HALAL PRAWN NOODLE SOUP
I finally had the chance to try the prawn noodle soup at Deanna's Kitchen, a hawker stall in Toa Payoh which my Muslim colleagues have been raving about.
Halal versions of prawn noodles are hard to come by - the dish is available only at a handful of stalls and eateries.
This stall's version is pretty authentic, considering that pork bones and lard, in addition to prawn heads and shells, usually form the base for the stock. The hot broth here, made with chicken bones, is flavourful and hit the spot on a rainy day earlier this week.
Prices start at $3.50 for a bowl of regular prawn noodles. It also serves big prawn noodles ($6.50), prawn noodles with clams ($6.50), very big prawn noodles ($12) and prawn noodles with crayfish ($12.50), with a choice of yellow Hokkien noodles, kway teow or bee hoon.
WHERE: Deanna's Kitchen, 02-25, Block 127 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 MRT: Braddell OPEN: 10am to 2pm, 5 to 8pm (Wednesdays to Fridays), 9am to 5pm (Saturdays), 9am to 2pm (Sundays), closed on Mondays and TuesdaysINFO: Go to deannaskitchen.net or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
UNI PASTA AT IL CIELO
Il Cielo at Hilton Singapore is one of those hidden gems along Orchard Road that you can always rely on for a great, satisfying meal.
Last year, Japanese chef Yohhei Sasaki took over the helm at the Italian restaurant. His style of Italian cuisine is refined, with a touch of Japanese finesse and flair. I dined there recently and enjoyed my experience.
If you like uni, be sure to try chef Sasaki's Homemade Spaghetti with Hokkaido Sea Urchin, Sardina Bottarga and Yuzu ($38, on the a la carte menu). Al dente pasta is tossed in rich uni sauce with bottarga. A dusting of yuzu zest gives it a subtle zing. Housemade gluten-free pasta is also available.
The dish also features in chef Sasaki's five-course degustation menu ($118 a person), which also includes dishes such as a kinmedai carpaccio with seaweed tuile, madeira wine dressing and pink grapefruit snow, a choice of wagyu short rib or grilled Japanese seabream - get the fish, delicious till the last bite - and La Sfera for dessert, a delicate yuzu sphere with ricotta cheese espuma, tart lemon sorbet and acacia honey gel.
WHERE: Il Cielo, Level 24 Hilton Singapore, 581 Orchard Road MRT: Orchard OPEN: Noon to 2.30pm (weekdays), 7 to 10.30pm (Mondays to Fridays), closed on Sundays TEL: 6730-3395 INFO: E-mail email@example.com
STAND-OUT DISHES AT NUDE GRILL
Having been a fan of Nude Seafood at Marina Bay Financial Centre for some time, I felt compelled to check out its new outlet, Nude Grill, which opened at Marina One recently.
For dinner, one stand-out dish is the beef tartare ($19), which has been given an Asian twist. Raw slices of beef, marinated in soya sauce and ponzu, are sprinkled with julienned green mango and finely chopped sweet preserved chye poh. Chilli padi also gives the dish a lovely spicy kick.
Main courses I like are the baby skate ($26), a charred piece of stingray served in a tasty cuttlefish broth with coriander oil and shiitake, topped with thin rounds of jicama and pureed watercress; and the poussin ($29), spring chicken with a side of glutinous rice fried with XO sauce juicy from breast to wing.
Cocktails are worth a try. Those who like fruity, refreshing drinks should opt for the Amber Geisha ($18), made with yuzu sake, Tanqueray gin, Aperol, grapefruit and lime. If you like Old Fashions, try Andibiotics ($20), a stiff but balanced blend of Rittenhouse rye whiskey, hickory-smoked maple syrup and coffee bitters served with a burnt slice of dehydrated orange.
Nude Grill's lunch options, which I have yet to try, sound appealing too. They include a Japanese wagyu don ($38), grilled portobello mushroom with inaniwa udon ($19) and grilled lamb rump and risotto with a parsley-leek butter ($24).
I'll be back for lunch soon.
WHERE: Nude Grill, 01-22 Marina One, 5 Straits ViewMRT: Downtown OPEN: 11.30am to 2pm, 6.30 to 9pm (weekdays only), closed on weekends and public holidaysTEL: 6581-9306 INFO: Go to www.nude-grill.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
CHINESE NEW YEAR GOODIES AT GOODWOOD PARK HOTEL
Every year, hotels, restaurants and cafes try to outdo one another with newfangled snacks and goodies for the festive season.
But sometimes, old is gold. And traditional pineapple tarts with the perfect melt-in-the-mouth pastry are my weakness.
Goodwood Park Hotel is offering Pineapple Ingot Tarts ($38 nett for a box of 10) - tarts in the shape of an ingot about 5cm long with a soft, buttery pastry and a housemade pineapple filling that is just sweet enough. This is the first year the hotel is making these tarts. Each shiny ingot, glazed a beautiful golden brown, is also topped with a gold leaf.
I also cannot get enough of the hotel's signature spicy salted egg yolk lotus root chips ($36.80 nett for a jar) - crisp, savoury chips flavoured with curry leaves and chilli that are so addictive, your guests will not be able to stop eating them.
WHERE: The Deli, Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Road MRT: Orchard OPEN: 9am to 9pm daily TEL: 6730-1786 INFO: Go to festivepromotions.goodwoodpark hotel.com or e-mail email@example.com. Chinese New Year goodies are available from Jan 29 to March 2. Pre-order to avoid disappointment