FIVE Square @ Great Eastern Centre

MEDIA INVITE

Hey everyone!

It was an emotional moment for many Han’s ardent fans when the announcement of the closure of the food chain’s biggest and most popular outlet at Great Eastern Centre came last December. Having served only pocket-friendly gourmet food to hungry office works for a decade, the closure meant that there would be one less affordable eating place amidst the throng of lavish restaurants in the business district.

For months after it shut down, the large ground-floor unit spanning over 13,000 square feet was left vacant for a couple of months before the next lessee took over. With such a vast amount of space, many wondered if the shop would be partitioned into smaller units to accommodate more tenants. Well, it is true enough that the unit has now been cut up into several divisions, but what most people probably didn’t expect was that these different sections are actually operated by the same company in a borderless setting.

FIVE Square @ Great Eastern Centre

FIVE Square @ Great Eastern Centre

Currently occupied by FIVE Square (stylised FIV五 Square), the latest flagship outlet of the FIVE Bar Group cleverly split the unit into 4 different concepts, each signifying a corner that makes up the newly-opened restaurant which has been operating since June 2015. From an impressive range of food choices at The Bazaar to alcoholic beverages like beer, wine and whiskey, there is clearly something for everyone.

The Bar

Synonymous with the renowned all-day-everyday $5 food and drink specials offered at other FIVE outlets, the Bar delivers the FIVE tradition of offering all-day happy hour that doesn’t break the bank. Enjoy sports screenings on large televisions and ‘live’ local bands performances at this 300-seater lounge every night while you hang out with your pals over beer, wine or sake at just $5 per glass.

The stage for live performances

The stage for live performances

The Bar

The Bar

Asahis and Kronenbourg 1664s

Asahi’s and Kronenbourg 1664’s

To chill the glass

To chill the glass

Tapping some beer

Luke showing us how to tap some beer, complete with the foam and all

Successfully did my first beer tapping! Not too bad for a first-timer.

Successfully did my first beer tapping! Not too bad for a first-timer.

And mind you, it’s not just any beer either – it’s icy cold beer! Unlike many pubs which derive their beer from keg coolers at about 4-5 degree Celcius, all beer at the Bar is directly dispensed from the cold room at 0 degree Celsius. It is especially uncommon to find cold rooms at local establishments these days due to the lack of space.

Cold room

Cold room

The Wine Cellar

Located in a tranquil little corner overlooking the busy cross junction into the CBD, visitors can sit back and watch the world go by while sipping on some wine at any time of day. With over a hundred labels of quality wines listed at the Wine Cellar, there are plenty of wine to choose from for a tête-à-tête between friends or for takeaway as gifts or for parties.

The Recess

Hidden away from the public gaze is the Recess which name is a play on words literally meaning going into a hole in the wall, to take a break from (work) proceedings. The secretive location of this 50-seater space makes it an ideal venue for company functions. It enables networking in this sophisticated and posh environment that is free of disruption from external noise and foot traffic while sipping on premium and rare whiskies without the exorbitant price tags. You would also be surprised to find popular whiskies that are already sold out across the rest of the globe!

The semi-hidden entrance to the Recess

The semi-hidden entrance to the Recess

The Recess

The Recess

The Recess

The Recess

Whiskies at the Recess

Whiskies at the Recess

Whiskies at the Recess

Whiskies at the Recess

The Bazaar

Majority of the space at FIVE Square is dedicated to this self-service gourmet food hall that seats up to 300 people. Similar to its predecessor, the Bazaar offers a variety of reasonably priced food for lunch and dinner to feed busy executives and families around the area as well as the merry-makers drinking at the adjacent bar, wine bar or whisky room – all part of FIVE Square.

The Bazaar

The Bazaar

There are five gourmet stalls offering dishes from around the world. Apart from Asian cuisines like Japanese donburis, Korean Bulgogi and our very own wholesome noodles with a twist, the Bazaar also boasts European classics such as Spanish Tapas and German Bratwurst Sausages served with pork, chicken and steak. Vegans and health-conscious individuals can opt for hearty salads to pair with fresh fruit juices from the beverage stall. With so many choices, FIVE Square has managed to achieve a fine balance of everyday affordability and occasional decadence to create a dining concept that can be your everyday lunch spot or your weekly indulgence. What’s more, all prices are nett! Yay to no service charge and GST! 🙂

The food stalls are open from 10am to 10pm every Monday to Saturday.

Beverage stall

Beverage stall

Papaya Milk Shake

Beat the heat with a cup of refreshing Papaya Milk Shake (S$4.50)

1. Cinqo Tapas

A spin-off from the popular Tachinomi Izakaya-inspired Five Tapas Bar at Cuppage Terrace, the Spanish-equivalent to its name (well, sort of, if cinco is spelt properly) offers a selection of the hot-selling items such as the garlic cockles (S$6), bacon mushrooms (S$6) and whole pork knuckle (S$28). For lunch, Cinqo serves up two different Paellas ($9.50) cooked fresh daily – the traditional seafood staple is available every day while the Paella of the day varies. These special Paellas include several Asian-inspired flavours such as the Claypot Rice Paella, Hainanese Chicken Rice Paella and Thai Pineapple Rice Paella which fuses local flavours with European ingredients and cooking styles; a definite must-try!

Cinqo Tapas

Cinqo Tapas

Seafood in Chilli Crab Sauce Pizza (S$15)

Seafood in Chilli Crab Sauce Pizza (S$15)

Seafood in Chilli Crab Sauce Pizza (S$15)

Seafood in Chilli Crab Sauce Pizza (S$15)

Hand-tossed with a 10-inch thin crust, this seafood pizza came topped with a generous shower of squids which unfortunately were too dry and tough for my liking. The chilli crab sauce also failed to impress as it lacked heat and flavour, therefore making the overall taste bland. However, I did enjoy the airy and crispy crust. It was well-balanced with just the right amount of doughy goodness. The pizza is available all-day at S$15 in 5 other flavours – Pepperoni, Vegetarian, Asian-Inspired, Quattro Formaggi and Prosciutto Carpegna & Arugula.

I was supposed to try their signature Paella too, but my stomach had reached its peak by the time it was ready to be served. It was pity as I was pretty sure it would be a million times tastier than the pizza considering the number of times I was urged (albeit subtly) by the marketing team to try it. The unique flavour combinations, too, are definitely worthy of a shot.

The menu gets even more enticing at dinner (from 5pm) with the addition of Truffle Fries (S$10), Angus Beef Carpaccio (S$10), Angus Beef Cubes (S$12), Pan Seared Foie Gras (S$12) and many other crowd favourites. With so many food options at Cinqo to rouse your palate, you certainly would see yourself coming back for more!

2. Teppei Syokudo

If the name rings a bell, that’s because Teppei Syokudo is indeed a branch from its famous parent restaurant, Teppei, at Tanjong Pagar. Best known for his top-grade yet affordable Japanese food at his flagship restaurant, Chef Teppei brings the same goodies that have made him such a hit to his latest outlet at FIVE Square – the Katsu Don (S$15.80), Chicken Nanban Bento (S$13.80), and the ever popular Kaisendon (S$16.80) which are literally flying off the counter. There is also a wide selection of Izakaya style snacks specially created to cater to the drinking crowd!

Teppei Syokudo

Teppei Syokudo

Kaisendon

Kaisendon (S$16)

Kaisendon

Kaisendon

Being the first dish I had sampled for this tasting session, Teppei had unknowingly set the bar for the food standard at the Bazaar sky high with this divine bowl of Kaisendon. This seafood don had thick, large and absolutely fresh salmon sashimi cubes and tuna sashimi chunks atop a bed of well-prepared Japanese rice and completed with tobiko and a tiny dollop of wasabi to clear the palate. The sashimi are to die for and the entire dish was simply scrumptious. It’s so SYOK, I swear!

After a few mouthfuls of the Kaisendon, I had to battle with my inner self to abstain from devouring some more because of the sprawl of food before me. It was tough but I eventually managed to achieve this almost-impossible feat – only after gobbling down every piece of the sashimi in the bowl.

Pork Katsu with Egg

Pork Katsu with Egg (S$15.80)

Served alongside a separate bowl of Japanese rice, the katsudon was another plate of comfort. Besides giving the dish texture, the corn also lent a mild sweetness to the overall flavour. Portions were generous as there was quite a fair bit of pork. The meat was tender and there was sufficient gravy and egg scramble to make it moist yet maintaining the crunch of the batter at the same time.

3. Omnivore

From the brains behind The Soup Spoon comes another healthy concept that offers wholesome salads and grills. Whether you’re a meat eater or a veggie lover, you’d be able to find food that suits your diet at Omnivore. From salads for the Herbivores (S$6.80) and perfectly grilled meat platters for the Carnivores (S$16.80) to a combination of both for the Omnivores (S$12.80), there are numerous food combinations to choose from to create your own perfect plate of healthy goodness. Not sure what to eat? The fickle-minded can also opt for the Carnivore sample platter (S$24.80) which comprises everything!

Omnivore

Omnivore (S$12.80)

Omnivore

Omnivore

Having a balanced meal is imperative in making your body function properly but many a time, busy working professionals fall short on essential nutrients like fresh vegetables or proteins from surviving on merely convenience food. If you’re guilty of this, hopefully this dish would propel you to eat more healthily!

Offering the best of both worlds, not only would you get half-sized Herbibowl (a.k.a. salad) on your Omnivore plate, you would also be able to choose a meat and housemade sauce of your choice. I was given grilled chicken thigh doused with Ponzu Miso Butter sauce that had a sweet citrusy taste and a subtle sour finish to it. The chicken was succulent and cooked perfectly and there were even crispy wonton skins (without fillings) to spruce up your greens (if you’re not a veggie person, that is).

Carnivore Sample Platter

Carnivore Sample Platter (S$21.80)

Carnivore Sample Platter

Carnivore Sample Platter

A food heaven for the carnivores, this platter has all the (common) meat to fulfill your protein needs. Indulge in grilled pork cutlet, 100% NZ grass-fed flank steak, Bratwurst sausage, chicken thigh and chicken breast with this brilliantly thought-out dish. They were all well-garnished and lean. Better still, they also came with a homemade sauce of my choice, or rather, two in my case since it was a food tasting session. I had Ponzu Miso Butter and House Gravy, both of which had their own distinctive taste to compensate for the lack of flavour of the platter. Ponzo had a thicker consistency while House Gravy was lighter and way blander.

However, except the sausage, I personally found the meat (especially the steak) rather dry and tough in general. But then again, perhaps I had too high of an expectation for this platter. Also, unless you’re extremely hungry, chances are you wouldn’t be able to finish the entire platter. Therefore, it’d be a better idea to share this with friends or colleagues!

4. Gogibox

Gogibox is the first quick-serve Korean food concept in Singapore offering 7-8 kinds of daily freshly grilled Bulgogi for you to choose from. They pride themselves on their Bulgogi—literally meaning “fire meat”— which they consider to be  their strength and culinary weapon. On top of that, Gogibox also offers 3 kinds of Korean fried rices namely kimchi, prawn and bulgogi marinade. Snacks like fried dumplings are provided on the side menu should you feel like getting some quick bites.

Gogi Plate - Beef

Gogi Plate – Beef (S$8.50, top-up S$1.80 for each additional meat)

Gogibox’s signature is the Gogi Plate served in a takeaway box. It comes with 1 choice of Korean fried rice, 1 choice of bulgogi (beef, chicken, spicy chicken, spicy pork, pork galbi, gochujang pork bell or wine pork belly), fried egg and a side of salad, all combining to give you a complete meal that would leave you satiated without burning a hole in your pocket at the same time.

My first impression of this dish was that it looked dry but fortunately my beef turned out to be deliciously sweet with the right tenderness. Apart from the beef, the flavours were also coming from the fragrant kimchi fried rice. Presentation-wise, it suffered because of the broken and dried-up egg yolk. And being served egg yolk that is anything but runny is sadly at the top of my list of pet peeves :\ Therefore I didn’t really enjoy Gogi Plate as much as I wanted to.

Gogi Dog

Gogi Dog – Chicken (S$6.80)

If you’re in the mood for a lighter bite, there are plenty of options at Gogibox like Gogi Dog and Gogi Taco that can fill your stomach for awhile. The Gogi Dog is a combination of American hot dog and the bulgogi. It had soft and fluffy buns sandwiching fresh, crunchy cabbage and a steaming hot sausage. The saltiness from the sausage also helped to balance out the overall flavour.

Gogi Taco

Gogi Taco  – Spicy Chicken (S$6.80)

The Gogi Taco, on the other hand, is Gogibox’s interpretation of Mexican taco using thick and chewy wraps and the freshest vegetables. Although not very spicy (it could well be after several bites), the chicken still left a tingling sensation in the mouth. It also has the tendency to become a messy affair if not careful. Divide it with cutlery if you’re a messy eater like me. It surprising cut very smoothly!

Omnivore (left) and Gogibox

Omnivore (left) and Gogibox

5. GRUB Noodle Bar

Previously located at Rangoon Road, the popular brand of noodles has finally made its way to a more accessible location at the CBD. Best known for its tasty broth, it is made using beef bones and vegetables and boiled for long hours to extract the full flavour from the beef bones. Furthermore, it contains no MSG or artificial flavours. GRUB Noodle Bar also prides itself on offering only quality beef with its noodles. Take your pick from grades of beef often only found in high-end steakhouses, starting from a pasture-fed beef brisket (S$10.90) to a tender premium sirloin option (S$13.90).

Grub Noodle Bar

Grub Noodle Bar

Pork Collar Noodles - Dry

Pork Collar Noodles – Dry (S$9.90)

Pork Collar Noodles - Dry

Pork Collar Noodles – Dry

Besides the miso pork broth, GRUB apparently makes great chilli sauce to go along with the noodles too! It was adequately spicy and slightly tart which complemented well with the sweet and flavoursome 100% pork balls and springy egg noodles. If not for my exploding stomach, I would have totally went for one of their the beef noodles as well!

The pork collar noodles is available in both soup (S$7.90) and dry versions. Those with a more exquisite palate may opt for the Kurobuta Collar Noodles that is also sold in soup (S$10.90) and dry (S$12.90) versions.

Payment methods

Payment instructions

Payment instructions

In a bid to reduce reliance on manpower, the Bazaar is the first to roll out a fully automated self-service ordering and payment kiosk. It is integrated to a SMS system which sends customers a message once their food is ready for collection so that they do not have to wait by the store while their orders are prepared. Customers can also use this time to look for a seat or purchase drinks and other items. This system has been warmly received by the masses and touted as a game-changer for the food and beverage industry here.

Family FUN² @ FIVE Square

Although catered mostly to working professionals during the workweek, FIVE Square continues to be abuzz on Saturdays (the only weekend on which it is open for now) with family-centric activities. Starting 10 October 2015, a refreshing concept combining feast, shop and play called Family FUN² @ FIVE Square enables patrons to tuck into a selection of food for lunch and/or dinner and browse through a myriad mix of eclectic items at The Artisan Market while their little ones have a whale of a time at the outdoor Bouncy Castle, mini ball pit and remote control cars.

The free and open-to-public event is only available on Saturdays.

Pushcarts at The Artisan Market

Pushcarts at The Artisan Market

25 vendors will be stationed at The Artisan Market from 12pm to 7pm every Saturday to sell an extensive blend of products and services ranging from hand-made accessories, arts & crafts, fashion apparels, decor, home-ware items and more. Apart from that, visitors can also expect an exciting line up from the bustling marketplace showcasing their participating artisans and lifestyle vendors such as clay miniatures, personalized craft /scrap books, crochet bears, patchwork blankets, bottle lamps and many more, providing a unique shopping experience for both the locals and tourists!

Bouncy Castle

Bouncy Castle

Remote Controlled Cars

Remote Controlled Cars

Mini Ball Pit

Mini Ball Pit

However, the management of FIVE Square is still working on bringing more children-friendly dishes at the Bazaar so food choices for the little ones (especially those below the age of 5) is still quite limited for now. Hence, it is advisable to pack lunch just in case foods like fried calamari do not suit their appetite!

All in all, I feel that FIVE Square has done a pretty good job in taking over Han’s task of providing affordable and quality food for the masses in the CBD area. I, for one, would without a doubt make FIVE Square my regular eating place if I’m working in the vicinity! I will stuff my face with Kaisendon every single day! Omnomnomnomnom.

What about you? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

FIVE Square
Great Eastern Centre @ 1 Pickering Street
#01-03, Singapore 048659
Tel: +65 87980245
Parking available @ Great Eastern Building at the rate of $1.65 per hour
Operation Hours: 10am – 12am, Mondays to Saturdays
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer / Chinatown / Clarke Quay (all about 5-minute walk away)
Website | Facebook | E-mail

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Crab and Crêpe Buffet @ Azur

MEDIA INVITE

Hey everyone!

Due to the distance from where I live, the thought of visiting Changi Airport for recreational purposes has never crossed my mind. All my trips to the airport were either to catch a flight or mainly to welcome the arrival of my loved ones.  They were usually a hasty process so most of the time I would be too preoccupied to explore the surroundings and amenities.

However, every time I was driven to the airport, my attention would never fail to wander off to the façade of Crowne Plaza  The 5-star airport hotel is exceptionally breathtaking with its captivating three-dimensional lace screens resembling orchid petals on the exterior.  It had an inviting presence, yet I had not been inside because I had never wanted to drift too far off the arrival and departure halls. Nobody I know has ever held a wedding banquet there too so there was absolutely no reason for me to set foot in the hotel.

But now, there could be an excuse for me to do so!

From 25 September to 29 November 2015, patrons are able to enjoy Singapore’s most-loved crustacean and delightful savoury and sweet crêpes in an East-meets-West fusion style buffet at the award-winning Azur Restaurant located on the second level of Crowne Plaza Changi Airport. Put together by Executive Chef Kiang Siang Heng and his culinary team, this special weekend-only dinner buffet boasts an array of delectable crab creations, poached tiger prawns and freshly shucked oysters at the seafood bar.

On top of that, diners can also expect sashimi, enticing appetisers like the oriental roasted crêpes (a.k.a Peking Duck Pancakes) and tasty soups at the buffet spread. Finally, finish off the hearty meal with a selection of beloved desserts like durian pancakes, chocolate fountain, ice cream and pastries to give your tongue a sweet twist.

Here are some of the highlights of the buffet that’s bound to be a hit with everyone, regardless of age and especially so if you’re an ultimate crab lover!

Appetisers and Soups

Let’s begin with the first course of the meal. There were 2 choices of soup available – the Hot and Sour Crabmeat and King Crab Bisque with Lemon Cream, each prepared to stimulate different parts of the taste receptors.

Hot and Sour Crabmeat Soup

Hot and Sour Crabmeat Soup

As the name implies, the Hot and Sour Crabmeat Soup was both hot in terms of temperature (not so of spiciness but it could be just me) and slightly acetic with a generous amount of crabmeat and carrot shredded in thin strips. If you’ve tried Sichuan Hot and Sour Soup before, this tasted exactly like it but probably with a lighter texture. However, the soup wasn’t really popular because there was obviously a better option right beside it.

King Crab Bisque with Lemon Cream

King Crab Bisque with Lemon Cream

Under the recommendation of Jolyn who had so kindly extended the media invitation to my boyfriend and I, I tried the King Crab Bisque. Thick, full-of-flavour and rich, the crab bisque was one of the best I had tasted and I had even helped myself to another serving (filled to the brim of the bowl) before leaving the restaurant. It was so darn good. To add a little crunch, I topped the soup with some croutons. Like a sponge, they absorbed the soup and created a mini taste explosion in the mouth. Wouldn’t mind going back again just for this.

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Oriental Roasted Duck Crêpes

Ever since Modern Peking Duck closed permanently at Vivocity and ION Orchard (and does anyone know why and where they are now?), boyfriend and I have been seriously deprived of some succulent Peking roast duck pancakes drenched in delicious hoisin sauce. Fortunately, our psychological craving for them was temporarily satisfied at Azur.

Prepared freshly at room temperature, these crêpes would vanish completely every time a new batch was brought forward. Each roll was made in relatively smaller portion so that you can easily pop it in your mouth. The duck meat was tender but not juicy enough to make up for the absence of hoisin sauce in the roll. Therefore, the entire crêpes actually felt a little dry.

Vegetable Terrine with Roasted Bell Pepper & Chervil Oil

Vegetable Terrine with Roasted Bell Pepper & Chervil Oil

It takes an acquired taste to appreciate terrines because of their unusual taste and texture. But if you love livers, you’d definitely love these. I couldn’t identify the type of meat used to make these terrines (though definitely not pork as Azur doesn’t serve pork and lard but it could well be chicken) because they were extremely soft and delicate to the touch with a buttery feel, like tofu but way smoother and mushier. It didn’t require much effort to break them apart because they would practically just melt in my mouth. However, as I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s not something that most people would enjoy and I, for one, did not 😦

The Homemade Crab in Crêpes Station

The Homemade Crab in Crêpes Station

Combining two main elements of the buffet, the Homemade Crab in Crêpes Station offers a variety of savoury crab fillings like Curry Mayonnaise Crab, Sambal Dry Shrimps Crab, Crab Meat Goulash, Honey Pineapple Chicken and Crab and Crab Wasabi on a plain yet delectable crêpe. The portion is humongous so you’d probably need to share it with your companions.

There is also another crêpe station where you can pick up a hot dessert of delicious French pancake in orange butter sauce.

Seafood Bar, Sashimi & Sushi

Moving on to another segment of the buffet, the seafood bar promises a wide selection of crab dishes such as Spanner Rock Crabs paired with fragrant coriander dressing and Cold Stone Crabs that are best eaten with a mandarin orange compote. You can also make your own cold seafood platter with some Cold Alaska Crab Claws, Poached Tiger Prawns, Freshly Shucked Oysters and perhaps Salmon Sashimi.

Freshly Shucked Oysters

Freshly Shucked Oysters

Perfectly shucked and smoothly tumbled, not a speck of dirt or shell fragmentation could be found on my glistening oysters which looked really seductive by the way. The oysters were gorgeously displayed on a bed of ice to keep them chilled. While they were all remarkably fresh, I felt that they could be even fresher if they were shucked to order. Nevertheless, the oyster flesh was huge, very meaty and slippery with a hint of natural saltiness. They had a distinctive seawater smell but it was mild enough to be overlooked. But if you’re easily bothered by it, you can squirt lemon juice over the oysters to mask the smell.

Spanner Rock Crabs

Spanner Rock Crabs

These Spanner Rock Crabs were a bit of a hassle to eat. Although they were already broken up at the carapace for patrons’ convenience, other areas like the claws were not. But even with a crab cracker, the shell took awhile to break because they were as hard as rocks. And the amount of cold crab meat you obtain after going through all the trouble is just miserable. Being the lazy person that I am, I don’t think this crab is worth all the effort and mess and I would rather spend the time on cooked crab dishes.

Poached Tiger Prawns

Poached Tiger Prawns

Sushi

Sushi

Salmon Sashimi

Salmon Sashimi

No Asian-theme buffet would be complete without a sushi bar. Likewise for Azur, it was no exception. The miniature sushi corner is stocked with Salmon and Tako sashimi and Ikura Salmon Roe Sushi Rolled with Crêpe that’s specially created to suit the theme. You would also be spoilt for choice with an assortment of Nigiri Sushi like Tamago, Ebi and Tuna. In need of more carbs to fuel your body? Try Cha Soba with Mud Crab Roe and Unagi!

But honestly, unless you’re a diehard sushi fan who, I don’t think the sushi are spectacular and can be skipped. The Salmon Sashimi were in dull orange and they lacked the shiok factor because they weren’t cold enough although they were replenished quite regularly. There were definitely other foods at the buffet that were more worthy of your stomach space.

Hot Asian and Western Crab Dishes

A varied selection of crab and seafood-theme Asian and Western dishes can be found at two show kitchens. The Hawker Stall features a different popular local crab dish rotated every thirty minutes to an hour. I spotted Salted Egg Crab while making my rounds and maybe Curry Crab too. If you’re lucky enough, you may find other crab dishes like Wok Fried Cereal Crab, Black Peppercorn Crab and Singapore Chilli Crab.

Salted Egg Crab

Salted Egg Crab

The Salted Egg Crab is another favourite dish of mine that evening. Coated with thick and grainy golden salted egg batter, the crabs were cut up into manageable portions with almost an equal proportions of meat in every little piece. Among them were chunks of salted egg batter which you can probably just eat for fun. Despite using smaller crabs for this dish, there was surprisingly an abundance of meat and the crab shell was interestingly edible as well!

Crab-Chicken Meat Stuffed Grilled Bell Peppers

Crab-Chicken Meat Stuffed Grilled Bell Peppers

Spanish Paella with Baked Crab and Tomato Sauce

Spanish Paella with Baked Crab and Tomato Sauce

If you’re beginning to suffer from crab-fatigue, fret not! There are also other hot dishes available at the Hawker Stall. There you will be able to find Crayfish with Blue Sea Prawn and Minced Chicken in “Rendang Style” and a Thai-inspired dish called “Bamee Poo”. The latter is an egg vermicelli noodle dish mixed with a rich sauce made of garlic, fish sauce and light sauce, topped with sweet steamed crab meat, fried ikan bilis and tangy green mustard. Whoa! Sounds absolutely marvelous, doesn’t it?

Blue Sea Prawn & Minced Chicken in Rendang Style

Blue Sea Prawn & Minced Chicken in Rendang Style

Deep-fried Crabmeat and Tofu with Leek & Oyster Sauce

Deep-fried Crabmeat and Tofu with Leek & Oyster Sauce

Grilled Beef Yakitori with Crabmeat Ball

Grilled Beef Yakitori with Crabmeat Ball

For diners who are looking for western options, some of the highlights from the Western show kitchen are the Saffron Rice with Tomato Crab, Baked Whole Barramundi Fish with Crab Meat Herbs Crust, BBQ Sri Lanka Crab, Crispy Dungeness Crab Cakes with Chestnuts in Mango-Pineapple Salsa and Steamed Stone Claw with Zesty Orange Horseradish Sauce.

Baked Whole Barramundi Fish with Crab Meat Herbs Crust

Baked Whole Barramundi Fish with Crab Meat Herbs Crust

Another highly sought-after dish at Azur, the whole Barramundi Fish (also known as Asian Seabass) was reduced to a partial skeleton within minutes of putting it out for the public to devour. The skin of the fish was fried to a crisp and its flesh were luscious and juicy. I had never seen nor tasted crust made of crab meat before so this was certainly new and refreshing to me.

Dessert Island

Finally, complete your feast with some desserts. At the dessert corner, you will be able to find timeless classics like Durian Pancakes and Chocolate Fountain with mixed berries, melons and marshmellows. Other forms of chilled miniature desserts are also available should you be too replete for anything more. All pastries except for the kuehs are personally prepared by the chef himself.

Durian Pancake

Durian Pancake

Regrettably, the miniature durian pancakes were a bit of a letdown. Not only were they cold and slightly soggy because they were obviously mass-prepared and left to cool for awhile, the pancake itself felt a little too mushy and starchy for my liking. Their only saving grace was perhaps the durian pulp which was fragrant (duh!) and creamy.

Kueh Pie Tee

Kueh Pie Tee

Ingredients for Kueh Pie Tee

Ingredients for Kueh Pie Tee

Marshmallows to dip into the chocolate fondue

Marshmallows to dip into the chocolate fondue

Garnishes for your ice cream

Garnishes for your ice cream

If I still had space for ice cream, I would have totally gone crazy with the garnishes especially those M&Ms chocolates!

Lemon Curd Pie

Lemon Curd Pie

With a portion so small, you definitely won’t feel guilty about eating these Lemon Curd Pie. Dressed with berries and a mixture of stevia and lemon powder, the pie gave an addictively tart flavour which propelled me to get another helping. It was piquant and delicious and I just loved how the beautiful crust crumbled in my mouth.

Green Tea Panna Cotta

Green Tea Panna Cotta

The visually striking presentation of the panna cotta first caught my attention. The soft and silky green tea cream sat cleverly atop a layer of mousse (can’t remember what flavour) and embellished with a rose macaron and a slice of strawberry. The cream had a faint tinge of bitterness but the overall taste was decent. Perhaps it would go better with red bean mousse.

Red Bean Custard

Red Bean Custard

More desserts

More desserts

Nutty Crumble & Coconut Tartlet

Nutty Crumble & Coconut Tartlet

Small enough to fit the entire piece into the mouth, these tartlets were not only aesthetically pleasing but also very easy to eat! Topped with blueberries and pounded nuts, the coconut-laden tartlets were dusted with cocoa powder on the surface. The blueberries lent a sweet flavour and juicy quality to the tartlet which could otherwise be dominated by the bland and fibrous grated coconut. Hence, the resulting taste was an exquisite surprise.

Nonya Kueh

Nonya Kueh

Nonya Kueh

Nonya Kueh

All in all, the extensive spread of high-quality food at the buffet was definitely beyond impressive. I like that diners can literally try all the different crab creations at the same time and to their heart’s content. But I feel the price tag of $75++ per person for a not-so-novel concept (as quite a number of restaurants have already rolled out similar crab-themed buffets in recent years) is a tad extravagant. On the other hand, crab lovers with an insatiable appetite may find the price extremely reasonable. So yeah, to each his own, I guess!

What do you think? How do you find the food? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

Thanks for the warm hospitality, Azur!

Thanks for the warm hospitality, Azur!

Thanks for reading!

The Crab and Crêpe Buffet is priced at $75++ per pax and available for dinner on Friday to Sunday. Prices are subjected to a 10% service charge and prevailing government taxes. Prior reservations are greatly encouraged.

Azur
Crowne Plaza @ Changi Airport
Level 2
75 Airport Boulevard
Singapore 819664
Call 6823 5354 for reservations
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Get Crunching with Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies by BHP

SPONSORED

Hello everyone!

You can probably remember my post on the Roasted Buckwheat Green Tea published a few months back where I highlighted the health benefits of buckwheat (or soba in Japanese). Many diabetic and cancer patients, upon my recommendation, have tried either the green tea or the coffee to incredible results. It had even astounded and piqued the interest of a doctor who had noticed the consistently healthy blood pressure level in a diabetic patient ever since she started including at least two cups of freshly brewed Roasted Buckwheat Coffee in her daily diet. The last time she met her doctor, he also enquired about how he could get his hands on the coffee too!

In fact, one of the co-founders of the Buckwheat Healthcare Products (BHP) is also testimony of the effectiveness of buckwheat in bringing about health changes. Being a serious diabetes, liver cancer and kidney disease sufferer previously himself, not even the maximum dosage of insulin prescribed by his doctor at the Singapore General Hospital was able to help his condition. He was delivered the bad news that he would not be able to make it past 3 months in May 2007 by several experienced doctors he consulted. But instead of resigning to his fate, he remained optimistic and continued to seek alternative solutions. Then one day, he stumbled upon an article about buckwheat and decided to give Buckwheat Roasted Green Tea a shot. Even though he is still on medication for his kidney failure today, his other damaged organs have reverted to normal conditions, much to the amazement of his doctors. That’s right, he managed to fully recover from liver cancer and diabetes without undergoing chemotherapy!

Due to its unsweetened and slightly bitter taste, many, especially children however, may find it hard to adjust their taste buds. That’s why BHP had come up with other variations like coffee and honey, as well as in cans. Now, it has also come in cookie form! So cookie lovers, REJOICE!

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Apart from buckwheat, the powehouse cookies are also packed with the wholesomeness of chia seeds, one of the most nutritious foods on the planet that’s loaded with fiber, protein, antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients (source).

Ingredients of Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies:

Wheat Flour, Butter, Buckwheat, Chia Seeds, Egg, Sodium Bicarbonate, Baking Powder, Sugar, Salt, Milk Powder, Vanilla Essence.

Store in a cool dry place. Contains wheat, gluten, eggs, milk. Processed in a facility that uses nuts.

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

The adorable golden-brown heart-shaped cookies are baked in bite-sized pieces that melt in your mouth. They are crunchy to the bite (you can even hear the satisfying crunch of the chia seeds in your mouth, no joke!) and are absolutely flavourful – a little like Suji cookies. Not only is it a great choice of snacks for in between meals (hear ye, hear ye, office workers!), it’s also a very healthy nibble for your kids. Who said cookies can’t be delicious and nutricious at the same time, eh? With the buckwheat chia seed cookies, you can now turn your guilty pleasure into a guiltless one! 🙂

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

As these cookies are still at the trial stage to gather more feedback on the taste, each packet is only limited to 25g with 5 pieces of cookies. Plans to have more quantity (40-60 pieces) in a bigger, better-designed packaging (200-300g in a heart-shaped tin) are well under way. I will update this post again when the time comes.

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies (S$3.50/pkt)

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies

Feeling the munchies? You can now order the all-new Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies from BHP! Click here to be directed to the product page.

Click image to be directed to product page

Click image to be directed to product page

Or, you could join my giveaway! 😉

** SECOND BHP GIVEAWAY **

From now ’til 15 November 2015, I will be selecting 10 lucky winners to receive FIVE packets of the Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies. On top of that, I will also be giving away TWO boxes of Roasted Buckwheat Green Tea (25 sachets each) and TWO boxes of Buckwheat Black Coffee (30 sachets each). How does that sound?

TL;DR

WIN 5 x Buckwheat Chia Seed Cookies + 2 x Roasted Buckwheat Green Tea (25 sachets) + 2 x Buckwheat Black Coffee (30 sachets)

To join this giveaway:

  1. Simply share this post on Facebook. Your privacy settings must be set to “public”.
  2. Then, comment here with your e-mail address or or e-mail me at askme@fionaseah.com with “I want Roasted Buckwheat Green Tea!” as your subject. Alternatively, you can use the contact form below if you’d like to maintain your privacy 🙂

As product is bulky, self-collection is advised at the following MRT stations: Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Gombak, Bukit Batok, Jurong East, Serangoon, Orchard and Dhoby Ghaut. All are welcome to participate in this giveaway (even those who have won the first giveaway) as long as you’re able to meet me at any of the above-mentioned locations! 🙂

Remember, contest closes on 15 November 2015 or earlier if response is overwhelming. Share this with your family and friends whom you think will benefit from these products! Good luck and I look forward to meeting some of you when you collect your prizes! 🙂

Giveaway has ended on 15 November 2015! Thank you for your e-mails and comments. Winners have been notified via e-mail! Do check your inbox/junk to see if you’ve won the giveaway! 🙂

Together, let’s all work towards a diabetes-free nation!

Buckwheat Health Products Pte Ltd

FREE LOCAL DELIVERY
www.buckwheat.com.sg
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District 10 Bar & Grill @ Suntec City

MEDIA INVITE

Hello everyone!

Since the reopening of Suntec City after a year-long (felt like forever, though) refurbishment in 2013, the crowds seem to have diverted from rat-plagued Marina Square to the newly renovated mall (have you been there yet? It’s massive). While a small part of Suntec City is still preparing to open to shoppers, most of the shops have already started operating. with some located at the inner part of the mall opening as late as this month.

And one of them is District 10, a rather cozy-chic restaurant serving modern European cuisine in a casual yet sophisticated al fresco and indoor setting. Formed in 2009 and headed by Chef Luca Pezzera, District 10 has 3 other outlets in Singapore and one in Medan, each bearing a different theme.  While these outlets offer the usual pub fare like burgers and fish and chips, the latest addition at Suntec City – which had only started on the second week of September – specialises in dry aged meat and provides a more upmarket choice of food and wine.

Just to sidetrack a little, the name District 10 brings me back to those days when I worked as an assistant to an estate agent who dealt primarily in private properties in prime areas like this district (or D10, one of the 28 districts in this city-state), which encompasses affluent neighbourhoods such as Bukit Timah, Holland Road, Orchard Road and Tanglin Road. Although I have no idea how the name of this restaurant came about, I think it’s highly possible that it was inspired by the real district 10 in Singapore, thus explaining the overall classy look and tone of the branding direction.

District 10 Bar & Grill at Suntec City

District 10 Bar & Grill at Suntec City

District 10 Bar & Grill at Suntec City

District 10 Bar & Grill at Suntec City

A considerable area of the 1,800 square-foot restaurant is devoted to the outdoor dining area as seen above. Designed and built by A D Lab’s leading architect, Warren Liu, the al fresco bar is the one and only with synchronised tole featuring logs in Suntec City and a series of movable and scalable cabana-like broad-seat open houses – a first in the mall.

Wines for tasting that evening

Wines for tasting that evening

Getting to District 10 was a bit of a hassle for me because it’s quite a distance from the MRT exit and since it was tucked right behind a long stretch of unopened shops, I nearly missed it. I wanted to take a shortcut but it was during the week of the F1 Singapore Grand Prix so almost every corner of Temasek Boulevard was sealed off – gah! I’m sure getting there would be a lot easier now, though.

Welcome drink: Zonin - Prosecco

Welcome drink: Zonin – Prosecco (11% alcohol level)

Upon arrival, I was served the Zonin Prosecco, a sparkling wine which takes its name from a little hill-side town near Trieste, in Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy). The must is obtained from gently pressed grapes and it has a pale, straw yellow colour with subtle green hues with a persistent perlage (the chains of bubbles that ascend towards the surface of the wine) and rich mousse. It was pleasantly tannic with a fruity fragrant, all while revealing an abundance of almonds and fresh citrus notes. One of the milder wines I had that evening, it was surprisingly gentle on the palate and easy to drink for wine beginners.

This wine is best paired with caprese salad, crab cakes, pan-seared salmon with lemon and basil, chicken pesto with angel hair pasta or all your fine desserts.. or this near-impeccable canapé right here:

Crostini With Duck Rillettes And Fig Jam (S$16++)

Bar bites: Crostini with Duck Rillettes and Fig Jam (S$16++)

This fancy-looking  tartlet is a French specialty. Tender and well-salted, the shredded duck meat had a great consistency of fat and meat. Without a robust flavour on its own, it allowed the sweetness of the fig jam to stand out more. Further, the crostini added some crunch to the soft and moist texture of the duck confit and also gave it a bit more depth. However, I’d prefer the crostini to be slightly smaller so that the entire thing could sit comfortably in my mouth (since canapes are supposed to be eaten in one mouthful).

Chef Luca Pezzera

Chef Luca Pezzera

Sun-dried Tomato bread

Sun-dried Tomato bread

Following that, the guests were ushered to the indoor dining area. Gracing our table top was a bread basket featuring a few slices of crumbly sun-dried tomato bread. They were more dense and chewier in texture as compared to most sourdough bread I had, and hence were relatively easy to pry apart. Tomato puree was also pulped into the corners of every slice, giving it a deliciously tart finish which sort of opened up my appetite.

To further enhance the flavours of each course, savoury wines were served alongside the food.  The finest selection from the Zonin family, these wines were the highlights of that evening and were carefully paired with a customised menu from the restaurant. Each dish came with 2 wine accompaniments.

Tenuta Ca'Bolani Aquilis Sauvignon

Tenuta Ca’Bolani – Aquilis Sauvignon (13.5% alcohol level)

Like Prosecco, Aquilis was named after the village it originated and is made only once every 2-3 years. It has a golden straw-yellow colour with green hues and its smell renders a wonderful balance of citrus fruit and minerals with subtle savoury notes and white rose. On the palate, the wine was dry, medium-bodied and discernibly piquant. Having said that, it kinda grew on me and I later found myself sipping quite a bit of it.

Feudo Principi di Butera - Insolia Sicilia

Feudo Principi di Butera – Insolia Sicilia (13% alcohol level)

The Sicilian name of the commonly known as “ansonica” in Italy, Insolia has straw-yellow shade with verdant hues. The wine is described to have a tropical aroma of minerals, apples, tangerine, creamsicle and flowers but somehow what I got was a rather sharp and pungent smell, almost likened to ammonia. It is dry with a syrupy texture and had refreshing citrus flavour reminiscent of tangerine combined with almond and stone minerals, leading to a long and crisp finish.

Proscuitto de Parma served with San Marzano Tomatoes

Prosciutto de Parma served with San Marzano Tomatoes (price not available)

The prosciutto was quite a rousing start and it actually went well with the sun-dried bread. In paper-thin slices, the dry-cured ham was soft with an incredible melt-in-your-mouth texture. It was salted but not too overwhelmingly because the tomatoes had helped to offset a bit of it.

Not being familiar with San Marzino tomatoes, I had initially mistaken it for apricot jam because of its sweet and hint of tart flavours. These tomatoes are, in fact, naturally sweet with low acidity because they are grown in the rich volcanic soil at the base of Mount Vesuvius. But despite how differently they taste from normal tomatoes, they, too, share similar cancer-fighting properties! Wow, pretty sure fussy eaters wouldn’t mind having them on their plates!

Castello d'Albola - Chianti Classico

Castello d’Albola – Chianti Classico (13% alcohol level)

Elegant and refined, the Chianti Classico is a feminine style of red wine. It has a brilliant ruby red colour that tends towards garnet. Delivering a rich aroma of berries with underlying notes of sage, spice cake and earth on the nose, the palate is enlivened with cherry and exotic spices by this vibrant and medium-bodied wine that offers a delicate and polished tannins finish. It is a lot sweeter than Riserva below.

Castello d'Albola - Chianti Classico Riserva

Castello d’Albola – Chianti Classico Riserva (13% alcohol level)

Presenting a lovely ruby-red colour with orange hues, the nose is pronounced with subtle red fruits and clear notes of violet, wood, spice and earth. It is rich and medium to full-bodied (definitely more velvety than Classico above), complete with hints of berries, herbs, spice and minerals on the palate that finishes with robust tannins.

Pappardelle served with Duck Ragout

Pappardelle served with Duck Ragout (price not available)

Topped with deliciously chalky Parmesan cheese flakes and tender shredded duck meat tossed in tangy tomato gravy, the Pappardelle was like an elevated version of the Fettuccine served in entrée portion size. The flat pasta noodles were cooked perfectly as they were dense and firm to the bite. However, we felt that there wasn’t much flair to the plating because the abundant of oil at the side wasn’t very aesthetically pleasing.

Chef Luca at work

Restaurant with an open-kitchen concept. Was able to see Chef Luca at work!

Black Angus Ribs on the grill

Black Angus Ribs on the grill

Feudo Principi di Butera - Symposio

Feudo Principi di Butera – Symposio (14% alcohol level)

This wine offers a dark ruby and purple colour and delivers rich leather notes, spice, dark chocolates and spicy tobacco on the palate. Medium bodied with a long and velvety soft finish, the nose displays black cherry and rich ruby red plum notes with strong zesty orange.

Tenuta Ca'Bolani - Alturio Refosco

Tenuta Ca’Bolani – Alturio Refosco (13.5% alcohol level)

A top-grade wine that was last made in 2011, I was lucky enough to try Alturio Refosco as it is relatively uncommon with limited quantity available in the world today. Assuming a dark ruby-purple and nearly opaque appearance, a delightful combination of plum and dark cherries with hints of rich milk chocolate, jasmine and spiced herbs greet the nose while the juicy cranberry, roasted coffee and big chewy tannins tickle the palate. Very flavourful, indeed! It was undoubtedly the best wine of the evening. You could tell the quality of the wine just by the taste of it. It is divine, smooth and supple with medium-bodied weight that leads to a long and mineral-driven finish.

Of course, with great wine comes great food, so we were not a bit surprised by the choice of food pairing for Alturio Refosco.

Grilled Black Angus OP Ribs with Rosemary Sea Salt & Rosemary Glaze

Grilled Black Angus OP Ribs with Rosemary Sea Salt & Rosemary Glaze (S$20++ per 100g, min. order of 500g)

Grilled Black Angus OP Ribs with Rosemary Sea Salt & Rosemary Glaze

Grilled Black Angus OP Ribs with Rosemary Sea Salt & Rosemary Glaze

Visually appealing with taste to boot, the grilled black angus OP ribs was the star of the menu and the best protein dish I had in years.  Neatly sliced to reveal the glistening rare-done rosy-red center, it had the optimal balance of the fat and meat to give a buttery, sashimi-like texture. The steak was seasoned perfectly and crispy on the edge, displaying great finesse. It was so succulent and on its own, you could eat it without the Rosemary glaze! Seriously, one of, if not the best, I’ve tasted in my life. This dish took me to the heaven and back, I kid you not.

Enjoying my wine!

Enjoying my wine!

Crispy beef skin

Crispy beef skin (price not available)

As a prelude to our desserts (well, not really), we nibbled on some crispy beef skin which tasted really salty. This was probably some impromptu snack whipped up by the chef to tease our taste buds because it wasn’t on the menu.

Zonin - Moscato Puglia

Zonin – Moscato Puglia (7% alcohol level)

And finally, a dessert wine to match with the final course. Light straw-yellow with golden reflections and a delicate mousse, the Moscato has a typical fresh and intense scents of peaches and exotic fruit. It is luscious and light-bodied with a lingering fresh, fruity and aromatic flavours that reveal its varietal characteristic.

Wild Berries Tart with Creme Fraiche and Vanilla Sauce

Wild Berries Tart with Creme Fraiche and Vanilla Sauce (S$12++)

Wild Berries Tart with Creme Fraiche and Vanilla Sauce

Wild Berries Tart with Creme Fraiche and Vanilla Sauce

The dessert wine was a fantastic accompaniment to the tart which was unbearably sour on its own. But the wine managed to tone its acidity down a lot when consumed consecutively, and instantly transform this acetic dessert into an even more indulgent dish. Sprinkled with gold leaf, it was served in a generous portion with its cross-section of savoury berries visible on both sides. The vanilla ice cream added a satisfying flavour dimension to counteract the tartness. But of course, it wouldn’t be enough to mask substantially, thus I’d suggest you get a bottle of Moscato to go with it.

Earl Grey Tea

Ended my night with a pot of Earl Grey Tea

Earl Grey Tea

Earl Grey Tea

Apart from alcoholic beverages (all sorts! Beer, vodka, champagne… you name it, they have it), I believe they do serve tea as well but you may have to enquire about it since only alcoholic drinks are listed on the beverage menu.

On the overall, the food was top-notch, albeit pricey. But if you’re looking to unwind after a hectic week, District 10 serves as a magnificent getaway place for an intimate date with your beau, or a gathering spot for you and your pals!

Have you been to any of the District 10 outlets in Singapore? Let me know your thoughts! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

 

District 10 @ Suntec City
3 Temasek Boulevard, North Wing
#01-514/515 (near Fountain of Wealth, outside Tower 2 office lobby)
Singapore 038983
Operating hours:
Monday to Sunday: 11.30am – 11.00pm
Lunch: 11.30am – 3.00pm (last order at 2.30pm)
Dinner: 6.00pm – 10.30pm (last order at 10pm)
Tel: 6822 2886
Click here to view other outlets
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NEW: Ribena’s Pineapple & Passionfruit Fruit Drink

SPONSORED

Hey everyone!

One of the joys of being 90’s kid is becoming acquainted with iconic brands like Ribena, which is known by the people of my generation as the childhood “fruit drink” typically sold in large cordial glass bottles. But despite my huge love for Ribena as a kid, I never had the luxury of having one at home because my parents disliked buying cordials for convenience reasons. Thus I would usually get my Ribena fix elsewhere, such as my affluent cousins’ kitchen, where the refrigerator was always stocked with surplus Ribena goodies. On good days, I would even score a brand new box of Ribena pastilles when my cousins had realised that they had bought too many of it. Ah, those were the days!

Fast forward more than 10 years, the much-loved nostalgic drink remains my guilty pleasure but the product itself – both taste-wise and aesthetically – has undergone many transformations to keep up with the times. Many different ready-to-drink flavours were introduced in the past few years (I particularly love the divine combination with lemon) to enhance the familiar taste of the blackcurrant fruit beverage. Regardless of the changes, Ribena would always retain its key ingredient blackcurrant because it was what made the brand famous after all.

So really, who would have expected it to be entirely forgone in their latest flavour? That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Ribena has a new flavour and there isn’t any blackcurrant in it! Can you believe that?

Called the Pineapple & Passionfruit fruit drink, it’s Ribena’s first non-blackcurrant ready-to-drink product and also the first of its kind in the Singapore market!

Ribena's Pineapple & Passionfruit fruit drink

Ribena’s Pineapple & Passionfruit fruit drink

Packed in a resealable bottle for easy consumption on-the-go, this fruit drink contains one’s daily Vitamin C requirement, making it a wholesome beverage option and energy booster for all age group, young and old alike!

Honestly, I’m still reeling from the shock that Ribena had actually left blackcurrants out from their new recipe. It’s a very bold move, I must say, to sort of downgrade it to be like any other non-carbonated drinks on the supermarket racks. But is this change worth the risk? I would think so! The drink has a refreshing tropical flavour with a right balance of sweet (from the passionfruit) and tart (from the pineapple) although the latter stood out more on my taste bud. Its moderate sweetness coupled with the burst of fruity acidity meant that it would be a guaranteed thirst quencher in this sweltering heat!

Cocktail shaker, courtesy of RIbena (thank you!). What's that for? Read on!

Cocktail shaker, courtesy of RIbena (thank you!). What’s that for? Read on to find out!

On top of that, the not-so-overpowering flavours of the Pineapple and Passionfruit fruit drink allows the taste be customised according to your needs. You can concoct different types of beverages such as cocktails and mocktails by blending it with other drinks of your choice like what I’ve done below 🙂

Ingredients (serves 4):

♦ 1 bottle of Ribena Pineapple & Passionfruit Fruit Drink
♦ 10 lime, small
♦ 1 cup of orange juice (8 oz, can be freshly squeezed or processed)
♦ 2 cups of ginger ale (16 oz)
♦ Sufficient ice cubes
♦ Sufficient salt and lime juice (can be freshly squeeze or processed)
♦ 1 pineapple wedge for 4 cups (garnish)

What you need!

What you need! I prepared a lot more juices because I was gonna make more than 4 cups HAHA kiasu

Juices and garnishes

Juices and garnishes

I was running out of salt hence the tiny amount!

I was running out of salt hence the tiny amount!

Step 1: Rub rims of four glasses with lime. Then, dip rims in salt and set aside

Rub rim with lime

Rub rim with lime

I personally think that 5 limes are enough. But to each his own 🙂

Used my finger to spread the salt all over the rim

Used my finger instead of dipping the rim into the salt. It’s actually messier this way but desperate times call for desperate measures. Remember to get more salt!

Step 2: Combine Ribena Pineapple & Passionfruit fruit drink, orange juice, lime juice, ginger ale and ice in the mixer

Or you could use a pitcher or a big jug with stirrer if you don’t have a mixer.

Pour in Ribena Pineapple and Passionfruit Fruit Drink

Pour in Ribena Pineapple and Passionfruit Fruit Drink (about 1/2 of the bottle)

Followed by orange juice

Followed by orange juice (about 4 oz)

Dry ginger ale

Dry ginger ale (about 8 oz)

Lime juice

Lime juice (amount not stated so I added in about 4 oz of it)

Ice cubes

Ice cubes

Before mixing

Before mixing

Shake it!

Shake it!

Each complete set of steps with my mixer serves only 2 so if you have a similar mixer like mine, do remember to repeat these steps again.

Step 3: Pour the concoction into the glasses with the rims dipped in salt

The concoction

The concoction

Step 4: Stir, hook pineapple wedge on rim and it’s ready to serve

Ready to serve! (I know the cup in front doesn't have the same amount as the rest...)

Ready to serve! (I know the cup in front doesn’t have the same amount as the rest…)

So shiok when it's serve chilled!

So shiok when it’s serve chilled!

Wow, it does taste even better when blended with other beverages! The original flavour of the fruit drink wasn’t overwhelmed by the additional ingredients at all. I love how the ginger ale actually made it a little more effervescent and fun to drink. And strangely the concoction actually had a mysterious guava taste! O_O Where the heck did that come from?

Anyhoo, there’s no hard and fast rule for what you should add to the mixer, so go ahead and unleash your creativity and the mixologist in you!

Have fun and thanks for reading! 🙂

Ribena Pineapple & Passionfruit Fruit Drink is now available at all Cold Storage, FairPrice, Sheng Siong and all leading supermarkets and convenience stores island-wide for S$1.80 each. For more information on Ribena, please click here.

NEW: McDonald’s Ebi-Kase Burger, Sweet Potato Fries & Honeydew McFlurry

MEDIA INVITE

Hey everyone!

Remember when McDonald’s Ebi Burger first launched in Singapore in 2013, it was so well-received that stocks were all snapped up within days of going on sale? Well, if you missed it, you would be glad to know that it’s making a comeback but in a different identity with an improved recipe!

photo credit: McDonald's Singapore

photo credit: McDonald’s Singapore

Called the Ebi-Kase burger (エビカセ or a chock-full of shrimps, I’d believe), it is described as a flavourful combination of succulent whole shrimp in a crunchy, cereal-coated patty (instead of the breadcrumb shrimp patty found in the regular Ebi Burger), topped with shrimp paste flavoured sauce (rather than thousand island sauce) and crispy whole-leaf lettuce, served in between soft white sesame and chive buns.

Sweet Potato Fries and Ebi-Kase Burger

Sweet Potato Fries and Ebi-Kase Burger

Ebi-Kase Burger

Ebi-Kase Burger

Ebi-Kase Burger

Ebi-Kase Burger

Ebi-Kase Burger

Ebi-Kase Burger

Ebi-Kase Burger

Ebi-Kase Burger

Ebi-Kase Burger

Ebi-Kase Burger

LOOK AT THE PRAWNS

LOOK AT THE PRAWNS

The cereal-laden shrimp patty was slightly crispy on the outside and incredibly luscious and juicy on the inside. If not for the buns, I would have probably heard a resounding crunch each time I sank my teeth into the patty. I enjoyed the chunks of plump shrimps that were infused into the patty as they added texture and richness to the burger. Apart from the listed ingredients, there were also traces of potato in the patty which acted as a paste to keep everything intact.

The sauce – a blend of onion, garlic, prawn paste and chilli padi – was savoury and a little overwhelming on the palate. The added spice is what I feel sets this burger apart from the original Ebi Burger but it may not be a welcoming change for those who can’t take the heat (although it’s not as spicy as McSpicy).

The Ebi-Kase Burger also come with double patty from S$9.10 with a complete meal or S$7.15 for à la carte order.

For a truly delightful Ebi-Kase experience, you can opt for the Cereal Ebi Special from just S$7.45. The meal includes a Single Cereal Ebi (à la carte from S$5.35), a refreshing glass of Coca-Cola (S) and crispy Sweet Potato Fries (M).

You may also choose balanced sides as options by swapping your fries and opting for a corn cup at no extra charge. If you’re craving for something healthier, you can top-up $1.20 to change your side to a Garden Side Salad (whole leaf lettuce, red and white cabbage, crunchy carrots, corn kernels and tomatoes, served with a delicious Japanese dressing).

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Created to compliment the Ebi-Kase Burger, the shoestring Sweet Potato Fries were deep fried to a crispy, nice shade of golden-orange and sprinkled with very minimal salt in order to retain its original flavour. They were tasty while they were still hot. Once they cooled, they became soggy and had this doughy consistency which I hated. If you need to put out the fire in your mouth after eating the Ebi-Kase Burger, perhaps eating some of these fries can help extinguish the burn a little.

Or, you could take advantage of the 1-for-1 offer on beverages that is still ongoing. (UPDATE: Promotion ended!) Since no one was keen to share the drinks with me (*sobs*), I had both the Mango and Ribena Chill to myself!

Mango Peach Chill

Mango Peach Chill

Ribena Chill

Ribena Chill

The Chill beverages are basically slushies made with popular juice drinks that are not manufactured by McDonald’s. Two flavours are available for the Chill thirst-quenchers: Mango PeachSjora ice-blended, and Ribena. Both were not overpoweringly sweet because the ice melted quite rapidly (which is great too because that means I don’t have to wait very long for me to be able to slurp it through the straw).

Honeydew McFlurry (from S$2.90)

Honeydew McFlurry (from S$2.90) – The cup size seems to have shrunk a little

Honeydew McFlurry

Honeydew McFlurry

For dessert, the new Honeydew McFlurry is a refreshing way to bridge from savoury to sweet. Apart from the Honeydew flavour, the soft-serve is also laced with cereal (another star ingredient in this new launch as you can probably tell), making it a rather unusual mashup and something you wouldn’t expect from McDonald’s. However, I felt that the sweetness of the Honeydew was too cloying and artificial that it reminded me of those Honeydew candies served to guests during Chinese New Year. I would very much prefer Matcha McFlurry to this.

As far as I know, this new burger is exclusive to McDonald’s in Singapore only! Are you excited for it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Psst, look out for the second chapter of Ebi-Kase which I will be unveiling right here in mid September!

Thanks for the invite, omyblogclub and McDonald's Singapore!

Thanks for the invite, omyblogclub and McDonald’s Singapore!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

The Cereal Ebi, Sweet Potato Fries and Honeydew McFlurry will be available islandwide from 3 September while stocks last.

Agrobazaar Malaysia @ Sultan Gate

MEDIA INVITE

Hello everyone!

While crossing the border to Malaysia to stock up on household items and other goods is not uncommon among Singapore residents, there are also a handful of us who would occasionally travel to Johor Bahru and other Malaysian states in search of good food. But much as I love Malaysian delicacies, not knowing how to drive has put me at a disadvantage since I won’t be able to make a short trip out of the country as and when I wish. Furthermore, with the recent implementation of the RM20 levy for Singapore-registered vehicles entering Malaysia (and a possible fare increase for express buses), it is going to be slightly pricier to go there in the long run. Well, after Malaysia Ringgit starts picking up against the Singapore Dollar, that is 🙂

But wouldn’t it be less time-consuming (think perennial jams on the causeway) and out-of-the-way if we have the best offerings from Malaysia readily available in Singapore? If you’re nodding your head yes, you may be interested to know that there is indeed a one-stop central marketplace here for people who love everything Malaysian!

Agrobazaar Malaysia @ Singapore

Agrobazaar Malaysia @ Singapore

What's available at Agrobazaar

What’s available at Agrobazaar

Located at Sultan Gate within Kampong Glam, Agrobazaar Malaysia @ Singapore is a Malaysian-funded initiative which operates as a café, specialty grocery store and restaurant. Spanning over 5000sqf across 2 storeys, the outlet in Singapore is Agrobazaar’s first branch overseas and was officially opened by our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak on 27 August 2014 to reflect the bilateral ties between both countries.

PM Lee and Najib Razak at Agrobazaar on day of opening

PM Lee and Najib Razak at Agrobazaar on day of opening

Stepping into KopieSatu Café on the ground floor, I was greeted with tables and chairs that can perhaps accommodate up to 16 people lined up on both sides of the room. It is a small and cozy area where you can chill out and have a cup of gourmet coffee as you wait for your companions to complete their grocery shopping at the store just right next to it. Their fragrant and inviting aroma of the coffee is evident that it is home-grown and home-roasted to mirror the style of artisanal brews.

KopieSatu Café (photo credit: The Influencer Network)

KopieSatu Café (photo credit: The Influencer Network)

My welcome drink

My welcome drink, a cup of Dragonfruit juice – it had a subtle sweetness to it but it was strangely refreshing as well!

Latte art by one of the baristas at KopieSatu Café

Latte art by one of the baristas at KopieSatu Café

(ruined) Latte art by one of the baristas at KopieSatu Café

(ruined) Latte art by one of the baristas at KopieSatu Café

Much better!

Much better!

At the same time, you can also savour some mouth-watering desserts and pastries such as Chendol and Rainbow Durian Cake while you keep entertained with complimentary Wi-Fi on your phone or laptop. With such up-to-date amenities and a menu that caters to the masses, it’s no wonder the in-house café is deemed to be a favourite place to hold meetings, appointments or discussions by many.

Rainbow Durian Cake (S$8.50 per slice)

Rainbow Durian Cake (S$8.50 per slice)

Infused with layers of creamy durian puree in between, the rainbow-coloured sponge cake combines two of the most beloved offerings from the cake world. The portion was astonishing big! However I was quite disappointed with the taste of the durian puree because it tasted somewhat artificial, like those preserved durian wrapped into a tube sold in Thailand. I also felt it could do away with the abundance of tasteless yet sinful green whipped cream atop it. Gorgeous presentation but I wouldn’t say the same for the taste, sadly. Perhaps it would be a lot better if it was cold.

Enjoy 20% off when you order a slice of cake with any drinks from KopieSatu!

Offer is valid from 1 August 2015 to 31 December 2015.

Sharing the space with the café is the grocery store which boasts an array of Malaysian grown fruits such as duku, cempedak durian and Musang King durian (Mao Shan Wang), as well as a wide variety of other Malaysian produced goods that were previously only sold in their home country.

Durians are stored in a cold room so that they can be kept for up to 10 days compared to six days on average at room temperature. There are more than 8 types of durian to choose from!

Durians are stored in a cold room so that they can be kept for up to 10 days compared to six days on average at room temperature. There are 8 types of durian to choose from!

You can enjoy the durians in the room itself or at the comfort of your home. Don’t worry about getting your hands dirty as Agrobazaar Malaysia is equipped with toilets on both levels.

Durians galore!

Durians galore!

But those "branded" durians are guaranteed to come with rich, creamy flesh (photo credit: The Influencer Network)

“Branded” durians are guaranteed to come with rich, creamy flesh (photo credit: The Influencer Network)

Honeydew

Honeydew

Acacia Honey

Acacia Honey

Keropok/Amplang (Sabah Spanish Mackerel Crackers) Had this in my press kit and I got so hooked on it I had to drink at least 2 cups of water to rid the addiction!

Keropok/Amplang (Sabah Spanish Mackerel Crackers) Comes in a huge packet. Had this in my press kit and I got so hooked on it I had to drink at least 2 cups of water to rid the addiction!

Malaysian produced goods

Cup noodles

Malaysian produced goods

Food mix

Malaysian produced goods

Spread and chips

Moving up to the next level via the flight of stairs between the two points of entry (one leading to the grocery store while the other to the café), you will find The Verandah – the restaurant which includes both indoor and alfresco dining options. Spearheaded by an experience chef Razif, it serves authentic popular Malaysian food like Penang Asam Laksa, Mee Bandung Muar and Ayam Percik Terengganu. The menu is also revamped every now and then with new dishes being introduced to whet your appetite.

Besides priding itself as the preferred location among newlyweds to hold their weddings, the outdoor dining area at The Verandah is also an ideal venue for gatherings, functions and other events due to its spacious layout.

The Verandah (alfresco dining area) in the day

The Verandah (alfresco dining area) in the day (photo credit: The Influencer Network)

At night

At night

As always, exciting programmes were lined up for the bloggers in attendance at the media event jointly organised by The Influencer Network. Here’s what went down that evening 🙂

Activity 1: Fruit carving

Activity 1: Fruit carving. We started off not knowing what to do despite being taught (albeit very briefly) on how to carve the fruits by the expert. We ended up relying on Google and YouTube videos for ideas and inspirations

Our creation made up of several elements - a swan, an animal-shaped truck containing diced fruits and an LKY-inspired ribbon in the middle

Our creation made up of several elements – a swan, an animal-shaped truck containing diced fruits and an LKY-inspired ribbon in the middle. We made it to the top 2!

My team! I felt bad for not contributing much because I sliced my finger while cutting up the fruits. Bizarrely, I somehow had a premonition of this accident before I cut myself (or maybe I'm just really accident-prone). It was deep enough to bleed significantly (sorry Agrobazaar for soiling your sink) so I was kinda handicapped for the rest of the day. 

My team! I felt bad for not contributing much because I sliced my finger while cutting up the fruits. Bizarrely, I somehow had a premonition of this accident before I cut myself (or maybe I’m just really accident-prone). It was deep enough to bleed significantly (sorry Agrobazaar for soiling your sink) so I was kinda handicapped for the rest of the day.

What another top team did. Looks like Elmo, no? :)

What another top team did. Looks like Elmo, no? 🙂

And victory was upon us! We literally had to shed sweat, blood and tears to win this challenge haha.

And victory was upon us! We literally had to shed sweat, blood and tears to win this challenge haha.

Following that, a Teh Tarik expert from KopieSatu did a Teh Tarik (tea pulling) demonstration!

Following that, a Teh Tarik expert from KopieSatu did a Teh Tarik (tea pulling) demonstration!

Thereafter, some of our Teh Tarik skills were put to the test! Here's my team member Zulfadli putting up a brilliant performance!

Thereafter, some of our Teh Tarik skills were put to the test! Here’s my team member Zulfadli putting up a brilliant performance!

And I was put to embarrassment by my boyfriend who pushed me to the front when the host called out for more volunteers -_- (by the way I was wearing slippers because I got one of my toenails removed after hitting it against the door. Yeah, that's how accident-prone I am!)

And I was put to embarrassment by my boyfriend who pushed me to the front when the host called out for more volunteers -_- (by the way I was wearing slippers because I got one of my toenails removed after hitting it against the door. Yeah, that’s how accident-prone I am!)

William's turn!

William’s turn! (photo credit: The Influencer Network)

Guess who did the best Teh Tarik demonstration and walked away with dining vouchers? *raises hand* I probably won because I was the only female participant (though I honestly felt Zulfadli was so much better!) and also due to the additional sympathy points that were secretly awarded to me for having to work with my injured fingers.

Shortly after that, we were treated to some of the restaurant’s signature dishes.

What's offered at The Verandah

What’s offered at The Verandah *drools*

Homemade Chicken Satay (S$7.90)

Homemade Chicken Satay (S$7.90)

The chicken chunks were tender, well-marinated with spices and grilled to perfection. I managed to grab a few sticks of it the moment they were dished out from the kitchen. Hot and delightful, the taste married well with the moderately thick coconut-infused peanut dipping sauce that kinda led to an explosion of flavours (sweet, salty, sour and a little bit spicy) in my mouth.

Paos. Not sure what the fillings were because I didn't get to try them.

Paos. Not sure what the fillings were because I didn’t get to try them.

Crispy Banana Fritters (S$4.90 for 7 pieces)

Crispy Banana Fritters (S$4.90 for 7 pieces)

Tauhu Bakar (S$4.90)

Tauhu Bakar (S$4.90)

Mee Bandung Muar (S$8.90)

Mee Bandung Muar (S$8.90)

Yellow noodles for Mee Bandung Muar

Yellow noodles for Mee Bandung Muar

Mee Bandung Muar

Mee Bandung Muar (buffet, do-it-yourself portion)

A popular Malaysian noodle dish, the Mee Bandung Muar reminded me greatly of the Singaporean Mee Rebus with its distinctive thick gravy of mashed potatoes, chicken stock, tamarind, blended chilli and curry powder. The only difference was that Mee Bandung tasted a teeny weeny bit more sour. But on the overall. it was more on the sweet side with very some spiciness to it. If you love Mee Rebus, you’ll definitely love this too!

Penang Asam Laksa (S$8.90)

Penang Asam Laksa (S$8.90)

Thick rice vermicelli for Penang Asam Laksa

Thick rice vermicelli for Penang Asam Laksa

Voted seventh out of 50 most delicious food in the world by CNN, this is a specially-concocted dish unique to Penang. The unmistakable acidic aroma of the asam laksa stung my nose a little as I took a whiff of it. I then took several sips of the gravy and before I knew it, my nose became runny. Spicy! However, as much as everyone else loved the dish, I didn’t because I haven’t really taken a liking to the sourness of asam. But I’m sure it will grow on me like how Tom Yum did after I was forced to drink bowls after bowls of Tom Yum soup during my Bangkok trip a few years back!

Condiments for your Mee Bandung Muar and Penang Asam Laksa

Condiments for your Mee Bandung Muar and Penang Asam Laksa

Chendol (S$4)

Chendol (S$4 / S$4.50 with cut fruits / S$5 with durian)

A traditional dessert made with shaved ice, coconut milk, green starched noodles with pandan flavouring and palm sugar (gula melaka), the chendol makes an indulgently sweet and decadent ending to your meal. As my food tasting session was buffet-style, the ingredients of the chendol were provided separately so I had the liberty to put whatever amount of coconut milk and gula melaka I wanted. Therefore it wouldn’t be fair to review on this. But c’mon, how often do you go wrong with chendol, right?

Rainbow Kueh Lapis

Rainbow Kueh Lapis

Still have space for more pastries? How about some Rainbow Kueh Lapis? These chocolaty layered cakes are soft and moist with a sticky texture, they melt in your mouth! They were not too sweet and surprisingly addictive as well –  a good addition to your buffet table if you’re intending to hold an event at The Verandah!

Other food and beverages not featured in this post are the Crispy Cempasak Fritters (S$6.90 for 7 pieces), Ice Blended Caramel (S$7) and Teh Tarik (S$2 for hot / S$2.50 for cold)

Hmmm… are you already enticed by all the food choices above but have no money to spare for them? (I know, I know, some things in life are just slightly more important than food and you’d rather splurge your moolahs on them.. like, makeup HAHA!) Great news!

You could stand a chance to win S$100 worth of dining vouchers if you take part in the Agrobazaar’s Instagram contest! Here’s how:

There will be 2 winners for this contest so don't let this opportunity pass you by!

There will be 2 winners for this contest so don’t let this opportunity pass you by!

And that’s about it! 🙂 Let me know your thoughts and recommendations if you’ve dined at Agrobazaar Malaysia (both Malaysia and Singapore outlets) before! I would really love to hear from you before I dine there with the vouchers I had won. *beams*

Signing off with a group picture taken by The Influencer Network! Thanks for the lovely invite once again :)

Signing off with a group picture taken by The Influencer Network! Thanks for the lovely invite once again 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Agrobazaar Malaysia @ Singapore
Lot 37-43
Sultan Gate
Singapore 198485
Operating hours: 10.00am – 10.00pm daily
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