[CHINESE RESTAURANT] Revamped Menu @ No Signboard Seafood at Esplanade

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Now that winter break is in full swing, you may be expecting to play host to some of your friends from temperate countries. With iconic landmarks like the Marina Bay Sands and the Merlion statue already on the itinerary, the next step is probably to look for a nearby place to dine and cool off while at the same time, show off some of our famous delicacies. If this describes your situation now, look no further.

Some orange juice for you?

Some orange juice for you?

After undergoing more than two months of refurbishment, No Signboard Seafood (NSB) at Esplanade has finally reopened its doors to the public, but not without a revamped menu to tempt your palate!

Exclusively available at the Esplanade outlet (for now) to enhance and refresh diners’ experience, the new menu takes inspiration from crafting Chinese with Western and Japanese cuisines. The latest culinary creations not only include a selection of unique and popular dishes from its overseas outlet in Shanghai, but also feature a stylish plating upon serving (likewise for existing dishes).

Be prepared to salivate at the sight of Shanghai favourites such as Glazed Australia Tomatoes Stuffed with Crispy Mushroom Salad, Heirloom Beetroot Foie Gras, Braised Cabbage with Chestnut in Saffron Sauce and Marinated Seasonal Hairy Crab in Shanghainese Style, or west-meets-east classics like Wagyu Beef Cube in Sichuan Style, Pan Seared Foie Gras with Cherries and Japanese Uni with Oba Leaf Tempura, all of which is a testament to NSB’s commitment to provide their guests with exciting reasons to return.

Chef recommended deep-fried butter prawns ($6++/pc, min. 6 for live prawns OR S$15++/pc, min. 4 for king prawns)

Chef recommended deep-fried butter prawns ($6++/pc, min. 6 for live prawns OR S$15++/pc, min. 4 for king prawns)

Petite Abalone & Scallop with Yam Nest (S$10++/pc, min. 2)

Petite Abalone & Scallop with Yam Nest (S$10++/pc, min. 2)

A closer look at the scallop buried in the nest

A closer look at the scallop buried in the nest

Wagyu Beef Cubes in Sichuan Style (S$68++)

Wagyu Beef Cubes in Sichuan Style (S$68++)

With mala being all the rage right now, it won’t be surprising to have at least one dish on the menu that is cooked with Sichuan peppercorns. While you certainly can’t go wrong with mala, caution needs to be taken to ensure that these proportionally-diced beef cubes are cooked to the desired tenderness – something which NSB has nailed perfectly.

Espresso Kurobuta Pork Ribs with Hazelnut Crumble (S$15++/pc, min. 4)

Espresso Kurobuta Pork Ribs with Hazelnut Crumble (S$15++/pc, min. 4)

Grilled Portobello Mushroom (S$32++)

Grilled Portobello Mushroom (S$32++)

The Grilled Portobello Mushroom is lightly seasoned so the taste of the mushrooms can be enjoyed to the fullest. Although grilled to the right crispness, sufficient amount of moisture is still locked within the mushrooms.

The mushrooms were glistening...

The mushrooms were glistening…

Regardless of any new dishes that NSB is betting on, the unspoken winner is ultimately the Chilli Alaskan King Crab which chilli paste recipe has meticulously been maintained true to its original over the years despite the menu having gone through an overhaul. However, if you are itching for a change, there is always the option of White Pepper Alaskan King Crab聽which NSB is more known for. In any case, ordering crab(s) is a must-do when you are playing host because, heck, that’s probably the national dish your foreign friends are dying to try in Singapore!

Chilli Sri Lankan Crab with Macaroni (Medium: S$10++/100g, Large: S$13.80++/100g, Dungeness Crab: S$128++/ea)

Chilli Sri Lankan Crab with Macaroni (Medium: S$10/100g, Large: S$13.80/100g, Dungeness Crab: S$128/ea)

Singapore may be touted as the land of chilli crabs, but there are people among us who find it a chore to eat them. Therefore, I actually thought it was very clever of NSB to come up with a chilli crab dish that is served with macaroni (in the carapace) so that it can be enjoyed by everyone.

Signature Fresh Mango Compote with Coconut Sago & Pomelo (S$10++/ea)

Signature Fresh Mango Compote with Coconut Sago & Pomelo (S$10++/ea)

Unlike typical mango pomelo sago you see at other restaurants, NSB’s rendition separates the pomelo and coconut sago from the mango compote so you can adjust the amount of these dry ingredients you want to add into the bowl, and it also comes with edible flower petals. The interesting presentation aside, I would expect this to have a more varied taste (considering that it contains some unusual ingredients like the petals and coconut sago) and a thicker, not so watered-down consistency. But on the plus side, it is not overwhelmingly sweet which is great for people who need to control their sugar intake. Quite frankly, the Signature Fresh Mango Compote with Coconut Sago & Pomelo is just a glorified version of mango pomelo sago. I say pass on this one and get orh nee (yam paste) instead for the same price 馃槣

Apart from the food, what’s also worth mentioning is, perhaps, the interior design of the restaurant. Gone is the gloomy Victorian-era decorating that used to adorn the restaurant. Upon entering the newly renovated outlet, guests will be greeted by a bright and welcoming dining area with a virtual ceiling aquarium on the left and a glass window that looks into the kitchen on the right to proudly exhibit the dexterity of the chefs while they are preparing the dishes.

Open kitchen concept

Open kitchen concept

All the tables would be readied with the necessary tableware such as crab crackers and meat pickers (because who doesn’t order crabs at NSB, right? But don’t worry, no one’s gonna judge you if you don’t 馃槅), and a really cute crab-shaped chopstick rest for each diner. In addition, wet wipes individually packaged in plastic packets are replaced by not one, but TWO tablet napkins which expand to full size when they come in contact with water (although I’m not quite sure if these napkins are still chargeable to the diners so please check with the staff before you proceed to use them 馃檴). Take notes, prospective restaurateurs – that’s one way of being more environmentally-friendly without compromising on the diners’ experience! *cough*nostrawmovement*cough*聽

Tablet napkins - 2 per person. Just drop the "tablets" into the little pond and watch them grow!

Tablet napkins – 2 per person. Just drop the “tablets” into the little pond and watch them grow!

Adorable crab-shaped chopstick rest. Look, it even has a baby crab next to it to support your meat picker!

Adorable crab-shaped chopstick rest. Look, it even has a baby crab next to it to support your meat picker!

All in all, the food lived up to my expectations and the incorporation of fusion cuisine is certainly a refreshing change. Given that the tastes and elements of the different cuisines are notably present in the most of the fusion dishes, it is evident that considerable thought was put into the recipes.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading!

No Signboard Seafood 路 Esplanade 8 Raffles Ave # 01-14/16 Singapore 039802 路 Operating hours: 11 am – 2.30 pm & 5.30 pm – 10.30 pm 路 Nearest MRT station: Esplanade (cc3), City Hall (NS25/EW13) 路 For more information, please visit No Signboard Seafood FACEBOOK PAGE, INSTAGRAM or WEBSITE. Alternatively, you may download the menu HERE.

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馃榿

REVIEW: IR脡N Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder Wash

Hello everyone!

You might have heard of the infamous multi-step skincare regimen popularised by South Korea but let’s be honest – who has the time for that? More often than not, I would find myself even dragging my feet to the washroom after a long day at work to shower because I am just that dead beat, let alone going through a thousand and one steps to prep my face for bedtime. Thankfully, a local beauty brand, IR脡N, heard my silent cries for help and decided once and for all to put a stop to these unnecessarily superfluous routines and created products which bring back the joy of skincare.

IR脡N… er, who?

Founded by local entrepreneur, Eric Tan (also the founder of Singapore鈥檚 first traditional Japanese onsen spa), IR脡N was conceived out of his love for his wife (hence the name IR脡N because that’s Irene – his wife’s name – in Hungarian – awww 馃槏) who had been struggling with breakouts and eczema. When the many non-comedogenic products she had tried proved to be futile in calming down her skin, the loving husband decided to delve into the arcane world of skincare in search of a solution which led to his partnership with a skincare researcher from A*STAR. Together with the researcher, he formulated a serum without harmful chemical, synthetic fragrances, and BPA for his wife. From there, they developed seven concoctions and started IR脡N with the aim of providing busy women like his wife a straightforward solution to common skin ailments, backed by scientific facts and research.

Launched in December 2017, the serums come in 7 formulations for wrinkles and deep lines, acne and oily skin, dehydrated skin, sensitivity, pigmentation and uneven skin tones, sagging skin, and clogged pores. Shown here are just 3 types of serum to be used with the Skin Vaporizer, a device that nano-sizes the serum to swiftly and efficiently feed the nutrient-deprived skin. If time permits, I will do a more in-dept review on this.

Launched in December 2017, the serums come in 7 formulations for wrinkles and deep lines, acne and oily skin, dehydrated skin, sensitivity, pigmentation and uneven skin tones, sagging skin, and clogged pores. Shown here are just 3 types of serum to be used with the Skin Vaporizer, a device that nano-sizes the serum to swiftly and efficiently feed the nutrient-deprived skin. If time permits, I will do a more in-dept review on this.

More than a year after their signature serums made public appearance, IR脡N comes up with yet another innovative product – a cleanser in the form of powder.

Introducing: Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder Wash

IR脡N Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder Wash (S$35 each)

IR脡N Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder Wash (S$35 each)

Made in Japan, the Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder Wash is a gentle daily powder wash with triple cleansing action to remove dirt, sebum and old keratin, and is suitable for all skin types. Vegan and cruelty-free, it contains Japanese Rice Bran, a natural ingredient with soothing enzymes and antioxidant properties which effectively resurface and gently exfoliate the skin to reveal a healthy glow and smoother complexion. On top of that, it also has Sorbitol and Hyaluronic Acid to help retain moisture whilst skin is thoroughly cleansed. This is in contrast to other brands of powder wash which tend to contain talc (which causes irritation and dryness to sensitive and inflamed skin), SLS/SLES (which gives cleansers the foamy, bubbly consistency but at the same time, removes the skin of its natural oils and trigger skin irritation), non-fatty alcohol (or drying alcohols which may harm the skin’s protective surface and worsen oily skin), and fragrance.

Truth be told, I had never heard of powder cleansers until the launch last month so naturally, I was very intrigued and bewildered by it, to say the least. Isn’t powder a lot harder to work with? Won’t powder scatter and cause a mess (and this is the main reason I avoid loose powder foundation like the plague)? Like, who actually asked for cleansers, in powder form? Is this another marketing gimmick? I was sceptical. That was, until I tried and tested the powder wash myself.

As it turned out, it was actually pretty easy to use!

WATCH: Live demonstration by a staff from IREN. Notice just how much powder is needed for the wash?

The bottle is also designed to dispense just the amount required (about 1 teaspoon) for each wash, hence minimising wastage (no more oh sh*t! moments). Once the powder is poured onto the palm (and the fine-grained texture feels sooooo soft like icing sugar 馃槏), slowly mix it with some water and lather into a creamy foam. Then, gently massage it onto the face for 15 seconds before rinsing it with warm water.

WATCH: If you’re terrible at remembering how much 1 teaspoon of powder is, fret not! Just dispense the powder from the bottle only once.

But how effective is this powder wash in removing makeup?

WATCH: Swiped Colourpop Lippie Stix (in Fab Five) once on my hand. Let’s see how much it is removed at the end of the wash!

The (disappointing, I must say) result after a pretty rigorous wash

The (disappointing, I must say) result after a pretty rigorous wash

My verdict?

From this little experiment, it is safe to say that the Super Gentle Daily Powder Wash is only great as an everyday cleanser that is best used on bare face so do remember to take your makeup off completely before arriving at this step!

That said, apart from the skin benefits of this powder wash, it has other major advantages too which jet setters can relate to – you won’t have to check in your cleanser (yay to washing up on long-haul flights!) and you won’t feel like you’re piggybacking Snorlax with something so lightweight in your hand-carry baggage. Be careful not to repackage it in a way that would raise suspicions, though. You definitely don’t want to be wrongfully detained like this lady here.

What are your thoughts on this product? Let me know what you think in the comments below or take a quick poll! 馃槉

Thanks for reading!

IR脡N Start Afresh Daily Enzyme Powder is now available at Face Shower Bar by IR脡N, on IR脡N SKIN聽and SHOPEE.
PRODUCTS WERE SUPPLIED BY IR脡N FOR MY EDITORIAL CONSIDERATION. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE MY OWN.

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[INTL BUFFET] Have A Merry Little Christmas & Usher the Year of the Rat with an Imperial Feast @ The Square Restaurant, Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay

Season’s greetings, everyone!

The time for merrymaking is upon us again and that only means one thing – endless parties and gatherings with your loved ones and friends whom you’ve been too busy to meet all year. Sadly, for the incompetent cooks like yours truly, whipping up a dish as simple as an omelette for a potluck can be a real headache. Rather than subjecting your culinary-inept friends (and your stomach) to the unnecessary torture, why not ditch the apron and leave the food preparation to the professionals?

In a food haven that is Singapore, however, buffets are so aplenty that it takes sheer dedication to even shortlist that few locations. Perhaps, we can start from The Square Restaurant at Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay which has quite a number of exciting festive dishes lined up for lunch and dinner!

Have A Merry Little Christmas
(1 – 31 December 2019)

Indulge in an extravagant feast throughout the month of December as The Square Restaurant brings you the finest selection from the land and sea. Expect to see traditional (but improved!) festive favourites such as their 24-hour Roasted Brine Turkey, Roasted Beef Striploin and Roasted Lamb Leg to get you in the Christmas mood alongside an array of the freshest seafood on ice, like the chilled Alaskan King Crab Legs, Half-shell Scallops and sashimi. At the same time, keep in touch with your roots with local delicacies such as The Square Signature Black Pepper Crab and Salted Egg Crayfish.

24-hour Roasted Brine Turkey with Giblet & Cranberry Sauce

24-hour Roasted Brine Turkey with Giblet & Cranberry Sauce

Baked Gammon Ham with Pineapple Sauce

Baked Gammon Ham with Pineapple Sauce

Mediterranean Seabass En Papillote

Mediterranean Seabass En Papillote

Roasted Cumin & Pepper Infused Pork Rib served with Mango Mojo

Roasted Cumin & Pepper Infused Pork Rib served with Mango Mojo

Spanish Seafood Paella

Spanish Seafood Paella

A la Minute Pasta: Salted Egg

A la Minute Pasta: Salted Egg

Making an introductory appearance at the buffet is the 脿 la minute pasta with your choice of sauce between homemade salted egg and Mala. Having tried both sauces, I must say each of them has its own merits and appeal to different taste buds. Salted egg was a little on the thick side (totally apparent in the above picture) and I could taste the chunks of yolk. But as with most salted egg dishes, the possibility of feeling gelat (surfeited?) is there so go easy on the servings. #sayNOtofoodwaste

Mala, on the other hand, was a breath of fresh air. It contains just the right amount of Sichuan peppercorns for me, a novice eater, to enjoy comfortably without being irked by the (many a time excessive) tingly numbness in my mouth. But that said, if you can’t handle spicy food (though I did suggest to have a range of spiciness level for guest to choose from), definitely opt for salted egg instead.

And do remember to make some room for desserts at the end of the meal as you wouldn’t want to miss delectable sweet treats, like The Square Signature Durian Pengat, Log Cake, Chocolate Fondue, Fruit Cake, Tiramisu and other assorted pastries specially curated for Christmas!

Lemon Meringue Cake

Lemon Meringue Cake

Brownie & Hazelnut Cream

Brownie & Hazelnut Cream

Apple Walnut Log Cake

Apple Walnut Log Cake

Apple Almond Puff

Apple Almond Puff

Tiramisu

Tiramisu – which I thought was Milo Dinosaur at first glance WAHAHAHA

Festive Buffet
Lunch
Monday – Saturday (except 25th Dec) 路 12.00 pm – 2.30 pm
Adult: $48++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $29++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $38++
Dinner
Sunday – Thursday (except 24th, 25th and 31st) 路 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Adult: $68++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $39++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $58++
Christmas Eve Buffet Dinner
24th Dec 路 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
*includes free-flow martini, beer, wine and soft drinks
Adult: $88++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $49++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $78++
Christmas Day Lunch
25th Dec 路 12.00 pm – 2.30 pm
Adult: $68++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $39++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $58++
Christmas Day Buffet Dinner
25th Dec 路 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Adult: $68++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $39++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $58++
New Year’s Eve Buffet Dinner
31st Dec 路 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
*includes free-flow beer, wine and soft drinks
Adult: $88++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $49++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $78++

Usher the Year of the Rat with an Imperial Feast
(8 January – 8 February 2020)

Hold off your New Year’s resolution of getting back in shape because the feasting is not quite over yet! With the Year of the Rat exactly one month away from Christmas, brace yourselves for another round of edible temptation coming at you from every direction in January!

For many Chinese families, zi char places and Chinese restaurants are usually the gathering point for reunion dinners, and it’s always the same old dishes offered in the set menus. Worse, the prices of these dinner sets can only rise each year while portions remain unchanged or get reduced. Share the same sentiments? Then, you might want to relook the style of your reunion dinner this coming Chinese New Year.

How about a reunion buffet dinner for a change? That way, you will be ensured everyone gets their fill from a myriad of dishes at their leisure (like, you know how some restaurants churn out dish after dish and you feel pressured to speed up your eating? SO STRESSFUL) and you actually pay according to how much each person can consume? Yes, extended families with a brood of very young offspring and blessed with longevity, buffet dinner should be the way to go. And The Square Restaurant has just the what is needed to satisfy diners of all ages.

Yu Sheng (charged separately at S$68++ for Medium or $88++ for Large, excluding 20% discount for dine-in guest). Of course, your Yu Sheng will not be presented as such. This is exclusively for media.

Fa Cai Yu Sheng (charged separately at S$68++ for Medium or $88++ for Large, excluding 20% discount for dine-in guest). Of course, your Yu Sheng will not be presented as such. This is exclusively for media 馃槣

Your Fa Cai Yu Sheng (courtesy of Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay)

Your Fa Cai Yu Sheng (courtesy of Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay)

From an assortment of BBQ meats, Poached Broccoli with Dried Oysters and Black Moss to Wok-fried Salted Egg Prawn and Laksa, the buffet boasts a good mix of traditional and modern Chinese New Year delicacies that is bound to please the pickiest and most demanding of taste buds. On top of that, the more hands-on family members would also find themselves immersing themselves in the experience at the DIY Kong Bak Bao station. What better way to bridge the generation gap between the young and old than to offer your elders the Kong Bak Baos you have specially prepared for them, right? 馃槈

Roasted Grain-fed Beef Striploin

Roasted Grain-fed Beef Striploin

Braised Broccoli with Dried Oysters & Black Moss

Braised Broccoli with Dried Oysters & Black Moss

Wok-fried Salted Egg Prawn

Wok-fried Salted Egg Prawn

Hong Kong-style Steamed Pomfret

Hong Kong-style Steamed Pomfret

The Square Signature Black Pepper Crab

The Square Signature Black Pepper Crab

Assorted Chinese BBQ Platter

Assorted Chinese BBQ Platter

Assorted Chinese BBQ Platter

Assorted Chinese BBQ Platter

Braised Pork Rib with Chinese Mushrooms & Bamboo Shoot

Braised Pork Rib with Chinese Mushrooms & Bamboo Shoot

Lastly, round off the hearty meal with more than just a boring bowl of mango pomelo sago. Everyone at the table gets to pick from a variety of pastries infused with local flavours including but not limited to Pandan Egg Tart, Taro Butter Cake, Bak Kwa Chicken Floss Swiss Roll and Golden Sesame Ball. Not really a pastry person? Sure. Have a go at the Chilled Peach Gum with Red Dates and Dried Longan – which is an absolute favourite of my plus-one because it is tasty yet so healthy – or Pan-fried Nian Gao. Are you salivating yet?

Pandan Egg Tart

Pandan Egg Tart

Bak Kwa Chicken Floss Swiss Roll

Bak Kwa Chicken Floss Swiss Roll

Savoury and juicy sweetmeat wrapped with pastry dough and topped with chicken floss, this ingenious creation was a hit at the media tasting session. I never liked聽bak kwa, but I just couldn’t resist taking seconds of this. It was hea-ven-ly.

Orange Mousse Cake with Red Berry Jelly

Orange Mousse Cake with Red Berry Jelly

The Orange Mousse Cake is another top pick of mine and I am pretty sure it accounted for most of my calories gained that night – but damn was it worth it! The yellow strip of fondant icing – which I strongly feel should not just be on both ends of the cake because without it, the cake is better off in the Christmas buffet spread – has a citrusy note to it and the slight sourness of the red berry jelly filling prevents the mousse from being too cloyingly sweet. There is simply no reason to dislike this.

Taro Butter Cake

Taro Butter Cake

Chinese New Year may be more than a month away from now, but it’s never too early to start making your reservations. Act fast before your preferred dates are fully booked!

Prosperity Buffet
Lunch
Monday – Saturday聽路 12.00 pm – 2.30 pm
Adult: $48++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $29++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $38++
Sunday Brunch
Sundays only 路 12.30 pm – 3.00 pm
Adult: $68++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $39++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $58++
Dinner
Sunday – Thursday (except 26th Jan) 路 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Adult: $68++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $39++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $58++
Chinese New Year’s Eve Dinner
24th Jan 路 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
*includes free-flow wine, beer and soft drinks
Adult: $88++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $49++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $78++
Chinese New Year Dinner
25th & 26th Jan 路 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
Adult: $68++ 路 Child (5-12 years old): $39++ 路 Senior Citizen (above 55 years old): $58++
Fa Cai Yu Sheng
$68++ for Medium 路 $88++ for Large
(20% discount for all dine-in guests)

Overall, The Square Restaurant has impressed me not only with their palatable offerings, but also their creative spin on traditional dishes. I mean, just look at the presentation of the desserts especially! The effort is unmistakable.

Thanks for reading!

The Square Restaurant @ Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay 鈥 177A River Valley Rd Singapore 179031 鈥 For more information on buffet timings, please visit Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay’s WEBSITE

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