Archive for May, 2015

With the arrival of new Executive Chef Antonio Massagli, Buttero (or Tuscan Cowboy) returns to its classic Italian roots and presents a hearty slice of Tuscan fare and other well-loved Italian dishes in an inspired new menu. Hailing from Lucca, a small town in Tuscany (I want to go!), Chef Antonio, a born-and-raised Buttero, serves up the clean, simple flavours of authentic Italian cuisine that he grew up enjoying and preparing in his countryside home.


His parmigiana is honestly one of the best versions I’ve tried in Singapore! Thin eggplant slices are grilled instead of fried, then layered with a combination of freshly made tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan. The cast iron pan which landed on our table had a generous portion of baked eggplant with more tomato sauce and pesto oil. Delicious and surprisingly light!

Parmigiana di Melanzane ($18++)
baked eggplant, tomato, parmesan, basil flan


At Buttero, all the thin crust pizzas are proudly made with imported Italian mozzarella. The pizza dough is hand tossed, apparently the gentlest way to shape and form a crust. Prego is K’s first love when it comes to pizzas and this came in a close second! He almost single-handedly finished the whole pizza!

Parma e Rucola ($24++)
mozzarella, tomato, prosciutto, rocket salad


An Italian menu cannot do without any pastas, of course. Made in-house, the hearty squid ink pasta was decent but other than the umami-packed prawns bisque, it was rather forgettable and not something I’d order again.

Tagliolini Neri ($25++)
prawns bisque, prawns, herbs, cherry tomatoes, capsicum


A first for us was the Crespelle Fiorentina, a classic Florentine dish. I’m sure you’ve had crepes before but an Italian style one? Imagine thin pasta sheets filled with spinach and ricotta, and crowned with béchamel and pesto oil. Naturally sweetened with finely chopped raisins, the dish also had a subtle hint of nutmeg, very interesting!

Crespelle Fiorentina ($20++)
gratinated ricotta & spinach crepe, béchamel, tomato, basil sauce


Next was a sausage and bread dish – a typical Tuscan dish that was enjoyed by Chef Antonio as a child where the cannellini beans were left to braise slowly in a wine bottle by an open fire while his family worked out in the fields. Sausage is made with minced pork and a selection of mixed herbs while the amazingly soft yet firm beans are cooked with fresh cherry tomatoes and sage.

Salsiccia e Fagioli ($30++)
pork sausage, white cannellini bean, homemade truffle focaccia


We tried more than half the dessert menu (3 out of 5 ha) and our unanimous vote went to the affogato! Not the usual affogato, Buttero’s rendition had double scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with a polenta cookie crumble, accompanied by an espresso shot and a shot of Frangelico, a hazelnut liquor. Pour them in (messily) and we had ourselves a wonderful post-dinner treat! The other two desserts of tiramisu and molten chocolate cake were adequate for a sugar fix but definitely not as impressive as the affogato!

Affogato ($12++)
latte ice-cream, frangelico, esspresso, crushed cookies


Special thanks to Samantha for such an entertaining evening!

54 Tras Street
6438 7737


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The Rabbit Stash used to be stashed away (ha) in an old shop house unit within a condominium but has since moved to a brand new spot on the rooftop of WANGZ Hotel in the eclectic enclave of Tiong Bahru. Born in the year of the rabbit (which explains the restaurant name), Chef Matthew is one brave man who defies the odds – master degree holder in building construction management who switched to a culinary career; trained locally without any overseas apprenticeship with big-name chefs; ideas come from his travel experiences and interaction with people. Sounds Heston Blumenthal-ish aye?

During dinner, the seasonal ‘ENSOPHI’ menu is available, inspired by the 7 characteristics of Exotic, Nostalgia, Soil, Ocean, Pristine, Heritage, Impression ($148+ for 7-course, $108+ 5-course, $90+ 4-course). Each element represents an artistic expression of his dish and the beautiful plating certainly reflects that! Because the price won’t make this an everyday meal, I’d save The Rabbit Stash on my list as a romantic place to celebrate a special occasion *hint hint to K* My favourite course was ‘Ocean’ – Hokkaido scallop paired with squid ink-infused seaweed, smoked trout topped with caviar, battered shrimp on goreng pisang-like mash, a lot going on on the plate but I love the freshness and variety! What about you? 🙂


The goodness of artisanal produce is best savoured at its purest form without alteration or addition to the intrinsic flavour. Chef Matthew keeps his dishes pristine by sourcing fresh local organic ingredients daily.

langoustine, cabbage dashi, 1st born egg, brown rice

Picture: Amuse-Bouche Platter
potato chips, onion jam, lotus chips, meat balls, smoked salmon crostini


The uniqueness of each soil connects differently to the greatness of our land. Chef Matthew gains inspiration from what our soil has to offer. It allows him to select the best of the season and marry earthy flavours with protein from grazing land animals.

asparagus, beurre noisette, beetroot “mushroom” olive


The ocean calms the soul, opens the mind, and fuels the passion. Inspired by the extraordinary beauty and abundant offering of the ocean, Chef Matthew spruces his menus with oceanic greens and algae, from sea lettuce to stone moss.

scallop, black”coral”, smoked trout, shrimp & chips


There will be beautiful flavours, new and old that one has tasted at some point in their life, etched deeply in memory. Chef Matthew seeks to fulfill his customers’ fond food memories by reconnecting them with his dishes. It is very much like a dopamine reward system when a food craving is satisfied.

purple crab, black roe, lobster broth


Life is like a canvass imprinted with impressions of people, scenarios, places, animals, seasons, flora and fauna. Every impression has several characteristics that co-exist and co-relate with personal life experiences. Chef Matthew’s creations are based on his impressions of the food, people and culture from his travels abroad.

berkshire pig, potato “mud”, watermelon


It is true that heritage carries a familiar taste from our roots. Chef Matthew recreates food that he grew up eating or is cooked by his grandparents, mother and aunts. Brought up in a Peranakan family, he saw familiar ingredients done in a different way. Expect a facelift on fish head curry, a kuey salat makeover or a reinvention of Nonya assam prawns in his dishes!

beef jowl, barley porridge, sesame, red date

Picture: Ocean Catch Confit
from the lunch menu


It is near impossible to try every flavour in a lifetime but Chef Matthew attempts to create unique flavour pairings with simple and exotic ingredients from around the world. This makes his cooking more exciting; not knowing what could be the next revolutionary flavour. It may sound unthinkable but green curry ice cream goes astonishingly well with mango mascarpone.

mango fromage blanc, snow pear, green curry, rose


My thanks to Melody for hosting dinner!

The Rabbit Stash
231 Outram Road, Level R
9858 8607

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NUDE Seafood

CBD folks, I’m envious of you again.

NUDE Seafood is such an ideal lunch spot – great seafood options (perfect for pescetarians!), affordable prices, real food fast, and more importantly, nutritious and delicious! Too bad it’s not in the vicinity of my office, sighhhhh.

Both the grilled miso-coated chilean sea bass and salmon home-smoked over hickory wood chips were excellent with silky-tender-smooth, melt-in-our-mouths texture. I loved the latter slightly more, just because of the delicate and subtle smoky flavour. We also tried the mackerel which ain’t too impressive (overcooked and dry) but the barley risotto saved the day! Some garlicky goodness there.


Signature Duo ($30)
hickory-smoked salmon, miso-grilled chilean bass, forgotten grains, beetroot pickle


Spanish Mackerel ($13)
herb grilled, barley risotto, house-made semi dried tomatoes


NUDE Seafood
#01-02, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3
6443 1167

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“Cooking With Friends” is back at Osia!

This time, Celebrity Chef Scott Webster has invited Executive Chef Andrew Turner from Hotel Café Royal in London as the guest chef. Together, the dynamic duo has designed a menu consisting of Osia’s signatures and Chef Turner’s specially created dishes for his stint here.

Reinterpreting traditional flavours with a contemporary spin, some of his key dishes are the appetizer of pea and mint veloute and main of black angus beef. The former is paired with comte cheese to create a smooth creamy base for the thyme ravioli while cutting through the brininess of the addictive anchovy flute; whereas the latter is given an Asian twist through the accompanying bok choy and sweet and sour Hong Kong sauce – quoting our waiter: “a Chinese-ish dish done by an English chef”! The dessert of “neaten” mess is his take on the classic English dessert, Eton mess. I thought it was smart to add a scoop of tangy lemon ice cream, otherwise the mixture of strawberries and meringue would be too sweet.

As for Osia’s, I already did a write-up earlier this year and was happy for the chance to refresh my memory of some of the dishes – still loving the freshly baked flat bread and soft-textured shiromiso perch! Not so much the grilled octopus this time as they were too chewy, giving my jaws a good (and unnecessary) workout!

The “Cooking With Friends” menu ends this Saturday, 16 May.

Stone Hearth Flat Bread ($11++)
macadamia pesto, truffled kalamata olive, butter, tomato paste


Pea and Mint Veloute ($22++)
comte cheese and thyme ravioli, smoked anchovy flute


Fremantle Octopus ($22++)
char grilled, cucumber apple slaw, green chilli jam


Hokkaido Scallop and Bryon Bay Pork Belly ($62++)
piccalilli puree


Foie Gras ($32++)
pan fried, banana textures, madagascar vanilla, jamaican rum


Perch ($46++)
sesame ratte potato, pea tendril, soy milk curd, shiromiso glaze


Grainge Black Angus Beef Fillet MS2 ($68++)
oxtail anna potato, bok choy, sweet and sour hong kong sauce



Neaten Mess ($18++)
strawberry, thyme


… After!


My thanks to Lavinia for hosting dinner!

Resorts World Festive Walk Crockfords Tower
8 Sentosa Gateway
6577 6560

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What used to be Sushi Kuu at Palais Renaissance is now Ginzawa, meaning ‘Silver River’ in Japanese. Price points are friendlier with an extensive menu of traditional Japanese fare elevated with a modern twist, from kaiseki and seasonal omakase to lunch set dons and chirashi.


Our meal began with a refreshingly light salad of briny-sweet cherry blossom shrimp and slightly pungent mizuna greens. Thereafter came something more interesting – the sake kinuta maki, a pretty and delicately rolled pickled daikon and salmon that brings to mind intricate kaiseki dishes.

Sakura Ebi Mizuna Salad ($22++)


I seldom eat fried food but when I do, they better deserve my calories! The tempura moriawase is definitely one of those sinful worthy dishes – an assortment of deep-fried sea eel, shrimps, veggies and the most memorable uni tempura because it was my first fried uni! I do think it is a waste to fry fresh seafood but you won’t hear me complaining when those decadent crisp seaweed pillows were filled with lusciously creamy uni~

Deluxe Tempura Moriawase ($35++)
anago ippon age, uni tempura, amaebi hotate kakiage


The grilled snapper was a revelation. I thought it was gindara – it looked like one and melted perfectly in the mouth like cod does! But nope, chef decided to use snapper instead, brushing it with a layer of caramelised egg yolk sauce and paired with a juicy squid ring stuffed with shishamo roe. Brilliant dish and one I would return for!

Tai Moto Yaki ($22++)
grilled snapper with egg yolk sauce


The kurobuta tsuke soba comprises of succulent kurobuta pork shabu shabu slices and cold soba served with hot dipping sauce perfumed with a dollop of grated citrusy yuzu. Compared to the other dishes, this was average and forgettable though.

Kurobuta Tsuke Soba ($20++)


During lunch, rice bowls such as bara chirashi, Japanese A5 wagyu don and kurobuta katsu don are available. Not to be missed is the sanshoku takara don! I call it the “three treasures” don – generous servings of sea urchin (K gave me his share of uni, score!), salmon roe and chopped fatty tuna cover a bed of sushi rice.

Sanshoku Takara Don ($65++)
only available in lunch set that comes with miso soup, chanwanmushi and dessert


To enjoy a variety of premium seafood, the chirashi don is a safe bet. Words are superfluous when all the ingredients are so fresh!

Tokusen Hokkai Chirashi Don ($50++)
only available in lunch set that comes with miso soup, chanwanmushi and dessert


My thanks to Charmaine for hosting dinner!

Ginzawa Japanese Restaurant
#01-07 Palais Renaissance
390 Orchard Road
6736 0100

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I’m very cautious when it comes to carbs since they are so dangerous to the waistline ha. But my willpower stood no chance against the lovingly kneaded and baked loaves of breads and pastries from authentic French boulangerie and patisserie Do.Main Bakery!


Other than offering a range of freshly baked baguettes, chouquettes (grab a packet, these sell out fast!), puff pastries, tarts, danish pastries, choux pastries and entremets, Do.Main Bakery has rolled out a new savoury menu based on home-style classics all done via the oven (yes, no stoves in the kitchen!), jointly created by chef­‐owner Frederic Deshayes and chef-owner of Bar-Roque Grill, Stephane Istel.

Thin Crust Baker’s Pizza ($8-9)
onions, hams, olives or zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms


So why the focus on oven-baked/cooked dishes? Well, it’s to pay tribute to the baker’s role during the olden times in France. In the era before stoves were invented, farmers used to prepare dinner by putting the ingredients in a cast iron pot in the morning, and drop them off at the bakery on the way to the fields. The baker would pop the pots into his warm oven, and the meal would be slow-cooked by the end of the day. That story sure put things into perspective as I was studying the menu!

Octopus Romesco Salad ($15)
homemade sourdough toast bread


The platter of artisanal charcuterie comprises of three meaty selections. Chef Stephane, who hails from the Alsace region, an area celebrated for its hearty French-style charcuterie, curates the selection which will chance monthly depending on seasonal ingredients. Freshness is of utmost importance here!

Charcuterie Platter ($20)
duck pistachio pates, pork rillettes, kurobuta ham, assorted artisanal bread


I expected pizza and lasagne to be on the menu and bingo! The thin crust pizzas made good little appetizers and perfect for sharing while the meatless lasagne was full-bodied with a plethora of fresh veggies, melted cheese and vibrant tomato sauce. For something lighter, the tender octopus romesco salad was expertly prepared with none of that chewiness which I dislike.

Lasagne ($14)


A heady mix of reblochon cheese, bacon, potato and confit onions, the “Tartiflette” was a pleasant surprise! I thought it’d be a pretty heavy dish but it was so rich and flavourful that I could have finished it all on my own. That’s the ultimate French home comfort food, as is the familiar cassolette of garlicky bourguignon snails.

Cassolette Oven-Baked Escargots ($16); Tartiflette ($16)
oven baked reblochon cheese


The “Broken Eggs” is baked until half-cooked on a stone bake oven, and then served piping hot with strips of toasted cereal bread for dipping. Watch this video to see how we ate eggs, French style! We almost didn’t order the tomato confit version but I’m awfully glad we did in the end – this was the best savoury dish of the evening imo! You can also choose to have it plain or with cream and bacon.

Ouefs Au Plat ($15)
broken eggs, tomato confit, mouilletes


No one should leave Do.Main Bakery without trying the gorgeous desserts! Tangy lemon cream tart, salted caramel and chocolate eclairs, decadent royal chocolate cake, praline-filled Paris-Brest – it’s difficult to pick an absolute favourite so I shall not try!

Lemon Cream Tart ($5); Royal Chocolate Cake ($8)


I also heard good things about the choux cream puffs and macarons but those have to wait till the next visit.

Eclair ($5); Paris-Brest ($5)


Thank you for hosting us, Jenny!

Do.Main Bakery
226 Tanjong Katong Road
6348 1406

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In retrospect, it seems that I’ve been making annual pilgrimages to The Waterfall ever since 2012! This year is more special as The Waterfall is no more – or rather, renamed and rebranded as Waterfall Ristorante Italiano, an Italian restaurant helmed by Chef de Cuisine Marco De Vincentis. Expect authentic and unique Southern Italian cuisine that combines fresh seafood, handmade pastas and heirloom recipes!

Parmigiana Di Melanzane ($20++)
eggplants, parmigiano, tomatoes


Let’s talk wine first before food. While the wine collection is extensive, I’d say just go for the smooth and easy-to-drink Nero d’Avola, Waterfall’s house wine made from the most important red wine grape in Sicily and served in a unique cup known as boccalino.

Tagliolini Al Pesto Siciliano ($22++)
homemade pasta, tomato, ricotta cheese, pine nut, basil, roasted almond


Pair Nero d’Avola with some antipasti such as the popular seafood salad (I found it average though) and parmigiana, an aubergine bake. The latter uses carefully-sourced eggplants layered with generous lashings of tomato sauce and melted parmesan and mozzarella cheese. A must try!

Paccheri All’astice ($32++)
homemade pasta, lobster sauce, tomatoes, brandy, chilli, basil, parsley, evoo


Pasta dishes feature prominently on the menu, all painstakingly homemade. There’s linguine (with plenty of seafood), tagliolini (amazing nutty pesto!), lasagne (a crispy version, if you can imagine it) and my pick out of the lot – paccheri tossed and evenly coated with a rich lobster sauce.

Stufato Di Pesce ($68++, min 2 pax)
seafood stew, tomatoes, garlic, garden herbs


Don’t leave without trying the tomato-based signature seafood stew! Sun-ripped tomatoes flavoured with garlic form the base for all the seafood you can think of – from lobsters, prawns and snapper to scallops, mussels and clams! So hearty and satisfying.

Tagliata Di Manzo Rucola E Grana ($38-56++)
premium beef, capsicum, rocket leaves, parmesan cheese


Fans of beef will not want to miss the grilled beef marinated with extra virgin olive oil and capsicum. Choose either striploin black angus 120 days grain fed, tenderloin hunter valley grain fed or wagyu rib eye 5+. Me, I’ll stick to the pan-fried sole, perfumed with parsley, lemon juice and that all-important ingredient – butter, of course!

Sogliola al Limone ($38++)
sole, butter, asparagus


I’ve always enjoyed Waterfall’s take on the classic tiramisu and it didn’t disappoint. Another traditional dessert is the torta caprese, a safe but decadent chocolate cake named for and originating from the beautiful island of Capri.

Tiramisu ($15++)
coffee infused sponge, mascarpone cream


If I can only have one dessert (worst nightmare ever!), it will be the freshly made zabaione – light whipped custard primarily made with egg yolks, sugar, and interestingly spiked with sweet moscato and intense espresso!

Zabaione All’Espresso ($14++)
zabaione, moscato, espresso


My thanks to Cheryl, Joleena and Josephine for hosting dinner!

Waterfall Ristorante Italiano
Garden Wing, Level One, Shangri-La Hotel
22 Orange Grove Road
6213 4138

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