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The highly-anticipated Epicurean Market by Marina Bay Sands is back for its 2nd year running with a fresh theme and participation by the integrated resort’s stellar cast of celebrity chefs as well as the country’s finest wine distributors and food suppliers. Held from 12-14 September 2014 at Marina Bay Sands, this gourmet food and wine appreciation event will see guests savouring exquisite dishes and fine wines from over 50 restaurants, wineries and leading brands, expanding their culinary knowledge through master classes and indulging in a market brimming with fresh produce.
Here are the top 10 experiences you can expect at this year’s Epicurean Market 2014:
1) Mystery Box cook-off between celebrity chef restaurants (13 Sept)
Watch the first ever mystery box cook-off between executive chefs Jonathan Kinsella (db Bistro Moderne) and David Almany (Osteria Mozza) as they challenge each other to prepare a dish using ingredients from a mystery box. The chefs will have about 45 minutes to whip up a dish each in this cook-off and a trio of judges will select the winner.
2) LOUIS XIII de Rémy Martin tasting (12 Sep)
Discover the king of Cognacs, LOUIS XIII de Rémy Martin, made available to the public for the first time ever. Created in 1874, LOUIS XIII is an exceptional blend of 1,200 eaux-de-vie aged over 100 years, with each decanter highlighting the passionate work of four generations of Cellar Masters. Experience the LOUIS XIII with an amazing dessert pairing. Ticket for this exclusive masterclass is priced at S$50 (original ticket value of S$350) with a limited capacity of 40 participants. Limited-edition tickets have been packaged for this exclusive session, at $73 per person (includes the $23 ticket access to Epicurean Market for three days). The tasting is held on 12 September 2014, 4-5pm.
Monday night and the restaurant was buzzing with activity with practically every table occupied. Clearly, Moosehead Kitchen-Bar must be doing something right. While having dinner there, I could not quite pin-point what the attraction to this place was. Be it the thoughtfully curated yet extensive alcoholic beverage list, the edgy hipster murals sprawled on the walls, the rustic feel of the place with its palette of browns, grays and other earthy colours or simply the experimental and quirky nature of Chef Manel as reflected in the Mediterranean cuisine he serves, peppered with South-East Asian flavour. Either way, Moosehead Kitchen-Bar definitely has an X factor.
The menu selection is fairly concise and honestly if you bring a bunch of friends down for a meal, you probably can make your way fairly easily through it all. All portions are a little bigger than the usual tapas size so just like their mantra printed on the menu, it is all about ‘Eat + Drink + Share’ here at Moosehead.
For starters, I strongly and highly recommend their Bacon Wrapped Chargrilled Dates, Roast Garlic Aioli, Pine Nuts $8. Trust me, while the combination does sound a little out-of-the-world, the taste is simply wicked. Imagine the salty notes from the bacon marrying with the sweetness of the caramelized grilled date, covered with creamy garlic aioli and complimented by a crunch of pine nuts. Simply an explosion of flavours and myriad of textures that tease your taste buds and have you wishing you could just take one more piece. Oh so good. Could probably finish a few plates of this easy.
An iconic and historical building in Singapore- Alkaff Mansion has stood the test of time since it was first built back in 1918. Initially owned by a Yemen family of spice traders, Alkaff Mansion played host to many opulent and high society parties back in the day when it was a weekend retreat bungalow spanning an area of 780 square metres. It comes as no surprise that almost a century later, Alkaff Mansion remains a popular choice of location to hold events, weddings and even fashion shows with its exquisite architecture and sprawling grounds that are complimented by a panoramic view of Telok Blangah Hill.
Recently, Alkaff Mansion Ristorante welcomed a new chef- a native from Sardinia, Italy with 20 years of culinary experience to spruce up its menu with hearty Italian fare made from produce imported all the way from Sardinia. Talk about recreating an authentic Italian dining experience without actually having to get on a plane.
From the list of Antipasti’s, we tried two specialties- the Fresh Octopus Carpaccio $24 and Seafood Platter $68. The former which featured lightly steamed silvers of octopus won my vote with its delicate nature and subtle sweetness, brought even more to life with a drizzle of balsamic reduction. Conversely, the platter of five different types of seafood- tiger prawns, tuna tartare, sea bass carpaccio, octopus salad and lobster chunks had me quite split in my decision. But either way $68 for such a huge platter of seafood is a pretty sweet deal in itself.
Priding itself as an all-day American diner & bar, Roosevelt’s Diner & Bar which opened at the beginning of this year has been earning raves for its bar grub served in large portions, all-day-breakfast and affordable selection of alcoholic beverages- wines in particular start from $6 a glass. Recently, the already-extensive menu has been updated to include even more choices for waffles and a newly curated wine list featuring bottles imported from all around the world such as France, Italy, Lebanon and even Slovakia.
We dropped by one Sunday morning for brunch and already most of the tables had a ‘reserved’ tag on them. By lunch time, the diner was filled with mostly foreigners digging into hearty portions of burgers and fries, washing it all down with a glass or two of rose wine. The atmosphere was laidback, casual and even comforting.
The BBQ Back Ribs $22 (half)/$28 (full) from the list of Mains came highly recommended from the server. It is apparently one of their best sellers too. Succulent and juicy, the meat came off the bone easily. And having been marinated overnight, every bite was tasty and slathered unforgivingly in thick sweet BBQ sauce. Not too bad and great for sharing.
Teddy’s US Beef Burger $20 comes with a 180g patty and is paired with a fluffy brioche bun made fresh every morning. The burger definitely made a statement with those hanging strips of fried crispy bacon and melted cheese while the brioche buns were quite the highlight for me. Was not a huge fan of the beef patty though, which was a little dry and flat.
Mid-Autumn Festival is once again upon us. It is time to stop weight-watching and begin feasting on some delectable mooncakes. I always marvel at how chefs at hotels and restaurants are able to consistently create innovative combinations of ingredients and produce such unusual handcrafted round morsels of sweet treats. This year is no exception with an assortment of fusion and traditional offerings ranging from the usual baked varieties and the snowskins on the list.
These are our picks for 2014:
Man Fu Yuan, Intercontinental Singapore
Man Fu Yuan’s acclaimed Dim Sum Chef Simon Poon presents a new range of Shanghai Mooncakes this year with a choice of mixed nuts (macadamia and pine) or salted egg yolk in smooth lotus seed paste encased in flaky buttery pastry. The health-conscious can choose from their myriad of low-sugar offerings, made with 50 percent less sugar and all-natural ingredients while others who wish to indulge, can do so with the snowskin mooncakes that come in flavours of Green Tea Paste with Dragonball Jasmine or the premium ‘Mao Shan Wang’ with coconut milk.
Early bird special: Exclusive pre-sale release at 30% off total retail price now available through 8 August, valid only for 4- piece mooncakes.
Online purchase: Available at singapore.intercontinental.com/mooncakes
Man Fu Yuan mooncakes are available from 9 July through 8 September 2014 at Tea Hut, located at the entrance of InterContinental Singapore from Bugis Junction, and 20 locations across Singapore, with boxes of 2-piece from $29+ and 4-piece from $49+.