SAYBONS Spices up its Menu and Outlets as it turns 10!

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Author: Alex Chua

There’s nothing sassier than a homely, nicely-wrapped crepes, the French affair not to be missed!

With a love for French food and with good business acumen, Le Cordon Bleu-trained owner and Executive Chef Daphane Loke opened SAYBONS, a restaurant that serves affordable French food 10 years ago. Now, the brand has expanded to 3 eateries, housed at Plaza Singapura, Junction 8, and OUE Downtown.


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The recent revamp has included a refreshed logo, new store interiors, and vibrant product packaging to showcase a style that is reflective of a modern, chic French eateries. The eateries now possess a cosy and relaxing ambience that is conducive for guests to dine in and unwind!


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Apart from SAYBONS intimate environment, its new and upsized menu is likely to entice you to come back repeatedly. Like the 10 Years in Shots ($10), Chef Daphne cleverly serves up soup shots to customers to experience the taste of SAYBONS over the years. I would give 100% for its creative presentation to the otherwise plain soup-in-the-bowl. The ten soups featured are Watercress Chicken, Red Capsicum, Cauliflower, Carrot Coriander, Golden Pumpkin, Potato Leek, Broccoli Cheddar, Tomato, Seafood Bisque and Wild Mushroom.


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The Escargot Gratin with 3 Cheeses ($11) is surprisingly good. Served as an appetiser or snack, the six plump escargots are well-seasoned, rich, buttery and flavourful. Blue, Gruyere and Gouda cheeses lends a different taste profile to the escargot, and giving it a nice gooey texture as well.


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The new SAYBONS menu features a selection of 5 risottos. The heartiest of the 5 is the Curried Pumpkin Risotto ($12.90). This al dente risotto features a natural pumpkin broth with a hint of curry powder to lift the flavour of this humble vegetable. It is well-spiced up enough and had some texture and bite, which fits just right for my palate.


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Next is my personal favourite, the French Galettes. With a total of 6 French Galettes to choose from, ranging from the Cajun Croque Chicken Madame Galette ($14.90) to Grass-fed Sirloin Steak Galette ($17.90+), you would be spoiled for choices on which to choose from. As for me, I zoomed in straight to their popular Norwegian Salmon Aurora Galette ($14.90), which features succulent smoked Norwegian salmon and quenelles of cooked salmon with mayonnaise. Coupled with a robust galette and selected greens, it is simply a matchmake in heaven!

You might wonder what’s the difference between a galette and a crepe. A galette uses a mixture of buckwheat and wheat flour, unlike just the wheat flour used in crepe, this provides a denser texture and nuttier nuance to the galette.


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For the 10th anniversary special, Chef Daphane creates a dessert that truly encapsulates and celebrates its French-inspired cuisines properly – Rum & Raisin Flambeed Crepe ($9). Soaked in Myer’s Rum for 18 days straight, the golden raisins are wrapped together with generous slices of banana and toasted slivers of almonds. Topped with a smooth vanilla ice cream, just one spoonful would sway you to the charm of this cosy, unpretentious French eatery.

SAYBONS – C’est Si Bon
SAYBONS OUE Downtown
6 Shenton Way, #01-24, Singapore 068809
Operating Hours: Mon-Fri 8.30am to 5pm, closed on weekends and public holidays
Website: www.saybons.com

Embark On a Gastronomical Journey with NAMI Omakase Dinner!

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Author: Sandra Koh

After months of rigorous renovation, Shangri-La Hotel’s iconic Tower Wing now features a brand new lobby, lounge and suites, along with various interesting flavours that satisfy even the most pernickety eater. The NAMI Restaurant and Bar situated at Level 24 is certainly one such place.

Helming the restaurant is Head Chef Akiba Shigeo, who culinary experiences include managing restaurants owned by Iron Chef Koumei Nakamura, along with preparing the wedding banquet the wedding banquet of Japan’s Prince Akishinomiya and Princess Kiko.


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Credit: Shangri-La Hotel


We were presented with the Kitano Daichi Omakase- a 7 course meal dinner on our night of visit. First on the omakase set was the dual appetisers-Hairy Crab with Tosa Vinegar, and Yuba Tofu & Sea Urchin. We really enjoyed the latter, for its half-chewy texture and fragrant soy flavour. We could literally felt the layers slowly opening up and faint soy flavour spreading through our mouths with each bite (it’s really therapeutic). The addition of the creamy uni added a hint of sweetness to the otherwise bland tofu.


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Next on the table was the Dashi, a traditional dobin-mushi with Matsutake mushroom, along with pike conger, ginko, homewort and sudachi. Don’t you agree that the presentation is too adorable? We were told to first squeeze the lime in the soup, then drink the soup, and eat the ingredients last. Thankfully, the mushroom flavour was not overwhelming, rather it provided a refreshing aftertaste (thanks to the lime). The soup was really easy on the throat, and comforting to drink.


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The third course is probably every Singaporean’s favourite- a Sashimi platter which included 5 curated selection of premium sashimi (tuna, amberjack, scallop, botan ebi and flounder) that is air flown into Singapore 4 times a week from Tokyo. Be surprised to find wasabi leaf as one of the accompanying condiment! We tasted the sashimi without any condiments, and were amazed by its freshness. They were unexpectedly crunchy, and exploded in our mouths with natural sweetness. We learnt from the chef that the white meat sashimi are best paired with Himalayan salt to bring out the natural flavours.


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Fourth on the set was Tempura consisting of capelin fish, pumpkin, kidney beans and lotus root. I was utterly glad that the dish did not carry any rancid smell or cloying oily. Unlike the usual tempura, NAMI’s rendition provided a much lighter and fluffier batter, which was really crispy to bite on.


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The main dish was none other than the Saga Beef Sirloin Steak with Seasoned Grilled Oita Shiitake. The steak was really tender, and literally melted in our mouths. Each mouthful was accompanied by wonderful waves of sweet and buttery flavour that sent a small but puddle of pleasure through our spines. We felt that the sweet-savoury sauce did a great job in balancing out the fatty flavour of the dish.


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Next, Matsutake Mushroom Rice along with miso soup and pickles were served. The pairing of the steamed rice and mushroom was indeed brilliant, for the latter imparted its sweet nutty notes and transformed the rice into a delicately flavoursome dish. Instead of the usual beige coloured miso soup, NAMI’s version skewed towards the brownish side. We particularly love the soup for its rich toasty malt and caramel flavours, in fact it reminded us of the Misokatsu from Yabaton at Nagoya Station. The Chinese yam might look harmless, yet it’s really spicy, so do take small bites!


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Our dinner was completed with a plate of seasonal fruits made up of melon, crystal pear and grapes. All we could say is, till now we’re still reminiscing the sweet taste of the melon.


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The omakase dinner is only available from 16 November 2017 to 31st January 2018 at a price of $180 ++ per person. Be quick to make your reservations. Click here for the full menu: https://d2jzxcrnybzkkt.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/10/Kitano_Daichi_Omakase_Dinner_M_1509357066.pdf

NAMI Restaurant & Bar
Shangri-la Hotel Singapore
22 Orange Grove Road
Level 24
Singapore 258350
Tel: 6213 4398
Opening Hours: Daily, Noon to 2.30pm, 6 to 10.30pm (restaurant), till midnight (balcony)

The First Japanese Sizzling Steak Hot Stone Bowls by Japan Foods Garden Arrives in Singapore!

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Author: Sandra Koh

Though the Japanese food enclave may be nicely tucked away at Shaw Centre’s Food Republic, yet it is definitely no less of a gem. Not to be mistaken as part of Food Republic, Japan Foods Garden (JFG) is actually a cluster of authentic Japanese concept stalls that offers all foodies the opportunity to relish an array of yummy and affordable dishes at a go!

This November, for the first time ever, JFG is introducing Japanese Sizzling Hot Stone Bowls. Being Don-lovers, we totally couldn’t our excitement, that’s why we ordered both the Curry ($7.80) and Oyako Don ($8.80) versions to share. Be prepared to squeal in delight like us when you see the generous amount of gooey cheese and runny egg yolks.


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Between the 2, we definitely prefer the curry one for it provided a well balance between savouriness, sweetness and mild spiciness. Unfortunately, the Oyako Don was marred by it bland flavour, even dripping the teriyaki sauce over it did not seem to enhance the flavours at all. Moreover, the rice was a little too mushy for our liking. Perhaps the only saving grace was the chicken bits, which were cooked to tender perfection.


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Despite that, do not let what we say deter you from trying the Sizzling Hot Stone Bowls, for taste is subjective. Do try out the other flavours such as Beef Curry ($11.80), Mentai Chaduke ($9.80), Salmon Egg ($10.80), Mabo Tofu ($9.80), Cream Sauce Dora ($10.80) and Gyu Don ($9.80) and let us know how they fare (:

Other than the Hot Stone Bowls, we also tried the signature Lemon Steak ($18.80) from the teppan range. Made from US Angus Beef, the thin slices of beef is doused in a delectable citrus sauce and carefully sizzled on a hotplate. We were really satisfied with the steak, for they were not only juicy and tender, but exuded an interesting smoky flavour with subtle hints of lemon, that lingered in the mouth with every bite. Do get the seats right in front of the counter to witness the mouth-watering show as the chef cook the meat on the flat iron griddle.


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One word of advice: Be quick to capture the perfect foodfie and sink your teeth into the beef right away to savour the meat at its optimal tender state.


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Since we were still feeling hungry after the teppan, we went ahead to try the Oyster Trio ($16.80), which consisted of oysters topped with mentaiko, butter seaweed, and garlic chips. The butter seaweed one was our favourtie, for it provided a sweet caramelised flavour with hints of seaweed that did not overwhelm the taste of the oyster like the other 2 flavours.


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We completed our dinner with a plate of lip-smacking Pork Tonperi-yaki ($7.80). The omelette was filled with generous portion of beansprouts, cabbage and duo miao that not were not only crunchy but juicy to bite on. We especially love how well the sweet-savoury tonkatsu sauce blended with the mayonnaise, to provide a tangy flavour that did not overshadow the flavours of other ingredients. It was really a satisfying way to end our night.


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Running out of dinner ideas? Why not visit Japan Foods Garden then?

1 Scotts Road, Shaw Centre, #B1-01
228208 Singapore
Telephone: 6493 7300
Operating Hours: 11 am -11 pm (Daily)

Tsuta New Duck Ramen Dishes Hit All the Right Spots

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Author: Alex Chua

The famed Michelin-starred ramen restaurant Tsuta has recently launched two brand-new ramen offerings: Kamo Abura Soba (dry – above) and Kamo Paitan Soba (soup – below). Served exclusively in Singapore, these two dishes are the original creations of Chef Yuki Onishi, who are inspired by a widely popular ingredient in Singapore – the duck. Spending a year on R&D, Chef Yuki experimented with various recipes and cooking method just to get the flavours right. This is the sort of dedication only a Michelin-starred chef would expect – perfection from kitchen to table.


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While duck noodles are pretty common in Singapore, the Kamo Paitan Soba is unique in its own ways. Boasting a rich flavourful broth that’s slow-cooked for 5 hours straight under precise temperature control, and is made with shoyu and fresh duck oil. The normal portion comes with handmade noodles, baby leaves and tender poached duck breast slices topped with chopped cashew nuts for that wonderful crunch.

As for my personal favourite, the Kamo Abura Soba which feature well-marinated noodles in the same flavourful premium shoyu and duck oil. Paired with the same premium ingredients as the soup version, it comes with a bowl of clear soup with a slight hint of sea salt, just to balance out the strong umami taste of the noodles.

If you’re thinking of slurping up a bowl of Japanese duck noodles, stop by at Tsuta to indulge in this exclusive, special menu!

Tsuta @ Pacific Plaza
9 Scotts Road, Pacific Plaza, #01-01 Singapore 228210

CHAR – Traditional Chinese Roasts Gets Up to The Times

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Author: Alex Chua

There’s something roasting at CHAR – the Cantonese cuisine specialist located along the trendy eateries and pubs of Jalan Besar. One, the new Head Chef, Chi Leung Tse, joined the restaurant in May this year, bringing over 20 years of culinary experience in Cantonese cuisine, with past stints at the famed Raffles Hotel, Imperial Treasures and more. Two, he revitalised almost 70% of the CHAR menu, adding his personal repertoire of Cantonese dishes, which includes the succulent Premium Slow-Roasted smoked char siew (above).

If there’s something that unites all insatiable carnivores, it’s the aroma of the slow-roasted meat, the texture and flavour when you bite into it. Using Kurobuta pork belly, this premium version has a higher amount of lean to fat and the marbling provides a firm yet moist bite. Prepared fresh daily, the whole process takes hours in low heat to render the fats and to retain its juiciness.

Do note that there is a limited number of portions (150g) served per day and will only be available during dinner. And with the tact that each reservation is only allowed one portion of the Premium version, so it’s best to reserve a table before it goes out.


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With a signature recipe sauce that consists of over 30 ingredients, specially blended to pack as much umami as possible, the Signature Char Siew (above) achieved that perfect golden ratio of melt-in-the-mouth fat and tender lean meat. It took well over a year for the owners to perfect the sauce.

A little background on the CHAR owners. Launched in 2014 by Anthony and Alvin Ung, two Vietnam born brothers who managed to harmonize their different experiences to establish this restaurant. Alvin, a chef by profession, has over 30 years of experience in traditional Chinese cooking. Anthony, on the other hand, loves Western-style food preparation techniques but via Asian ingredients and produce. The bros put a unique twist on traditional Chinese roasts such as char siew, roast pork and roast duck, accompanied with a delectable Cantonese-based menu like the Charcoal Beancurd with Spinach and Wild Fungi (below).


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Beancurd is one of my favourite go-to food, and this dish definitely tops as one of the best block of beancurd I’ve ever tried. Silky-smooth and savoury, charcoal powder is added to give this humble staple a subtle flavour and black appearance. The light broth consisting of oyster sauce, dried scallop and wild mushrooms, helps to infatuates the taste profile of this exceptional dish.


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You can taste the freshness with that lovely crunch in Passionfruit Prawn Ball. Marinated in homemade mixture of seasonings before it is lightly dusted in flour and deep-fried to perfection, the prawns were then tossed in a sweet-tangy passionfruit dressing to give that luscious and creamy glace.


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The thing I find about CHAR is its strong, robust play on flavours. Therefore, the Signature Double Boiled Chicken Soup came across as refreshing and balanced the palate well. The milky, collagen-filled broth is resulted from the hours of boiling chicken bones and cartilage. Inside this bowl consists of chicken, morel mushrooms, white cabbage and dried scallops which harmonizes the flavour fully.

Overall, CHAR could well be the one of the best spot for family or colleagues to indulge on modern Cantonese cuisine. The restaurant also serves a respectable selection of ciders and ales specially handpicked by the Ung brothers to complement the variety of roasts on the menu, so food-drinks pairing enthusiasts might want to check out this neat restaurant too.

CHAR Restaurant
363 Jalan Besar Road Singapore 208994
Operating Hours: Tuesday – Sunday (closed on Monday)

A medley of Mao Shan Wang Durians and Local Dishes at Goodwood Park Hotel

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Author:Alex Chua

Luscious and creamy Mao Shan Wang Durian Ice Cream

Calling all durian fans & aficionados, Coffee’s Lounge Durian Dessert is back – bigger and better! For the first time ever, the much-loved classic buffet will feature durian pastries made with only the finest Mao Shan Wang durians – a step-up in the game from the D24 variety showcased in the previous years. As this exclusive buffet ends on 17 November 2017, lovers of this spiky king of the fruit must hurry to savour the durian-gastronomic spread!


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From the moment I stepped inside the pristine Coffee Lounge I was expecting a strong, pungent smell of the famed Mao Shan Wan durian whiffing out and boy was I wrong. It was only when I am one feet or two away from the buffet spread can I detect the aromatic scent of this tropical fruit, thereby keeping the classic-contemporary of the premise, with its exquisite serenity vibe intact.


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Mao Shan Wang Sticky Rice – a subtle blend of bitter-sweet to perfection

Apart from the regular desserts currently serving at Coffee Lounge, here’s what you can expect from the veritable spread – Mao Shan Wang Mochi, Mao Shan Wang Waffles and Ice Cream (live station), Mao Shan Wang Sticky Rice, Mao Shan Wang Crumble Tart, Mao Shan Wang Crème Brulee, Mao Shan Wang Éclair, Mao Shan Wang Toast and Mao Shan Wang Pandan Cake. These eight finger-licking creations adds a unique tropical twist to Coffee Lounge’s existing hot and chilled local desserts, cakes and ice cream.


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For me, the two must-grab desserts in the Mao Shan Wang (MSW) series is definitely the MSW Crème Brulee and MSW Durian Ice Cream. Sweet, creamy and delicate, the slightly charred top of the Crème Brulee gives that slight crunch to elevate the contrast of its texture. The MSW Durian Ice Cream tastes exactly like biting into the rich savoury meat of MSW and more. You can choose to add-on from the many toppings available, or plop a few scoops onto a fluffy waffle for a sinful indulgence treat.


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Besides the Durian buffet, Coffee Lounge also added seven new dishes onto its Design Your Own Local Degustation Set Menu. The new dishes added to the 3-Courses and 4-Courses set menu are – Tahu Telur and Pork Satay for the Appetiser selection; Nasi Briyani and Nasi Lemak for the Rice & Prata selection; Xing Zhou Been Hoon, Hokkien Black Noodles and Mee Soto for the Noodles & Other Specialities selection.


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Price options are as follows –
– $46.80++ per person (Dessert Buffet with Mao Shan Wang Pastries Only)*
– $36.80++ per person (Top-up of Dessert Buffet with Mao Shan Wang Pastries with any a la carte main course order)
– $60++ per adult, $38++ per child (Taiwan Porridge A La Carte Buffet, inclusive of Dessert Buffet with Mao Shan Wang Pastries)
– $50++ per person (Three-Course Design Your Own Local Degustation Set Menu, inclusive of Dessert Buffet with Mao Shan Wang Pastries)
– $54++ per person (Four-Course Design Your Own Local Degustation Set Menu, inclusive of Dessert Buffet with Mao Shan Wang Pastries)

*Exclusive for Citi Credit and Debit Cardmembers, enjoy a 10% discount on Dessert Buffet with Mao Shan Wang Pastries Only during this period.

Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road Singapore 228221

Game for Yatagarasu Yakitori

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Author: Alex Chua

Strong, juicy and meaty, just the thought of having yakitori never fails to bring up the joy in me. And Yatagarasu Yakitori is no exception in conjuring this gastronomic pleasure. If you’ve dined at this quaint-essential Japanese yakitori restaurant before, you would’ve noticed a common principle behind the skewers – the uncomplicated simplicity of ordering and food presentation with no shortage of flavour. As a lover of barbecued Japanese skewers, especially authentic ones with beer, I can’t wait to join in for a culinary adventure.


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The 36-seat restaurant in Circular Road is helmed by Chef Kota Tanabe, who has over 12 years of experience, including working at a Japanese izakaya (gastropub where after-work professionals dine and drink sake) in Singapore. Chef Kota is friendly and knowledgeable, and he enjoys interacting with diners, surprising them with nuggets of information on the ingredients and preparation methods. The interior exudes the Japanese izakaya vibe, with its red paper lanterns inscribed in Japanese letters, wooden furnishing and lacquered bamboo tracing along the ceiling.


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Yatagarasu has one of the widest pork wrap skewers selection in Singapore, with our 15 types of pork belly wraps to choose from, each skewer is unique in presentation and taste. The ‘lollipop’ Shiso Leaf Pork Wrap is among the many skewers I craved in this establishment. The light, mellow flavour of the shiso leaf complements the meaty, juicy wraps, barbequed to a perfect whitish pink with glistening grill marks. Chef Kota lets me try the shiso leaf itself and I am surprised how a bland ingredient commonly found in Japan can elevates the meat taste.


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Next, the Enoki Mushroom Pork Wrap gives a texturized bite to the meat. The barbequing process also helps to enhance the enoki mushroom flavour, balancing the meat profile. This is a good skewer companion for a glass of cold, chilled beer.


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Perhaps the most creative/ experimental pork wrap skwer of all, the Yakisoba Pork Wrap is also the most visually arresting. With the yakisoba sauce pouch placed on top of the meat, you have to slightly squeeze the pouch end to emit sweet delicious straight into the sauce.


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Besides the unique pork belly wraps, Yakitori also doles out an array of barbecued skewers featuring chicken and vegetables. Try the popular chicken wings, soft bone and the fillet skewers ($2.50 each) with the restaurant home-made yakitori sauce to kick the indulgence up a notch.


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For lunch, the restaurant has a special meu featuring Oyako-Don (chicken and egg rice bowl). Both chicken and egg are summered in a flavourful dashi sauce. Only 50 bowls will be served each afternoon and the lunch service starts from 11.30am.

Yatagarasu Yakitori
72 Circular Road
#01-01 Singapore 049426

Relish Continental and Korean Buffet at Sea & Blue

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Author: Alex Chua

Joining the opulent enclave of Marina Bay Sands is Sea & Blue, the brand-new continental and Korean buffet concept. Launched in August 2017, the restaurant boasts one of Singapore’s most well-curated spreads, with well over 100 dishes and several live cooking and carving stations. If you’re an epicurean for quality, premium buffet you would enjoy the restaurant’s extensive selection, featuring the freshest seafood, extensive Korean dishes, succulent roasts and a myriad of Western, Japanese and local fares. In fact, there’s over 10 hot and cold stations at Sea & Blue – Korean, Barbecue, Deep-Fried, Hot Dishes & Noodles, Seafood, Salads + Fruits Pizza & Pasta, Wine & Beer, Beverages and Dessert Bar. Surely a restaurant that conquers the four seas!


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From the inviting entrance to the dining section at the far end, the open concept of Sea & Blue gives a sense of airiness and spaciousness, a pleasant departure from the narrow, crowdy walkway experienced in regular buffet restaurants. This luxury of space gives me a chance to slow down the pace to browse in each section, and to admire the skilled chefs cooking the food. The maritime theme is especially highlighted in the restaurant’s nautical nuances of blue, orange and white, with dingy-inspired booth seats and animals that roamed the oceans decorated the walls. What blows my mind is the seating capacity – an astonishing 350 seating capacity which also consists of several private rooms and a function room complete with AV equipment for corporate or special events.

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What would an underwater themed restaurant be without dishing out the freshest denizens of the deep? The Japanese foodie in me gravitates towards the fresh Salmon and Tuna Sashimi and Nigiri Sushi. The sushi and sashimi are intentionally-made mini for diners to have the opportunity to try the entire range and still have the room for the rest of the pickings. Of course, there are Cold prawns, Chilled Scallops and Snowcrab legs to feast on.

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Self-professed carnivores would be delighted by the sumptuous collection of roast meat. Dig into generous silvers of Suckling Pig, Roast Duck, Cajun Chicken, Wagyu Ribeye and Shao Rou (crispy pork). Placed on the carving board is a slab of Oven Roasted Ribeye Striploin with generous trimmings such as potato gratin, sweet potato fries, ratatouille and two selection of gravy – mushroom and black pepper. Do remember to ask the chef to roast the striploin to your desired degree of doneness.

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Staying true to its Korean cuisine, the myriad of Korean choices and desserts simply never fails to wow me. From the freshly grilled Pajeon (pancake) to the Guksu (hot noodles) at Sea & Blue, is bound to impress. The popular Bibimbap comes with a delectable combination of your choosing – from the multitude of colourful toppings such as seasoned spinach, beansprouts, julienned carrots, seasoned Korean seaweed and top it off with a tasty but quite hot gojuchang (red chilli pepper) paste. If you’re unsure what to put inside your customised bowl of bibimbap or guksu, the friendly Korean chef who mans this station is ever ready to help!

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Ending the course with something sweet, the dessert bar features a colourful array of Gyeongdan (Korean rice cake) filled with red bean paste and Yakub (Korean glutinous rice balls with honey and dried fruits). Want something refreshing? There’s the D.I..Y Korean Bingsoo (shaved milk ice) and Milk Soft-Serve, customisable to your own preference. Of course, there’s also your usual go-to cakes, tarts, muffins, macarons, petit fours and pastries.

The verdict? Sea & Blue is one of the most extensive premium buffet restaurant you could find in Singapore, with friendly expert chefs, spacious walkways and seating plan for a non-intrusive, interactive dining experience perfect for family with kids.

Sea & Blue
2 Bayfront Avenue, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
B2-01/01A, Singapore 018972
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SeaNBlueRestaurant
Instagram: @seanbluerestaurant

Step into a World of Flavour at .elia

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There’s nothing in the world that’s one size fits all. But if you’re looking for a restaurant that sells quality sandwiches, handmade pastas and steak while sipping superbly-brewed specialty coffee, then .elia is the right place. Bistro by day, restaurant by night, .elia brings a curated menu where signatures from abroad are delectably assembled with a personal touch. Located at 10 Jiak Chuan Road, this new 30-seater restaurant provides diners a modern twist to traditional fare such as tortellini and wagyu steak. Stripping off the bells and whistle, leaving just the essentials on the plate. Helming the culinary direction is founder-and-chef Clint Seah. His casual yet refined menu logs his travels, inspiration and culinary journey – leading to the birth of .elia. Since opening its door on 3rdAugust, this quant restaurant has received nothing but raving reviews. I can’t wait to join in for a gastronomic experience.


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Exuding a quiet charm, walking into .elia gives me an impression of bare monochromatic translucency – you can see all the way to the kitchen the minute you walk in. On the right side sat a long marble top; the drinks section where you can order their specialty coffee, exotic tea, and alcoholic drinks. The interior speaks chic minimalist with a splash of grey, wooden furnishing and natural light.


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Showcasing the best produce of each season, you can expect non-pretentious, honest freshly-made pasta and sandwiches (yes, even the bread is baked fresh!) just like the décor itself. Each type of bread and pasta is paired to its corresponding ingredients, bringing out the best in every dish.

For the weekday lunch menu (available on Mondays to Thursdays), the Panchetta (image above) is the must try. Cooked in brown butter and egg yolk with Italian bacon, you could feel the rich, exquisite flavour carried into the freshly-made trenette. Choose the lunch set to add hot coffee/ tea for just $1 – absolutely value-for-money.


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Come dinner time, elia morphs into a casual dining concept befitting for a place for a place for a romantic date or just hanging out with friends. Simple and elegant, the un-frivolous naming Octopus features a perfect mix of grilled octopus with sauteed kale, caramelised chili and macadamia nuts.

Surprisingly not chewy, I love the firm, crisp bite of the delicious octopus and the visually appealing composition of this dish.


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As a unyielding carnivore, the Wagyu Beef Shortribs is my personal favourite dish within the menu. Sous-vided and seared to a perfect medium-rare, expect an explosion of flavour with each mouthful.

Overall, this cosy restaurant indeed whipped up some interesting, gourmet food. It is a perfect place to organise for a small private functions too. Fun fact: .elia does not stand for perfect. In fact, the name means far from perfect. It recognises that there is more to life than being perfect, one of which is to remain humble and constantly seek improvement. A good principle for us to seek and remind ourselves to abide to, every day in our lives.

.elia
10 Jiak Chuan Road Singapore 089264

Colour Latte Art Class by The Coffee Academics Singapore

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Author: Alex Chua

If you want to learn the dark art of crafting a perfect cuppa, The Coffee Academics might just be the right place. The award-winning coffee concept store hailing from Hong Kong, this specialty café sources only the best coffee beans from all over the world. It͛s roasted coffee offerings had been awarded 92 to 94 points by the World Coffee Review, achieving the distinct honour of being ranked highest in Asia and top three in the world. Not only does it serve quality coffee, The Coffee Academics teaches how to make one too. Being the first and only coffee house in Singapore to offer the Colour Your World Latte Art workshop, my friend and I, both impulsive coffee lovers but coffee-making novices, can͛t wait to try our hands on this beautiful craft.


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Teaching this creative workshop is the bubbly Head Barista Vanessa Caceres (centre). Having won the Coffee Champion title at the 2015 All Star Female Barista Latte Art Champion in Bogota, Colombia, Vanessa leads an expert team of baristas in its Signature Coffee Classes. Be sure to sign up early as the coffee classes are kept small and intimate to ensure maximum hands-on learning experience.


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At the beginning of the workshop, Vanessa covers the basics first, including how to brew a cup of expresso and milk frothing. Next, she introduced to us the intricate world of espresso latte art, and subsequently wow us away with a series of beautifully-drawn, colourful latte art designs. With consistent pulls and strokes, the Head Barista brought vibrancy of red, green and blue to the otherwise conventional white and brown. The colours used are naturally-extracted food dyes to prevent the taste from being compromised.


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Besides including colour dynamics to the cup, Vanessa drew intricate 3D art designs like the cute cat above. Her pleasant, affable personality was infectious and we the participants were constantly engaged and intrigued to what designs she would come up next. To ensure the workshop runs smoothly, the cafe uses only professional, state-of-the-art equipment and award-winning beans for the workshops. This class could also serve as great team-building activities or with like-minded friends (up to seven participants) who appreciate good design and coffee.


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͚Hey, let me draw your portrait,͛ she said enthusiastically, and in less than a minute and perhaps a few seconds of touch-ups later my friend͛s face floats on top of the latte. A visceral representation which he appreciates so much that he asked me to take a few pictures of him together with the cup for his Instagram profile pic.

Overall, I enjoyed my evening learning from Vanessa, and hopefully my friend did too. We went home happy of the deliciously brewed latte we sampled and a certificate of participation to boot. Moreover, we went home with a heightened appreciation of the many creative ways a simple cuppa could be crafted.

The Coffee Academics Singapore Flagship Store
#02-01/02, 6 Scotts Road, Scotts Square Singapore 228209