NINJA Bowl @ 15 Duxton Road

NINJA Bowl is all about hearty offerings of Japanese donburi bowls that are served in a Korean bibimbap fashion with a touch of western influence. Needless to say, these aesthetically pleasing bowls have been making their rounds on our Instagram newsfeed. This gave us yet another reason to check out the new place not just once but a few times! But if that is not a good enough reason to visit the place, diners would be pleasantly surprised to hear that the prices at Ninja Bowl are all nett priced with no extra service charges.

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Devoted fans of Department of Caffeine (DOC) would have known by now that the café had officially ceased operations in mid-January, freeing the space for a new tenant to take root. Despite offering a different dining experience, Ninja Bowl has retained the warm, casual ambience which the former had left behind. Furnished with matt black wooden tables and chic steel chairs, an industrial charm seeps into its contemporary setting where two elongated parquet and white walls encapsulate the timeless moment. Warm, yellow downlights soften the mood and add a cozy vibe to the dining setting, providing a convivial atmosphere for diners to congregate, relax and also indulge in their signature donburi bowls.

Crystal Jade Prestige’s Signature Weekend Brunch

Pamper your daddy this Father’s Day by treating him to an indulgent and sumptuous weekend brunch at the Crystal Jade Group’s newest luxurious concept- Crystal Jade Prestige. Set against the backdrop of Singapore’s central business district at Marina Bay Financial Centre, this contemporary Chinese restaurant is the ideal location to savour and enjoy the decadent Chinese delicacies with loved ones and friends.

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For every weekend from 1 May to 26 June between 11:30am to 3pm, diners can customise their very own brunch menu by choosing 10 items from 5 different categories, namely appetisers, dim sum, BBQ meat selection, soups, wok-fried dishes and desserts.

From the Dim Sum section, we picked 5 that piqued our interest most. The first was this Steamed Dumpling with Shrimp & Black Garlic, which was a nod to the classic Har Gow or Steamed Shrimp Dumpling. Topped with a slice of black garlic to intensify the sweetness of the shrimp, this charmed with its presentation and that flavoursome profile.

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Next to arrive was the Steamed Pork & Shrimp Dumpling topped with Caviar, a fancy version of the well-loved Siew Mai. Hard to fault when you have plump meat pouches complimented by large firm beads of salty-sweet earthiness that added a dimension of richness to the overall dish.

999.99 (Five Nines) @ 29 Keong Saik Road

Just barely six months since its debut along the shop houses of Keong Saik Road, 999.99 (Five Nines) has been hitting the high notes with food critics and diners alike through the gold standard of service and food quality that the restaurant has delivered. Helmed by Chef Masanao Saito, who was the former Head Chef of the Japanese Embassy in Sweden, with close to a decade of experience in the culinary field, diners can expect to find beautiful plates of fusion cuisine elevated with a personal Japanese touch here at this 62-seater modern European restaurant.

Locating the restaurant is definitely not an issue as a fifteen minutes stroll from Exit H of Outram Park MRT Station is more than sufficient for diners to get here. However, those who are driving may wish to park their car at the lots just outside of Exit H to avoid the frustration of waiting for the ones along the stretch.

Unique to Five Nines is not only their eye-catching signboard of five numerical nines, but also the restaurant’s huge open kitchen concept where diners can practically see every step of the cooking process before having the dish arrive piping-hot on their dinner table. The restaurant’s contemporary setting is also shown through the use of matt parquet flooring with other chic furniture in warm shades of brown and black. Nostalgic brick walls retain a slight rustic feel while blending in smoothly with the other colours.

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For a more intimate setting, tables have been set up along the side of the restaurant for smaller groups of guests to interact within the convivial atmosphere. Larger groups would appreciate the bigger tables at the front and back of the restaurant which are perfect for gatherings and parties. Last but not least, seats and tables are also available outside the restaurant for bar-goers to make merry with a glass of alcohol in their hand.

Having heard great reviews about the place, we decided to drop by the restaurant on a weekday evening to satisfy our dinner and dessert cravings. Starting off with something light, the Tuna & Peach Salad $14 featured glistening slices of lean tuna resting atop juicy peach segments with sides of tomato jelly, cherry tomatoes and salmon roe. Flavours were light and refreshing as the jiggling cubes of tomato jelly offered a subtle sweetness and freshness to complement the raw fish.

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For something cheesier, we chose the restaurant’s signature Burrata & Tomato Salad $14 starter which would please even the toughest cheese lover. Soft, creamy and every bit indulgent, the burrata had the perfect “QQ” texture and paired nicely with its other tangy components – tomato jelly, sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and orange wedges.

Jiang-Nan Chun @ Four Seasons Hotel Singapore

The award-winning Jiang-Nan Chun at level 2 of Four Seasons Hotel Singapore has finally reopened its doors after almost a year of renovations. Illustrating its new concept of “享乐主义” – which means the principle of enjoyment and happiness, the signature Chinese restaurant promotes the pursuit of culinary pleasure with intimate attention to the finest of details such as ambiance and service, elevated by curated wine and tea pairings.

Accessory touches such as subtle story-telling through the background music and deliberate furnishing of the interiors, and interactive engagement with the service team further enhances this holistic “享乐” paradise experience.

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Jiang-Nan Chun is one of the rare places in Singapore that roasts its Peking Duck in a mesquite-wood-fired oven instead of regular apple or lychee wood. The wood in this specialised oven burns at a higher temperature so as to increase the smokey flavour yet retain the succulence of the meat that underlies a layer of superbly thin and crisp skin, which crackles on your first bite. The duck too undergoes 14 hours of marination and preparatory work before it is roasted- almost 6 more hours then the usual methods of cooking Peking Duck.

Signature Jiang-Nan Chun Peking Duck $98

Travel: Montserrat Guided Hiking Experience to Sant Jeroni

Montserrat, which literally translates to saw/serrated mountain in Catalan, is one of Barcelona’s most spectacular attractions for both Catholics and Non-Catholics alike. For the former, Montserrat is a pilgrimage site where the Virgin Mary was believed to have made her first apparition in the late part of the 800s, whilst for the latter, the stunning Basilica with its rounded arches and golden decadence, which marks the transition from the Gothic to Renaissance periods, is a sight worth making the trip for.

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Located in the mountains about an hour drive from Barcelona city, Montserrat is accessible via the train/ cable car or by driving. If you are planning to take the train there, you can do so via the FGC line from Barcelona Placa d’Espanya station to Montserrat-Aeri station. Do note however that the first train only leaves from Barcelona at 8.36am.

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As we were feeling a tad more adventurous, we decided that it would be grand to catch the sunrise at the Montserrat. We trawled through the internet and found ‘Scenic Walking Barcelona‘ via TripAdvisor which seemed promising from the reviews we read. We took the chance and emailed the company to check if there was a possibility we could head up early before everyone else and catch the sunrise. True enough, they replied and told us that as the sun would rise at 6.30am, our guide would have to pick us up at 5.20am. We gamely agreed to it, not really knowing what to expect.