Thursday, September 18, 2014

SYNC Korean Fusion Bistro

SYNC Korean Fusion Bistro is a perfect illustration of where technology meets food. By using tablets to place your orders, the concept of this whole bistro certainly takes on a modern dining experience. Likewise on the food aspect, the bistro offers a one of a kind combination of Western-Korean dishes.

For starters, we highly recommend the Korean Chicken Wings which were battered and crispy on the outside, layered with a in-house special sauce which came off spicy yet tangy at the same time. Another dish which clearly was a hit at the table was the Toppoki, which comes with bits of fried bacon atop, and an onsen egg - their rendition of the classic Korean dish you probably would not find anywhere else.

Moving onto the mains, the Bibimbap was quite a lacklustre as it wasn't served in a hot pot. We found the temperature of the rice not hot enough to our liking, but if you (weirdly) like cold Bibimbap, by all means. The Jap Chae with Beef however, was served hot instead of the usual room temperature and came in a pretty generous portion with tender slices of beef within.

Our favourite part of the meal had to be dessert. The freshly made-to-order Lava Cakes were extremely delicious and blew almost everyone away within the first mouthful. Available in three flavours (Taro, Red Bean and Matcha), our pick of the lot was the Matcha.

The concept of Western-Korean dishes at SYNC pretty much won us over. And with the relatively reasonable prices on the menu (except for their drinks), we actually think this place is worth a visit if you are a fan of Korean food. Our only disappointment was that they only have one branch (located at the west), so traveling all the way down if you do not live around the area might just be a hassle.

SYNC Korean Fusion Bistro
3 Gateway Drive
Westgate, #03-01/01A
Singapore 608532
+65 6369 9913

This was an invited media tasting.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Black Sheep Cafe : New Brunch Menu and More

Hopping onto the bandwagon of cafes serving up brunch, The Black Sheep Cafe at Thomson V has came up with a new brunch menu to offer diners. To differentiate themselves from other cafes, they have designed a simplistic yet delicate brunch to serve up the trend, as well as a comprehensive lunch and dinner menu for the general diners.

When at Black Sheep for brunch, you have to try the Black Sheep's Croque - layers of bacon, ham, duck confit (yes, duck confit), swiss cheese, mushrooms and greens, all sandwiched between a toasted wholemeal bread, baked and served on a hotplate. This croque is nothing short of magnificent - it is generously packed with meat, oozing with hollandaise sauce and cheese, all with a very affordable price compared to other mainstream cafes in town. The duck confit shreds were exceptionally tender, and the bacon with a light crisp, giving the croque a varying texture.

If you are not a brunch kind of person and just fancy a nice meal, The Black Sheep Cafe has some new additions to their menu to offer as well. The Lobster Linguine in Smoked Seafood Emulsion should be a hit amongst the seafood lovers. The pasta was served with a rich and flavourful broth resembling lobster bisque, complimenting the al dante linguine. The lobster meat is springy to the bite, and for the price you pay, it is quite a generous portion anyone can ask for.

The Cheeky Pork on Sautéed Greens and Pear is a must-try for pork lovers. The pork cheeks were fork tender and roasted to golden crisp perfection with crackling crispy skin - so much so that the pork fats melt in your mouth! For beef goers, the Beef Fillet on Creamed Spinach and Truffle Scented Glaze would be an ideal choice. The doneness was done to our liking, and the truffle glaze definitely took the whole dish to another level.

For dessert, we had the Orange Grand Marnier Souffle served alongside vanilla ice-cream. The soufflé was very light with a golden crown and a soft yielding middle - just how it should have been. We also enjoyed the tinge of orange zest that was buried within that wasn't too overpowering.

With the cafe competition so tight in Singapore, it is crucial to be different. For the case of The Black Sheep Cafe, the Black Sheep's Croque is simple, delicious and value for money in all. With more to offer for their lunch and dinner, this (no GST and service charge) cafe is a good place to chill and enjoy a satisfying meal, away from the bustling city.

The Black Sheep Cafe
11 Sin Ming Road
Thomson V, B1-30
Singapore 575629
+65 6459 5373

This was an invited media tasting. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Saboten : 313@Somerset

Said to be Singapore's best Tonkatsu restaurant, Saboten has recently expanded to a more centralised location, following their first outlet at IMM. Their new outlet however, does not offer some items such as the Ebi Mentai Set which we particularly raved about during our visit to Saboten at IMM.

Serving up what they do best, we had a go at the Iberico Loin Katsu which was crispy on the outside and tender moist inside. We also tried the Fried Jumbo Prawn Set which features a king prawn crusted with golden brown breadcrumbs. Our only no-no to it was that the prawn wasn't filling, and did not exactly justify the price point.

A few other dishes which we particularly enjoyed was the Fried Salmon, as well as the Grilled Chicken. Saboten offers a selection of grilled dishes for those who do not exactly enjoy deep-fried stuff. We have to admit though - that most of the fried stuff tasted way better than the grilled.

For people who like variety, they also offer a platter with a variety of fried stuff such as prawns, pork and chicken, which is good for two to share. There were however, the good and the bad on the platter. The prawns felt more like we were eating breadcrumbs, and the pork was a tad dry as compared to the Iberico Loin Katsu.

Each set comes with free-flow salad and chawanmushi (steamed egg). The salad dressings were extremely addictive, and we definitely recommend the sesame dressing. That being said, with some yes and a few no(s) on the menu, it just might be the best Tonkatsu place in Singapore given the variety, but definitely not on our list as one of the best Japanese places in town.

313 Orchard Road
313@Somerset, #B2-02/03
Singapore 238895
+65 6333 3432

This was an invited media tasting. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Backstage Cafe

Concealed among the industrial buildings at Kallang, Backstage Cafe is a place to dine at if you want to be away from the city and crowd. With high ceilings and wooden fittings, the cafe gives off a laid-back and cozy vibe.

With a menu serving brunch, mains, cakes, desert and also coffee, we were pretty impressed with what they had to offer. We had a go at the coffee (which were handcrafted) but it didn't impress us as much as we set our expectations to. In short, it was slightly too acidic for our liking. 

We had a go at two different pasta - Seafood Marinara and Squid Ink Spaghetti. The Seafood Marinara came served with chunks of salmon and fresh seafood and we enjoyed the sauce served with the al dente pasta. The Squid Ink Spaghetti however, was a complete lacklustre - it was dry and lacked seasoning. 

The Breaded Chicken is something we liked very much and definitely recommend. Consisting of breaded chicken layers with mushrooms and cheese, served on mash, the flavours and textures came together delectably. 

Another main we highly recommend is the Flaming Brandy Chicken. This special in house dish requires 40 minutes of prep time but we think the wait is well worth it. The tender spring chicken had brandy poured over it before it was flamed and the chicken meat was succulent and tender. Served with salad on the side, this is something we will definitely order the next time we are there. 

A mix of Asian cuisine, the Roasted Pork Belly served with pickled vegetables wasn't too bad either. We however felt that the pork could have been more tender, even though the skin was crackling crispy. Accompanied by a Chinese chill sauce on the side, we are on the fence about this dish. 

For desserts, we tried the Waffles with Maple Syrup which came burnt on the sides. Thankfully, the Apple Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream made up for it with chunks of fresh apples in the flaky buttery pastry and vanilla bean ice cream. If you are a chocolate lover, the Lava Cake and Berry Compote is something worth trying as well. 

Truth be told, even though Backstage Cafe offers quite a variety of dishes on their menu, there were hits and misses. The Backstage Benedict (Eggs Benedict) came with bread as hard as stones and wasn't at all worth mentioning. Therefore, we reckon picking the right dishes on your first visit will determine whether or not you will be coming back for a second. 

Backstage Cafe
158 Kallang Way
Performance Building, #01-06
Singapore 349245
+65 6743 6893

This was an invited media tasting.