Restaurant Week ’14: Clifford, The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore

Our second Restaurant Week visit was to one of The Fullerton Bay Hotel’s signature restaurants- Clifford. Touted as one of the most romantic restaurants in Singapore with its 10 metre high ceilings and Victorian-chic interior, further complimented by the spectacular views of the Marina Bay Waterfront, it comes as no surprise that the French Brasserie has been fully booked since its inception into Restaurant Week a few years back.

With the DiningCity Star bestowed upon it, their set lunches had a supplement of $15++ while set dinners were an additional $20++. As I mentioned before in my Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt (OCF) Restaurant Week entry, I was initially not planning on taking part in this Restaurant Week edition. Nonetheless, the lure of an available table which opened up last minute one afternoon was too hard to resist. So we went down to see what the hype was all about!

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We were given 2 choices for our starters for the 3 course set lunch- another 3 choices were given if you were willing to add-on and pay more. The Scallop and Lobster Carpaccio with Lime Black Truffle Dressing +$12 was our immediate pick but the waiter informed us that supply had not yet come in. So we settled for the Beetroot Cured Salmon with Wasabi and Salmon Roe, and Basil Pesto Laced Minestrone with Fresh Pasta Ribbons instead- both from the actual Restaurant Week lunch menu.

Shinzo Japanese Cuisine by Chef Lawrence Chia

Former co-owner of Hinoki Japanese Dining- Chef Lawrence Chia has gone solo with his newest venture- Shinzo Japanese Cuisine at 17 Carpenter Street. While the entrance to the restaurant is unassuming and somewhat dodgy-looking, the mood and feeling changes the moment you open the doors. From the cheery voices of the chefs behind the counters that greet you, to the attentive waitresses that are prompt to serve you, it is hard not to feel welcome or even come in unnoticed especially when the space is so intimate and cosy. Barely seating 20 around the counter, dining at Shinzo is an interactive and welcoming experience where Chef Lawrence plays host, chef and entertainer to his guests.

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We came on a weekday evening for dinner and while the seats were initially empty, they were quickly filled up as the night went on. Judging from the friendly banter exchanged between Chef Lawrence and his customers, and the numerous toasts of sake and red wine throughout the evening, it was obvious that these diners were not here for the first time. Chef Lawrence explains that the atmosphere here at Shinzo is convival and set such that everyone feels at home, enjoys good food and leaves feeling happy, which is why customers return time and time again- some loyal ones who had even followed him from Hinoki. The word ‘Shinzo’ does after all, mean ‘heart’ in the Japanese language.

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Shinzo offers lunch sets for executives from $38++ onwards, while those who have a bit more time to spare during dinner, can choose from his omakase courses which start at $138++.

Our $168++ omakase dinner was made up of 8 courses- appetizer, starter, sashimi, seasonal item, steamed, sushi, soup and dessert. The idea is to let Chef Lawrence know your budget and taste preferences so that he can tailor a menu just for you.

We started with a Tomato from the Ehime region of Japan, reputed for its freshness and sweetness.

New Modern Asian Weekend Brunch at KU DÉ TA Singapore

Not all about eggs, baked beans, waffles or pancakes anymore, KU DÉ TA Singapore redefines brunch by putting a Modern Asian twist to it. The menu curated by Executive Chef Frederic Faucheux, is a 5 course Japanese-inspired one and a culinary showcase of his Nobu roots. From traditional favourites of Donburi, Okonomiyaki and Ramen to unconventional takes on Laksa and Char Siew Hong Kong Noodles, KU DÉ TA’s newly launched Modern Asian Weekend Brunch is set to excite the palate and create an identity of its own in the world of brunch.

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1st course:
Edamame

2nd course:
Oysters, Salmon Sashimi, Tuna Tataki

Our Saturday morning started on a luxurious note with bowls of Edamame sprinkled with Maldon salt grains, freshly shucked Oysters adorned with rich fat spheres of ikura, chopped apple and sweet wobbly bits of konbu kelly, and Salmon Sashimi dressed in creamy shishito dressing with an addictive umami finish.

Peranakan High Tea @ INDOCAFE – the white house

INDOCAFE – the white house along Scotts Road is a rare breed of its own. Both a restaurant and cultural centre, this establishment seeks to preserve our heritage and tradition through food and appreciation of the arts. Having been to the restaurant at the beginning of this year for their CNY Peranakan-Inspired Feast, it was only fitting that I also paid a visit to their Arts & Cultural centre next door which hosts their daily High Tea experience together with dance & music performances and coffee appreciation workshops as well.

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Their Peranakan High Tea offered every day from 3-5.30pm, is not only about your usual cakes and scones. But yes, those are included as well. What’s truly special, is the inclusion of Nyonya savoury light bites that are miniature or canape versions of the dishes you can find at the restaurant. The items change regularly but you will definitely get 4 different types each time.

While we were there, we had the opportunity to try the Mini Steamed Penang Otah with Pan-seared Hokkaido Scallop which was a healthier version of our usual Otah but made more luxurious with a plump whole scallop sitting atop, the Kari Kapitan Tarlet with Idaho Potato Mousse- somewhat like a deconstructed take on curry puff, Kurobuta Buah Keluak on Crispy Man Tou- this one I really loved with its contrasting textures and robust flavour and Foie Gras Mousse Tartlet with a nice buttery crumbly crust.

These 4 savouries are non-refillable.

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Freshly baked scones (parmesan, chocolate chip or coconut) with jam and clotted cream- quintessential high tea items are offered on the 2-tiered display and are refillable as per request. Nyonya Kuehs such as Pulut Hitam, Kueh Jagung, Ang Ku Kueh and Kueh Salat are also on the menu but they are limited to 2 per diner.

Restaurant Week ’14: Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt (OCF) Singapore

A joint effort between A Thousand Tales (ATT) – the group that brought you Bar Stories, The Crostini Bar, MAD and Table Manners, and Timbre Group, fine-dining French restaurant Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt (OCF) is one of the new entrants for this year’s Restaurant Week (March edition).

Truth be told, I was not planning on participating this time round because after having had 2 years and 4 editions worth of experience, I have not been too impressed with some restaurants’ haphazard ways of handling the Restaurant Week crowd and the food, being prepared on a large scale, did not usually do justice to what the restaurant had to truly offer.

Nonetheless, OCF piqued my interest and seeing available slots for a 3-course lunch offered at $25++ with no additional charges from the DiningCity Star, I could not resist making a reservation.

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Not many know that this one year old restaurant is actually fondly named after Sir Stamford Raffles’ first wife- Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt. The 60-seater space is intimate with a refined air of elegance and dignity. Service is prompt and attentive from the moment you step in. An open-concept kitchen steals the show with bar counter seats offering a front row view of the chefs in action while a stage with a grand piano offers a platform for live music to be played in the evenings.