Tag Archives: Dinner

999.99 (Five Nines) @ 29 Keong Saik Road

Just barely six months since its debut along the shop houses of Keong Saik Road, 999.99 (Five Nines) has been hitting the high notes with food critics and diners alike through the gold standard of service and food quality that the restaurant has delivered. Helmed by Chef Masanao Saito, who was the former Head Chef of the Japanese Embassy in Sweden, with close to a decade of experience in the culinary field, diners can expect to find beautiful plates of fusion cuisine elevated with a personal Japanese touch here at this 62-seater modern European restaurant.

Locating the restaurant is definitely not an issue as a fifteen minutes stroll from Exit H of Outram Park MRT Station is more than sufficient for diners to get here. However, those who are driving may wish to park their car at the lots just outside of Exit H to avoid the frustration of waiting for the ones along the stretch.

Unique to Five Nines is not only their eye-catching signboard of five numerical nines, but also the restaurant’s huge open kitchen concept where diners can practically see every step of the cooking process before having the dish arrive piping-hot on their dinner table. The restaurant’s contemporary setting is also shown through the use of matt parquet flooring with other chic furniture in warm shades of brown and black. Nostalgic brick walls retain a slight rustic feel while blending in smoothly with the other colours.

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For a more intimate setting, tables have been set up along the side of the restaurant for smaller groups of guests to interact within the convivial atmosphere. Larger groups would appreciate the bigger tables at the front and back of the restaurant which are perfect for gatherings and parties. Last but not least, seats and tables are also available outside the restaurant for bar-goers to make merry with a glass of alcohol in their hand.

Having heard great reviews about the place, we decided to drop by the restaurant on a weekday evening to satisfy our dinner and dessert cravings. Starting off with something light, the Tuna & Peach Salad $14 featured glistening slices of lean tuna resting atop juicy peach segments with sides of tomato jelly, cherry tomatoes and salmon roe. Flavours were light and refreshing as the jiggling cubes of tomato jelly offered a subtle sweetness and freshness to complement the raw fish.

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For something cheesier, we chose the restaurant’s signature Burrata & Tomato Salad $14 starter which would please even the toughest cheese lover. Soft, creamy and every bit indulgent, the burrata had the perfect “QQ” texture and paired nicely with its other tangy components – tomato jelly, sundried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and orange wedges.

EMPRESS by The Privé Group @ Asian Civilisations Museum

Stylish, contemporary yet traditional, EMPRESS is the newest flagship concept launched by The Privé Group. Located at the newly refurbished Asian Civilisation Museum, this modern Chinese restaurant is an amalgamation of just the right balance of fashionable elegance and traditional elements. High ceilings add a touch of glamour to the pillar-less indoor dining space which sits about 80 pax comfortably, while the alfresco terrace boasts of a stunning waterfront view of the Singapore River and Boat Quay- the ideal backdrop for a watering hole to kick back a couple of drinks post-office hours.

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And although it stays rooted to traditional Cantonese flavours, the food served at EMPRESS is anything but conservative as the aesthetics and presentation of the dishes inject some fun and vibrance to the usually strait-laced nature of oriental cuisine.

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Appetizer highlights include the Crispy Eggplant & Pork Floss $10/$15/$20 which was superbly fried to a crisp on the exterior yet still soft and mushy inside. Dressed almost completely with pork floss for added crunch and sweetness, these sticks of eggplant were delightfully addictive to munch on as we waited for our mains to arrive. The Crispy Aromatic Duck Salad $18 too was another refreshing change to the usual salad choices with that plum-citrus dressing and chunks of duck meat deep-fried till golden.

Esquina @ 16 Jiak Chuan Road

Esquina is no stranger to the Spanish scene in Singapore. Opening to much fanfare back in 2011, this tapas restaurant was the hottest place in town. It was after all, a collaboration between hotelier Lok Lik Peng (the man behind Ember, Cocotte, Majestic Restaurant, The Market Grill) and Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton (protege of Gordon Ramsay). Chef Atherton provided culinary direction for the restaurant while Executive Chef Andrew Walsh helmed the day-to-day operations.

Getting a good seat here was a treat, still is by the way 4 years on, with only less than twenty stools at the long bar counter, primed to catch the live action of Chef and his team. Yes, there were tables outdoors and upstairs but no visit to Esquina was complete without a front row seat of the kitchen commotion.

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Less than 4 months ago, Esquina welcomed a new Executive Chef- Carlos Montobbio, formerly from Fairmont Singapore’s Anti:dote Lounge. And of course, with new blood, comes a revamp of Esquina’s menu and Chef Carlos’ refreshing interpretation of Spanish tapas. Watching him manoeuvre slickly around the kitchen and handling the preparation and plating of each dish like a seasoned pro, we were definitely excited to get a taste of the new flavours that Chef Carlos had to offer.

Find out more about Executive Chef Carlos Montobbio in our interview HERE!

Lijiang Restaurant by Yunnan @ Science Centre Singapore

Inspired by the picturesque beauty of an old city in the Yunnan Province of China, Lijiang, which also means “beautiful river” in Chinese, is a restaurant that has been around since the 1970s. With its roots originating from the Yunnan Group, Lijiang first opened at Singapore Swimming Club before moving to Temasek Club when it was formally located at Portsdown Road and is now currently residing at the Singapore Science Centre.

Known for their quality yet affordable oriental cuisine, Lijiang has hosted many wedding banquets, birthday celebrations and Chinese New Year dinners over the years. And after having a taste of their food, it is easy to understand why this homely Chinese restaurant remains a favourite with both families and large groups.

We started our evening with a bowl of Double Boiled Chicken Soup with Ginseng and Cordycep $18 each. Evidently brewed and simmered for many hours, the chicken soup was not just brimming with superior ingredients such as fish maw, ginseng, scallops and cordyceps, but the clear soup itself was clean yet complex in flavour and delicate in nature. Every sip was comforting to the tummy and almost nourishing to the soul. This one warmed me up quite easily and satisfactorily.

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The Deep Fried Cod Fish with Thai Sauce $12 served in portions, is a great idea for corporate functions or dinners that would usually have a more formal note to it. We liked how the cod fish was lightly battered and fried to a crisp while the sweet and slightly spicy Thai sauce with its sourish nuances dressed the fillet both in colour and flavour.

Hairy Crab Grandeur @ Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel

Hairy Crab season is back again and the team at Wan Hao is here to introduce up to four different ways to savour and enjoy this popular Autumn delicacy. Well-loved and hankered after for their sweet succulent meat and rich creamy roe, hairy crabs are only available for two months of the year- October and November. Needless to say, fans of these bristly guys will be rushing to the nearest Chinese restaurant to get their crustacean fix during this limited time period before the season ends.

Here’s why Wan Hao might just be the restaurant of your choice for this delectable experience:

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This year, Wan Hao is offering two Hairy Crab set menus, priced at $98 for six courses and $108 for seven courses. We tried their six course set meal and started with a trio of hot appetisers- Steam Hairy Crab Xiao Long BaoDeep Fried Hairy Crab Ball and Steamed Crab Meat Dumpling. It was difficult picking a favourite among the three because they were each individually textually interesting. The former had a lovely sweet milky broth snugly held by the thin dumpling skin while the deep fried crab ball was a crunchy sphere of crab meat chunks with an almond crusted exterior. The last dumpling too was an exquisite masterpiece and taste wise, just as satisfying.