Isn’t it amazing that a small country like Singapore would be able to accommodate the countless malls we have today? Take the stretch of Orchard Road for example. To date, there are more than 20 shopping centres housed along the 2.2 kilometre-long boulevard and as a frequent shopper at the retail district, I can totally understand the dilemma of having too many malls to choose from. But I for one prefer to shop at malls that won’t burn a hole in my pocket (unlike y’know, luxury malls) because after all, I’m still a student. A broke ass one, that is.
Therefore I was really elated to know that one of my go-to malls in town – 313@somerset – has rolled out a FREE mobile application to help shoppers to discover exclusive offers and promotion from over 170 retailers within the complex itself!
Like Qoo10 and other group buying sites, the Tring 313 app is regularly updated with time-sensitive deals on food, gadgets and fashion items offered by merchants which you have to prepay to enjoy. It utilises location-based targeting technology to allow users who are within walking distance from their current location to be notified of a featured deal within the mall. But more often than not, these deals are so popular, they get snapped up even before they expire! This shows how much of a massive discount you can get out of these promotions for them to be so well-received.
For instance, I spotted a $30 for $50 Forever21 voucher while I was browsing the app on my bed late one night. As I was too lazy to get off my bed to get my credit card, I left the buying to the next day. But it was already gone when I woke up! Holy shizzle.
(ok lah I woke up pretty late that day, at like 2pm. But you get my point)
Anyway, since its opening in 2009, 313@somerset has been continually renewing and adjusting its tenant mix so if you haven’t been to the mall in ages, you are definitely in for a lovely surprise. Now a completely refreshed mall, it’s been updated with new F&B tenants such as Soup Stock Tokyo, O’ma Spoon, Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory and many more.
Now, let me take your stomach on a virtual culinary tour around some of the latest F&B offerings at 313@somerset. Get your tissue paper on standby to wipe any drool off your face.
Soup Stock Tokyo
Since its inception in Tokyo in 1999, Soup Stock Toyko has expanded with over 70 outlets in Japan and it has recently opened its third in Singapore. It is a fast food chain well-known for its soups which are made with fresh ingredients sourced from Japanese farms. Hungry mall-goers can also look forward to other food choices on the menu such as curry rice. As far as I know, the kitchen at the 313@somerset outlet is headed by a Japanese chef (same goes for the day-to-day operations, also run by a Japanese) to retain its Japanese feel.
There is an ongoing promotion (“2 for 2”) for those who are dining in pairs. For just S$30.80, you and your buddy will get to choose your preferred curry to go along with your rice, a drink and a small soup each.
The Chicken Vegetable Soup was a clear broth with a choke-full of cabbage and meaty chunks of chicken for an added kick of protein. It had a mild but refreshing flavour that’s perfect for a chilly day and it’s definitely also the soup to get if you’re looking for a light and healthy entrée.
The Pork and Tomato Stroganoff, on the other hand, was a complete opposite in terms of taste as it was bursting with rich pork and tangy tomato flavours. The soup was slightly spicy on its own but if you have high spice tolerance, it should be subtle enough to slip past your tongue.
When it comes to gourmet soups, I tend to gravitate towards those with a creamier and heavier consistency because they are one comfort classic that help to satiate my hunger at the same time (though I’m not a fan of the calorie and the fat content). Therefore, my favourite out of the 4 soups I had was the Hokkaido Crab Bisque for the same reason. However, unlike other crab bisques I have tasted, the tomatoes (an ingredient which SST seemed to love) which were simmered with the crab stock had kinda overwhelmed the more delicate crab flavour. But overall it was still quite enjoyable. Perhaps SST can consider topping it with croutons to make it taste less “flat”.
Another personal favourite was the Tokyo Beef Borsch which had caramelised onions and tender beef, onions, potato and carrots served in thick and flavourful brown soup. I simply love how the lemon slice and yogurt were strategically positioned to resemble a rising sun with its reflection in the water (I know right, I’m so imaginative hahaha), probably to indicate that it is the soup to drink to brighten up your morning.
Paired with moist brown rice laced with cooked onion, this dish hits a healthy home run. The pieces of chicken meat were tender and mostly deboned while the curry – a yummy mix of spice (not spicy though) and cashew nuts – was fragrant and thick with a slightly foamy texture on the surface. I enjoyed the taste which leaned more towards the sweet side. The slab of onion in the middle was surprisingly sweet as well and it was soft enough for my fork to cut through it with ease.
The piquant flavour of the curry came mainly from the tomato so the acidic taste was a little overbearing for me. It kinda reminded me of tomato soup, just slightly sweeter and richer because of the curry (which also contained watercress and spice). But it was a great complement with the moist Japanese rice.
Prices range from S$10.80 for a regular soup set (regular soup + Japanese rice or bread) to S$16.80 for a curry soup set (curry + rice + small soup).
Owned by the world’s first Michelin-starred ramen chef Yasuji Morizumi, this ramen restaurant has made quite a name for itself in both Japan and Thailand. Its first Singapore outlet at 313@somerset was first open in 2014 and since then it has went on to add 3 more outlets across the island.
Topped with spicy minced pork and lean char siew slices, I believe it’s a ramen dish specially created for the Singaporean (or Southeast Asian) taste bud since the Japanese generally can’t take spicy food. The pork bone broth is slightly more salty than I expected but from what I understand, patrons can tweak the oil and saltiness level of the soup and the spiciness of the meat to suit their preference.
The ramen that made Chabuton famous was also a tad salty (although not as much as the Kara Kara Miso Ramen) but I still preferred this for its creamier and richer broth. All ramen served in pork bone broth are sprinkled with roasted white sesame seeds to give an added texture and flavour.
This was an interesting ramen because there’s a specific way to eat it. The bowl of “soup” beside it is actually Chabuton’s signature Shoyu Sauce which acts as a dipping sauce for the ramen. To enjoy the Shoyu Zaru Ramen, you’d have to keep dipping the noodles into the sauce otherwise it’d just taste absolutely bland and dry. It got pretty tiring after awhile (sorry la I’m very lazy haha) so I ended up dumping a whole bunch of noodles into the warm sauce which turned cold very rapidly under the air-conditioning. But the noodles certainly tasted a lot better and springier after it was “seasoned”.
Just one look at the flat bite-sized gyoza and you’d be able to tell that there wasn’t a lot of filling packed into each dumpling. However I liked the skin as it was crispy and not too oily.
The fried squid was cut into small cubes for easy sharing and was completely devoured at the end of the tasting. Each piece of tender squid was coated with a light and crispy batter that went really well with the dab of mayonnaise provided on the same plate.
Another side that was a hit among the bloggers was the Aka Ebi Mentai although I felt that the prawns were slightly overcooked as the shell didn’t come off cleanly. Still, they were very meaty and delicious.
If you’ve been following my food reviews (especially those on Eggs Benedict), you should know that I’m extremely particular about my eggs – the yolk has to be runny or the meal is ruined. The soft boiled eggs at Chabuton came with a moderately runny yolk that would definitely harden if left a few seconds longer in the pot. *phew*
Chabuton @ 313@somerset
313 Orchard Road
Operating hours: 11.30am – 10.00pm Daily
No website | Facebook
The popularity of Korean food is on the rise in Singapore. O’ma Spoon is the republic’s first contemporary Korean dessert café franchise and it specialises in milk snow bingsu and other healthy desserts with most of its ingredients directly imported from Korea.
Yes, apparently bingsu doesn’t just refer to “shaved ice”. It could also mean “shaved milk” (made out of fresh milk) as demonstrated by the creators of the lovely desserts below:
Wholly covered with Korean soya bean powder were some sticky Injeolmi rice cakes, crunchy cashew nuts and almond flakes layered around the nicely shaven milk ice. It’s a nightmare for people with an allergy to nuts but a total paradise for those who love them.
Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a slice of cheesecake (ah, didn’t capture it on camera but yes, there was indeed a slice of cheesecake magically stuck to one side) with a generous amount of fresh mangoes, blueberries and almond flakes surrounding the shaved ice, this bingsu is every sweet tooth’s dream and also one of the more value-for-money desserts at O’ma Spoon.
And here comes the flavour that all matcha lovers *raises hand* would go gaga over. Apart from the surface of the shaved ice, you’d be pleasantly surprised to see a layer of matcha powder hidden within when you dig into it. The scoop of sweet green tea ice cream atop the snow mountain was an added bonus. Apart from that, there were also red beans, almond flakes, cashew nuts and a dash of chocolate syrup to enhance the overall texture and taste.
Unless you have a really huge appetite, you may want to consider sharing the bingsu with your friends because the humongous portion is designed for 2 to 3 people.
A cheaper and smaller alternative to the Injeolmi bingsu (if you’re alone), the Injeolmi toast is a simple oven-baked honey bread dusted with Injeolmi powder with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Or, you could go with a two inch-thick toast slathered with chocolate spread and topped with strawberries, nuts and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. But if I were you, I’d rather spend the money on one of the bingsus because it’s more worthwhile.
The world’s leading pie chain from Australia has arrived on the shores of Singapore with new flavours to its line-up of tasty Aussie pies. Established in 2003, Pie Face is best known for baking all of its gourmet pies from scratch as well as its delicious fillings created by its chief pie baker, Mr Francois Galand. Other than its array of pies, the micro-bakery cafe also serves artisan coffee, crumbly cookies, moist cakes and piping hot soups.
The flavours are distinguished by the faces on the pies. Find out more here.
Hand-piped with juicy ground beef mixed with onion, fresh coriander, garlic, gravy, tomato paste, these mini classic minced beef pies are savoury enough to make you swoon.
If you’re in for some tongue-tingling heat, you will very much enjoy these spicy chicken pies because they are all packed with chicken meat, onions, garlic, cracked pepper and… chilli padi! The spiciness is no joke, I swear. I took a few bites and my sore throat immediately worsened heaps. Haha! For a non-spicy version, try Thai green curry chicken pie 🙂
The larger version of these pies are also hearty enough to be eaten as a meal.
The coloured pies are all infused with sweet mousse-like filling (with the exception of the Lemon Pie which had a sour lemon custard). My favourite was the butterscotch pie because it’s so sinfully sweet (hehe).
Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory
Adding to the long list of restaurants specialising in Korean Fried Chicken (KFC) in Singapore is Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory (pronounced chee-ruh chee-ruh) which stands out from the crowd with its unique menu.. and ridiculously big portions which
can feed for me for days are meant for sharing among at least 4 diners.
Not a rum lover (or a drinker as a matter of fact) but the Lady Killer was surprisingly decent and refreshing with a not-so-strong alcoholic punch as I could still distinctively taste the lemon and mint. It also makes a great palate cleanser before the main course.
Don’t you find it fascinating how a simple drink like Red Bull can be transformed into something so sophisticated? The Red-gizer satisfied my sweet cravings with its insanely saccharine flavour.
Many of us were intrigued by how the inverted drink was able to fill the cup with its content without overflowing, and even more so when we realised that it could also replenish the cup every time we took a sip. It must be the angle, yes, but still it didn’t make sense. Since there wasn’t any obstruction at the opening, I reckon the crushed ice also played a part in regulating the flow. Argh, couldn’t have my meal in peace without first unraveling this mystery!
The sweet and tart passion fruit base instantly became fizzy beverage with an iSi soda charger. Soju would be added instead if we had gone with the alcoholic option.
Other Tok! Tok! flavours available for you to experiment with are Blue Sky (blue lemonade) and Berry Purple (blueberry and forest berries).
Having any two of the above beverages would essentially be enough to fulfill your calorie requirement. They’re so sinful but oh-so-good!
Looking to begin your meal on an even sweeter note? Try the Honey Grape Salad! It may not be the most appealing salad but boy, it was marvellous. Toss the chilled seedless grapes, raisins, walnuts, almonds with the ricotta and whipped cream and you’re ready to eat. The sugary and crispy tortillas were nice and crumbly and they balanced out the juiciness of the grapes.
Seasoned with cajun (note: spicy) and topped with whipped cream, these chicken tenders that sit atop a bed of creamy white cheesy sauce and sweet salad (was pleased to see broccoli) were a bizarre combination but the taste proved to be totally off the charts.
I’ve heard great things about the fried chicken but the crispy fried chicken I had were disappointing – bland and too dry for my liking, probably because the kitchen was overwhelmed with orders that day (there was already a long queue waiting outside the restaurant at 2pm).
Garlicky wings had a more promising flavour, of course. Topped with garlic flakes and fried garlic cloves to live up to its title, the crispy wings were doused in rich, fragrant, caramel-coloured soya sauce that didn’t quite deliver. The soya flavour was more muted as compared to that of soya chicken wings I’ve had elsewhere.
The spicy wings stole the limelight. They were well-marinated which evened out the spiciness of the chilli sauce. I gotta admit, they were indeed spicy so you may need to take a few big gulps of water in between to mellow down the heat.
A healthier alternative to fried chicken, the roasted chicken was aromatic and succulent in general, though some pieces were slightly drier. All in all, the woodsy rosemary marinade really enhanced the overall meat flavour
Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory @ 313@somerset
313 Orchard Road
Operating hours: Sun – Thur 10.00am – 10.00pm, Fri – Sat 10.00am – 11.00pm
Its 313@somerset outlet is its only take-away kiosk in Singapore, specialising in traditional and authentic Portuguese snacks and pastries using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients.
Our pastries were delivered to our table packed in paper bags so some of them may appear a little lopsided. Let’s just focus on the taste, shall we?
The tart was a bit of a letdown because the crust wasn’t very flaky (in fact it was a little soggy) and it kinda lacked the light texture I hoped for. I came across some online reviews on their egg tarts and understood that it was supposed to have cinnamon sugar sprinkled on the surface. But that seemed to be missing from my tart. Having said that, the custard was smooth and I don’t mind giving their signature pastry a shot again (definitely with the Tring 313 app!) because after all, I love egg tarts.
Known as Coxinha in Portuguese, this pastry contains thick chicken chunks covered in dough and moulded into a shape that resembles a chicken drumstick (hence the name), battered with bread crumbs and deep fried to give the golden brown appearance. The semi-cooked dough that lined the inner wall of the batter reminded me of glutinous rice, soft and sticky, while the chicken meat was more on the dry side. Nonetheless, this makes a suitable snack to combat hunger in between meals. Other variations available are the crab and prawn drumsticks specially catered to seafood lovers.
These cone-shaped pastries, perhaps inspired from the shape of a conus (cone shell), were glazed with white icing and hand-piped with thick hazelnut cream that had a mild roasted taste to it. I started devouring it from the pointed end to prevent smearing my lips with the cream. Also comes with strawberry and coconut flavours for those with inquisitive taste buds.
With a thick coat of chocolate frosting spread all over the top and rich, velvety chocolate cream infused into the topmost layer, these lip-smacking chocolate doughssans (a hybrid of donut and croissant) are the perfect alternative to éclairs for your parties. They were light and airy like donuts but lost out on the flakiness of croissants. Would probably taste better after warming it up (available upon request). Not fond of chocolates? There are also cream doughssans for you to indulge in.
Hvala Waffle Bar
Operating on the same ground is Hvala, a dessert kiosk run by a young couple that sells waffles with a twist, and vanilla soft serve. But unlike typical ice cream parlours, Hvala serves their specialties separately because each of them is handcrafted with unique flavours (and toppings) that work on their own.
By the way, Hvala is pronounced as “hva-la” with the h spoken quickly. But as we all know, Singaporeans have lazy tongue so the unofficial pronunciation is “fa-la”. Hvala is Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian for thank you and it was chosen as the business name to capture the essence of the amazing hospitality and service of the Croatians.
The high-quality soft serve ice creams are made with vanilla beans (evident from the little black specks all over the swirls) and they were seriously so decadent and creamy, they made all the vanilla ice cream I had before look bad. Had thought that I would prefer salted caramel more to the other two but I actually fell in love with the one drizzled with maple syrup. It blended well with the ice cream and enhanced the overall sweetness. The one with chocolate fondue required a bit more effort to eat because the chocolate hardened very rapidly above the cool temperature of the frozen food, therefore making it difficult to dig into the ice cream.
Enjoy a cup of vanilla soft serve to go with any waffles of your choice for just an additional S$2.50!
I know I mentioned that their waffles and soft serve are sold separately but I guess after taking into consideration all the feedback from their customers, they had eventually decided to incorporate the waffle into the ice cream! But nothing beats having the full-sized waffles which come with many different toppings though.
The waffles, especially the original and apple cinnamon, were absolutely amazeballz. They were made to perfection – warm and crunchy on the outside and fluffy and soft on the inside. The portion was just right. I could easily finish one on my own if not for my exploding belly.
Prices are relatively affordable as you can tell and its popularity is slowly picking up (there was a short queue for it when I was there). Give it a couple of years and you will see outlets after outlets emerging all around the island.
Hvala Waffle Bar @ 313@somerset
313 Orchard Road
Operating hours: 11.00am – 10.00pm Daily
Oh am gee, are you spoilt for choice? If you wish to go on a food trail (like this) and try all the food featured above, perhaps the app I mentioned earlier can be of some help! With the Tring 313 app, you can take advantage of the deep discounts offered by these retailers and indulge in a feast without overspending.
Have fun pigging out and remember to tag @313somerset and hashtag #wealwaysshare and #313foodie in your photos on Instagram to gain likes from lurkers (hawhawhaw)!
Thanks for reading! 🙂