Flooding the news feed of almost every social media channel is Singapore’s highly anticipated character themed café, Hello Kitty Orchid Garden, which made its first debut at Terminal 3 of Changi Airport. Huge queue and long waiting time are to be expected as fans of the iconic white cat have been patiently waiting in line since the restaurant’s grand opening on 12 May 16. Having said that, Hello Kitty Orchid Garden operates on a twenty four-hourly basis, and visiting them during the odd hours may perhaps negate the dreaded wait and net you a table for the coveted “kitty-fied” dining experience!
Similar to the other Hello Kitty cafes where each features a different theme, unique to the café is their concept of emulating Singapore’s garden city vibe through the incorporation of our national flower, orchids, within its rustic, colonial setting. From cascading orchids to hanging swing sofas and other classy yet subtly themed kitty furniture, it creates the perfect oasis for both travelers and diners to fuel up and feel rejuvenated after their long journey. Not to forget are also the kawaii 3D life-sized Hello Kitty figurines where fans can look forward to pose and take numerous selfies while waiting for their food to be served.
Anchoring itself on the SkyPark of Marina Bay Sands (MBS), Spago is one of the latest additions to the list of celebrity restaurants that have landed on the shores of Singapore. This is celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck’s second restaurant in Singapore and also the first international outpost to be introduced in Asia. Famed for its top-notch Californian cuisine, diners can enjoy the same signature dishes served at the original Spago of West Hollywood, as well as other modern fusion delights inspired by Puck’s travels in Asia.
With an image of a “garden in the sky” in mind, New York-based designer Tony Chi has collaborated with Chef Wolfgang Puck and MBS on the design of Spago. Featuring an elegant, modernist garden home, the restaurant was built on a warm palette of architectural materials that includes basalt stone and fumed oak, imparting visual resemblance to a colonial-style bungalow. Blessed with the grandeur of the iconic infinity pool and a million dollar sky view of Singapore’s landscape, it sets the mood for the perfect dining experience.
Spago offers two distinct dining spaces catered for the lunch/dinner crowd and the merry bar-goers. For a more sophisticated dining experience, diners can make reservations at Spago’s 90-seater fine dining restaurant where an extensive selection of international wines is available for the meal pairing. Next to the fine dining restaurant is a terrace lounge with an alfresco bar centerpiece that is able to accommodate 200 guests. Low tables, patterned cushions and abstract ceiling fans exude a vibrant, casual vibe for diners to mingle and socialize amid the perpendicular sofa arrangement. If you’re one of those who might be slightly more introverted, Spago’s open kitchen concept will keep you entertained with an exclusive view of the dynamic kitchen team in action.
Three years ago, I blogged about one of my most memorable Robata experiences which was forged at Tamashii Robataya. Three years later, the same people behind the quaint Japanese establishment along North Canal Road have since opened a new dining concept a street away serving up Japanese-fusion tapas and sake.
The name Bōruto, which translates to “vault” in English, pays tribute to its former occupants of the space- which was formerly a bank. The gated safe that was once used to keep locked safety deposit boxes, now stores the restaurant’s most valuable sake bottles which can easily cost up to several thousands each.
Notwithstanding the hype surrounding all the alcohol that is served in this bar however, Bōruto does also serve up some fancy fare that has both looks and substance. While Spanish tapas has already made a name for itself here in Singapore, Japanese tapas on the hand, is a novel idea that has not quite been explored yet.
Helmed by Head Chef Angus Chow, who has a fairly extensive culinary background in both Japanese and Spanish cuisine, we knew we were in good hands as we watched him deftly and skilfully plate each dish, from our front row seats at the bar counter.
Opened for almost a year now, Rise & Grind Coffee Co. located at the annex of Bukit Timah Plaza has been the answer to the prayers of all the people staying in the western part of Singapore- decent breakfast offerings in the mornings, quality lunch and dinner items, affordable pricing and great coffee. Judging from the crowds that Rise & Grind Coffee Co. packs in on both weekdays and especially weekends, it seems that this cafe has gotten the winning formula.
The menu here is never dull, which is why despite having eaten here for a couple of times, there is still always something new to try. The menu is refreshed periodically and so during my recent visit two weeks back, I did get to order a few items that I have not tried before.
First up was the Sweet Potato Fries $10 served with Mentaiko Mayonaisse and sprinkled with nori seaweed and spring onions for a pop of colour. Crisp, not too oily and sufficiently satisfying, this was certainly great to snack on while waiting for our mains to arrive. Great for sharing as it might get heavy towards the end. The RGC Honey Wings $9 was also another appetizing option. Crunchy to bite with just the right amount of sweetness to compliment the savoury fried batter and juicy meat.
Nestled in the vibrant shop houses of Little India lies Roots Kitchen & Bar, a casual fine dining restaurant that promises quality European food whilst keeping it affordable and delicious! Despite its seemingly inaccessible location, diners can be assured as the restaurant is literally a stone’s throw from Rochor MRT station. For those who might be driving, do remember to come early as there are limited parking lots along the stretch.
Although Roots may have a comparative duller shopfront to its restaurant counterparts, its interior décor is indefinitely charming with a warm, cozy ambience befitting of this hidden gem. The preservation of brick walls, as well as the clever use of wooden tables, aid in creating the humble, rustic setting. Combined with warm hanging lights and a romantic candle centerpiece, all the elements set the mood for a lovely dining experience.
Food, of course, does not fall short as the Egg & Truffle Mousseline $4 appetizer had already gotten our eyes and taste buds excited! Served in adorable egg shells, the truffle infused mousseline was smooth, creamy and almost weightless. The sautéed mushrooms residing at the base gave the dish a nice earthly depth whilst the herring caviar was unfortunately somewhat forgotten in the process.