Tag Archives: Singapore

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

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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

The Farmer’s Markets @ Loewen Gardens

We’ve been hankering to go wandering around a farmer’s market for while now. Living in Singapore – a small island where there are effectively no farms and everything is imported – it was always going to be a challenge to find true farmer’s markets.

The Farmer’s Markets at Loewen Gardens certainly has the same feel as a traditional farmer’s market (albeit a lot warmer) – with small, specialty importers bringing in produce from France, Italy and New Zealand – at least the ones we bought from.

Dinner tonight ? Oven-baked Mont D’Or with slices of French Baguette from Gourmet Shop. This seasonal cheese, which is only available from September to April, is matured in its box, giving it a uniquely woody aroma, as well as conveniently being able to stick the entire cheese, box and all, into the oven.

Just 20 minutes in a hot oven (22C/400F) from room temperature, and you have yourself a sweet, molten and quite frankly magical cheese, to smear on slices of baguette. I had roasted a head of garlic to have with the cheese, but honestly – nothing is required except a glass of wine, and a big appetite.

The Farmer’s Market @ Loewen Gardens
75E Loewen Road
Singapore

Open the first and third Saturday of every month


L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

The awesome amuse bouche – foie gras custard with a port wine reduction and a parmesan cheese foam

I have to be totally honest, I went to L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon with no expectations other than I was going to get a pretty great meal – after all, this legendary French chef has been awarded more Michelin stars than any other chef in the world.

Yellow tail tuna tartar with spicy tomato coulis

Being unable to find the right exit from the carpark at Resorts World wasn’t a good start. And then completely losing our bearings once we were in Resorts World didn’t help. The place is just a huge, poorly signaged, kids-running-everywhere-shouting-and-screaming, un-airconditioned mess to people who were both hungry and lost.

We finally found the restaurant tucked away from the melee these. On the right, the full-on Joël Robuchon dining experience – luxurious neutral coloured interior, high-backed chairs, straight-backed waiters, and on the left, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon – like some evil twin with completely stark, black and red interior, super dim lighting, lounge music and high bar and counter seating, looking in to an open kitchen.

(I think we chose the better of the twins)

We sat at the counter and ordered from the tasting menu – which basically meant we could sample more dishes. I won’t go into too much detail other than:

King crab on thin layers of turnip with a sweet and sour sauce

THE GOOD:

  • Being able to watch how the kitchen operated was an absolute joy. The attention, skill and precision of the staff as they created the dishes was marvellous and as always it is a real treat to be able to watch them prepare your food
  • The amuse bouche – meant to tantalise and stimulate your senses, giving you a small taste of the meal to come. And it sure delivered on all of the above with a foie gras custard port wine reduction with parmesan foam
  • The souffle – couldn’t have been more perfect
  • The stunning presentation of the food
  • The relaxed atmosphere – makes dining so much more fun

Soft boiled egg with chanterelle mushroom and parsley fricasee

THE NOT SO GOOD:

  • The secondary waitstaff – you really expect them to be able to serve the right food and drinks to the right people
  • The rest of the food we ordered. Not that it was bad, it was just disappointing after that amazing amuse bouche. Many of the dishes we had sounded traditional but ended up being fusion and just confused, with so many flavours we had to keep eferring to the menu to remind ourselves what we had ordered

Beef and foie gras burger with caramelised peppers

OVERALL

I might be tempted to visit Joël Robuchon next door (although it might be a bit too prim and proper for us – we tend to get a bit loud after a few drinks) – I don’t think we’ll be rushing back to L’Atelier again in a hurry.

Hot kirsch soufflé with almond sorbet

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Sentosa Gateway  Resorts World Sentosa – Festive Hotel Singapore, Singapore 098269
Tel: +65 6577 7888

Open: Daily 6.30pm – 10.30pm


Morton’s UDSA Prime Burger – the best burger in Singapore ?

Morton’s is an institution in Singapore. The restaurant is renowned for their succulent steaks and seafood, and the bar, well, their martinis are pretty legendary.

There are tons of places I’ve heard or read of in Singapore, reputed to have “the best burger in Singapore”, but in the mood for a classic burger, I figured why chance it – let’s go to Morton’s for their USDA prime burger.

At dinner time, it’s only served in the bar (the one next to the restaurant, not the martini lounge). It’s dim there. As in, squintingly so (I’m blaming the light, not my poor eyesight), but there’s a true retro feel about the entire restaurant. It makes you feel like you should have dressed up in your furs (sorry PETA) and diamonds to have the pleasure to dine there.

Now on to this famed burger – the photo does the burger no justice, so you’re going to have to trust me on this.

The kitchen considerately halved the burger and served us on two plates, but I’d imagine when it is whole, to be a towering beast of a burger. It comes with pretty much everything – enormous beef patty, perfectly seasoned and cooked just right at medium rare, so it was juicy and succulent, cheese, crispy bacon and sauteed mushroom and onions.

Served with hand cut fries – thick cut, crispy on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside – there was also a small “garnish”, which included fresh tomato and sliced red onion, both of which added some freshness and crunch to each big mouthful of burger.

Messy, juicy and utterly delicious – it’s everything you want in a burger, right down to the lightly toasted sesame seed bun.

OK, I know I have to give other burger joints a chance now – any suggestions on challengers for this grand title ?

Morton’s Bar 12.21
Mandarin Oriental Singapore
Fourth Storey
5 Raffles Avenue
Marina Square, Singapore
Tel: 6339 3740

Bar 12.21 open
Monday – Saturday 5pm – 11pm
Sunday 5pm – 10pm


Waku Ghin’s signature sea urchin with botan shrimp and Oscietre caviar

Tetsuya Wakuda is one of my favourite chefs from my visits to Tetsuya’s in Sydney – back in Rozelle and also when it moved to Kent Street. I have always admired his ability to pair pure and distinct flavours so beautifully. I finally got to go to Waku Ghin at Marina Bay Sands this week, and what a treat it was.

Your meal is served primarily in small 8-seater rooms in front of a teppanyaki grill and with your personal chef for the evening. Counter seating is always my preference – it gives you an opportunity to talk to the chef, see the produce, watch him cook, and also sneakily take a peek at what others are ordering to inspire you to try new things.

With a set 10-course degustation menu, you don’t get the chance to do the latter, but we did get a preview of the first course from the other couple who were seated in our room and who had arrived before us. By the third course, the team at Tetsuya had deftly managed to catch the four of us up so we were all served the remaining savoury courses at the same time.

Chilled white asparagus soup with white miso and Oscietre caviar

We started with a chilled cream of white asparagus soup with white miso cream and Oscietre caviar. What a way to start a meal. The soup was so silky and so full of flavour of the delicate white asparagus you really wished there was more (that was the common theme for all the dishes during the evening, actually).

Second was Waku Ghin’s signature dish – marinated botan shrimp with sea urchin and Oscietre caviar, stunningly presented in a half shell of sea urchin. To be eaten with a mother-of-pearl spoon, you are recommended to eat every mouthful with a bit of all three, and with each you get the sweetness of the prawn and sea urchin and the explosion of saltiness from the caviar. This has got to be up there as one of my favourite dishes ever.

Slow-cooked John Dory with roasted eggplant

Third course was slow-cooked John Dory with roasted eggplant and a chicken stock reduction. Our chef explained to us how they made the chicken stock and the laborious and complex processes to ensure only the clean flavour of the chicken was extracted and reduced. An odd pairing with fish and eggplant, and I think the chicken stock reduction tied the dish together well.

Australian abalone with fregola, rocket, seaweed and tomato

Next up was fresh Australian abalone, simply seared on the teppan and served with fregola, tomato, rocket and seaweed. This was about as rare as I have ever had abalone, miles away from the more chewy abalone you usually get at Chinese banquets. This was fresh and succulent and sweet and presented in this way almost was like eating it straight from the sea.

Braised Canadian lobster with tarragon

Braised Canadian lobster came next, quintessentially French-style, in a stock made from the lobster shells, finished with butter and tarragon. Again, the lobster was cooked so that it was just to the point past being raw, allowing the sweetness and the tenderness of the lobster to shine.

The beautifully marbled Japanese Ohmi wagyu roll

Two beef dishes followed. The first was charcoal grilled fillet of Tasmanian grass-fed  beef with Tetsuya’s own-brand wasabi mustard. The chef seared these in front of us on the teppan before slicing them into bite-sized pieces of beef so tender you felt that you could cut it with a butter knife. Nothing fancy here, just a fillet of beef on your plate and tasted great with or without the wasabi mustard.

Japanese Ohmi wagyu roll with wasabi and citrus soy

Japanese Ohmi wagyu roll from Shiga Prefecture came next. Just looking at the gorgeous marbling on the raw beef filled the room with oohs and aahs. I think it was because we knew that that marbling would be melt-in-the-mouth flavour once cooked. It was served with freshly-grated wasabi, fried garlic slices, thinly sliced Japanese negi and a citrus soy dipping sauce. Similar to the fillet, I tried the beef on its own and then with a little bit of all the condiments and in this instance, the inclusion of everything made the marvelous wagyu sing in your mouth.

Consommé with rice and snapper

Final savoury dish was a consommé with rice and snapper followed with a palate-cleansing cup of gyokuro, tea made from green tea that has been grown in the shade. A touch of yuzu zest to the consommé lifted the dish making it a clean and refreshing end to the meal. And the tea, which was brewed with water at just 40C had a distinct savoury, seaweed flavour. Absolutely perfect example of umami.

Selection of exquisite petit fours to end a perfect meal

We were almost sad to be moved out of our private dining area to a more traditional dining area to eat have our final two courses of dessert – mostly because it was an indication that the meal was coming to its end. I have to be totally honest and say that Tetsuya’s desserts have never wowed me the same way his savoury dishes do, and this was no different. We were served a cold soup of strawberry with lychee and coconut and what turned out to be my birthday cake, a milk chocolate cake with caramel and citrus. Both were delicious – as were the petit fours, but my memory of Waku Ghin is firmly, and happily, within the walls of the private dining room.

Waku Ghin
Casino Level 2
Access lifts located:
B1 & Opposite ArtBox at Level 1
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Tel: +65 6688 8507

Open for lunch on Fridays 11.30am – 1.30pm
Dinner two seatings 6pm and 8.30pm


Hoorah – I’ve found the best dim sum in Singapore!

Roasted belly pork

I have been on an ongoing quest to find the best dim sum in Singapore since I arrived here five years ago. And for sure, there are plenty that I haven’t visited, but I don’t think I need to look much farther than Lei Garden on Orchard Road.

Prawn rice rolls 

The quality of the food there is exceptional. With dim sum, there always has been a few things which showcase the true skill of the chef. One is the dumpling skin/rice rolls. These are made by hand – I’ve watched chefs do this and the speed in which they roll out individual dumpling skins (and if you think that they can serve up to 700 of just one type of dumpling in one seating) is a delight to watch. So to be fair, anything they can produce like that is amazing, but we are spoiled creatures of choice, so thick, doughy dumplings are indicative of a lack of true skill. The rice rolls at Lei Garden are thin and smooth and so slippery you could almost swallow each mouthful without chewing.

In fact, everything they do with flour – be it rice or wheat, is light and airy and just makes you want to order more (which is exactly what we did).

Their char siu buns were fluffy pillows of soft, steamed buns filled with sweet barbequed pork. And they really select the best pork – their roast pork is probably the best I’ve had in Singapore. The belly pork has the fat thinly and evenly layered and the skin is divinely crisp.

Pan-fried radish cake

Their radish cake – finely shredded radish and rice flour, cut into squares and pan-fried was not oily, but crispy on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth soft inside.

I’d suggest making a reservation because it was full by midday on a Saturday and it’s not a huge restaurant. The quest is never over, but for now, I’m absolutely thrilled that I can get the same quality of dim sum that I have missed so much from Sydney.

Lei Garden Orchard
#03-00 Orchard Shopping Centre
321 Orchard Road
Singapore
Tel: 6734 3988

Open for lunch: 11.30am – 3.00pm
Dinner: 6pm – 11.00pm


Terrific Tapas in Tanglin

Calamares – lightly floured and deep fried squid rings

Well, it’s not officially in Tanglin, but Orchard Road didn’t sound as good 🙂

Good tapas seems to be very hit and miss.  Which surprises me because the preparation of the dishes is relatively simple – tapas relies on good produce to speak for itself.  The few places we’ve tried in Singapore are more for convenience – like Que Pasa, because it’s a lovely place to have a bottle of wine rather than because of the food (although the food there is certainly passable).

Marinated mixed olives

Trying to find a restaurant that was open on the second day of Chinese New Year seemed to be a problem, and we were thrilled that Bodega Y Tapas on Orchard Road was a) open and b) had space for us.  It was busy when we got there, which it always seems to be when I pass it, and we were quickly ushered to our lounge chairs to have our dinner indoors.  The space indoors doesn’t allow for larger groups but it’s a nice intimate area to have dinner for two or maybe three people.

The tapas menu is extensive, which made choosing difficult, but one of the benefits of tapas is that you can sample lots of little dishes.

A generous bowl of marinaded mixed olives started the meal, which worked wonderfully with the sangria that I ordered.

jamon iberico de bellota

Then came 80g of jamon iberico de bellota – ham made from free-range pigs fed exclusively on black acorns and aged for 36 months.  I love that it was hand-carved from the actual leg of the ham – it adds a certain rustic feel to the ham and I swear it makes it taste better than the machine-sliced iberico ham that you get in the hotel buffets.  Although, to be fair, serve it to me any way and I love this stuff.  It’s the sort of ham that you chew and chew and almost don’t want to swallow so that you can savour the intense flavour of the ham (including the fat) in your mouth.  I recall a very good tip from Chef Ryan Clift of Tippling Club, which was the longer you chewed jamon Iberico, the better the flavour, as it “excites” all the different taste bud sensations on your tongue.

Cold cut meat platter

We also ordered a platter of cold cuts – the waitress was a bit vague on exactly what was on the plate but we had two types of pork sausage (one with and the other without chilli), air-dried beef (sort of like bresaola but with a more jerky appearance, served with a drizzle of olive oil and slivered almonds) and a dried sliced pork loin.  Also on this dish were baguette slices that had a dollop of delicious finely chopped tomato salsa that you could almost serve as gazpacho.  It was light and refreshing and absolutely worked with the cured meat.

Lightly floured and deep fried anchoview

For warm food we had chorizo – simply fried, and calamari and anchovies, both lightly floured and deep fried, which, for me, were the winners of the evening.  The calamari was soft and tender – not overcooked or tough, and served with a garlic mayonnaise – quite standard, but probably the best I’ve had in a while, and the anchovies just needed a squeeze of lemon juice over them to be eaten whole.  Again, I love anchovies, and these reminded me of the fantastic ones we had at Valentinos.

All in all, this is a brilliant find for D and I and if our dinner last night was anything to judge the rest of the food there by, I know we’ll be back again to work our way through that menu.

Bodega Y Tapas
Orchard Hotel
442 Orchard Road
Tel: 6735 3476


Penang buffet at Copthorne Kings Hotel

Nasi lemak – coconut rice with chilli anchovies and peanuts

Whenever my parents visit me in Singapore, there’s always a line-up of peranakan food.  My grandmother was nonya, and my mother craves the food she grew up with in Penang.  There are a handful of Malaysian restaurants in Sydney, but there isn’t the demand for Sydney to import a few of the spices and herbs that you need to make it authentically Penang cuisine.

Today I took them to the Kings Hotel where there is a Penang buffet – so not just Malaysian, which encompasses Malay, nonya, maybe even Indian – this is pure nonya food.  And what a spread it is.  It’s not the most glamourous places to eat – the hotel looks a bit dated from the newer hotels, but the food is so good, I visibly watched my mum eat herself into a stupor.

The variety on offer is huge and the buffet-style means you can sample a little of everything.

chee cheong fan

I started with chee cheong fan, steamed rice rolls, topped with a simple drizzle of sesame oil, hoisin sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.  The rice rolls were thin and slipped easily down your throat.  Deliciously simple. Simply delicious.

Penang otak – steamed golden snapper in coconut custard

This was followed by nonya otak.  Otak is fish with herbs in a curried coconut broth that is steamed in a banana leaf.  It’s been so long since I’ve had otak this way – in Singapore it’s barbequed and the end result is a lot more fishcake-like rather than custard in texture.  When it’s steamed, it turns out as a delicate piece of heaven.

Penang asam laksa

There was also Penang laksa available.  Again, this differs from the more popular laksa that is made with curry and coconut cream, with the stock made from mackerel and tamarind, so it is clear(ish) and has a distinguishing sour taste.  The fish is first poached and then flaked and the stock includes lemongrass, galangal, chilli, pineapple, mint, thinly sliced onion, sweet prawn paste and the pink bud of the ginger flower.  It’s one dish that the very mention of which can make my sister salivate on demand and very rare to find.  Needless to say that was a favourite on our table.

Selection of nonya kueh

Too many other dishes followed, including Penang Hokkien mee soup, which was topped off with fried bits of pork lard (sounds awful, tastes wonderful), acar, a salad of cucumber, carrots and cabbage pickled in aromatic spices and vinegar and then tossed in crushed peanuts and of course nonya kueh, traditional nonya dessert cakes, made authentically and made with the perfect balance of sweet and savoury.  A perfect way to end a perfect afternoon of nonya delights.

All in all, highly recommended for hard-core Peranakan devotees.

Copthorne King’s Hotel Singapore
Princess Terrace Cafe
403 Havelock Road
Singapore
Tel: 65 6733 0011


Straits Kitchen

Chicken satay

Whenever we have visitors to Singapore who ask for local food during lunch, we always end up at Straits Kitchen in the Grand Hyatt.  Where else can you enjoy local delights like Hainanese chicken rice, satay, laksa, popiah and Indian curries in a civilised and most importantly air-conditioned environment ?

Chinese roast duck

The alternatives are the big hawker centres like Newton Circus or Maxwell Markets which are all good and well, and probably serve much more authentic hawker fare, including pork – Straits Kitchen is halal – but these are not the sorts of places where I wouldAdd Videochoose to go to catch up.  It’s where you go to eat and leave.  Perhaps that’s just me.

Deep fried cempedak

The last time we went we had a rare treat – battered and deep fried cempedak – a fruit that tastes like a mix of jackfruit and durian (both of which I love).  It’s a very traditionally Malaysian snack and I remember buying these from street vendors when I was a young girl visiting my mother’s hometown of Penang.  These are harder and harder to find, taken over by the more popular banana or sweet potato fritters.  At any rate, I was thrilled and I wished my mum was there to enjoy it with me.

All up, Straits Kitchen doesn’t serve the most authentic food, but the environment is just so pleasant and the choices abundant, it will remain one of the staples where we take visiting friends and family.

Straits Kitchen
Ground Floor, Grand Hyatt Hotel Singapore
10 Scotts Road
Tel: 6732 1234

Open Weekdays 12pm-2:30pm, 6:30pm-10:30pm; Weekends 12:30pm-3pm, 6:30pm-10:30pm