There have been many rainy days of late, and when it's storming, the best thing for me to tuck into is something hot, soupy and comforting.
The signature lobster porridge (photo) at Wan He Lou in Maude Road, off Jalan Besar, was just what I needed last week. Fluffy Teochew-style porridge is made luxe and extravagant with the addition of sweet lobster and lobster roe. A portion good enough for two, which comes with a 350g lobster, is priced at $31.90.
The golden porridge broth is flavourful, but not rich or cloying. I also like that the dish comes out piping hot.
Its fried seafood potstickers ($12 for six) are also a tasty treat. But ask for the sesame sauce on the side or else the dumplings will come slathered with it.
Other popular dishes here include green dragon vegetable with dried shrimp (from $10.90), crispy lotus root with salted egg (from $11.90) and pan-fried kurobuta pork (from $14.90).
TEMPURA FROM OSAKA
My favourite tempura bar, Tenshin at Regent Singapore hotel, just got itself some competition.
Ippoh Tempura Bar by Osaka's Ginza Ippoh opened earlier this month at Como Dempsey. The family-owned Ippoh brand dates back to 1850 and is said to be the oldest premium tempura restaurant in Osaka.
All the ingredients used at its Singapore offshoot are flown in from Japan and prices start at $60 for lunch and from $140 for dinner.
Its $180 dinner menu gets you an amuse bouche - mine was a housemade sesame tofu topped with uni; a trio of appetisers; 11 pieces of tempura; and kakiage with rice and miso soup.
The style of the tempura is much more refined than what you would get at the cheap and cheerful tempura bars around town.
The batter is light and crisp, but not crunchy. The stench of oily fried food does not cling to your clothes at this restaurant either.
My favourite pieces of tempura include the plump and fresh squid, refreshing shisho leaf-wrapped prawn (photo) and chewy ginkgo nuts. The highlight is a small tempura manju, a red bean mochi, which provides a hint of sweetness to balance out the savoury items.
WHERE: Ippoh Tempura Bar by Ginza Ippoh, Como Dempsey, Block 17B Dempsey Road MRT: Holland Village OPEN: Noon to 2.30pm daily, 6 to 9.30pm (Sundays to Thursdays), 6 to 10.30pm (Fridays, Saturdays, eves of public holidays and public holidays) TEL: 1800-304-3388 INFO: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
SHABU SHABU FOR CHEAP
For a value-for-money shabu shabu lunch, try Shabu Shabu Tajimaya at Wisma Atria.
Prices for its all-you-can-eat lunch start at $24.90 a person for American beef, $31.90 a person for Australian wagyu (photo) and $62.90 a person for Japanese wagyu. The meals also have options for pork and chicken.
You get one hour for your meal, which is more than enough time to eat your fill at a leisurely pace.
The Australian wagyu here is surprisingly good and well-marbled, especially given the price. You help yourself to vegetables, noodles and garnishes, as well as ice cream for dessert.
There are five types of dashi for the shabu shabu - normal dashi, yuzu salt dashi, spicy dashi, salted rice malt dashi and suki dashi.
WHERE: Shabu Shabu Tajimaya, Level 4 Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Road OPEN: 11am to 3pm daily TEL: 6262-3240 INFO: www.japanfoodtown.sg/stores/shabu-shabu-tajimaya2/
FUN FROZEN TREAT
Eyescream and Friends is made for the age of SnapChat, Instagram and Twitter.
I have posted pictures and videos of the Barcelona chain's cute chocolate shaved gelato monster (photo) on all three channels. The monster reminds me of the ghosts from the Pac-Man game.
Think Taiwanese shaved ice meets scoops of Italian gelato, and frozen yogurt chain-style toppings from nata de coco to sprinkles.
The gelato is made in cylindrical solid blocks which are frozen at minus 25 deg C. Flavours include vanilla, chocolate, cheesecake and wildberry yogurt. Non-dairy options include mango and strawberry.
The frozen treat is fun to eat. Gimmicky? Yes, but enjoyable nonetheless. Each serving costs $6.90.
WHERE: Eyescream and Friends, B1-48 Wisma Atria MRT: Orchard OPEN: 10am to 10pm daily TEL: 6376-2862 INFO: www.facebook.com/eyescreamandfriendssg