Author: Alex Chua
There are 2 very famous (or Insta-famous) pancake shops in Osaka, Japan, and Gram Café & Pancake is one of them. This pancake has made its rounds in social media, and I am always reeking with insatiable pangs of hunger whenever I see my friends jiggle the fluffy towers on Instagram story. Why I didn’t make that pilgrimage when I was there 2 years ago? Finally, my dream has come true. This famous soufflé pancakes specialist has opened its doors in VivoCity, the very first in Singapore, on 16 June 2019.
Easily the world most recognizable pancake, the signature Premium Pancakes ($17.90) consists of three lofty 4cm thick wobbly pancakes stacked together. Soft, airy and oh-so-fluffy pancakes, coupled with the melt-in Gram original butter, whipped cream and a drizzle of sweet maple syrup only makes the united combo sinfully luxurious and scrumptious.
What’s so special about the pancakes at Gram Café & Pancakes is that these fluffy discs are slow-cooked on low heat and whipped full of air, resulting in a fluffy texture similar to a cloud or cotton candy. Everything – the butter, sauces and cream toppings – are made in-house, so that only the best, controlled ingredients are paired with the pancakes for maximum enjoyment on the taste buds.
The Premium pancakes are prepared upon receipt of order, and sales are limited to 3 times a day, with 30 servings each time at 11am, 3pm and 6pm.
Besides the premium dish, other noteworthy items include the Rich Tiramisu Pancakes ($15.90). Inspired by the traditional Japanese dorayaki (doraemon food-love), the chewy texture is very much akin to a dorayaki. The espresso-soaked pancake is layered with rich mascarpone tiramisu cream with dust of cocoa powder on top. Personally I like my pancake light and fluffy, but the chewy variation still tastes pleasant on my palate.
If you want a pancake as a meal and not just dessert, try the savory Chilli Bean Pancakes ($18.90). Chilli bean sauce and cheddar cheese is served on pancakes with sausages, potatoes and salad. To some they say the chilli is quite potent, but for me it’s pretty mild. I like the light meatiness of the sausage, not overpowering the already soft pancake base.
Finally, for something non-pancake type is the French Toast of Chocolate Banana ($12.90). The classic Danish French Toast is topped with fresh cream and maple syrup, with creamy vanilla ice cream, fresh bananas and rich chocolate sauce. I like the slight crunchy texture of the toast, but if you are in Gram Café & Pancake, you shouldn’t even think of skipping the pancakes selection.
Gram Café & Pancakes
VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk #02-110 Singapore 098585
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (last order 9pm)
Author: Alex Chua
When you’ve got warm company and unagi what more do you need. Opened by one of Tokyo’s most well-known unagi restaurants with a stellar 125-year history, Unagi Ichinoji surely can satiates your unagi wants with ease. Located at EAT At Seven at Suntec City and Riverside Village Residences, the premise looks like an izakaya with traditional wood panelling, superb customer service and authentic Japanese vibe. It is probably the next best place to dine and unwind if you don’t have the luxury of time to fly to Japan.
One can’t say they have stepped into Unagi Ichinoji without tasting unagi – that’s what they are specialized for. The Unagi Kaisen Hitsumabushi Set (small S$25.80 and Medium $33.80) comes with a slab of freshly grilled unagi fenced by a chirashi-style array of fresh sashimi including salmon, tuna, squid and octopus, all air flown from Japan. It is absolutely a gratifying experience chopping down the luscious piece of fish. Even the fluffy rice is well taken care of. The Japanese Hokkaido rice is coated with a special in-house marinade to give off that exquisite flavour.
The Unagi Wagyu Set (S$36.80) uses A5-grade wagyu imported fr Kagoshima Japan & restaurant’s signature freshly grilled unagi. Accompanied with unagi chawamushi and Japanese pickles. Tender charcoal grilled beef & umami unagi, a bowl I would surely grab when I am feeling indulgent.
For the non-unagi lovers (is there any really?), there is the Chicken Hitsumabushi Set ($26.80). Fresh organic chicken (Sakura Chicken) is used to give it a more succulent texture. Charcoal grilled elevates the palate with a smoky note. For me, however, it would be unagi anytime.
Now, if you don’t know what is Hitsumabushi, there are actually 3 special ways of eating it to experience different flavour profiles. First, divide the bowl into four portions. Enjoy the first portion on its own and relish the depth of flavour of the eel. Then, for the second portion, add nori (seaweed), wasabi and green onions to the Hokkaido rice and eel. For the third portion, add the clear dashi to the abovementioned mix. The final portion can be enjoyed however you fancy. Personally, I very much prefer to enjoy by its original form without any condiments.
Address: 01-05 Riverside Village Residences, Robertson Quay Singapore 238251
Operating Hours: daily 11.30am to 3pm; 5.30pm to 10pm
Author: Alex Chua
If you are a food aficionado (and especially one who fancied Japanese cuisine), then Millennia Walk could well be one of your favourite destination to satisfy your insatiable craving. Organized by Pontiac Land, Millenia Walk’s developer and mall management, this swanky behemoth hosts a festive 9-course reunion meal for media guests and influencers to dine and unwind in its spacious Grand Hall atrium. There’s a lot of rousing, posing and snapping during the event, with four long tables joined together making a cross smacked right in the center of happenings. There were also occasional activities like lucky draw (dining vouchers!) and tossing of yu sheng (courtesy of Poke Doke – one of Millenia Walk’s tenant – for their Poke Doke Original Yusheng). With all the excitement and chattering going on, food is nevertheless the reason why we were all gathered here. Here’s some of the Instagram-worthy dishes I’ve sampled and love it.
Yam Ring with assorted Vegetables by Elemen features a highly stylized black yam ring with flecks of sprinkled gold. Ultra-luxe looking with resemblance of a bird nest, there’s a delightful crunch with a distinctive whiff of aroma when you spoon down to it core of healthy greens. Being a vegetarian dish, I am mildly surprised that I quite enjoy it! (Part of CNY set at $42.80++ for 8 course)
The Whole Fortune Smoked Corn-Fed Chicken with house-pickles by Plentyfull has that meaty mouthfeels full of delightful juiciness when you munch into it like a caveman. The meat peels off easily from the bones and its oh-so tender and simply delicious. ($48 and available from 14 Jan to 19 Feb).
Love the contemporary plating of Crispy Pork Belly on Potato Cucumber Salad with Parsley mousse and Paulaner Dark Beer Sauce by Paulaner Brauhaus ($18.90++). The pork’s crackling skin and fat just makes it irresistible not to keep biting it to satisfy that crunch. Dip with the dark beer sauce to give it a more sedate, bitter-sweet note. The portion size is just right if not making the diner feels too heavy.
Frozen S’mores by The Dark Gallery ($9) features a Graham Tart Shell with their signature 80% dark chocolate ice cream, dark chocolate ganache and torched marshmallow. Heavenly especially for those with a sweet tooth, its not overly sweet but subduedly so, and it’s pure joy spoon after spoon.
Bask in reunion celebrations across more than 20 acclaimed dining outlets and spend $88 at any shop to stand a chance to win lucky draw for amazing prizes. Only in Millenia Walk from now till 19 February.
1st Prize – Bedroom Makeover from Harvey Norman worth $3,000
2nd Prize – Dyson Pure Cool Purifying Tower Fan worth $899
3rd Prize – 2D1N Staycation at Conrad Centennial Singapore worth $500
9 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039596
We are all very familiar with masking at night. How about masking in the morning?
I was first introduced to masking before I put on my make up by the make up artists who did my make up for me during shoots. They told me that masking right before the make up would help my make up stay longer, and face brighter. But I never knew about the existence of Morning Facial Sheet Mask until I found Saborino.
are all very familiar with masking at night. How about masking in the morning?
I was first curious about the mask because of the vibrant packaging – don’t they look fun? I also came across them during my trip to Japan last year.
My initial thoughts about masking in the morning was “Will I have enough time?” or “Do I have to wake up earlier just to mask?” These concerns were addressed right after I googled more.
Saborino Morning Mask is a 3-in-1 face mask from Japan that cleanse, moisturize and prime in 60 seconds. Yes, you heard me right, it works as a morning cleanser too!
It isn’t too hard to wake up 60 seconds earlier just to get rid of your swollen face/eyes yea? You can even put the mask on while you get ready or concentrate on other tasks.
It is like the breakfast for your skin. It comes in a wet-wipes packaging which makes it very convenient for you to bring around, for your staycations or travel. I love the fact that it comes in a plastic lid design instead of the foil sticky pads design, which doesn’t really stick well after a month.
I have been trying out the morning mask recently and I do notice a small shrinkage in my pore size. Not only that, my make up sits nicely on my face and it stays for the entire day without caking. I guess it keeps my face hydrated too.
Other benefits include the tightening and enhancing the elasticity of the skin but my favourite benefit has got to be the reduction of the puffiness of the eye and face in the morning! My eyes tend to get quite puffy when I don’t have enough sleep so this has been a great help so far.
I also love the cooling sensation and minty grapefruit scent which sets my morning fresh and happy.
The mask is suitable for daily use and a packet contains 32 sheets, which can last you slightly more than a month.
If you are keen to give Saborino Morning Facial Sheet Mask a try, it is available at Guardian, Don Don Donki, Tokyu Hands, Welcia-BHG, Meidi-ya and Sasa for $21.90.
P/S: This is one mask that I will turn to again and again because it makes things very convenient for a lazy person like me!
Author: Alex Chua
Robertson Quay never fails to fascinates the foodies and folks who wants to chillax. Housed on the second level of the InterContinental Singapore, the casual Japanese Gastrobar Plum & Toro serves mod Jap cuisines with an impressive collection of wines and creative cocktails. The sleek and casual ambience with its lip-smacking, Instagram-worthy teppan and chargrilled dishes should be a huge draw for working professionals or couples who want some intimate conversations.
Starting off with something luxurious, we had the Fresh Oyster ($8). Huge hygo oyster with a spoonful of dashi jelly and golden tobki. All eyes were on to the oyster and the slurp was invigorating – subtle, citrusy, bursting of ocean freshness. Understand that oyster taste will be stronger when cooked but nothing beats the pureness of a freshly shucked oyster.
It was a feast to the eyes when we took our glance onto the Sakura Ebi Somen ($20). The stir-fried cherry blossom shrimp adds vibrancy and depth in flavour to the otherwise simple plate of noodles. Tossed with thin noodles and scampi oil, the noodles by itself was quite delicious. This dish was surprising light, flavourful with a slight crunch from the shrimp.
Now for the ultimate, premium indulgent, we had the Wagyu Truffle Don ($40). Wagyu beef kiriotoshi, served with onsen egg on pearly white Japanese rice, was meaty yet delicate, and flavourful. Topped with generous slices of fresh truffle, elevating the umami of this dish. The whole space had the pleasant truffle smell when we tucked in to it. High recommend for those who wants to impress their other half with something decadent.
Reminding my fond memories of my last trip to Osaka, where I had a warm Japanese sweet potato on hand in a cold November winter. The Satsuma Imo ($15) just topped the normal Japanese staple a notch with an ultra-smooth vanilla ice cream topped with sprinkle of snow salt to open up your palate. Who knows sweet potato and ice cream makes a pretty awesome pairing.
On top of the restaurant seats, Plum & Toro also has a 10-seater cocktail bar with liquor and sakes imported from Japan. For something original and fruity, order their signature cocktail P&T ($22). Using Umeshu and Shiso liquor which delivers a polished taste yet sleeky at the same time.
Overall, the food here are visually pleasant and well-balanced in flavour, modern yet has the hint of Japan. You can expect me to drop here anytime for a drink or some teppan.
Plum & Toro
The InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay
1 Nanson Road, #02-07, Singapore 238909
Author: Alex Chua
SUN with MOON Japanese Dining & Café has recently unveiled its latest 2018 grand menu. Situated in Wheelock Place, the new menu is specially curated by Executive Chef Mr Toshio Sawai, who had an illustrious culinary career beginning all the way back in Kitcho, one of the most luxurious and reputable Japanese restaurants in Japan, in 1983. The latest menu features a repertoire of brand-new creations, together with new spins on all-time favourites. Don’t expect only the traditional Japanese food; there are some innovations which to me are quite interesting.
The Chef’s tenacity to break off from the traditional can be felt with the Zensai Mori Appetiser ($16.80). Showcasing an indulgent platter of 7 chef-curated appetizers which includes light dishes such as mini prawn sushi, crabmeat and asparagus with mentai sauce, pickled radish with yuzu and herring roe, as well as savoury ones like grilled unagi with cream cheese, seared mini tuna steak with black pepper, grilled pork belly or grilled chicken thigh. This dish is meant to whet your appetite and transition you to subsequent dishes.
What comes next after a refreshing, quasi-Japanese appetizer is the Niku Atsu Hotate & Unagi Kamameshi ($26.80). More of an authentic Japanese dish you might expect in an izakaya, the steamy iron pot is topped with luscious grilled unagi, thick-cut flamed-seared scallops with fragrant Japanese rice. The accompanying soup broth and kamameshi ingredients are all meticulously prepared for a satisfying Japanese traditional dish. Being a seafood lover, I find the unagi and scallops irresistible and rich in umami goodness.
Can you spell LOVE? The Beef Miso Dare Sukiyaki ($25.80) is definitely the highlight and makes my day. The piping hot stew is made with Executive Chef Sawai’s original miso dare blend with hatcho (soybean) miso from Okazaki in Aichi Prefecture. I loved the cleverness of using diced US Ribeye beef cubes instead of the standard sliced beef in order for the meat to retain its rich meaty flavour longer. It’s my sure favourite and I would definitely order this if I am back for good.
The Steak Moriawase ($45.80) do brings out the insatiable carnivore in me. Featuring a succulent grilled steak combo of Japanese Wagyu, US Tenderloin and pork steak (300g), diners can pick 4 sauces, of which 3 are the restaurant’s original sauce blends – black pepper, red wine and goma mustard sauce. Both the Wagyu and Tenderloin tastes succulent with a satisfying firm texture, while the pork is slightly dry. Nevertheless, this dish is quite unusual in a Japan restaurant setting in terms of its meat selection and visual presentation.
Let’s call it a playful seafood indulgence; the Temari Sushi ($23.80) are bite-sized mini sushi balls which kids would surely take them to be yummy pokeballs up for grabs. The molded balls of Japanese sushi rice are topped with fresh tuna, salmon, scallop, grilled eel, yellowtail, mackerel, swordfish, cuttlefish, salmon belly and boiled prawn.
All nice things end with sweetness in the mouth. The perfect ending goes to the Dessert Trio ($9.80), consisting of a cool ensemble of Goma Pudding, SUN’s Tofu Cheesecake and Matcha Ice Cream. Light, delicate and smooth, the sweetness explosion (especially the Tofu Cheesecake!) floats me right up into the ether.
Overall, SUN with MOON Japanese Dining and Café presents a contemporary cuisine that moves beyond traditions. While the flow of food served feels like a 6-course dinner in a fine-dining setup, they are sold ala carte and good for 4 pax.
SUN with Moon Japanese Dining and Café
501 Orchard Road, #03-15 Wheelock Place, Singapore 238880
Operating hours: 12pm to 10pm (Sun to Thurs & PH)
12pm to 10.30pm (Fri, Sat and Eve of PH)
Author: Alex Chua
I am always thrilled when there is a new food option opening in the parks. Toriyard, the first Japanese yakitori joint to be located at Bishan Park, serves not only sumptuous yakitori. It also tries to convey a sense of home with nature’s lush greenery. And don’t be intimidated by the fancy exterior. The prices here are friendly, well suited for the residents here. It is a chic option for a good and inexpensive meal.
There are three seating arrangements in this 129-seater Toriyard – indoor, al fresco and the VIP room (picture above) where corporate functions can be held. The industrial aesthetic is kept minimalist with metal tables, freshened up with pops of color from the red accents and blue and green chairs. In the middle of the spacious glass house stood the open-concept grill station, where gourmands can relish the sight of their ordered meats cooked to perfection with Japanese-imported charcoal grills. The menu is curated and designed by Tokyo native Chef Hasegawa Isao who has had close to 4 decades of culinary experience in various countries including Japan, France and Malaysia.
The first dish – Sashimi Salad ($19) is a colourful, visually appetising starter. All the elements work. The robust slices of fish (salmon, swordfish and tuna), sweet prawns and the accompanying leafs of vegetables. Next, my favourite Onsen Tamago Cocktail ($17), which happens to be chef favourite as well, an elevated version of the onsen egg with foie gras, samon roe and sea urchin. The simplicity in taste and exquisite presentation only wows me asking for more of this dish.
Toriyard features an extensive Japanese yakitori (grilled skewers) in the menu. Expect the classic tori (chicken) skewers, along with grilled beef and pork, fresh seafood and vegetables that will please diverse palates. My personal favourites are the flavourful Gyu (US Angus Ribeye $8), Momo (Chicken thigh $7), and Ebi (tiger prawns $6).
Special mention about Momo, where Chef Isao demonstrated live to us how the chicken thigh meat is carefully rolled in chicken skin before being skewered and trimmed to ensure an even grill. His careful preparation of the dish shows in the crispy chicken skin juxtaposed against the tender, juicy chicken meat.
For dessert the Jikasei Chiffon ($14), a fluffy matcha-red bean chiffon cake served with warabi mochi and vanilla ice cream helmed from Hokkaido prefecture. The warabi mochi was outstanding with it’s smooth consistency, and the light dusting of soybean powder that was not too sweet. My only quibble with it is maybe there can be more red bean in the chiffon cake but that would be nit-picking.
1380 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, Bishan Park 2, Singapore 569930
Facebook/ Instagram: @Toriyard
Tel: 9296 5988
IF you have been to Japan before, I am quite sure that you may have stepped into Don Don Donki before!
I took a media tour today and I must say that I am amazed! Their price points are not a lot higher than the Japanese store itself! You will also feel as though you are stepping into Japan once you step into the store.
Don Don Donki Orchard Central is their first flagship outlet in Asia and they aim to position the store as a “Japanese Brand Specialist” by offering products that are either made or designed in Japan.
The double-storey retail space is also open 24/7 so you can always pop by and do some late night shopping there.
They carry a wide variety of goods including food, household items, cosmetics and novelty goods.
My favourite sections have got to be the beauty section and party section!
It really does feel like an amusement park here! And I swear that I will never come out of the shop empty handed ever. There is simply too many things to buy!
They are also partnering with Hokkaido Marche for a Hokkaido-themed retail and dine-in space that features unique product offerings and successful tenants from the region.
“No other Donki store carries such a broad diversity of food choices, and the partnership with Hokkaido Marche will further elevate the dining experience here. We hope this will be a refreshing retail concept that Singaporeans can look forward to and heartily enjoy,” said Mr. Okada.
Don Don Donki will officially open its store to the public on 1st Dec.
For more information, please visit: http://www.dondondonki.sg/
So… We were back from Hiroshima less than a month ago! Our latest wanderlust took us to the city which encountered the world’s first ever nuclear destruction. Nonetheless, what we encountered during this trip was anything but terror in this modernized, beautiful city!
PS: Good news to share for those who like to fly via SilkAir – from the 30th Oct there will be flights from Singapore to Hiroshima and vice versa!
In our opinion, here are some of the must-visit places:
1) Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum & A-Bomb Dome
It is one of the UNESCO Heritage Sites in Hiroshima and knowing James will never give UNESCO site in any country a miss! If you planning to go to this site, I would recommend spending a good one day there to learn of the destructive power of an Atomic Bomb & immense in the history of Hiroshima.
We stayed at ANA Crowne Plaza which is just a 5 mins walk away.
More importantly, we were there on the 6th August too! Make a guess what’s the significance of this date? It is the fateful day which the Atomic Bomb ‘Little Boy’ was dropped and to be exact, 8.15am in the morning.
Apparently, this is the only structure that survived the bomb blast and still standing till this very day. It stood there to consistently remind the future generation that nuclear power should never be used as a form of deterrence.
You won’t see much laughter or merry-making around this place even among the tourists. The mood is mainly sombre around this vicinity; It is as though the tragedy just happened the day before.
Nonetheless, we did not hesitate to break our first smile when we saw these beautiful paper cranes near the site. Folding paper crane is a form of respect and culture near the site! Be sure to fold one when you are there in memory of the victims.
We did our part and learnt how to fold paper cranes at the Orizuru Tower nearby. Best time to go to the tower would be close to evening time as you also get to enjoy the entire Hiroshima city landscape.
2) Miyajima Island (Itsukushima Shrine & the Iconic O-Torii Gate)
Ever seen the famous O-Torii Gate floating in the middle of a sea?
This is exactly where we decided to spend our second day! One can never miss out Itsukushima Shrine when they are at Hiroshima Prefecture. Take a 30-minutes boat ride near the A-Bomb Dome site to Miyajima Island!
You can take some nice photos at the back of the boat. Be sure not to miss this instagram-worthy moment!
The first impression you will get of Miyajima Island is that of Nara Park because of the wild deers roaming around freely. Sadly, the only difference is you are not allowed to feed the deers here 🙁
Be sure not to walk around freely with a paper in your hand. In fact, that was what happened to my map as one of the deers ripped it apart thinking it was food!
Well, the deers stole my map but did not have the chance to steal the limelight from….the iconic O-Torii Gate in front of the Itsukushima Shrine!
The are so many interesting cultural practices e.g. Praying, Ward of Bad luck, Reading your luck etc within Itsukushima Shrine. So be sure not to miss exploring every part of it!
3) Kin-taikyo Bridge
A very iconic Bridge which is broken into three sections. It was said that they made it this way to reinforce against the strong tides of tsunami/flood.
It is so long we only manage to capture one section of the whole bridge. But, you got the idea right?
4) Shimanami-Kaido Bridge
If you are a cycling enthusiasts, do a day trip out of Hiroshima for this! Just to share the distance we cycled that day; from one end of the bridge to the other.
It is approximately 6-7km. The good thing is you can return the bike at the station situated on the other end of the bridge.
Just look at how much we are sweating! I would say it is not so much from our exertion on the bike but instead the weather! The summer in Japan is definitely no joke! I would say even the hottest day in Singapore couldn’t be compared to the heat there!
4) Hondori Shopping Street
This is the biggest shopping street in Hiroshima! To be truthful, don’t expect to shop heartily here. I feel the shopping scene in Dontoburi is far more vibrant compared to this one! Nonetheless, it is still worth a visit if it is your first time there.
Well at least for retail pleasure, they have our favourite Uniqlo and GU there! If you are thinking of getting some LifeWear, you know where to head to.
Oh! Do not miss out the super famous I-chiran Ramen there too! You have to queue for it in Tokyo and Osaka, but I promise that there is no queue here! It was so good we had it for supper on two consecutive nights!
5) Sera-kogen Farm (aka The Land of Sunflowers)
You will surely smile at this place if you missed smiling at A-Bomb Dome site! Just look at this picture which is a small subset of the whole sunflower farm!
Unfortunately, due to a tight schedule, we did not get to spend much time there. I shall leave you guys to explore this place on your end and take multiple pictures!
Some other places that you may want to include in your itinerary includes Ota House, Iwakuni (Yamaguchi Prefecture) & Kikko Park (Samurai Living quarters on one end of the Kin-taikyo Bridge).
I just came back from ORBIS’s opening at Westgate! Congratulations! This is their 4th outlet :)) Find them at Westgate #02-16. Nearest MRT station would be Jurong East.
I have been a huge fan of their famous cleansing liquid!! If you haven’t already know, ORBIS is a leading Japanese cosmetic company. You can find skincare, make up, health food and beauty supplement in ORBIS.
With me are the fellow beauty bloggers cum lovely ladies~
Something new is their Teatox. It is said to have detoxifying, weight management and antioxidant effect. Even if it isn’t for weight management, you can drink it for some body cleansing effect 🙂
Some other products which I have yet to try but might consider trying when I need them:
Their skincare line is as thoughtful as the brand sounds! They have Hydration care, Acne care, Special care, Whitening care and more!
Other than their cleansing liquid, I love love love their meal replacement smoothie!! It is so thick and creamy. 2 sachets in a packet for $6.90 or $8.90.
All you have to do is to add in 100ml of cold milk. I drank a full cup of the orange flavored one and I love love love it! I think James might love it too so I bought him 3 boxes of different flavors!
I think it would be good to replace breakfast with this because it is low in calories and healthy. Easy to prepare especially when I am always in a rush in the morning.
I saw new famous in the store too! Chocolate & Almond and Apple & Rose! Chocolate & Almond sounds yummmmmy! Hehe. Keeping my fingers crossed. Hope James would love them.
You can also find ORBIS at Robinsons Orchard, Bishan Junction 8 and Raffles City Shopping Centre.
For more information, like them on their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/orbis.sg