular Southeast Asian dishes, western cooking techniques and the culinary team’s wicked sense of imagination, Pidgin is offering a bold new menu full of interesting eyebrow-raising dishes!

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Spicy Achar Pickles ($6++)
seasonal vegetables, peanut, hazelnut, sesame

When I first tasted this, my immediate thought was “my mom would love this!” so I’ve got to bring her here someday haha. Tangy and spicy, this was incredibly moreish and appetizing!

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RT’s Uni Toast ($18++)
uni, comte, brioche

This was good (how can anything be awful with uni?!) but give me uni sushi/sashimi anytime.

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Crab Otak Croquettes ($12++)
chye poh remoulade, southeast asian spices

Conceived from the traditional ‘otah otah’ comes this croquette with generous chunks of crabmeat in rempeh spice paste and coconut milk, with an intriguing chye poh remoulade sauce. A must at Pidgin!

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Uni Tagliolini ($28++)
pork gratons, nori, crustacean cream, shallots

Loved it at Pamplemousse, still loving it at Pidgin! Enough said.

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Lobster Wonton Capellini ($26++)
lobster oil, chorizo iberico, fried lobster wonton, pickled green chillies

Far from its humble wonton mee‐served‐in­‐a‐chicken‐bowl comrade, the thin pasta was tossed in lobster oil (apparently made painstakingly from lobster heads and garlic) aglio-­olio style, flanked by Canadian live lobsters stuffed into plump fried wontons and topped with chorizo slices. While I could appreciate the gourmet idea of wonton mee, the price seemed too steep to me hmm.

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Spicy Tuna Tartare ($24++)
sambal belacan oil, calamansi, furikake, wonton skins

Tuna tartare is getting more and more common on restaurants’ menus but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to find a good one. Love this version here, with a fab dressing of sambal belacan oil!

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Scallops ($26++)
thai green curry emulsion, savoury granola, kaffir lime salt

Towards the end of dinner, we were asked to choose our favourite dish and the scallop was my pick! Plump and fat scallops aside, I couldn’t stop nibbling on the savoury granola. Addictive!

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Razor Clams Tau Suan ($20++)
clam dashi, split mung beans, dough fritters

Inspired by the popular Singapore dessert, this unseen-before tau suan ditches the sweet for the savoury with clam dashi, split mung beans topped with dough fritters. A love it or hate it kind of dish, I think. Guess which camp I belong to?

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Quinoa ($13++)
tomato, pandan, chinese olive vegetable, parmesan, almonds

One of the best quinoa ever!! Actually, it may be the best I’ve ever had. Pressure-cooked with tomato and pandan stock, this Mediterranean-meets-Thai style vegetarian rendition was very flavourful and the sprinkling of parmesan and almonds made it super addictive!

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“Milo Dinosaur” Version 2.1 ($15++)
72% dark chocolate flourless cake, milo ice cream, milo streusel, dulce de leche

Do you know that I’ve never had an actual authentic milo dinosaur before? Not lying! Anyway, while I don’t know how the real thing tastes like, I’m more than happy with the deluxe version from Pidgin. Rich and well worth the calories!

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Kaya Bread & Butter Pudding ($15++)
homemade kaya, raisins, hojicha milk tea ice cream

Kaya toast and ‘teh peng’, anyone? While the buttery French brioche with homemade coconut-and-egg kaya jam was nice, the aromatic milk tea ice cream was the star! I secretly wanted the whole scoop to myself haha.

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My big thanks to Ivy and Kherray for hosting dinner!

Pidgin Kitchen & Bar
#01-04, 7 Dempsey Road
6475 0080

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An unplanned dinner at Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya turned out to be great! The enthusiasm of the staff was infectious and I’m amused that they bid all diners “see you tomorrow!!” –> talk about a positive attitude haha. Extremely affordable larger-than-tapas dishes which range from average to very good, especially the soft shell crab spring roll, though I’m not sure why/how a Vietnamese style appetizer ended up on a Japanese menu but heck, the texture was fabulous and it was delicious. And they’ve got an “all-you-grab-edamame” promo going on: the staff will beat the drum loudly, haul a HUGE bowl of edamame to your table, get you a glove, and then with all eyes on you, start digging in and grab as much as you can in one hand! So fun and rowdy, I love it!

Bottom right, clockwise:

miso cod and mushrooms in foil ($9++), sweet pumpkin salad ($5++), soft shell crab spring roll salad ($8.80++), salmon sashimi ($8.80++), K trying his best to grab as much moshio edamame as possible ($6++ per grab)!

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Bottom right, clockwise:

grilled rice ball ($4++), char-grilled saba ($6++), singapore roll ($7.80++), papa’s deep fried tofu ($4++), unagi ($7++) and miso salmon ($4++) skewers, kuzu mocha ($5++).

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Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya
#12-02, Orchard Central
181 Orchard Road
6509 9618

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Jade Restaurant

For the month of December, Fullerton Hotel’s Jade Restaurant is offering an a la carte dinner buffet with a selection of more than 38 dishes to choose from! $58++ per person for unlimited servings of appetizers, soups, main courses, rice and noodle dishes as well as desserts –> I think this is very value for money, considering how each dish is made to order and meticulously prepared by Chef Leong and his culinary team.

My aim was to try all the seafood dishes at least once but alas, I was too ambitious (eyes > stomach). After (only) 24 dishes, we were absolutely stuffed to the brim and I waved my white flag haha. Below are some of the more outstanding dishes which I strongly recommend! Oh yeah, certain premium specialties have an additional charge so watch out or else don’t be shocked by the final bill!

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青芥末虾球
Deep-fried Prawns Coated with Wasabi Mayonnaise

A classic appetizer! The wasabi was quite mild but I could still feel a pleasant kick.

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黄金辣汁蟹肉馒头包
Golden “Man Tou” Stuffed with Chilli Crab Meat (additional $2.80++ per piece)

This is a MUST! The plain bun was so light and soft (“绵绵” suddenly popped into my mind), perfect with the rich chilli crab meat! Halfway through, I text the marketing lady: “Omg the crab buns are sooooo good!!!!!!!!” and her reply? “See I told ya!! Order more!!” LOL.

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黄焖海鲜花胶汤
Braised Fish Maw and Seafood in Superior Broth (additional $9++)

Hands down, one of the best Chinese style soups in my life. Even K agrees, and he’s very particular about soups (I have a lower standard ha). We also tried the braised bird’s nest with truffle egg white (additional $9++) and you know how special the fish maw soup must be when I picked that over bird’s nest as my favourite!

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咖啡肉排
Sautéed Pork Ribs in Coffee Sauce

Okie, I included this because K said it’s good (he gets airtime since I’m a nice girlfriend ha). He liked the wok-fried sliced beef in black pepper sauce too!

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鱼香茄子豆腐
Braised Bean Curd with Eggplant

There’s a few variations of tofu dishes (braised shimeiji mushroom with spinach layer bean curd, stewed bean curd with angled gourd and mushroom, pan-fried “pi pa” bean curd in oyster sauce etc etc) on the menu and honestly, none could beat the simple homemade tofu from Pu Tien. That said, I featured this because the eggplant (ironically being the “supporting lead”) had great flavours and texture!

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豆酱蒸鲈鱼
Steamed Chilean Sea bass with Black Bean Sauce

The steamed chilean sea bass with preserved olives was actually recommended by the staff but I much prefer the black bean sauce version! Naturally oily, fresh and tender, I had multiple servings of this!

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爆炒本地龙虾(姜葱炒)
Sautéed Lobster with Spring Onion and Ginger (additional $18++)

Highlight of my meal: lobsters!!

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爆炒本地龙虾(南瓜酱炒)
Sautéed Lobster with Spicy Pumpkin Sauce (additional $18++)

We had to agree to disagree on this one: K voted for the spring onion version while I (of course!) went for the plate of meaty lobsters coated with a delish spicy pumpkin sauce. This is the same sauce used for the “Sautéed Live Prawn with Spicy Pumpkin Sauce” and here’s a tip if you are ordering this: ask for the prawns to be de-shelled first before cooking so that you won’t waste all that golden goodness after peeling the shells away~

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杏仁茶芋泥
Almond Cream with Yam Paste

“One of each, except the seasonal fruit platter” – that was our order for desserts haha. There’s hot walnut cream with black sesame dumpling (yes, singular because it’s just one big fat dumpling per serving), chilled cream of mango with lime jelly, shaved coconut ice with strawberries (it’s actually not ice but ice cream!), red bean pancake, buttery pineapple cookies (heard that these will be on sale for CNY!), and serving the best for the last: nutty almond cream with creamy yam paste!

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Jade restaurant’s A La Carte Buffet Dinner is available till 30 December 2013 from 6.30 to 11pm at $58++ per adult and $38++ per child (6 to 11 years old).

Special thanks to Joyce for the kind invitation! See you again soon!

Jade Restaurant
Ground Floor, Fullerton Hotel
1 Fullerton Square
6877 8188

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Miz Japanese Restaurant

The only thing I can remember about Miz Japanese Restaurant is the impossibly soft and fluffy and moist tamagoyaki served fresh and hot from the pan. IMO one of the best tried and tested in Singapore so far and trust me, I’ve had a lot of tamago in my life. Other than that, it was a daintily portioned meal that’s just average at its best…

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Top right, clockwise:

salmon avocado maki, soft shell crab maki, negitoro handroll, shiroyaki anago, maguro natto with quail egg.

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salmon tataki

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Miz Japanese Restaurant
7 Craig Road
6225 5761

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