MUSSEL MONDAYS AT COCOTTE
Mondays are probably brutal for anyone who works. So I always feel a sense of accomplishment if I have survived it without getting too battle-scarred.
Now there is a way to celebrate that: Moules Frites Mondays at Cocotte, a French restaurant at the Wanderlust hotel. Chef Anthony Yeoh, 34, offers live mussels and clams, which arrive here on Mondays, cooked three ways and it is difficult to decide which one is best.
The tomato-based Piperade version, with an appetising smokiness from grilled bell peppers, is fresh and lively, perfect for reviving a punch-drunk cubicle serf. Fennel Cream, with a wine and cream sauce scented with garlic, has an unexpected zing from citrus oil. Then there is Little India Curry, a nod to the restaurant's location. If someone makes me choose, I would pick this as my favourite. The creamy sauce cries out to be mopped up with bread and the mild curry is livened up by fresh coriander and lime juice.
Each $35 pot of mussels is good for two or three people, and comes with a pile of hand-cut fries, handy to soak up the sauces. But next time, I'll ask for bread.
Fat, juicy mussels and clams, superb sauces, and fries; what an excellent way to celebrate the end of Monday.
WHERE: Cocotte, 2 Dickson Road MRT: Bugis TEL: 6298-1188 WHEN: Mussels available 6 to 10pm (Mondays only) INFO: www.restaurantcocotte.com
WELL-CONSTRUCTED BURGERS AT WOLF
It has been quite some time since I have been able to eat a burger with my hands. I usually tackle a burger with fork and knife. It is prissy and irritating, I know, but I hate making a mess. Wolf Burgers in PasarBella Suntec City serves well-constructed burgers (above) I can eat with my hands and at a good price, too.
My favourite is the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Burger ($9.90). Boneless chicken thigh is encased in a crisp coating and the chicken is tender from being marinated in buttermilk for 24 hours. More crunch comes from slaw dressed with honey, apple cider vinegar and lime juice. The salted egg mayonnaise - which could be punchier - adds the richness.
If Wolf can deliver a good burger at this price, I imagine others can too. If only they would.
WHERE: Wolf Burgers, PasarBella, 01-455 Suntec City, 3 Temasek Boulevard MRT: Esplanade OPEN: Noon to 9.30pm daily INFO: www.facebook.com/PasarBella
CHIRASHI AT SUIGEI SAKE SALON
A good lunch deal in plush surroundings is never easy to find in Singapore. So when photos of a messy looking chirashi keep appearing on my Facebook feed, I ask my friends about it.
It turns out that Suigei Sake Salon, at the lobby of the Marriott, serves that chirashi (above) and it is priced at $33 with an appetiser, pickles, soup and dessert.
The catch is that there are only five bowls available each day, so it is best to call ahead and book.
On my two visits there, the appetiser is a deep fried crab and uni ball, the sea urchin all but non-existent. The sweet crabmeat makes up for it.
However, the main event is really the chirashi and for $33, I do not care if it looks a mess. The fish comes from the sushi restaurant and the combination is different each time. But it seems a whole prawn always takes pride of place on top of the bowl.
On my two visits, I have the prawn and three to four lobes of wonderfully sweet bafun uni.
Other seafood might include hirame, akami, sayori, akagai, mirugai, amaebi, ikura and hotate. There is also usually anago, cubes of omelette, crunchy cucumber and ginger. It is a substantial bowl but one that will not weigh you down the rest of the day.
For dessert, pick the sea salt ice cream sandwiched between monaka, crisp wafers made with mochi.
WHERE: Suigei Sake Salon, 01-04 Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel MRT: Orchard TEL: 6235-5514 WHEN: Chirashi available noon to 2.30pm (Tuesday to Sunday) INFO: www.facebook.com/suigeisakesalon
COMFORT FOOD AT XING HUA FAMILY RESTAURANT
One of the joys of writing about food in Singapore is that even after a few years of eating around the island, there are still gems to be unearthed. Anyone who is tired of the food offerings here must surely be tired of life.
Through friends, I recently discover Xing Hua Family Restaurant in Towner Road, which serves Heng Hwa cuisine from the city of Putian in Fujian province.
The food is rustic, homespun and soulful, everything I look for when I eat.
Order Xing Hua Fried Bee Hoon (from $5, above), made with the thin rice noodles Putian is famous for. It might be difficult at first to find the said noodles as they are blanketed with lala clams, prawns, belly pork, julienned carrots, greens, seaweed and peanuts. The seafood and pork add sweetness to the noodles with the seaweed and peanuts adding texture.
Xing Hua Dumpling Soup (from $8) is full of tiny, wonton-like dumplings with translucent skin. The meat is not minced too fine so there is plenty of spring and texture in each one. The tangy soup is addictive too.
Sliced chilled pig trotter (from $8), lala fried with chilli (from $8), and crisp cubes of candied yam (from $8) are other good dishes to order.
WHERE: Xing Hua Family Restaurant, 01-274, Block 102 Towner Road MRT: Boon Keng TEL: 6299-5585 OPEN: 11.30 to 3pm, 5 to 10.30pm (weekday), 11.30am to 10.30pm (weekend)