Category Archives: Singapore
SHATEC, Singapore’s leading institution for the hospitality and tourism lifestyle industry, is celebrating its 30th Anniversary of being a key player in Singapore’s tourism manpower development as well as equipping aspiring professionals with relevant skills and giving them a competitive edge in the fast-moving hospitality industry.
In celebration of this incredible milestone, SHATEC’s student-run training restaurant- RECIPES Bistro located at The Treasury, will be launching an exclusive 4-course set dinner menu for $42++ which will be available to the public on 2 dates only- 7th and 14th June (both Fridays). What’s most exciting about this celebratory menu is the fact that it was put together by SHATEC’s lauded alumni, present heavyweights in our local culinary scene so you are assured of a gastronomic treat.
Service at RECIPES is by the students of SHATEC, who have trained for at least one year at the institute and are now gaining real life hands on experience at serving customers. Be sure to catch a glimpse of the Mocktail demonstration by one of their students à la Gueridon style for the complete experience.
Appetiser – Slow Cooked Pork Belly with Apple Salsa
Chef Randy Chow, Class of 1986
Kicking off our 4-course set dinner was good ol’ comfort fare of pork belly which I enjoyed with the tenderness and just the right amount of fat for optimum satisfaction. The mould of apple salsa too delivered a subtle tangy sourness that whetted the appetite nicely. My only gripe was the round shaped rice cracker which was neither crisp nor crunchy and to be honest, we could not quite make anything out of it.
Soup – Mushroom Coffee with Crispy Cinnamon Roll with Prawn Paste
Chef Eric Teo, Class of 1986
Served in a regular coffee cup, this Mushroom soup could have easily passed off as a hot beverage instead, especially when it was complimented by the familiar fragrant aroma of coffee and dollop of foam. But taking a closer look, the cute array of shiitake mushrooms on the surface cleverly reminds you that it is mushroom soup and not mocha that you are drinking. The first spoonful of this creamy thick velvety concoction will definitely impress and appeal, even to the non-coffee drinkers (myself included). I loved how Chef Teo had ingeniously used the essence of the coffee to accentuate the mushroom flavor. Positively memorable.
Main Course – Sous Vide Chicken Breast in Smoked Oil, Fig Glazed Foie Gras, Caramelised Endive, Manchego Espuma finished off with Thyme Jus
Chef Tony Khoo, Class of 1986
If you have been to Holland Village recently, then you probably would have noticed that the construction around the Circle Line has all been cleared and now replaced with a wide space of clearing filled with greenery and concrete park benches. This overall garden setting seeks to promote a community park feel and serve as an area to gather, soak up some sun or enjoy the evening breeze. And if you are looking for a drink or some nibbles to accompany that view, do check out the eco-friendly cafe/bar- PARK situated at the Holland Road end of the park.
While having the name PARK in a park is nondescript and hardly raises any eyebrows, the structure and architecture of this shack probably will. Reconstructed out of an old shipping container and powered by solar energy (hence the eco-friendly element), it is a strategic place to engage in the activity of people watching or simply enjoy some quiet time by yourself, a nice respite amongst the trees and plants.
In the day, PARK is usually quiet with few occupants but the scene changes quickly at night as the beer specials and extensive list of alcoholic beverages at extremely competitive prices draw a young and edgy crowd.
Food menu is about a page long, with a decent selection of Salads, Starters, Sandwiches, Mains & Pastas and Cakes. The Starters selection includes Nachos with Cheese, SPAM Chips, PARK Wings and Parmesan Truffled Fries at $8.50 each. We tried the latter which was served with three dips and a good sprinkle of shredded Parmesan. But while the presentation and the seductive smell of truffle oil was indeed enticing, the fries were a little over-fried (if that’s possible) and I could hardly taste any of that buttery potato mush, present even in shoestring fries. Sadly, my truffle fries craving was not satisfied even after we were done with the whole bucket.
All-Day-Breakfast items such as Eggs Benedict $13.80, Toast Soldiers $6 and Eggs in a Pocket $12.80 are also on the menu. Our server highly recommended us the Eggs Ben so we took her suggestion and my was our plate pretty when it arrived at our table. I could not fault the plating and elements of the dish because it was substantial. Rosti patties, bacon, cherry tomatoes and even stalks of greens sitting in between the ham, toast and beautifully poached eggs. Almost perfect if it werent for the Hollandaise sauce which was bland and lacked character. I was a little disappointed.
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.
Every ice-cream/breakfast place sells Belgium waffles but not many can do a good tribute to this characteristically deep grid patterned dough-based cake. I personally enjoy my waffles served warm, crisp on the outside but light and fluffy on the inside, with those square imprinted pockets that soak up the heavenly combination of ice-cream, chocolate sauce or maple syrup and even cream. A good Belgium waffle in my opinion has to be a bit doughy, chewy, good to eat on its own but even better with toppings.
So here are my top 5 waffles places in Singapore. Read on to find out if your favorite made the cut!
5 Ridgewood Close Unit G1 Tel: 6464 9607
Opening hrs: Mon – Fri 11am – 10pm, Sat & Sun 9.30am – 10pm
Selling premium gelato that is free from preservatives and artificial coloring, Haato has been around for at least more than 10 years now. They have 3 branches in total left in Singapore (Ridgewood Estate, The Central @ Clarke Quay and Thomson Plaza) and while I do know that franchises tend to produce rather inconsistent quality, the waffles here at Haato have been reputed to be one of the better few out there. Made with Haato’s own special recipe, the contrast of textures in the waffles here are really distinct as you cut through the toasty exterior into the fluffy insides.
Recommended for: Those who love having their waffles plain (it’s good on its own)
Cost: Waffle + ice-cream $6 (additional scoop $3)
My pick of ice-cream: Black Sesame
128 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 #01-835 Tel: 62501476
Opening hrs: Tue – Thu: 12:00 – 22:00, Fri – Sat: 12:00 – 23:00, Sun: 10:00 – 22:00
Creamier Handcrafted Ice Cream and Coffee is Toa Payoh’s funky addition to this otherwise old-school estate. Making all their ice-creams and sorbets with their own recipes, this Singapore-born ice-cream parlor opened by a couple has been nothing short of a success story. Their waffles come in pairs so stacking adds onto the satisfaction factor but while they were crisp and complimented the creamy ice-creams perfectly, they were a little bland to eat on its own. But I did appreciate the generous border of maple syrup and chocolate that made finishing the last part of the waffles a breeze.
Recommended for: Those who love their waffles extremely sweet and sticky
Cost: Waffle + ice-cream $8.30 (additional scoop $2.50)
My pick of ice-cream: Earl Grey Lavender, Sea Salt Gula Melaka
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. Combine 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.