Weekend Brunch @ Salt Tapas & Bar, Raffles City

An offshoot of the “Salt” brand by celebrated Australian Chef Luke Mangan, Salt Tapas & Bar located at level 1 of Raffles City Shopping Centre is all about Spanish modern tapas with an Aussie twist. Not too long ago, the restaurant also introduced a new weekend brunch menu featuring hearty brunch items, paired with a glass a Sangria and accompanied by groovy beats- guaranteed to give diners a laid-back and enjoyable weekend experience.

We started with an Egg Berentine with Bonito Flakes $14– essentially an amalgamation of two classic brunch essentials- the Benedict and Florentine. Only difference this time is that one does not need to choose between ham or wilted spinach. Every element of this dish is made in-house, even those toasty muffins that the beautifully poached eggs were resting atop of. Complete with a buttery and creamy hollandaise sauce which was seasoned with dashi broth for a savoury finish, this whole plate was quite hard to fault.

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For something different, order the Pork Belly Sliders $13 which were small in size but big on flavours. We were enthralled by the myriad of textures from the slow-cooked till tender bbq pulled pork and that sinfully-juicy slab of pork belly stacked and smothered with some mustard, finished with slices of cut red chilli for a fiery burst.

Italiano Paradiso Buffet @ Marriott Cafe, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel

Located within the majestic premises of Marriot Tang Plaza, lies an international buffet restaurant by the name of Marriot Café. Prior to its renovation years ago, the restaurant now features matt-finish wooden dining tables, sleek pendant lightings and soft carpeted flooring that sums up the whole contemporary design concept. For families or couples that prefer a slightly more laid-back, cozy environment, do opt for the sofa seating which is cleverly hidden behind the salad bar for a more intimate atmosphere.

Apart from the stylish décor, the restaurant also boasts of its open kitchen concept where chefs would cook and serve you piping hot food on the spot at their respective cooking stations. If you are equally as lazy as me, feel free to indulge in their signature dishes, such as the crispy roast pork, braised beef cheek and assorted cold cuts, before heading back to the live cooking stations.

On top of all that, the restaurant has also got your seafood cravings covered with a cold seafood station featuring the freshest and finest seafood from across the world! Not to be missed are the extra plump and juicy oysters that coat your palate with a burst of oceanic sweetness, and the prized Boston lobster with a seductive row of creamy, orange roe lining the tender meat.

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Sashimi lovers can rejoice as they pile their plates up with a seemingly endless flow of tuna and salmon sashimi that gets replenished prior to running out. If you are the kind that requires the extra bit of rice for a more substantial, full-bodied feeling, I would gladly assure you that the colourful California rolls, traditional maki rolls and assorted gunkan maki would have you spoilt for choice!

From 3 March to 30 April 2016, Marriott Café will be having an Italian-themed buffet that features an odyssey of Italian delicacies flawlessly crafted by Italian maestros Chefs Christian Frigo and Daniele Trivero. Get your fork and knife ready and be prepared to be blown away by bold, authentic Italian flavours that the duo has to offer!

KEK (Keng Eng Kee) @ 200 Pandan Gardens

Keng Eng Kee (KEK) is fast becoming a brand for tze char. Mention those 3 words and people will automatically associate it with authentic local delights served in the modest food centre at Bukit Merah. Fast forward to more than 30 years later, since its foray into our hawker culinary scene, the third generation of KEK has now introduced a modern dining experience as they cater to the younger crowd with their newest outlet at Pandan Gardens.

Serving up an assortment of traditional and mod “c” dishes on their menu, KEK offers novel creations such as Chilli Soft Shell Spaghetti and Crispy Fish Skin with Salted Egg, and classic mainstays of Coffee Pork Ribs and Salted Egg Crab which have been brought over from their flagship stall. Prices range from $6-$30 with no added service charge.

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I brought my family down on a Sunday and the place was filled- mostly with three generation families. We were lucky enough to get a table even though we did not make any reservation but the groups that came after us had a bit of a waiting time. Nonetheless, we placed our orders and the food arrived promptly and in decent portions.

Hokkaido Izakaya @ 95 Tanjong Pagar Road

Tanjong Pagar has always been a melting pot of culinary culture. From hipster cafes to ‘atas’ restaurants, Korean BBQ, Japanese ramen houses and booze-loaded bars, this food-centered district located within the Central Business District caters to almost every diner’s cravings. Joining the food scene this year is Hokkaido Izakaya, a casual Japanese gastropub which serves authentic Japanese dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients from 4 different cities in the prefecture of Hokkaido – Yakumo, Akkeshi, Furano and Kamishihoro.

Dinner was off to a promising start with 4 different appetizers to appease our rumbling bellies. The Scallop Liver with Sesame Oil $9 and the Cheese Marinated with Miso $7 were the first two appetizers that arrived shortly after our orders were taken.

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Despite its raw and not too aesthetically-pleasing appearance, the scallop liver exuded beautiful oceanic flavours which were concentrated in the tiny organ within the shellfish. A thin coat of sesame oil helped to boost the richness of the liver whilst mellowing out the fishy odor. The miso-marinated cream cheese too was an uncommon yet pleasant combination, although the tiny portion might not be worth its price tag.

Celebrate Hina Matsuri from 1-10 March 2016 @ Mikuni, Fairmont Hotel

Hina Matsuri (Doll’s Festival or Girls’ Day) is a day for families to pray for the happiness and healthy growth of their daughters. Celebrated every 3rd March in Japan, families would commemorate this day by setting up a display of dolls within the house, and present food offerings to these human look-alikes.

Running for the fourth year in a row, Chef Moon of Mikuni has once again applied his magic to conjure up an exclusive set menu to celebrate the special occasion of girls in the world. Having said that, the male counterparts are equally entitled to have a taste of Chef Moon’s culinary creations!

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Dinner started off with an inviting bowl of fresh green salad, topped with chunky pieces of sweet snow crab. Within the colourful assortment, you can find lettuce, tomatoes, beetroot, blueberries, tangerines, and meat from the 8 legged ocean beauty. Although it may seem a tad simple, this appetizer was extremely light and well-balanced which prepped us perfectly well for the luxurious feast coming up next.