Tag Archives: Hidden Find
As mentioned in my earlier post, Botanico is one of two dining destinations by The Garage (the other being Bee’s Knees Cafe), which recently opened at Singapore Botanic Gardens. Located at level 2 of the white-washed colonial building that was built in the 1920s and carefully restored to house the F&B outlets, Botanico serves a contemporary European menu and opens only in the evenings from 6pm onwards.
We started our dinner with a Botanico Salad $18 that was the epitome of summer with its colour palette and bright yellow edible flowers. Made up of Heirloom Momotaro tomatoes from Cameron Highlands, pickled beetroot and charred cucumbers, this garden in a plate is a dream come true for every vegetarian. Our favourite part was the soft creamy burrata which brought all the elements together very nicely.
Singaporeans love their seafood and having seafood in a bag is fast becoming a common phenomenon in many restaurants. So when my dad suggested one day that we should try this new place that opened in Pasarbella called Ah Hua Kelong Seafood Restaurant, I did not think too much about it and assumed that it was no different from Dancing Crab, which was only next door.
Nonetheless, our interest was piqued by its Singaporean name and brought the family down to check the place out. We were greeted by the friendly owner Jing Kai, who more than enthusiastically gave us an introduction on the types of seafood the restaurant offered and how all the fishes, mussels and crabs in the tanks in front of us were farmed at their own kelong (fish farm) and harvested on the same day that you eat them. This means that the fish literally comes from kelong to table and is as fresh as fresh can be.
Located at the seafood area of Pasarbella, next to the Oceans of Seafood, it is not hard to locate the many tanks of live seafood which marks the spot where Ah Hua Kelong Seafood Restaurant is. Reservations are highly recommended judging from the huge crowds that came by the Friday night that we were there so while they will not be able to reserve a table for you (since it is a shared space and common area), you will at least be assured that you will have food because quantities of stock for each day are limited.
Sneaking into the local café scene is 6-month old Common Chefs – an unassuming café located right below Victory 8 Condominium along 8 Jalan Lengundi. This hidden gem offers a delectable selection of Western classics ranging from grilled beef burgers to chicken and waffles to make up for that 15-minute walk from Sembawang MRT.
Although the layout and decor of the space is modest, Instagrammers and fellow foodies would be enthralled by the seats near the glass windows for that Instagram-worthy shot amidst the natural lighting. Those simply seeking a cuppa to relax and let loose on the other hand, would prefer to sit beneath the warm downlights to enjoy the cozy atmosphere. We came here twice in a span of two months and got to sample a number of items on their rather concise menu.
The café’s signature Truffle Tater Tots $12 was certainly a dish to rave about. Crispy potato nuggets deep fried till golden brown before being tossed in fragrant truffle oil and served with generous shavings of aged Parmesan. Despite its slightly greasy appearance, we were centrally charmed by the warm potato puffs encased within its crispy outer shell.
For something thicker, meatier and juicer, the café has got you covered with an explosive range of flame-grilled burgers! The Boss ($19 for Beef/$18 for Chicken) was literally the big daddy of all their other burgers which showcased a jam-packed layer of flavoursome ingredients – sautéed mushrooms, grilled beef patty, sharp cheddar, fried egg, pickles, bacon and caramelized onions – to create an umami explosion in every bite. The best part was of course the succulent double-layer beef patty packed so snugly between two well-toasted brioche buns.
Opened by the same talented and creative mind behind the “no-menu” bespoke bar along Kandahar Street- Maison Ikkoku, FORT by Maison Ikkoku offers a refreshing new concept with culinary delights paired with unique cocktails that are individually concocted and tailored to your preference.
Located at the Singapore Pinacothèque De Paris within Fort Canning Park, this unassuming modest corner restaurant is hardly eye-catching from its exterior and its dimly-lit surroundings sets the tone as an ideal watering hole. The bar counter where all the magic and ingenuity happens, takes centre stage while diners sit all around it. Each seating takes up to 30 pax and FORT has two seatings every night- 6.30pm and 8.30pm.
We came by to try their highly acclaimed 12-course Omakase which costs an affordable $68++. I enjoyed my experience so much that I made a reservation for my best friend’s birthday two weeks later and returned for another meal.
Cold Braised Radish with Cuttlefish
Our first item of the twelve, was a cold dish that was light, refreshing to the palate with a clean finish. The touch of cuttlefish essence added a nice dimension to this otherwise simple starter.
The TEPPEI group is no stranger to our Singapore food scene and has made waves for the affordable Omakase sets they offer in their hole-in-the-wall space in Orchid Hotel, which by the way has a three month long waiting list. Apart from that, they are also known for their Chirashi Dons that are brimming with thick slices of fresh raw fish at Hanare, a few doors down.
Fast forward a few years later, Chef Teppei Yamashita will be creating long queues again with his new venture- an Unagi speciality restaurant that will be opening its doors today, 12 Oct 16, along Keong Saik Road, walking distance from the original Teppei Japanese Restaurant in Tanjong Pagar.
The eel served here is imported directly from Japan, from the Mikawa Isshiki region. They are so fresh that they are still swimming in the makeshift tanks at the corner of the restaurant before being slaughtered live in front of diners who choose to sit at the open concept kitchen. Not for the faint-hearted because it gets bloody, real bloody but no worries about any oil or splatter because there is a glass screen between you and the Chefs. However, I would personally not recommend that you sit there unless you really need to catch some live action and watching your dinner prepared in its rawest form.