Rebecca Lynne Tan Food Correspondent recommends

Xi Yan, Non Entree Desserts, Old Hen Coffee Bar and more

Chilled fresh lobster coconut jelly from Xi Yan.
Chilled fresh lobster coconut jelly from Xi Yan.PHOTOS: REBECCA LYNNE TAN, XI YAN, AZIZ HUSSIN, L'ECLAIR BY SARAH MICHELLE

XI YAN'S 10TH ANNIVERSARY

The Chinese private dining restaurant celebrates 10 years in the scene with new dishes and an alfresco deck for wine and tapas. About 10 new items have been added to its expansive menu, which will be rolled out over the next few months.

The reservations-only restaurant offers meals for both groups and couples. Prices start from $50++ a person (minimum of two people) for lunch and $80++ a person (minimum of two people) for dinner.

The new dishes feature alongside Xi Yan's classics which include momotaro tomatoes in a piquant sesame-wasabi sauce and tofu ice cream dessert.

Of the new dishes, two had me craving for more. The chilled fresh lobster coconut jelly (above), with chunks of lobster served on a bed of smooth coconut jelly that has been steamed in a fresh coconut, is light and refreshing. The natural sweetness of the lobster is evident in each mouthful of the jelly. I also enjoyed the tender pan- fried kurobuta pork served with a salad of pomelo, water chestnut and strawberries with a slightly spicy citrusy zing.

Discuss the menu with the restaurant when you make your reservation.

WHERE: 38A Craig Road, second floor. MRT: Tanjong Pagar TEL: 6220-3546 OPEN: Noon to 3pm, 5.30 to 10.30pm, daily. INFO: Go to www.xiyan.com.sg or e-mail info@xiyan.com.sg. Walk-ins for alfresco deck are welcome, but reservations only for the restaurant



Chocolate Avalanche ($13.90) from Non Entree Desserts in Rangoon Road. 

FINE-DINING DESSERTS AT AFFORDABLE PRICES

In the past two years, many mediocre cafes serving passable waffles, average cakes and sorry desserts have sprung up. I have been disappointed so many times that I am sometimes afraid to try new places.

But two-week-old Non Entree Desserts in Rangoon Road had me wowing from my first mouthful. Finally, a dessert cafe that I am truly excited about.

It is opened by three army buddies - Alex Toh and Goh Gim Chuan, both 30, and Francis Wong, 32. Behind the creations is Wong, who previously worked in the pastry kitchen of Regent Singapore hotel.

Everything, from the chocolate soil to the gelato, is made from scratch. The plated desserts are fine-dining-restaurant worthy, but at wallet-friendly prices.

You must try the Tropicana - a polished coconut mousse on a biscuit base, with crisp coconut meringue, mango and passionfruit coulis, pineapple chutney, crumble and a light and wonderful mascarpone lime sorbet ($15.90). Each mouthful comes together brilliantly, a delicate balance of flavour and textures.

Also try the Chocolate Avalanche ($13.90, above) - a Valrhona chocolate cake on an almond nougatine disc with a scoop of orange-infused vanilla ice cream that complements the dark chocolate perfectly. Some tweaks are needed for consistency in some of the desserts, but these first-time cafe-owners are off to a smashing start.

WHERE: 204 Rangoon Road MRT: Farrer Park OPEN: 12.30 - 10pm (Tue to Thu), 12.30 - 11pm (Fri), 11am - 11pm (Sat), 11am - 10pm (Sun), closed on Mon INFO: Go to www.facebook.com/nonentreedesserts. The cafe does not take reservations



Velvety Brown Valrhona Dark Chocolate ($5 hot, $6.50 chilled) from Old Hen Coffee Bar.

SIMPLE EATS AND ICED CHOCOLATE IN A BOTTLE

Old Hen Coffee Bar is a nice, quiet place to have a cuppa or grab a light bite.

The space lets in plenty of daylight, which I appreciate too.

Coffee lovers will like the range of speciality coffee blends, while chocolate fans can sip hot or cold versions of the cafe's Velvety Brown Valrhona Dark Chocolate (above, $5 hot, $6.50 chilled), which is thick, rich and indulgent.

All-day food items are simple but good. They include muesli with Greek yogurt ($7), croque monsieur on multigrain bread served with a side of salad ($8.50), jujube spinach salad with a sweet-tart raspberry vinaigrette ($8.50), and an open-faced smoked salmon toast topped with apple and raisins ($11).

WHERE: Old Hen Coffee Bar, 01-03, 88 Rangoon Road MRT: Farrer Park OPEN: noon - 10pm (weekdays), 10am- 6.30pm (Sat), 10am - 10pm (Sun) TEL: 6341-5458 INFO: Go to www.oldhencoffee.com or e-mail hello@oldhencoffee.com



L'Eclair by Sarah Michelle specialises in refined elongated choux puffs with various fillings, glazes and toppings.

L'ECLAIR BY SARAH MICHELLE

The eclair has been going through a bit of an epicurean renaissance here in Singapore. While it has always been a classic pastry, the food scene has never had more innovative and elegant eclairs than in the last eight months.

L'Eclair by Sarah Michelle - its two pastry chef-owners are Sarah Tan and Michelle Looi - specialises in refined elongated choux puffs with various fillings, glazes and toppings. Think toppings such as delicately piped meringue, lush dark chocolate and crunchy pecans.

My favourites are the Earl Grey and the Tahitian Vanilla And Pecan. Both of them are exquisite and have distinct, full flavours. Prices start from $7.50 an eclair.

WHERE: L'Eclair, 01-28 Singapore Shopping Centre, 190 Clemenceau Avenue OPEN: 11am - 8pm (Tue to Fri), 11am - 9pm (Sat), 11am - 6pm (Sun), closed on Mon TEL: 6635-7909 or 9101-1971 INFO: Go to www.leclair.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2015, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe