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Archive for December, 2014

With 2014 coming to an end, I reckon it’s apt to write about Honey Creme since it is definitely one of the best F&B success stories this year (even my mom knows of it haha). Contrary to popular belief, Honey Creme is not from South Korea! They sell Korean-inspired soft serve ice cream, hence the confusion I think. The brand first opened in Taipei in March 2014 and has since expanded to Kaohsiung, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore within a year! Such astounding growth!

Honey Creme Organic Cotton Candy Affogato ($6.20)

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On that crazy I-don’t-care-about-calories night, we tried five varieties and I picked out my favourites easily. The first was unorthodox – soft serve with mixed grains! It was surprisingly very delicious, especially the blended powder of millet, black sweet rice, buckwheat, oats, brown rice, and black sesame! Reminded me of cereal ice cream, yumz. The other one I liked was the theatrical cotton candy affogato. A freshly brewed shot of Nespresso dark coffee sealed the deal and I probably will get the version without the sweet cotton candy next time. The other three flavours of organic honey comb, caramel popcorn and dark chocolate sprinkled with pink Himalayan sea salt were nice (how can velvety soft serve not be?!) but it’s gonna be the mixed grains and affogato that will bring me back.

Honey Creme Organic Honey Comb ($5.50); Honey Creme Caramel Popcorn ($5.50); Honey Creme Organic Mixed Grains ($5.90); Honey Creme Double Flavored Macarons ($3 per piece)

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For a limited time until 31 December, Honey Creme introduces a new limited edition flavour, Honey Creme Irish Cream ($6), just for Christmas. I’ve been told that the soft serve is swirled with sweet caramel and dark chocolate atop a bed of crushed pretzels, topped with bittersweet chocolate beans and crunchy pretzel, and drizzled with a milky smooth Irish Cream formula with hints of coffee and liqueur. The picture looks very cute so I’m going to try that tomorrow before it’s too late, see you there!

Honey Creme Dark Chocolate ($5.50)

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Special thanks to the lovely Ate and Honey Creme teams for letting us beat the queue and hosting such a sinful session!

Honey Creme
#01-37, 313@Somerset
313 Orchard Road
6884 8468

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I’ve no idea where is K gonna take me for dinner on New Year’s Eve but I hope it will be as good a choice as Trattoria Nonna Lina! Available till 31st December and in the spirit of year-end camaraderie, this authentic Italian restaurant with a homey ambiance and friendly service is offering a specially crafted sharing menu of 5 appetizers, 3 mains and 2 desserts ($168++ per pax). Yippee, that’s a lot of food!

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The New Year Menu starts off with a refreshing octopus salad, seasonal Canadian oysters with lemon dressing, classic smoked salmon crostini, homemade seafood ragu on toasted homemade bread and a lobster bisque, which is a traditional Tuscan seafood recipe popular with New Year’s celebrations.

Insalata di Polpo
a tuscan seaside recipe featuring tender morsels of slow-cooked octopus

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Have you noticed that there’s no meat so far? According to owner-chef Simone, a native of Porto Santo Stefano in Tuscany, people over there feast on meat during Christmas (carnivores rejoice!) and then it’s an all seafood diet when New Year comes around (pescetarians rejoice!) so basically, Xmas = meat, New Year = seafood, haha.

Crostini al Salmone
premium norwegian ocean-caught salmon on toasted homemade bread

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I was initially worried that ordering another octopus starter off the a la carte menu would be an overkill since we already had the octopus salad. Luckily we didn’t cancel! The tender baby octopus absorbed the earthy flavour of the porcini mushrooms and it was an explosion of umami! I’ve been convinced that no chewy and rubbery octopus will come out of Chef’s kitchen!

Polpetti e Porcini ($25++)
baby octopus and porcini mushrooms in prosecco reduction

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K can’t live without his meat so the fresh beef carpaccio perfumed with truffle oil was all his to savour. This is an ideal dish to share as the generous portion can easily feed 3-4 pax.

Carpaccio di Manzo con Porcini ($24++)
fine slices of raw beef with truffle oil and porcini mushroom dressing

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Back to the New Year Menu (hope I’m not confusing you lol). Mains include gnocchi (made with minimal flour) cooked with clams, Italian “snowball” and cacciucco, Nonna Lina’s popular Tuscan style seafood stew featuring assorted seafood slow-cooked in thick broth and served with homemade bread.

Gnochetti Vongole e Chardonnay
traditional homemade potato dumplings with clams in a chardonnay reduction

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What stole my heart was the plate of “snowball” – so-called because Chef formed a unique medley of seafood, herbs, and ricotta cheese into the shape of a “snowball”. Texture was crumbly soft and the taste was surprisingly not too cheesy. Amazing stuff, I’ve never had anything quite like it before!

Palle di Neve
an exclusive secret family recipe and drizzled with fish ragu

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The pan fried cod fish from the a la carte menu sounded something I’d like and bingo! Although the sauce smothering the fish was very creamy and heavy, it was a wonderful pairing with the naturally oily and silky cod.

Merluzzo della Nonna ($40++)
pan fried cod with pine nuts in lemon sauce reduction

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While I had my cod to make me happy, K had his dream dish – a mix grill of beef, lamb and sausages with baked potatoes. Good quality meat and expert cooking by Chef left K with nothing but praises.

Grigliata di Terra ($48++)
tenderloin, lamb rack, Italian sausages marinated in barolo wine over 36 hours

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After a taste of the homemade chocolate and rum pudding, I totally understand why is this a house favourite! We were floored. Stunned. Speechless. It was too good, very smooth, insanely rich, potently alcoholic, and words are inadequate. K said this is one of the top 3 desserts of 2014 (I haven’t decide what’s the other two heh) and I have to agree. Of course it has to be a part of the New Year Menu!

Bonet Argentarino ($16++)
traditional italian chocolate and rum pudding with homemade caramel sauce (contains alcohol)

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Can’t end an Italian meal without tiramisu! Nice but nothing as memorable as the chocolate and rum pudding… Which I’m craving for now!

Homemade Tiramisu ($12++)

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My thanks to Valerie and Chef Simone for hosting dinner!

Trattoria Nonna Lina
61 Cantonment Road
6222 0930

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Merry Christmas everyone!!

Shall revive this blog with the most recent and impressive meal – our Xmas eve dinner at Portico! Like I mentioned on my Instagram, a dear friend asked how come I’m so boring to pick Portico again despite having been there so many times. My reply was that I didn’t want to be disappointed by any new restaurant on a special night! It’s no secret that we love Chef Nixon’s food (K is an even bigger fan than me) ever since his Petite Menu days so I know we can count on him to deliver. And omg he really fed us well! We had a food coma that night, no joke!

say hello to reindeer in a pan! because roasting turkey is so passé~

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One of the best things about dining at Portico is that Chef is aware of our likes and dislikes. We no longer need to order the soft shell crabs with salted egg yolk sauce since he already knows that’s one of our must-eats. This time, he also included miniature fish & chips – thinly battered and moist seabass fritters which went well with the heart-stopping sauce too!

soft shell crab, seabass fritters, salted egg yolk sauce, coffee soil

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The second platter of “snacks” can be summarized in one word – crispy! Especially interesting was the fried lemon sole skeleton, or “ti po” – the fried flat fish used to impart an intense and savoury-sweet flavour to Chinese-style soups. I can easily imagine this being served in a ‘nose to tail’ dining restaurant!

salmon skin, tomato mousse, ikura, lemon sole bone

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The artichoke soup with brown shaved truffles was inspired by the winter landscape when Chef was in Luxembourg for the Expogast Culinary World Cup 2014. Incredibly earthy and hearty, the toe-warming soup was made of pure artichoke goodness and no cream! Best soup we’ve had at Portico so far; this will be a tough one to supersede.

jerusalem artichoke soup, poached egg, shaved truffle, artichoke chips

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Oh ya, this is one of the starters for Portico’s 3-course Christmas menu, available till end of the festive week!

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The other choice of starter is the clean-tasting crustacean terrine made with prawns, scallops and mussels. The fried mini shrimps on the side were extremely addictive!

cold terrine of crustacean, tomato and dill tartare, marinated salmon trout roe, brown shrimps, pickled ginger cream cheese

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I’ve said it before and I’ll risk sounding like a broken record to say it again – best seats in the house are at the bar counter! That’s where you can order the bar tasting menu, served personally by Chef and the interaction made the whole dining experience so much more intimate and fun!

two talented chefs plating our next course!

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Love the salty torched smoked eel which contrasted very nicely with the light and refreshing lemon mash!

smoked eel, lemon mash potato, nashi pear soaked in lime

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K had a pretty dish – foie gras mousse with fruits on homemade toasted brioche and cranberry sorbet. The latter tasted like hawthorn berries (or 山楂, our childhood snack!) and its tangy flavour complemented the foie gras by cutting through the richness.

foie gras and fruits, brioche, cranberry sorbet

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I thought it was smart to present beef cheeks stuffed in foie gras (yes, foie gras again!) as a knob of butter on the steak! Tenderloin was cooked a perfect medium rare and K was super satisfied with it!

beef tenderloin, foie gras, banana shallot, celeriac puree, hazelnut crumb, brussel sprouts petals, truffle madiera sauce

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The neatly rolled lemon sole (remember the bones we had earlier? Same fish!) might be a tad too fishy to some but I thought it was still acceptable. Highlight for me was the blue swimmer crab croquette without any potato filler and the right amount of seasoning! I wish there will be a crab cake on the menu soon *hint hint*

lemon sole, crab croquette, lemon jam, caviar, onion puree, saffron braised turnip, sauvignon blanc sauce

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After all the savoury food, I was looking forward to desserts! First up was a palate cleanser – sweet mango sorbet made with alphonso mango and drizzled with fizzy soda. The lychee pearls actually tasted peachy after sitting in the pool of yuzu-infused soda!

mango sorbet, yuzu soda, lychee pop pearls

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Now, Portico’s take on the classic Mont Blanc is one of the best I’ve ever tried and I’ve been bugging them to put it permanently on the menu haha. I don’t fancy the traditional version as the amount of cream is plain ridiculous. But a parfait-like Mont Blanc that’s not too sweet and with a generous piping of chestnut puree? I approve wholeheartedly. Had this twice already and wonder when’s the third time!

chestnut vermicelli, tahitian vanilla bean parfait, cherry compote

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I was ready to surrender by then but hey, got to make some room for the last dessert right?

chocolate peanut butter tart, whiskey caramel, caramelized banana, coconut sorbet

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The gooey molten dark chocolate and peanut butter tart marked the end of our meal! The potent whiskey caramel sauce was dopeeee.

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Thank you to the Portico team for making our Christmas eve dinner so wonderful! Nixon of course; Charlene for the sweets; Gavin for the coffee; Leslie for the laughter; and everyone else for the professional and friendly service! From start to end, it was a faultless night. See you all soon!

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Portico Singapore
#01-10, 991B Alexandra Road
6276 7337

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With the festive season around the corner, December is definitely a month for pigging out! I’ve already made plans for Christmas but if you have not, do check out the Jamie’s Italian Christmas Feast at Jamie’s Italian. Available all day everyday till December 25, the 3-course menu ($68++ per person) even includes a glass of pink bubblies (or mocktail) and festive minced pies thrown in the mix! I think it’s pretty perfect for anything from office parties to family gatherings.

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Although I’ve been to Jamie’s quite a few times, somehow I’ve never tried their famous antipasti planks before! The planks on the a la carte menu are broken down into “meat”, “fish” and “vegetables” but for the Christmas menu, you get a mixture of each. I was initially worried that the cold cuts and cure meat would get too salty but K finished all of them single-handedly, well done!

Our Famous Antipasti Plank
pistachio mortadella, bresaola, hot soppressata, buffalo mozzarella, pecorino cheese, snappy cracker bread, olives, pickles, grilled & marinated vegetables, grissini, homemade focaccia, beetroot-cured salmon on ice with pickled cucumber & crème fraîche

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Foodie being foodie, I couldn’t help but order something new from the regular menu. The crispy soft shell crab was an absolute winner! Okie, I do have a bias towards anything soft shell crab but this was honestly delicious and far from greasy. The bed of salad was spicy from the chilli, creamy from the smashed avocado, and tangy from the yuzu lime dressing. Love this!

Crispy Soft Shell Crab ($12.50++)
crab with chilli, fennel, sea lettuce & smashed avocado with yuzu lime

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The Christmas menu offers four different choices for the main course and I reckon the sirloin steak will be the most popular item. A generous slab of medium rare (to me, that’s bloody enough) beef with shaved truffles and chicken pate crostini, this is bound to satisfy any carnivorous craving. The other meat item is the slow-cooked duck leg marinated with juniper and bay, served with smashed celeriac, spiced Asian plums and pomegranate molasses. We didn’t try that but it sure sounds good too, eh?

35-Day-Aged Angus Sirloin
served medium rare with chicken liver crostini, shaved black truffle & crispy sage

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My seafood main course was the yellowfin tuna, served chilled and tasted very light, healthy and not too exciting. If not for the chilli flakes, this would have been a rather bland dish.

Sustainable Yellowfin Tuna
served rare with rocket, green beans, chilli, mint, lemon & creamy mustard dressing

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I learn something new about pasta on every visit to Jamie’s. The baked rotolo (which is the only vegetarian main course for the Christmas menu) is definitely not commonly seen elsewhere – it is akin to a cannelloni or maybe a round lasagne? Stuffed with potato, pumpkin, ricotta and spinach, this was very hearty and filling. And may I add, a carbo-loader too haha.

Baked Rotolo
filled with truffled potato, pumpkin, creamy ricotta & spinach, baked with a Sicilian-style tomato sauce & Bella Lodi cheese

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All the main courses will be served with terra cotta-roasted root vegetables and the signature polenta chips. I found myself fishing for the roasted pumpkin, so sweet and soft!

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The menu starts and ends with a plank – my favourite epic brownie and tiramisu (both are still so delightfully delectable!), panna cotta (not a fan but K loves it as the texture reminded him of “tau huey” haha), and a towering slice of lemon meringue cheesecake, a new addition to the normal dessert menu. Coffee or tea is part of the set menu, as well as dried fruit pies!

Dessert Plank
epic brownie (amaretti ice cream & caramel popcorn), lemon meringue cheesecake (with lemon curd & blackcurrants), creamy panna cotta (with fruit compote), gennaro’s tiramisu (with orange-flavoured mascarpone)

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And because it’s Christmas, there is a Vespa lucky draw going on now. Guests get a chance to win a handsome Montebianco White LX150 complete with COE, worth more than $11,000, just by spending $50 nett at Jamie’s Italian. I spotted a lot (really a lot!) of receipts in the box by the front door so good luck to you!

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Thank you Stef for arranging dinner!

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

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We chanced upon a gem for lunch yesterday! Koji Sushi Bar serves various lunch sets complete with salad and miso soup but I think the chirashi don ($17++) is the most popular. Rightly so too as the cubes of salmon, tuna, scallop were very fresh (minimal seasoning) and they even threw in negitoro and ikura! To up the healthy factor for the CBD crowd, they even offer a mixed grains/brown rice option (additional $1++). Utterly delicious!

~photo from Instagram~

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Koji Sushi Bar 米花
#01-42, 3 Pickering Street
6225 6125

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