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Archive for the ‘Don't Mind Going Back’ Category

Lime House was such a perfect place for us to unwind after work on a TGIF night. Inspired by all things Caribbean and as Singapore’s first Caribbean restaurant, it is located in a heritage multi-storey shophouse in (ironically?) the heart of Chinatown. I have never been to the Caribbean but the flavours are exactly as what I imagine – bold and strong yet clean.

New on the menu, the salmon tartare was fresh and so refreshing with the mango pineapple salsa. I could almost hear gentle waves crashing before a beautiful sunset ha. My favourite starter was the giant crab dumplings stuffed with a generous amount of real shredded crabmeat and topped with fragrant toasted coconut flakes! Even the bread baked in-house was something different from other restaurants – the naan-like barra bread came with toppings of spicy curry chickpeas and sweet mango chutney and tamarind, so flavourful! Though enjoyable, our main courses of pan-fried seabass and jerk-rubbed steak ain’t as spectacular as the starters. Desserts were limited to just four choices – chocolate lava cake, deconstructed pina colada, spiced banana cake and coffee creme brulee. Take your pick but we will definitely go for the chocolate cake any time, worthy of our calories!

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Gourmet Doubles ($9++)
barra bread, curry chickpeas, mango chutney, tamarind, lime house pepper sauce

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Salmon Tartare ($15++)
salmon, mango and pineapple salsa, avocado, micro greens

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Crab Dumpling ($15++)
crabmeat-stuffed dumpling, callaloo, coconut flakes

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Pan-Fried Seabass ($30++)
chayote gratin, avocado puree, spiced shrimps, peppers

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Coffee Jerk-Rubbed Steak ($36++)
roasted potatoes, buttered veggies, jerk cream sauce

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Piton Chocolate Cake ($12++)
vanilla ice cream, fruit compote

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Thank you for arranging dinner, Lime House!

Lime House
2 Jiak Chuan Road
6222 3130

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I first knew Chef Nixon back in 2013 when he was the head chef of Petite Menu and have loved what he can whip up in the kitchen since then. He soon became my favourite local chef (and K’s too) and always have a sixth sense of what my palate likes best. Even his CNY fusion menu (which can be tricky and hard to nail) was a delight! When Petite Menu closed the following year, I lamented its loss. Then came along Portico not long after and I had my one of best meals there. I guess it’s telling how much K and I like Portico and the team when we chose to spend Christmas eve there last year (and maybe this year)🙂

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Fast forward one year, and Portico has a new sister restaurant – Portico Prime. Taking over what used to be Prime Society at Dempsey, Portico Prime is (not surprisingly) upmarket, and the tasteful design, classy ambiance and menu prices reflect that change in status. While I didn’t expect cheap prices, I feel that some of the dishes can be more reasonably priced. Honestly, $22++ for a soup (that was served cold in my case, ouch) or salad can be hard to stomach.

That aside, we were pretty impressed by the quality of most of the other dishes. The seared Hokkaido scallop with sous vide egg, pan-seared barramundi (extremely fresh as Portico works with Tiberias Harvest, which offers fish delivered within hours from its sea farm located off the north-eastern coast of Pulau Ubin) and the signature heirloom tomatoes with frozen honey melon dressing were excellent! K was all raves for his succulent wagyu steak from Tochigi Perfecture, exclusive to Portico Prime and cannot be found anywhere else in Singapore. And of course, desserts by Chef Charlene never fail to satisfy our sweet tooth! Her deconstructed blackforest is our must-order; the creme brulee and refreshing basil parfait are worth a try too!

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Seared Hokkaido Scallop ($28++)
cos lettuce, sous vide 63°C egg, dehydrated bacon, brown anchovy mayo, freshly shaved pecorino cheese

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Collection of Heirloom Tomatoes ($24++)
jamon serrano slices, organic quinoa, marinated hijiki seaweed, frozen honey melon dressing

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Caramelised Leek and Potato Soup ($22++)
lightly charred smoked eel, brown butter toasted brioche

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Pan-Seared Pulau Ubin Barramundi ($38++)
ratte potatoes, carrot ginger puree, trout roe buerre blanc sauce

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Miso Risotto (off the menu)
pan seared hokkaido scallop, mini crispy prawns

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Tochigi Perfecture Wagyu Ribcap A4 ($58++ per 100g, minimum 200g)
roasted ratte potatoes, vine cherry tomatoes, truffle beef jus

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Deconstructed Blackforest ($17++)
70% dark chocolate mousse, edible hazelnut soil, cherry coulis, caramel ice cream

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“Naphung” Honey and Thyme Crème Brulee Coconut Tart ($15++)
grapefruit segments, cranberry biscotti

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Our thanks to Chef Nixon for having us over!

Portico Prime
10 Dempsey Road, #01-20
6474 7427

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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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Walk past #20 along Bukit Pasoh Road and you will unknowingly miss breezy Seattle-style Humpback, the sister restaurant of Jigger & Pony and Sugarhall.

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Buckets of oysters at the raw seafood counter are the star attraction. If you love your oysters (I don’t ha), you will be pleased to know that they are served as fresh as possible – from farm to table is the goal.

Oysters ($6++ each / Happy Hour $2-3++)
Kumamoto – Peale, Washington USA
Shigoku Fat Bastard – Samish Bay, Washington USA
Rocky Bar – South Puget Sound, Washington USA

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It’s not all about oysters, of course. The seafood menu is deliberately kept small (but changing constantly) so that only the freshest will be purveyed.

Clam Dip ($10++)
cream cheese, ritz crackers

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But let’s talk veggie first. Anything but ordinary, the “Garden” and “Pantry” selections are gems in themselves.

Carrots ($8++)
yoghurt, cumin salt

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A random assembly of carrots with creamy tahini yogurt and a dash of cumin salt is magic, and I love the different textures in the seemingly simple kale salad.

Kale ($14++)
buttermilk, pear, kale chips, pecan nuts

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The top veggie pick will be the grilled cabbage though. I have never seen such a combination before – cheese, quinoa and more importantly, chilli oil! Brilliant flavours.

Cabbage ($10++)
herb cheese, crispy quinoa, chilli oil

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The seafood section focuses on inventive preparations – rainbow trout with intriguing almond milk, tender black cod with chestnut puree, and hamachi ceviche cleverly lifted with just a touch of yuzu. So many hits!

Rainbow Trout ($16++)
egg yolk, almond milk, pickled mustard seeds

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Hamachi Ceviche ($22++)
avocado, yuzu, radish, almond

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Cod ($20++)
leek, chestnut, vinaigrette

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Beef Short Rib ($23++)
grain fed 120 days, carrot puree, broccolini

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There are only two desserts on the menu. While the panna cotta infused with fernet (a type of bitter herbal liqueur) is interesting, the smooth rich and creamy chocolate mousse is the one we fight over!

Valrhona Chocolate Mousse ($8++)
berries compote, fresh cream

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Fernet Panna Cotta ($8++)
bitter cocoa, orange

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Special thanks to Marie for hosting dinner!

Humpback
20 Bukit Pasoh Road
6750 4461

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I tell you, I left RedBank Bar & Grill in a food coma.

That’s because it’s impossible not to over-order and over-eat when quality good ol’ American fare at pocket friendly prices is part of the deal! Located at the newly renovated Claymore Connect, RedBank Bar & Grill took over the space of what was previously Tony Roma’s and comes equipped with a life-size screen to telecast major sporting events.

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Contrary to American cooking stereotypes, the focus is on the food, not the sauces. There is no need for special flavouring as the ingredients speak for themselves. The tuna tartare is the perfect example – fresh chopped tuna lightly tossed with a citrusy dressing, so refreshing!

Tuna Tartare ($20++)
tuna, shallots, herbs, lemon, olive oil

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Rooted to traditional recipes and cooking methods that have been passed down through generations, the menu features many East Coast favourites such as Maryland soft shell crab, Virginia-style crab cake and the less common fried oyster biscuit. All three are delicious and I’d order these again in a heartbeat!

Maryland Soft Shell Crab ($18++)
with old bay seasoning

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Virginia-Style Crab Cake ($18++)
crab, mayo, lemon

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Virginia-Style Oyster Biscuit ($18++)
large oysters, butter milk biscuit

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“Salad” sounds light and healthy but at RedBank, the cobb salad is one hearty dish that will satisfy both carnivores and ladies with a small appetite ha. Generous ingredients threaten to overflow the bowl!

Brown Derby Cobb Salad ($22++)
iceberg, avocado, egg, bacon, cheese, chicken

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French Onion Soup ($15++)
fresh onions, cheese gratin

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Typical American side orders like mac & cheese and home-style coleslaw are available but the hush puppies are the most interesting! These are nicely spiced handmade cornmeal fritters which taste somewhat like our Chinese “ham chim peng” (fried bread).

Hush Puppy ($12++)
cornmeal, onions, red pepper

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Dishes from the restaurant’s Josper charcoal grill are featured prominently on the menu, bringing the typical American backyard grill experience indoors. The traditional outdoor barbecue flavor is imparted to many of its items like the large U.S. steaks (ribeye is huge and most value-for-money!), ribs and seafood.

Mixed Seafood Grill ($33++)
prawn, salmon, seabass, tuna

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As if the serving is not big enough, each grilled meat comes with a side of fries while the seafood and poultry mains come with rice pilaf or fries.

Grilled Whole Seabass ($33++)
european-sourced

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Grilled Deviled Chicken ($28++)
taragon, pepper, white wine reduction

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Rib Eye ($45++)
300g steak

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We were full but no way were we going to leave without desserts, especially when the tempting hand-crafted creations include NY cheesecake with speculoos base (the unanimous favourite, even for myself who’s not a cheesecake fan!), classic lemon pie (so sour, I love it!), chocolate chip tiramisu and creme brulee.

New York Cheesecake ($12++)

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Lemon Pie ($12++)

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Creme Brulee ($12++)

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My thanks to Melody for hosting dinner!

RedBank Bar & Grill
#01-02 Claymore Connect
442 Orchard Road
+65 6694 5376

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There seems to be a trend for my Sumiya dining experiences – lunch usually borders on average but dinner are always much more enjoyable!

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The new Sumiya branch at Suntec City boasts a unique circular Enomatic sake dispenser with 16 different types of Japanese fermented rice wine! Just get a post-paid card from the staff, insert into the machine, press your selection and drink away! The sake range from lighter, easy-to-drink brews to higher quality, more full-bodied varieties meted out in a tasting (20ml from $2.20++), half (60ml) and full (120ml) portion.

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Freshness is key in Japanese cuisine and if there is only one dish you can order (I hope not!), get the bluefin tuna! It’s brilliant – a single cut of imported tuna showcasing three premium parts all at once, i.e. akami, chutoro and otoro. I adore it, of course!

Fresh Bluefin Tuna Sashimi Steak-Style ($68++)
three cuts of sustainably-farmed bluefin tuna in one – akami, chutoro and otoro; served with ponzu, spicy sauce and truffle paste

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A simpler but no less delicious way to enjoy seafood at Sumiya is to order it isoyaki-style. Doused in a house-made soy-dashi broth and grilled in its shell over charcoal, the plump scallop burst with umami flavour tinged with a tantalizing smokiness.

Fresh Hotate Isoyaki ($11.80++)
half-shell scallop charcoal-grilled with soy sauce-dashi broth

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The garden salad is forgettable and not that great value-for-money either.

Garden Salad ($14.80++)
assorted fresh vegetables, crab stick, flying fish roe and potato salad

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Dried fish is a traditional delicacy among the Japanese for thousands of years and despite the name “dried”, the fish is actually very moist and retains its natural juices! A special fish-dry machine is used to achieve this – heat controlled at 30°C replicating the warmth of sun rays is emitted and intensifies the flavour of the fish.

Today’s Homemade Dried Fish ($28.80++)
renkodai, a type of sea bream

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Another blast from the past is irori genshiyaki – an ancient Japanese style of charcoal-grilling fish. This entails skewering whole or selected fish parts and slow-grilling them vertically around a stack of smoldering charcoal for 20-40 minutes. I highly recommend the yellowtail collar – so juicy and tender with evenly crisp skin!

Salt Grilled Yellowtail Collar ($20.80++)
yellowtail collar grilled irori genshiyaki-style and seasoned with salt

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One of the restaurant’s signature is “Can Can Mushi” (a.k.a. ryoshi mushi), a hotpot of sorts inspired by the way Japanese fishermen cook freshly-caught seafood in a tin can on the boat or on shore. Think of it as a Japanese-style steamboat! You can even pick the soup base – original clear broth, tom yum soup, and soy sauce miso-based soup with garlic and chilli. Not my favourite since I’m not a fan of steamboats in general ha.

Today’s Chef’s Ryoshi Mushi (open price, depends on customization of seafood)
“hotpot” filled with assorted seafood – kodai sea bream fish (market price), hiroshima oysters ($4++ each), prawns ($5++ each), scallops ($11.80++ each)

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Desserts are worth a try too! With only 15 precious servings available daily, a pre-order of Sumiya Tropical Dessert is advised. The beautiful hand-carved ice bowl holds multiple colourful gems such as fruits, sago, azuki paste and even matcha ice cream!

Sumiya Tropical Dessert ($18.80++)
cubes of mango, watermelon and rock melon, sago, green tea ice cream and red bean paste in coconut milk sauce

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Other indulgent treats include mango and yogurt with matcha ice cream and deep-fried moreish pumpkin cake. I can’t pick the best out of the lot because my sweet tooth loves them all!

Pumpkin-filled Karinto Manju with Matcha Ice Cream ($8.80++)
crispy deep-fried japanese cake stuffed with pumpkin, served with green tea ice cream and sweet red bean paste

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My thanks to Rachel for hosting dinner!

Sumiya
#03-332 / 333, Suntec City
3 Temasek Boulevard, North Wing
6235 1816

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Violet Herbs

Violet Herbs is too… Purple.

Seriously, I’ve never seen a more purplish restaurant before.

Disturbing colour theme aside, the food is pretty good, and the affordable price tag is another plus. The Modern European menu offers easy-to-like choices – I couldn’t decide on the roasted chilean seabass or red miso cod so K suggested that I get both, score! The former is delicious with soft and fatty flaky meat; the latter can do with less miso but still very agreeable to my palate, all thanks to the lovely buttery texture and plump eggplant coated with almond on the side. My seafood choices fare better than K’s grilled tenderloin – slightly overcooked (errr, he eats it rare…) so that’s a shame. For dessert, get the decadent nutella bar! It’s as good as it sounds, only if you are a chocolate/nutella fan.

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Roasted Chilean Seabass ($32++)
saffron mushroom ragout, truffle egg fluid, kabanyaki lobster sauce, shiso cress

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Marinated Red Miso Cod ($33++)
roasted pumpkin puree, almond eggplant, mix herbs

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Char Grilled Tenderloin ($42++)
grain fed 120 days, herb potatoes, sauteed baby spinach, onion thyme reduction

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Nutella Bar ($12++)
strawberry coulis, nutella tuile, pearl chocolate, bailey ice cream

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Violet Herbs
81 Tras Street
6221 3988

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