Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saveur Art : Valentines Day 2015

Saveur Art has outdone themselves again, and honestly it comes as no surprise. This Valentine's Day, their made a la minute menu is one that's bound to impress your date, your valentine, or your partner. One can expect to savour dishes using the most premium ingredients like fresh truffles and foie gras. 

After canapés, one will be served the Potage of Oyster Champagne, a soup dish filled with aplenty of seafood such as langoustine, mussels, clams and seaweed toast on the side. Within, you can also expect chunks of carrots and potatoes swimming with the extremely fresh seafood, which were cooked perfectly and retained its natural sweetness.

Next up is the Black Cod Rossini - a dish with a lot of finesse on a plate. With potatoes at the bottom, followed by cod, shaved winter black truffles and topped with a chunk of foie gras, we were (almost) in heaven after our first mouthful. The melt-in-your-mouth foie gras complimented the cod extremely well and the shaved truffle slices did not overpower the star of the dish - the cod.

For mains, one will have a choice between the Hay-Roasted French Pigeon or the Slow-cooked Norwegian Salmon. The pigeon consists of a confit of leg and a roasted pigeon breast, among the winter root vegetables and a liver vinaigrette on the side. The taste of pigeon can be a hit or a miss with some people, so we recommend it only if you can take a bit of gaminess.

The salmon on the other hand, is a safer bet. The salmon is cooked sous vide for about 20 minutes at 40 - 50 degrees to achieve a soft and deeply flavoured piece of fish. Paired with green pea mousse line and wild mushrooms, we found ourselves enjoying the dish a lot.

No meal is ever complete without dessert. The Cherry & Coffee dessert on their Valentine's Day menu features a muscovado cake, marinated cherries, coffee soil, topped with a cherry sorbet. Portion wise, it was huge. The muscovado cake was fluffy and paired well with the tangy sorbet. We also like the fact that the cherries retained its bite despite being marinated with liquor for that extra kick. A separate Petit Fours (baileys chocolate ball) is served after dessert.

We hear that tables are filling up at Saveur Art this Valentine's Day and honestly, it comes as no surprise since prices are relatively reasonable for the standard of food they serve. Priced at SGD 79++ per person, we think this is as close as 'value' gets this Valentine's, especially since they are located smack in the middle of town - Ion Orchard. Their other outlets, Saveur and Concetto by Saveur will also be offering a separate Valentine's Day menu.

Saveur Art
2 Orchard Turn
Ion Orchard, #04-11
Singapore 238801
+65 6634 1141

This was an invited media tasting.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Xin Cuisine

Xin Cuisine is a Chinese restaurant set in a contemporary ambience. Located at Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium, the restaurant is one known for serving up Chinese dishes with a modern twist - this includes to use of truffle and passionfruit - ingredients you don't normally find in Chinese cuisine.

Specially this year, Xin Cuisine has created a one-of-a-kind Yusheng for Chinese New Year - Xin's Gold Leaf Bird's Nest, Sliced Abalone and Passionfruit Yusheng. One can expect a bounty of textures from the generous amount of bird's nest, abalone and salmon, topped with a zesty citrusy passionfruit sauce made in house, scattered with luscious red strawberries. The yusheng is shaped in a goat to welcome the year of the goat.

Moving on, the Chinese New Year Dim Sum Combination consisting of Steam Prawn Dumpling with Truffle and Pan-fried Yam and Pumpkin Cake got our thumbs up immediately. The prawn dumpling contained fresh succulent prawns within and had just the right amount of truffle aroma to not overkill the freshness of the prawns. The yam and pumpkin cake on the other hand, was fluffy and paired well with the XO sauce that accompanying it.

The Xin's Traditional Pencai is one you won't want to be missing out on this Chinese New Year. The amount of ingredients inside include abalone, sea cucumber, scallops, mussels, prawns and roast duck, just to name a few, simmered and slow-cooked in a premium sauce. The whole pot had so much delicious stuff in it to the extent we lost count of the number of ingredients in it.

Our favourite dish on the menu was the Xin's Home-style Roasted Duck, roasted with fragrant tea leaves. The skin of the duck was crackling crispy and the meat was moist and tender. The tea leaves aroma didn't come off overwhelming and the duck was well-seasoned and roasted to perfection.

To end of the meal, we had the Double-boiled Milk Pudding with Bird's Nest. Yes, bird's nest, again. The pudding had a slight hint of ginger so it's a hit or a miss depending on whether you enjoy ginger in your dessert. The generous amount of bird's nest topped on however, was something i don't think anyone should complain about. Overall, it was a nice light dessert to end the meal off.

The dishes at Xin Cuisine definitely made an impression. Unlike places that serve you just authentic Chinese cuisine, we like how Xin Cuisine takes a modern approach to creating dishes that not only cater to the older generation, but also the young.

Xin Cuisine Chinese Restaurant
317 Outram Road
Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium, Level 4
Singapore 169075
+65 6731 7173

This was an invited media tasting.

Friday, January 23, 2015


After all the popularity in Japan, and then Bangkok, Chabuton is now bringing to us their traditional Japanese-style ramen with ingredients imported from Japan. The ramen chain currently have three outlets island-wide in Singapore - 313@Somerset, Tampines 1 and The Star Vista.

Boasting their first exclusive ramen dish created by world's first Michelin-starred ramen chef, Chabuton presents the Premium Tonkotsu Ramen for a limited time only, from 17 January - 31 March 2015. With its recipe from Chef Yasuji Morizumi, we were expecting a bowl of ramen that lived up to its expectations - unfortunately it did not.

The ramen broth made from tonkotsu and chicken collagen was packed with flavors, but was a tad too salty for our liking. In fact, we gulped down a whole cup of green tea after a few spoonfuls. The noodles fared above average, with a springy texture and good bite. Shockingly, the star of the dish (the Kurobuta pork) was tasty but pathetic in portion and looked very miserable, to the extent we were wondering if it was actually garnish instead. To add on to the list of disappointments, the soft-boiled egg was a little overcooked as well. 

For sides, we tried the Hitokuchi Gyoza, which was nothing much to shout about either. The filling of the gyoza came across ordinary, and there was nothing special about the dish except that it is flatter than your usual gyoza. The Ika Karaage on the other hand, came crispy but was drenched in oil. 

Michelin-starred or not, we are not sure if Chabuton's actually ramen lives up to the raves about their food. It definitely isn't one of the best in town or one we would recommend, unless you like your broth salty, a slightly overcooked egg, or your food coated with a layer of oil - everything seems wrong. This one's not for us, definitely.

313 Orchard Road
313@Somerset, #B2-01
Singapore 238895
+65 6636 8335

This was an invited media tasting.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ramen Champion : Tasting Competition 2015

An annual affair at Ramen Champion, the tasting competition this year is no different, except with a new ramen competitor. A new brand, Tonkotsu Ikkyu joins in the competition this year, promising to serve nothing less than piping hot ramen with sous vide cha cooked with a pink blush in the middle.

We had a try at the Special Tonkotsu Ramen from Tonkotsu Ikkyu but an overcooked egg which was served with it got us a little disappointed. The soup came off a bit 'porky' as well, but the noodles were nicely cooked.

Comparing with the other bowls we tasted, we particularly liked the Triple Chashu Ramen from Shodai Koji which was served with three generous cuts of meat. The soup broth was just right with the right amount of saltiness and the noodles were springy. The Sapporo Miso Special Ramen from Menya Ryu is also a good choice if you like your broth thick. We also felt that the egg from Menya Ryu fares the best. 

If you don't like your ramen soaked in soup, the Orignal Tsukemen from Menban Yamagishi Kazuo is a dipping ramen that has its sauce/soup served separately. The dipping sauce was a tad salty, but went well when accompanied with the noodles. We only wish that it came piping hot instead of room temperature. 

Sukiyaki fans should go straight for the God Ramen from Buta God which comes topped with lots and lots of thinly sliced pork (the shabu-shabu kind). The broth resembles sukiyaki and has a tinge of sweetness. If you like salty, this is not for you. It also comes with a half-boiled egg instead of the normal molten egg that other stalls serve.

Unfortunately, we felt that the Riki Chashumen from Riki didn't quite meet out expectations. The Riki Chashumen had too much bean sprouts for our liking and the broth came off too garlicky. 

We are sitting on the fence between Shodai Koji's Triple Chashu Ramen and the God Ramen from Buta God. I guess there isn't a clear winner as of now, but if you like your broth salty, go for Shodai Koji, and if you like it a tad sweeter, go for Buta God. 

Ramen Champion
201 Victoria Street
Bugis+, #04-10
Singapore 188607
+65 6238 1011

This was an invited media tasting.

Monday, January 5, 2015

FATCAT Ice Cream Bar

Having officially opened their doors on the new year is FATCAT Ice Cream Bar, a new ice cream and dessert concept cafe in the east. The small, cosy yet quaint cafe is a stone throw away from Bedok MRT - might be pretty difficult locating but trust me, the effort will be all worth it.

The first thing you will definitely be greeted by when you enter is no doubt the wide selection of 'made from scratch' ice cream and gelato available, but we really think sitting down and savouring every bit of their Strawberry Cheesecake is an experience you wouldn't want to be missing out on.

A deconstructed cheesecake, literally, is what you can expect. Cinnamon shortbread crumble, compressed strawberries, cinnamon cream cheese mousse, topped with a scoop of raspberry sorbet. We also need to mention that most desserts come with a pre-dessert - in the case of the Strawberry Cheesecake, it was served after some carbonated strawberries and a grana padano chip (cheese crisp).

A one-of-a-kind dessert you probably wouldn't find anywhere else would be the Ashtray, which we enjoyed equally. Served in an ashtray, the smoked ice cream sits on a bed of smoked lavender soil (a bit like cookie crumble) and is pumped with osmanthus smoke all the way until it reaches your table. We give this 100/100 for innovation, and another 100 for the taste.

And if all that doesn't satisfy the sweet tooth yet, fret not - you still have ice cream and gelato to fall back on. Their flavours are seasonal, so don't expect the same flavour each time you are there. We particularly recommend the passionfruit, which had the right amount of tanginess, as well as the pistachio, made with imported nuts from Italy.

As a whole, we think FATCAT Ice Cream Bar is a place you won't want to miss if you like artsy-fartsy quality desserts. Every plate feels like it has gone through a lot of R&D, and for the quality, we couldn't agree more that it is worth every penny.

FATCAT Ice Cream Bar
Blk 416 Bedok North Avenue 2, #01-25 
Singapore 460416

This was an invited media tasting.