REBECCA LYNNE TAN FOOD CORRESPONDENT RECOMMENDS

Food Picks: Crown Bakery & Cafe, Esquina and more

PHOTOS: REBECCA LYNNE TAN, THE DAILY ROUNDUP

A JEWEL IN THE HEART OF BUKIT TIMAH

The new bakery-cafe which opened at the end of April is one of Bukit Timah residents’ crown jewels.

Crown Bakery & Cafe has a good selection of breads, from crusty baguettes to more exotic varieties such as Turkish ekmek flavoured with honey and a Hainanese Chicken Rice Bread with a chilli dipping sauce.

For those who like traditional items, try the plain or almond croissant ($3.60) – buttery goodness in every bite.

All-day breakfast options range from Eggs Florentine ($16) to The Crown Breakfast ($29), which includes red-wine braised oxtail, sausage and bacon.

The open-faced avocado and feta sandwich ($16, above) served on a slice of brioche is a simple dish done well.

The bakery-cafe’s clean, wholesome and uncomplicated flavours are the main draw here.

WHERE: Crown Centre, 557 Bukit Timah Road, 01-03 MRT: Botanic Gardens OPEN: 7.30am - 8.30pm (Sun - Thu), 7.30am - 9.30pm (Fri & Sat) TEL: 6463-3066 INFO: www.facebook.com/crownbakerysg


NEW CHEF AT ESQUINA

A young and charming Spanish chef has taken over the reins of the open kitchen at tapas bar Esquina.

Carlos Montobbio, who has worked at top restaurants including El Celler de Can Roca and, most recently, at Swissotel the Stamford’s Antidote bar, started at Esquina three weeks ago and brings with him some fresh and enticing flavours.

The chef says he will be revamping the entiremenu in the next two weeks.

Of his new dishes, the ones that stand out for meinclude the Spanish Nigiri ($6) – bacalao brandade topped with a piece of roasted bell pepper. The bite-size snack looks just like a maguro nigiri sushi but tastes like a Spanish party.

I also like the flat mini Spanish omelette ($6) pancake served on crisp bread with aioli and olive oil caviar. It is full of robust and homey flavours.

Other things to try include the Grilled Spanish Octopus ($28, above), with burnt onions, oyster leaf and Jerusalem artichoke puree. The tender octopus is cooked sous vide for two hours then popped into the Josper grill for a light char.

WHERE: Esquina, 16 Jiak Chuan Road MRT: Outram/Tanjong Pagar OPEN: Noon - 2.30pm, 6 - 10.30pm (weekdays), 6 - 10.30pm (Sat), closed for lunch on Sat & all day on Sun TEL: 6222-1616 INFO: E-mail info@esquina.com.sg or go to www.esquina.com.sg

FRESH WINNER

The Lo&Behold Group, which is behind restaurants and bars such as Extra Virgin Pizza and Loof, is busy expanding this year.

It opened The Daily Roundup about two months ago, bar-diner OverEasy Orchard at LiatTowers – it took over the spot vacated by Wendy’s – about a month ago and is working on new restaurant Odette at the National Gallery Singapore.

The Daily Roundup, a collaboration between co-working space The Working Capitol and the lifestyle group, is a creperie and spritzer cafe.

The crepes (sweet, from $8) are delightfully chewy while the galettes (savoury, from $12) are crisp and well charred.

The burrata galette ($16, above) with fresh Roma tomatoes, a bright pesto and arugula is a real winner for me, while the yuzu butter crepe ($10), sprinkled with icing sugar and yuzu zest, is also delish.

Spritzers, such as the watermelon prosecco or nashii sauvignon blanc ($14 each), are worth a try too. They are refreshing mid-day pick-me-ups.

WHERE: The Working Capitol, 01-02, 1 Keong Saik Road, MRT: Outram/ Tanjong Pagar OPEN: 8am -8pm(Mon - Sat), closed on Sun for now INFO: E-mail contact@thedailyroundup.com.sg or go to thedailyroundup.com.sg


FUN GIANT MAKI

Rollie Olie is a fun Californian-Japanese sushi place that specialises in giant maki rolls.

It seems to be quite a hit with young and old, judging from the crowd there on a weekday night.

And I can see why.

They look appetising.

The colourful maki, which include toppings and fillings such as spicy crabmeat, grilled eel, avocado, jicama and fried softshell crab, are sizeable and tasty. They start at $12.95 each.

I tried the Cali Dream ($16.95, above), a maki with fried prawn, tamago, avocado, strawberries and crunchy tempura bits, and drizzled with a sweet-salty sauce.

It was not bad at all - there are plenty of familiar and comforting flavours with an added crunch for texture.

These rolls will be great as appetisers for dinner parties if you can't be bothered to cook.

WHERE: The Star Vista, 02-05, 1 Vista Exchange Green, MRT: Buona Vista OPEN: 11am - 10pm (Mon - Sat), 11.30am - 10pm (Sun). Last order at 9.30pm TEL: 6316-5710 INFO: www.facebook.com/RollieOlieSingapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2015, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe