[SUSHI RESTAURANT] New Seasonal Menu @ Sushiro, Isetan Scotts

Move aside, Genki Sushi and Itacho Sushi for there is a new kid on the block!

After what seemed like an eternity, Japan’s largest conveyor belt sushi chain Sushiro has finally reached our shores, bestowing us with not one, not two but three outlets across the island in just a span of 6 months (with the newest one at Causeway Point) to satisfy our insatiable appetite for sushi!

Sushiro at Isetan Scotts

Sushiro at Isetan Scotts

What’s the difference, the uninitiated may ask, between Sushiro and the many existing kaiten sushi chains here that warrants your attention? For a start, Sushiro has an extensive menu. Having tried Sushiro at their Taipei branch last year, I knew very well that the newcomer to Singapore’s food scene wasn’t going to disappoint in terms of their offerings. Apart from the usual sushi staples, you can expect other ingenious sushi creations as well, such as sea urchin and roasted beef (yes, this is actually one dish – best of both worlds for people like me!), monkfish liver gunkan, baby scallop and dongpo pork, not forgetting outlet-exclusive ingredients (which I will be elaborating on shortly)! Their appetiser and dessert menu is nothing short of inventive and decadent as well, with items like cold chawanmushi, mango shaved ice and heavenly catalana that will ignite the fireworks of enjoyment in you.

Free-flow of iced water near the entrance

Free-flow of iced water near the entrance

This is where you get your free-flow of soft drinks (except for juices and alcoholic beverages) if you have ordered them at S$3.50 per pax!

This is where you get your free-flow of soft drinks (except for juices and alcoholic beverages) if you have ordered them at S$3.50 per pax!

As my companion and I already had our orders in mind (we had long craved for a number of Sushiro dishes so their inception in Singapore was extremely timely!), we jumped straight into adding them to our virtual cart on the tablet. Within minutes, our personal conveyor belt (which is a division from the main lane) would be jam-packed with our orders and we had to scramble to bring them down onto our table (we had clearly underestimated the preparation time and trust me, it got crazier towards the end when we couldn’t find space on the table for approaching orders). Talk about efficiency 馃槄 Lesson learnt; clear your plates before you place new orders!

The iPad also alerted us when our orders arrived

The iPad also alerted us when our orders arrived

Sushi traffic jam on our dedicated lane!

Sushi traffic jam on our dedicated lane!

Now, here’s a fun fact: did you know that every sushi plate has an IC (short for integrated circuit) tag integrated into it to ensure that any sushi that has travelled 350 metres around the conveyor belt would be replaced with fresh ones? As someone who tends to avoid picking up sushi on the conveyor belt (as you wouldn’t know what other patrons had done to them before they reached you..), this certainly gives me a peace of mind.

Without further ado, let’s get right down to the truckload of food we had at Sushiro (so that you won’t need to) and some of our honest opinions on a selected few. Be warned, though, that the abundance of food pictures coming your way may trigger your hunger pangs so if you’re reading this at night, S-T-A-Y A-W-A-Y(and come back later 馃ぃ).

(Note: prices stated are exclusive of prevailing GST and Service Charge)

Appetisers

Chawanmushi with Scallop (S$3.50)

Chawanmushi with Scallop (S$3.50)

Cold Chawanmushi (S$3.50)

Cold Chawanmushi (S$3.50)

Cold Chawanmushi (S$3.50)

Cold Chawanmushi (S$3.50)

The cold chawanmushi was intriguing as it was something different from the norm. It had chunks of dashi stock that had been gelatinised to look like little pieces of precious gemstones that shimmered as the light bounced off the individual bits and pieces. Taste-wise, it was very similar to the hot version (I suppose the cold one would make a more refreshing alternative during sweltering days!) but I wouldn’t recommend this if you have sensitive teeth like me 馃槴

Mini Ramen, Sushi and Sashimi

Uni Ramen (S$8.50)

Uni Ramen (S$8.50)

The moment I saw this on the menu, I knew I had to get it because I absolutely love uni! I was rather impressed by the amount of uni (which is an expensive delicacy, if you didn’t know) served with such a small portion of noodles. The al dente te noodles were unfortunately clumped together which made it hard to eat. Furthermore, it would be a tad dry if not for the uni sauce. However, the dollop of uni compensated for all the shortfall.

And in case I wasn’t clear enough, the portion of the Uni Ramen is too small to be eaten as a main dish, but is definitely sufficient in satisfying your exquisite taste for uni! I totally wouldn’t mind returning just for this.

[SEASONAL ITEM] Blackthroat Seaperch Sushi (S$3.20)

[SEASONAL ITEM] Blackthroat Seaperch Sushi (S$3.20)

[NEW] Surf Clam (S$2.20)

[NEW] Surf Clam (S$2.20)

Steamed Abalone (S$3.20)

Steamed Abalone (S$3.20)

[LIMITED TIME ONLY] Giant Scallop (S$4.80)

[LIMITED TIME ONLY] Giant Scallop (S$4.80)

Salmon with Basil Cheese (S$2.20)

Salmon with Basil Cheese (S$2.20)

One of the crowd favourites, the salmon with basil cheese sushi is an east-meets-west fusion dish done right. The basil cheese added a different dimension and flavour profile to the sushi. The cheese might be a little too overwhelming to the extent that it kind of masked the taste of the fish, but it is still a unique dish that is worth trying nonetheless.

Whelk (S$2.20)

Whelk (S$2.20)

[OUTLET EXCLUSIVE] Otoro (S$2.20)

[OUTLET EXCLUSIVE] Otoro (S$2.20)

Available for a limited time only, the otoro sushi was value for money with mouthwatering marbling of fats to give a meatier chew.

Premium Grill Conger Eel (S$3.20)

Premium Grill Conger Eel (S$3.20)

Roasted Beef ($4.80)

Roasted Beef ($4.80)

As for the roasted beef sushi (which makes an unusual choice of sushi ingredient), the sauce complemented the cut of beef rather well. The cut of beef was cooked evenly although it might be a little too well done and was chewy at certain parts. Even so, it was not difficult to chew and swallow. The texture was also pretty soft for a cut of beef that was cooked well. If you like sea urchin (uni), be sure to opt for sea urchin and roasted beef sushi instead!

Salmon Sashimi (S$4.80)

Salmon Sashimi (S$4.80)

Desserts and Beverages

Warabimochi (S$3.80)

Warabimochi (S$3.80)

This paled in comparison to the real deal I had in Osaka last year as it did not give me that melt-in-your-mouth goodness I was anticipating. The texture felt more like that of a jelly – slightly rigid and rubbery. I say give this a miss unless you need some bitterness (from the matcha powder) to balance out the sweetness of other desserts that you are having.

Hattendo Shizuoka Matcha Pudding with Whipped Cream (S$4.30)

Hattendo Shizuoka Matcha Pudding with Whipped Cream (S$4.30)

Hattendo Coconut Pudding with Okinawa Brown Sugar (S$4.30)

Hattendo Coconut Pudding with Okinawa Brown Sugar (S$4.30)

Hattendo might have bade farewell to its patrons at Tanjong Pagar Centre following its store closure but its legacy remains. Sushiro has collaborated with Hattendo to continue to offer you its famous custard and chocolate cream buns, and matcha and coconut puddings! The coconut pudding had a satisfying crunch to it and the taste was rather close to chendol. However, we were slightly dismayed by the flat taste of the matcha one.

Mango Shaved Ice (S$6.50)

Mango Shaved Ice (S$6.50)

The mango shaved ice dessert lost out in terms of the richness of its mango flavour and sweetness although it can be argued as a healthier choice for people who are more conscious about their sugar intake. Texture-wise, the ice was shaved super thinly and was actually a joy to eat. This, combined with its not-so-sweet profile, meant that the dessert would be a hit among both young and old. The serving portion is huge too and can be shared between two or more people.

Crab Cream Croquette (S$3.50 for 2 pieces)

Crab Cream Croquette (S$3.50 for 2 pieces)

Chicken Karaage (S$4.80)

Chicken Karaage (S$4.80)

The chicken karaage, I would say, was a glorified version of har cheong gai聽– but I’m not complaining! Served piping hot, the batter was light and crispy and did not retain as much oil. It was so fragrant that I could actually smell it while on its way to me, and I just couldn’t resist having seconds! (And by seconds, I meant, like, repeated order 馃槢)

Catalana (S$3.50)

Catalana (S$3.50)

Catalana (S$3.50)

Catalana (S$3.50)

The catalana dessert was what I missed most about Sushiro during my stay in Taiwan. I even resorted to searching for the recipe online – that’s how much I loved it! Hence, when I got wind of Sushiro’s venture into Singapore, all that went through my mind was catalana… catalana… catalana…聽馃い

Catalana (or Crema Catalana as the Spanish calls it) is very similar to the French cr猫me br没l茅e, but is made from milk and then thickened with cornstarch and eggs. It consists of a rich custard base topped with a texturally contrasting layer of hardened caramelised sugar. I do not consider myself as one with a sweet tooth, but the catalana somehow managed to hit all the sweet spots!

Yuzu Juice (S$2.50)

Yuzu Juice (S$2.50)

Ah, yes, we were pretty amazed by the capacity of our stomachs as well. But it probably took me five trips to the gym to finally get rid of all the calories I gained that night. Still, stuffing my face with such great food from Sushiro was so worth it.

Despite the paranoia surrounding the virus outbreak, their Isetan Scott outlet was abuzz with diners lining up to secure a seat when I was there a few weeks ago and I am pretty sure the crowd hasn’t subsided yet (because there are only three outlets? And not a single one in the North-East region? How can?!). Hence, I thought it was very thoughtful of Sushiro to roll out a mobile application [Download: iOS / Android] for customers to make reservations for tables. The app also allows you to monitor your waiting time so that you won’t have to hang around the restaurant mindlessly when you could be doing something more meaningful (like shopping at Isetan Department Store? 馃槈) Oh, and don’t worry about table hoggers because there is a 60-minute dine-in period. This means you’ll definitely get a table within this time frame.

What do you think? Have you tried Sushiro before? What do you think about their food? Let me know your views in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Sushiro (Isetan Scotts) 路 350 Orchard Rd #04-00 Shaw House Singapore 238868 路 Operating hours: 11.00 am – 9.00 pm (Sun – Thu) & 11.00 am – 9.30 pm (Fri & Sat) (Please refer to THIS FACEBOOK POST for temporary closing times) 路 Nearest MRT station: Orchard (NS22) 路 For more information, please visit Sushiro FACEBOOK PAGE, INSTAGRAM or WEBSITE.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized food updates!
Be sure to watch out for my Stories because that’s where I post my tasty encounters
馃榿

[EVENT] Chinese New Year Bonanza 2020 @ Takashimaya Square

Happy 2020, everyone! It’s crazy how fast time flies, eh?

Spring will soon be upon us, and with that comes Chinese New Year (CNY) and the multitude of highly-anticipated CNY bazaars that follow. While establishments scurry to take down and store away all their Christmas collaterals and products, one, in particular, has already gone full swing into the CNY sales to give you a head start on getting ready for the festivity – even before the calendar year ended!

Takashimaya CNY Fair 2020

Takashimaya CNY Fair 2020

Decked out in red and gold at the extensive basement two event square of Takashimaya Shopping Centre with oriental tunes streaming in the background, the CNY Fair organised by Takashimaya Department Store is hard to miss. This year, the fair sees the participation of 67 local and international vendors that offer an assortment of seasonal treats to cater to all household needs and traditions. That’s right, whether you are of Cantonese or Peranakan descent, you are sure to find something here that strikes your (or your elders’) fancy!

Click here to download the list of vendors and their locations

Continue to let your taste buds revel in savoury bliss with homegrown delights from returning vendors, such as Butter Studio, Home’s Favourites, Juz Bread, Kele, My Mum’s Cookies, HarisAnn’s, and Old Seng Choong, all of which are known for their confectionery and pastries like pineapple tarts and sugee cookies. Of course, one cannot miss the presence of CNY staples, such as bak kwa from Bee Cheng Hiang聽and dried seedless persimmon from Korea-originated Abana that you can consider filling your snack tray with.

Butter Studio

Butter Studio

Home's Favourite

Home’s Favourite

Check out these vintage tins from Old Seng Choon!

Check out these vintage tins from Old Seng Choon!

Prosperity Assorted Pineapple Tarts (S$48) from Old Seng Choong

Prosperity Assorted Pineapple Tarts (S$48) from Old Seng Choong

Baker's Oven

Baker’s Oven

Bee Cheng Hiang

Bee Cheng Hiang

Semi-dried persimmons from Abana

Semi-dried persimmons from Abana

Also joining the ranks of these old-timers are new but familiar establishments such as Golden Moment (made famous by their durian charcoal snow skin mooncake but they are stocking up on their durian ice-cream this time), Mdm Ling Bakery (look out for their melt-in-your-mouth butter cookies!), The Lapis Place (known for their creative spin on traditional kueh lapis like pineapple lapis, a flavour exclusive to Takashimaya), One Farrer (try their homemade golden pineapple tarts and gawk in wonder at their Rice Bucket with Gold Coin Bucket Cake on display!) and Eureka (with its super addictive popcorn). Furthermore, famed Fukuoka ramen chain Ichiran will be making a pop-up appearance in Singapore once again to satisfy your famished belly with its limited-edition aromatic Tonkotsu Ramen retail packs, albeit only from 8 to 16 January (limit to 400 packs per day) at the fair and will replace the redemption counter that currently sits at its spot.

Mdm Ling Bakery

Mdm Ling Bakery

Golden Moment

Golden Moment

Rice Bucket with Gold Coin Bucket Cake (S$108)

Rice Bucket with Gold Coin Bucket Cake (S$108)

Despite the long history of some of the brands mentioned here, their efforts in keeping up with evolving times are evident in the smorgasbord of unconventional yet trendy flavours they offer. If you ever pass by Garden Pastry and Cake‘s booth, request to sample their Raspberry Snow Cookies (that is, if they’re still available because these little pink cookies made with US-imported pure raspberry powder are so highly sought-after, I won’t be surprised if the attendants become too stingy with the samples) – just one small portion of it is enough to make you crave for more! Trust me, I even bought two tins of the cookies immediately after sampling them because they’re just so soft and cake-like! If not for the fact that I might end up with a sore throat, I would have gotten three for 15% off the total purchase!

Garden Pastry and Cake

Garden Pastry and Cake

Garden Pastry and Cake's Raspberry Snow Cookies!

Garden Pastry and Cake’s Raspberry Snow Cookies!

The Cookie Museum is another local establishment that prides itself on creating one-of-its-kind Singapore heritage-flavoured cookies like Pandan Chiffon, Shrimp Laksa and Chicken Rice. How intriguing, right?! These are perfect for your foreign guests who may not get the chance to try the actual dishes since shutters of most hawker stalls will be shut during the CNY period 馃槣 Otherwise, you could also opt for a safer choice – Champagne Lychee which is a go-to flavour of mine. Don’t worry, the alcohol concentration in it is as good as nil so yup, perfectly family-friendly.

The Cookie Museum

The Cookie Museum

The culinary adepts would be thrilled to find lots of reunion dinner ideas at The Market Place – a section dominated by imported and prime meats, seafood and condiments essential for preparing lavish and wholesome meals. Instead of rice, you could opt for some wholesome handmade, air- and sun-dried wheat flour noodles from Taiwanese brand Yi Lai Shuen (涓鏉ラ『) that would merely take 30 seconds to prepare. Top it with one of its signature sauces (black bean, XO, mushroom, chilli bean, garlic chilli.. just to name a few) and voila! A restaurant-standard dish (minus the nasty MSG and preservatives) is prepared 馃榿 Then, end the meal on a sweet note with delicacies from Pat Chun, a producer of many sauces from Hong Kong which also makes to-die-for desserts and snacks like radish cake and nian gao, as well as their latest nutty additions – Curry Cashews and Spicy Garlic Almonds.

Yi Lai Shuen wheat flour noodles

Yi Lai Shuen wheat flour noodles

Yi Lai Shuen condiments

Yi Lai Shuen condiments

Apart from the edibles, you can also find CNY decorations and gifts for your loved ones overseas when you pay them a visit this festive season. Send your well-wishes for good health by gifting top-grade traditional Chinese medicinal food products from trusted brands such as Thye San Medical Hall and Wing Joo Loong. Alternatively, you could also gift your modern/westernised relatives contemporary tea sets from Pryce Tea or the limited-edition Golden Heritage Bloom from NestBloom.

Shevron

Shevron

There are many other stalls which I won’t be able to feature in this write-up without boring the pants off you, so your best bet would be to head down to the fair yourself! As the fair is sure to grow more crowded in the days to come, do plan your schedule ahead of time (i.e. mark out the booths you want to visit first), or drop by on weekday afternoons. Do also remember to head down with an empty stomach (and arm yourselves with a bottle of water to cleanse your palate!) as you will be invited to try a lot of food samples as you comb through the aisles.

Will you be making a trip down to the fair? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Takashimaya Chinese New Year Bonanza 2020 路 Takashimaya Square, b2, 391 Orchard Road Singapore 238873 路 Operating hours: 29 December 2019 – 23 January 2020, 10 am – 9.30 pm (extends to 10 pm on 3, 4, 9-12 & 17-23 Jan) 路 Nearest MRT station: Orchard (NS22) 路 For more information, please visit Takashimaya Facebook page, Instagram or website.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized food updates!
Be sure to watch out for my Stories because that’s where I post my tasty encounters
馃榿

[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.

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for bite-sized food updates!
Be sure to watch out for my Stories because that’s where I post my tasty encounters
馃榿

[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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[FAST FOOD] FIRST IN SINGAPORE: Mom’s Touch Chicken & Burger at Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ)

Hello everyone!

East-siders have one more reason to rejoice: along with the opening of Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ), popular South Korean fast food chain Mom’s Touch has also launched their first-ever Singapore outlet at the mall!

Courtesy of No Signboard Holdings

Courtesy of No Signboard Holdings

Here, Mom’s Touch – which presently has over 1,200 stores across South Korea and is established in major cities in the USA, Taiwan and Vietnam – offers the same famous chicken and burger dishes that they are particularly noted for in an al fresco dining setting (still sheltered in a way, so you are safe from the rain, the harsh afternoon sun and now, the annoying haze – just no air-conditioner, yeah?). Plus, since it is located at the open space right next to Paya Lebar MRT station (so exit from the fare gates on the first level), it would be impossible to miss!

Back in their home country, Mom’s Touch has always been touted as the restaurant that serves properly-made food. In fact, for the uninitiated, the brand name Mom’s Touch derives from the notion of the way mothers prepare meals for their families –聽heartwarming聽– so you can certainly expect your food to be prepared with a great deal of passion and flair. Their renowned chicken, for instance, is hand-battered and hand-breaded in the kitchen and marinated with their very own special blend of seasoning for a fuller, tender and juicier taste.

Mom's Touch (SG) on opening night

Mom’s Touch (SG) on opening night – queue immediately started forming the moment the restaurant announced that there were still limited amount of fried chickens left

Despite being a newcomer to our shores, Mom’s Touch seems to have already won the hearts of the locals as evident from the snaking queue formed outside their PLQ outlet when it first opened its doors to the public on 30 August (though, to be fair, many of the patrons were Koreans who probably missed home, and there was an irresistible 3-day opening offer as well). The demand got so overwhelming that everything (the mains) was sold out by 5pm on the first day (馃槺鉂) that even food bloggers like myself who were invited down for media tasting in the evening had to be turned away. A few of us eventually stayed to try the desserts and a few sample portions of their fried and sauced chicken (apparently they brought in more chickens towards closing time but still ran out of buns to make burgers) so as not to waste the trip. Even though we were only expecting a few menu items, it wasn’t until 40 minutes later that we finally got them. So… hungry…

Left: Citrus Yuzu Orange Ade / Right: Raspberry Melon Ade

Left: Citrus Yuzu Orange Ade / Right: Raspberry Melon Ade (all at S$3.80 each)

Mom's Spicy Sauced Chicken

Mom’s Spicy Sauced Chicken (1 pc: S$3.80 / 2 pc combo meal: S$8.90 / 3 pc combo meal: $12.00)

Mom's Fried Chicken

Mom’s Fried Chicken (1 pc: S$3.60 / 2 pc combo meal: S$8.70 / 3 pc combo meal: $11.70)

But the food sat well on my palate – Mom’s Fried Chicken (available in spicy and non-spicy versions, though I must say the spiciness didn’t really hit me) was crispy and non-greasy while the sauced-drenched Mom’s Spicy Sauced Chicken was tantalising to say the least. It was also juicy and succulent – yum! Between both flavours, the latter stood out more because of its more flavourful aroma and sweetness. That said, opt for both on your first visit. After all, you can never go wrong with fried chicken.

Cajun fries

Cajun fries (S: S$2.60 / M: S$3.40)

The cajun fries we had were served fresh from the fryer so they were very crunchy on the outside and fluffy inside. Taste-wise, I thought they were comparable to Popeye’s which is one of my go-to places for cajun fries, so no complaints there.

Black Sesame Sundae

Black Sesame Sundae (S$3.80)

As for desserts, we were served Black Sesame Sundae which was essentially vanilla ice-cream topped with a pretty generous dose of black sesame powder, a few sticks of Oreo Pocky and some vanilla waffle biscuits which gave an added crunch to the whole texture – nothing really groundbreaking here but it was surely a great dessert to end a savoury meal.

Fortunately, a second tasting session was held and I was able to try most of their signature dishes. As it was on a weekday afternoon, the queue would have died down significantly. Still, we were not spared from the relatively long waiting time of about 20 minutes. Granted, it was an improvement from the previous visit but it was still a stretch for a fast food restaurant.

Post-promotional period.. there's still queue omagawd!

Post-promotional period.. there’s still queue omagawd!

Joining me at the panel was a companion who couldn’t quite take spicy so we ordered both Mom’s Thigh Burger and Mom’s Spicy Thigh Burger (what suggestive and cannibalistic names though… 馃) to provide you with the most balanced views.

L-R: (Cajun) Cheese Fries, Peach Pear Ade, Elderflower Apple Ade

L-R: (Cajun) Cheese Fries (S$4.40), Peach Pear Ade, Elderflower Apple Ade (at S$3.80 each)

The packaging of the burger!

The packaging of the burger!

Dinner of the day! Burgers, L-R: Mom's Thigh Burger, Mom's Spicy Thigh Burger

Dinner of the day! Burgers, L-R: Mom’s Thigh Burger (a la carte: S$5.70 / combo meal: S$8.20), Mom’s Spicy Thigh Burger (a la carte: S$6.00 / combo meal: S$8.50)

Close-up of spicy patty

Close-up of spicy patty

Non-spicy patty

Non-spicy patty

Both burgers came with the same chicken patty, freshly cut lettuce, onions and pickles with the only difference being the type of sauce used – Mom’s Thigh Burger was infused with homemade burger sauce while the spicy version drizzled with authentic Korean spicy sauce. Even though the sauce was given in generous amounts that could potentially turn anything soggy, the crispiness of the patty crust could still be distinctively felt with every bite and the buns remained fluffy and light. On the downside, we thought the tenderness of the patty was largely overshadowed by the insanely crispy batter, so much so that the meat felt almost non-existent in contrast.

Fleshy, succulent meat..

Fleshy, succulent meat..

What disappointed us more, however, was how different the actual thing looked from the images depicted on all their promotional materials which show an exaggeratedly thick stack of ingredients slapped between the buns (I’m sure it was done from a marketing standpoint to showcase what go into the burger more clearly but still… clueless people like us would naturally assume that the height is attributed to the thick patty instead) and that kinda distorted our expectations. I think the same issue applies to the other burgers as well, so take note and don’t have high hopes 馃ぃ

I haven’t been to any of their outlets in South Korea so I cannot tell if the quality and taste are consistent with the original. But based on what I have tried so far, the food is decent, something different from the usual Korean fare here, I guess. Of course, there are many more items on the menu which we didn’t get to eat because our little stomach could only handle this much food. So the only way for you to verify our reviews is to try them for yourselves! Just be prepared to wait, okay? 馃槵

What is/are on your must-try list? If you’ve eaten at Mom’s Touch in South Korea before, are you excited about their arrival here? Otherwise, would you be keen to give Mom’s Touch a try? Let me know your thoughts and reviews (if you’ve already tasted the food) in the comments below!

On a side note, travelling 2800 miles to South Korea to get our Korean food fix may soon be unnecessary as more of such foreign-based restaurant chains permeate our local F&B scene! Woohoo!

Thanks for reading!

Mom’s Touch Chicken & Burger 路 Paya Lebar Quarter, 10 Paya Lebar Quarter, #01-37, Singapore 409057 路 Operating hours: 10 am – 10 pm (including public holidays) 路 Nearest MRT station: Paya Lebar (EW8/CC9) 路 For more information, please visit Mom’s Touch FACEBOOK PAGE, INSTAGRAM or WEBSITE.

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馃榿

[XMAS BUFFET] Feast in Merriment @ Element, Amara Singapore

Hello everyone!

Let’s begin this post with a Christmas song sing-along! I know, why don’t we sing Deck The Halls, a crowd favourite at any Christmas party for sure?

鈾Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la聽
鈾Tis the season to be jolly FATTY,聽
Fa la la la la, la la la la聽鈾

Throw away your skinny jeans and belts because with all the Christmas-themed buffets in town, stretch pants are back in fashion once again! With so many festive buffets to choose from but a limited calorie budget to work with, hopefully this write-up on the Yuletide dinner and lunch buffet that’s set to launch on the eve of Christmas at Element (courtesy of Amara Singapore) would help you decide if it’s worthwhile to expand your waistline for. That is, unless you belong to the ‘I-can-eat-as-much-as-I-want-and-I-will-still-be-skinny’ group.

In which case, I hate you.

鈥旔煄 Appetisers聽馃巹鈥

Cognac Lobster Bisque

Cognac Lobster Bisque

In the pot, this may look like an ordinary lobster bisque to you but it actually includes an ingredient which gives it an extra zing of flavour – Cognac. Added last to the bisque for a stronger kick, the smoothness and silky richness of the Cognac marries well with the sweetness and creaminess of the soup. Perhaps聽to cater to children and non-drinkers at the buffet, only a soup莽on of Cognac was added so the slight bitter and tangy aftertaste that I got from the lobster bisque didn’t occur to me that it was Cognac. In fact, I had thought it was the spiciness from pepper because the distinctive bold flavour of Cognac just wasn’t picked up by my taste bud! Ironically, Fiona, who isn’t a fan of alcohol, could tell in one sip that there was liquor in the bisque 馃し But it wasn’t too overpowering so she cleaned the bowl in no time!

Personally, I did not really like the texture of the lobster bisque as it was a little too watered-down for my liking and I prefer it to be creamier and heartier. Still, this is a rare find at any buffet and a must-try if you are a crustacean lover like me!

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa (reviewed here)

Tuna Tataki with Cucumber Ribbons and Puffed Quinoa (reviewed here)

One of my favourite dishes at Element makes an appearance again this Christmas! If you’ve not read my verdict on the tuna tataki on my previous post, I urge you to do so now聽for a more detailed review! But in summary, the cool, softly chewy texture of the Tataki was what does it for me and this was also probably why it was snapped up so quickly at the media tasting event聽馃槏

Editor’s note: Most of them was taken away by you, my dear.

Smoked Duck, Salami and Prosciutto

Smoked Duck, Salami and Prosciutto

Honey Baked Butter Squash with Honey Mustard and Pumpkin Seed

Honey Baked Butter Squash with Honey Mustard and Pumpkin Seed

Diced to bite-sized pieces, the butternut squash felt squishy in the mouth, almost like the texture of potato but softer, and has a lightly sweet and nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin (although many would argue that they’re basically the same considering that they are used interchangeably in certain countries) on its own. The pumpkin seeds give it an added crunch while the honey mustard lends a slightly zestier and more savoury edge. This is definitely the dish to go for if you intend to start the buffet on a healthier note. But being someone who is huge on more piquant flavours, this was rather bland on my palate.

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

Cocktail Prawn and Crab Meat with Duo Melon

A fine example of a simple yet elegant pairing that cannot go wrong, this dish features shredded crab meat mixed with a mayonnaise base and topped with a mountain of prawns. The prawns, which are deshelled for fuss-free eating, have such irresistibly crunchy and firm texture that I could not help but gobble up at least 15 pieces of them in one sitting. No doubt this is going to be a favourite among children and adults alike at the buffet table!

Marinated Duck Rilette with Red Wine, Dried Fruits and Gherkin Salsa

Marinated Duck Rilette with Red Wine, Dried Fruits and Gherkin Salsa

Believe it or not, the duck rillette took me some courage to overcome my apprehension of trying it. Apart from the fact that I had never eaten meat prepared Rillette-style (a cooking method originated from France聽馃嚝馃嚪) before, it honestly wasn’t the most appealing dish on the buffet table. But I recalled聽tasting the tuna tataki for the first time and instantly falling head over heels for it. Thinking that this would turn out the same way, I took the plunge and scooped some of the duck rillette聽along with the sauce onto my plate.

Voil脿! Fortune favours the brave, perhaps. The duck rillette (or rillettes de canard, as the French calls it) came across as a breath of fresh air. Soft and smooth in texture, it聽was akin to the texture of a pastry or p芒t茅. By itself, the meat was rather salty (and in Fiona’s words, tasted like “mushy canned food”) so pairing it with the red wine sauce – which resembled and tasted delightful like cranberry jam – would be highly recommended as the sweetness of the sauce evens it out. This would also go perfectly with bread!

鈥旔煄 Main Course馃巹鈥

Turkey Buah Keluak

Turkey Buah Keluak

What’s Christmas in Singapore without roast turkey smeared with the familiar buah keluak (yes, it isn’t charred although it looks like it)? From cempadak creme br没l茅e to pandan pudding, it seems like we can always count on Element to come up with the most innovative fusion food ideas regardless of the occasion. And in case you didn’t know,聽buah keluak (or pangium edule, Malay for “the fruit which nauseates” 馃え) is dubbed the black truffle of the East as it is considered an acquired taste. Used mainly in Malay, Indonesian and Peranakan cooking, these seeds are obtained from their poisonous fruit and are then made safe for consumption by fermentation.

The presence of the buah keluak lends a bitter and earthy taste to the turkey, which would otherwise be terribly bland and dry like chicken breast meat (but twice as bad). According to the chef, this took three days to prepare which, unless the turkey is served to a large group of people who love jaw-tiringly chewy meat, isn’t worth the effort (and slaughter). That said, I truly appreciate the creativity and ingenuity presented in this dish and would recommend this to homesick non-Asians who don’t mind a little South East-Asian twist.

Stir-fried Moreton Bay Bug with Salted Egg

Stir-fried Moreton Bay Bug with Salted Egg

Who would have thought a foreign-sounding crustacean could be localised into a dish that would fit my palate to an absolute T? The creaminess of the salted egg sauce coupled with the firmness and lightly crispiness of the meat was a dream-come-true.聽 Unlike typical salted egg dishes that would bring you to a state of surfeit (i.e. “gelat“) after a few mouthfuls, this just kept me asking for more. I figured it was probably due to it being infused with some spice during preparation.

Steamed Garoupa with Lime Beurre Blanc topped with Tomato Vierge

Steamed Garoupa with Lime Beurre Blanc topped with Tomato Vierge

Roasted Chicken with Meat Floss

Roasted Chicken with Meat Floss

Tajima Wagyu Beef with Foie Gras, Truffle Mashed Potato and Port Jus

Tajima Wagyu Beef with Foie Gras, Truffle Mashed Potato and Port Jus

The addition of the foie gras (those whitish slabs but in very limited quantity) was a splendid touch as it helped to bring out the flavour of the wagyu beef even more. However, probably to cater to the masses at the buffet, the meat was generally cooked to medium which made it somewhat tough and chewy and thereby聽cheapen the quality of the meat. I feel that this would be better suited at the live station so patrons can request for their steak to be cooked to their preferred doneness (which in my case, would be rare). Furthermore, as an avid lover of wagyu beef, it also kinda annoyed me that the聽beautiful marbling of the wagyu beef was wholly concealed by the charring and port jus sauce 馃槴 Where’s the justice for the poor wagyu cattle that died for this?

鈥 馃巹 Desserts馃巹鈥

Cempedak Creme Br没l茅e

Cempedak Creme Br没l茅e

The聽Cempedak Creme Br没l茅e is like the pinnacle of the Christmas tree as it is, without a doubt, the 猸 of the dessert section (and as a result of that, effectively stealing the thunder from the log cakes at a Christmas-theme buffet 馃ぃ). Find out why this is the best dessert in my tummy’s opinion on my previous review here.

Macarons (Gingerbread Spices / Coconut / Blueberry + Salted Caramel) - 6 pcs/pack at S$16+ or 10 pcs/pack at S$25+

Macarons (Gingerbread Spices [pink] / Coconut [white – highly recommended] / Blueberry + Salted Caramel [blue – highly recommended]) – 6 pcs/pack at S$16+ or 10 pcs/pack at S$25+

Ho, ho, ho! Spot me on the Christmas log cakes!

Ho, ho, ho! Spot me on the Christmas log cakes!

Fancy gifting your loved ones a log cake to commemorate the season of giving? Element also offers traditional log cakes in three tantalising flavours to suit different tastes. They are available for order at the restaurant.

Amara's Signature Cempadak Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$65+)

Amara’s Signature Cempedak Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$65+)

Out of all the log cakes that were brought out, the Cempedak Yule Log Cake was the first to be reduced to nothing which pretty much attests to the popularity of the cempedak in Element’s dessert line-up. The log cake had a fluffy texture with a very robust cempedak flavour that was fragrant and yet not too overpowering at the same time. Each bite of the cake melted in my mouth before I realised what was happening.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+)

Dark Chocolate Cherry Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+)

 

Pink Champagne Lychee Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+) - this is alcoholic

Pink Champagne Lychee Yule Log Cake (1 kg, S$52+) – this is alcoholic

Christmas is the time to spend with your family and loved ones, and what better way to do so than to indulge in some cempedak goodness (and many other crowd favourites) at Element? If you’re interested to dine at Element, do make your reservations in advance to avoid being a sad聽馃惣!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Element at Amara Singapore聽路聽165 Tanjong Pagar Road Singapore 088539 路 Tel: 6879 2607 路 Nearest MRT station: Tanjong Pagar (EW15)聽路 Click here for more information
Prices and time for Christmas Eve/Christmas Buffet Lunch and Dinner as above

Prices and time for Christmas Eve/Christmas Buffet Lunch and Dinner as above聽

The writer is a glutton who occasionally allows his appetite free rein and steals food from Fiona鈥檚 plate. Among some of his favourite food are a good steak and meaty crabs doused in chili sauce. Read more posts by Alphonsus聽here.

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[POP-UP] MINIONS CAFE @ THE Guest cafe&diner Singapore

Bello everyone!

After two runs of the immensely popular聽Pok茅mon Caf茅 at EwF Bugis Junction in 2015 and 2016, PARCO (Singapore) returns with another pop-up caf茅 concept and this time, it revolves around the adorably small, yellow, cylindrical critters of the Despicable Me series – the Minions!

For a limited time, the first pop-up MINIONS CAF脡聽outside Japan will operate from 23rd November 2017 to 31st January 2018 on the third floor of Orchard Central. Rebranded from “The Despicable Me 3 Cafe” in Japan at five THE GUEST cafe&diner outlets located in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo and Fukuoka during July and September this year, the Singapore edition brings in 14 original food and beverage items on the menu – all of which are specially conceptualised and developed by THE GUEST cafe&diner for the MINIONS聽CAF脡.

MINIONS聽CAF脡

MINIONS聽CAF脡

Waitstaff are donned in Minion-inspired attire so it's very easy to identify them!

Waitstaff are donned in Minion-inspired attire so it’s very easy to identify them!

More Minions posters hanging from the ceiling. Sadly, these are not for sale at the merch corner

More Minions posters hanging from the ceiling. Sadly, these are not for sale at the merch corner

Or in the language of the minions, "Po ka?!"

Or in the language of the minions, “Po ka?!”

One part of the dining area

One part of the dining area

Apart from that, exclusive MINIONS CAFE Original Goods – currently not available anywhere else in the world – can also be purchased alongside other official 鈥淒espicable Me 3鈥 merchandise with either cash or NETS (we didn’t see the option to pay by credit card). Considering how well-received the Minions are, long queue is expected at the聽MINIONS聽CAF脡 so why not take this chance to browse the merchandise booth while waiting to be seated or served?

A small corner for the merchandise

A small corner for the merchandise

Minion-inspired toys, snacks and stationery found here!

Minion-inspired toys, snacks and stationery found here!

Below is a low-down of all the dishes offered at the MINIONS聽CAF脡 with the exception of the Banana Smoothie (S$12.30+) which was missing from the media preview.聽Dishes that we managed to taste at the event would also be accompanied with our (honest) review as well as our verdict of the presentation, taste and value for you to make better informed decision on whether it is worth the trip.

The menu

The menu

As with most themed pop-up caf茅s, do bear in mind that licensing fees (the killer) and importation charges among other overhead expenses are factored into the costs so the prices will unsurprisingly be on the high side. All prices stated are not inclusive of 10% service charge and prevailing government taxes. Payment, we believe, can be made with cash, NETS or credit card. We will update should there be any factual error.

Unfortunately for my Muslim readers,聽MINIONS聽CAF脡 is not Halal-certified.

Minion’s Great Escape Cream Stew (S$20.90++)

In the latest Despicable Me film, Minions are caught and imprisoned! Oh no! This time, they are really in the cream stew!

In the latest Despicable Me film, Minions are caught and imprisoned! Oh no! This time, they are really in the cream stew!

Presentation-wise, the Minion’s Great Escape Cream Stew gets all the credit it deserves. The visual presentation of the displeased Minion is very well done to the point that it was a struggle deciding whether to keep the edible facial features of the Minion or to dissect and eat it. Of course, we went for the latter choice. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have known it was actually made of tasteless thin rice wafer instead of some cardboard material we initially suspected was solely for decorative purposes.

The saffron rice that forms the bulk of this dish is slightly buttery with a subtle sweetness. The cream base – which reminded me of cream of mushroom soup – was a little too cloying on its own for my liking but when paired with the rice, the fragrance from the carb complemented the sweetness of the sauce very well.聽That said, the amount of ingredients in this dish is too little. Visibly, the number of broccoli florets, carrot and potato chunks on the plate is minimal to say the least and there is far too little protein in the form of chicken meat for it to qualify as a main course. If not for the scanty portion of meat, we would have seriously thought this was a vegan dish. Nevertheless, the abundance of greens, coupled with the fact that this comes with a mini salad bowl, makes this an extremely healthy dish.聽 聽

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 馃崒馃崒馃崒馃崒
Taste: 馃崒馃崒
VALUE:聽馃崒馃崒
Overall:聽馃崒馃崒馃崒

Minions Vacation Plate (S$23.90++)

Aloha! Take a trip to Hawaii with Minions and indulge in the Hawaiian Iuau inspired plate of beef hamburg and garlic shrimp, accompanied by tropical pineapple and luxurious avocado. Margo, Edith and Agnes certainly thought this dish was a great idea for a honeymoon's set up for Gru and Lucy! It comes with a green soup of Gummi Bears and meat, courtesy of our darling Agnes.

Aloha! Take a trip to Hawaii with Minions and indulge in the Hawaiian Iuau inspired plate of beef hamburg and garlic shrimp, accompanied by tropical pineapple and luxurious avocado. Margo, Edith and Agnes certainly thought this dish was a great idea for a honeymoon’s set up for Gru and Lucy! It comes with a green soup of Gummi Bears and meat, courtesy of our darling Agnes.

Looks like a glorified version of Nasi Lemak!

Looks like a glorified version of Nasi Lemak!

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 馃崒馃崒馃崒
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived value: 馃崒馃崒
Overall:聽馃崒馃崒馃崒

Minion Riceball Party (S$21.90++)

Straight from Japan, Minions transform into adorable rice balls, flanked by fried prawns, sweet corn, fried chicken and French fries with original Minions Balloon.

Straight from Japan, Minions transform into adorable rice balls, flanked by fried prawns, sweet corn, fried chicken and French fries with original Minions Balloon.

Tulaliloo ti amo~

Tulaliloo ti amo~

An original Minion’s balloon will be provided with each order of Minion Riceball Party. The image on the balloon may differ and the colour (I saw pink, blue and maybe yellow) is chosen by the staff at random. The balloons are not helium-pumped and will be tied to a stick.

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 馃崒馃崒馃崒
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived value: 馃崒馃崒
Overall:聽馃崒馃崒馃崒

Pizza Box (S$13.90++)

Mel and Minions are hungry! They want pizza! Unexpectedly, a live singing competition awaits them... Hawaiian pizza topped with chicken ham and pineapple, with corn and French fries on the side.

Mel and Minions are hungry! They want pizza! Unexpectedly, a live singing competition awaits them… Hawaiian pizza topped with chicken ham and pineapple, with corn and French fries on the side.

This dish comes with a Movie Scene Card which we didn’t see at the event. The inside of the cover has a maze game stuck on it to keep your children entertained as you devour the pizza in peace!

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 馃崒馃崒馃崒
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived Value: 馃崒馃崒馃崒馃崒
Overall:聽馃崒馃崒馃崒馃崒

Minion Pudding (S$24.90++)

This Minion is too cute to be eaten! Mango pudding with fruits and vanilla ice cream within.

This Minion is too cute to be eaten! Mango pudding with fruits and vanilla ice cream within.

Luk at tu!

Luk at tu! *jiggle*

This dish comes with a free character cup. A brand new cup will be provided upon order. But better act fast because limited quantities are available (while stocks last).

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 馃崒馃崒馃崒馃崒
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived Value: 馃崒馃崒
Overall:聽馃崒馃崒馃崒

S’more and Minion’s Ice Cream (S$16.90++)

Perfectly browned marshmallows surround a lone Minion (made of mango ice); sandwich molten marshmallow with biscuits for a campfire s'more effect!

Perfectly browned marshmallows surround a lone Minion (made of mango ice); sandwich molten marshmallow with biscuits for a campfire s’more effect!

Gelato!

Gelato!

If you’ve been eating marshmallows straight from the bag, you’ve been doing it wrong. Or rather, you probably haven’t tried s’mores yet! This traditional nighttime campfire treat popular in the United States involves roasting marshmallows before placing them between two biscuits (or atop just one piece since the biscuits provided are odd-numbered). Then, you proceed to chomp them down like a sandwich. Yummy!

The brown crust and soft gooey middle of the still-warm toasted marshmallows (which sweetness is further enhanced by the chocolate syrup beneath them) represent an epitome of a simple pleasure. In between bites, take generous spoonfuls of mango ice-cream in the shape of a lone Minion for maximum enjoyment. Needless to say, it took us no more than one bite for us to realise that we were in the presence of an absolutely heavenly combination of comfort food!

Granted, this may not exactly be the most innovative dish on the menu but is certainly one of, if not the best. However, I would advise you to share this dessert with your friends as it may be a sugar overload and calorie overkill.

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 馃崒馃崒馃崒馃崒
Taste: 馃崒馃崒馃崒馃崒
Value: 馃崒馃崒馃崒馃崒
Overall:聽馃崒馃崒馃崒馃崒

Caramelized Banana (S$16.90++)

Minion's favourite food... Banana! Torched lightly to create a smoky caramelized taste. No wonder the Minions want some too!

Minion’s favourite food… Banana! Torched lightly to create a smoky caramelized taste. No wonder the Minions want some too!

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 馃崒馃崒馃崒
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived value: 馃崒馃崒馃崒馃崒
Overall:聽馃崒馃崒馃崒馃崒

Rescue Mel Affogato (S$13.90++)

Save Mel by unlocking his cell! Break open the chocolate with your spade and pour espresso into vanilla ice-cream; watch Mel float to freedom!

Save Mel by unlocking his cell! Break open the chocolate with your spade and pour espresso into vanilla ice-cream; watch Mel float to freedom!

We didn’t get to taste this, unfortunately, but just by the looks of it alone, the fun factor of this beverage warrants a high score for creativity!

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 馃崒馃崒馃崒馃崒
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived value: 馃崒馃崒馃崒
Overall:聽馃崒馃崒馃崒

Upside-down Minion Jelly Soda Drink (S$12.90++)

Enjoy the jiggly mango jelly soda drink from bottom up!

Enjoy the jiggly mango jelly soda drink from bottom up!

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 馃崒馃崒馃崒
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived value: 馃崒馃崒
Overall:聽馃崒馃崒馃崒

Be Bad Caf茅 Latte (Hot S$8.90++, Cold S$9.50++)

Minion commands you to Be Bad!

Minion commands you to Be Bad!

Hot and iced

Hot and iced

A closer look at the latte art on the hot latte

A closer look at the latte art on the hot latte

The Be Bad!聽Caf茅 Latte comes in hot (what we were offered) and cold and topped with two versions of latte art on thin, flavourless gelatin strips which are served randomly. Made from boiled fresh milk and espresso, the bitterness of the latte complements, or rather, balances out the sweetness of the s’mores dessert earlier. On top of that, it also refreshes the palate and provides a caffeine jolt to go with your sugar rush from the all the other dishes.

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 馃崒馃崒馃崒馃崒聽(both)
Taste: 馃崒馃崒馃崒馃崒聽(hot) / NOT RATED (Cold)
Value: 馃崒馃崒馃崒馃崒聽(both)
Overall:聽馃崒馃崒馃崒馃崒聽(both)

Free limited edition original coaster with any order from the drink menu (but you're unable to choose the design)

Free limited edition original coaster with any order from the drink menu (but you’re unable to choose the design)


GRU&LUCY “GRUCY” Soda (S$8.90++)

Perfect combination of Gru and Lucy. Frozen fruits in stunning blue soda drink.

Perfect combination of Gru and Lucy. Frozen fruits in stunning blue soda drink.

We are not sure if this drink is meant to be stirred but we did in attempt to evenly distribute the flavour and fizziness. But surely it wouldn’t have caused the soda drink to instantly lose its carbonated sting? The absence of the tingling sensation intensifies the sweetness of this drink so we ended up not enjoying it as much as we hoped to. But if you are not a caffeine person in any way, this would be the most affordable (i.e. cheapest) non-caffeine beverage option on the menu.

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 馃崒馃崒馃崒
Taste: 馃崒馃崒
Value: 馃崒馃崒馃崒
Overall:聽馃崒馃崒馃崒

BALTHAZAR’s Bubble Gum?! Milk Tea (S$10.90++)

Fashioned after Balthazar's giant pink bubble that ravaged the city, dance battle it out with Robot Clive in this eclectic milk tea drink!

Fashioned after Balthazar’s giant pink bubble that ravaged the city, dance battle it out with Robot Clive in this eclectic milk tea drink!

Kampai!

Kampai!

VERDICT (out of 5)
Presentation: 馃崒馃崒馃崒
Taste: (NOT RATED)
Perceived value: 馃崒馃崒
Overall:聽馃崒馃崒馃崒

Free limited edition original placemat (paper) with any order at the MINIONS聽CAF脡

Free limited edition original placemat (paper) with any order at the MINIONS聽CAF脡

Gru and Minions make a special appearance at the media preview!

Gru and Minions make a special appearance at the media preview!

Find out when Gru and Minions will make another appearance on The Guest Cafe Singapore Facebook page!

Find out when Gru and Minions will make another appearance on The Guest Cafe Singapore Facebook page!

You would, however, have to either make a purchase on the merchandise or dine in to get a chance to take photo with Gru and Minions. (Psst.. the easiest way to meet the mascots is to get something affordable from the merchandise corner!)

That’s all from us. We hope this little review has helped in one way or another!

Pank yu for reading and poopaye! 馃枑

MINIONS聽CAF脡 – a concept by PARCO

Orchard Central
181 Orchard Road, #03-23/24/25,聽Singapore 238896
(take the escalator next to Desigual for easier access)
Opening hours: 11.00 am – 9.00 pm (last order)
Nearest MRT station: Somerset
*MINIONS聽CAF脡 is not Halal-certified*
PARCO SG Website | The Guest Cafe Singapore Facebook

The post is co-written with Alphonsus, my fellow glutton.

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