Category Archives: Lunch

Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt (OCF) – charming French fare in Singapore

The divine “Black Forest” dessert 

The name of this restaurant is definitely a mouthful. Thankfully, the restaurant with the name of Sir Stamford Raffles’ first wife, has been shortened to a much easier to remember, OCF.

Set in the beautiful Arts House in central Singapore, Chef Jonathan Koh brings sophisticated French dining in the elegant ambiance of the restaurant.

During weekdays, they serve an executive lunch set, which changes according to seasonal produce. You can select from three entrees, three mains and three desserts.

Our amouse-bouche was egg tartare (a combination of all the elements of a classic tartare sauce – think a softly tangy egg salad), ratte potato and smoked trout, topped with Kristal caviar. From our counter seat, we could see the kitchen is relaxed, but focused. An explosion of complementary flavours in a spoonful that really set the tone for the rest of the meal.

Foie gras terrine with heirloom beets and chervil root

Starters was a foie gras terrine, with heirloom beets and wafer thin slices of chervil root and a hint of truffle oil to tie all that earthiness together. The terrine was dense and smooth and rich and so full of flavour, with the fresh chervil root adding a light balance to the dish.

French seabass, artichoke barigoule

Second course was a pan-fried French sea bass, served with the scales still on, with artichoke barigoule (artichokes braised in a white wine broth). The texture of the skin is thicker than you expect with the scales on, but the scales add a crunchy texture which contrasted well with the lightness of the sea bass.

Iberian pork saddle, parsley root, yellos chanterelle

Next up was a true revelation. Iberian pork saddle with parsley root and yellow chanterelles. Looked like beef, smelled like beef, moist and soft and tender like beef, but the flavour of pork. Just simply pan-fried with a thin drizzle of jus, the pork is cooked so that it is juuuuust cooked, which keeps the texture unbelievably tender. This is the dish that I had high expectations for, given that my friend had shed a tear the week before when he had his first bite – and it didn’t disappoint.

Dessert was chef’s “Black Forest” – black cherries and balls of chocolate ganache on a dense layer of cake, topped with a crisp layer of caramel with cocoa nibs, served with vanilla ice-cream and luscious salted caramel cream.

The wait staff are friendly and competent, and maître d’, Nova, will happily talk you through all the food, and will also share his crazily detailed knowledge about the selection of wine offered.

OCF are opening up another restaurant at Boat Quay with a different menu to cater for the lunch crowd, and so lunch at the current location will stop (good to know why – they struggle getting good staff, and don’t want to spread themselves too thin). No firm date given yet but will be close to Chinese New Year (end Feb 2015). I’ll definitely be visiting them again before they close to catch the lunch menu.

Olivia Cassivelaun Fancourt

The Arts House
1 Old Parliament Lane
#02-02
Singapore 179429

Tel: 65 6333 9312

info@ocf-singapore.com

Lunch from 12:00 to 2:30pm
Dinner from 6:00 to 10:30pm

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Quiche Lorraine

I cheat and use store-bought shortcrust pastry with my quiches. If you have the time to wait for the dough to rest, and don’t mind clearing up the mess (which I always seem to make tons of whenever making pastry) go right ahead.

Quiche Lorraine reminds me of growing up in the suburbs in Sydney and having a slice of quiche with a salad on the side. You can’t really not like it – salty bacon and sweet sauteed onions enveloped in a warm eggy pillow – with pastry. It’s pretty easy, too – just make sure you blind bake your base properly, or it will end up soggy instead of crispy and short, giving you good contrasting textures with each bite.

Ingredients

  1. 1 -2 sheets ready made shortcrust pastry
  2. 1 large onion, diced
  3. 6 rashers (or more if you want) bacon, diced
  4. 200ml heavy cream
  5. 3 eggs
  6. 1 cup grated gruyere or cheddar cheese
  7. salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/390F
  2. Line the base and sides of a loose-bottomed tart tin with the pastry
  3. Prick the base, line with baking paper and add pie weights/rice/beans before blind baking in the oven for 15 minutes
  4. Remove the baking paper and pie weights and put back in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned
  5. While the base is baking, make your filling
  6. Sautee the bacon on medium-high heat until brown and crispy and remove from frying pan to cool
  7. Reduce the heat to low and cook onions until soft and translucent
  8. Mix cream, eggs, cheese together in a jug.
  9. Season with salt and pepper – remember not to oversalt as the bacon and cheese will provide additional seasoning
  10. Once the base is ready, sprinkle your bacon and onion on the base, and pour in the eggy/cheese mix over
  11. Reduce the oven temperature to 160C/320F and bake quiche for 30 minutes or the middle is just wobbly (it will continue to cook a little more once out of the oven)
  12. Remove from oven, let sit for 5 minutes before removing quiche from the tin
  13. Enjoy hot or cold as leftovers the next day 😉

 

 


La Ramade, St Tropez

 

Saint Tropez is just a short bateaux ride across the bay from quiet Sainte Maxime. We wanted somewhere to enjoy some rosé after spending the morning at the Saturday markets, and we chanced upon what has to be the prettiest place we visited during our entire trip.

I felt like I had walked into one of Wonderland’s tea parties. Each table was decorated with enormous vases of blooming flowers. Sunlight peeked through the leafy trees onto our tables. Colour. Everywhere.

We were lucky to see a delivery of edible blooms – stunning yellow zucchini flowers (in the hands of a camera-shy chef), that would later be stuffed and deep fried.

Provençal tomato tart

Even the tomato tart seemed too brightly coloured to be true.

Grilled local sardines

Amongst all of that, the food at La Ramade is simple and rustic – think grilled fresh sardines and coq au vin. A little oasis from the hustle and bustle of the outside Saint Tropez.

La Ramade
3 Rue du Temple
Saint-Tropez, France

Tel: 04 94 81 58 67


Salt Tapas & Bar

Dukkah crusted Tasmanian trout with Israeli couscous in a cucumber, tomato and dill broth

Salt Tapas & Bar at Raffles City is a place to sit back and relax and enjoy lots of little (or larger) plates of tapas with a modern Australian influence. They have a lunch menu on weekdays – where you have a selection of entrees, larger plates and sides.

I started with slow-cooked octopus with celeriac, apple, saffron rouille and dried black olive. The octopus was sweet and tender with no hint of toughness that can sometimes come with octopus (I watched a Greek cooking show where they tenderise the octopus first by bashing it repeatedly on a rock until its “soapiness” is released on the rock. Apparently in commercial kitchens they do this in a cement mixer !). The celeriac and apple were finely julienned and provided a crisp freshness to the rich saffron rouille.

Slow-cooked octopus with celeriac, apple, saffron rouille and dried black olive

For my main I had dukkah crusted Tasmanian trout, Israeli couscous, cucumber, tomato and dill broth. This is the first time I’ve had Israeli couscous and it’s delicious. It has a very satisfying springy, chewy texture that I equated to the tapioca balls in the Taiwanese “bubble teas”.

The trout was perfectly cooked so it was still pink in the centre and that broth it came swimming in – absolutely divine. It really brought that entire dish together with the acidity from the tomatoes and was so fragrant from the dill. And the dukkah crust on the trout gave the dish a lovely nutty flavour and texture.

You can also order a la carte during lunch but I was in a “can’t decide” mood and the only thing I ordered off the lunch menu was a side order of Jamon Iberico. Not because I felt I needed it because the portion sizes are pretty generous here. Just because I could.

Salt Tapas and Bar
#01-22A, Raffles City Shopping Centre
No 252, North Bridge Road

Tel: +65 6837 0995


Smoked Bacon Soup with Kale and Quinoea

I’m so happy – I found kale ! After reading all your posts about how delicious it is, and how wonderfully nutritious it is, and the amazing recipes you share (eg kale chips which are being made as I type this), I FINALLY FOUND KALE. We went to Pasar Bella yesterday and bought an entire trunkfull of delicious meats, cheese and vegetables.

Today for lunch I made a vibrant, bursting-full-of-goodness soup, with a smoked bacon stock – making it bursting-full-of-flavour soup.

Again soups like this can be entirely adjusted depending on what vegetables you have handy in the fridge – I used yellow and purple carrots and the leaves of purple and green kale. The quinoea gives the soup an added protein boost.

Ingredients serves 6 for lunch or as a starter at dinner

  1. 400g smoked bacon bones
  2. 1 onion, diced
  3. 3 stalks celery, sliced
  4. 2 medium carrots, diced
  5. 1-2 bay leaves
  6. large handful kale leaves, stalks removed, thickly sliced
  7. 1/4 cup raw quinoea

Method

  1. Brown the bacon bones on medium-high heat in a large, heavy-based saucepan
  2. Remove from pan reduce heat to medium and soften the onions for 5 minutes
  3. Add the celery and carrots and soften, an additional 5 minutes
  4. Add the bacon back to the pan, add the bay leaves
  5. Add water so that everything is just covered, and simmer on low for 2 hours
  6. Remove the bay leaves
  7. Add the quinoea and continue to simmer for 10 minutes
  8. Add the kale leaves and simmer for a final 5 minutes
  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper

Seared sesame tuna, fig and prosciutto salad

Whenever I can get my hands on juicy plump figs, this is my go to salad. Vibrant and fresh, it’s such a versatile and simple salad, and I love the delicate balance of salt, sweet and savoury. You can also coat the tuna in fennel or coriander seeds instead of sesame seeds (I used what I had available in my pantry).

It makes a healthy light lunch, or would work as a starter for dinner.

Ingredients
Serves 4

  1. 6-8 figs quartered
  2. sashimi grade tuna – about 400g
  3. 4 tbs sesame seeds (I used black)
  4. 2 tbs coarsely cracked black pepper
  5. 2 tbs coarse sea salt
  6. 2 tbs olive oil
  7. 4 large handfuls of rocket
  8. 4-8 thinly shaved slices of prosciutto
  9. 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  10. 2-3 tbs lemon juice
  11. lemon wedges to serve

Method

  1. Combine the sesame seeds, black pepper and salt and place on a flat plate
  2. Cut the tuna into thick strips – about 5cm wide
  3. Coat the tuna with the sesame seed/pepper/salt mix
  4. Heat olive oil in a pan.  Sear the tuna strips on all sides for 1 minute on each side – it should be rare inside.  Set aside to cool for 5 minutes
  5. Thinly slice the tuna and arrange with the figs on top of the rocket.
  6. “Drape’ slices of prosciutto on top
  7. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice
  8. Serve immediately

Pizzeria Mozza

Pizzeria Mozza has been around since 2011 – the first collaboration in Singapore between bread making extraordinaire, Nancy Silverton, Joe Bastianich and Mario Batalli.

One half of the two part restaurant (the other being Osteria Mozza), the pizzeria is equally as relaxed, but with a brighter decor that complements the bustling crowd. This isn’t meant to be a place to linger – order your pizza, eat it, vacate your table for the next hungry customers. There is also usually a mad rush before and after showtimes as the restaurant is directly opposite the Marina Bay Sands theatres.

The menu is actually very comprehensive, with a wide selection of antipasta, cured meats, salads, breads, desserts, and, of course, pizza. The pizza menu features traditional Italian meat and vegetable toppings, (and thankfully no seafood, which I continue to think have no right to be on a pizza), featuring housemade cheeses like burrata and mozarella.

And the pizza is why you go there. For that crust. Oh my goodness, that crust. It wouldn’t matter what you topped it with – the crust is amazing.  Dusted with semolina, the crust is crunchy, light and thin – but substantial enough to hold the topping.

The toppings are light – don’t expect the pizza to be loaded on top. A tiny bit on the salty side for me – although to be fair, I did order a margherita with anchovies – but easily one of the best pizzas you can get here.

Pizzeria Mozza
#B1-42/46 Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Avenue  SINGAPORE 018956
Tel: +65 6688 8522

Open:  daily 17:30 – 23:00


Roasted potato salad with bacon and spinach

A delicious salad that would make a great lunch or as a lighter side to a juicy steak or roast, rather than the usual roasted vegetables.

Fun fact: I think potatoes have had a bit of a bad rap with their high GI. However, if you dry cook potatoes (ie roasted vs boiled) and also allow them to cool, their GI actually lowers. It has to do with the effort your body has to expend to digest foods and increasing their resistant starch. I won’t go into the details – you can do more research if you want, here is a nice quick reference if you’re interested.

Keep the potato skins on for added nutrition. The skins have B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium and also provides lots of fibre. Be sure to wash the potato well and remove any obvious blemishes before cooking.

Ingredients serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side

  1. 750 g new potatoes or if using larger ones, select a waxy variety, like the red potato, so they “hold together” when you mix them
  2. *optional – rosemary
  3. 4 rashers of streaky bacon
  4. 1 bunch of spinach leaves
  5. 1 clove garlic – skin on
  6. 2 tbls red wine vinegar
  7. 1 tbls dijon mustard
  8. 3 tbls olive oil (see note below)
  9. *optional – squirt of mayonnaise
  10. Good handful of grated fresh parmesan cheese
  11. salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F
  2. Place the potatoes in a baking tray
  3. Drizzle olive oil and season with salt and pepper and rosemary if you have it
  4. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes
  5. Pop your clove of garlic in with the potatoes 10 minutes before they have to come out
  6. COOL YOUR POTATOES TO ROOM TEMPERATURE
  7. Blanch the spinach leaves until wilted, drain and squeeze out as much liquid as you can – you don’t want a soggy salad !
  8. Pan-fry or microwave the bacon till their nice and crispy
  9. Make your dressing
  10. Remove the skin from the garlic and either mince/mash into a jar with a tight fitting lid
  11. Add the red wine vinegar, mustard, oil, mayonnaise (the mayonnaise makes the dressing a teeny bit creamier – use as much or as little as you like but add that in a little at a time until you get the desired consistency
  12. Pop the lid on and shake well to mix
  13. Add the cooled potatoes, spinach, crumbled bacon to a large bowl
  14. Dress lightly – you want the dressing to just coat the potatoes, not be gluggy
  15. Top with grated parmesan and mix again
  16. Season with salt and pepper to taste

NOTE: I think anchovies are one of the best things in the world, and always have a big jar of marinated anchovies in my fridge. When cooked they don’t smell too fishy, they melt into the sauce and add a complex savoury note to whatever dish you are making. With this dish, instead of using plain olive oil, I used the anchovy oil. You’ll need to make sure you taste the final dressing and dish before you season with salt so it’s not too salty.


Luke’s Oyster Bar and Chophouse

The amazing shellfish plateau

Nestled in Gemmil Lane, Luke’s Oyster Bar and Chophouse welcomes you in with its clean lines of decor, high ceilings, and flooded with natural light.

The menu is clean and simple, and sticks to it’s “chop house” roots. We decided to go with the two specialties of the house, starting with the seafood platter, and then Luke’s bone-in tenderloin au poivre.

The shellfish plateau is one of the best we have ever had. And we’ve had our fair share of seafood platters in Sydney, which has access to the most amazingly fresh and delicious seafood.

Chilled whole lobster, giant shrimp, two varieties of oysters, tuna tartare and fresh crab salad. There were dipping sauces for the the lobster, shrimp and oysters but honestly all they needed was a good squeeze of lemon to appreciate the delicate sweetness of each. Absolutely divine.

Luke’s bone-in tenderloin with a peppercorn crust and mustard cognac jus 

We ended up sharing the tenderloin for our main, cooked on the bone for added flavour. Unfortunately I didn’t read that it came with a peppercorn crust & mustard cognac jus. It’s not at all that it tasted bad, but both seemed to challenge the bold flavour of the tenderloin. But kudos to the selection of meat. Tender and absolutely delicious.

I’d like to try other the other items they had on their menu but to be honest, I’d find it hard to go past that shellfish plateau again. And again. And again 🙂

Luke’s Oyster Bar and Chophouse
20 Gemmill Lane, Singapore
Tel: 6221 4468

 Open: Mon-Sat 12.00 – 24.00 (closed Sundays)

The Handburger

Fancy a quick burger in Singapore ? Then check out the Handburger. Nothing fancy, but serves decent burgers, and it’s conveniently in Raffles City, which, for me, means the added bonus of not having to schlep across town just for a burger (and yes, I know in Singapore that’s just a short 15 minute cab ride away but everything’s relative when you live a 5 minute walk away).

It’s Diner-style American fare, and you don’t linger there, you just go to eat.

I’m a burger “purist” – just give me a standard beef burger. In this case, it’s with 100% grass-fed beef, and comes with melted cheese, some lettuce and tomato (ticks the “I am eating vegetables” box) and this insanely good onion jam that brings the whole lot together. The burger buns are made on the premises and has the light consistency of a brioche but without the sweetness.

They have tons of other burger options, from duck to pulled pork or even seafood, if that floats your boat. Oh, and speaking of floats, they have root beer floats, which went fantastically well with my burger 🙂

The Handburger
252 North Bridge Road
#B1-77/78 Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel: 6334 4577

Open:
Sun – Thurs: 11.30am – 10.00pm
Fri/Sat: 11.30am – 10.30pm