CHAR – Traditional Chinese Roasts Gets Up to The Times


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.


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).


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.


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.


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)

Step into a World of Flavour at .elia


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

10 Jiak Chuan Road Singapore 089264

A Taste of Italy @ Oliva

Author: James

M and I have been exploring the Arab Street region this week! Why this area? Because we both firmly believe that there are many hidden gems there!

Good news if you are huge fan of Italian cuisine because one of that not to be missed is the Oliva Italian Restaurant lining the Arab street !

This is truly a hidden jem. You may have walked past it a lot of times but not step foot in. That was what happened for us as well until the food tasting.

It has a very cosy exterior. We sat outside because we wanted to chill, eat and chat while doing some people watching at the same time. Who knows! We sat there from 6pm to 10pm. Gosh. It was such a relaxing day.

So much for the exterior! What about the interior you might ask. We felt the interior is even more amazing! (unfortunately we were too eager to try the delicacy that we forgot to take a pic of the interior. Ops! ><).

But a shoutout to the Dudes out there for a nice Valentine Day venue! For the ladies, hint your guys! The restaurant interior ambience is surprisingly nice, with candles and warm lighting, absolutely PERFECT for a romantic dinner. Shall save it for you lovebirds to explore the mystery!

Anw, M was down with eye infection so she had to go lenses-free. But no lessen my affection for her cos we are already in the Vday mood! Lol!

The lady boss, Diane is a very dedicated person and sat with us throughout our dinner to share the highlights of her menu.

One of her pride and joy is their Brushette (below): $7.50

I would say this is definitely one of the MUST TRY if you visit the restaurant. Even for a not-so-bread-eater like me, i find the texture of the bread very palatable as it wasn’t too hard but yet able to maintain its crunchy feel.

Next came the mains! *stomach growls*

I was pretty happy with the mains even at the first sight of it!

Why? Cos personally i have seen too much of restaurants trying to cut their operating cost at the expense of their customer’s growling appetite. Worst, they charge a premium for it! Booooo!  But here, it was totally different story! The restaurant was very generous with their serving, enough to satisfy BIG eaters like me! So first tick checked!

M, being an avid carbo lover kickstarted her meal with her usual pasta choice!

Ocean Lovers $24.90

Don’t be deceived by the pale complexion of the noodle (in this pic)! The savoury & peppery taste is gonna set you going for the glass of water if you cant take even a bit of spice!

But for M, who doesn’t really take much spices enjoyed it nonetheless!

What about me, the avid Protein-eater!

Lamb shank $25

I fell in love with this tomato-based dish with the generous portion of Lamb shanks (Definitely enough for a normal guy! Ladies, be ready to share!) that is served with a more herb-ish version of bolognaise sauce.

There you have it! Our meal for the evening..

‘You mean that’s all & you dare call yourself a big eater, J?!’ So Yes, that cant be all if J is in the house!

The pasta was the restaurant’s specialty. So how can i let go of such good opporunity to try more right? Next, we ordered another portion of their Crabmeat pasta. *with real crabmeat (not those crabstick kind!)

So much for savoury. What about some sweet? Especially that kind of Sugar Sweet in Adam Levine latest song: Sugar. Here we have it!

Oreo Cookie smoothie $5.90

Upclose with the thick and creamy Avocado Smoothie. Good for the skin, ladies!

By the time we reached the dessert, M’s stomach was already putting up the white flag! But upon hearing her favourite Panna cotta, the white flag become green flag! For me with the sweet tooth, it’s a no-brainer! Bring it on, sugar!

Overall, this restaurant is my new favorite in Arab Street. Unfortunately, they have a few wine selection and desserts which I have not tried as we were busy having an equally  hearty conversation with the nice and humble boss of the restaurant. Will definitely return to try it.

Tips for readers:

*Try to go down during the evening to experience the nice and zen ambience within the restaurant as i have mentioned. You can make reservations as well.

**For us Singaporeans, we love promotions right?

Oliva Italian restaurant offers promotions for dinner!

Set Dinner – Only $12.90 (Sunday – Thursday)


Find them at: 34 Arab Street, Singapore 199733
Ring them at: 6291 2297

The Royal Mail

This isn’t my first trip to the royal mail but the last round was to the restaurant. This round, we went upclose and personal with the bar side! Best part is they are introducing new specialty cocktail and British-inspired tapas to its menu!

Apart from the food, we were well-entertained by the interactive duet. In fact, they tried to drag couple of us to sing together with them.

This pic just scream Bliss!

Enjoying one of the their two signature drinks: Timeless English & old fashioned spice. J’s favorite was the latter as he has quite a few glass of it before i convinced him to try something else.

See! The result of having too much Old fashioned Spice.. now he has to share his cocktail with me!

This boy has always been there with me for all my events be it rain or shine! So i just had to reward him for his efforts with the all time favorite forehead kiss when he was super engross with his cocktail drink!  *Territory marked* Heh Heh Heh

My personal favorite was this Cubed Beek Steak accompanied by spicy crab tomato and Bearnanise sauces. Totally irresistible! You would never just stop at one serving after you tried the first!

The Bamboo Clam with cubed squid and Ah Char sauce was also great ! It went well with the cocktails we had that night.

Sweet Potato Chips served with Onion and Shallot Salsa. It definitely look as crispy as it tastes. without the sauce, the chips were already tantalizing. Dip it in, the enjoyment just increases manifold!

Me, on the other hand, prefer sweeter drinks. I gave almost all cocktails a try!!!

I can never drink with an empty stomach no matter how much or little the alcohol content is so I ordered my favorite Fish & Chips!

The fish was so fresh. It was crispy on the outside but juicy on the inside.

Pizzas are really good for group gathering!

Chilling at The Royal Mail isn’t as expensive as you think.

The Royal Mail Bar Daily Promotions (6pm to closing)
• Monday: $5 Dirty or Dry Martinis only
• Tuesday: 1 for 1 House Pour and Premium Wine
• Wednesday: 1 for 1 keys by the Glass
• Thursday: Half-Pint Draught Beer for $5
• Friday: $10 Champagne by the Glass

Happy Hour
Happy Hour at The Royal Mail Bar is from 5pm to 8pm, where all specialty cocktails go for $10 each, and 1-for-1 House Pour (Gentlemen’s Pour 45ml) go for $15.

The Royal Mail Restaurant & Bar:
The Ascott Raffles Place Singapore, 2 Finlayson Green, Singapore 049247

Contact: +65 6509 3589


Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 3pm to 11pm

Boxing Crab Sentosa

Do you remember Boxing Crab Sentosa? Recap here:

A must-try is the Braised Claypot Crab with Superior Broth and Pumpkin!!!

This is my third time there (I went back with my family for the pumpkin crab as well).

They came up with a Menu for Mothers’ Day Special!

Treat your mother to the best crab secret in Sentosa, a nice gem that overlooks the seafront and as such the scenery is splendid.

The Mother’s Day Set Menu for 4 pax is at $328++ and only valid from 1 to 12 May.

And the dishes includes:

Deep Fried Spiny Lobster Salad
I like the chewy feel of this dish and it taste as if it was soaked in salted egg yolk! Yums!!

Braised Treasure Chicken in Lotus Leaf

Most mom loves herbal stuffs. This taste a little like herbal chicken but different.
Look at the pictures below and you can see how filled it is with all the different ingredients!

Homemade Water Chestnut Bean Curd with Spices Meat

Inside the tender beancurd is some crispy water chestnut. The meat used is chicken, not pork.

Boxing Crab do not serve Pork or Lard.

Stir Fried Sea Scallop and Prawn with Asparagus

Big scallops and juicy prawns.

Braised Chili Crab wrapped in Lotus Leaf Deep Fried Bun

And now, the highlight, the Chili Crab which most Singaporeans loveeeeee!

As much as I love their Pumpkin crab, I love their Chili crab too. Most of the bloggers that night prefer chili to pumpkin and I had a hard time deciding which is nicer because both were equally awesome.

But I guess my ultimate choice is still the pumpkin crab!!!

What’s Chili Crab with Man Tou right????

Alright, we are ready to attack them now!!!

Stir Fried Vermicelli with Seafood

Another dish with juicy prawns and scallop.

Red Bean Soup with Coconut and Lotus Seed

There is always room for dessert no matter how full one is.

Pamper your mom with the Red Bean Soup after a satisfying meal.

Happy Seafood Lovers!!

Boxing crab is located at 80 Siloso Road Singapore 098969

Contact: 6274 7760

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 11am to 11pm daily.

For more information, please visit their Facebook page at Boxing Crab