Tag Archives: Hidden Find
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Joining the row of shophouses along Bukit Timah Road is a quaint Italian restaurant that recently opened barely a month ago. Fondly named after the great Italian tenor Enrico Caruso from Naples, Caruso Ristorante Pizza Bar serves up markedly Southern Italian-inspired cuisine as a tribute to the hometowns of both partners behind the business.
An exciting venture between 28 year old Leonardo Palmisano, who takes charge of matters front of the house and 60 year old Chef Franco Lorello, who offers a wealth of experience from managing 17 restaurants back in Italy, Caruso marks their foray into our local Italian dining scene.
Wanting to keep the experience as authentic as they can for their customers, Chef Franco believes in only using Italian produce. From the tomatoes to the flour used to make their pastas, to even the olive oil used in the cooking, Caruso imports as much as they can directly from Italy.
The hottest collaboration in town at the moment is none other than the one located at 22 Martin Road. Two month old Common Man Coffee Roasters upped the ante by pulling out the big guns, bringing together Spa Esprit Group, Harry Grover from 40 Hands and Five Senses Coffee (Australia) for the trendiest concept cafe of the season.
Setting itself apart from other specialty coffee places, CMCR instead serves up a bevy of Middle-Eastern influenced all-day-breakfast items such as the Common Man Full Veggie Breakfast which features halloumi & free-range organic eggs, and the Turkish Common Man Breakfast with phyllo-wrapped soft boiled eggs, crispy feta with hummus and pita bread. Lunch options too are exotic with the likes of Baked Beetroot with feta cheese or Quinoa Salad with yoghurt & mint.
And though the place is called Common Man Coffee Roasters, meant for the common man, the prices seem to suggest otherwise. Be expected to fork out $26 for the Common Man Full Breakfast, $18 for a French Toast and $34 for a 300gm Ribeye Steak.
Named after ‘halia’, the Malay word for ginger, The Halia at Botanic Gardens- flagship restaurant of The Halia Group, is no stranger to many having been around for the last 10 years. Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Ginger Gardens in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the award-winning restaurant charms easily with its full-length glass windows that creates an optical illusion of dining at a fancy garden party without the associated humidity and mozzies.
We came here for their highly raved Weekend Afternoon Tea which has a ‘no-reservation’ policy. Choose between the air conditioned 32-seater dining room or get in touch with nature at their al fresco deck that beckons with its gentle breeze and warm sunlight. Either way, it promises to be an excellent dining experience.
Japanese fine dining takes on a whole new meaning at Hinoki Japanese Dining- a neat little restaurant tucked away discreetly in a conservation pre-war shop house along Nankin Row in China Square. Serving up ‘Kappo Ryori’, a style of Omakase that is lifted to the highest degree, this creative aspect of Japanese cuisine can only be conquered by experts and masters- who in this case, is Chef Santaro Li, the culinary maestro who has been honing his skills for the past 40 years.
Here at Hinoki, freshness of produce, showmanship and presentation are all key elements that Li-san take very seriously and you can expect a gastronomical experience when your meal is left in the creative hands of Li-san’s exquisite and refined palate. With the best seasonal ingredients air-flown directly from Tokyo’s renowned Tsukiji Market twice a week, premium and quality are only what you get with each course.
Every experience of ‘Kappo Ryori’ seeks to be different as it is an extremely fluid and customizable process, subject to your taste preferences together with Li-san’s inspirations and intuition.
We started with a trio of Zensai $15 and Li-san will advice you to start from the right to the left- where the light sweetness of the Shiraou (silver fish sashimi) bathed in Shoyu sauce delights and refreshes your palate with the first bite. Move on next to the Oyster with Mentaiko rustically presented in its shell and marvel when you taste the richness of the torched roe. I especially enjoyed this because I did not taste the oyster at all! And finally, the Century Egg Tofu with Tobiko brings an exciting end to the first course with the creamy pitan sauce beautifully balanced by the simply chilled tofu.
Indulge in the Mixed Sashimi Platter $55 which featured an immaculate selection of the finest cuts of Hamachi, Salmon, Toro Belly and Botan Ebi. Alternatively, go the other extreme with the Zakana Foie Gras $25- possibly my favorite and most heart-clogging that evening which seems almost impossible in Japanese cuisine.
Essentially a roll of grilled Hamachi cheek sandwiching a generous slab of pan-fried fatty goose liver and all wrapped snugly by an overlaying piece of seaweed sitting on a Sakura leaf and topped with truffle (refer to first photo), the plating of the Zakana Foie Gras impressed with its attention to detail especially with that carved lemon in the shape of a heart on the side. But the taste was truly the highlight and a harmonious melody of richness which enthralled.