Tag Archives: MUST TRY!!!
Wagyu beef has been fast gaining popularity in recent years as Singaporeans are becoming more discerning to the quality of beef and paying close attention to details such as marbling and grades. But while top quality cuts of Wagyu are usually accompanied with a hefty price-tag, Ito-Kacho is here to bust that myth as this upscale Yakiniku restaurant from Japan, is all about serving customers the best but keeping prices affordable.
Tucked away at the corner of level 4 of Mandarin Gallery, the interior of Ito-Kacho is inviting with its warm lighting and wood veneer finishes. Unlike your usual barbeque joints which are usually stuffy and uncomfortable with patrons leaving smelling exactly like the meats they just cooked over the charcoal fire, it is never the case here. It is a one-of-a-kind fine dining experience of barbequing at Ito-Kacho as careful thought has been put into the mechanics and technicalities. Convection systems are in place above the barbeque pits to ensure proper ventilation while chairs are thoughtfully upholstered with seat cushions so you thoroughly enjoy your time here.
Only authentic Japanese Black Wagyu is served here, air flown and delivered to the restaurant regularly from a farm in Kagoshima, the same specialty cattle which also caters to the flagship branch in Japan. And while the beef we usually eat are frozen, the beef here at Ito-Kacho is chilled instead, believed to be fresher, more nutritious and of course have a more elegant robust flavor, all while retaining the marbling and overall consistency.
We tried three different types of premium cuts: Wagyu Toku-Jo-Bara (Premium Short Rib) $50 for 80g; $69 for 120g, Wagyu-Sasami (Flank Steak) $50 for 80g; $69 for 120g and Wagyu-Kainomi (Flap Meat) $22 for 80g; $29 for 120g. The standout for me had to be Wagyu-Kainomi which was absolutely bursting with flavor despite it being a lean cut compared to the rest. The Wagyu Toku-Jo-Bara did not disappoint as well, with the intense marbling of aromatic fat that simply melted in your mouth after being barbequed to medium-rare. Pure indulgence.
All meats here are also minimally marinated and few condiments are provided at the side so customers can appreciate the full original unadulterated flavor of the Black Wagyu Beef.
For those looking to try something different or just feeling adventurous altogether, the Wagyu Tongue $29 for 80g; $39 for 120g is a must order. My friends at the table could not stop raving about the smokey flavor and sweet accents of this unusual offering while I personally found the texture of the cow’s tongue a little peculiar. I think I might just stick to the more normal parts of the cow the next time.
Every ice-cream/breakfast place sells Belgium waffles but not many can do a good tribute to this characteristically deep grid patterned dough-based cake. I personally enjoy my waffles served warm, crisp on the outside but light and fluffy on the inside, with those square imprinted pockets that soak up the heavenly combination of ice-cream, chocolate sauce or maple syrup and even cream. A good Belgium waffle in my opinion has to be a bit doughy, chewy, good to eat on its own but even better with toppings.
So here are my top 5 waffles places in Singapore. Read on to find out if your favorite made the cut!
5 Ridgewood Close Unit G1 Tel: 6464 9607
Opening hrs: Mon – Fri 11am – 10pm, Sat & Sun 9.30am – 10pm
Selling premium gelato that is free from preservatives and artificial coloring, Haato has been around for at least more than 10 years now. They have 3 branches in total left in Singapore (Ridgewood Estate, The Central @ Clarke Quay and Thomson Plaza) and while I do know that franchises tend to produce rather inconsistent quality, the waffles here at Haato have been reputed to be one of the better few out there. Made with Haato’s own special recipe, the contrast of textures in the waffles here are really distinct as you cut through the toasty exterior into the fluffy insides.
Recommended for: Those who love having their waffles plain (it’s good on its own)
Cost: Waffle + ice-cream $6 (additional scoop $3)
My pick of ice-cream: Black Sesame
128 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 #01-835 Tel: 62501476
Opening hrs: Tue – Thu: 12:00 – 22:00, Fri – Sat: 12:00 – 23:00, Sun: 10:00 – 22:00
Creamier Handcrafted Ice Cream and Coffee is Toa Payoh’s funky addition to this otherwise old-school estate. Making all their ice-creams and sorbets with their own recipes, this Singapore-born ice-cream parlor opened by a couple has been nothing short of a success story. Their waffles come in pairs so stacking adds onto the satisfaction factor but while they were crisp and complimented the creamy ice-creams perfectly, they were a little bland to eat on its own. But I did appreciate the generous border of maple syrup and chocolate that made finishing the last part of the waffles a breeze.
Recommended for: Those who love their waffles extremely sweet and sticky
Cost: Waffle + ice-cream $8.30 (additional scoop $2.50)
My pick of ice-cream: Earl Grey Lavender, Sea Salt Gula Melaka
With The Grandstand recently opening up and getting increasingly bustling on the weekends especially since the opening of PasarBella (our first and biggest indoor Farmers’ Market), a trip to Bukit Timah’s lifestyle hub is nothing short of an adventure. Home to many gastronomic delights such as Singapore’s best burger- Omakase, MAD (Modern Asian Diner) and authentic Italian restaurant Valentino, The Grandstand has also debuted the first British restaurant in Singapore- The Ascot, which promises to deliver the real English pub experience.
Opened by owner Sylvester Fedor Thang, The Ascot was his attempt at recreating the fond pub memories he enjoyed with his mates back when he was studying in the UK, while the moniker ‘gastrogrub’ is a portmanteau of gastronomy and grub first coined in London, a term not uncommon in England.
Serving up distinctly British comfort foods of Bangers and Mash, Fish and Chips, Curries, Shepherd’s Pie and the Sunday Roast (available only on Sundays of course), with a comprehensive alcoholic menu of imported beers and beverages from England and Europe, this place is the next best thing you will get without hopping on a 13 hour plane ride.
I am personally not a fan of soups or tomatoes so the thought of this Smoked Tomato Soup $8 [must try!] was not the least enticing. But even for a cynic of soups, this earthy bowl of rich flavors and hints of smokiness did manage to charm the socks off me. Combined that with a drizzle of pesto and a dip of homemade Turkish bread, I was a convert that very day.
A rustic Cold Cut Platter $18 that is excellent with a guzzle of beer, this one features 3 types of cold cuts with silver onions, gherkins, scotch egg and homemade bread. The highlight of course, has to be that freshly made scotch egg with a gorgeous sunny-yellow yolk still runny despite being deep fried. A nice change to the usual ways eggs are prepared, this one comes wrapped in sausage meat and breadcrumbs for a contrast of textures and bite. It is a little British delicacy done right.
I would not usually condone paying so much for a plate of salad but in the case of this Strawberry Spinach Salad $18 [must try!] which produces a kaleidoscope of flavors that is undeniably compelling, it is probably justified. The first thing that hits you is probably the sweet tang of the raspberry vinaigrette dressing that lends a fruity burst with every bite. Next would be the crumbled blue cheese with its characteristic sharp and and salty flavor which cuts through the sweetness and is surprisingly not as foul-smelling as blue cheeses usually are. But my favorite part has to be the generous sprinkle of whole pistachio nuts.
Korean food aficionados rejoice! Sarang, previously known as the heartbeat of Seoul has recently undergone an overhaul and since reopened as a revitalized, much improved upscale and decidedly chic Sarang, Korean Bistro. Modeled after the modern contemporary restaurants in the posh and upmarket district of Gangnam, Sarang is the first to introduce the avant-garde concept of Korean Tapas in our country, which is indeed a fresh and exciting addition to our vibrant local dining scene.
Apart from serving up tapas in their menu, Sarang will also be rolling out Korean cocktail pairings of Soju and Makgeolli, for a whole new dining experience that you will appreciate with Master Chef YY’s customized food creations.
The space along the balcony of the 7th floor, sports all the trappings of a well-tended garden, with planter boxes, lush greenery and largely Mahogany fine-grained furniture all included. And if any of the quirky light bulbs or unique steel framed chairs catch your eye, you probably will not find an identical piece in Singapore as every single item here has been specially imported from Korea, with the sole purpose of maintaining the uniqueness of Sarang.
Sarang means ‘to love’ in native Korean, and this affectionate term is translated in every aspect of this Korean bistro. From the careful conceptualization of the menu, which is an amalgamation of both Korean and Singaporean influences, down to the plating of every dish and even the potted plants that fringe the perimeter of the outdoor terrace, every little detail has been thoughtfully designed and purposefully orchestrated to augment your Sarang experience.
Classic Tapas – Pairings (Soju Bomb and Makgeolli Sprite)
Sarang Japchae $7 [must try!]
This classic Korean dish of sweet potato noodles is one that I always order at Korean eateries and I am most pleased to say that Sarang’s version is by far one of the best I have had. Bouncy, chewy and QQ with a slight sticky texture, these noodles were spot-on and every bite was peppered with a whiff of sesame oil that was most appetizing. Complimented by the crunch of shredded carrots, onions and black fungus, this dish was every bit as colourful in its presentation as it was in flavor.
Spicy Chewy Rice Cake $7
Putting his own unique spin on a popular street snack in Korea, Chef YY’s spicy rice cakes are different from what you may be used to, especially if the instant version of Tukbokk is what you usually have. With a stronger intensity of flavors that interplays and injects excitement to your palate, these cylindrical rice cakes are sure to whet an appetite. But for those who are not too accustomed to spicy foods, you have been warned.
Saveur has long been synonymous with affordable French cuisine since the successful start-up of their flagship eatery along Purvis Street. With their no reservation policy, the waiting time before one gets a table has been at least half an hour and even up to an hour during peak hours. The full house which is bustling every single night speaks volumes about their popularity and appeal to the masses.
About a month ago, to meet the high demand for Saveur’s recipe of quality French fare at inexpensive prices, owners Joshua Khoo and Dylan Ong opened a second branch right in the heart of town, at level 1 of Far East Plaza. I personally never got down to the Purvis outlet as the queues have been a large deterring factor so I was extremely psyched to hear about a second outlet opening.
Moving onto the food itself…
Saveur’s Pasta $4.90
This highly raved about appetizer, also a Saveur signature, won me over instantly with its elegant presentation and how every single strand of pasta was twirled neatly in its characteristic roll. The key to thoroughly enjoying this exquisite dish is to first ‘untangle’ the pasta before mixing it all up so that every part is covered with the concoction of chilli oil, minced pork sauce and finely-chopped sakura ebi. An extremely refreshing and oriental take on regular pasta and this was sure memorable.
Duck Leg Confit $10.90
My choice of main was a slightly flattened duck leg confit sitting on a bed of homemade potato mash and sauteed shitake mushrooms on the side. A superbly crisp browned skin with succulent salty meat which was also fork tender and delectably delicious. Mmmmm.. I am getting hungry just thinking about it right now! And for just $10.90, this was an absolute steal and a must try! The mashed potatoes too were creamy and smooth, complimenting the French classic perfectly.
Pan-Seared Sea Bass $14.90
My sister’s pan-seared sea bass was another winner with its freshness and rich flavours. I especially enjoyed the diced saute potato crabmeat that added a salty rustic touch to the overall dish. One does not usually get such good quality fresh fish at a mere $14.90 price tag. For a more premium alternative, go for the Cod at $24.90, which is still unbelievably affordable for cod in my opinion.