KUVO @ Orchard Shopping Centre

MEDIA INVITE

Hey everyone! *waves deliriously*

It has been close to a month since my last update so I thought I should swing by to break the silence of this blog, as well as to apologise for my sudden hiatus due to my school (mainly my final-year project) and work commitments. Owing to my hectic schedule, I had to turn down quite a number of collaboration opportunities over the past few months but somehow when the invite came from the friendly folks at Media Flair to experience the new food menu and bespoke cocktail pairings at KUVO, my heart screamed for me to accept the invitation. After days of not eating well, perhaps it was about time to feed my body with some decent food!

Cheers!

Cheers!

Discreetly nestled on the second floor of the outmoded Orchard Shopping Centre located next to the H&M building, KUVO is almost inconspicuous to the casual observer. Unless you are in the know about the latest food and beverage offerings in town, or are extremely attentive to your surroundings, it is highly unlikely that you would have heard of this multi-concept restaurant and bar. In my years of walking back and forth between Orchard Cineleisure and Somerset MRT station, I had never once noticed their signage along the walkway of Orchard Shopping Centre due to their (pardon my frankness) poor visibility and lack of attention-grabbing flair. Nevertheless, even if they did catch my eye, I honestly don’t think I would be inclined to dine at KUVO at all given the uninviting look of the building’s façade.

Signage along the walkway

Signage along the walkway

Entrance of KUVO

Entrance of KUVO

But boy, the idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover” couldn’t have been more apt here because the restaurant looks nothing like the frontage of the building. Marked by a vast floor area of 9,500 square feet, KUVO comprises a bar and a large dining area offering afternoon tea at one end and all-day international menu at the other, complete with velvet sofa, soothing lighting and live music towards the end of the week. Evidently, the whole restaurant was designed with comfort and sophistication in mind, making it the perfect place for office workers to unwind after a long day at work. Furthermore, it’s easily accessible as it’s smacked right at Orchard Road!

The helmsmen at the bar in KUVO, Yutaka Nakashima.

The helmsmen at the bar in KUVO, Yutaka Nakashima.

The bar is helmed by award-winning Japanese mixologist and culinarist, Yutaka Nakashima who serves up novel and quirky individual bespoke cocktails at S$21++. To further illustrate his unique creativity, he uses a coffee mixer to create his cocktail concoction!

Concocting alcohol with a coffee mixer!

Concocting alcohol with a coffee mixer!

Live band area

Live band area – it would be a challenge to carry out conversations when the live band performs because they can be pretty loud

Have a sweet tooth? Get your sugar fix here! Chocolates and cakes are sold in this little space between the Ambrosia and the dining area

Have a sweet tooth? Get your sugar fix here! Chocolates and cakes are sold in this little space between the Ambrosia and the dining area

Dining area

Dining area

A wide selection of wine to choose from at the dining area

A wide selection of wine to choose from at the dining area

The Gazebo, catered for private functions

The Gazebo, catered for private functions

Despite its prime location, KUVO serves great food at reasonable prices and are constantly looking at ways to enrich the dining experience through the expansion of food choices and recently the introduction of the concept of pairing food and custom-made cocktails.

Grilled Octopus (S$16++)

Grilled Octopus (S$16++)

Up close: Grilled Octopus

Up close: Grilled Octopus. Shout-out to Chubby Botak Koala for loaning me his awesome photography light.

This Spanish-inspired dish was among the first few starters delivered to our table. Sous-vide and served with slow-cooked potato and smoked paprika, the slices of octopus leg were chunky and chewy with a slight charred taste. The unsuspecting potato was soft, expertly prepared and strangely more appetising than the octopus. Even though this was recommended on the menu, I didn’t think it was tasty enough to leave a lasting impression.

Calamari Ajilo (S$16++)

Calamari Ajillo (S$16++)

In this yet another recommended dish with a Spanish influence, the calamari is sauteed in garlic and extra virgin olive oil and topped with pork chorizo. While the calamari rings were indeed tender and well-cooked, they were poorly seasoned and hence were disappointingly bland on the palate. It was a shame because I had thought this dish would be a pleasant change from the classic fried version everywhere else was offering. Rather than being a star on its own, I had to ingest it with something else to make up for the lack of flavour.

KUVO Atlantic Cod Meuniere (S$20++)

KUVO Atlantic Cod Meuniere (S$20++)

In spite of the rather unsatisfactory start, things were fortunately picking up from the third dish – a sweet pea-crusted fresh cod medallion garnished with pearl barley fricassee and citrus nutty-brown butter alongside some asparagus and carrot. The sides revealed a smooth and melt-in-your-mouth texture as delicate as snow and it had such unforgettable freshness and sweetness that kept me wanting more! The creamy and viscous sauce married well with the cod too – absolutely delightful!

Brandy Flambéed Beef Cube (S$22++)

Brandy Flambéed Beef Cube (S$22++)

Before we transitioned into the cocktail pairings segment, we had beef cubes flashed-seared to give it a vividly pink centre, flambéed with brandy and finally glazed with red wine sauce for an added acidic touch. The portion was relatively generous for a starter and it could easily pass off as a main course. Still, it would take a herculean effort to stop at one serving because those beef cubes were a mouthful of thick, hearty and luscious mellowness packed a punch of flavours. They were thoroughly easy on the teeth and the bite-size makes them all the more convenient to eat. I opted for another serving because I couldn’t get enough of the tenderness and the mouth-watering blend of succulence and piquancy of the beef cubes. Needless to say, this dish stole the show that evening and I wouldn’t mind going back just for this.

KUVO Coffee Hot Wings (S$14++)

KUVO Coffee Hot Wings (S$14++)

Up close: KUVO Coffee Hot Wings

Up close: KUVO Coffee Hot Wings

Since KUVO opens late into the night every day, you can expect to find people who are just there for the alcohol and supper-goers because they serve fantastic choice of finger food, or foods that help to satisfy any hunger pangs. An example would be the coffee-flavoured spicy mid-joint wings with baby carrot crudites and blue cheese dip.

Despite not being a coffee drinker at all, I found myself diggin’ this seemingly weird combination. It didn’t have the brutal taste of coffee and the added heat made it even more enjoyable. The blue cheese dip was surprisingly nice, had little to no hint of the rotten sour cream taste that is typically associated with blue cheese and it helped heaps to neutralise the spiciness (which, by the way, was quite a kick on its own). The wing, together with the condiments were by and large fantastic. I liked how the coffee flavour had a good blend of sweet and bitter which goes perfectly well with beer or the recommended Brewski Yen.

Brewski Yen (S$21++)

Brewski Yen (S$21++)

The Brewski Yen has the thirst-quenching properties of Kirin beer as well as an added tang of Suze, lemon and ginger ale. I personally found the ginger taste a little too overbearing for me (what’s more, I’m not even a ginger fan to begin with) but I took a leap of courage and managed to down everything to the last drop. Woohoo!

Slipper Lobster (S$15++)

Slipper Lobster (S$15++)

Top view: Slipper Lobster

Top view: Slipper Lobster

Those with a more refined taste can opt for sauteed slipper lobster adorned with habanero (a kind of chilli pepper), bell peppers and cilantro. Ease of eating is assured in this dish as the lobster meat is carefully deshelled and cooked before inserting it back to the shell again.  While it failed to impress me because I didn’t feel that the portion and the taste make up for the price, my boyfriend liked the flavours and how the juices were still exuding with each bite. The heat from the peppers was a delightful addition as well.

Hello Cel'lo (S$21++)

Hello Cel’lo (S$21++)

Complementing the slipper lobster is the Hello Cel’lo cocktail made with Bankes London dry Gin, limoncello liqueur, celery bitters and balsamico. Liquor connoisseurs who are familiar with the ingredients should already a rough idea how it’d taste like. If you don’t, recall the bitterest beverage you have ever drunk in your life and multiply the acridity tenfold. You seriously haven’t tasted the extreme end of the bitterness spectrum until you have tried Hello Cel’lo because, I swear, this takes the cake. So unless you have marvelous tolerance for bitter foods (or are already used to the pungent taste of alcohol), steer clear of Hello Cel’lo!

Wagyu & Camembert Sliders (S$17++)

Wagyu & Camembert Sliders (S$17++)

Wagyu beef patty

Wagyu beef patty

In an attempt at fusing Western and Eastern delicacies, KUVO had put together a pair of sliders featuring thick and succulent housemade wagyu beef patty topped with fresh lettuce and irresistible Camembert cheese and portobello sauce, accompanied by cheese rolls and shrimp wantons on a platter. Much as we would like to commend on the texture of the patty (not overdone and was incredibly moist), we thought it was totally unnecessary to mince such high-graded beef to make the patty because it had clearly lost its distinctive fat marbling and sweetness in the process. As beef lovers (especially of those obtained from Wagyu cattle), we had high expectations for the patty but were sorely disappointed by the execution. Having said that, if you’re not as fussy as us, you would most likely enjoy the sliders as much as many of the fellow food bloggers present at the event.

Sliced Wagyu & Camembert Sliders

Sliced Wagyu & Camembert Sliders

Moving on to the other elements on the platter, we had shrimp wantons deep fried to golden brown with wasabi mayonnaise drizzled over them. Delicious! I wished there were more of the wantons! Next to them were cheese rolls sitting atop a dash of truffle cream. Disguised as Chinese spring rolls, they crumbled crisply when I stuck my fork into the centre. Perhaps because remnants of the patty were still lingering in my mouth, I couldn’t quite make out the taste of cheese. In fact, I wasn’t aware that they were made of cheese until I read the description on the menu.

Green Iceland (S$21++)

Green Iceland (S$21++)

Paired with the sliders was the Green Iceland cocktail which combines KUVO’s Italian Antica Fratta sparkling wine, Japanese umeshu, lime, brown sugar and mint leaves for extra freshness. The tongue-tingling sensation it lent was refreshing and soothing on palate. The crushed ice melted rather quickly so it kinda diluted the bitterness after a while.

English Scotch Egg (S$14++)

English Scotch Egg (S$14++)

A peek inside the English Scotch Egg

A peek inside the English Scotch Egg. No yolk oozing out because I missed the middle part where the egg was, sorry!

Coated with breaded minced wagyu beef (oh dear..) and veal meat (choice of tuna available as well), then crowned with a layer of melted edam cheese and served with red wine onion au jus at the base, KUVO takes this classic British picnic snack to the next level. When cut through in the middle, the warm and sultry yolk from the inside oozes all over the dish, further amplifying the luscious richness of the sauce while providing a nice contrast to the crisp crust of the scotch egg.

Don’t underestimate the size of the portion (a little smaller than my palm) – the fillings were so monstrously loaded, I felt slightly glutted in the end. Nevertheless, this dish is definitely deserving of a share of the spotlight. Not only is it affordable (only S$14++!), it fills your tummy as well, so I highly recommend you try this when you’re at KUVO!

Captain B.R. (S$21++)

Captain B.R. (S$21++)

Adding to the British flair is the cocktail accompaniment to this dish called Captain B.R. – short for Captain British Rum – which is created with Earl Grey Infused Rum, fresh lemon and soda water. Laced with touches of floral notes and hints of citrus, this cocktail is an absolute delight to drink even for a non-alcoholic drinker like myself!

Kurobuta Yakiniku Donburi (S$16++)

Kurobuta Yakiniku Donburi (S$16++)

Finally, bearing in mind that there would be people who had to have some carbs in their diet, we rounded off the evening with a Japanese rice bowl dish humbly topped with a small serving of perfectly seasoned and grilled kurobuta pork loin as well as molten egg that serves as the sauce, and finished off with a sprinkle of chopped spring onion. The portion is certainly appetizer-sized, so don’t expect to feel satiated with this dish that can be devoured in 3 spoonfuls.

Tales of Shu (S$21++)

Tales of Shu (S$21++)

Brewed in the glass vacuum coffee maker as mentioned earlier, this cocktail is freshly prepared with ingredients that are beneficial to the health like genmai tea, saké, Lillet Blanc, and fresh orange peel. The concoction is subsequently poured into an ochoko (saké cup) to complement the Kurobuta Yakiniku Donburi. Tales of Shu has an immensely sharp taste comparable to that of Hello Cel’lo. Therefore, one sip was all it took to make me cringe :-S But should you be able to handle strong bitterness, do consider giving this healthy cocktail a shot!

Midsummer Breeze (S$12++)

Midsummer Breeze (S$12++)

If alcoholic drinks are out of bounds for you, there is also an array of mocktails for you to choose from but you have to approach the waiting staff for assistance because mocktails are not listed on the menu. Midsummer Breeze, the only mocktail I was served, contains melon mangosteen tea, orange juice and passion fruit. Sweet and refreshing with the taste of passion fruit sticking out, it’s the kind of tropical mocktail that takes you to the beach side on a hot and sunny afternoon.

On the whole, KUVO is a hidden gem, that’s for sure! Although there are a few misses on the revamped menu, there are definitely more hits and hence worthy of a second visit. Now that KUVO is on my radar, I will certainly be returning to try out other dishes on the menu 😉

What are your thoughts? Do share them with me!

Thanks for reading!

KUVO
Orchard Shopping Centre
321 Orchard Road #02-01
Singapore 238866
Nearest MRT station: Somerset
Operating hours:
Sunday – Thursday & Public Holidays: 12pm to 1am
Friday, Saturday and Eve of Public Holidays: 12pm to 2am
Tel: +65 6733 8272
E-mail: reservation@KUVO.com.sg
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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.

Pho Street @ Westgate

MEDIA INVITE

Hey guys!

Living in a melting pot of different cultures has blessed me with the opportunity to try out different cuisines without having to step out of the country (and saving lotsa money as a result). Besides, it has become such a commonplace in Singapore for restaurants of non-local cuisines to establish their businesses in our neighbourhood, predominantly in shopping malls, thus making it even easier to satisfy our cravings for the food we ate abroad. But of course, these food usually don’t come cheap if they are prepared or created by chefs hired from their native countries in an attempt to keep the tastes as authentic as possible. So does it mean that it’s impossible to enjoy a good four-course non-local meal with just S$30 in an air-conditioned setting?

With the number of casual dining restaurants offering affordable food springing up these days, it may be possible. But with lower price, comes compromise. How many of them can actually serve quality and true-to-original (or close) non-Singaporean dishes while still maintaining its competitive prices? Not many but I have a couple of names in mind.

Pho Street, Westgate

Pho Street, Westgate

And one of them is Pho Street, a quick service restaurant offering authentic Vietnamese pho and street delights which I only came to know about recently through an invited food tasting (that I’m about to feature in this post). Having founded only in December 2013 with just 2 outlets (Westgate and Bedok Mall) nationwide currently, it’s not unusual that not many people have heard of it. But with the new Vietnamese chef (Chef Kenny Hà) on board with his new revamped menu, it’s only a matter of time before crowds start flocking to the restaurants. You will know why as I take you through the newly added items.

In fact, crowds have already started forming at the Westgate outlet (photo taken around 8pm on a weekday)

In fact, crowds have already started forming at the Westgate outlet (photo taken around 8pm on a weekday)

Let’s begin with the beverages that Pho Street has ushered in to liven up your palate and open up your appetite for the hearty meal that is to follow.

Lemon Cooler with Peppermint and Basil and Passionfruit & Basil Mojito

(left) Lemon Cooler with Peppermint & Basil and (right) Passionfruit & Basil Mojito  (S$3.50++ each)

Lemon Cooler with Peppermint & Basil and Passionfruit & Basil Mojito

Mint and basil leaves

Garnished with mint and basil leaves to give diners a burst of cool flavour, these two latest additions provided a refreshing start to our meal. Both my boyfriend and I preferred the lemon cooler because it has a very sweet and addictive tang to it. Crisp and perky, this zesty drink is a summer classic, perfect for the hot and humid weather we’re all experiencing right now (just like Vietnam!). Even before the first dish arrived, we were already halfway done with the drink. That’s how much we loved it!

The passionfruit, on the other hand, pales in comparison in terms of the intensity of flavour. Nevertheless, it’s still a nice thirst quencher with a fairly strong minty aroma to awaken your senses. If you’re especially sensitive to strong flavours, this is the drink you should go for 🙂

Fresh Summer Rolls with Prawn, Pork Belly & Fresh Herbs

Fresh Summer Rolls with Prawn, Pork Belly & Fresh Herbs (S$4.90++)

Fresh Summer Rolls with Prawn, Pork Belly & Fresh Herbs

Spot the pork belly

To whet our appetite further, we were treated to a variety of palatable street snacks. The first of the four new appetizers served was a Vietnamese staple called gỏi cuốn which literally means salad rolls. Like how it’s traditionally prepared, these rolls are made with pork (belly in this case), fresh prawns, vegetables (cucumber, turnip, lettuce and carrots), herbs (basil and mint leaves and a stalk of lemongrass visible on the surface) and rice vermicelli wrapped with rice paper, giving you a good mix of sweet and sour flavour. Every ingredient here is cooked lightly hence the roll on the whole tastes absolutely healthy yet delicious, not forgetting the resounding crunch with every bite is super shiok and melodious to the ears can 🙂 Each serving comes with two pieces of summer roll served in room temperature.

Shades of summer - green, orange and yellow :)

Shades of summer – green, orange and yellow 🙂

The dip that came with it is widely known as tương xào, a thick and pungent sauce also commonly used in Chinese cuisine. Topped with ground peanuts, the sauce gives the rolls an added sweetness and texture. It also kinda reminded me a lot of the black sweet sauce that’s drizzled over Chee Cheong Fun. Who knows, they could even be the same thing, maybe with slight modification, based on their standard recipes I saw online!

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Vietnamese Snack Platter (S$8.90++)

Roasted Chicken Skewers

Roasted Chicken Skewers

Vietnamese Crabcakes

Vietnamese Crabcakes (only 1 piece shown here)

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Crispy Fried Pork Rolls (only 1 piece shown here)

Ohh, look at the vibrancy of the colours. These snacks are not only visually appealing, but they also tantalise the taste buds. Everything on the platter was just.. delicious. The roasted chicken meat was tender, well-marinated and evenly peppered all over (hence some may find it spicy). The crispy pork rolls were fragrant and are even tastier dipped in the fish sauce (the less opaque one in the first picture) provided with the dish. But what boyfriend and I enjoyed the most were the crabcakes, which mainly consist of crab meat, pork and fungus (mushrooms). They were extremely meaty, thick but soft and chewy. This also goes well with the fish sauce.

Do note that what you see above (except for the skewers) is just half of what you’d get. That’s right, you will have TWO pieces of each snack! All these Vietnamese delights for just S$8.90! How value-for-money is that? 🙂 (omg I subconsciously made my sentences rhyme hahahaha #hiphopfionayo)

Still not convinced? How about MORE pictures of the snacks in action? *evil cackles*

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Roasted chicken dipped in the sexiest chilli sauce..

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Glistening crabcakes calling out your name…

The crisp, the crunch and the crumbles around your lips. Mmmm-mmmm.

pho-street-westgate-33

OK, if this 360-degree view of the platter doesn’t entice you, I don’t know what will.

HAHAHAHA.

Moving on to the next appetizer, it was something that titillated the fried chicken fanatic in me because no casual dining menu would be complete without a plate of finger-lickin’ good fried chicken wings. I personally prefer the mid-joint area because that’s where the juiciest meat is.

Crispy Fried Chicken Mid-wings served with Caramelised Sweet Dip

Crispy Fried Chicken Mid-wings served with Caramelised Sweet Dip (S$4.90++)

Crispy Fried Chicken Mid-wings served with Caramelised Sweet Dip

Fried chicken buffalo wings served with an extra punch

The batter was a nice golden brown but it looked a bit puffed up with excess breading noticeable on various parts of the wings, making them look a lot bigger and meatier than they originally were. But the wings themselves were superb and the meat was moist and succulent with a tinge of spiciness because of the pepper in the marinade. If you have low tolerance for spiciness, submerging the meat into the nectarous caramelised dip would only make it worse because it’s also loaded with pepper. But I’d say go for it because the dip is so heavenly, it’d make the burn worthwhile 😉

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Sesame Rice Crackers with Fragrant Minced Meat and Spices Dip (S$6.90++)

Sesame Rice Crackers

Sesame Rice Crackers

Fragrant Minced Meat and Spices Dip

Fragrant Minced Meat and Spices Dip

The final appetizer of the evening was another distinctive snack unique to Vietnam. Known to the natives as bánh tráng mè, these sesame rice crackers are made from rice flour and sprinkled with sesame seed. They are the Singapore equivalent of prawn crackers, crispy and delicate. But instead of eating them on their own, they are typically served with dips, such as the minced meat and spices dip shown above!

To ensure that ingredients are of highest quality, the rice crackers at Pho Street are all imported from Vietnam.

The correct way of eating the sesame rice crackers

The correct way of eating the sesame rice crackers

The dip was warm when it came to us, which could suggest that they were freshly prepared (as opposed to preparing them way in advance and storing them elsewhere). It tasted like rendang paste and was a little greasy. Still, this was one of the best dishes we had at the restaurant that day (because we can’t decide between this and the snack platter).

After stuffing our face with the appetizers *burp*, it was finally time for our mains! When you’re at a Vietnamese restaurant, it’s almost like a hidden rule that you have to order Pho, so we did.

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Pho Beef Combination (S$9.90++)

Close up on the different cuts of beef in the Pho

Close up on the different cuts of beef in the Pho

The perfect rice noodles

The perfect rice noodles

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Chilli sauce and a slice of lime for the broth

Prior to the launch of this new menu, there were only beef balls, beef slices and beef shank in the Pho Beef Combination. Now, you get two additional beef cuts – the beef tendons and beef tripe (stomach) – for the same price of S$9.90! Seriously, you’re not true beef lover if you haven’t tried this. The overall taste seemed to have improved tremendously too as I couldn’t detect any of the faults mentioned on online negative reviews (bland broth, hard noodles, just to name a few) posted before the revamp.

In fact, I thought the broth was very flavourful and even more so after dribbling in some lime juice. The chilli sauce that comes with it is actually blended with the same soy sauce that’s served together with the summer roll I mentioned earlier. Talkin’ about getting the best of both worlds y’all 😉

Beef ball dipped in chilli sauce

Beef ball dipped in chilli sauce

The other mains we had was a dry version of Pho but it’s thinner and better.

Dry Rice Vermicelli with Roasted Pork Chop and Spring Roll (S$8.90)

Dry Rice Vermicelli with Roasted Pork Chop and Spring Roll (S$8.90)

Close up of the pork chop

Close up of the pork chop

Mixing them together

Mixing them together, lo hei style

Rice vermicelli

Rice vermicelli

Truth be told, I felt a little twinge of regret when this arrived at the table because it looked a tad too dry for my liking (I wanted bánh mì initially but changed my mind) and at this point in time I was already feeling almost like a stuffed teddy bear so I was afraid that the vermicelli wouldn’t be slippery enough to glide down my throat.

But guess what? This seemingly dry dish turned soft and moist the moment it’s mixed with the sweet and spicy gravy at the bottom! The vermicelli was so smooth, soft and easy to stomach. Plus, it also included a generous piece of chewy peppered pork chop and crispy spring roll, which in case you haven’t realised, was the exact same one from the snack platter.

I caught a whiff of the dish and was instantly reminded of rojak. But of course, it didn’t taste like it. Not even close. This wins hands-down with its uniquely piquant and gratifying flavours. Therefore this would be my go-to dish (sorry Pho Pho) when I’m at Pho Street.

Apart from the two mains featured above, there are also two others I didn’t manage to try (oh how I wish I had a bigger stomach eh no I take that back). They are the Bánh Mì combination (bun with pork belly, grilled beef and chicken ham, S$6.90++) and the Roasted Pork Chop with Fragrant Rice (S$7.90++).

And last but not least, we shared a dessert to end the meal on a sweet note (pun intended).

Cream of Mung Bean with Coconut Sauce & Crushed Peanuts

Cream of Mung Bean with Coconut Sauce & Crushed Peanuts (S$3.50++)

Topped with crushed peanuts that exuded a pleasant fragrance, this thick and milky dessert is a must-try for all coconut lovers or anybody who wants to relive their Vietnam or Thai experience. It contains shaved water chestnuts, mung beans (green beans), fresh coconut sauce and banana essence so it’s like a burst of sweetness and a party in your mouth. It’s a pretty big serving so it’d be better to share it with someone.

Also, do allow me to emphasise that only fresh coconut sauce is used so it should taste sweet and nothing else. If your Cream of Mung Bean turns out to be sour, it’d mean that the coconut sauce has turned bad and you should return your drink to the friendly servers and ask for another one 🙂

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You nutty nutty

Do note that all prices are subjected to prevailing government taxes (7% GST) and a 1% service charge. Now, if you add up the prices of the most expensive item from each course, you’ll come up with this:

Lemon Cooler with Peppermint & Basil (S$3.50) + Vietnamese Snack Platter (S$8.90) + Pho Beef Combination (S$9.90) + Cream of Mung Bean with Coconut Sauce & Crushed Peanuts (S$3.50) + 7% GST + 1% Service Charge

And the final price would only be S$27.90! It’s a very good deal for a very satisfying meal I must say.

Have you tried out the new menu at Pho Street? If not, would you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Pho Street @ Westgate
3 Gateway Drive
#B2-K6/K7
Singapore 608532
Tel: 64659909
Mon – Sun : 11:30am – 10:00pm (Last order at 9:30pm)

Pho Street @ Bedok Mall
311 New Upper Changi Road
#B1-40
Singapore 467360
Mon – Thurs : 11.00am – 10.00pm (Last Order at 9.30pm)
Fri – Sun : 11.00am – 10.30pm (Last Order at 10.00pm)

Website | Menu | Facebook

Indulge in the Sounds of Luxury with Harman Kardon, AKG & JBL

MEDIA INVITE

Listen up, audiophiles!

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CD galore!

If you’ve been to places like the Yankee Stadium and the iconic Beijing National Stadium for concerts, chances are you would have been awed by the incredibly high-quality sound system. But unknown to many, such superior sound quality can also be heard in enclosed places like in cars especially if you’re riding in an Audi, a BMW, Subaru, Hyundai or Chrysler, just to name a few. They may sound slightly different from one another due to the disparity in location size but ultimately they still sound insanely good to the ears.

That’s because all these venues and automobile manufacturers use HARMAN, the mastermind behind leading audio brands including JBL, AKG and Harman Kardon which are also used by international artistes like Kanye West, Maroon 5, Paul McCartney, Black Eyed Peas, Linkin Park (MY LUV!) and Kelly Clarkson in the studio and on stage.

In fact, if you have never heard of HARMAN (and the 7 highly-acclaimed audio brands under its belt), then you have not heard everything, literally. Apart from the voice of the artiste playing in your ears, the song lyrics and the main instrumental melody in the background, can you hear each and every bass and rhythmic note with your current headphones? Does it give you crisp and natural-sounding music that makes you feel like you’re at a live performance? And does it produce acoustic music that sounds so soulful and surreal, it serenades your soul and sends chills down your spine? If none of the above resonates with you, boy are you losing out a lot!

(Sadly, I was subconsciously describing what my earpiece can’t do too, boohoo)

With Harman Kardon, AKG and JBL, you get only the best sounds, so good that even Mozart would be proud.

harman-Mozart

Of course, I wouldn’t dare say that every product under Harman Kardon, AKG and JBL is rave-worthy (don’t want to risk getting slaughtered by you tech-geeks). But have you seen their latest range of portable speakers? I had the heaven-sent opportunity (since I’ve been on a lookout for better speakers as my current ones are spoiling and very unfortunately I fall into the stereotype of females who are completely clueless about technology) to experience them for myself at the recent HARMAN media event by IMS Marketing and wow, I was totally blown away by the loud-crystal clear sound projected by these small, innocuous-looking things that left my jaw hanging throughout the demo!

Here’s what I saw:

JBL (Smart Series III)

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Charge it, flip it, clip it. Fuel your passion for music!

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JBL Clip Plus (RRP S$99)

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Small but powerful – these disc-like speakers can project sounds SO loud, it puts my home speakers to shame. It’s meant to be “clipped” onto your bicycle so that you cyclists can enjoy good music on the move for up to 5 hours!

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JBL FLIP 3 (RRP S$179) – full-featured splashproof portable speaker with powerful sound in a compact form. It fits perfectly into the bottle cage attached to your bicycle! 🙂

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It actually means this…

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HELLLLLL NOOO how cool is this?! (featuring JBL Xtreme, S$439)

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JBL Charge 2+ (RRP S$279) – another splashproof portable speaker but with 6000mAH rechargeable battery!

My Dad was gifted a JBL Charge 2+ recently and judging from his incessant music playbacks (kinda irritated by his poor choice of music but aiya, what to do?), I can vouch how long-lasting the battery life is! And the sound is just flawless.

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JBL Pulse II (RRP S$329) – 10-hour battery with custom LED light show that acts like a visualiser and changes according to the music tempo

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So preeetzz! I think ABBA’s Dancing Queen was playing 😀

All the products above come with Social Mode which you can use to connect up to 3 music sources so that everyone in your clique gets a chance to play their favourite tunes. All JBL portable speakers can also be wirelessly connected via Bluetooth to one another so as to amplify the volume of the music played.

Harman Kardon

While it’s quite obvious that JBL exudes energetic and youthful vibes, Harman Kardon takes on a different personality and goes for the elegant and sophisticated feel.

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Esquire Mini (RRP S$269) – an sleek and chic speaker that doubles as a conference phone system with dual-microphone and built-in echo and noise cancellation technology for superb sound and USB access to recharge your favourite devices. This all-in-one (speaker/phone system/microphone/portable charger) speaker has battery that can last for up to 8 hours

This product wasn’t showcased at the event so I didn’t get to see or test it out myself. But people who are well-versed in the audiomotive market should know that Harman Kardon (and other brands of HARMAN as a matter of fact) would never compromise on quality. After all, Harman Kardon had bagged quite a number of awards, including some iF Design Awards for its Esquire Mini 🙂

AKG

I’d think that AKG is a hybrid of JBL and Harman Kardon because some of the products under its line can be both stylish and sporty at the same time, like this stunner:

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AKG N90Q (RRP S$2199, yup it’s 贵的咯) – gold headphones that listen to your ears. It has sound so realistic, the only barrier is the headphone itself

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Inspired by the Grammy Award winning producer Quincy Jones, this state-of-the-art, flagship level headphone represents the pinnacle in acoustic performance and audio customisation. It features TruNote technology, Tone Control (full control of adjustment sound signature). Stage Control (three spatial listening modes), Patented ergonomic design, USB and HD audio and a built-in DAC.

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Enjoying 5 seconds of premium sound with dual foam cushions and ear cup mounted controls (I swear my ears felt so comfortable) as well as active noise cancelling technologies. Love it so much leh. Why is it so goddamn expensive? 😦

And also not forgetting the hand-selected audio gift set I received from the event organisers:

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AKG Y23 ear headphone and Y40 mini headset

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Thank you so much, IMS Marketing! Boyfriend has been eyeing on the headset ever since. -_-

And that’s about it from HARMAN! 🙂 Did anything catch your eye? I’ll most probably be getting one of those JBL speakers to replace my current ones. Which one would you recommend? Leave me a comment below!

Thanks for reading! ❤

JBL | Harman Kardon | AKG

P/S: If you haven’t realised, this post is so full of puns, I love it.

Combating Hair Loss with Plantur

MEDIA INVITE

Hey ladies!

What do you consider to be some of your best physical features? According to a recent study conducted by Nielsen, most Singaporean women regard their eyes to be their pride and joy – not for me, however, because I have slit eyes and eyelids with irregular creases that always interfered with my eye makeup application. For me, apart from my 瓜子脸 (oval-shaped face), I’d say my hair comes second and I believe many people share the same sentiment about their mane, which made the top 4 in the research. Countless advertisements for hair products (shampoo, hair dye, hair supplements, hair loss clinics and whatnots) flash across our TV and computer screens every day in between shows and video clips, sometimes even on our movie screens, proving the great emphasis we place on our hair in our daily lives.

It’s understandable. I mean, we all know that hair plays an essential part in our social lives. It’s your hair (other than your face) that matters most to first impressions and it’s also what completes your appearance (that’s why we have “bad hair days” and not “bad eyes days” or whatsoever.. right?). Hence, it’s not surprising when the study revealed that most Singaporean women think that looking ugly is the greatest concern related to hair loss. A staggering 9 in 10 Singaporean women also felt that hair loss affects their self-confidence and mood tremendously and out of these respondents, 58% and 51% of them felt helpless and depressed respectively.

My struggle with hair loss

In fact, even though I consider my hair to be one of my best assets, I’ve too got my fair share of hair woes. Just five months shy of turning 25 and already I’m experiencing thinning hair at my crown. It’s a perpetual problem. My hair has always been under constant strain and tension from regular braiding and having tight ponytail (it’s part of the rules in all Singapore schools to have the hair tied up at all times if it extends beyond the uniform collar) since my primary school days because I absolutely detest wearing my hair back loosely and needing to retie over and over again. This habit had caused me to lose a substantial amount of hair along my frontal hairline (became more visible when I was in Secondary 3 and was even taunted in class for that. Humiliating much :\ ) and sometimes even my scalp would hurt when I let it down.

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May 2014 – before the cat fight

Like the 7 in 10 women who responded to the survey, I also wish I had naturally full hair so that I wouldn’t have to rely on artificial fixes. I’ve always felt ashamed of my brittle and lifeless locks. In recent years, I’ve rebonded and dyed my hair and treated my scalp a few times, as well as tried various volumising and hair setting products – which ironically cause more damage than good to my hair (and wallet) – just to “revive” it or conceal my flaws. Not wanting to spend more unnecessary money, I’ve now resorted to bunning up my hair whenever I’m heading outdoors (no thanks to the hot weather). My condition became worse last year when I got into a cat fight with my sister (lolz) and a couple of hundred strands of hair fell out as a result of all the hair-pulling, leaving a 3cm bald patch on my head on top of my existing ones. I attempted to cover them up by combing my hair around but most of the time it just reverted to its normal position unknowingly. :\

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Also May 2014 but after the cat fight 😡

I’ve tried…

Following my uncle’s advice, I hang my head over the edge of my bed while I blow-dry my hair every night for up to 5 minutes to “stimulate blood flow to the head and encourage hair growth” and have also reduced my salt and oil intake. Although I did see improvement in my hair by the second month, the central part of my crown is still noticeably widened especially in pictures where I am facing downwards and my scalp in full view. So embarrassing 😥

Another advice given involves massaging the scalp with honey (or aloe vera). I haven’t personally tried it because I cannot stand the thought of putting sticky substance on my hair. Ewwwww…

But how credible is my uncle’s advice?

Plantur Talk at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel

I had the opportunity to clarify my hair loss doubts with some experts in that field – Dr Pirkko Brusila, a specialist in Gynecology and Obstetrics from Germany, and Dr Alvin Wong, an aesthetic doctor from SKN MediaAesthetics at a talk about female hair loss for Plantur last week. I asked if there’s any scientific basis to the advice given by my uncle and apparently both doctors agreed that they’re baseless. Therefore I cannot explain how hanging my head upside down helped me to regrow some of my lost hair (could be due to other factors like my higher magnesium and iron diet which are great for overcoming Alopecia). But both doctors were on the same page about letting the hair down (and not tie it/bun it all the time like me) to let the scalp breathe. This will help to reduce hair fall.

Did you know?

It is perfectly normal to lose up to 150 strands of hair a day.

In addition, speaking to the doctors also helped to debunk some common hair misconceptions I had, including the correlation between high salt (sodium) intake and hair loss. There is absolutely no medical evidence that eating too much salty food would cause your hair to fall (but of course too much salt is bad for your health la). Similarly, hair cream marketed to prevent hair loss do not have any scientific evidence behind their claims. However, what may actually promote hair growth is scalp massage using combs, hairbrush or anything that is not too harsh on your scalp.

Did you know?

Natural ageing, bad genes, medical conditions (e.g. irregular periods, acne, thyroid disorders, eczema & dandruff), pregnancy, menopause, stress, poor diet (e.g. anorexia) and external environment (humidity, heat & pollution) are some reasons why women lose hair.

During the talk, the audience was also advised on how to combat hair loss, including having a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, reducing stress and anxiety, not smoking, avoiding tight ponytails and.. (you wouldn’t believe the last one)

Applying caffeine to your hair!

“Whaaaaaaat??”

That’s right. It is scientifically proven that caffeine helps to halt hair loss!

However, it’s not the same as drinking coffee because not everything from there goes to your hair follicles. You’d have to apply the caffeine directly to your scalp for it to be effective as a hair loss treatment. But how?

The Plantur series

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Plantur series

By using hair products with caffeine, of course! And Plantur is just about the right product for the purpose of preventing hair loss. Developed by Dr Wolff Research in collaboration with the dermatology department of university clinics, the products – Plantur 21 and Plantur 39 – contain the Nutri-Caffeine Complex and Phyto-Caffeine Complex respectively.

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Plantur 21

The Nutri-Caffeine Complex in Plantur 21 helps protect against an energy deficit in the hair roots and prevents degradation of the important energy carrier cAMP while Phyto-Caffeine Complex protects the hair roots from premature exhaustion of hair growth and at the same time, provides the hair roots with sufficient energy to grow.

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Plantur 39

From the above, you should be able to guess the distinction between the two ranges of products: Plantur21 is targeted at younger ladies between the age of 21 and 39 while Plantur39 is for women from the age of 40. Both of them are available in three formulae.

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Plantur 21

Products under Plantur21: Nutri-Caffeine Elixir, Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo & Nutri Conditioner

Products under Plantur 21: Nutri-Caffeine Elixir, Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo & Nutri Conditioner

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Plantur 39

Products under Plantur39: Phyto-Caffeine Tonic (for massaging into the scalp), Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo & Conditioner

Products under Plantur 39: Phyto-Caffeine Tonic (for massaging into the scalp), Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo & Conditioner

Since I fall in the targeted age group of Plantur 21, it’s only apt that I explain in more detail about it 😉

An additional effect of the Nutri-Caffeine Complex comes from the valuable micronutrients biotin, magnesium, calcium and zinc. All these were mentioned by the doctors as beneficial for healthy and vigorous hair growth.

Caffeine activates the hair roots and improves hair growth

Biotin regulates the hair roots’ energy levels and contributes to maintaining healthy hair growth

Zinc is the most important trace element in the hair and a growth factor for healthy hair roots. (Another source of zinc is dark chocolate yay great news for chocolate lovers!)

Calcium and magnesium improve the hair roots’ resistance

Plantur 21

The Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo was developed for colour-treated and stressed hair and it also contains conditioning agents that repair the externally stressed hair. The Nutri-Caffeine Elixir, on the other hand, provides protection from an energy deficit in the hair roots, thereby preventing premature hair growth disruption. It is to be applied and massaged into the scalp once a day (daily) without rinsing it out.

Plantur 21 Conditioner

Last but not least, the Nutri Conditioner is formulated especially for dull, colour-treated and stressed hair caused by frequent bleaching, colourations and heat treatments (e.g. blow-drying, straightening – argh, guilty as charged!) It contains micro-nutrients and caffeine (duh), which prevent the valuable ingredients absorbed during application of Plantur21 Shampoo from being rinsed out.

If you have poor hair growth and premature hair loss, it’s recommended that you use both the Nutri-Caffeine Shampoo AND the Nutri-Caffeine Elixir. The latter is more suitable for women who do not wash their hair every day (but omg, why wouldn’t anyone wash their hair every day in this hot and humid country? O_O).

Based on the description above, the order of application would first be the shampoo, followed by the conditioner and then the elixir. That was also the exact sequence used at my Plantur Hair Wash Experience after the talk ^_^ The lady who washed my hair spent a good 10 minutes massaging my scalp with the Elixir! *secretly beaming with joy inside*

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Pre-hair wash. Smiling broadly even though I suffered from major food poisoning that morning v_v

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Post-hair wash!

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Celebrity treatment hahahahah kidding. Blow-drying time!

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Love my post-blow dry hair ❤

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After applying the elixir and getting my hair styled (wavy) by the talented stylists at J’s Salon, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel (address below)!

My hair definitely felt a lot healthier and lighter after the wash!

And there you have it – the Plantur series 🙂

Plantur 21 and 39 hair care product range are available in selected Watsons, Guardian, Unity, NHG pharmacies and independent pharmacies as well as NTUC Fairprice, Cold Storage and Giant supermarkets islandwide. Prices are S$18.90 for a shampoo, S$12.90 for a conditioner and S$19.90 for the tonic/elixir. Pretty affordable eh? 🙂

Plantur is strictly only for the ladies, by the way! But fret not guys, there’s also another range of products formulated just for you! It’s the Alpecin series which also uses the special caffeine formula to prevent hair loss. Prices for that are also rather similar to Plantur – S$12.90 for Alpecin C1 Shampoo (hair loss shampoo), $15.90 for Alpecin Double Effect Shampoo (hair loss and dandruff) and $17.90 for Alpecin Liquid (hair loss tonic).

Dr. Kurt Wolff GmbH & Co. KG          Johanneswerkstr. 34-36         33611 Bielefeld, Germany          Sitz der Gesellschaft ist Bielefeld. Geschäftsführer: Dipl.-Ing. Eduard R. Dörrenberg, Ass. jur. Christoph Harras-Wolff, Dipl.-Kfm. Carsten Heins.

Thanks for the awesome experience, Plantur, Golin PR and J’s Salon! If you’re at J’s Salon, you’ve gotta try their specialty drink Longan with Red Dates! It’s SO GOOD, I tell ya!

Alright, hope this is informative for you ladies 🙂

Thanks for reading! ❤

J’s Salon
Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
392 Havelock Road Level 3
Singapore 169663
Tel: 68340012

Nara Thai @ ION Orchard + The Entertainer App

MEDIA INVITE

Hello guys!

What comes to your mind when you think of Bangkok? Being a shopping haven for both locals and foreigners, it’s inevitable to think about all the trendy apparels and accessories you can get at a bargain price at the Land of Smiles. For me, I get reminded of the food carts that line the streets of Bangkok and I still miss them fondly even though I haven’t set foot in that city for almost 5 years (due to my preference to travel to somewhere different and further for my annual trip). However, these foods are somehow not really common in Singapore (not sophisticated and restaurant-quality enough?). Hence, whenever my craving for Thai food kicks in, I’d usually settle for safer choices like Green Curry (kaeng khiao wan), Tom Yam, Phad Thai or Pineapple Fried Rice and (the obligatory) Mango Sticky Rice for dessert which often are signature dishes and will never go wrong at local Thai restaurants.

But even the nicest food gets bland after awhile. And surely there is more to Thai food than these few mainstream dishes as evident from what I saw at Bangkok. If so, where can I find them in Singapore?

As if to answer my thoughts, Nara Thai introduced a new and refreshed menu inspired by Bangkok’s famed grilled street food! Thai food lovers like myself are in for a treat with 15 new dishes ranging from $7.90 for the Ma Muang Khara Mel (Caramelised Mango with Coconut Ice Cream and Basil Sauce) to S$88.90 for the Ruam Mit Talay Yang (Assorted Grilled Seafood Platter).

我像不像泰国妹?

Nara Thai Cuisine Singapore | 我像不像泰国妹? 😀

First opened at ION Orchard in September 2013, Nara Thai is a restaurant where anybody with a passion for good food can enjoy authentic Thai Cuisine in a relaxed ambience with good service. Named one of Singapore Tatler’s best restaurants from 2007 to 2014, it is known for its Kuay Tiew Rua (Boat Noodles) and Phunim Phad Pong Karee (Stir-fried Softshell Crab with Yellow Curry) while serving a la carte dishes that are derived from authentic recipes which have been adapted into a modern context.

Diners can expect the following dishes from their refreshed menu:

Kao An Chan | Blue Jasmine Rice

Kao An Chan | Blue Jasmine Rice (S$2)

My low-carb diet took a backseat that evening because I was so intrigued by the rice colour. But to be honest, this blue rice tasted just like any basic white rice – plain but fragrant and fluffy. However, what makes it so unique (apart from the colour) is its health benefits. Steamed with dried an chan (Thai for Butterfly Pea Flower, from which the rice inherits the blue colour), it is laden with powerful antioxidants and is also said to treat depression, soothe the heart-mind, relieve stomach and menstrual cramps and known to be beneficial for healthy hair growth (source). So ladies, go easy on your diet and enjoy your plate of Blue Jasmine Rice with the rest of your dishes! 🙂

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Gai Tord Gra Tiem | Crispy Fried Chicken with Garlic (S$10.90)

Not really the highlight of the dinner but the chicken was entirely boneless (awesome!) and really tender. Plus, it was cut in nice proportions thus making sharing very easy at my table for four. The fried garlic (although I don’t fancy fried garlic at all) gave the chicken, which skin was already very crispy, an extra crunch.

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Moo Yang Jim Jaew | Barbecued Pork Neck with Tamarind Dip (S$13.90)

Moo Yang Jim Jaew

Moo Yang Jim Jaew

I don’t know why Singaporean Chinese love anything pork – pork leg, pork belly, pork tenderloin but never (or seldom) pork neck! Pork neck is actually very popular in Thailand and a lot less fatty as compared to pork belly. It has the perfect balance of fat, muscle and tender flesh. It actually tasted very delicious and soft with the right amount of saltiness and went especially well with the Tamarind dip which was sweet and refreshing to the palate! One of the top favourites among the bloggers present that evening, it was also the first to empty on the table.

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Kai Jiew Cha Om | Cha Om Omelette (S$12.90)

Cha Om is the feathery shoots of a shrub called Acacia penneta and it emits a revolting smell in its raw form (like stink beans/臭豆 argh) but miraculously disappears when it’s cooked. Apparently, it’s very common for Cha Om to be fried with beaten eggs in Thailand and Myanmar, giving you the above Cha Om Omelette! I call it the Thai version of our Fuyong omelette. It’s a very homely dish widely prepared in Thailand and definitely very tasty 🙂 Best eaten with the chilli sauce served with it!

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Ruam Mit Talay Yang | Assorted Grilled Seafood Platter (S$88.90)

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Grilled whole squid

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Mussels

The platter, good for two to three (but in my case it was for four, so the actual one should be of relatively smaller portion), was a combination of 5 different seafood that are also sold a la carte – Pla Kra Pong Yang (Street-style Grilled Whole Sea Bass), Kung Yang (Black Pepper Tiger Prawns), grilled whole squid, skewered scallops and mussels with chili lime marinate. Squid was a little too dry for my liking but I really enjoyed the succulent scallops and fleshy butterflied Tiger Prawns which were coated with a generous layer of crushed black peppercorns and minced garlic! Shiok. Mussels were great and tangy too!

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Pla Kra Pong Yang | Street-Style Grilled Whole Sea bass with Thai Herbs (S$32.90)

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Lemongrass removed from the Sea bass

The street-style grilled Sea bass is stuffed with lemongrass (as can be seen from the picture above), kaffir lime and galangar and subsequently slow-cooked on the grill. Every fish served at Nara Thai, including this Sea bass, is handpicked by the chef personally at Jurong Fishery Port during wee hours of the morning everyday to ensure optimal freshness. Indeed, the Sea bass (which also happens to be my favourite type of fish, whoopie!) I had was really tender and aromatic. To my bewilderment, the crispy skin isn’t meant to be eaten at all so it was a little stiff and hard to tear (still safe to eat nonetheless if you get fragments of it on the flesh).

Finally, a signature Thai dessert to end a splendid meal.

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Ma Muang Khara Mel | Caramelised Mango with Coconut Ice Cream and Basil Sauce (S$7.90)

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Coconut ice cream topped with basil sauce

The coconut ice cream tasted exactly the same as the one found along the streets of Bangkok but with a subtle dash of basil sauce to give it some zest that wasn’t too overpowering. The mango was absolutely fresh and sweet too! I just wish that we were served individual portions of this awesome dessert instead of having to share haha 😛

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With my +1 for the event!

Thanks Nara Thai and Originally Us for having me at the food tasting session 🙂

And that’s all for my review!

But hold on, if you’re planning to try out the food I’ve featured, do read on because I have another awesome recommendation for you guys!

theentertainerlogo

Do you fancy some 1-for-1 food offers? If you do, you have to check out The Entertainer! Some of you might have already heard of The Entertainer book which contains a truckload of 1-for-1 vouchers at the hottest restaurants, spas, leisure (yes, overseas hotels included!), beauty, fitness centres and international renowned hotels (and when I mean the hottest, I mean well-known ones like Spruce, Yoshinoya, Marble Slab and many more!), available for sale at selected bookstores. If you’re more of a techie than a bibliophile, you will be pleased to know that The Entertainer is now available as an app!

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Like the book, the app has over 1000 one-for-one deals but with new offers added through the year. You can expect savings totaling over S$89,000 from the app and what’s more, it’s completely free for 14 days! Of course, if you’d like to know more irresistible 1-for-1 deals within the trial period, you can make an in-app purchase of just S$60 (discount code below) to unlock them all 1000+ of them at once! 🙂 Do the math and realise how much you will save with the upgrade! Trial ended? No worries, you can still do so after the 14 days.

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Full users (those who paid S$60) get to enjoy 1-for-1 main course deals* at Nara Thai, one of the participating merchants. Every merchant comes with 3 buy-one-get-one-free coupons (mostly for main course for food deals) and the most amazing thing is that they are not restricted to one per product purchase! In fact, you can even combine ALL 3 in one transaction for a party of 6 (omg why wasn’t I introduced to this app earlier when I was having my internship?!). Once you have used up all 3, you can actually get more by trading coupons with your friends! All coupons are valid for the entire year excluding eves of and public holidays (weekends OK!). It’s fuss-free and really easy to use 🙂

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*1-for-1 Main Menu Item at Nara Thai. This includes appetizers, drinks and desserts. Do take note if you’re planning to use this offer for your main course (i.e. don’t order anything else)!

The app is available for download at theentertainerme.com or via your appstore (Android/iTunes) while the book retails at S$75 at selected bookstores. If you’re getting the full version on your phone, do quote “2015ALVIN” upon purchase to enjoy a 10% discount!

Have fun and thanks for reading! 🙂

Nara Thai Cuisine (ION Orchard)
2 Orchard Turn
#B3-21
Singapore 238801
Tel: 6634 5787
Operating hours: Mon-Sun 11.30am-10.00pm
(last order at 9pm Mon-Thu, 9.30pm Fri-Sun)

Nara Thai Cuisine (Westgate)
3 Gateway Drive
#03-07
Singapore 608532
Operating hours: Mon-Sun 11.30am-10.00pm
(last order at 9pm Mon-Thu, 9.30pm Fri-Sun)

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