As someone who believes in a balanced life, I am always working on my mind, body and soul. However, lately I have also been listening to my stomach.
“A little too much,” says my parents and my weighing scale.
My abominable, fat, lying, weighing scale… which I very nearly fell off, when I received the message that I had been selected to feast at these 8 restaurants which are all located in Icon Village (30seconds from Tanjong Pagar MRT, 12 Gopeng Street).
Icon Village, Far East Square and Riverside Point are all running a series of F&B promotions from now till 31 July and invited bloggers to come and get some.
I applied to review the Icon Village (Tanjong Pagar) location because:
a) it is located in the heart of the CBD,
b) is walkable/accessible for my hungry corporate-flying friends,
c) has been around for 3years but went under refurbishment last year,
d) and is full of promising restaurants that my tummy has yet to taste.
What do you think of my menu for the day?
Oishii, Sushi. I chewed slowly. It was my first dish and I really did not know how food connoisseurs behaved – but I’m as sure as brown cow they don’t chow it down. I didn’t know what I was supposed to feel emotionally about this dish, but head Chef Hirohashi Nobuaki trained with the legendary Kitcho group of restaurants in Japan so I am sure it was decent food. He was also licensed to serve the infamous fugu (deadly puffer fish), so I smiled politely at him just in case.
This was what I ate on my sushi platter:
– Tai (lightly torched sea bream)
– Lightly poached Crystal Bay Prawn from Australia
– Hamo (pike eel) with ginger and miso
– Octopus with dollop of ume
– Hokkaido uni (sea urchin)
*Japan Disaster Notes: My restaurant host assured me that everything on my plate is safe to eat and all ingredients from Japan arrive in Singapore with a certificate detailing which area of Japan it came from, etc.*
Love: Don’t take the menu too seriously because items change every day and food is cooked based on what is freshest on the day. “If you want something, come in and ask. If we have the time and the ingredient, we will do it for you.”
Did not love: The sea urchin was pungent, definitely not my favourite taste!
The price is a little steep or my personal taste, but I guess you get what you pay for. Prices for a Kaiseki (Japanese traditional set meal) are $78, $98, and $148 for 7 courses. Call up to enquire about their sake tasting on 25 June.
Visit: KUMO Japanese Kaiseki Restaurant, #01-47/58, 6225 8433, http://www.kumokaiseki.com.sg
Sizzle, snap, scorch. The hissing and spitting of the fire could only mean one thing – my food was almost ready. The Asador (grill chef) shows off his skills on the 5-metre long parrilla (charcoal-grilled fire) by his ability to move the grill closer or further from the coal, controlling the heat while cooking the meat. Thanks to the restaurant’s powerful exhaust system, no one could tell or smell I had been smoking it up with the Asador.
Named after a city in Argentina, Salta serves beef that is directly imported from Argentina, in five different cuts. We were served:
Beef Sirloin, Beef Skirt, Chicken Thigh, Black Hog Pork Loin, Pork Sausage. Accompanied by grilled vegetables and chimichurri sauces.
I waited (barely) patiently to be served and even repeatedly (rudely?) asked the bloggers if they were done with taking photos. “Hello, I want to eat.”
My tummy rumbled and my tastebuds tingled at the wonder of sweet, salty, and slightly charred meat. I was annoyed that the meat had already turned slightly cold, but the silent flavor carried through nonetheless and I was one happy chomper.
Love: The grilled platter for four was served with steaks of two cuts – the ribeye (thick, rich) and the Entrana (beef skirt, more thinly sliced). Unexpectedly, the thicker piece was juicier and easily edible, whereas the thin piece was slightly harder and had lesser flavor. Meats were cooked over a naked fire and seasoned with only a shimmer of sea salt… I really would not have asked for it any way else.
Did not love: The sausages were a little salty, but I guess that is unavoidable and an impossible order of such preserved meat.
Visit: SALTA Argentine Parrilla + Grocer, #01-46/56/57, 6225 8443, http://www.saltaparrilla.com.sg
“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, it’s Amore.” – Dean Martin
My dad belted out this song non-stop when I was a kid, making me blush and probably also making a huge sub-conscious influence on my belly.
Anyone who knows me well, knows my favourite cuisine is Italian. Having lived in Melbourne and among a local Italian population, I am not new to their spoils of fine food and flirty behaviour.
When I see a big pizza pie, it’s Amore (love).
This one was called Bismark, and made the tastiest way a pizza should be made – by woodfire. Pizzeria L’Operetta greeted me with an entirely Japanese team, who smiled and nodded as they tossed around what would be my 3rd lunch. Bismark pizza was topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella & parmesan cheese, ham, mushrooms & a cracked egg in the middle. Bullseye.
Love: Hot, quick and crisp. The dough was fermented for 24hours, giving the finished pizza a chewy texture on the inside. The outside was crisp, a result of good quality firewood from Malaysia and a $25,000 imported oven from Italy which baked it over a high heat of 500 degree celcius. All the pizzas were baked in the woodfire oven for no more than 65-70seconds.
Did not love: Got a minute? You have to wait a whole minute.
Visit: Pizzeria L’Operetta, #01-78 to 81
Ramen Culture served comfort food in a casual environment, and we sampled two types of ramen.
First up, Oxtail Ramen. Anyone who’s never had oxtail will probably find it has similar texture and taste as beef. The broth was simple and pleasant to drink, and you could almost taste the sweetness of the radish in it.
Second serve, Hotstone Tsuke-men. The bright orange nature of the thickened soup base scared me at first. It was not at all spicy (I thought it would be), but there was an overpowering of the soy bean paste.
Love: I preferred the Oxtail ramen.
Did not love: A couple of the other bloggers seemed to disapprove of the ramen, saying it was too soft or not authentic Japanese. I did not see a problem with either, the ramen texture was fine, but $17++ for a both simple ramen dishes seemed a little overpriced to me.
Visit: Ramen Culture, #01-82/83, 6222 5110, http://www.fnbculture.sg
The Muffets Room served us 3 types of pasta – chicken italia, tomato salmon, and lemon fish linguine. They were creamy and average. Everyone’s favourite was something else, as TMR is best known for their trademark beer-battered fish and chips. Use a fruit beer and its too tangy, thai beers make the batter too sweet, but the secret beer they used made it taste just right. i was happy to know they used cream dory for our dish – you can’t stinge on cheap fish if you’re making fish ‘n’ chips!
Love: I have had some of the best fish and chips when I lived in and travelled around Australia, so a bit of this was reminiscent of the good ol’ Aussie sea breeze.
Did not love: I felt that the lemony taste in the lemon fish linguine was too much and could have been used more subtly.
Visit: Muffets Room, #01-16, 6410 9353, http://www.muffetsroom.com
Red velvet cupcakes at Whips Cupcakes made my heart skip a beat, I squealed like a pig when I saw this! Not only am I crazy about cupcakes, I was very lucky to have been able to taste one of the best red velvet cupcakes in the world circa 1 month ago during a business trip in the USA, New York City.
Love: Some cupcakes have cream toppings that are too thick or sweet, or a cake base that could be tasteless. This was NOT one of those instances, and the moist red velvet-flavoured cake base against a soft-white cream cheese topping reminded me of ying and yang. It offered a balance to my palette and was not dry at all.
I don’t think many Singaporeans have heard of a red velvet cupcake, but this is a very popular cupcake flavor in the US and I thought that Whips pulled it off easily. I might come back for more!
Did not love: It’s so hard to find cupcakes in Singapore that are as good as Magnolia in the US though. Does anyone know any good cupcake places? PLEASE share with me!
Visit: 1 S$ mini cupcakes at Whips Cupcakes, #01-85, 6222 5432, http://www.whipscupcakes.com
Dessert parlours in Singapore have definitely seen a boom over the last couple of years, and Pâtisserie Glacé is definitely one of very many. Set up in 2008 and helmed by Chef Higashiguchi Tomoko, they make the best Japanese cakes, pies, cookies and tarts in one way and one way only – by using highest quality ingredients with no preservatives. They conduct culinary classes too so you can “Bake Like Glace”.
I would sign up if I wasn’t so busy eating.
How much do I love thee? Let me count thee ways. Items indulged: Earl grey tiramisu, low fat cheesecake, strawberry shortcake. Frozen cheese tarts in earl grey, original, green tea, and strawberry flavours.
My pick of the Japanese sweet treats was one of each, what for resist?
Loved: My favourite were the frozen cheese tarts. Felt like a cross between cheese, cake, and ice-cream! Must-try.
Did not love: One of the top food bloggers pointed out that the earl grey tiramisu had a bit too much of a floral taste.
Visit: Pâtisserie Glacé, #01-33/34, 6400 0247, http://www.cakeglace.com
Last but not least on the menu was Frost Bites, a cosy frozen yoghurt parlour. Besides the big names like Yami Yoghurt, it makes my heart happy that we have a number of specialized frozen yoghurt places all over Singapore. Health-conscious consumers like me now have the luxury of salivating all over sweet treats without as high a calorie count.
Hello frozen yoghurt and yakult blend.
Loved: With almost 20 toppings to choose from like peaches, oreo bits, fruit loops, and my favourite granola, there’s no reason to say no. Also, you get a 2nd topping for free when it rains, or when frost ‘bites’.
Did not love: Can’t find anything to criticize. Maybe by this time, I was just too full and in a good mood?
Visit: Frost Bites, #01-29, 6225 0585, http://www.facebook.com/frostbitescafe
I’m no professional food blogger but I hope you liked my first attempt at a gastronomy post. PLEASE VOTE for this post on this website below, the top voted blogger (out of 15 bloggers) wins a $500 F&B voucher and 5 lucky voters will win a $50 F&B voucher! I hope it will be you!
5x $50 F&B VOUCHERS TO BE WON – CLICK HERE.
Advertorial/Food Review for Icon Village, Far East Organization