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

The existing menu of modern tapas at Salt Tapas & Bar has been revived with the arrival of Executive Chef Ronald Li. Formerly from KU DÉ TA (now CÉ LA VI), Chef Ronald has created a menu celebrating hearty, slow-cooked fare. More impressive is that although this is essentially still a “bar”, he pays close attention to presentation – every plate arrives on the table looking beautiful and artistic.

Menu highlights include the grilled eryngii mushrooms on a bed of chive aioli which I love. There’s minimal seasoning so the natural sweetness of the juicy mushrooms shines through. Even though the menu has supposedly an “Australian twist”, I find that there’s a bit of Middle Eastern influences too – curried roast pumpkin with labneh and dukkah; golden and red beets with ricotta and fresh figs; haloumi paired with eggplant and chickpea. All three were very tasty and I can see myself coming back for more!

Out of the new “mains to share” section, the “fish to share” features a 400g slab of grilled barramundi. Accompanied by tangy mango salsa and sautéed broccolini, the moist and delicate fish is simply grilled with a dash of yuzu to highlight its natural delicate flavor. I heard another noteworthy main to share is the paella with lashings of creamy saffron rouille but I gave that a miss since I’m not keen on carb-heavy rice dishes.

If there’s only one dessert I can have, it’s definitely going to be the gooey chocolate tart crowned with a scoop of mango sorbet. I can never resist dark chocolate – especially when thin buttery crust and non-icy sorbet are part of the deal. And be warned, get the dulce de leche semifreddo only if you have an extreme sweet tooth!


Grilled Eryngii Mushroom ($9++)
chive aioli


Taco of Tempura Prawn ($12++)
pineapple salsa, chipotle aioli


Beets, Ricotta, Fig ($15++)
pickle green chilli, honey & thyme dressing


Haloumi, Eggplant, Chickpea ($13++)
dried tomatoes, herbs, tahini dressing


Curried Roast Pumpkin ($14++)
capsicum, labneh, dukkah & coriander


Scallops, Pancetta ($25++)
green tomato, chutney, apple & chives


Fish to Share – Grilled barramundi ($60++, 400g)
mango salsa, sautéed brocolini


Gooey Chocolate Tart ($14++)
mango sorbet


Dulce de Leche & Salted Pecan Semifreddo ($13++)
strawberries, coconut wafer


Thank you, Ada, for hosting dinner!

Salt Tapas & Bar
#01-22A, Raffles City Shopping Centre
252 North Bridge Road
6837 0995

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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.


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


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


miso marinated silver cod ($28++)


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


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


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


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


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


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


spiced lava cake, teh tarik ice cream


My thanks to Charissa for hosting dinner!

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

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After reading so many mixed reviews, I was ready to write off Paddy Hills as just another hipster cafe with form over substance but our brunch was really enjoyable! Perhaps we were there on a good day, perhaps we picked the right dishes, who knows? It’s obvious that much thought has been put into making sure that the menu stays unconventional – no to eggs benny, yes to kimchi fried rice! The latter is rather average, though very photogenic ha. Another unexceptional item is the beautifully fried but bland cauliflower fritters which need more seasoning. “The Maze” is well-loved by K – smooth creamy mash with generous portions of tender and non-gamey lamb meatballs. And I sneaked a bite of BFF’s “Hash Hash” – a rich baked egg-ish pan of tomato, chorizo and sauteed mushrooms, delish! Not forgetting my browned and crispy rosti with seared moist sea bass, of course. The potato is sliced sooooo thinly and resembles mee sua! Love this much.


Cauliflower Fritters ($12++)
paprika salt, masala yogurt


Potato & Fish ($22+)
rosti, seared sea bass, sous vide egg, sauteed mushrooms, deconstructed bagna cauda


The Maze ($22+)
creamy mash, lamb meatballs, cauliflower fritters, polenta chips, crumbled manchego, sous vide egg


Kimchi Fried Rice ($20+)
hanger steak, ito togarashi, negi, nori, sous vide egg


Hash Hash ($24+)
toasted bread, roasted baby potatoes, chorizo, sauteed mushrooms, beef shank, polenta chips, shaved fennel, sous vide egg, baked egg


Paddy Hills
38 South Buona Vista Road
6479 0800

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It was such a privilege to meet Chef Cat Cora in person when she was in town to introduce the new seafood dinner set menu at Ocean Restaurant. Fangirl moment aside, I really did enjoy the new menu more than the previous one!

I’ve never cared for oysters so when the 6-course menu ($168++) started with the amuse bouche of fresh oyster, I wasn’t too excited. Luckily the sautéed langoustines which followed was perfect – firm juicy flesh served alongside crustacean cream and baby fennel, delicious! Likewise the torched brown trout which Chef de Cuisine Yew Eng Tong recreated from his win at the prestigious Bocuse d’Or Asian by pairing it with smoked eel and then rounding off with refreshing crunchy cucumber and caviar vinaigrette.

My favourite was hands down the charred corn soup – something different yet comforting. One of the restaurant’s signature ingredients, the blue swimmer crab was made into a crispy fritter and and the thick hearty soup had an alluring smokey flavour. Final main course was a moist slab of sustainable cod fillet from New Zealand – I still remember the layer of brittle scales! For dessert, the rocky grand cru chocolate was a dreamy chocolate creation. The elegantly plated dish had a base of bitter chocolate, passion fruit creme at the side, and various textures of chocolate in sponge and mousse forms, so good!


Fresh Oyster
passion fruit, watermelon salsa


Torched Brown Trout “Fabio”
smoked eel, crunchy cucumber, caviar vinaigrette


Sautéed Langoustine
crustacean cream, baby fennel, leek, soft herb


Charred Corn Soup
beignet of blue swimmer crab, bacon crumble


Cod Fish
chorizo, smoke potato


Rocky Grand Cru
bitter chocolate rock, passion fruit creme, textures of chocolate


Will never tire of this view!


Many thanks to Charmaine and Lavinia for hosting dinner!

Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora
8 Sentosa Gateway
S.E.A. Aquarium, Level B1M
6577 6688

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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.


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


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


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


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


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


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!


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


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


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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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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