Monday, April 30, 2018

Chef In Box

Suntec City is home to a myriad of restaurants in every imaginable cuisine such as Din Tai Fung for the best xiao long bao, Wonderful Bap Sang + Lee Mart Kitchen for authentic Korea food, Nya Nya for Peranakan cuisine and Shabu Sai for value-for-money Japanese hotpot buffet, but these restaurants only open around 11am and close around 10pm. 

What happens if you want to get something to outside of these hours? That's where Chef In Box comes in.

If you have recently been to level 3 of Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre, you will see a cluster of vending machines called Chef In Box.

Chef In Box is a concept by JR Group that was established in 2001 with the vision of creating quality meals in a box for the convenience of all individuals. 

Chef In Box may not have the best-tasting foods, but it is a life-saver for those who need to arrive at ungodly hours to set up stalls in the exhibition halls, for those who work late into the night and those who just want a hot quick meal.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Ash & Elm - European Restaurant in InterContinental Singapore

Ash & Elm is the new European restaurant in InterContinental Singapore that has taken over the spot previously occupied by longstanding all-day dining restaurant, Olive Tree. Recipient of the G Restaurant Award of Excellence, Ash & Elm brings you on a gastronomical adventure.

Ash & Elm is helmed by Chef Philippe Duc who is well-known for his accomplishments at InterContinental Hong Kong. 

Chef Philippe Duc started his cooking career at Alain Ducasse Enterprise where he worked up the ranks at the 3 Michelin Star Alain Ducasse. He helmed SPOON by Alain Ducasse in InterContinental Hong Kong and led the restaurant to clinch 2 Michelin Stars in 2012 to 2014. 

Diners can learn more about the food that they are eating and watch as their food is being prepared at the three culinary theatres - charcuterie and cheese room, wood-fired oven and open charcoal-grill kitchen. 

Besides serving items from their charcuterie & cheese room, charcoal grill and wood-fired oven, Ash & Elm also serves has appetisers (hors d'oeuvres), salads, soups flatbreads, seafood (from the pan), sharing plates, sides and desserts (patisserie).

Start your meal with Ash & Elm’s homemade breadboard of baguette, breadsticks and  focaccia served with salted and herbed butter. 

Ash & Elm Platter [$25 for 1-2 person, $45 for 3-4 person] is the signature item under the Chacuterie & Cheese Room. Compromising House-Cured Beef Pastrami, House-Smoked Pork Loin, Air-Dried Pork Belly, Cold-Roasted Beef and Presse de Foie Gras with Smoked Duck, it is the perfect dish to sample a selection of Ash & Elm’s own cured meats. 

Moving down the menu,the three pieces of Crab Cake [$24] made with blue swimmer crabs are perfectly crispy but lack in taste. 

Burratina Cheese [$19 serves 1-2 person, $28 serves 2-3 person] gives me my first taste of the burratina cheese which is not commonly found in Singapore. Burratina or burrata, meaning “buttered” in Italian, is an Italian buffalo milk cheese of an outer shell of mozzarella holding in a creamy mixture of stracciatella and cream. Pairing it with heirloom tomatoes brings a little balance to the dish. 

The staff sets the bowl with cream made of cognac on the table and proceeds to pour the lobster broth into the bowl. The cream creates a beautiful swirl in the soup. The presentation of Boston Lobster Bisque [$21] is implacable but the creamy bisque itself is a little too salty. 

Braised Beef Cheek [$38] is served with parsnip mousseline, seasonal vegetables and red wine reduction which helps in balancing out the saltiness of the meat. The braised beef cheek is melt-in-the-mouth tender. 

Pan-Seared Hokkaido Scallops [$38] is all about the presentation. Served on a beautiful pinkish-grey plate are three miserable pieces of scallops, cauliflower, capers and brown butter sauce. I would have liked my scallops a little more browned. 

I was a little disappointed with the Ribeye Steak [$58]. The 300 grams of 120-day grain-fed Australian black angus is served with roasted garlic and corn and heirloom tomatoes. The meat is well-grilled with beautiful grill marks, but the grilling has not managed to lock in all the delicious juicy in the meat. 

The Slow-Grilled Iberico Pork Chop [$42] looks so good, doesn’t it? The pork is flown in from Salamanca in Spain and roasted for many hours, locking in all the juice. 

Chocolate-lovers will like the Salty Chocolate Rum-Raisin [$14] where a chocolate bar made of 64% dark chocolate is paired with 

Grand Marnier Souffle [$16] gives you three different soufflĂ© experiences in one sitting. Pair the soufflĂ© with the cream sauce for a rich experience, pair it with the berry-lemon compote for an antioxidant-rich experience, or pair it with the bergamot-mandarin sorbet for a refreshing take on this classic French dessert. 

Yuzu-Citrus Combination [$14] is perfect for those who like to end their meal on a sour note. Lemon cream seats on top of French shortbread cookie known as sable breton, accompanied by mandarin orange reduction and yuzu sorbet. It is a very refreshing dessert but pretty sour. 

Ash & Elm 
Address: 80 Middle Road, Singapore 188966
Opening Hours: Daily 6am - 10.30am, 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 10.30pm
Telephone: 68251008

Monday, April 23, 2018

Nipong Naepong - Fusion Korea Ppong and Pizzas

I was actually looking to try out Nipong Naepong when I steppes into Kogame Yama by accident. 

Nipong Naepong is one of the first Korean restaurant where jjiampong take centre stage. 

Nipong Naepong offers sets that make it cheaper to dine with large group of friends. Soda Set and Ade Set (500ml) are both priced at $50.80, the components are basicallly the same, Ade Set comes with 500ml of ade (sweet, fruit-flavored drink) 2 ppong and 1 pizza while the Soda Set comes with 2 sodas (Coke/Sprite/Lemon/Apple/Grape). The most expensive Ade Set (1L) [$54.80] tops up ade of your choice to 1 little. 

This Lychee Yogurt [$12.90 for 1L (3-4 persons), $7.90 for 500ml (1-2 persons)] tastes almost like ice-blended lychee, the lychee tastes is very strong, with a slight creaminess from the yogurt. 

Green Grape Soda [$7.90 for 500ml, $12.90 for 1L) is a new beverage but I personally feel that it loses to the Lychee Yogurt. It is refreshing and perfect for those who like carbonated drinks.

Nipong Naepong
Address: 50 Jurong Gateway Road, JEM #01-16, Singapore 608549
Telephone: 62624078
Opening Hours: Daily 11am - 10pm

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fynn's - Casual Australian Restaurant in South Beach Avenue

Did I tell you that I have fallen head over heels for South Beach Avenue, the newish lifestyle enclave in the Civic District that is home to 16 dining, beauty and entertainment outlets? 

After having tried the delicious contemporary fusion pastas at Fasta, I decided to look around to see what other dining options South Beach Avenue has to offer. That’s when I spotted Fynn’s, a modern casual Australian restaurant. 

Ceiling-to-floor glass panels give customers a glimpse into the interior of the restaurant, while the outdoor alfresco dining area holds wooden tables and chairs gives it a laidback feel. 

Marble flooring and tables gives Fynn’s interior an understated elegance while the warm fluorescent lights that hang from the ceiling gives the place a touch of coziness. 

Fynn’s is a popular lunch spot among office workers in the area, as evidenced by the extensive lunch menu. Those who are lazy to pick your meal can opt for one of Fynn’s Lunch Sets priced $22-30. 

It is not easy finding good lamb dishes in Singapore, so when I saw Charred Lamb [$26.50] on the menu, I ordered it without hesitation. The perfectly grilled lamb loin is served sliced for easy eating, accompied by couscous, pumpkin mash, harissa hot chili pepper paste and a refreshing sourish cucumber salad. 

Fish Fillet Sandwich [$22] is like the super premium version of McDonald’s Fillet-O-Fish, where the crispy fish fillet is sandwiched between two fluffy hamburger buns together with spicy slaw and pickled cabbage. The accompanying shoestring fries is one of the best that I have had in a while. 

Fynn’s dinner menu features starters such as Endive Salad and Spanish Octopus, while the mains are fresh homemade pastas and meats (seared or grilled). Indulge in a luxurious weekend brunch of savory and sweet dishes from homemade corn fritters and fluffy vanilla pancakes, accompanied by a cup of Commmon Man Roasters speciality coffee. 

Address: 26 Beach Road, South Beach Avenue #B1-21, Singapore 189768
Telephone: 63841878
Opening Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 11am - 3pm, 6pm - 10pm (closed on Mondays)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Revisiting Shabu Sai (Suntec City) - Affordable Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki Hotpot Buffet

I had such a good time at Shabu Sai (Suntec City) 2 years ago, I have been wanting to go there again. My colleagues wanted to celebrate my birthday with me and I recommended Shabu Sai, so here we are again.

Shabu Sai offers 2 types of buffet for weekday dinner - Regular Buffet [$22.99++] and Wagyu Beef Buffet [$36.99++]. 

There are 6 soup bases to choose from: Seaweed, Sukiyaki, Spicy, Tonkotsu, Tom Yam Miso and Yuzu Collagen. 

You can choose 2 soup bases and we chose Tonkotsu and Sukiyaki. The Tonkotsu soup base is a rich and flavourful broth made from pork bones, ingredients cooked in it turn out really delicious. Sukiyaki is made form premium-grade Japanese soya sauce, but I personally find the broth too sweet.

There are 16 condiments to choose from. My combination of  Dashi Soy Sauce + Seasame Paste + Garlic is simple yet delicious, those who want something spicy can add in Chilli Oil or Chilli Padi. 

Vegetables, noodles, tofu and fishballs can be found at the buffet table.

The meats (Beef, Pork, Chicken) must be ordered with the staff and they are served in black trays. The meats are thinly-sliced by machine, don't cook the meats for too long.

Top-up $1.99 for free-flow drinks and ice-cream.

Shabu Sai does not have a large variety of hotpot ingredients, but they make up for it with the freshness of the ingredients and the efficient service of the staff. Hotpot buffets are getting more and more expensive, but Shabu Sai's prices has remained pretty affordable.

Lunch Buffet (Daily 11.30am - 5pm): Monday to Friday $14.99++, Saturday - Sunday, Public Holiday Eve, Public Holiday $19.99++; Child (4-9 years old) $9.99++ 

Dinner Buffet (Daily 5pm - 10pm): Monday to Friday $22.99++, Saturday - Sunday, Public Holiday Eve, Public Holiday $24.99++; Child (4-9 years old) $9.99++ 

Shabu Sai (Suntec City)
Address: 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Mall #B1-133
Telephone: 63366129

Shabu Sai (Orchard Central)
Address: 181 Orchard Road, Orchard Central #08/09/10/11
Telephone: 68846760 / 68846884 (Reservation)
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 11am - 3pm; 6pm - 10pm; Saturday - Sunday 11.30am - 10.30pm

Shabu Sai (The Central)
Address: 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, The Central #02-17 
Telephone: 62213177 / 68846884 (Reservation)
Opening Hours: Daily 12pm - 3pm; 6pm - 10pm

Shabu Sai (Changi City Point) 
Address: 5 Changi Business Park Central 1, Changi City Point #B1-28/29
Telephone: 64449569
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 11am - 3pm; 6pm - 10pm; Saturday - Sunday 11.30am - 10.30pm

Shabu Sai (Causeway Point) 
Address: 1 Woodlands Square, Causeway Point #05-14/15
Telephone: 64621557
Opening Hours: Daily 11.30am - 10pm

Shabu Sai (Eastpoint)
Address: 3 Simei Street 6, Eastpoint #03-06
Telephone: 66363121
Opening Hours: Daily: 11.30am - 10pm