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Archive for the ‘Fusion’ Category

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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The latest addition to the neighbourhood of Kampong Bahru, Old Boys Gallery serves western-fusion cuisine with more than 50 different variety of craft beers and ciders to suit every palate. This was formerly an art gallery but has now been transformed into a bistro where food meets art – from graffiti art and wall murals to canvas paintings.

Of course, I was not there to check out the alcohol or art, but for the food! Always for the food ha.

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We seldom eat fried food but when we do, sweet potato fries usually top our list. I love the version here! Fried to perfection and that curry mustard dip on the side is a flavourful bomb in the mouth.

Potato Head ($7.90)
sweet potato fries, curry mustard dip

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There’s a good selection of bar bites – think wings, meatballs and fried food like fish fingers. Go for the “make your own triplets” if you are in a group, or not in the mood for a full meal. For $27, take your pick of three appetizers from the menu. It’s great value for money! Speaking of which, there is no GST or service charge so the food is really affordable.

OBG Crab Cake ($11)
sassy flavors of special crab cake with mango relish

Cremini in Disguise ($11)
breaded portobello mushroom topped with louisiana spices

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Our choices were most satisfying – filler-less crab cakes, savory crunchy breaded portobello mushroom and addictive fried baby squid that’s a danger to the waistline.

Crispy Baby Squid ($11)
fried squid with tangy sauce to go with curry leaves

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Chef introduces a special dish every month and when I was there, it was a delicious slab of miso cod. For this month, it’s a massive Knuckle Up meat platter for $69 nett. You get a huge ~1kg pork knuckle, chorizo/lamb/beef sausages, Australian ribeye, German potato with crispy bacon, sauerkraut and sauteed vegetables, woah. Beer is a must to go with that, so for every 3 pints of beer, the 4th one is on the house!

OBG Special
cod fish, vegetables, miso sauce

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For something equally hearty for just for 1 pax, the handmade beef burger stacked with cheese, bacon, egg and caramelized onion will fill your stomach and heart. I swear, K was super happy with this, especially on a TGIF night!

Manster Burger ($17.90)
cheese, bacon, egg, caramelized onion, served with fresh greens and fries

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Desserts are the only letdown. We tried the tiramisu and a ramekin filled with mousse-like chocolate. Too sweet and not impressive, head somewhere else for a sweet ending!

Devil’s Double Choc ($9)
served with ice cream

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Thank you for arranging dinner, Amanda and Yong Sing!

Old Boys Gallery
67 Kampong Bahru Road
9187 0756

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Over a year in the re-making, Coriander Leaf marks its 14th year in the business by reopening at CHIJMES with a brand new look and diverse Asian “small plates” menu, which is categorised into five distinct flavour verticals of Fresh, Familiar, Spicy, Umami and Sweet.

Salads are predictably under the Fresh column – if you are a fan of coconuts like me, definitely try the refreshing marinated prawn salad tossed with crisp, snow white grated coconut. Next is Familiar – a list of popular dishes from the old Coriander Leaf such as no-fail miso cod and a very tasty grilled eggplant casserole that is reminiscent of the classic parmigiana. Classified as Umami is the wonderfully addictive soft shell crab covered in silky salted duck egg yolk sauce and fragrant curry leaf. Not to mention a potent bisque-like prawn sauce topped with creamy sea urchin and scrambled egg and K’s favourite meat of the night – oven roasted angus paired with an intriguing spicy dip and fish sauce.

On the Sweet end is Halo Halo, a novel Chinese and Japanese inspired dessert of Filipino origin, with old-school White Rabbit candy and condensed milk ice cream, shaved ice, leche flan, sweet potato, jackfruit, and frosted flakes. I love everything about it except the corn flakes – they add a crunchy texture, yes, but seem to cheapen the dish hmm. Substituting with nuts will be a win, I reckon. Another not-quite-there-yet dessert is the spiced lava cake with teh tarik ice cream. The latter is faultlessly creamy and rich but the cake… No flow, sigh.

I want to be back, as I have not explored much of the Spicy selections! Plus, there is that gorgeous cooking studio that is putting ideas into my head… Company social event, hehe.

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FRESH
marinated prawn salad, grated coconut ($15++);
rice noodle salad, roast duck, mint, coriander leaf, vietnamese basil ($12++)

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FAMILIAR
grilled eggplant, chickpeas, browned butter ($12++)

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FAMILIAR
miso marinated silver cod ($28++)

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SPICY
wok fried tiger prawns, japanese momotaro tomatoes, chilli padi ($24++)

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UMAMI
sea urchin, scrambled egg, prawn sauce ($25++)

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UMAMI
oven roasted, kecap manis rubbed cape grim angus, spicy dip, fish sauce, lime juice, coriander ($35++)

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UMAMI
soft shell crab, salted duck egg yolk sauce, curry leaves ($16++)

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UMAMI
nepalese minced chicken momo dumpling, roasted tomato relish, szechuan pepper ($10++)

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SWEET
white rabbit condensed milk ice cream, mango granita, leche flan, sweet potato, jack fruit, frosted flakes, shaved ice ($15++)

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SWEET
spiced lava cake, teh tarik ice cream

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My thanks to Charissa for hosting dinner!

Coriander Leaf
#02-01 CHIJMES 30 Victoria Street
6837 0142

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P. Bistro has come a long way. It began as a small shophouse space along Owen Road serving simple Asian-inspired Western fare and French classics, and gained enough loyal fans and regulars to open a second outlet at Palais Renaisaance. Don’t be put off by the atas location though; the bistro is still sticking to the basic values of offering tasty, wholesome food at reasonable prices.

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K shocked me when he ordered two items which I absolutely will not order in a restaurant – garlic bread and chicken wings, omg!! Ha. To be fair, these are two of the most popular appetizers and light bites on the menu. Let me just say that both were very good – nothing beats freshly roasted garlic paste and well-marinated wings right?

Garlic Bread ($5++)
baked farm loaf bread, freshly roasted garlic paste

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BBQ Chicken Wings ($12++; half portion show below)
fresh chicken wings, chef’s special homemade marinade, chilli sauce on the side

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Salads here are substantial enough to be mains. I wanted to try the Thai-style pomelo salad but decided to go with the staff’s recommendation of prawn avocado mango salad. No regrets whatsoever! The colourful combination of juicy prawns, creamy avocado and tangy mango was a wonderful prelude to the real mains. Pomelo salad, next time!

Prawn Avocado Mango Salad ($20++)
cherry tomatoes, romaine rocket, japanese sesame dressing

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One of the most noteworthy dishes is the dory fillet coated with a special nonya gravy (secret recipe!) and cooked on a banana leaf. Beautiful and flavourful! P.S. the spicy, sweet, sour and deliciously crunchy achar on the side was delish too.

Nonya Dory ($18++)
chef’s signature nonya, dory fillet cooked on banana leaf, fragrant duo jasmine rice, fried egg

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K’s best burger to-date is Kua ‘Aina in Tokyo (even President Barack Obama likes it!) and the P.Bistro beef burger may be his second favourite so far.

P.Bistro Beef Burger ($22++)
open-faced burger, beef patty, pickles, caramelized onions

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Served open-faced, the generous slab of beef patty was tender and juicy – but surprisingly not greasy at all. We did think that an addition of avocado will make this a killer burger!

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When the salmon was served, I cringed inwardly because it looked overcooked. Wow, not only was I wrong, the fish was so moist and still pinkish in the middle! Lesson learnt, don’t judge a fish by its cover.

42° Sous-vide Salmon ($22++)
pan-seared 42° sous-vide salmon, crushed purple potato, seasonal greens

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The homemade desserts selection looked very tempting. The croissants baked with original Lurpak butter and Elle et Vire dry butter were already sold out by dinnertime so we turned our attention to the cakes. Matcha azuki dome had weak green tea flavour so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Luckily the chocolate mont blanc (love the strands of chestnut mousse with a dark chocolate core!) and light pistachio chiffon cake made with organic coconut oil were as gorgeous to look at as they were delightful to eat!

Desserts ($6-8.50++)
matcha azuki entremet; chocolate mont blanc, pistachio chiffon cake

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Special thanks to Pang for introducing P. Bistro to us!

P. Bistro
#B1-06, Palais Renaisaance
390 Orchard Road
6734 9268

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Not too long ago, Anti:dote revamped its menu with new handcrafted cocktails paired with a collection of contemporary tapas.

The range of new cocktails at Anti:dote is largely inspired by talented Head Craftsman, Tom Hogan’s daily interactions with guests and people he meets, and every cocktail has a story of its own. There’s The Tragedy of Tom Dooley – a whimsically named concoction of tequila, aperol, lime juice, lavender syrup and egg white; Seger Seelbach – a blend of bourbon, hum, Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters, topped with champagne; as well as the refreshing Aqua Fresca, comprising mezcal, parsley, sweet turnip syrup, lime juice and Suze liqueur (all $23++ per glass).

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If you are at the bar, you must talk to Tom who’s a firm believer in educating customers of their beverage choices. Expect not just great tasting cocktails, but also an interactive session on the origins of ingredients used as well as the processes and inspirations behind each cocktail. My head was spinning with all the details mentioned – definitely info overload for an amateur drinker like me ha.

Oysters ($16++)
warm ginger sauce, red curry, celery cress

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Cocktails with tapas is a given, of course.

Carlos Montobbio, Head Chef of Anti:dote, will continue to present his own creative style of European tapas with Asian influences. The tapas selection, which introduces something new every two months, now includes delicious little balls of braised eel croquettes with teriyaki sauce and kimchi mayonnaise (my favourite out of all!), succulent oysters doused with warm ginger sauce and red curry, ingenious tuna sashimi draped over salted cod brandade to resemble sushi, and cute little pop-in-the-mouth tender octopus topped with grilled soft eggplant and crispy paprika rice.

From top left, clockwise:
crispy suckling pig, cherry miso caramel, sherry soaked Kyoho grapes ($16);
baked chocolate mousse, extra virgin olive oil ice cream , crispy bread, maldon salt ($12++);
tuna sashimi, salted cod brandade, sesame oil pearls ($16);
assorted petit fours (from $3++);
braised beef cannelloni, spanish onion, black truffle, cèpes béchamel ($16++); and
spanish octopus skewers, charcoal grilled eggplant, crispy paprika rice, confit lemon skin ($16++)

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From top left, clockwise:
scrambled eggs, japanese sea urchin, oscietra caviar ($24++);
kalamata olive spheres, rosemary breadcrumbs ($8++);
black truffle bao, braised veal cheek, foie gras, caramelised shallots with madeira ($20++);
braised eel croquettes, teriyaki sauce, kimchi mayo ($14++);
artisanal potato chips, white truffle and potato purée ($12++); and
hokkaido scallop tartar, peanut tofu, spring onion, chilled tom yum broth ($16++)

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New tapas may be good, but I’m so glad that old signatures such as the super addictive crisp parmesan pizza with olive oil caviar pesto and creamy scrambled eggs with uni are still on the menu! Black truffle bao with braised veal cheek, foie gras and caramelised shallot remains too, if you miss your dim sum or wanna try a 10bucks bao.

Crisp Parmesan Pizza ($12++)
tomato flakes, fresh pesto, olive oil caviar, sweet basil cress

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If I have to use one word to describe Anti:dote, it’d be “fun”! Just be adventurous and order the ibérica “shabu-shabu”. You will know exactly what I mean!

Paleta Ibérica Joselito ($18++)
italian burrata, cristal bread, tomato essence shabu-shabu

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Many thanks to Ruth for hosting dinner!

Anti:dote
Level 1, Fairmont Singapore
80 Bras Basah Road
6431 5315

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The 3-course set lunch ($35++) and 4-course rocket set ($53++) at Wild Rocket were of good value and quality. Starter of roasted pumpkin and coconut soup with crab spring roll was pretty good but what won my heart was the signature pomelo salad with tiger prawns and frozen coconut dressing. So refreshing and creative! Both the spanner chilli crab linguini and minced pork bee tai mak were perfect representations of the “Mod Sin” (Modern Singaporean) theme, paying tribute to our local flavours. Loved my roast chilean seabass with chai poh confit on a bed of congee; expensive “porridge” but also one of the most delicious. We saw a lot of potential in the new Wild Rocket and I want to go back for the omakase!

pomelo salad with tiger prawns & frozen coconut dressing

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spanner chilli crab linguini with onsen egg

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krapao thai basil minced pork bee tai mak with onsen egg

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roast chilean seabass with chai poh confit & congee

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gong tng chinese peanut candy with peanut butter ice cream;
coconut ice cream with gula melaka

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Wild Rocket @ Mount Emily
10A Upper Wilkie Road
6339 9448

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Have you heard, have you heard??

The well-known KU DÉ TA in Singapore is now known as CÉ LA VI, after a rebranding exercise led by L Capital Asia, the Asian private equity business sponsored by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Abbreviated from the French phrase, ‘C’est La Vie’ (‘This is life’), the newly launched CÉ LA VI at Marina Bay Sands Skypark will undergo a significant renovation this summer and I’m so thankful that I went for dinner a couple of weeks prior to the official announcement!

I must admit that I went with quite a low expectation of the food because the venue itself is already larger than life – iconic rooftop location commanding breathtaking views in a spectacular setting (go in the evening to catch the sunset!) – and will not have any problem attracting diners even if the cuisine is mediocre. But how wrong I was! True, I still think it’s a “to see and be seen” type of dining location but the Modern Asian cuisine churned out by the kitchen was impressive and I’d say 80% of the dishes we ordered were above average, cross my heart.

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To kick start dinner, the crispy-sticky baby squid is a must-try! It was literally that – fried to a crisp with a thin sticky batter and this addictive bar bite disappeared from our table very quickly!

Crispy-Sticky Baby Squid ($19++)
black pepper, lime drizzle

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Personally sourced by Executive Chef Frederic Faucheux, the swordfish is imported fresh from South Africa, where he was based for four years to help pioneer the highly lauded opening of Nobu in Cape Town. The firm and meaty texture of the swordfish made this a delightful starter.

Line Caught Wild Snapper Sashimi and Fresh Summer Truffle ($42++)
alba oil, roasted shallot, truffle salt

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I’ll never say no to fatty melt-in-the-mouth chutoro (upper tuna belly section)! So fresh!

Sliced ‘Chūtoro’ Semi-Fatty Southern Bluefin Tuna ($48++)
wasabi soy, hajikame, lime

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To balance the rich and sinful food to come, the grilled prawn salad was competently assembled though not particularly outstanding.

Grilled Prawn Salad ($22++)
baby spinach, parmesan, dried miso, truffle oil

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The spicy tuna roll features prawn tempura atop maguro tuna and asparagus sushi. This was pretty normal and I prefer to get my fix of maki elsewhere!

Spicy Tuna Roll ($23++)
maguro tuna, prawn tempura, asparagus, spicy dressing

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Miso eggplant is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of vegetable. Luckily for me, two of my dining companions didn’t like it which means all the more for me, yay! The grilled eggplant here is thick and heavily coated with the dark sweet-salty miso dressing.

Aubergine ($12++)
den miso, bonito shavings, sesame seed

Background: Pan Seared Hokkaido Scallops ($36++)
edamame, cauliflower purée, soy emulsion

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An exceptional seafood option would be the signature roasted black cod (you gotta remember Chef used to be from Nobu!), expertly cooked to a tender succulent texture served with shishito, pickled red onions and lemon. The pan seared jumbo Hokkaido scallops matched with delicate flavours of cauliflower puree, soy emulsion and tempura edamame were also excellent!

Roasted Black Cod ($56++)
shishito, pickled red onions, lemon

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For meat lovers, K highly recommends the Prime ‘Brandt Beef’ ribeye accompanied by homemade wasabi salsa, spinach and sesame dressing. I kept stealing bites of the blanched spinach on the side because of the fragrant sesame sauce! Honestly, it’s so delicious that it deserves a spot on the a la carte menu as a side dish.

U.S. Prime ‘Brandt Beef’ Ribeye ($54++)
wasabi salsa, spinach, goma dressing

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Desserts at CÉ LA VI are difficult to pass on with the group’s Global Executive Pastry Chef and recent Iron Chef Thailand champion, Jason Licker’s philosophy to craft inspired Modern Asian desserts that’s irresistible even after a heavy meal!

Toasted Citrus Gateau ($18++)
kalamansi curd, blood orange, guava sorbet

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If I can only pick one dessert (I hope this won’t ever happen!), it will definitely be the goma cake. I’m naturally inclined towards anything black sesame and with green tea in the mix? Just take my money! I love how the various components gel together and this is one beautiful dessert that is hard to forget!

Goma Cake ($18++)
black sesame cake, apricot, raspberry, matcha ganaché

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Although it’s said to be an all-time favourite and signature dessert, I didn’t take to the white chocolate-junmai, with different elements and textures of yuzu scented fruits, salted toffee and white chocolate-sake cream. Can’t appreciate this, somewhat too complex to me.

White Chocolate-Junmai ($18++)
yuzu scented fruits, salted toffee, white chocolate-saké cream

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#2 in my heart after the goma cake is the tropical coconut-pandan verrine since – yes, you guessed right – I’m also biased towards anything coconut and pandan! Love how refreshing it is, though I do wish there’s more of coconut sorbet in it.

Coconut-Pandan Verrine ($18++)
tropical fruit cream, coconut sorbet, pandan foam

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My special thanks to Francesca and Megan for hosting dinner with such a fab view!

CÉ LA VI (Formerly KU DÉ TA)
SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands, Tower 3
1 Bayfront Avenue
6688 7688

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