Category Archives: Media Invite
Wagyu beef has been fast gaining popularity in recent years as Singaporeans are becoming more discerning to the quality of beef and paying close attention to details such as marbling and grades. But while top quality cuts of Wagyu are usually accompanied with a hefty price-tag, Ito-Kacho is here to bust that myth as this upscale Yakiniku restaurant from Japan, is all about serving customers the best but keeping prices affordable.
Tucked away at the corner of level 4 of Mandarin Gallery, the interior of Ito-Kacho is inviting with its warm lighting and wood veneer finishes. Unlike your usual barbeque joints which are usually stuffy and uncomfortable with patrons leaving smelling exactly like the meats they just cooked over the charcoal fire, it is never the case here. It is a one-of-a-kind fine dining experience of barbequing at Ito-Kacho as careful thought has been put into the mechanics and technicalities. Convection systems are in place above the barbeque pits to ensure proper ventilation while chairs are thoughtfully upholstered with seat cushions so you thoroughly enjoy your time here.
Only authentic Japanese Black Wagyu is served here, air flown and delivered to the restaurant regularly from a farm in Kagoshima, the same specialty cattle which also caters to the flagship branch in Japan. And while the beef we usually eat are frozen, the beef here at Ito-Kacho is chilled instead, believed to be fresher, more nutritious and of course have a more elegant robust flavor, all while retaining the marbling and overall consistency.
We tried three different types of premium cuts: Wagyu Toku-Jo-Bara (Premium Short Rib) $50 for 80g; $69 for 120g, Wagyu-Sasami (Flank Steak) $50 for 80g; $69 for 120g and Wagyu-Kainomi (Flap Meat) $22 for 80g; $29 for 120g. The standout for me had to be Wagyu-Kainomi which was absolutely bursting with flavor despite it being a lean cut compared to the rest. The Wagyu Toku-Jo-Bara did not disappoint as well, with the intense marbling of aromatic fat that simply melted in your mouth after being barbequed to medium-rare. Pure indulgence.
All meats here are also minimally marinated and few condiments are provided at the side so customers can appreciate the full original unadulterated flavor of the Black Wagyu Beef.
For those looking to try something different or just feeling adventurous altogether, the Wagyu Tongue $29 for 80g; $39 for 120g is a must order. My friends at the table could not stop raving about the smokey flavor and sweet accents of this unusual offering while I personally found the texture of the cow’s tongue a little peculiar. I think I might just stick to the more normal parts of the cow the next time.
With The Grandstand recently opening up and getting increasingly bustling on the weekends especially since the opening of PasarBella (our first and biggest indoor Farmers’ Market), a trip to Bukit Timah’s lifestyle hub is nothing short of an adventure. Home to many gastronomic delights such as Singapore’s best burger- Omakase, MAD (Modern Asian Diner) and authentic Italian restaurant Valentino, The Grandstand has also debuted the first British restaurant in Singapore- The Ascot, which promises to deliver the real English pub experience.
Opened by owner Sylvester Fedor Thang, The Ascot was his attempt at recreating the fond pub memories he enjoyed with his mates back when he was studying in the UK, while the moniker ‘gastrogrub’ is a portmanteau of gastronomy and grub first coined in London, a term not uncommon in England.
Serving up distinctly British comfort foods of Bangers and Mash, Fish and Chips, Curries, Shepherd’s Pie and the Sunday Roast (available only on Sundays of course), with a comprehensive alcoholic menu of imported beers and beverages from England and Europe, this place is the next best thing you will get without hopping on a 13 hour plane ride.
I am personally not a fan of soups or tomatoes so the thought of this Smoked Tomato Soup $8 [must try!] was not the least enticing. But even for a cynic of soups, this earthy bowl of rich flavors and hints of smokiness did manage to charm the socks off me. Combined that with a drizzle of pesto and a dip of homemade Turkish bread, I was a convert that very day.
A rustic Cold Cut Platter $18 that is excellent with a guzzle of beer, this one features 3 types of cold cuts with silver onions, gherkins, scotch egg and homemade bread. The highlight of course, has to be that freshly made scotch egg with a gorgeous sunny-yellow yolk still runny despite being deep fried. A nice change to the usual ways eggs are prepared, this one comes wrapped in sausage meat and breadcrumbs for a contrast of textures and bite. It is a little British delicacy done right.
I would not usually condone paying so much for a plate of salad but in the case of this Strawberry Spinach Salad $18 [must try!] which produces a kaleidoscope of flavors that is undeniably compelling, it is probably justified. The first thing that hits you is probably the sweet tang of the raspberry vinaigrette dressing that lends a fruity burst with every bite. Next would be the crumbled blue cheese with its characteristic sharp and and salty flavor which cuts through the sweetness and is surprisingly not as foul-smelling as blue cheeses usually are. But my favorite part has to be the generous sprinkle of whole pistachio nuts.
Korean food aficionados rejoice! Sarang, previously known as the heartbeat of Seoul has recently undergone an overhaul and since reopened as a revitalized, much improved upscale and decidedly chic Sarang, Korean Bistro. Modeled after the modern contemporary restaurants in the posh and upmarket district of Gangnam, Sarang is the first to introduce the avant-garde concept of Korean Tapas in our country, which is indeed a fresh and exciting addition to our vibrant local dining scene.
Apart from serving up tapas in their menu, Sarang will also be rolling out Korean cocktail pairings of Soju and Makgeolli, for a whole new dining experience that you will appreciate with Master Chef YY’s customized food creations.
The space along the balcony of the 7th floor, sports all the trappings of a well-tended garden, with planter boxes, lush greenery and largely Mahogany fine-grained furniture all included. And if any of the quirky light bulbs or unique steel framed chairs catch your eye, you probably will not find an identical piece in Singapore as every single item here has been specially imported from Korea, with the sole purpose of maintaining the uniqueness of Sarang.
Sarang means ‘to love’ in native Korean, and this affectionate term is translated in every aspect of this Korean bistro. From the careful conceptualization of the menu, which is an amalgamation of both Korean and Singaporean influences, down to the plating of every dish and even the potted plants that fringe the perimeter of the outdoor terrace, every little detail has been thoughtfully designed and purposefully orchestrated to augment your Sarang experience.
Classic Tapas – Pairings (Soju Bomb and Makgeolli Sprite)
Sarang Japchae $7 [must try!]
This classic Korean dish of sweet potato noodles is one that I always order at Korean eateries and I am most pleased to say that Sarang’s version is by far one of the best I have had. Bouncy, chewy and QQ with a slight sticky texture, these noodles were spot-on and every bite was peppered with a whiff of sesame oil that was most appetizing. Complimented by the crunch of shredded carrots, onions and black fungus, this dish was every bit as colourful in its presentation as it was in flavor.
Spicy Chewy Rice Cake $7
Putting his own unique spin on a popular street snack in Korea, Chef YY’s spicy rice cakes are different from what you may be used to, especially if the instant version of Tukbokk is what you usually have. With a stronger intensity of flavors that interplays and injects excitement to your palate, these cylindrical rice cakes are sure to whet an appetite. But for those who are not too accustomed to spicy foods, you have been warned.
Fact is, it is not easy to eat clean, be healthy yet still feel satisfied and full. People tend to shun salads because they assume that it is ‘rabbit food’ and not meant as human food. Others on the end of the spectrum, drown their greens with copious amounts of high-fat creamy dressings and cheese, deluding themselves that all salads are healthy and wonder why despite having salads for lunch and dinner, they are still not losing weight.
Well, here at The Lawn Grill & Salad Cafe, you can expect to eat hearty portions of real food, that is full-bodied in flavor, without bursting your calorie count for the day. Owner Jonathan was inspired by salad bars back in California and brought the concept back home here to Singapore. It is all about fresh greens topped with premium grills accompanied by zesty flavorful dressings that are not caloric-laded. The best part? You get to customize your own salad, choosing up to 5 toppings and one of the many homemade dressings that The Lawn’s kitchen has specially concocted for you, all for just $9.90!
All grills are prepared upon order and are still sizzling even as they reach your table.
Looking to add more lean meat and protein to your diet? Go for the chicken breast meat that is done three different ways- a subtly sweet Maple Chicken, the fragrant but slightly dry Chicken with Herb Infusion or the newly added Mojo Cheeken with a tinge of orange zest and Indian spices.
Feel like having fish instead? Try the amazing buttery melt-in-your-mouth Butter Dory or be adventurous with the Fresh Fruit Dory that has a citrus bite. Alternatively, for the vegetarians, fret not because you too have a choice between the char-grilled Asparagus & Eggplant or the plus-sized earthy Portobello Mushroom packed with umami flavor.
Premium cuts such as the Ben’s Beef Rub and Aceto Balsamico Beef Cuts require an additional $2 but remain as one of The Lawn’s top sellers simply because discerning customers appreciate a well prepared steak and are willing to pay for good quality.
We were very fortunate to be able to have a taste of most of their grills and my top pick goes to the Butter Dory that was so delicate and smooth. Loved how the rub of Italian Parsley, Kosher salt and butter brought out the natural sweetness of the John Dory and complimented the firm white flesh that simply melted in my mouth. I always have a soft spot for Portobello Mushrooms and naturally had high expectations, which The Lawn delivered in taste. Thick, ‘meaty’ and grilled to perfection, these babies will have any meat-loving carnivore on his knees, begging for more.
Lipton tea was the first brand of tea I had ever tried and this will probably hold true for most of you and your parents or even grandparents as well! As the largest and most long-standing tea brand in the world today with a rich history of more than 120 years, Lipton has been constantly trying to reinvent itself, experiment with new refreshing flavors and keep up with the growing demands of the tea market. The fact that more than 160,000 cups of Lipton Yellow Label tea are enjoyed daily in Singapore alone, is testament to its popularity to the masses.
And now, Lipton is introducing the world’s-first ever pop-up High Tea Bar here in Singapore to acquaint consumers with the art and science of tea-pairing with food. Available for only 6 days, from 16-21 April 2013, at the main atrium of Plaza Singapura, this pop-up High Tea Bar will offer six different tea sets, featuring some of their new quality tea flavors as well as the classics.
While many of us have heard of wine-pairing, tea-pairing is indeed a novel concept and being an avid tea-enthusiast myself, I was indeed excited to find out how the aroma and body of different kinds of teas could enhance my dining experience, possibly inspiring me to be more experimental with my food and tea pairings in future.
Working closely with Canelé’s Executive Pastry Chef Mr Christophe Grilo (pictured below) and Unilever Food Technologist for Lipton- Miss Wong May Chee, Lipton has specially customized these High Tea sets, with sweet and savory items from Canelé Pâtisserie Chocolaterie just for you.